The Real American Graffiti
A classic documentary production based on interviews with those who were there at the time. This example really shows the benefits of selects string-outs to kick-start the editing.
In the late 1950’s into the early 1960’s the drag racing world banned nitromethane as a fuel, leading to a period of multi-engine gasoline dragsters. Prominent, and very successful, among the dragsters of the era is the dual-engined Freight Train, and its driver Floyd Lippencotte Jnr. What people didn’t know during his career is that Floyd was none other than Bob Muravez, who had been our landlord in the “Maytag Museum”.
I decided that this would make a great topic for a mini-documentary about drag racing of the era along with the rise and fall of the multi-engined gas dragster. I took a fairly standard approach: shooting interviews with some of those present during the period and logging with Lumberjack.
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I customized the displayed “other keywords” to the subjects I expected to be covered in each interview.
I didn’t always have the right word displayed, but found it was very quick to update the displayed keywords and then back-time the starting point to when the topic was first discussed.
After all the interviews were complete, I ingested the media to Final Cut Pro X.
I sent the Event XML to the Lumberjack Lumberyard application to process the logs against the media, returning to FCP X as a new Event that I added to the same Library. No time offset was necessary, and I chose only to do string-outs for the Other Keywords, because they represent the topics for the interviews. The Location, Person and Activity keywords stayed relatively constant for each interview. While I could tell Lumberyard to create a string-out for each person, in this context that is not as valuable as in other contexts.
After processing in Lumberyard, the logged clips look like this one:
That is hugely valuable as it is, but - thanks to the newest version of the FCP X XML format, we can now organize the Keyword groups into folders in FCP X.
This is also useful in Lumberjack Story Mode, where additional logging and Keywords can be added in Final Cut Pro X and Lumberyard will use these for String-outs in Story Mode.
For this example I had the Lumberyard application create string-outs of my Other Keywords. A string-out takes the keyword ranges logged during the shoot for each Keyword and creates a Compound Clip of these selects: one Compound Clip per Keyword logged, as long as the Keyword has been logged at least three times.
Back in Final Cut Pro X these are presented in a Keyword Collection called String-outs.
Here I’ve sorted by duration, immediately giving me strong indications of where the stories are: or at least what stories I have interview coverage for. There are also string-outs with only one or two clips in them, which can be easily deleted. The Keyword ranges will still be logged in the appropriate folder and Keyword Collection.
Each Keyword string-out contains all the time ranges associated with that keyword in date order. You’ll also note that I elected to have a lower-third identify each speaker their first time on camera. This helps identify people, and of course, a new title design could be simply dropped over the existing one, without losing any data.
The 18 minutes of material logged with “Multi-Engined Gas Dragster”. Note the title on each person, the first time they appear in the string-out.
A string-out is not intended to be anything more than a first step in the story building process, but it sure makes it easy to get started. No more empty timelines!
The 9’40 of media logged with the Keyword “Golden Age of Drag Racing”
For this Project the most useful keywords were:
Bob's Big Boy Talouca Lake
Bob's relationship with his father
Burbank Road Kings
Couldn't do it now
Difficulties in Races
Driver Engineer Relationship
Driving the Freight Train
Early Days of Drag Racing
End of the top fuel era
Floyd is found out
Floyd Lippencott Jnr is created
Floyd Lippencott's Career
Floyd Out of Retirement
Floyd's driving ability
Getting back in the Freight Train
Golden Age of Drag Racing
Hot rod reunion
Modern Drag Racing
Multi-Engined Gas Dragster
Need for speed
Tommy's TV & Film Career
Touring in the East
As it turned out, not every Keyword was a story point, but having everything logged, in addition to those that clearly define the stories, is still useful. Having a well logged project is never a problem.
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