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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.
If you ask me which shot I like best from the Farm To Table footage, it might be hard for me to pick just one, but if you ask me which shot I like least, I have a list of five for you in a few seconds. That's because the editing process is as much about chiseling away which you don't want as it is choosing what you do want. You've got a few project segments underway that form the basis of BD's narrative story track. Let's remove the unwanted, uninteresting chunks, so you can see more clearly what he's contributing to the story.
In the Project library, let's look at the 03-04 folder contents. Here we have several projects. We have BD Chisel, which is the one you're going to work on, and notice the duration of this project is 02:10. I have a finished version that I've already created, and it's chiseled quite a bit, so you can see a before and after. There's also a JD project that you can chisel away at, and then one that's finished, as well as the market patrons.
Let's go ahead and open the 03-04_BD Chisel project. This is the same project that you've seen before in the past few movies where you've simply taken all of the favorite sections from BD and put them into one project. What's different is that you see that there are some markers, some red markers that have been added. Those markers will guide you for some suggestions of how you might trim or chunk away at these selected sections. Now, I want to encourage you to be ruthless.
What you're looking for is the meat of what he's saying. You don't have a lot of time to let him continue to dribble. So the good time to review the creative brief and remind yourself of what points you need to address. BD represents the agriculture and the face of the local grower in the Santa Barbara area. Well, if you want to see what these markers mean, a good way to do that is to click on the Timeline Index, and very often clips is what's selected there. But if you click on Tags and click on Markers, in this case, To-Do markers, you'll see them listed.
If you can't see the name, go ahead and drag over. And just as a reminder, anytime you click one of the markers in the Timeline Index, the playhead in the Timeline goes to that marker. So it's a great little system of communicating, even if it's just communicating from me to you. Now, what we want to do is we want to look in a clip and then prepare yourself at what happens at the marker point and determine how we want to respond to the suggestion. So for example, this first marker says tighten. Well, let's back up and listen to the beginning of this clip and see if we in fact want to tighten the clip at this point.
(BD Dautch: ...I have Earthtrine Farm, and we've got about 10 acres in Ojai and 5 acres in Carpinteria that we're farming on. It's all certified organic by CCOF--) Well, I see what we mean by tighten, because from this point on, it gets a little bit too much detail of information. Maybe we want him to continue making other larger points. So I'm going to go ahead and zoom in a little bit by pressing Command+Plus so we can see the section a little bit clear. There are different ways to remove chunks of video.
I could just drag an edge and drag it in. That's one way. I'm going to undo that. Another way is to simply snap to the marker and mark an In point. And notice that automatically selects the rest of the clip, and now I can simply press Delete. Well, there's one little chunk gone very easily. Notice that To-Do marker is gone too. Okay, so let's go to the next marker and listen at this point. (BD Dautch: We have a really good relationship with the restaurants. This is the era of--) Well, that's interesting.
We have a good relationship with the restaurants, but that's the only point he's making here, so I'm not sure that we need to keep that. So let's select that clip and simply delete the entire clip. Now, here's a note on this marker that says we're good until here. Well, let's go and listen and see if we agree. (BD Dautch: This is the era of California cuisine, which is buying what's local and in season, and so they're part of this whole renaissance of eating.) So I hope you can start to get the idea and the feel for when somebody is saying something clear and concise that contributes to the story, and when they are sort of talking off point.
And in fact, at this point he does sort of talk a little bit more generally off point. So we can simply mark and In point by pressing I and hitting the Delete key. Now, let's go to the next one. Here it is, strong enough. (BD Dautch: So the restaurants now, many, many restaurants come to the market, and you know, it's great for us because we have so many different things that they come maybe needing one thing, or five things, [00:05:054.49] and end up getting a whole cart full--) Well, we could just leave this here, because we're not sure if we're going to need it or not.
And it's easier sometimes to delete something later than it is to add it back. So I'm going to press Shift+Z, and let's go to the next marker, the last marker. (BD Dautch: ...tied for luckiest. A lot of lucky--) Okay, the marker says we're done here. Well, let's listen up to that point. (BD Dautch: I feel like I'm the luckiest person in the world--tied for luckiest.) Okay, so even though that's a very cute remark, hope you're starting to get that idea that we don't need the extra continuation of the thought.
We just need the thought itself, so let's go ahead and delete that. So we're starting to carve this project and make it a little tighter, tweak it a little bit to make sure that we're getting just those key segments that are going to help you tell the Farm To Table story. Now, let's go back to the Project library, and let's open the JD Chisel project. This project has two markers, and you'll learn to add markers to notate your own thoughts in a later movie. So let's delete here and the next marker says to here.
Let's listen to this clip. (John Downey: He's dedicated. He makes you want to cry, how dedicated he is to producing the very best vegetables, herbs, whatever, that he can.) So what we have is the thought of that he is producing the best that he can. And the idea is if we remove what's in between these markers, we get a more succinct sound bite. (John Downey: --to producing the very best vegetables, herbs, whatever, that he can.) So one way that we can select this is to use the Range tool, and that's the letter R, chooses the range, and simply snap to the marker, drag and snap to the next marker and delete it.
Now, what this is creating is a little cut, we call those jump cuts. We will have to cover these jump cuts with B-roll footage, but we don't have to worry about that right now. Right now we're just trying to tell the best narrative story we can. (John Downey: --producing the very best that he can.) And that helps quite a bit. So don't be afraid to get the hatchet out. The sooner you start chipping away what you don't want, the sooner you'll be able to see the story you want take shape.
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