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Documentary Editing: An Introduction

Learn the art and craft of documentary editing, from creating visual narratives to working with sound, music, and graphics.

Price £250 / £225 Students / £210 UCL Students

Documentary editing can be a bit like carpentry – shaping a mound of footage into something that tells a story.

This practice-based course is aimed at new and emerging directors and editors, with no or little experience of documentary editing. Working on Adobe Premiere Pro, we’ll explore the art and craft of documentary editing, from creating visual narratives to working with sound, music, and graphics.

Session 1

In session 1, we’ll begin by learning the nuts and bolts of Premiere Pro using Open City Docs’ editing suite. After learning about hard drive management, students will look at starting a new project in Premiere, logging footage, and the basics of editing footage together. We’ll explore editing interviews, alongside editing observational footage. Using documentary footage, students will have a go editing a scene.

Learning outcomes:

  • Hard drive management
  • Starting a new Premiere Project
  • Getting to know the interface
  • Importing the material
  • Logging footage
  • Building the timeline
  • Editing a sequence


Session 2

In the next session, we’ll continue where we left off. Students will learn to create atmospheres using sound, and where and how to use music in film. In this session we’ll also cover basic sound correction, colour grading,  graphics, and subtitling. We’ll  then discuss scripting and structuring, watching some short films and understanding different narrative techniques. Finally, students will have a go editing a short film.

  • Sound editing: basic concepts
  • Sound design
  • Colour grading
  • Working with text and subtitles
  • Narrative techniques and storytelling
  • Paper editing and building a structure
  • Practical exercise

This course takes place in-person over one weekend from 10:30am to 4:30pm, with a lunch break from 1pm to 2pm.

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If you still have other questions relating to a specific course or request, please get in touch with us via emailing shortcourses@opencitylondon.com

or call us at +44 20 3108 7586



Chloe White


Chloe White is an award-winning documentary filmmaker and photographer and director of Whalebone Films based in Hastings and London, with frequent travels around the world to collect stories and images.

Her films are intimate, considered portraits, focusing mainly on the female experience.

Her clients and partners include the Guardian, Topic, Nowness, BBC, Channel 4, Oxfam, Save the Children and the BFI and she has had films screen at festivals internationally including at Camden International Film Festival, Open City, and Sheffield Doc Fest.

Chloe lectures in Documentary Film at University College London and London College of Communications. She has also given talks and workshops at the BFI, Frontline Club, the Roundhouse and is a fellow of Macdowell.