Post production isn’t only about the editing tools used, but also about the look and flow of the final piece. It’s also the time to make decisions on the content, narrative and the visual look of the documentary. For example the questions asked in the documentary and therefore the answers to those questions maybe work better in a different sequence? For my final edit the I have changed the order, grouping answers so that they follow each other in a more cohesive manner. A simple change can have a dramatic effect on the final documentary, even though the answers are the same, the sequence can change the context and narrative.
The editing process can also change the pace of the documentary. Rapid and I mean by this short cuts say of 1-2 seconds increase the pace, whereas decreasing the number of cuts say of 5-10 seconds slow the pace of the documentary. For my project I feel the pace should be slow and so there are fewer cuts. I did create an edit with lots of cuts and it just did not work for this subject.
Premiere Pro CS5 – Post Production
My tool of choice is still Premiere Pro CS5 for editing my videos even though we have access to CS6 at University. I use CS5 mainly as I believe they got it right with this version and subsequent updates have added little, except for some changes to functionality, which are annoying rather than of benefit and the move to a Cloud based option, which is a bad idea when considering the poor access speed I have to the internet at home.
Post Production – Workflow
Note the use of Colour Balance in the above screenshot (see below for description)
This is my workflow process and may not be what is recommended or the best but it works for me.
First step is to copy all the footage to a directory which I call Video Projects then create sub directories for the each stage of the FIlming schedule so for example the Interview footage goes into the Interview sub-folder, rehearsal footage in the Technical Rehearsal sub folder, repeat this for each filming session of stage in the documentary process.
The 2nd step is to create ‘Bins’ for my media files in Premiere Pro that directly relate to the project for example the ‘Interview Footage’ is dragged into the ‘Interview Bin’. The footage taken during the productions ‘Technical Rehearsal’ dragged into a Bin of the same name. Music into aother Bin and so on.
The 3rd step is to review each of the movie clips against the shot list and confirm which ones to use. I usually drag them into the Preview window and make rough edits for in and out and make a note of the sequence and a short description relating to the clip number.
The order that I use these clips, dragging them onto the Timeline is per-determined by the shot list which for this project ran in sequential order.
4th Step:- I should mention the B-roll, this is the clips I would use keep the viewer interested as there is only so long you can have video of talking heads before the viewer loses interest. You need to film interesting images or add photographs relevant to the documentary for example I filmed close ups of hand movements, extracts from the performance, close ups of just the eyes of the interviewee.
5th Step: Time to add some music and check those volume levels. I’ve learn’t that you need to playback the sound from your edits through a number of audio sources. What I mean by this, is that the sound you hear from the speakers built into the Mac may be different when played back through headphones and different again when played back through a home cinema system. Watch out for those Bass settings in particular they can be non-existant on the Mac but overpowering on the Home Cinema System with its built in Sub Woofer.
6th Step: Colour grading – this is something I will do if required sometimes the video as shot is what I intended to see on screen but sometimes it is necessary to get the visuals you want for example video from 2 cameras may not match. But for this project I decided that purely for aesthetics I wanted to reduce the mid and high red tones and enhance the blues and greens. I used the colour balance option there are others you can use for example curves but I like to see the number settings so that I can make notes of what setting works best. Having created this colour balance setting I saved it in Presets so that I could access it for other projects.
7th Step: This is optional but I planned to create 3 edits in total so I needed to create 2 New Sequences and then repeat the previous steps to create the other edits in the same way.
Post Production – Alternative Edits and Experimentation
The screenshot above is taken from an experimental edit I put together from the videos taken of the same dance routine but at different times and using different cameras – the Black and White sequence was shot using an iPad 3 and the Colour sequence shot on a Canon 60D DSLR. I then overlayed one on top of the other adjusting the Opacity of the overlayed video to just 45%. I then attempted to matched the visuals as closely as possible but not too closely to get this Ghosting effect.
View the Rushes
It makes sense to put together some rough edits initially and get people to watch these for feedback purposes. My 1st edits for this project were not received that well, the feedback was the music levels were too high, the clips I’d used for transitions were distracting rather than enhancing. On a positive note they liked the subject and the visuals particularly my use of colour grading. This is very useful feedback when creating the final edits.
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