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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.
As the narrative to the Farm To Table project starts to become clear and more concise, you will start to get ideas about what shot you might want to place where, or perhaps what shot needs color correcting, or even where you think some music might provide a nice transition. These are important thoughts, and you don't want to lose them. The best way to capture them in a project is by adding markers at specific locations throughout the editing process. Now, there are three types of markers that you will see. Let's just do a quick review if you haven't been used to using them.
First of all, let's listen to the very first clip. (BD Dautch: Okay, my name is BD Dautch.) One more time. (BD Dautch: Okay, my name is BD Dautch.) So it sounds like his name and the way he's introducing himself is a little bit of a problem with the audio. I'm going to want to come back and look at that later when I focus on audio, but not right now. So what I do is put my marker, in this case, I position the playhead at the beginning of the clip and press the letter M. A blue marker is attached to that location. Now, if I press the letter M again, it brings up a marker window.
So here I'm going to just say check audio and click Done. Now, let's see. If we come back down and just sort of scan through and see if there is anything else-- Oh, I think in one of these clips, I'd like for him to be on camera, and I'm not sure which one, so I can just press marker again or M to set a marker and say on camera. So this is just the way of me communicating with myself. Notice both of these markers were blue.
If we click the Timeline Index in the Timeline, it brings up a little window where we can actually see the markers. Now, sometimes the default is to see the clips, and of course, clicking a clip will go to that particular clip in the project. But if we click on Tags, the clip names disappear, and now we can click on what tag we want to see. So if we go to the Show markers, we see we have two markers listed. If I click on the first one, the playhead goes to check audio.
If I click the next one, the playhead jumps down to on camera. So let's just take a look at the second clip and listen and see if there's anything that we might want to tell ourselves about this clip. (BD Dautch: ...and we grow about 100 different herbs, vegetables, flowers--) This clip would be a good place to see some of the footage of BD's farm. So let's add a marker here and name this add farm footage. Now, if that's something you want to remind yourself to do as a list like a checklist, click Make To Do Item.
When you make a marker a To Do Item, it becomes red. Notice it no longer appears in the simple tags list here, you have to click the To Do Items. So markers are very clearly identified in Final Cut Pro X between informational and action. If you want one of your markers to be used as a checklist, go ahead and make it a To Do Item. Once you do add that footage, you can come back to this marker, and when you click on it, it appears in the To-Do list of items that have been done, and now this marker turns green.
So those are the different ways you can mark items. Now, another thing you can do to mark is to actually add or insert a gap just as we did earlier. I'm going to go ahead and close this Timeline Index. If we, during this middle section, want to go to the farmers market and see produce, it might be nice have a little musical transition. So what we can do is we can Edit > Insert Generator > Gap, shortcut is Option+W, and the default is 3 seconds. When I select it, you see 3 seconds.
And we might even want to drag it out, make it a little bit longer, maybe more like 10 seconds. And now, we can just put a marker over this that says music interlude, and that's just informing you of how you want to use that space. Another thing you can do is use something in Final Cut Pro called a placeholder. Perhaps you were waiting for the interview to come in from the chef, and you haven't got that material yet. Well, what you can do is go into the Generators browser, and you can click on Elements, and double-click Placeholder.
Now, what's cool about the placeholder is that you can choose what that looks like, how many people are in it, what the background is. And if you're waiting for a particular clip-- let's say it's a Chef--then you can click on the information window, go to Generator, let's choose 1 Person, and maybe we want this to even be a Medium Shot. So by choosing and placing this placeholder, you're sort of indicating to yourself that this footage is still getting ready to come in.
It's not here yet, and of course placeholders can be trimmed just like any the other clip. So markers and placeholders are great resources to keep track of what you still need to do. And well, since you still have a lot to do, why not start keeping track during the rough cutting stage?
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