Criteria for “Final Cut” Quality
The final stages of editing include: adding visual and sound effects, trimming or adjusting clips to control pacing, adding title cards and transitions, making color corrections and applying filters as needed, establishing continuity of style, equalizing the soundtrack, and so on.
As a Final Submission: For our purposes, a “final cut” is a version of your story that you’re ready to share publicly on the web, as evidence of what you’ve learned about composing a new media story and taking it through the final stages of editing, as appropriate to your skill level.
As Learning Tool: In the context of an educational environment, the final cut serves a purpose similar to that of a final research paper: as a step along the path towards learning to produce something similar in a professional context (not as an actual example of professional-quality work).
Criteria for “Rough Cut” Quality
As a Final Submission: For our purposes, a “rough cut” is a version of your story that’s ready to go through the final stages of editing, but that you’re willing to submit “as is” because you wanted to have more time to work on a second rough cut. Like a final cut, a rough cut serves as evidence of what you’ve learned about composing a story in the language of film, which means that it needs to meet the same requirements as a final cut in every way except for quality.
A rough cut is usually longer than what the filmmaker intends for the final version, since it hasn’t yet undergone the rigorous editing and cutting process of the final stages of editing. A rough cut might also have some abrupt transitions, variations in sound volume or quality, or footage that still needs color correction. It might also include “placeholders” for certain shots the filmmaker wasn’t able to produce as intended.
As Learning Tool: In the context of an educational environment, the rough cut serves a purpose that’s similar to essay exams, in that the concepts the student conveys carry more weight than the execution.