Start learning with our library of video tutorials taught by experts. Get started
Viewed by members. in countries. members currently watching.
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.
Shooting with multiple cameras is a plus when editing a documentary. It gives you more editing options and creates visual interest when you cut from one angle to another. But oftentimes the primary microphone attached to the person being interviewed is connected to just one of the cameras. The other camera may have good video but not great audio. So, where does that leave you? With Final Cut Pro X, you actually have a pretty easy time of combining sync sources. Let's take a look. In our Interviews, let's view the John Downey close-up camera clip at the favorite section.
(John Downey: He's dedicated. He makes you want to cry--) So, we definitely would like to be on this close-up shot of John when he's talking about how dedicated BD is. That would make a nice strong point. But we don't really want that audio. Well, if we have that audio coming from another camera like the A camera, let's see if that is something that we might be able to marry. (John Downey: He's dedicated. He makes you want to cry--) Okay, so we in fact do have the same audio, the good audio.
So what we want to do is we want to select those two sources, the video source and the audio source, and right-click on one of them and choose Synchronize Clips from the short cut menu. You can also press Option+Command+G. Now, as soon as you select this, take a look at the background tasks on the dashboard. Final Cut just finished making something. So what it made was an actual compound clip that combined, and let's see where it placed that--oh, here it is right under the clip we had selected.
And it actually added the words Synchronized Clip to the name of the clip. The icon for the clip is a compound clip. And we can actually right click on that and say Open this Clip in the Timeline. And what we have is two clips on top of each other that if you take a look at the wave form they sort of match even though this bottom clip is so low--because it's off camera--but you can tell there's a peak there and there's another peak.
You can sort of tell that there is a similarity. Let's play the clips and what we're going to hear is a combination of audio. (John Downey: And you've met the man. You know he's--) So we aren't hearing anything wildly out of sync. It sounds like it's in sync. Is this what we want? Well, no it's not because what we want is the close-up camera, and what we see is the shot of John Downey in the wider shot. So what we're we going to do is just actually give ourselves a different view where we have a bigger waveform and maybe make these clips a little smaller in the clip height.
We're also going to see about making these clips the same length. And we don't need anything that came before, so we can actually go ahead and trim this clip so that it starts at the same place as the wider shot does. Now, what we want to do is separate the good audio from this clip so that we, in fact, can lose its video. And the way we do that is we right- click on the clip and say Detach Audio.
You can also select the clip and press Ctrl+Shift+S. Now what that did is it took the audio portion of that clip and placed it beneath the clip on the primary storyline. Now if it's not already selected, you can select that. Notice it's just video now devoid of any audio, and that's the video we don't want, so you can go ahead and delete it. Now if I scroll up, I can see that I have the close-up camera.
I've got that camera's audio, which was a little low, and I've got the good audio. So now I have a choice. I can either detach the audio from this clip and delete it, or I can drag the volume of this all the way down to nothing. When we drag the volume down, let's listen to see if this clip sounds like it's in sync. (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.) So, much, much better. Now we can actually use this in the story.
So, remember the project that we created in the previous movie, it looks something like this only it had the bad audio. (John Downey: He makes you want to cry--) So what we can do now is delete these two clips and instead edit the compound clip. (John Downey: And you've met the man. You know he's dedicated.) And this is where we might want to actually trim it up and to be just the portion that we wanted.
Now, this is exactly how you sync clips. We have one more clip to sync, and that's John Downey which matches with the other audio clip. So I'll let you do that on your own. Keep in mind that if someone is saying something important, and you want to include it in your story, it's worth going out of your way a bit to help them say it more clearly and with good audio.
There are currently no FAQs about Documentary Editing with Final Cut Pro X.
Access exercise files from a button right under the course name.
Search within course videos and transcripts, and jump right to the results.
Remove icons showing you already watched videos if you want to start over.
Make the video wide, narrow, full-screen, or pop the player out of the page into its own window.
Click on text in the transcript to jump to that spot in the video. As the video plays, the relevant spot in the transcript will be highlighted.