Common Sense Review
Updated March 2013

Epic Movie FX

Easy-to-use but violent special-effects tool
Common Sense Rating 2
  • Military-style action.
  • On the left is a bridge shot used to illustrate the plane crash effect.
Pros
Amateur filmmakers can add cinematic effects to their work.
Cons
All the effects focus on violence or disasters.
Bottom Line
These video special effects can wow viewers (at least for a moment), and the app's free.
Dana Villamagna
Common Sense Reviewer
Classroom teacher
Common Sense Rating 2
Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return? 3

For kids who love special effects, Epic Movie FX is highly engaging. Though they're not Hollywood-level, the images are easy enough to add to video and, at least for a moment, appear realistic.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer? 2

Kids learn a bit about how special effects are superimposed on video by doing it themselves. There's no detailed instruction or explanation of how it happens technically, just experiential learning.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students? 2

Basic step-by-step instructions are all that's necessary.

About our ratings and privacy evaluation.
How Can Teachers Use It?

Epic Movie FX could help teachers interest students in expanding video projects. It's certainly impressive in its ability to create quite realistic (if only for a moment) effects in video taken in a student's surroundings. However, you may want to discuss issues of violence in movies if you have students use this app at all. 

Read More Read Less
What's It Like?

Open Epic Movie FX, choose a special effect, point your mobile device, and tap where you want the effect to be seen on the video screen. Press Record. Press Stop. Playback is equally straightforward. Videos are stored in your device's image gallery.

At the time of this review, the special effects in this easy-to-use tool all included some sort of violence or natural disaster: Bazooka, Copter (a helicopter crash), Hell Fire (bombing), Missile, Plane (a crash), and Tornado.

Students who use it should be aware that including these kinds of special effects in videos depicting their everyday surroundings -- such as a video taken at their school -- could be disturbing to other students who have sensitivities to such violence, as well as students who have parents in the military.

Read More Read Less
Is It Good For Learning?

Epic Movie FX can provide budding filmmakers with a bit of exposure to digital creation in movies and may help spark some good discussion about special effects and violence in movies. Ads appear on each page of this free app, which is definitely a distraction. Still, it allows teens who are interested in cinematic special effects to dip into the concept by superimposing action movie-style images onto video they take on a mobile device.

It would be much better for student video projects if the developers added some "epic" effects that didn't include real-life violent destruction. It doesn't really serve young moviemakers who don't want military or natural disaster violence in their films but who still want to add some special effects-style action. Other improvements would be an option to remove ads and more options for editing video.

Read More Read Less

See how teachers are using Epic Movie FX