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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.
Let's face it, sometimes during the rough cutting stage you see a clip that doesn't stand as strong as its neighbors. Maybe you weren't crazy about the clip when you edited it, and thought I'll find something better later. As you work on the project, those clips start to gnaw on you. Well, later is now. So let's take a closer look at the visuals to see if there are any you might want to replace to improve the content for the Farm To Table story. In the project in the Timeline, if you focus on the connected clips, the B-roll, you'll see that there are three markers, one here where BD is standing at the table, another where we see a crowd of people, and another where we see some radishes and a shot of the produce.
So let's take a look at this first shot, and let's read the marker by pressing Shift+M. It says replace with a different shot, and it gives us the name, slider 04 1. So if we go to our B-roll collection and find the Produce_Slider_04 1, we can skim through that and say, okay, that's very interesting. It's a very nice shot. We see a lot of really great- looking produce on BD's table. So what we want to do is, instead of seeing BD stand here in this wide shot with people walking by, we're going to keep the shot the same length but replace the content with what we're seeing up here.
Now, we can choose where we want to pick the shot up. Do we want to start it at the beginning? I don't think so, because it doesn't look like the camera is panning yet. So if we sort of pick it up once the camera has gotten going, go ahead and mark an end at that point. And down in the Timeline let's zoom in to the clip that we're going to replace. And what we do to replace a clip, of course, is just drag the clip on to the clip we want to replace. Once we release it, Final Cut shows us a list of options. If we wanted to replace the clip with the full length of the B-roll as marked in the Event browser, we would click Replace.
But if we want to just replace the content and the duration of the content that exists in the project, we just click Replace from Start. Now the length of the shot stays the same, but the content is replaced by that pan. (BD Dautch: This is the era of California cuisine, which is buying what's local and in season.) So if we wanted to continue with that shot and not see BD unpacking, because that shot was really working, he was talking about California cuisine, what we can do is we can just delete this shot of BD and open the shot up to extend it the full length of that space.
(BD Dautch: This is the era of California cuisine, which is buying what's local and in season. Many, many restaurants--) Now, another thing that we can do--if we wanted to make adjustments, we can also bring it in a little earlier-- you can actually overwrite a clip to the Primary Storyline when there's audio there. In this case, what happened is that BD's audio became a separate clip beneath this. Let's look at this. (BD Dautch: This is the era of California cuisine, which is buying what's local and in season.) So this is another way that we can, if we wanted to, roll edit points as we saw in the previous movie.
Let's go to the next marker and see what needs to happen there. So this is a shot of people and of the crowd. So let's see what we want to replace that with. The FM stand 01, okay, so let's see if there is some stands. Ah-ha! Well, this is a different kind of shot of the crowd, people are walking through. Why don't we pick it up just before this woman in the purple shirt walks in from the left side? So if we just mark an In point there, we would approach it the same way.
Drag the source clip from the Event browser onto the Target clip in the Timeline and release it. And to keep it the same length, we'll just say Replace from Start. (John Downey: ...which is equally as special as he is bringing to the market.) Well, they say a picture is worth 1,000 words. At this stage of your documentary, you need every image to count to reflect and support the audio narrative. So when you spot a weak image in your project, take the time to replace it.
In the end, it could make an important difference.
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