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Liam

Hey, documentary filmmakers! Editing tips?

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I've been curious to get more into improvisation in film, but last time I tried I ended up with pretty much a montage. I figured someone with a documentary background could see a way to create a plot in it better than I had.

I assume you can use B-roll to hide a seam, cut two conversations together so it feels like one, cross cut between two scenes so that you care less that each part is just a snippet... mess with the order. I don't know, I'd be interested in any input or personal experience, or just pointing me in the direction of where better to learn some of this. I know nothing in this area.

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Make transcription text files with time code references to all spoken lines in your footage/audio.  Then, edit "on paper" before you even get close to sitting down at the edit bay.  It makes the process exceedingly easier and much more thorough.  You can add b-roll/cut-aways during the paper edit and/or during the NLE session.

 

If you have a lot of footage/audio (more than ~20-30 minutes), hire a cheap transcription service to make the text files with time code reference.  The least expensive transcription services are probably in India and, perhaps, in the Philippines, and they can often transcribe most languages.  These services are worth every penny you spend on them.

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25 minutes ago, tupp said:

Make transcription text files with time code references to all spoken lines in your footage/audio.  Then, edit "on paper" before you even get close to sitting down at the edit bay.  It makes the process exceedingly easier and much more thorough.  You can add b-roll/cut-aways during the paper edit and/or during the NLE session.

 

If you have a lot of footage/audio (more than ~20-30 minutes), hire a cheap transcription service to make the text files with time code reference.  The least expensive transcription services are probably in India and, perhaps, in the Philippines, and they can often transcribe most languages.  These services are worth every penny you spend on them.

Also check out something like speed scriber if you are in a Mac as it uses AI voice recognition to transcribe to text with markers. It can also import into most NLE and with FCPX you can search for words and find the clips when the people said those words. Also you can export to PDF or SRT for subtitles.

the latest FCPX grill podcast talks with the guy who made speed scriber.

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Liam. It 's my opinion that documentary offers a far greater range to work with than fiction film... and when you get it right, it actually transcends fiction for, if no other reason than, it's magnetic realism. Now, having said this, there are all kinds of documentaries and for the longest time I had been focused on a cinema verite approach but that has given way to hybrid docs that blur the line between reality and fiction.
I recently did a search on documentary editing and could find very little - next to nothing really. But here are two solid examples that represent two very different camps that show a radical divergence in the form.
 

A few other points worth mentioning are:

1) Very often, the story is found in the editing.
2) In fiction filmmaking, the director is god. In documentary, god is the director.

3) Documentary filmmaking can be a vow of poverty... but the good news is that we are now in the golden period of documentary and there has never been greater demand.

http://d-word.com/ is a great resource.

One of my favorite doc filmmakers - who died doing what he loves - gives an informed masterclass on doc filmmaking and... life:

https://dafilms.com/film/8411-planete-doc-film-festival-presents-masterclass-michael-glawogger

 

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Just try, and do. There is no other way around it.

Watch classic documentaries, read a few books, be a more complete person, amd decide what kind of documentaries you want to make. There are dozens of different styles and hybrids between them.

A lot of times someone started a documentary for a reason, and found out a different sub plot with more filmic value, or a more important story, or the real deal revealed to him after.

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To be clear, I'm kind of unintereted in actual documentaries. But some of my favorite fiction filmmakers have taken a lot of inspiration from them. I'll definitely mostly have to practice, but it's clearly an artform I could stand to learn more about from the pros.

And thanks for all the input and resources so far :)

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1 hour ago, Liam said:

To be clear, I'm kind of unintereted in actual documentaries. But some of my favorite fiction filmmakers have taken a lot of inspiration from them. I'll definitely mostly have to practice, but it's clearly an artform I could stand to learn more about from the pros.

And thanks for all the input and resources so far :)

Ok, then just over shoot everything, keep the camera running between takes and do the tripping cameraman ducking for cover thing. ;)

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