Ian Upton
Artist | Technologist | Teacher

The 5x5 Filmmaking Challenge

Digital Asset Published 5/25/17 Last updated on 6/4/19

I have used this exercise with many, many students. It is a powerful activity that will encourage those new to film and challenge experienced filmmakers.

This resource introduces the challenge and provides guidance, resources and example to support your students in their task.

This Adobe Spark enables students to take the challenges and resources with them in an accessible form on thier smartphone.

The 5x5 Filmmaking Challenge

Where this challenge really comes into it's own is when used with a group screening and discussion. I send students out to create. We all get back together and critically discuss eachothers work.

I have never failed to pull some valuable element for discussion out of a film. Even a collection of 'random shots' can be used to consider narrative and pace.

Make sure you let the students themselves talk as much as possible. Act as a 'guide on the side' and challenge your students with questions for discussion. For example:

- How do we feel the order of the clips created a narrative?

- Why did you choose to shoot the subject in this way?

- How does the sound effect the work?

These sessions can be great fun and as a lecturer very rewarding.

I am always humbled by the creativity of my students and this exercise challenges them to shine!

  • Premiere Clip

    Create and edit videos on your mobile device.

  • Adobe Spark

    Adobe Spark is an easy-to-use tool that helps you turn your ideas into compelling social graphics, web stories, and animated videos

1-2 Hours
Content Standards
UK - England, Wales, & Northern Ireland
ISTE Standards
Students: Creative Communicator, Students: Digital Citizen, Students: Innovative Designer

Students need a smartphone capable of shooting and editing a short video. In the five years I have used this exercise, I have not hosted a classroom where access to a smartphone was an issue!

If you plan to host a group discussion (and I so recommend you do) you will need a way of projecting video from the web. Taking the tome to ensure quality of projection and an informal, comfortable, space to discuss really adds to the experience.

CC License
Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike
5 / 5 • 13 Ratings

Comments (6)

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Shafiq Rehman

Posted on 8/31/19 10:07:59 PM Permalink

Thanks for sharing

Dyane Goldman

Posted on 3/8/19 7:00:32 PM Permalink

I also use a 5 x 5 as my introduction to film editing. Its a great way for students to learn the art of editing along with the art of keeping it simple!​

Tom Smalling

Posted on 2/14/19 9:51:35 AM Permalink

Getting ready to use this with my post-secondary class. Thanks for sharing!

Chris Clark

Posted on 6/6/17 5:54:00 PM Permalink

​I love this idea. It sounds like a great exercise for students beginning to learn about working with video. I'm going to try it myself.

janet robertson

Posted on 5/30/17 8:30:58 PM Permalink

​This is a great entry level project for my media tech class. Thanks

Ian Upton

Posted on 5/31/17 8:26:24 AM Permalink

Thanks for the positive comment Janet!