I will be frank in saying that I found the editing stage very difficult. I have not a lot experience editing, especially with the software we used, Final Cut. Though a member of our group was very adept at using the program and so my lack of skills did not hinder the process.
I took a back seat when editing, I was not on hand doing the job. This was due to the fact I had no proficiency at using the software and since we only had a week to put the documentary together I felt it would be better if someone else used the software and got it done. I will endeavor to learn how to use the system but with the footage needing editing fast due to time constraints, I encouraged someone else to do it.
I was not passing on the responsibility but I felt I was more effective commenting, discussing and divulging my thoughts and opinions about how the documentary should look as opposed to bumbling about learning the tools. It was like I was the brain and the person physically editing was the hands. I actually think this method of getting the job done by using your strongest components really worked well. I could concentrate on how the film looked overall with my companion concentrating on the technical sides of editing. I did pick a fair few instructions up as we went along making me more confident about editing in my next project.
Neil’s interview needed more than just him talking to make it into a documentary. We needed to add certain things to the footage to make the story more aesthetically pleasing and easy to follow. Though first,we had to remove the footage we were not going to use (such as us talking to him asking him questions or irrelevant points). We then selected the sections of the interview we liked the best and created the best narrative without too much explanation. We placed them into a continuity order which gave the piece structure – the three-part structure as mentioned before, getting into music journalism; being a music journalist; and his band.
There were several cut-aways we felt had to be included in the finished product. First was the very first news article Neil had published. The zoom into this really brought an otherwise static image to life. This was done by key framing the image. Emma had a lot of experience doing this and using Final Cut and showed Jess and I how to perform this function. The news article cutaway was crucial, I feel, and I urged it to be put into the product. The rhythm and pace when Neil was talking was very intense with no natural breaks or pauses. I insisted the cutaway be placed in to give the piece time to breathe. An audience would feel claustrophobic in consuming the product if it does not pause for them to take a moment to take in what has been said. The second cutaway was relating to the ‘Derrek Smalls of Spinal Tap’ line with another key framing image of the man shown. Another cutaway was a photograph of Neil ‘from a young age’ which matches what he is saying blissfully perfect. It is in relation to him talking about always having a passion for reading, writing and music since his childhood. A video of his band, The Moonbears, is played with him talking over the top about the band itself and what it means to him. We had to include it also as it linked what he was saying. If we had not put it in, it would seem like he changed the context of the conversation with no seamless link and appears abruptly strange. The Moonbear video helps to smooth the transition.
I think we made a cracking decision by filming with two cameras. It was said that two cameras was a cover up for either an audio glitch or the fact that the effects need to be interesting because the subject (interviewee) is not. However, Neil was fully engaging and not only does he speak with his mouth, but he speaks with his face. His almost caricature facial expressions complement the context and emotion of what he is saying. We used the close up shots sacredly to convey these interesting points about him. One particular part I feel responsible for pulling together was during the section where Neil talks about being a ‘cocky, arrogant git’ and telling the music press their articles were ‘shit’. This cocky, arrogantness, along with a sense of cheekiness, is portrayed though a smile and widening of the eyes which are full of swagger. It really brings his character and personality to life.
The finished product succeeds as a documentary and can hold its own as a piece of narrative. It is structured and self explanatory which is what we aimed to achieve. If we had to explain what was going on or the audience actually asked what was going on then we would have failed in making a self supporting product. But this was not the case. With careful editing and selective cut-aways we stabilised the quick change of topics that delivered the information we wanted to show about Neil but at the same time keeping rhythm and pace in his interview.