The value of a great teacher is priceless. In today’s digital world, a teacher is just a few keystrokes away via your browser’s search engine, but up until now if you really wanted to learn to edit (not just push the right buttons), you had to buy an expensive piece of software, passively consume videos and tutorials on how to use the software, or take an expensive course to learn the technical skills of operating that software.
EditMentor is revolutionizing the way we learn how to edit by focusing more on the storytelling skills and theory behind editing and less on the technical skills which are often the main focus of most training, online and otherwise.
According to CEO and founder Misha Tenenbaum, a good teacher or mentor has three important jobs.
A good teacher MUST:
- Instill passion
- Set good habits
- Hold you accountable
These are the principles he kept in mind when designing EditMentor (in collaboration with Flux Technologies). When it comes specifically to the first and most important job of a teacher, it’s clear that Misha has no shortage of passion when it comes to editing that is evident in his recent Optimize Yourself podcast interview.
“I absolutely love the craft of editing. I’ve loved it since I was a kid. I learn more about it every time I sit in front of a computer and cut something together.”
Misha’s passion for editing and storytelling inspired him to fill a gaping hole in the online learning world to teach students storytelling via his new browser-based NLE EditMentor which he believes fulfills the three main jobs of a great teacher.
What is EditMentor?
EditMentor is a hands-on, web-based NLE (non-linear editor) that teaches you not only the necessary tools of editing but also the invaluable skills of storytelling. It provides video footage, scripts, lessons, and challenges to teach you the language of film. Currently in its Beta version it offers students one 13 lesson course called the Art of Filmmaking. There is also a 4 lesson course taught by Hollywood film editor Stephen Mark, ACE, called Advanced Editing Workshop. Presumably, the future of Edit Mentor will include many different courses and workshops tailored to specific skills taught by other professional editors.
Unlike most passive editing tutorials available online today, EditMentor uses an interactive, hands-on learning approach.
We put students right in the edit bay. Our unique “situational-challenges” method is driven by tried-and-true learning principles, so that students immediately begin feeling the confidence that goes along with mastery. – EditMentor website
So what exactly does it do? And why is it so special?
EditMentor is a complete browser-based (currently only operating on Chrome) video editor that offers lessons and challenges to teach the user how to edit technically, but more importantly why various storytelling choices are made.
The emphasis on why is what sets EditMentor apart from other editing tutorials and online resources. You won’t find long video lessons or passive learning tools in EditMentor. The teaching methods and language used is intentionally built to increase the enjoyment of learning and gamifies the experience so you keep coming back for more.
Each lesson in the Art of Filmmaking course is text based so you are actively learning at your own pace. Rather than giving quizzes, the lessons present challenges which you may take as many times as you want. All wrong answers come with an explanation as to why it’s wrong. Still don’t understand? Take the challenge again with the answers showing.
For you seasoned editors who are bristling at the idea of someone telling you that the cut you made is wrong, it’s not quite like that. The challenges set up specific, objective questions for which there are clear answers when read correctly. For questions that are more subjective, there are multiple right answers and explanations to illuminate the logic behind each one.
EditMentor also teaches more advanced storytelling skills (that are nearly impossible to learn anywhere but on the job) such as dailies analysis and character perspective while simultaneously walking you through the technical skills of editing like trimming, continuity, and the 180 degree rule, for example.
I already know how to edit. Isn’t EditMentor for beginners?
EditMentor is not just for beginner editors or film students. EditMentor is for people of all ages and skill sets. It will teach you the basics of filmmaking, but it will also teach a seasoned editor how to enhance their skills and become better storytellers. And educators will be particularly interested in using EditMentor as well.
[They] can create and customize their own challenges, quizzes and courses using footage of their own choosing. – EditMentor website
So whether you are an editor, director, writer, teacher, or content creator, EditMentor will help you learn (or teach) the basics and enhance your storytelling skills to take you to the next level.
The Optimizer Community Assesses the Merits of EditMentor
Because the Optimizer Coaching & Mentorship Community is made up of creative professionals, many of whom are editors, we were very excited to test out this new website. We had 7 members of the community in various stages of their careers try out the Introductory Course: The Art of Filmmaking and provide their honest feedback.
Hector | Film Student
Hector Cartagena was just starting his senior thesis in film school when he used EditMentor. Feeling unsure of his creative editing abilities, EditMentor helped bridge the gap between his technical skills and basic storytelling skills.
The familiar-looking NLE interface and gamified course progression were both logical and very intuitive. For me, this familiarity made it easier to switch between the EditMentor Course and editing dailies for my thesis project. The course brought out my competitive nature with its reward system. There were definitely times when, even though I could progress to the next lesson, I “had” to go back and complete the lesson because I wanted to get a perfect score.
