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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.
Organizing the footage by locations is a good start and will allow you to search for a clip based on where it was shot. But it's helpful to think about your footage in different ways. For example, you could organize the same set of footage into two distinct groups, the people who were interviewed that tell the Farm To Table story on camera, and the remaining clips which of course is the B-roll Footage. So let's take a second pass at organizing this footage and focus around those two categories. First of all, let's change the name of the event to Farm To Table, that's the name of your project.
I see something else that I'd like to change, and that's the name of this collection, rather than Farmer Market, I'd like to change it to farmers market. Now notice that it's okay to change names of collections or even clips here once you're inside Final Cut Pro. What's not good is to go back at this point and change the name of something on the desktop level. So what we want to do is literally clear the decks a little bit. We've got a collection of locations and different kinds of Assets, it will be very helpful if we could organize and maybe sort of tuck away those Assets we don't think we maybe use it right away such as the Stills and the Music and the Graphics.
One way to do that is to create a new folder inside this event. I'm just going to call this folder Miscellaneous, and then I'm going to drag the Music into it and then the Stills, the iPhone Images, and grab the DSLR Images too. Oh, let's put the Graphics in there as well. I don't think I'm going to be getting to the Graphics right away. So now what we have is a folder that contains a group of collections that we don't think we're going to need all the time or right away.
That lets us narrow our focus on the collections that remain, and these are, of course, the location collections. But let's continue down this path, let's click the farmers market collection, and scroll through this. Yeah, depending on how you've set up the event browser, I'm going to suggest you click the first option of the thumbnails, and of course, we can make the images a little larger or smaller. And our Clip Height, if you want to see more, just drag the icon.
Notice when you scroll through, you see some people talking on camera. Let's just listen to somebody speaking. (female speaker: How do you feel about that whole movement? Your general comments on it.) (male speaker: How do I feel about the local food movement? I feel like it's super-important and that--) So obviously this is an interview. It's a short interview, but you might say something that's important that we want to add. And this is another person talking, another person, a patron of the farmers market. So we have a few different things, and if we click the View as list, we see that some interview appears in the name of some of these clips.
I'm going to go ahead and make this a little wider so we can take a closer look at the names and click on the name column. Now when we scroll down we see that these clips appear as interviews. We know that we have an interviews collection, so why don't we go ahead and take the interview clips that appear in the farmers market and drag them into our interviews collection? Now this collection contains not only BD's interview pieces, and John Downey, the chef, but it contains the other interviews from the farmers market as well.
So now our interviews collection is more complete. Well, let's take a look at the Earthtrine Farms. Notice that as part of the name, B-roll appears, and most of this Earthtrine Farm is B-roll. What does that mean? Just simply means that no one is talking directly to the camera. There are no interviews here. B-roll is footage that's going to provide the visual detail and create an image-based story, whereas the interviews--since you don't have a narrator to tell the story--we're going to use the interview clips to verbalize it.
So we've got those in our interviews collection. Let's create another collection for the B-roll footage, and what we're going to do is open up the keyword editor. Notice that this clip has Earthtrine Farms already attached, and that's because the clip was in the Earthtrine Farm's folder. But let's add--and we can use the keyboard shortcuts for this--let's add the word "B-roll." Now if we want to add B-roll as a keyword to this clip, we can just click the shortcut Ctrl+1, and that placed B-roll onto the clip, notice it created a B-roll collection in our Event Library--right now we just have one clip in it--and when we select the clip in the keyword editor it shows us there are now two keywords attached to this clip.
Well, this seems like a good approach so let's go back to the farmers market, and let's go ahead and choose all of the B-roll clips in the farmers market. So I'll click one and Shift-click the last, and I can apply the B-roll shortcut by simply clicking this button or pressing Ctrl+1, and it applies that keyword to all of those at one time. Now when I look at the B-roll collection, I see I'm starting to build a little bit more of a group. Let's do the same thing for Earthtrine Farms as well.
Simply select the first B-roll clip, Shift-click the last, and then click or press Ctrl+1. Now you can continue to add to your B-roll, for example, Downeys has a B-roll, and then there's a tour. Some of this might be John Downey talking, but we definitely want to put this clip into the B-roll. I just see the Archival of the images. That needs to go in Miscellaneous. So by constantly thinking and looking and observing, you're organizing yourself.
You're getting your head around the big key pieces that you're going to use to tell the story. Now you still got some locations, but we've already said that this story is going to be told through Interviews and B-roll. So let's create a New Folder and call this new folder Locations. And let's drag into the Locations folder the locations, the Earthtrine, the farmers market, and we know that they are here if we want to use them, but in the meantime we've organized ourselves around the B-roll and the Interviews, the two primary sets of footage that we're going to use.
Did you notice how many clips there were of BD? You could also create a keyword collection of all the BD clips. Taking the time to focus your organizational structure is one of the most important stages of the documentary editing process. It's the time when you get to create a structure that makes sense to you and will give you different ways to think about and access your footage.
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