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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.
Now that you've chosen your favorite sections from the primary interview clips, it's time to start making soup. But as in soup making, you often combine some of the ingredients together before you place them in the broth. To follow suit with this project, I'm going to suggest once again that you bypass the traditional approach to editing where you edit one clip at a time in a logical story order. Why put the pressure on yourself at this point to know exactly what you want and in what order? Instead, I want you to experience the freedom of editing mini storylines that you will eventually simmer and stew into your mini documentary. We're going to begin by creating a new project.
Let's go down to our project library and take a look at the structure we've created for these exercise files. First, there's a folder called Documentary Editing. So just in case you have other projects that are on your Macintosh hard drive, these will stand together. When I reveal the contents of these, you see that there are folders inside the Documentary Editing folder that represent each chapter. We're in Chapter 3, in the second movie, so let's put the new project inside this folder.
To create a new project inside this 03-02 folder, right-click, and from the pop-up menu choose New Project. This will direct the new project to go inside that 03-02 folder. Let's name this 03_02_BD, because the first project, we're going to create is going to be BD's favorite clips. We have a new project that's opened in the timeline.
Now the next step is to prepare BD's clips. Well, let's go up to the BD collection and notice that we're looking at all of the clips, we're filtering by all clips so we see other things here, too, driving and what have you. But what we want to look at are just the favorites that we've already selected. So to do that, we go up to the filters pop-up and choose Favorites. And now as we scroll through, we see all of the BD clips that we made favorites from and these favorites represent the segments we're going to use of BD speaking that will help us tell the Farm To Table story.
Now we want to select all of these favorites in the event browser. Press Command+A to select all of the BD favorite clips. And now click the Append button to edit them into the project. The benefit of putting all of these segments into the timeline is that there are lots of tools we can use to both view and edit and rearrange these clips, one of which is the magnetic timeline, which we'll use shortly. Let's just take a listen to the first clip.
(BD Dautch: Okay, my name is BD Dautch, and I have Earthtrine Farm, and we've got about 10 acres in Ojai--) So one way to just sort of step through and see what all you have is just to simply to press the Down arrow. (BD Dautch: ...and we grow about 100 different herbs--) And now I'm using the spacebar to stop and start playing. (BD Dautch: ...and we sell mostly at the farmers--) If I want to zip through very quickly, I just play the project and keep pressing the Down arrow.
(video playing) You can press the Up arrow to go backwards. (video playing) So that's just one of the helpful abilities of having all of this footage in here. Now as we start to edit this, we'll want to add our B-roll later, but for right now, we simply want to start to think about what story BD is telling. And I want you to key into a duration that's down here on the bottom of the interface.
It says that right now the total duration of this project is 02:12. And that's just something to keep in mind, because eventually we're going to want to start looking at the duration of these different projects or the combination. Now if we go back to the Project Library, we want to do the same thing but for JD, John Downey. So we'll create another project inside that folder. Let's go to the Interviews collection, and notice that there are three John Downey clips.
If we select those three and click Append, they appear here in the timeline. Now I can press Shift+Z to stretch them out. But notice that the duration of these three clips is just about 38 seconds. Let's listen to a little of these clips. (John Downey: ...and in about 1983 BD came through the back door. He's dedicated. He makes you want to cry--) So this is great. It's really nice to have two different camera angles.
The only problem is we have that drop in audio. That's okay, because in the next movie we're going to look at how you can correct that. Well, I'd recommend you go ahead and create a third project with the farmers market patrons using the same approach that we just did. And remember, you know, you're not going to have an area for these projects, so you need to find all of those important bits from the creative brief to tell the story. Good soup takes a long time to make, and adding ingredients at the right time is an important part of that process. So don't be afraid to buck tradition, side step the one edit at a time approach and be a chef who combines ingredients before adding them to the pot.
With this project, you'll be in good company with the Santa Barbara chefs.
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