What should I teach in my Advanced Editing Class?
We primarily teach Media Composer, and I have a syllabus laid out. Just looking at other suggestions from people that are either educators, or would think would be good to teach editors trying for the editing certificate we offer. Thanks!
If you want to teach more than just which buttons to push you should add the parallel element of story telling. It should be easy to find examples both good and bad of the editing creating versus harming the story which is being conveyed. It might also be useful to break apart a few written short stories and show how the elements are linked together to take you from point A to point B.
I taught a class at CCRI where I combined "how to" with storytelling. I was luck to have an established director friend of mine help out and we chose 4 scenes and all the coverage from a feature that he had directed.
The process was to ingest, sync, log the footage - this was part of the how-to part. Then the director came in and we played all the takes back on a class projector. The director spoke to what he liked, didn't, etc. and the students had to take notes, and log against the footage.
Then they had four weeks to do a v1 edit during which time we covered more of the how-to as they worked their way to a v1 edit on a scene or scenes (schedule permitting) of their choice. The director then came back in and we screened together every one of their sequences. I also impressed upon them communication - tell us why that take versus another, what were going after in the scene, whose scene was it? etc. Each one got notes from the director as though they were in the edit room.
During the next four weeks we did more of the Avid training, but now learned more audio, titles, graphics so they could enhance the second version of the cut to another level. After that the director came back in for a last screening review with everyone. It was a very interactive discussion with all the students on all scenes with the director. Since the weekly class was a 4 hour session, we had the time to do this in class. I also had two guest editor speakers participate - one via Skype in class who was a feature editor, and the other a commercial editor out of NY working on national spots so that we could compare and contrast storytelling across two different market formats.
In hindsight, it was a challenge keeping the balance for students that had never touched Media Composer, but it was engaging process for them. Other than taking the Avid exam for Media Composer, their grade was based on communication with others and the director as that is a fundamental need as an editor in a collaborative process.
I teach Avid for many years and have taught a few rogue advanced courses (as in not official avid curriculum)
here are a few tips on writing an advanced course.
1. determine if its an advance technical course (making them better at operating an avid) or advanced editing course (making them better storytellers/editors).
2. If its the first type, I use to divide MC into sections (timeline, audio, settings, media management, effects and finishing) and give at least 2 classes per section which dive deeper into the possibilities MC gives. Avid's world tends to go bit deeper than it seems and there are a ton of advanced/less known features in each section. Also, editors coming from basic courses + some work experience often remember a certain % of what they learned and cling onto it using it extensively, you'll find in-depth classes on ways to use tools better (or new ways and tools) are well appreciated. I had exercises planned specifically for each step and an on hands test (1 on 1 with me) at end of semester.
3. If its the second type, you need to get your hands on some solid real-world narrative project (non-narrative can work, but narrative works better) I'd recommend against student shorts or even shorts in general. I used a pilot episode of a sitcom for years, all with shooting script and VO recordings (it even had VFX in some shots and I had the finished files for students to incorporate later). I think sitcoms (or other episodic non multi-cam narrative TV format) work (not the multi-cam studio type) because of many reasons like dialogues with often more than 2 actors, good coverage, and pro setup (unlike a lot of shorts). if its comedy, even better, as good editing is critical in comedy storytelling. timing and cutting comic dialogues is an infinite source of good/bad/interesting editing examples, and unlike drama, you have to not only make it work, but make it funny (where you always know if it worked without asking). they go through all steps of editing an episode from assembly to export (they even record their own VO before I give them the final one). I had very good feedback from this course.
I purchased this and used it several times in the past too (http://editstock.com/collections/education/products/handicapped-john) its not super amazing (and rips off a Seinfeld episode...) but it does the job if nothing else is available. I do strongly recommend against having the students bring their own projects.
4. In both cases, dedicate a good solid chunk of time to teaching them trim. I usually do it over at least 3 classes out of the semester. Novice editors generally don't get it, and only multiple examples and a lot of hands on ( i bring them one by one to the "board" and play the director as they have to trim through a few cuts in front of the class) till they understand where they need to put their focus to become good editors contrary to good software operators. There are 3 main types of trim (i'm counting slide out) and each is a world of its own in its purpose, function, reason to be and usage... I think any advance class has to go all the way to dissecting and analyzing 8-9 track, multi type, a-symmetrical trims and why a good avid editor has to master them.
hope this helped