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An overview of the rough cut process

From: Documentary Editing with Avid Media Composer

Video: An overview of the rough cut process

So we have gone through all the steps of evaluating the approach that we want to take in creating this documentary. We have done all the legwork in setting up our entire project in an organized way so that we can easily and effectively find our raw material. We are finally ready to start editing. But how should we begin? While there isn't any one right way to start out an edit, there are several approaches that many editors take. Let's lay out the basic process that we'll take in editing this documentary. Believe it or not, you may not want to dive immediately into the edit in Media Composer.

An overview of the rough cut process

So we have gone through all the steps of evaluating the approach that we want to take in creating this documentary. We have done all the legwork in setting up our entire project in an organized way so that we can easily and effectively find our raw material. We are finally ready to start editing. But how should we begin? While there isn't any one right way to start out an edit, there are several approaches that many editors take. Let's lay out the basic process that we'll take in editing this documentary. Believe it or not, you may not want to dive immediately into the edit in Media Composer.

Many editors prefer to attack the general structure and flow of the edit first on paper, which is why this stage is called the paper edit. Once you've worked out on paper how your scenes will be arranged, it's not a bad idea to pre-create your sequences. It can become overwhelming to start editing an entire documentary in one sequence. So tackling one scene at a time is often a great way to limit your construction of ideas to a manageable chunk. Then you can combine the sequences later once each is fleshed out to your liking.

As you can see, here, I have six sequences, which represent my six scenes, and then a master sequence where I will later combine them all together. Then it's time to tackle a sequence. I'd recommend that you focus on settling your audio track first. This pass therefore is called the radio edit. When you create your radio edit, you are not worrying about how the video works. That can always be changed later on. But by focusing on audio, which is made up mostly of interview footage, but can also be narration or verite footage, you can begin building a solid backbone for the documentary.

We'll take a look at exactly how to go about this in the next movie. If you take a look right here, I have a radio edit where I have just my Interview footage. I've really concentrated on what I want him to say, but there is no video B-roll yet. That will come later. Once you get your radio edit worked out, you can begin adding supplementary video or B-roll to accompany the main audio. This part is fun because once you have worked out what you want your documentary to say, you now have the opportunity to guide your viewers in exactly what you want your documentary to show.

It's this play between audio and video that truly makes the art of documentary design so dynamic. You can get creative, artistic, and really dive into the viewer's subconscious in ways that only documentarians can do. If you take a look at the Radio Edit, I have just the Interview footage, but if I take a look at the Radio Edit plus the supplementary B-roll, I now have all of this gorgeous video footage to help tell my story. We'll definitely take a look at that later as well.

Once your main audio and video elements are laid down, you can really begin playing around in adding similar creative elements. This is where you can add montages and parallel editing and process footage editing. We'll take a look at each of these design techniques a little later. Finally, once you have laid down everything, and you're sure of your cut, you're ready to show your rough cut to a captive audience. It's important to show your rough cut to as many people as you can, both to people invested in the film as well as to those who have no stake in your film's success whatsoever.

In this sense you want to make sure that you deliver a product that is true to the vision of the director and other stakeholders, but also deliver a product that makes sense to the new viewer. So that's just a high-level overview of how you can go about putting together your rough cut. Let's take it one step at a time and begin editing our documentary.

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This video is part of

Image for Documentary Editing with Avid Media Composer
Documentary Editing with Avid Media Composer

39 video lessons · 3819 viewers

Ashley Kennedy
Author

 
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  1. 6m 12s
    1. Welcome
      1m 36s
    2. Using the exercise files
      4m 36s
  2. 10m 49s
    1. Interpreting a creative brief to establish goals
      3m 3s
    2. Examining project assets
      3m 43s
    3. Defining the project approach
      4m 3s
  3. 11m 52s
    1. Understanding the documentary postproduction process
      2m 15s
    2. Focusing on the preparatory phase
      3m 33s
    3. Focusing on the rough cut phase
      3m 27s
    4. Focusing on the picture lock workflow
      2m 37s
  4. 36m 51s
    1. Beginning a project
      10m 28s
    2. Screening and assigning qualitative information to clips
      7m 3s
    3. Looking for stock footage using the Avid Marketplace
      4m 27s
    4. Marrying high-quality audio with video
      4m 54s
    5. Using the Find tool and PhraseFind to search the audio in a clip
      5m 58s
    6. Understanding transcoding
      4m 1s
  5. 14m 11s
    1. Preparing a script for script integration
      4m 17s
    2. Syncing a script using ScriptSync
      5m 9s
    3. Manually syncing a script
      4m 45s
  6. 59m 56s
    1. An overview of the rough cut process
      3m 38s
    2. Making the paper edit
      3m 9s
    3. Using a two-column script
      3m 33s
    4. Assembling the radio edit
      7m 15s
    5. Building scenes with B-roll
      9m 30s
    6. Editing process footage
      6m 29s
    7. Using montage and parallel editing to manipulate time and ideas
      8m 20s
    8. Adding natural and environmental sound
      6m 11s
    9. Correcting audio
      6m 22s
    10. Putting it all together: Completing the assembly edit
      5m 29s
  7. 32m 52s
    1. Dealing with multiple formats in a project
      5m 2s
    2. Adding movement to static images
      6m 6s
    3. Stabilizing shaky footage
      3m 23s
    4. Changing and fixing portions of the video frame
      8m 7s
    5. Compressing and expanding time in video and audio
      5m 23s
    6. Repairing jump cuts using the FluidMorph plug-in
      4m 51s
  8. 22m 25s
    1. Getting feedback, making adjustments, and receiving approval
      3m 16s
    2. Creating multiple titles and lower thirds
      5m 39s
    3. Understanding the finishing process
      5m 46s
    4. Delivering the project
      7m 44s
  9. 1m 28s
    1. Next steps
      1m 28s

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