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Find out how to highlight a cause, express a point of view, and tell a story with Adobe Premiere Pro and some essential documentary editing techniques. This course breaks down the documentary process into a series of stages that correspond to the milestones of a real client project. Starting with existing footage, you'll discover how to identify the key messaging concepts and log the footage. Then find out how to assemble rough and fine-tuned cuts, and layer in motion graphics and a credit roll. The final phase explores color correction and audio mixing, before exporting your 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 Final Cut Pro X.
We're at a really interesting part of our edit. I sort of liken this to painting with oils, and if you've ever painted with oils, you know that a lot of blending of the colors happens right on the canvas. This is similar. We've already laid down our "colors", that is our B-roll and our interviews, but we haven't blended them together yet, and that's the craft of actually editing. So, we'll be doing that quite a bit, and we're going to start it right here and now. To work on the timeline, I like to have a little more space on the timeline.
So I will go ahead and change workspaces, and I find I am doing this a lot in Adobe Premiere Pro, and I think that's just fine. I like to usually start with one of the pre-built ones, in this case, the Editing (CS5.5) is going to be almost perfect, because I've got the full length of timeline, don't need markers anymore, might need to go to the Project Bin, but not a whole lot there. I might do something like get myself just a little more timeline real-estate to see more. Okay. I am set to edit, and I am going to start at the very beginning, and just start to see what I'm working with here, and kind of massage it into place how I think it's going to work.
I am not being too particular or too careful here, but I'm doing that next layer of actually editing. And in this case, I definitely like the shot, and I definitely like the natural sounds. (video playing) But what I seem to have missed is the nice pan in that shot that I remember from my logging. So it's going to be really easy to use the Slip tool and just find where that pan hits. So I want to make sure that the portion of the shot I am using is the heart of the pan.
(video playing) Yeah. That's going to make it nice open. I am going to do something now that might be a little controversial, which is I'm going to very quickly throw a default transition, a fade up dissolve on the beginning of the clip. And the reason I say controversial is we're really just doing the very first part of rough cutting. So technically, it's not really time to add transitions. But I won't do this much, it's just that, in this case, I want to indicate to myself that I am, in fact, creating an opening, and I don't know if it's going to be this fade up at the beginning or something different.
But this just creates a little marker to saying hey, this is the beginning. And if I play it, I think you can feel what I am talking about. (video playing) Okay. It feels like a beginning now, and I want to continue to build out this scene that we initially called, On the Farm. And this first shot here, I really like, I think this is a great way to introduce BD. He's in a wide framing, and he's doing his thing on the farm. So that's a keeper.
This one, I am less sure about. I don't think this really works at our open. I think it might work later in the scene about picking, or it might not work at all in the cut. What I am going to do, in that case, is I am actually going to drag it all the way down to the end. And this is something I like to do from time to time, it's sort of a way of saying, I don't know where this goes, but, you know, I picked it initially, and I want to sort of leave it on the timeline in case I need it later. You can't do that when you're painting a painting, but you can when you're editing. And now, I sort of have left myself a gap here, literally the gap is right there.
But really, it's sort of like I have this wide open shot, and I have got this BD establishing shot. But I just feel like I need a little something more to create the texture of this opening, and I think I've already seen what I need. And it's this shot that I initially put at the end thinking I might close with it, and now I am thinking the opposite that it should actually be the first or the second shot of the piece right after that wide pan. So, I am going to go ahead and drag this. And I'd want it to be the second shot of the whole piece, so I am going to hold Command which is going to force an insert, and now, I think I am going to like this edit.
(video playing) Now, we have to play with the sound obviously, and we may find a better spot in this shot. But I'll tell you why I like this. It's one of the themes that we started with when we discussed our messaging concepts, and it's that idea of macro and micro. And ideas like that can work in a number of ways, some deeper and some more on the surface. In this case, it's more on the surface. I like the visual idea of starting with the wide shot and then going to the very tight close-up. I am going to massage this a little bit later.
I think there may be a rack focus that I can play with as well. But for now, I'm starting to get this working, a little more BD there, and I am going to play it back once. (video playing) Okay. The middle shot is a little long, and obviously, the natural sound needs to be patched up.
I'll probably be bringing in some music in this part. But what I've done is created the visual associations that I want for this first scene, which is to go from the wide establishing shot, and my new idea, which is this tight shot, and then establish BD. So, the last thing I am going to do is not get deeply into the interview, but just create the overlap that I think is going to work, and that's BD introducing himself while we're still on that shot. So, notice the way that I've already organized my tracks.
I can just slide this under, and start to create the feeling at the beginning that I want. (BD Dautch: Okay. My name is BD Dautch, and I have Earthtrine Farm--) And obviously, we need to get that okay out of there, but we are headed in the right direction, and we've crafted this first scene. Now, what I'm going to do is work through each of these visual portions. I am going to order the shots in a similar way, not making them perfect, but just sort of creating the indications that I need as an editor to come back and polish later.
I'm asking myself, how does this scene work? And I'm doing enough work on the scene so that I've indicated to myself, yes, that's how it works. Now, you just need to make it pretty. I'm going to skip ahead so you can see how this process winds up. If you take a close look at this timeline, you can see where in each scene I've tightened up the shots, massaged them to be roughly where I want them to be, in this case, we're looking at a scene that's purpose is to move us from the farm packing up the vegetables on our way to the market.
And you can see that the order that I've established works for packing and then ultimately on ending the scene with that shot of the truck moving away. In many cases, I have created not deep work with the interviews, but just a little bit of overlap how I think the interview is going to go into the scene. Listen how this one works. (BD Dautch: As fresh as possible and immediately get it into the shade--) I'm looking for those types of connections. How am I going to move from an interview and into the next scene? Take a close look at this timeline, and see some of the choices I've made on each and every scene.
This is a good time to watch the whole timeline through. Up until now, it's been really hard to see as a whole thing, and in fact, the big holes in it still make it a little bit hard to see, but it's just starting to come together. I'll remind you also of that metaphor of painting. You'll notice that we're not bringing more stuff in from the media too often, we're mostly just working with the ingredients that are already down there on the timeline, and making them work in the way we want them to.
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