July 25, 2016 at 12:13PM, Edited July 25, 12:40PM

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Adventure filmmaking. I've got no money left, all my gear's broken, and my horses are gone. How to begin post on 12+TB?

Hey guys - first post here!

I've just crash landed onto Vancouver Island, BC after 2 years of adventuring and surfing down the Pacific coast of the Americas - from Alaska to Patagonia. I started off solo, and rode a motorcycle for most of it, but then hit Chile and we (my girl, whom I met on the road and I) traded our motorcycles for 4 horses. We learned how to ride and care for them, strapped our surfboards to their backs, and spent another 6 months riding down into Patagonia. It was epic.

More than anything it was a surfing journey, but we've delved pretty deep into themes of sovereignty, indigenous philosophy and nature - amongst others. I'm frothing on the material we've collected...

I used to work producing commercials and short doco's for various organisations prior to leaving my home in Melbourne, Australia. That's how I funded this journey, and so I have a reasonable understanding of workflows and delivering projects. But it's essentially been 2 years since i've edited anything, and i'm now staring in horror/salivation at the 12TB+? that we've collected over the last 2 years!

I'll be using the Adobe suite.

My footage was shot primarily on the Sony A7s, but also the Canon 5D as B cam, with things like Gopro's etc for novelty shots and the drone.

My first question is; What did you do, or wish you'd done, when you first watched all of your footage? When you began the process of trimming and culling?

I've got my own workflow, but i'm sure it can be improved, and i'm sure there's been lots of technical developments whilst I dropped out for a couple of years. I'd love to hear thoughts on cutting down hundreds of hours of footage.

Did you first transcript all the interviews?

Did you add tags to each clip as you trimmed it, to make locating them easier down the line?

How the hell do you stay organised?? Is coffee and anti-depressants the only answer?!?!

This is the sort of stuff i'm interested in right now... i'm open to any suggestions.

For instance, I'm also going to keep a dictaphone handy as I begin to watch the footage for the first time, hoping that it'll stir all those memories and provide material for a little book down the line...

Any tips (no matter how weird) are appreciated...

Many thanks in advance.

16 Comments

First of all get a powerful computer and SSD drives. If you want to quickly scan through footage you need speed even if you use proxies.

Then you might get software like this to quickly see what is in a particular folder:
http://hammultiplayer.org/

I think there are two criteria in a first selection of footage:

1. Is it technically accepable
2. Does it fit with the project's leitmotif.

You need a leitmotif, your doc has to show some common thread and if you determine reasonably early in the production what the main message of your doc will be your selection process will be much more goal driven.

I really like an iterative process of gradual reduction, I know that is definitely not the fastest way but the advantage is that you get more familiar with the footage while doing it and that pays back in the end when you make your final selections.

July 25, 2016 at 2:38PM

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Cary Knoop
Member
2160

Cary I wish I could fork out for a solid editing suite right now, but that won't happen until there's a bit of funding, and that won't happen until i've at least got a sizzle. So for the moment, i'll plug away on the laptop, which should suffice (I hope). The Ham multi player looks interesting... are you suggesting I should view all the footage on this platform before actually getting stuck into trimming in PP?

My folders are pretty well organised on the hardrives...

Also, when you say 'iterative process of gradual reduction', what exactly is that? I tried to google it, but came up with generic research strategies.

I was thinking of viewing each clip, tagging it and placing it on it's relevant sequence eg. Alaska surfing, Alaska wildlife, Baja desert riding etc. Then once i had those scenes/sequences organised, i'd pick out those most relevant to my narrative, and start glueing them together, shifting them round etc, until they began to carve out a rough narrative. And from there, just keep cutting it down, cutting it down...

Sorry if I didn't understand, thanks for your thoughts!

July 25, 2016 at 8:11PM

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Matty Hannon
Documentary filmmaker
189

Oh, and we've got the leitmotif, it was reasonably slow in presenting itself initially during production, but we found it and ran with it.

So, like you said, that'll obviously define the selection process for the most part...

July 25, 2016 at 8:27PM

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Matty Hannon
Documentary filmmaker
189

"iterative process of gradual reduction" means making multiple passes through all the footage, getting more and more selective each time.

July 26, 2016 at 11:36AM

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Personally, I find the music that I want first, which gives me a pretty clear vision of how I want to edit (music inspires me like nothing else), and that makes it easier to start organizing because I'm doing it with an end vision in mind. So, do whatever you need to do to get decently clear on the video(s) you want to end up with before you start organizing and then you'll know the kinds of categories you need and the shots you want. It's been a while since I've used PP but I tag footage with colors (yellow=useable, green=go, blue=beautiful, purple=phuck yes) which carry over into FCPX even when I've placed clips in other folders. So if there's a way to do that in PP maybe you'll find that useful.
Another easy thing to get started is just to go through your footage looking for clips you can trash right away (don't actually trash them but mark them as rejected or move them to a separate folder.) Makes everything else easier later on and seem less daunting.
Hope that's useful.

July 25, 2016 at 2:44PM

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Yeah i'm totally with you on the music Ethan. But I think it might take me a while just to select the appropriate work, let alone organise rights etc. So maybe i'll make that a background task whilst going through the first viewing, and once the footage is at least blocked into scenes and sequences, I can look at getting a little more inspired and creative.

Nice idea on deleting clips - i've never really done that, but can see what you mean about the psychological benefits of reducing some of that mass!

