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 Avid Media Composer and a few essential editing techniques. Author Ashley Kennedy demonstrates documentary editing in a real-world project, breaking down the process into a series of manageable steps and milestones. Discover how to define a project approach based on a client's creative brief, and then effectively review and organize the footage. Then find out how to use script-based editing methods and a wide variety of scene creation techniques to assemble a rough cut. The course also shows how to use effects to repair and enhance your footage, process client feedback, and add the film's finishing elements.
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 Premiere Pro and Documentary Editing with Final Cut Pro X.
When editing a documentary, you are often working with footage that was not shot with the quality or the consistency of audio as its highest priority. Unless the material was shot with a dedicated sound recorder in the field, the sound from any non-interview shots were most likely just recorded with the onboard camera mic. Interviews of course are probably recorded with more care, and with a lavalier or a directional handheld mic. Now, sometimes rather than cutting in a lot of disparate audio from individual shots, you may want to find some blanket, natural, or environmental sound and use that instead.
All right, so here I have my intro, and it's the radio edit plus my B-roll, so it's coming along. It's almost maybe at the rough cut stage. But we need some audio here. It's totally quiet when this starts out. (BD Dautch: There's definitely a movement happening. It's not just here, it's worldwide.) And the birds you hear there were actually squawking in the background of his interview.
So, we also need to find something that goes with that as well, knowing that, that was one of the challenges they had at the interview. All right. Just so you know, the audio that was recorded with this, just a lot of different stuff. I mean there was like loud squawking crows in back of this shot, and something that was very different here, and then this one was very, very quiet. So I mean, we need something that kind of just is a background blanket audio bed underneath everything. So, I'm just going to climb into some of my B-roll so that I can try to create this, and I might not even have to go to a sound library.
So, I am going to go into B-roll, and then I am going to go to that Farm Bin, Farm Orchards, and I am showing tracks. If you need to show tracks, so you can see which ones contain audio, you can just right-click up here, choose Columns, and then just make sure that Tracks is selected so that you have that information. All right, so I probably don't want to pick anything where people are walking or carrying things or unloading, that's probably going to have some clicks and footsteps and things that I'm not really going to want.
If I want just some background environmental sound, I am going to choose something like Field mountain in background. That sounds like a good candidate. I am going to go ahead and play this. (video playing) All right, well, there was definitely some clicking, like some camera noise right around here, but that's not to say I can't use any of this. I can just put an in and an out around the part that I do want to use.
(video playing) Okay, and it's not the best, but at least I'll have it in my library, and I can always get rid of it later if I find something better. But I have some sound started in this natural and environmental sound bin. I am just going to drag this over, and I am just going to call this Quiet farm presence distant birds.
Okay, then we'll just try one more. Go ahead and get my flowers here. (video playing) Okay, so I'm starting to hear some like crunching and footsteps right here.
I'll just mark an in and an out around that area there. It's about 21 seconds of okay, and that sound, again, this is going to be very, very low-level audio underneath my principal video. So it doesn't have to be perfect, just something that kind of gives it that presence. This is much more chirpy, a little bit more immediate presence, so I am just going to say Field presence with chirps. So let's go ahead and close this up, and we have a bin started.
We can go ahead and just make sure that you are patching your audio down to A2 and A3, or if you want to, let's see, Command+U to add an audio track if you want your that sound to be on A3 and A4. Just patch appropriately. I think I am going to have mine on A2 and A3 for now, and I need to basically get it probably right before the farmers market because I'll have a different type of ambience at the farmers market.
So I am going to just mark an in and an out around this area, and I am going to go ahead and try my Field presence with chirps. I just need to turn off my video, and I'll overwrite, so press B. And now we should have some presence underneath our B-roll here, and I'll probably need to lower it just a little bit, but at least we have something. (BD Dautch: There's definitely a movement happening. It's not just here, it's worldwide, and it's a renaissance, and many people now are aware that getting it directly from the producer is the way to go.) Okay, so again, I'll probably need to come in there with the Audio Mixer.
I might need to keyframe when he starts talking and just sort of lower that just a little bit. But we have some blanket natural sound underneath our principal video at least to start with, and we can continue on, find some other stuff, and really kind of just build a patchwork of audio throughout our piece, and we might not even have to go to an audio library at all.
There are currently no FAQs about Documentary Editing with Avid Media Composer.
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.