Start learning with our library of video tutorials taught by experts. Get started
Viewers: in countries Watching now:
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.
When you screen the footage, did you notice how clear and yet complex the clip names are? That approach to clip labeling can be very helpful, especially when the editor is not at the shoot. And yet finding one particular Earthtrine clip might feel like you're looking for a needle in a haystack. Final Cut Pro is almost limitless when it comes to the amount of metadata it can hold for a clip, so why not add a note about a clip's content so you have more criteria to search for when you need to find it? If we take a look at BD, you know already that he is one of the primary storytellers of the Farm To Table project.
He tells the story of his farms, which represents one of the key points of the piece, agriculture. He also talks about bringing his food to market and working with the local chefs. If we look at his interview clips, we see that there are several clips. The reason for this is that the original interview was too long to combine with all of these assets, so individual sections were actually created. But it's hard to tell which section is which and what he's speaking about in either of these simply by the name of the clip.
So what we can do is add note to each of these clips that will help identify what he's speaking about. So in this first one, let's take a listen and see what his primary topic is. (female speaker: So I'm going to start, and if you could kind of introduce yourself and the farm and what kind of produce you grow here.) (BD Dautch: Okay, my name is BD Dautch--) So this clip is his introduction. So we just simply want to add that note somewhere.
Well, let's go ahead and shorten this name column and see if there's a place we could add that information. Well, sure enough, there's a note column, but because it's so far over here, it might be a little hard to work with, so I'm simply going to drag the note column as far left as I can, next to the Name column. That allows me to see both the name of the clip and the notes column. Now I'll click in the Notes column, and I'm just simply going to type intro. That will help me know what this clip is about. Well, let's listen to the next clip, and as you can see, there's some off-camera, probably a question.
I'm going to just play a little bit of that and then see what BD says. (female speaker: ...that you have with restaurants in Santa Barbara?) (BD Dautch: Well, because we have this hundred varieties of things and all the odd-ball things and are willing to plant herbs or vegetables that they're interested in, we have a really good relationship with the restaurants.) Okay, so this one is about the restaurants, and we know that that's one of the key points that we want to make based on the creative brief is the relationship with the local restaurants.
Let's look at the next clip. (BD Dautch: I love what I do. I feel like I'm the luckiest person in the world.) Well, that would help me remember this clip, just typing the word "lucky." So you get the idea. We simply want to add a note to the different clips in the project, so just as little reminders. And we can do the same thing if we go to Interviews and look at John Downey. John Downey talks about different things. Let's see what he says here. (John Downey: ...greater than what we'd find available 30 years ago. And so that got me going to the farmers market--) So he talks about the farmers market, and there's a point where he might talk about BD.
He might talk about creating a special plate. And let's look at another camera. I'm going to actually make this a little wider. Notice that if we take a closer look at this clip name, we have a JohnDowney_A and then another one that's JohnDowney_B. Well, if we click between the A, you notice that it's all very similar camera framing, but if you go to the one with B, now the camera has changed, and we're close up. And if we listen to this clip... (John Downey: ...most of it is organically grown from the market--) Well, oops, we hear that the audio is really off camera, probably just recording the one primary track onto the other camera. Not to worry.
We'll have a movie later where we'll show you how to combine one audio track from one camera to a different camera. If we look at the B-roll, there are lots of opportunities for notes here. I mean, you really sort of want to figure out what some of the stuff is besides just being produce, this is radishes. And not only radishes, but close-up of radishes, so there might be a point where you need a close-up of produce. So I recommend that you go through and add notes so that you see exactly what things are so that you can get to them quickly.
Of all the people on this project, you as the editor will screen and view these clips probably more than anyone else, so you need to be accountable for what you have and where to find it. If the director or producer came in and asked, "Where was that close-up shot of radishes?" how cool would it be for you to say, "Hey, I've got it right here"?
There are currently no FAQs about Documentary Editing with Final Cut Pro X.
Access exercise files from a button right under the course name.
Search within course videos and transcripts, and jump right to the results.
Remove icons showing you already watched videos if you want to start over.
Make the video wide, narrow, full-screen, or pop the player out of the page into its own window.
Click on text in the transcript to jump to that spot in the video. As the video plays, the relevant spot in the transcript will be highlighted.