Editing Films In Davinci Resolve

In the last video, I showed you my process for importing and organising media in Davinci Resolve. If you haven’t seen it, check it out up here or at the link in the description.

This week, we’re going to be diving deep into how I edit films in Davinci Resolve, with a focus around documentaries and client videos.

Throughout my editing process, I like to keep each stage separated into its own timeline, in case any issues arise and I need to revert back to an older edit. This all starts with editing the dialogue or talking heads.

Interviews

The first step with editing interviews is to create a new timeline and copy over the interview I am working on.

I start off by going through and separating out each of the interviewees answers, adding space between each one.

When shooting interviews, I always get the interviewee to include the question - in a natural way - at the start of their answer. This helps to keep the interview flowing throughout the film. I’ll have more on shooting interviews in a future video, so please do subscribe.

Once I have separated each response, I’ll start tightening up the answers, removing uhms and errs, and any unnecessary information. This helps to make the interview more concise, trimming the fat and keeping the core information necessary for the story.

Acts

I’ll then create a new timeline for each of the films acts.

Starting with act one, I’ll copy over all of the interview elements that are required to tell the story, forming the base structure of each act.

I’ll put each talking head into the correct order, and add spacing where there should be a natural pause for adding B-Roll.

Repeat this for acts 1, 2 & 3.

Rough Cut

Now that I have the story for each act, I begin the rough cut.

I will copy and paste each act across into a new timeline, keeping them in order.

The next step is to source some music. Music is a great way to help set the tone of your film, and I have a few videos going over how I find music for my films, which you can find here. I’ll also link to it in the description.

Once you have found your songs, you can start timing the taking head to it. I always start at act one, and work my way through the film. This helps to blend the acts together in a more seamless fashion.

Now that the music is in, and I have spaces left for B-Roll sequences and montages, I start to think about what B-Roll will fit with what the film is talking about.

For example, with this film, we start off introducing who the character is. I incorporated shots of his personal life, and his hobby, bird watching, in order to give the viewer a better idea of who this person is. I then slowly start cutting in shots from his job as it progresses towards the second act.

A good rule of thumb is to try and incorporate shots from the location you filmed in. With this film, act one was shot on a rainy walk, as our character tells us more about his role as a senior exploration geologist.

In acts two and three, our character goes more in-depth on what he does, and we start off following him getting ready to head underground for the day. This slowly progresses to shots of him working in the mine.

I treat the B-Roll for act two & three as a sort of ‘Day In The Life’ for our character. Attempting to show the breadth of what he does.

Remember this, if your A-Roll is the story, then the B-Roll should add context. Only include shots that help to further emphasise the story being told.

Tighten Up

Once I have all of my shots in place, I’ll watch through the film a good few times, tightening up the edit, and improving the flow.

Titles

Now that I am happy with the edit, I’ll go in and add titles. Sometimes this is just text, other times it is either and After Effects comp (For an intro or lower third), or a Fusion clip.

I’m still sussing out Fusion and have encountered some bugs, so After Effects is generally my main port of call for motion graphics currently. I’m slowly making the shift to Fusion.

Once you’re happy with this, you can move onto the finishing touches for your film, colour grading & sound design.

Over the next few weeks I’ll have more videos coming out diving into these topics, so stay tuned! Next week, we’ll be looking at how I colour grade films in Davinci Resolve.