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This course shows how to build a polished documentary using Apple Final Cut Pro X and a few essential editing techniques. Author Diana Weynand demonstrates documentary editing in a real-world project, breaking down the process into a series of manageable steps and milestones. After reviewing existing footage, explore how to build and define a narrative, assemble rough cuts, and create motion graphics. Then see how to adjust B-roll shots, incorporate color correction and audio mixing techniques, and export the final movie.
This course is part of a series that looks at documentary editing from the point of view of 3 different editors in 3 different editing applications. For more insight on editing documentary projects, take a look at Documentary Editing with Avid Media Composer and Documentary Editing with Premiere Pro.
Once you've refined the story, you'll want to turn your attention to finishing the piece. And no documentary will be complete without an opening title announcing your masterpiece, and the lower thirds that identify who is talking. Whether you get the text clips from the graphic's team or add them from within Final Cut Pro, it's your job as editor to make sure titles and lower thirds are placed within the image so they can be easily seen for the target audience. Now, as a Final Cut Pro X Editor, you're probably very familiar with how to apply titles from within the Title browser.
Final Cut offers quite a few different options, Bumpers, Credit Rolls, and even Lower Thirds. But in this particular project, the graphics team has actually created some titles for us so that the overall style and design match with the project. So here are some lower thirds of the different people that speak that are interviewed, and you'll be adding those throughout the project. There's also an opening title. And when you skim through the opening title, it's hard to see that anything is there, but if you look closely at the viewer, you see that there is a title, it's just dark text.
Now, once we edit these clips on to a background image, they'll pop up. And let's just take a quick look at the Timeline Index so we can see what we're going to accomplish in this movie. We're going to add the open at the beginning, but before we do that I'd like to start by adding a lower third over BD. Then there are names, marker names, of the other people that you want to add the lower third to. We can close the Timeline Index. Something else that will be helpful, as we work with titles, is to Show the Title or Action Safety Zones.
There are two lines that come up to form an area that we like to call Title Safe. The inner box is for Title Safe. Now, that's Broadcast Title Safe. It's important if you're broadcasting something to be inside that box, but if you're not broadcasting, then you can be within the Action Safe Box, which is the outer edge. In this particular project, since the goal is for a publicity kit and for web delivery, you don't have to worry so much about being on the inner box, the outer box will be fine. So we'll leave that on just to take a closer look as we go along.
Another thing that will be helpful when you start to work with titles, titles are visual, so you don't need to take up a lot of screen room in your Timeline with these waveforms. So let's go to our Clip Appearance, and first of all, change the Clip Height and then turn off the Waveforms altogether, and adjust those two things until you get something that's a little easier for you to read. Like always, we're going to want to zoom in to the area that you want to work with. In this case, we want to add a lower third in the section where we first see BD.
One thing you can do is simply mark an In and mark an Out where you want that lower third to go. That creates the range selection, then you select the source, and we'll just connect, and that places it in the Timeline. So, as you can see, the lower third has been placed over the background clip. Let's just click here. And everything else around the lower third has dropped out so that we can see BD behind the lower third. Now, the reason that's dropped out is because there's an Alpha Channel attached to that title clip.
And Alpha Channels are attached to all the text clips within Final Cut Pro, and that's how a graphic artist would produce clips or titles to use, because you have to drop that background out in order to see what's behind it, in this case BD. (BD Dautch: ...mostly at the farmers market, and also we sell to caterers, schools...) Now, in another movie we'll talk about adding transitions to smooth the lower thirds so we can fade in and out. There are other places in this project where you can add a lower third, here's John Downey, and you would do the same thing.
You would mark an In and an Out where you want that title to go and then simply connect to that. But I'd like to focus your attention now on the opening title, because that's going to take a little more work than what the lower thirds will. Now, remember, we've already created a gap of seven seconds, but what we need is a background clip that, that title can go above. And we can get that background clip from the Earthtrine Farms. If we scroll down, there's a farm clip that provides a really nice background.
Notice there's a Camera Pan. So why don't we mark the beginning of this just as the tree gets a little bit closer to that right edge. And since we want that amount that's already defined by the gap, click the gap and press X, and now that creates an Active Range Selection around that clip. Now when we connect the background shot, the exact amount, or the exact length, of the gap is edited and connected to it. So this is our background clip, and now we want to connect the title clip to this.
So we can go ahead and select this clip and press X to identify the range. And now notice that we have in our Graphics collection, in addition to the lower thirds, there's also that opening title, which we looked at briefly before. It's really hard to tell where that opening title begins and ends, so I'm just going to go ahead and connect it from the beginning. Let's take a look and see what we have here. (video playing) Terrific. Now, in another movie we'll take care of finessing this a little more by fading out or transitioning out the title, but for now, let's just do a couple more things.
One is that, going straight from the title into BD talking sounds way too abrupt. (BD Dautch: My name is BD Dautch.) So I think what we want to do is expand that space a little bit more, maybe another 3 seconds or so. And what we want to do is mark an In and an Out and find another clip that we can place there, something that will help us transition. And a clip that I like is this close up of the leaf, it really speaks to the freshness of the produce, and at the end there's a nice little rack focus between the two leaves and the dewdrops on the leaves.
Well, since you already have a marked range selected in the Timeline, we can just mark that In Point and connect, and we get the exact link that we need. Now let's take a look. (BD Dautch: My name is BD Dautch. And I have Earthtrine Farm.) So there are a few other things we can do to finesse this. One is to roll the Edit Point a little earlier and allow us to see BD walking before we hear him talk.
Let's take a look at it from this point. (BD Dautch: My name is BD Dautch.) Well, we still have a little bit of an abruptness because we're cutting to BD walking and hearing him talk at exactly the same time. Sometimes it's helpful to soften that. And one way to soften it is to create a little bit more space, which we can do by extending the gap and then adding a little bit more of BD walking before we hear him talk. (BD Dautch: My name is BD Dautch.) That's starting to work a lot better.
Sometimes adding a title is as simple as adding a lower third over a background clip in the primary storyline. Other times, as in this situation, you may have to roll up your sleeves and scoot things around a bit to make that opening title sequence look like it has always belong there. But since it's first thing that the viewer will see, it's worth the time to finesse it.
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