Valuable editing principles that Hector learned from the lessons:
- The main character should always get the most screen time
- Choose shots that clearly show progression for a montage
- The Do’s-and-Don’ts of the rough cut
Anjan | Freelance Assistant Editor
Anjan Sannidhi describes himself as a freelance Editor and Assistant Editor still early in his career, working mostly in documentary films.
EditMentor is a great introduction for those interested in editing scripted content. The way that the software actually grades the edits in real time is unparalleled and the user can actually see what happens on the timeline to see how each concept works. The interface is very intuitive to use and the timeline resembles major NLEs such as Premiere.
Key concepts that Anjan took away from the lessons:
- Eye trace
- Keeping continuity
- Jump cuts
Greg | Independent Film Editor
Greg Karpinski is an experienced, multi-lingual film editor working in independent films.
The Edit Mentor course is like having an experienced narrative/scripted editor by your side sharing his/her knowledge with you. The course takes the student on a journey from an absolute beginner to a confident storyteller with a practical knowledge of both the editing tools and filmmaking/storytelling theory. I would highly recommend it for beginners as well as experienced editors wanting to brush up on their editing skills.
Highlights that Greg noticed:
- Builds confidence in storytelling
- Uses real world film footage to teach the basics and the more complex areas of editing
- Seamlessly weaves teaching technical editing skills with the less taught skills of analyzing dailies
Brian | Video Editor/Educator
Brian Rodriguez is a video editor and educator in the Philippines. He was excited to learn about EditMentor after teaching video editing at a seminar recently. He surprised the participants by teaching them how to tell stories and convey emotions rather than give a technical presentation on how to operate Adobe Premiere. He found EditMentor to be a great complement to his approach.
For me, the strength of EditMentor lies in both the curriculum and presentation of the lessons. It treats video editing as it should be, an art. A creative process that requires you to make countless decisions to produce a beautiful final product. Not just learning how to use a specific tool.
Since video editing is an art form, one video editor can still learn something from the style and technique from another editor.
Key features that stood out to Brian:
- Principles and theories of editing are the focus rather than the technical how to’s
- It’s browser-based so you can learn anywhere at anytime, no special software or equipment needed
- The interactive challenges allow the student to think creatively and apply the principles they’ve just learned
Chris | Experienced Editor and Assistant Editor on Big Budget Feature Films
Chris Patterson is an editor and assistant editor who has worked with the best Hollywood directors and editors for the past 20 years. Despite his extensive experience, he was eager to jump in and see if EditMentor had something new to teach him about editing and storytelling.
Overall I thought the lessons were well laid out and easy to follow, the class test footage was fun and the editing interface worked well. Lesson 10 felt like reading comprehension. That’s not a bad thing, it’s actually a cool way to teach it. I’ve always said if you don’t understand what’s going on “on the page” then you can’t edit the material.
Lesson 12 did a great job of breaking down and explaining the 180 degree rule. The examples were a real asset to just learning through text and photos.
Chris had a few critiques to offer for improvements:
- He would like to be able to use the system with a two monitor set up to more closely resemble a professional system, as well as helping to see clip names in the timeline, which was difficult.
- He found the trimming tool a bit clunky and had trouble getting a correct answer on the trimming audio challenge despite doing what was asked.
Steven | Editor, Filmmaker, Teacher
Steven Nevius is an experienced feature & television editor and filmmaker who has taught editing and also trains his assistant editor’s to edit. Because of his passion for teaching, Steven was particularly excited to check out EditMentor, not only as an editor but as a resource he can use with his students.
The best part of the lessons are that they are using real footage from real short films that clearly have a point of view and intention to their use. This so valuable! The few other lessons I have tried to watch use material designed for the lesson, and that is never what we encounter. Dailies that are the filmmakers best efforts both considering time and budget are the real deal, and that is what seems to be in the EditMentor material. I really have not seen anything like this before.
Key Takeaways for Steven:
- Lays a foundation for mastering the rules of editing so that you understand why you might break them
- Focusing on story moments and shot choices supports the goal of storytelling skills that most tutorials lack
- The detail about editing terms and functions is slow for a seasoned editor but very informative for an aspiring editor
Does EditMentor Deliver the Goods?
EditMentor has endeavored to revolutionize the way we learn to edit and tell stories. And if the current Beta version is any indication, they will successfully do so as it already delivers the goods and will only get better with time. By focusing less on the technical skills of a specific software program and more on the valuable but under-taught skills of storytelling, dailies analysis, and character development, EditMentor is giving the student a well-rounded understanding of how to be a better storyteller. And for teachers and educators, EditMentor allows them to create and customize their own challenges and courses using footage of their own choosing. By focusing on story skills, providing helpful feedback for answers given, and gamifying the experience, EditMentor has successfully achieved the three main objectives of a great teacher:
- Instilling passion
- Setting good habits
- Providing accountability
More importantly, EditMentor is providing a resource for editors to hone their craft no matter what level of experience they have. EditMentor is now available in Beta version at EditMentor: The Online Video Editing Training Tool Built for Education.