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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.
Still images can be magical if they capture a moment or expression that video hasn't. On most documentary shoots, there are at least a few people shooting stills. As avid photographer, I'm usually one of those shooters. So just to be sure you haven't overlooked any magical moments, I recommend you gather all the stills from anyone who is shooting, even if it was on their cell phones, and see if you can't find a good use for them in your documentary. One use for stills might be to provide a background for a credit role. Let's create a credit role for this project. Now to begin, let's create a New Project, and we'll create it inside the 06-01 folder in the Project Library.
Let's name this 06-01_Credits, because I have a few parts to this, and we'll continue in the next movie, we'll call this version 1. Final Cut creates an empty project for us. Now you might be asking, or wondering, well why are we getting away from the primary storyline that we've been creating of the project? And you could certainly build your credit role there. I like to sort of clear the decks, take everything off the table, and have a totally new project that I can focus a particular segment on, when it comes to something like this where it will be a stand-alone kind of a piece such as the credit role.
Now the only problem is if I go to one of my still images and edit it, Final Cut will ask me about the Video Properties since it doesn't recognize them, and it wouldn't because it's not video. So cancel that. A good rule of thumb is to select a clip, any clip, it doesn't matter, but a clip from the project, and edit it to the timeline first. Once you have that clip there, then you can go about the process of editing still images and they'll follow suit to the particular video settings.
So what we've got in our Miscellaneous Folder are a couple of different options. We have the DSLR Images and the iPhone Images. So let's go ahead and find 1042, and you can Command-click on these if you like. And let's see, and 09, there we go. So we Command-clicked four of them, and now let's just append them to the timeline. There we go. Now once you start adding your stills, you can get rid of that video clip at the head.
You don't need it anymore because the Video Settings for this project have already been established now. So we have four clips that actually were from an iPhone. Let's go ahead and find a few more clips from the DSLR images. We like this one, and this one with the scarecrow. So now we can Command-click these and append them. And if you see the orange bar, that means that Final Cut is just doing some rendering.
Notice the background tasks is at zero, and now it's continuing to move through--and the orange Render Line is gone now. So now we have seven still images. If we play, obviously nothing will happen because they're still, but we have a default. Each of these has a default of 10 seconds. We're going to want to add some music and put these in a particular order. Let's put them in order first. And one thing that I thought might be fun, since these are the credits, is to put these in an order where we can sort of establish the crew.
For example, this seems to be the director talking to the shooter. So let's make that first and then you want to say well, what are they looking at? Well, maybe they're looking at this shot so now we go to shot that they might be looking at. This is a nice shot of the shooter framing something. What might they be framing? Maybe it's the scarecrow. So we're just using the benefit of the magnetic timeline. Just roll these clips into some order. Now let's go back to the shooter again. She's shooting some of the produce, and there's some flowers in the background there so then we go from her to the flowers and then we can end on the shot of BD.
So this is the order that we're going to use. Let's go ahead and add the music. So if we go to our Miscellaneous and Click on Music, and this particular point in this clip that begins at 1:25:23. So if you Drag through and look at the Dashboard, we're looking for a number 1:25:23. And if you get close, you can always Click and then just use your Forward Arrow to get you to the frame you want. Mark an endpoint, and now, we really only want about 30 seconds.
Let's go ahead and drag the Outpoint till we have about 30 seconds. Again, it doesn't have to be exact, we can finesse it in the timeline, and let's append this in the project. The nice thing is that the director said yes, let's have some credits because you guys did such a great job but he said limit it to 30 seconds. So obviously, you're going to need to shorten some of these clips, and there are a couple of ways you can do that. You can actually get the Blade tool and just go through it. It looks like the clips are about twice as long as they need to be. So you can just literally go through, blade each of these, sort of somewhere in the middle.
And again, we're going to finesse as we go and then just delete every other one. So we're getting closer. We're going to need to get even closer, and we can do that and finesse as we go along a little bit. But for the moment, we're in the ballpark. So we've got the clips, in order, we've got music added, so we're getting very close. We're not quite done with the credit piece, we still have to add some moves to it.
So the first step in creating a montage is to choose the images, put them in the timeline, but make sure you create the Video Settings first, as we did. Place the images in an order that makes sense to you. In our case, we're leading with the crew and then add some music. Now, we obviously need to cut this down, which we did by using the Blade tool, but we have more work to do, and we'll do that other work in the rest of this chapter.
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