I have edited several documentaries in my lifetime. Journey of Hope was the second documentary I edited. Here is links to all 4 parts.
This documentary is the story of Scott Orr and his decision to have life changing brain surgery. This surgery would help with the tremors associated with Parkinson’s Disease. This documentary was one of the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done at a television station. It challenged me on so many aspects of editing and production. It pushed me as an editor to use every skill I had developed. Before I started editing I got organized.
I didn’t capture a lot of the video for this. In fact my photographer, Dave Wertheimer, captured a majority of the video for me. I still went threw every tape (Yes, this was back in the days when we shot on tape).
- Logging is extremely important process especially in anything, especially long form.
I edited this is in Avid. Here is some things I did before started editing. It doesn’t matter what NLE you use, these are all things you can do in any NLE.
- Every time a shot changed I put a locators on the video. That way I could toggle between EVERY SHOT. So as I watched every tape that was captured I added locators. Most of the time I watched the video at either two or three times speed. I didn’t have time to watch everything in real time. Nowadays we don’t have this problem because every time you hit record with a digital camera you get a new clip. But if your recording a clip, moving around and don’t pause recording this is still a good idea and a time saver in the long run.
- I sub-clipped A LOT. I sub-clipped interviews, the surgeries, at the race track, head shaving party, etc. So later I could just go to the sub-clips and look at smaller amount of media at once. I still sub-clip, especially long interview.
- I had a different bin for each tape the photographer shot. VERY important for organization and for sanity. This is still something I do to this day. I make many, many bins in long form edits. I try to keep the amount of clips in a bin small. In a documentary I’m usually editing sections at a time. So, makes bins to correspond to these sections at best I can. I re-arrange bins all the time, moving clips around in bins to be better organized. The last documentary I edited I spent over 6 months on so I knew reorganizing in the end was still a time saver.
- I have additional bins for music, graphics, sequences, etc.
- I made sure my media was as organized as I could possible have it.
- I also made sure my media was organized in folders on my scratch. I am very, very organized. I can’t tell you how much time this has saved, especially when I needed to find a clip or move media to different drives.
Here is an example of the folder structure I had on a recent project.
Within my master folder are sub-folders. Within my sub-folder are more sub-folders. See how I broke down folders by various cameras used. I have a folder for animations, graphics, music and VOs.
- Keep Organized!
Here is a picture of my bins within a project.
Get organized. Over-organize. Practice getting organized.
I have notes all over the place. I have notes on paper and I have digital notes. When I put locators on the video I write notes on the locator all the time. It is a good practice to get into. I you don’t know how to put a locator on a clip on in the timeline I seriously suggest you invest some time learning how to do that.
Do whatever you can BEFORE the edit in order to be the most organized video editor you possibly can.