Key Stage 3 Textplorations


It's All In The Edit

In this unit, pupils will be able to explore the crucial role of editing in relation to moving image text. They will see how meaning can be shaped by technology and consider the importance of pace in relation to style and content.

Key Questions

  1. How will my choices affect the meaning?
  2. How do I reach my audience?

Lesson 1

Key Question: How will my choices affect the meaning?

In pairs, pupils decide on a definition of the word “editing” – without use of a dictionary. Share pupil work, drawing attention to the important idea that any form of editing is about refining the meaning.  If appropriate, discuss Reisz’s famous definition:

“The art of editing occurs when the combination of two or more shots takes meaning to another level – excitement, insight, shock or discovery.”
Karel Reisz – film director and editor

Explain the key words shot and sequence.

Show pupils the Typhoo Tea TV advertisement, Pupils note the number of shots this advert contained. Pupils compare figures. Share the various results. Reshow advert. Pupils count the actual number of shots. Explain that this advertisement has a “fast pace” in editing.

Pupils can now be given information about different film transitions. ( For example - Cut, Dissolve, Fade, Wipe) The ‘fast pace’ in this advertisement, for example, has been created by frequent cuts. (For more information on film language go to

Show pupils a 2-3 minute sequence from any of the main terrestrial channel soap operas e.g. Coronation Street. Ask pupils if it is a fast or slow paced sequence, encouraging pupils to be specific. In pairs, pupils list the number of different types of transition they saw in the clip. Take feedback from pupils as to the types of transitions they saw. View clip again to establish that the cut is the predominant form of transition. Explain that we have become so used to seeing cuts that we have almost ceased to notice them. But all other types of transition are likely to draw attention to themselves and have probably been selected for a particular purpose.

In pairs, pupils write a concise summary of the story lines from the soap opera clip.

Show pupils the pop video Only Happy When It Rains by Garbage (or another relevant music video). In pairs, pupils discuss the differences they notice in editing style between the pop video and the soap clip, initially thinking about pace and shot transitions but also adding any other things they have noticed, particularly a comment on how the tone or mood of the pop video has been created by the visuals. Take feedback on the ideas generated in the paired talk. Discuss whether it would have been possible to write a summary of the storyline of Only Happy When It Rains or was that video more concerned with establishing mood and tone rather than a clear narrative structure (which is often the case with pop video).


Pupils write a list of things they have learnt in the lesson about editing moving images.

Lesson 2

Key Question: How do I reach my audience?

Pupils are learning to:

  • to write a critical review of a visual text, taking account of the likely impact on viewers.

Recap previous lesson by listing what pupils learned about editing moving images.

Distribute copies of William Blake’s poem The Tyger and copies of the Video Checklist. Pupils read the poem. List pupil responses and discuss which specific words or images might have triggered these.

Pupils watch a music video of Blake’s poem made by Year 8 pupils. Pupils write a review of the video for a teenage magazine, using a maximum of 250 words. The review must include:

  • A description of some sequences from the video which they felt were effective in giving a visual representation of Blake's language and images, using the checklist to give them ideas as to what they might mention.
  • Any parts of the video which they did not like and why.
  • Whether or not they think the video is an appropriate presentation of the Blake poem.

Pupils watch the video/DVD version of The Tyger without making any notes. Show video a second time, encouraging pupils to make notes using the headings from the video checklist. Pupils draft their reviews. Show video again. Pupils redraft their reviews.

Poem: The Tyger

Tyger! Tyger! burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immoral hand or eye
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

In what distant deeps or skies
Burnt the fire of thine eyes?
On what wings dare he aspire?
What the hand dare seize the fire?

And what shoulder, and what art,
Could twist the sinews of thy heart?
And when thy heart began to beat,
What dread hand? And what dread feet?

What the hammer? What the chain?
In what furnace was thy brain?
What the anvil? What dead grasp
Dare its deadly terrors clasp?

When the stars threw down their spears,
And water’d heaven with their tears,
Did he smile his works to see?
Did he who made the lamb make thee?

Tyger! Tyger! burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immoral hand or eye
Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?

- by William Blake

Media Assets

The previously available Media Assets are currently unavailable due to Adobe ending support of their Flash Player plug-in.

They are currently under review and where appropriate will be redeveloped.

Video Checklist

Unit 3c
Shot types and framing
  • Why have certain types of shot been chosen?
  • Is there anything unusual about the composition of shots within the frame?
Camera angles and camera and lens movements
  • Why has the camera been placed or moved in this way?
  • Are there any transitions which draw attention to themselves?
  • Why do you think they have been used?
  • How long is each shot held on screen?
  • How would you describe the pace of the sequence?
  • What mood or tone is conveyed to the viewer?
  • Why was this particular piece of music chosen?
  • What mood or tone do you think it is setting up?
Visual effects
  • Have any decisions been made to alter the colour, add in unusual effects which make the pictures “unreal” in any way?
  • What is the likely effect on people who watch it?