Video Documentary Help? (Eagle Scout)

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by jsf8x, Dec 12, 2010.

  1. jsf8x macrumors 6502


    Feb 28, 2010
    Hey, so I'm doing my Eagle Scout project on past US War Veterans. I am making a documentary donating it to several historical societies, and I'm hoping that I can send it to NPR.

    Anyways, I was wondering if there were any tips you guys could give me. I just finished all the filming and I'm now down to the editing. I took each video from two camera angles (one with just the interviewee and one with both the interviewer and the interviewee). I am planning on using a mixture of Final Cut Express, iMovie, and iDVD.

    I plan on using this thread for questions throughout my editing process but as of now, does anybody have any tips?

    Thanks so Much

  2. KeithPratt macrumors 6502a

    Mar 6, 2007
    Have a real thorough think about the whole process before you start editing...

    How long a programme is appropriate for the subject and its distribution?

    How much space will your footage take up? (You'll need a lot more on top of that for renders and such.)

    Should you split the project up into smaller sections?

    Will you be involving others, to do a sound mix or titles and effects?

    How do you intend to archive the project? (What if you interest NPR but only have a copy with royalty-incurring music all over it?)

    And the big one: how best do I tell this story?

  3. acearchie macrumors 68040


    Jan 15, 2006
    I would really try and keep everything within Final Cut Express as you can do everything and more than what iMovie will offer. Exporting and chopping and changing between the two can only lead to a loss in quality of the footage due to compression.

    Get random people (friends, family, neighbours) to watch parts (can be the whole thing) and just get their opinion on it. You may be a good editor but they may not be expecting things like you are and may miss cuts etc.

    With interviews, work with the audio first and when you have them saying what you want adjust the visuals so that you avoid jump cuts.

    I'm not sure if you did this and if there is an opportunity to still do it. But instead of cutting between the interviewer and interviewee have you got any other footage of hands close up of face, location and surroundings? These provide god cuts for when you get bored of jumping back and forth between the two people.

    I noticed you are talking about war. See if there is any archival footage or pictures that you can use that would cut in well in the edit.
  4. jsf8x thread starter macrumors 6502


    Feb 28, 2010
    This is what I wanted to do.

    Another question..

    How should I go about putting this on actual dvd's... I'm sure it won't fit on just one dvd and I'm planning on doing this through iDVD. So will I need multiple dvd's to put all of this on?
  5. acearchie macrumors 68040


    Jan 15, 2006
    I think you'll be surprised as to how much footage you can squeeze onto a DVD. I made a documentary over the summer that was just over an hour long and it easily fitted onto the DVD.

    If you documentary is much longer than an hour consider shortening is as 1hr30mins seems to be the limit on documentaries for most viewers.
  6. jsf8x thread starter macrumors 6502


    Feb 28, 2010
    This is going to be much longer than an hour an a half. People can watch it in different sections, but one of the interviews lasts almost that length. However, most of the interviews are about 30 minutes long.
  7. NXTMIKE macrumors 6502

    Nov 11, 2008

    You really don't want to be lugging video files from one program to another, especially when you don't need to.
  8. lighthouse_man, Dec 13, 2010
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2010

    lighthouse_man macrumors 6502a

    Mar 13, 2005
    You have to know your material and what story you want to tell. Even though the story will evolve and change, you have to have a starting point.

    That's why you must watch the rushes, without fast forwarding, to feel comfortable with them. You have to log them in an organized fashion. Ideally you should transcribe the interviews or have someone do it for you. Don't omit to add timecodes to the printed transcriptions so you know where to find that part you want to cut in easily instead of getting lost and confused looking for an unmarked clip.

    If you don't have an idea of how to build your story, after watching the rushes at least twice, you should try to outline a structure on paper and use that as a reference as the edit progresses. Feel free to change the original plan (story) too as you edit through it.

    Edit without worrying about the length in the beginning. You will eventually end up with some sort of an assembly cut. From there you can cut it down and refine it.

    As you get deeper in the cut, it's a good idea to watch the rushes again in their entirety to refreshen your view on the material.

    Good luck.
  9. jsf8x thread starter macrumors 6502


    Feb 28, 2010
    What exactly are rushes? Just the main clips?

    I said previously that I have two point of views that I filmed from. Unfortunately, the point of view that had both the interviewer as well as the interviewee is not as good quality as the other point of view and I would have to stretch the film (is that possible on Final Cut?) to make the black bars on the side disappear which would probably look pretty bad. Any tips from here?


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