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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.
- Interpreting a creative brief
- Exploring the documentary postproduction process
- Organizing footage and using searching techniques
- Setting up and using digital transcripts
- Building sequences and scenes to form the rough cut
- Adding effects to repair and enhance footage
- Fine-tuning the sequence to reach picture lock
- Receiving feedback
- Finishing the film with titles, color correction, and professional audio
Skill Level Intermediate
Now that we have a pretty good idea of the basic thesis and main points that we need to get across in our short documentary, let's take a look at what assets we have in order to tell our story. Now first of all depending on the editor's involvement in the production phase of the project, you as the editor may have more or less say on the assets that you have to work with. For this project, however, it's important to note that an entire production team went out and shot a bunch of footage and provided us with our raw materials, and now it's up to us to assemble the best product possible from what we have got.
So in this case, we had relatively little to do with production. This is completely a post-production venture. So let's take a look here. I have a hard drive provided to me by the production team, and if I go ahead and just take a look and see how much I've got, about 432 gigabytes of mostly HD footage, and this is really common to shoot a lot of footage for documentaries and so it's a big job for us to go through everything and make sure that we know what everything is and how it can best be used to tell our story.
So as you can see, everything kind of has categorical names. We have various parts of the Farm to Market process, loading on the farm as well as some shots of the farm, packaging process, and picking, and I'll just kind of go through so you can see all the stuff we have to work with, shots at the farmers market, and down here towards the bottom we have our interviews. So these are our raw materials, we have over 400 gigabytes of stuff to sort through, nothing has really named, we don't know what anything is unless we would actually click on it and play it.
So there is going to be a lot of this in our future and going through in organizing it well so that we can work with it in the best way possible. We also have some music and some other things like Archival Images and some still images that were shot on DSLR as well as the iPhone and some graphic stuff as well. So lots and lots of stuff, really not organized very well right now, but what I want to do is actually show you the project once it's been organized so you can see kind of where we are headed.
I am going to open up Media Composer and show our Assets and dig deep here. All right, so here's our Audio and Graphics, our Interviews which no longer are they 30 minute long interviews, but these are interview selects where we have gone through and determined what part of the interviews are going to be most useful to us. They are named. We have all of our video B-roll, which is going to help us tell our story, and if I kind of look in here, you can see that now we have all of these clips that are named appropriately and all the stuff that was not useful for the documentary is not going to be here.
So I know that I've gone through, and I have really made sure that everything in the project is stuff that I really think I am going to work with. So as you can see, we have a lot of stuff to work with. It's still hard to really find it all, but fortunately over the next few chapters, I am going to go through some really useful Media Composer searching techniques so that we can find exactly what we want when we need it. So as you are crafting the story, it's so important to be able to recall this perfect sound bite or the perfect video to slot in at the perfect moment.
Fortunately, there are quite a few organizational tools as I was saying that can help you arrange your assets in a way that makes sense and allow you to immediately recall those essential moments which we'll explore later. So hopefully we now have a good approach and know our project goals as well as the tools we have to make these goals a reality. Let's be sure to remember all of this as we continue to fashion a plan to craft our documentary.