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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.
Once you evaluate the project's pace and timing, you have a blueprint for how to refine your story. That blueprint might include trimming edits, retiming music, or replacing a clip with better content. And since editing is all about making choices, you just need to keep previewing the creative brief to make sure your choices support the Farm To Table story. In this movie, you'll trim edits, slip content, roll into sync, and even check matching action between two shots. This project is a little different than some of the others you've been working with, in that there are few clips in the B-roll footage that are purposefully out of kilter and a little off so that you can experiment with bringing them back into a more refined selection.
Notice the markers in this project are on the connected clips, not the clips in the primary storyline. The way you place a marker on a connected clip is that you first have to select it so that Final Cut knows where that marker should be placed. Otherwise, it would go to the clip beneath the playhead on the primary storyline. Let's zoom in to the third clip of this second group of B-roll footage, and I'm going to actually press Command+Plus a few times to get really close. Let's take a look at this. (BD Dautch: ...there are a lot of farms right up to the urban fringe. So at the farmers market--) So just before the shot ended--in fact, let's take a look at the marker. The way you view a marker without opening the Timeline Index is to move the playhead toward and press Shift+M.
So this tells us that the marker is called trim camera bump. Okay, good direction. (BD Dautch: ...urban fringe. So at the farmers market--) So a couple of ways to trim, the easiest way is just to simply drag. Now, notice how when we drag, we're seeing two images in the viewer. One is the image of the outgoing connected clip, and we can see when we go before or after that camera bump. The other is the clip that we're going to be cutting to once we're through with that connected clip.
You don't always get this two-up display in the viewer. You have to make sure that your Preferences are selected for it, and you find those in Editing. In this case, under Timeline, Show detailed trimming feedback is already selected. The default is for it to be unselected. So if you do not see the two-up display in the viewer, make sure you go into Preferences to select it. While we're here, go ahead and click Playback and notice that you have a Pre-Roll Duration and a Post-Roll. That Pre-Roll and Post-Roll will come into play as you preview some of your edit points.
So, for example, we've trimmed this back before the bump. If we wanted to preview the area around this edit point, we can press Backslash. (BD Dautch: ...urban fringe. So at the farmers market, you'll get people coming--) And what happens is that Final Cut takes the Playhead back 2 seconds, rolls through the point where the playhead was originally located, continues its Post-Roll for 2 seconds, and then repositions at the edit point. That's a very helpful tool when you begin to trim and want to look at and refine different edit points.
Now, let's go back a few. I see another marker before. If we wanted to see what that marker was telling us, we'll press Shift+M. It says a different selection. Well, the first thing that I'd like to know: is there anymore to this clip and how would I know if I wanted to see it? Well, the way you see more around that clip is to right-click and choose Open in Timeline. And now what we see is a Timeline dedicated to this one clip, and you can tell that the highlighted area is marked, the In and Out of what's currently being used in the project.
By skimming through the portion before, we see that the man walks up to the box before he puts the lettuce in. So that tells us that in fact, we do have a good amount of material there. Now, clicking the History arrow backwards takes us back into the project. This time, what we want to do is use this particular clip length, but we want to slip the content of the clip. We do that using the Trim tool-- you can just press the letter T-- and when we move the pointer inside the clip, we get the Slip tool. And we want to drag to our right so we can get some of the man walking forward.
Let's take a look at this. (BD Dautch: ...schools, restaurants. The Santa Barbara area has been fortunate enough to have a slow--) We see a little bit of hesitation of his hands at the end. I'd slip back, and I'm looking at the right image in the viewer, so it's nice to have these two images. And I can see where his hands land, and that's a good place to end. (BD Dautch: ...schools, restaurants. The Santa Barbara area has been fortunate enough to have--) So that helps improve that particular clip. I'm going to press Shift+Z, and go down toward the end of the project and zoom in there.
Another really great way to trim is because we use the playhead so often to move to a place that we want or want to mark, we can utilize that when we make a trim. First, I'm going to press A to get my Select tool back, and then I'm going to select the Out point of a clip. Now when I move my Playhead, let's go ahead and move it to the edit point between these two clips, I can press Option+Right Bracket, and Final Cut Pro trims the Out point to the Playhead location.
And what that has done has allowed a little bit of an opening so we can see this person speak on camera. Now, another way to trim that's really helpful but gets a little challenging if you're working with B-roll is to roll edit points. Let's look at this B-roll clips and concentrate on how they hit to the beat in the music. (video playing) These are great shots, but it might be fun to play with the timing so that they hit the beat of music.
The only problem is that when you get the Trim tool, and let's zoom in to this area, and you move over the edit point, you can get a Trim tool on either side of the edit point, but you don't get the Roll tool that you get if you come down into a clip on the primary storyline. Remember, connected clips connect to the primary storyline, not to each other. One way to allow them to connect to each other is to bring them down to the primary storyline. I'm going to go back to the Select tool, choose this group of clips, notice there's nothing underneath them.
So if I choose them and say, Overwrite to Primary Storyline, that brings this set of B-roll clips into my primary storyline, and now I can go ahead and roll in between the edit points. Another thing I can do is I can select the music and put markers where the beats of music are. (video playing) And of course, you can add markers on the fly. So that gives us a target.
Now, when we press T to get our Trim tool, we get the Roll tool because we're on the primary storyline. And now I can roll this edit point to this beat and roll this edit point to this. Let's see if that helps. (video playing) So it's one option, and it's one way to go. As an editor, you do a lot of tweaking. Sometimes it's to fix something that's broke, like when you trim a B-roll clip to cover a new gap you created for pacing, and other times you slip and roll and trim and tweak simply to make things look better.
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