Steve Thorne is a lecturer in Media Studies at Long Road Sixth Form College in Cambridge (UK), teaching A Levels and Diplomas to ages 16-18.
Students taking the Level 2 Diploma, Media National Certificate course are using Moviestorm as part of their moving image unit and short film project, and have been currently creating a 2-3 minute film.
See their work on the Creative and Media Level 2 blog.
Level 2 teacher Steven Thorne explained the main benefit of Moviestorm: "We're using software to allow the students to devise reality themselves. They are not limited by college or real life constrictions. Moviestorm allows them to explore camera shots without going out with cameras and tripods."
"It is quite self contained. Students do not need to look for friends to be actors. They don't have trouble uploading film or filling out risk assessments. It saves a lot of time and it's a good process that works well."
Moviestorm is helping the students create realistic film sequences which would not be possible to film in live action in a student environment.
Animation is an obvious alternative, since it can be done entirely within the classroom, but it would be too time-consuming and complex to film most of these movies using traditional animation tools.
One group of students is creating a Michael Jackson Thriller style short film, featuring a sequence in which skeletons rise from their graves.
Moviestorm allows them to create these kind of characters and sequences quickly and easily without having to resort to using special effects.
Casting and locations
A second group of three students is making a drama style film. Because of the storyline, it would be hard to find student actors who could do the roles realistically.
Moviestorm allows students to work with adult characters, rather than having all roles played by young people. They can also film in locations that would not normally be available to them.
This flexibility in casting and set design greatly extends what they can do with their movies, and allows them a much greater variety in their scripts.
Two other groups of students are making action based movies. One is a gangster film, and the other is a police movie, The Wrong Raid, in which police target and raid the wrong house.
Working with Moviestorm allows the student to film action sequences safely and cost-effectively without needing stunt crew or special equipment.
Students liked how easy it was to use Moviestorm. They also liked the large library of ready-made customisable props, sets and backgrounds, and that they could get fairly realistic movies out of it. The students compared the software to The Sims, but pointed out that Moviestorm allowed them to do a lot more and was more suited for making movies, for example, adding their own audio for the characters to voice.
Teacher Steven Thorne plans to carry on using Moviestorm for teaching in the future.
"It's very easy to use, and I'll definitely use Moviestorm next year. Our gaming and animation students are free to explore a virtual world and reality, and can quickly create stories using this."