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.
Once you have laid out your main audio foundation in your scenes, it's time to begin supplementing video footage to help tell your story. This supplemental video footage or B-roll serves multiple purposes. Not only does it enhance your narrative, but it also helps to both cover up and smooth out the jump cuts and chopped up audio that inevitably results from the construction of your radio edit. Now you want to make sure that when you use B-roll, it helps set the scene, that it adds further detail and enhances your story.
Don't use it to just show exactly what's being said. This gets monotonous and uninteresting pretty fast. So try to work to engage the viewer, rather than spoon-feed the viewer. So I have my radio edit of my Introduction. This beginning part right here is where BD is talking about this growing, changing, exciting movement, basically the farm to table movement and then we have a few talking heads at the farmers market and in restaurants talking about it as well. So I think I'll probably allow this last part to stay as talking heads, and we want to just have B-roll really tell the story and enhance the story here.
And if you take a look at the script what I'm thinking is that we kind of underscore what he is saying by starting with a single piece of fruit or vegetable and then just backing out getting bigger and bigger. So it's an idea, it's a spark and then you get bigger and bigger, picking, we are packaging it and then we get to the farmers market, and it's this big important thing. And I think this is going to be engaging enough to really hold the audience's interest especially since this is the introduction, the first scene that they are going to see.
So I am going to climb into my Assets folder and my B-roll. And we need to find the footage that we are going to use. So we are going to start on the Farm, we are going to open up the Farm Orchards bin, as well as probably Farm Picking_Pruning. So I can literally just read through these, I can load each one and take a look at them. I have already screened it all. So I have a good sense of what this stuff is, but I want to quickly find what I need.
I don't want to lose my creative energy. So one thing I can do is just change to Frame view and take a look at the thumbnail version of what all of these clips are. The same thing here. I am looking for a single piece of fruit, I have probably I want to stay here in the Farm and Orchards bin. So I am going to go back to Text view. What I would like to do is actually use the qualitative data that I added to these clips in a previous movie and use that to figure out exactly what clip to use here.
So I'm going to Custom Sift. I am going to go up to Custom Sift here. I already have some data there, and I am going to clear that out. Let's see, right here I want a good shot. So I want something that contains three stars or more. So four stars also contains three stars. Then I want that close up. So I want to just type in close-up, and I want that to be on the Shot Composition column and OK. Now this I really helpful, because now we have just two shots.
Let's go ahead and take a look at them, okay, and our Produce box. Well, I think that this is the winner. This is perfect. This is exactly what I'm thinking. Let me start small. So I'm going to just mark an in and out right before that zoom out. I am going to just patch V1 to V2, turn off my audio, we are going to get some probably nat sound in there a little bit later.
So I am just going to make this a video-only edit and overwrite B. And I am going to go ahead and play through it and just remind us what's right after this. (BD Dautch: There's definitely a movement happening. It's not just here, it's worldwide, and it's a renaissance.) All right, so I am going to just Command-click to snap to that edit point. Let's unsift this. So go to Show Unsifted. I think there is a couple more orange Orchard shots here. Yes, Orange grove solar flare. That's pretty lovely, I think that might work.
Now the second shot. Let's just try this one too. Not as lovely. So we will say that this is our second shot, and I want to get I think that solar flare right there. So I am going to mark an in, I am going to go ahead and play and just mark in out where I feel edit makes sense. Okay, so I have here a 3-second shot. I am going to just edit this in, again we are going to tweak this later, we are going to probably do some trimming and making sure that everything works out well.
But I am going to edit this in video only and overwrite B. Next up is a shot that does something like we are picking the fruit, we're bringing the fruit from the Orchard, something that is getting us closer to that farmers market. So if I--I think I am going to use my frame view for this one, and we have BD here carrying a box, and this is not quite right. Now this is better, because he is walking out from the orchard.
This has actually work out pretty well composition wise, start close-up, and then medium shot and then more of a long shot here. So I think that would work well. Let's just make sure there is nothing better. And we have the loading. So I think that's a little bit too far along. This one probably would work fine as well. The shot composition doesn't work quite as well as the long shot and then we have unloading as well.
So I think that's a little bit too far along too. So let's go ahead and grab this shot right here. That's okay I think, and let's overwrite this in B. Anyway, I am going to grab this unloading shot for my fourth shot I think. I think that's probably, yeah, I think right here set an in and out around that area right there.
Okay, so 2 seconds 23 frames, overwrite that in, and it's probably a little bit too long. I want to make sure that I get my farmers market shot in the end here as well. So I might have to come in and do a little bit of trimming. So go over to trims to make room for everything. So I am going to be doing some tweaking, and that is just part of the process. You definitely need to make sure that what is being seen make sense over what's being heard, and that everything is concise and tight or that it breathes and that we have enough room.
I have kind of a finished version of this. Well, a version that's a little bit further along, B-roll examples, and here is the intro. You can see here to build a little bit more room I have the video starting first. And there is going to be music under here as well as nat sound, but for now I am going to go ahead and play through this so that we can see how it's working. (BD Dautch: There's definitely a movement happening. It's not just here, it's worldwide, and it's a renaissance. So many people now are aware that getting it directly from the producer is the way to go.) (male speaker: I don't know how I would run my restaurant without--) All right, so it's doing what I wanted.
We have you know the shots telling a story so we kind of have the audio telling a story, and we have the video supplementing that and then adding to it and enhancing the story. One thing I would do kind of right away is add some long dissolves here, effects work usually comes later, but one thing that strikes me right away is that dissolves while they can be used to sort of smooth out transitions, they can also be used to juxtapose images and ideas. What I would like to show is that basically all of the shots of the producer all the same goal, the same angle were approaching the same basic idea.
So I am going to just quickly add some dissolves here. I am going to mark an in and out around the range where I would like my dissolves added and quick transition, and 24 frames, or 1-second dissolves, I am going to just apply to all transition between in and out and add those. And so I am just going to play through a couple. (BD Dautch: Yeah, there's definitely a movement happening. It's not just here, it's worldwide, and it's a renaissance--) Okay, so I do like that. I think the long dissolve is working out really well to sort of enhance my ideas.
So I am going to leave it just like that for right now. So once you are happy with the way your audio and video are coming together, you are one step closer to a solid rough cut. There are a few more tools you may want to use in creating some deeper and more personal editions which we will explore in the next few movies.
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.