RedShark Replay: Part two of our comprehensive guide to editing looks at bringing your material into the NLE.
Capture / Import
With the materials all arranged on your hard drive, you should focus on getting everything into your NLE.
Every NLE is different, so consult your NLE's instruction manual for specifics on how to ingest media into your software. To do this in Lightworks you use the Import or capture icon. Check out the LightWorks video tutorials for a quick guide to importing footage into LightWorks as well as most of the other tasks I mention in this article.
Before you start importing your media, you should create a rack called “Master Media.” This rack will hold bins for all your original media. Create a new bin for each one of your master media reels. Import the media one reel at a time into these bins.
Do the same for all your sound effects, music, and voiceover files. If you first need to sync your clips because you have been shooting using a dual-system setup (where picture and sound are recorded on different devices) then now is the time to do it.
Log & Transcribe
Now it's time to go through all of your media (that's right, all of it!) and start logging, or labelling the content of the clips.
If you're working on a feature film, there's a good chance a lot of this work has already been done for you. Each shot typically begins with a slate that has the scene and shot number. Ask for a lined and numbered copy of the script and any notes the director might have made. All this information goes into the clips logging information / file card.
When working on a documentary this process can be a lot more involved, especially if there are a number of interviews or a good amount of verité footage. In this case, you're going to start creating a transcript of your footage.
Many production houses I have worked for produce a word-for-word representation of what is said on screen. This is helpful when you find yourself constructing sentences, but it is really involved work, and typically is outsourced to a paid transcription service. For many smaller, low-budget productions this just isn't an option.
A much more efficient way of transcribing your footage is to sit and watch, as I said, everything and start writing down at least a sentence or two for every action, concept discussed, and at what time they occur.
Once finished a typical logging sheet will look something like this:
EXT. HOME OFFICE – DAY
David greets camera crew outside. Invites everyone in for a tour.
DAVID: “This is where all the magic of Red Shark begins...” **
TAKE 1: DAVID talks about how the facilities are laid out, and what makes them unique. Why he likes working at the office.
TAKE 2: DAVID talks about how the facilities are laid out, and what makes them unique. Why he likes working at the office. Jokes about the vending machines. ***
PETER tells long-winded story about a time a bird that got into the office.
INT. HOME OFFICE
Misc. beauty shots of the workspaces and folks working.
Do this for every scene. Make sure to note if there are multiple takes of a scene or moment and what is different about them.
I typically do all of this long hand in a notebook, good old pen and paper. I prefer this to typing everything into a laptop because it allows me to make little marks and notes in the margins and possibly make little doodles and drawings to jog my memory.
As you write out your transcript start adding cues such as “*” or “!” to denote the shots and takes you like. I typically use multiple “***” when something is really great. These will help jog your memory when you get to writing.