Over the past 6 weeks I have been editing a short expository documentary, ‘316 Cars’. I have never edited something over 1 minute long so this was a very eye opening experience for me. I struggled a bit with starting and developing the edit but once we changed the story and re-shot what we were missing, I was able to create a successful short documentary.
This documentary was about an old man and his passion for cars, his wife and his life. We shot the documentary over three days. During the filming process we had a different idea of the story we were trying to tell of our character. When we began editing, we realised the direction we should’ve been going in so we re-shot one of the interviews and got more overlay. The overlay we captured over the days of filming was useful and suited the story we were going for. However, during the edit, we discovered that we were missing some of the most crucial elements. We weren’t able to re-shoot these specific things so we had to make do with the overlay we had. The lack of overlay we had made it very difficult to edit and capture the essence of the story we were going for. The B-Roll of the interview was helpful to fill in those gaps, but it would’ve been an even more successful documentary if we had shot more. It was a fairly difficult process to edit the documentary without the overlay and particular content we needed but we were able to create an even better story with the footage we captured.
After having a rough picture lock, we sourced soundtracks from royalty free websites. We wanted to go with a very acoustic tone to keep with the soft and romantic theme of the documentary. We spent a long time going through the music to see which tracks worked the best with the pacing of the documentary. After a lot of trial and error, we were able to find a select few tracks that really increased the emotional connection with our documentary. By cutting the tracks to the beats of the documentary, it moved the edit along faster and allowed us to create a much more polished cut earlier in the editing process.
Overall, editing ‘316 Cars’ has been a really unique experience and has taught me a lot about storytelling in documentaries. After re-shooting and almost completely changing the story during the edit, we were able to create an emotionally driven documentary. Using specific music cues and overlay sequences, we were able to show a deeper meaning to our character.