Is there a strong reason why you use FCPx (without opening a can of worms). I used to use FCP7, then switched to PP, AE, etc and have been happy enough. I really like how I can integrate the whole adobe suite together... and I know that FCPX is awesome too. At this stage I could potentially switch to FCPX... but i'd need a bloody good reason to do so.. haha..

Thanks for the comments mate..

July 25, 2016 at 8:19PM

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Matty Hannon
Documentary filmmaker
189

Re: music - Check out musicbed.com Great music you can buy the rights to immediately. Great staff, too.

Re: the can of worms - When I moved to FCPX 2014 there were a lot of reasons that don't apply anymore. Right now the thing keeping me here is that on a mac FCPX is proven significantly faster than PP. I've got a cMP with GTX 980ti which crushes almost anything I throw at it, whereas PP still has very limited use of GPU acceleration. Ironically, I still use (and love) AE because Motion sucks donkey balls.
As far as integration with the whole suite, you obviously can't beat sticking within the Adobe world.
All in all, they are both very capable NLE's and I'd probably go with whatever you're more familiar with, which is Adobe. Can't hurt to get a free trial of FCPX, though, if you're interested.

July 26, 2016 at 11:33AM, Edited July 26, 11:37AM

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Organise the footage in categories (and chronologically).
Makes notes, notes and notes, add tags.
Free up a wall. Gets post-it notes, so you can write down key events, quotes, scenes, shots and stick them on the wall. This way you can start 'editing' a structure, before actually cutting footage. It can surely help to get an overview and play with the storyline while you are still spotting.

2 Years of footage: sounds like horror indeed. ;-)
2 Years of collecting footage you described: sounds epic indeed :-)

Good luck and keep us posted!

July 27, 2016 at 7:04PM

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WalterBrokx
Director, DOP, Writer, Editor, Producer
8999

This is awesome Walter - love the idea of beginning an collage of inspiration on the empty walls around here.. thanks!

July 30, 2016 at 11:30AM

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Matty Hannon
Documentary filmmaker
189

You're welcome!
I noticed it can really help. It's like writing a script while you already have the footage :-)

July 30, 2016 at 1:17PM

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WalterBrokx
Director, DOP, Writer, Editor, Producer
8999

first ... stop to open shooting out of premiere, stop to opening shooting.
second ... learn strong how work the Multimedia Browser of premiere, it's like FinalCutX browser, with many option about tagging, organizing and more without import a single clip in a project.
too many people use Premiere today like two years ago, Premiere is strongly changed, it's workflow completely change, think that you never used it and start from zero, you are going to learn a new software, with browser that allow you see clip without loading, only move over mouse (like FCPX), you can setup a in out from a sequence and import directly this part of clip, you can import/ingest/convert/create a proxy with simple click, you can tag and add metadata during import or simple browsing operation...
first learn your software, then you can work with your shooting.
two years are geologic era in software, especially in this period for premiere.
then when you are strong in and where use your software decide what you want to do, if documentary, fiction, news or what, and then you can see and select your footage

just an idea...
http://tv.adobe.com/watch/adobe-beginner-classes-with-dennis-radeke/epis...
good luck

July 28, 2016 at 4:30AM, Edited July 28, 4:30AM

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Carlo Macchiavello
Director
773

Thanks Carlo - yeah I admit it's probably not ideal to be out of the editing world for a couple of years, but i'll get there in the end (at least 2 years of solid shooting was rad and taught me heaps). It looks like you're right with all the new options in media browser. That link you provided was for CS4, but i'll chase down some other info, I think I know what you mean - cheers!

July 30, 2016 at 11:38AM

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Matty Hannon
Documentary filmmaker
189

Organization is everything. What I did for my doc, is that I went through my interviews and made subclips of everything, labeling them by the topic discussed. Then I made topic bins and put all the interview subclips into their associated bins. I would string together all the clips of a single topic into a timeline and then start cutting them down and rearranging them until it told a cohesive story. Once done with that, I'd lay all the topic sequences into a master timeline and rearranged until it told the overall story, then I'd start overlaying b-roll and visual bridges to connect them, laying in music to help the flow. Then refine, refine, refine until I was happy.

July 28, 2016 at 11:19AM, Edited July 28, 11:23AM

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Batutta
329

Thanks Batutta - super logical way to carve out the narrative. It's going to be interesting to build those bridges between the interviews, the run and gun action, exposition etc.. we've got several themes and undercurrents happening, so being able to build that central narrative first is going to be critical... great info mate

July 30, 2016 at 11:46AM

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Matty Hannon
Documentary filmmaker
189

When I have a lot to organize for editing, a notepad is my best friend, I don't use a dictaphone because it is longer to hear what i said then scrolling back again in the shots. I usually don't use keywords in the editing software but it might be a mistake. I just label the shot best or dismissed. For interviews transcript I only get it done when there is a team to do it otherwise it takes too long. I just take quick note of what it said in the interviews, if one sentence is important I write it with the tc in the notepad. Then I work only with my notes to decide how I will tell the story, and only when it's clear I start editing.

July 29, 2016 at 7:31AM

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AvdS
1135

Thanks mate - totally agree - i've got a million beautiful shots of landscapes and exotic cultures, but they don't really mean anything until we've found the story behind it all.

July 30, 2016 at 11:48AM

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Matty Hannon
Documentary filmmaker
189

Armed with so many valuable insights suggested here, maybe you can start working on the first location/town/adventure first. The experience learned can be applicable to the rest of footages. This way is more fun and you won't be overwhelmed with "OMG I 've got 12+Tbs of stuff".

January 14, 2017 at 2:20AM

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Chi
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