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FCP X’s Keyword Functionalities Bring Edit Together on ‘What Happened, Miss Simone?’

Liz Garbus’ Oscar-nominated documentary What Happened, Miss Simone? uses tons of archival footage and never-before-heard archival recordings of the late jazz singer Nina Simone to piece together her story.

“I was a little intimidated by the prospect of wrapping my head around a massive collection of Nina’s music, archival clips of her performances, and most intriguingly, about 40 hours of never-before-heard audiotape recordings of Nina telling her own life story,” editor Joshua L. Pearson readily admits to “But I quickly discovered that the organizational features of Final Cut Pro X really accelerated the early stages of the 9-month edit. I had used FCP X before on a few short form projects and was already familiar with its basic functionalities and I enjoy editing with it — it is smooth and quick. But I had yet to fully dig in to the keyword collection paradigm and now was my chance. One great thing was how my assistant, Tim Moyle, had already prepared multiple keyword collections for each archival clip and music track, so that I could easily at a glance find something by date, by place, or by genre. If I wanted to see all the album tracks and archival performance clips from 1967, it was one click away. Conversely, I could see only the album tracks or only the archival performances.”