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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 Avid Media Composer and Documentary Editing with Final Cut Pro X.
- Interpreting a creative brief
- Logging interviews and other footage
- Pulling selects and presenting ideas
- Building sequences and scenes
- Creating title graphics
- Animating images
- Adjusting b-roll shots
- Tightening clip timing
- Compressing and exporting multiple files
Skill Level Intermediate
In every edit there's a point where we turn that corner, and we stop just looking at things and making notes and start to actually edit on the timeline, and we've reached that point in this project. There's lots of ways to do this, but what's notable here is I'm going to start by assembling my visuals. Some editors like to lay down their interview bites first and they call that a radio edit, in other words, what we'll hear, gets laid down first, and then we put the visuals over it. I tried to fight that temptation, I try to speak with my visuals first and then put in some of the bites.
You may say it's an academic distinction, but I believe that by focusing on the visuals first in the process, we've a better shot of telling a more visual story. So that's exactly where I want to begin. You can see we're still set up in our Metalogging mode, and I want to change our Workspace layout for something better for these next steps. And in particular I plan to use some storyboard editing here, so I want to get setup, so I can do that. Let's start by changing our Workspace, and I'm going to start with the CS5.5 Workspace, but I'm going to actually adapt it from there.
So now we have a familiar editing layout, but what I really want is a much bigger project pane, so I can look at that as thumbnails and really it's the B-roll thumbnails that I need. So we'll just make that, take up that same real estate for us. Once I get my timeline ready we might get a little bit more space out of this. So I want a nice big timeline, and in fact, the media browser is going to be more or less irrelevant for this stage. So we'll setup something like that and then, I think I can get away with a little more real estate, let's see, yeah, something like that.
So now I can really see a lot of thumbnails across there. So down in the timeline I want to start real organized in terms of how we edit with our tracks, and in particular I want to edit my B-roll down onto Video 2 when it first comes down, and likewise, we'll get that natural sound down onto Audio 2. We're going to wind up putting our interviews on Video 1 and Audio 1. In Premiere, you can actually name these if you like to.
So I might go ahead and call that B-roll, and that's, that should be good. We want to just arrange these so that we can see them, and we do want to make sure that's active. Great. Now what we can do is some storyboard editing, which isn't always my favorite way to work, but because of some of the reasons I said, focusing on the visuals, and because our goals are really only a quick assembly of shots on the timeline, I think this is going to be really fast and efficient.
We've already decided and talked about a really good opening shot we have, so let's just go ahead and find that. There it is and what I'm going to do is just do some quick in and outs right in storyboard mode. I can see where that pan that like starts. So I'm going to mark it out first using the O key and then an in point using the I key, and this is just like marking in and out in the source viewer, only we're doing it in storyboard mode. And just like that I'm going to start building a very simple timeline, so I've got my opening, I want some of those on the farm shots that we talked about.
And I see one right there, so we've got some in and out. Now, again, I'm not being terribly careful, maybe I'd like to have not 3 minutes like I've got here, not like a shots really going be five to ten seconds, but somewhere in between. So just a nice even distribution of these, and I'll probably need one more shot for that "on the farm scene." I want to save some of these for picking and packing, so some generic shot and hopefully something with BD in it. I want to see what's going on with this.
Yeah, that's a nice establishing shot I think. It's a little bit hard to tell in storyboard mode which part I'll want. So again, I'm not going to be too careful here. I think that part is going to work in, notice when I push Play, it actually plays up top here, but I'm not opening in the source monitor, which saves me some time. So we'll mark a quick out, and we need in and out, and again, timing and actual content are going to be adjusted here, so I'm not even really looking at it.
I might twirl these down, so at least, yeah, I'd like to see the thumbnails there. So that's a very quick representation of the very beginning. I caught one other thing with my eye that I like, but I don't think I'm going to use it at the beginning. I think I'm going to save it to the end, it's this very nice close-up. Let's see if we can find it. If we scrub through this, I see some nice rack focusing and somewhere around there-- working in and in out for adjustment later--but I'm actually not going to put this in my first scene.
I'm going to put it at what I think it's going to be the end. So somewhere in the three to four minute range, because at the moment, I don't know if I'm going to use this at the beginning and the end, and I know that I need something for the end, so just as a placeholder, I'm going to put this down at the end. So I've got my opening little visuals, and I've got something in place for the end, I just want to start building the next scene, and then we'll skip ahead to see how this looks when we're done. That next scene is the "pick and pack" scene and it gets easier as you go, because you notice, and you know where your stuff is.
So I know I'm going to want some of these shots, looks like I've got a medium of BD and then these nice close-ups of BD. I'm probably going to need some each of that. There's some things way too long on the timeline just trim it up for now without worrying about it, and if you need something in our two shots from the same clip, that's also no problem.
So I'm not even really editing these for content yet, I just want a nice even distribution. It's sort of like laying the paint on the palette here. These shots are also going to be really nice, the wides and the tights, I am just going to tighten there for now, and we just proceed to build. There's one shot I've already noticed that I know goes in this scene, and I want to point it out, because it's a little special. It's right here.
You see the way the truck leaves, that's a really nice transitional shot, and I know that after we pick and pack, we need to go to the market. And as I said, I love to speak with my visuals, so if I can get this marked right where it pulls out, in and out, this is the process, and I just want to show you how this timeline looks when it's all finished. Here you see how our timeline looks with our major scenes assembled just as their rough visuals.
We've done our farm introduction scene, and I'm just looking at the thumbnails for now. I'm not even playing, the timings are so off, that I'm not even playing, this timeline, with the big black holes and the rough edits, I just want to see my ingredients on the timeline here. So I've got my little opening section, I've got my pick and pack section. I'm leaving a hole here, we haven't put the historical photographs in, but I know they're going to go right around there before we go to market. Here I've got the actual market scene, the Downey's Tour Kitchen, and then at the very end I've put a little placeholder in for my last shot.
If I look at the whole timeline, it's also ending just short of three minutes, that's probably going to drift around a little bit, but I've accomplished my goals. I've gone from only organization in the Project pane, to some of my visuals coming down onto the timeline in an organized way. And I've based this on the guideline or roadmap that I made in the last step when I organized and planned my edit. So, one step at a time, very methodical, and in this case, focusing on the visuals before we even worry about the words.
I like that in particular, and when I sort of look at this all assembled, I know that I'm starting to see a visual story here, and that's really important to my process.