Post-Production : Tips on Documentary Editing by Jacob Ayers

Jacob Ayers

Tips on Documentary Editing

Do you have any tips on editing feature length documentaries?

Jack Eagen

Start with the audio... ignore the images. I like to put together a story first, a script of what audio I have that tells the story and what VO I may need if any. After thats done its just a after of putting in the right images and the right reels, in the right order.

Nicholas Jordan

Yes, like Jack Eagen says. You lay some of the major usable material and see if you can run audio under it.

Jonas Cox

I agree with Jack and Nicholas: audio is the place to start. For a doc that I produced and edited, I captured all the material in my NLE, and pored over it till I felt I knew all the possibilities. Then, I found it helpful to get out of the NLE, and resort to paper. I wrote out flash cards of the major elements (quick, basic descriptions of soundbites, montages, etc.) then started arranging them on the floor. Once the structure made sense, I used this new chronology revealed by the flash cards in my NLE. Kind of like scripting a narrative film, except retroactively.

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