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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.
Not all documentaries are destined for movie theaters. Some have other roles, for example, to change public opinion or educate people in libraries or even at a street-corner kiosk. The producers of the Farm To Table Project had a very specific destination in mind, to create a Santa Barbara publicity kit and also to air the movie on the web. That gives you a clear destination. But along the way, it's very likely the producers will want to see how the documentary is progressing. So let's take a look at how you might share this project and then prepare it for its final destination.
First of all, if you haven't already, I would recommend doing a few things to take a bird's-eye view of the project. One is to make the image as small as possible, and I'm going to go down and click the far right option of the Clip Appearance. So notice that you don't get any thumbnails in the Timeline, but you get to see all of the clips that were used in making this project. And that's a good thing when you're taking that bird's-eye view. Another thing that I recommend, is that at some point, before you get ready to output, you queue up to the beginning of your movie, and you go into the Full Screen mode, and you watch the entire movie.
Only by watching in full screen, and I mean setting things down, getting your coffee cup, or maybe popcorn, and pushing back, and really putting a different hat on. You're putting the hat on of the viewer, so that you can see if anything pops out to you as being uneven, or an awkward cut, or something that needs fixing, something you thought you may have taken care of but actually haven't gotten to it yet. So once you've taken that bird's-eye view, you see there's no extraneous clips, you've watched it at full screen, now you're ready to think about sharing this.
And Final Cut Pro has a lot of sharing options. There are different times and ways you might want to share the project. One requirement of you may be to share the project while you're in process of editing it, and a producer or director may be down the hall and pop in and see it, but if not, you may have to send them different versions along the way. So you can Email the version, skim through here to take a look at it, and you can decide what Size you want to Email it. The information beneath the Size pop-up tells you how large the file will be, and then you can compose your message and send it on its way.
Another way that a producer or director might want to see the project is on their iPad, or maybe even their iPhone. So you might want to export the film so that they can see it in the most convenient way possible, and if we show Details, it will tell you the information. Now, I recommend that when you send the movie out over the course of your editing process, make sure you're always sending out the movie with a version number, because when you start to talk to your producer and director, they're going to want to know, or you're going to want to know, what version they're looking at so you know where to go to make those changes.
Now, we're up to version 12 in our work, because we've been keeping track as we go along, you might not have that many versions, but still I recommend that you put the Title of the piece. So let's go ahead and change this, Farm To Table v, depending on what version you're exporting, give it the appropriate name, and then go ahead and Share it. After you've exported the film to let your producer and director screen it, get their input from them, then you're going to be thinking about exporting the movie to be used for its destination, for the web, or for the publicity kit.
So here we're going to want to go to Export Media, and the shortcut is Command+E. In Export Media we get to choose, first of all, whether we want to Export Video and Audio together, there are some other options, but we also get to choose the Video codec. It could be Current Settings, but it can also be something else. I'm going to recommend that for the purpose of this project you export in H.264. H.264 is a great format for the web, it plays well, it's a smaller file, and it also will play well for the publicity kit as well.
Now just a note about H.264, it's not a good format to edit in, because in fact it's actually MPEG compression. So make sure you finalize the movie before outputting, otherwise you'll need to go back to the original format, make your edits there, and re-export. After delivering the required movies and making the final versions and the final edits that you've been given notes on, then I would recommend you go back and share and export a version in the Current Settings of the movie.
This gives you a completed movie that you can use to make other types of movies in other apps if necessary. Part of the magic and fun of editing a documentary is bringing all the little pieces together into a cohesive whole, but don't forget, you have the responsibility to share your progress and deliver the goods, and along the way keep track of the versions you're sending out.
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