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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're familiar with the clips in this project, you can see there is no narrator. So you're going to have to build a story using segments or sound bites from the interview clips. And since you're aiming for a 3-minute movie, you're going to need to be pretty ruthless about which clip segments to use. But as a first pass at choosing bite-sized story morsels, let's make things easy and not do any editing just yet. Instead, let's use Final Cut Pro's rating system to save your preliminary editing decisions.
In the Farm To Table project, let's choose the Interviews collection. This is the interviews that we're going to use to tell the story. And let's scroll down and look at one of the John Downey interviews. And let's listen to a little bit of this. (John Downey: And you've met the man. You know 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 this is a very good sound bite that we could make use of because he's talking about how dedicated BD is.
Now, what I want you to start to look at and think about is how the waveform, the audio waveform, is your friend. You're going to eventually pay close attention to the little valleys, because those little pauses which are very natural when you hear somebody or you speak to somebody, they're not so natural when you have other visuals covering them. Then you hear those ums and ahs. So we'll in a later movie learn how to pull those out. But for right now, let's figure out what portion of this we might be interested in using.
What portion might address one of the key points of the creative brief? (John Downey: And you've met the man. You know he's dedicated.) Well, after a few rough starts of he's-he's-he's, he says he's dedicated. So we might want to bring in that particular phrase at that point. (John Downey: He's dedicated. He makes you want to cry--) We might even want to just have "he's dedicated" by itself, so we could mark an outpoint.
Now, if we were ready to edit, we could go ahead create a new project and edit this clip using one of the edit buttons by editing it into a primary storyline. But right now, we're still hunting for some of these sound bites, and we want to sort of search wider. What else do we have? Let's click another John Downey clip and then go back to the one I was just on. The area that I mark is no longer marked, so we have to do something that preserves those marks, and what we can do is again, we can mark that section.
I'm just looking at the waveform as an identifying factor. And the way we're going to preserve that section is by marking it as a favorite by clicking the green button. Now, if I click away to another clip and come back, that particular section has a little green bar, and in fact, I can snap to it. (John Downey: He's dedicated.) In the event browser, there's a green star, and if I click on Favorite, Final Cut actually highlights this section that's a favorite. And if I play...
...it queues up directly to that point. So it's a very helpful way to start to collect sound bites that might be able to be used in the story. Let's create another one. (John Downey: He makes you want to cry--) So that's another good start, he makes you want to cry. (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.) And again, I'm marking out there knowing that when we get into editing, we'll trim some of those blank sections out.
But right now, go ahead and make that a favorite. Once you've created some favorites, you can actually add notes to them. (John Downey: He's dedicated.) So in this particular favorite, I can say dedicated. If I click this favorite and play it. (John Downey: He makes you want to cry, how dedicated he is--) So let's add a note that says makes you cry to this favorite. And that note is simply to help you remember which one this is.
You could even search by cry, and it would find that. Now you can filter by favorites going up to the filter pop-up and choose Favorites. And I've actually already gone through and created some favorites in some of the other interviews. That's why we're seeing so many different favorites. In fact, if we look at a BD clip, you see that there is a favorite in one clip. And now because we're viewing his favorites, all we're going to see are the favorite portions. Let's go back to see all clips.
Now we'll see the whole clip and can go through to individual favorites to see what each favorite sounds like. So this is a very good workflow for this mini documentary because it lets you grab the meat of the project without getting distracted about how you're going to use it. For example, let's look at the third favorite in this BD clip. (BD Dautch: ...and we sell mostly at the farmers market, and also we sell to caterers, schools, restaurants--) So that's a very good sound bite. It tells us where BD sells.
But if we continue listening, we'll hear him continuing to add to that sound bite even though it may not really be helping that much. (BD Dautch: ...and produce stands, only one store. We try not to do any shipping. We try to keep it all local.) So some of that information about local is good, but when he continues to talk about the selling and the selling, I like to refer to that as dribble, because it's when somebody has finished their point, and very often the first time they say it is very clear, but then they just keep continuing to make the point.
So, as an editor you want to key into that. And you may feel that you're ready to get started editing, but spending a little more time in this preliminary editing stage to select your potential storytelling segments is well worth your time. Because of how Final Cut Pro can convert selections to favorites, it's a very good workflow for this project.
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