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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
When editing a documentary, screening is so important because it allows the editor to emerge into a world where stories can literally jump from the footage. Indeed, it is in this story carving process where the ability to find specific moments is crucial, but unfortunately not everyone has the memory of a steel trap. Often you need help, and that's where appropriately tagging your footage becomes such an important part of organizing your project. Okay. So I'm in a project, and I have gone through, and let's look in our Assets folder.
I've organized it into basic categories, which is what my bins are named. And inside each one of these bins are the clips and they are appropriately named. And I have some other information here, which is really going to help me out, because it's information about how much I like the clip, and its information about the Shot Composition, and its information about what type of footage it is. We'll talk about Process Footage later. So this is really great. It gives the clips more depth and more searchable data, and so we are going to figure out how to actually add this custom information.
All right, so if I drill down into exercise files and go to Chapter 3, 3.2 is an exact replica of the bin we just saw. So, this is an exact replica of the farm picking and pruning. Okay? But as you can see, here, we don't really have any information yet. You might have something that has a bunch of information about the clips. In fact, if you come into the Fast menu and go to Choose Columns, there is over 100 pieces of data that you can add about all of your clips.
So it can be really, really overwhelming, all of the quantitative data that's available. But it's really through the qualitative data, again, how much you like it, the shot composition, description, keywords, that sort of thing that you can really dig deep and see what the clips are all about. So, depending on what you have here, we are going to just go to Custom, and that should clear it all out. And you can just click up here, and just type Rating.
And you can also type Shot Composition, and it actually cuts you off after a few letters. I am just going to do Shot Comp. And again, we'll talk about Process Footage later. But we have some columns here that are of interest to us, and you can literally just start typing in here. So, if you go through, and you can do this while you're screening, or you can do it later once you've gone through, and you have named all of your clips, you can come through and add this data. I usually do it while I am screening, I'll just name it, and I'll see how much I like it.
All right, so you can come in here, and I think this is going to be useful because I think that these first three have him picking the lettuce in various focal lengths. So, that's very helpful. So I can come in here, and maybe, I like all three of those three stars, and a starred system is very useful as we will find out later. But you can just go through, and if you want to have a shortcut, if you go through, and you know that maybe all of these get three stars, you can actually right-click in the bin, and you can say Set Rating column for selected clips.
And this is going to change based on what column you click in. I can just put three stars, and they all get added at once. Also, if you--let me just give it a couple more values here--if I then Option-click or Alt-click on a PC, the values kind of come up, and I can really quickly choose them. So, if you go through all of this, this is really useful in assigning this qualitative data to your clips. I'm going to just close this out. But feel free to go through yourself and assign this data.
But we have kind of an identical bin in Farm Picking_Pruning. And here we have it all assigned, and it doesn't take a lot of time to do. Again, if you do it during the screening process, it's just a little bit of extra time, and then if I come up here, and I double-click or double-click again, it's going to sort based on alphanumeric order. So, you can kind of see that it's sorting back and forth through the alphabet. But you can also sort based on rating. So, if I double-click here, I guess all of the worst shots are at the top.
But you can do it again to get all the best shots, and same thing here, kind of grouped together, all the clips based on your shot composition, and so on. So, sorting is great. You can also right-click and Sort on Column, Ascending or Descending. But I think the real power comes in sifting this data. So, if I come to my Fast menu, and go to Custom Sift, I have the ability to drill down pretty deep. So if I want to just bring forth all of my three-star clips and four-star because it contains three-stars--contains means that four-star clips also contain three-stars-- and I will go ahead and move this out of the way, and I apply, it filtered out the clips that were not three-stars.
And I just put the footage that was useful to me into these bins, so most of the footage is three-stars or more. Now, I just want to find all of my three-star medium shots. So, I want all of the shots that are at least three stars and medium shot, and I can come in and like tell it exactly what column to look in. So, Shot Composition, and I'll say apply that. Now, I want all of the best medium shots, Process Footage Shots. So, I'll come in here and just type Y in the Process Footage category and apply that, and we are really, really drilling deep, so we can figure out exactly what we have and not have to search through it.
And a lot of times, you'll have bins with many, many more clips in it than this. If I wanted to cast my net wider, I could come down here, and I could say all of my three-star and Long Shot Process Footage. There we go, that should do it. And there we go. So basically, this will cast the net wider, basically we are performing an And search because it has to meet this criteria and this criteria and this criteria.
And we are also performing an Or search, because we're saying 'or' meet this criteria, and this criteria, and this criteria. So, this allows us to really get exactly what we want, but it does rely upon the fact that we've gone through and put in this custom data in the first place. So, my advice here is not to skimp on this step. I would say that most documentary editors will tell you that frontloading your prep on a documentary project will ultimately result with a good payoff.
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