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Unlike narrative projects, documentaries are created in the edit suite. There, hundreds of hours of verité footage, archival materials, talking heads and even animated sequences need to be sorted through, digested and culled together to form a comprehensive, succinct and, with any luck, interesting and entertaining nonfiction series or specials.
To get there, docu directors rely on the unsung heroes of cinema — the editors. If making a documentary is like building a house, then the director is the architect, while the editor is the engineer. While some could argue that anyone is capable of picking up a camera and pressing the record button, not everyone can take a vast amount of footage and mold it into a compelling story.
Filmmaking - Editor - Collaborator - Solo - Co-director
“In documentary filmmaking, the editor is your closest collaborator,” says “Free Solo” co-director Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi. “The documentary editor works much like a writer would on a narrative feature.”
Five months after winning the Oscar for docu feature, “Free Solo” garnered seven Emmy nominations, including one for Bob Eisenhardt who edited the film.
Eisenhardt - Vasarhelyi - Meru - National - Geographic
Eisenhardt, who also edited Vasarhelyi’s “Meru” (2015), began working on the National Geographic doc six months before mountain climber Alex Honnold’s climactic rope-free climb up Yosemite’s El Capitan. In all Eisenhardt spent about 18 months editing more than 700 hours of footage into the final product.
“When I started, no one knew if we were making a film about a guy who was going to try to do this [climb] and then decides not to, or if we were making a film about a guy who tries and succeeds, or a film about a guy who tries and fails,” says Eisenhardt. “Those are three very different films. So, we were cutting as if he was going to be successful, but you had to keep everything else in mind.”
Editor - Carla - Gutierrez
Editor Carla Gutierrez, who is...
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