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We are editing! It’s working - shared footage, shared projects and remote collaboration across Europe. All from our towers of splendid isolation.

By the end of this morning we’d talked and talked. Analysed and compared the merits of multi camera concert recordings of bands as diverse as Talking Heads, The Jimi Hendrix Experience and Ministry. To seemingly similar, enormous outdoor rock concerts by Green Day and AC/DC. Similar in some ways but so different and contrasting. All of this is food for the creative imagination of the students. They’re starting to think and analyse these works with a new eye. Working out how and why they do or don’t hit the right notes (cinematically speaking).

This afternoon, after having put the world (and Green Day) to rights, we finally got to get our hands dirty… Not literally - All participants in this virtual residential adhered scrupulously to official government hygiene guidelines at all time and have very clean hands. Additionally, through all the hours of video conference chats we’ve had, I haven’t noticed a single student with a suspicious mountain of panic bought loo roll in the corner of their room… Maybe they were using it as a chair… Hmm… Tomorrow morning - chair inspection first thing. I will report back my findings!

Anyway, as I said before I got side-tracked - We Are Editing! - Did I mention I get side tracked a lot? My students have been very patient as I sit in front of this computer and get lost and meander off-script down some vaguely relevant, and I’m sure very academically worthy, tangents.

On residentials where the students are all sat in front of you it’s a lot easier to spot the odd eye roll ,or glazed look of despair. I don’t know whether that’s an upside or a downside of this virtual residential? Maybe it depends on where you’re sat.

Anyway, what was I talking about? Oh yes. Editing. The most beautiful, fun, underrated and surprising part of film making, and even more of an adventure when you have footage shot from 6 different angles at once. I’m being a bit spiritual about this stuff - encouraging the students to get into the feel of the cutting; to go with the flow of the music and the visuals. Once the complicated buttons and software bit is learnt, the real exploration and discovery of the edit can be a thrilling experience. I love it - and hopefully the students will too by the end of the week - Once they’ve got the buttons and software bits sorted.

Right now I’m off to prep for tomorrow and rest my creaking vocal cords. Note to self. Tomorrow - listen more and talk less. Probably a good lesson for all of us right now. Night night.

Simon Thompson

Shetland Arts deliver a range of music and film modules and courses in partnership with The University of the Highlands and Islands. Discover more about the Contemporary Film Making in the Highlands and Islands BA (Hons) course here.


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