Editing Documentaries Preview

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As a documentarian, your time in the field is spent gathering stories, shooting footage and following events as they unfold. It’s not until you begin to edit this footage that the true story begins to take shape. Unlike narrative films, documentaries are shot without a script or structure – until they enter the editing room.
In this module, you will learn how to manage your footage, organize interviews and B-roll, how to find and narrow the story, how to maintain your objectivity in the thick of the process, know what to cut, and how to finish the film.
Learn how to approach the most important part of the documentary filmmaking process, and carve the best story out the source material possible.


  • 28:41 video that walks you through the process of editing a documentary
  • Illustrated companion guide


  • Techniques for organizing your footage, including interviews and B-roll
  • How to structure a story
  • How to use the three act structure when assembling a documentary
  • How to build an assembly cut 
  • How to know what to cut
  • How to know when you're finished


"Very straightforward and easy to follow. I also really appreciate the combination of technical and aesthetics, which is how I base my class. I would find this to be a very good reference to provide to students."
   - William Donaruma,
      University of Notre Dame