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.
You've marked sound bites, edited segments, and chiseled away what you think you don't want. The chunks that remain will become a rough version of the audio narrative for the Farm To Table project. The narrative of course is the story. And every story needs a beginning, middle, and end. So the next step in the editing process is to combine these sound bites or narrative elements into a single project and then reposition them to form a beginning, middle, and end. Let's take a look inside the Chapter 04 folder and then 04_01 for this movie.
As you can see, we have the individual movies and these are the trimmed-down versions from the work you did in the previous movie. And we have BD, JD, and then the Patrons. So what we want to do is we want to create a new project and combine all of these story segments. Since BD is the longest, why don't we--instead of starting from scratch, let's just duplicate the BD project. And we do that by right clicking and choosing Duplicate Project or pressing Command+D.
And we want to call this rough cut because we're now putting together our first rough cut. Now, in this duplicate window, if you're not that familiar with it, we're only duplicating the project. We're not duplicating any of the clips or any of the referenced media, and we're just going ahead and click OK. This created the rough cut project right here, and notice it looks the same as the BD project. So let's go ahead and open the 04_01 Rough Cut_v1, and the first thing we want to do is simply add the other project segments to this.
So I'm going to press Command+Minus to make these clips a little smaller so I have some room to play with here. Now, before I add JD's clips, I'm going to actually edit a Gap. I'm going to insert a Gap. And the way I do that is I go up to the Edit menu, come down to Insert Generator, and choose Gap. You could also use the shortcut Option+W. When you do that, I'm going to click on the Gap. The Gap is just 3 seconds, as you can see, from the duration, three seconds of black.
Now, what that's going to allow me to do is just put a little buffer in between JD and the other clips. Now, let's go back to the Project Library and open JD. Just go ahead and press Command+A to select them all. And now you can choose Edit > Copy or use the shortcut, Command+C, to copy these clips. Using the History arrows, click back once, and that'll take us back to the rough cut we just opened. And with your playhead positioned after the Gap, press Command+V to paste the John Downey clips.
Let's create another Gap, Option+W, using that shortcut, move the playhead after, open the Patron Project, Command+A to select all, Command+C copies, use the History arrow to get back to our rough cut, and Command+V, paste. So now what we have are all of the segments that we've chosen to tell the story. What we don't have is we don't have them in any particular order. So we're going to rely now on the flexibility that Final Cut Pro gives us with its magnetic Timeline to move things around, shift them.
And what we're going to use, since we have these two Gaps in our project, we're going to use these Gaps as buffers. So we're going to try to place all the clips in front that might have to do with the beginning portion of this--and a lot of that is BD and him in his farm--and then after that will be the middle portion, and finally, what we like at the end. So this is the part where you simply listen clip by clip and determine what part of the story it represents. (BD Dautch: Okay, my name is BD Dautch, and I have Earthtrine Farm, and we've got about 10 acres in Ojai, and we grow about 100 different herbs--) So, so far you could tell that the work you've done so far in pulling out some of the extraneous portions of these segments has worked really well.
It's already starting to tighten this up. So I say anything that BD says about his farm and growing his produce belongs at the beginning of this story. So I'm going to jump ahead to the next clip. (BD Dautch: This is the era of California cuisine.) But now he's talking about cuisine, which is going to get into who buys his produce, which is going to get into restaurants. So I think I'm going to move that on the other side of this first Gap. I simply drag the clip over to just on the other side of the clip.
Everything else slides aside and lets me drop it there. And I don't have to worry yet about the particular order. I'm just deciding whether I like that clip for the beginning section, the middle section, or the end. So you would continue doing this for every clip. Just listen a little. (BD Dautch: So the restaurants now, many, many--) So the restaurants, well, again that's the part of the second portion. So we slide down and drop it in. So we're starting to develop a little bit of a feel. If the first part is all about the farming and the produce, maybe the second part is getting the produce to market and selling it to the chefs.
In fact, we can leave JD in this middle section because he is a chef, and we'll want to hear from him when we get to that stage. (BD Dautch: ...right up to the urban fringe. So at the farmers market, you'll get people coming from just a few miles away--) So because he's talking about the farmers market, we might want to use that. (BD Dautch: ...to bring their produce, and that allows a high quality of freshness, and because of all the micro-climates that there are around--) Well, he's still talking about growing. So let's leave it where it is.
(BD Dautch: ...so that's really beneficial and makes the Santa Barbara market, which has a small-town feel, but it's a-- I feel like I'm the luckiest person in the world. It incorporates everything that I look for in life. It becomes--) So all of these clips at the end about how good BD feels about doing what he's doing, I think would make a great close. He's sort of summing things up about his work and how it feels. So let's select all three and drag all three to the very end.
Don't forget, you're still early in the editing process, and you can change your mind along the way. But for now, by combining narrative elements and placing them in a story order, you've created a good rough start that forms the basis of the entire Farm To Table piece.
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.