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Video basics: Shooting & editing


Students start by learning about video camera terminology that directly relates to operating a professional-level video camera. Then, students use the video cameras they learned about to put the scriptwriting terms into practice. When students have finished the shooting portion of the lesson, they transition to understanding basic editing terms that relate to the editing programs available. Students then are introduced to digital file structure and naming concepts. Then, students will practice audio principles they learned earlier. Students will complete the unit by profiling a classmate and highlighting a location in the area.


  • Students will define video camera terminology.
  • Students will identify different camera control features.
  • Students will demonstrate terminology in practice.
  • Students will perform camera and editing procedures.

Common Core Standards

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.9-10.4 Present information, findings, and supporting evidence clearly, concisely, and logically such that listeners can follow the line of reasoning and the organization, development, substance, and style are appropriate to purpose, audience, and task.


Six weeks or 30 50-minute classes


Slideshow: Video basics

Video Basics quiz and key

*Footage: Nature 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27

Rubrics: Editing practice, highlight a location, scriptwriting terms, short profile

*PLEASE NOTE: Footage files are high-definition .mov files that range from 50 to 200 MB each.

Lesson step-by-step

Day 1

1. Building background — 10 minutes

Bring all of the video equipment you have at your disposal to the front of the classroom and place in an area that students can see. Introduce students to the video camera, tripods, etc., you have. Do not assume students automatically know specifics about your gear. Often, they do not.

2. Present — 20 minutes

Using the slideshow, introduce students to the provided video camera terms.

3. Think-pair-share — 20 minutes

Split the class into fairly large groups. Inside each group, students should:

  1. Set up one of your cameras, including putting on a battery that had been disconnected.
  2. Place the camera on a tripod.
  3. Students should identify key features (focus, iris, white balance, etc.)
  4. Students should tear down the gear
    1. Properly power down the camera.
    2. Take the camera off of the tripod.
    3. Properly put the camera in the classroom storage location.

Day 2

1. Building background — 10 minutes

Introduce students to the Scriptwriting Terms in Practice project.

2. Think-pair-share — 40 minutes

Divide and create teams of students inside your classroom. Instruct students to to create a two-column script that shows one of the members of their group completing a simple task. Students should label each shot type. Consider having students also create a storyboard for the scene.

Days 3-5 (Depending on your ratio of students to equipment)

1. Group work — 50 minutes

Students film their productions

Day 6

1. Building background — 50 minutes

Introduce students to editing terms provided in the slideshow. The slideshow also shows examples of some of the concepts with different editing programs. Be sure to have your students perform the same actions with the software that you have. Point out the differences in your software and its abilities making sure your students have a strong foundation of the basic functions. When students are familiar with basic editing terms that you have introduced, you can then have them capture footage onto your computer if you are using a tape-based system. If you are using a digital file system camera, have students transfer the files onto their computer. Once the files have been placed onto students’ computers, review the slideshow example that demonstrates how students can rename their files to something that can be identified by other members of the group.

At any point after completing the slideshow, you can administer the video basics quiz as a formative assessment.

Days 7-10

1. Group work — 50 minutes

Students will edit their work while learning the foundations of the editing program you use.

Day 11

1. Building background — 10 minutes

Introduce students to the Short Personal Profile project. You may choose to pair students who normally don’t interact to encourage the class to know each other better.

2. Think-pair-share — 20 minutes

Students should conduct pre-interviews of one another to get more acquainted.

3. Follow-up presentation — 20 minutes

Once students have completed their pre-interviews of their peers, you should first ask for volunteers and then select teams to talk about what they have discovered about their classmate and what their plan is for compiling the profile. Point out interesting or unique ideas to encourage creativity in the assembly of these videos.

Days 12-15

1. Group work — 50 minutes

Students conduct interviews and collect B-Roll footage of their assigned partner. Encourage students to bring in old photos to add to their compilation if the video calls for it.

Day 16

1. Building background — 20 minutes

Introduce the idea of highlighting a location. Talk about different areas around your school or community that might make interesting subjects. Then, review some of the footage in the Nature folder students will use to practice this assignment before completing on their own. Review the two-column script formatting if necessary and discuss the importance of writing good copy that will fill the voice over requirements.

*Consider downloading the footage of the Nature folder prior to beginning this assignment on a drive and then copying it onto individual computers. Depending on the speed of the Internet at your school, if all students start downloading at the same time, you could lose one or more days to this task alone.

2. Present — 20 minutes

Having already reviewed some of the footage that is in the Nature folder, guide your students through the process of writing a script for a location they don’t know much about. Assuming you have the capability, write a script through the projector that allows students to see how you can write to footage. At this point, you can assign the students to rewrite themselves or each use the script that you came up with together as a class.

Days 17-21

1. Group work — 50 minutes

Students work on the editing of their Nature production. You may need more or less time depending on the equipment available and number of students in your class.

Day 22

1. Building background — 10 minutes

Introduce students to the concept of expanding the previous project to one created entirely on their own. Talk about locations in or around your school. You may also consider creating groups in your class due to the amount of equipment and or possible locations that you have.

2. Discussion — 40 minutes

As a class, discuss locations in your area, form groups and address other logistics.

Days 23-30

1. Group work — 50 minutes