The DocHouse vaults. A treasure trove of fascinating masterclasses, interesting anecdotes, thoughtful advice and inspiring ideas.

In 2012, long before the Bertha DocHouse screen itself existed, we invited a group of working practioners to give a series of ‘Craft of Documentary’ masterclasses. Three cinematographers, three editors and three sound experts each gave a masterclass on their careers and experience.

Honest, detailed and practical, we think these nine masterclasses are still a fascinating insight and useful tool for anyone making, or thinking about making documentaries, whatever their discipline. And pretty informative for the doc-loving layman too.

This week we’re focussing on the three editing masterclasses, but you can also catch up on our round up of camera masterclasses and sound masterclasses, which covers both sound recording and sound design.

Three Editing Masterclasses, 2012

Bertha DocHouse, hosted at the Rich Mix Cinema, sponsored by the Grierson Trust and Splice.

Claire Ferguson

Claire starts off her masterclass with her enthusiasm for editing – ‘as an editor you’ve the best job’ – and the chance to fully immerse yourself in the film. In this clip she goes through the process of editing step by step, adding her tips and tricks on how to approach the big task of an edit.

Claire Ferguson has edited many award-winning documentaries and has worked with directors across very varied backgrounds, from Nick Broomfield’s Aileen: Life and Death of a Serial Killer (best documentary, Tribeca 2003) to first time director Adam Wakeling’s Up In Smoke (2011) and Concert for George, which took home the Grammy for best music documentary in 2005.

In 2009 Claire edited The End Of The Line (Rupert Murray) and then Guilty Pleasures (Julie Moggan).

Claire both directed and edited Destination Unknown in 2016, which was critically acclaimed and in the official selection of Sheffield Doc/Fest 2016. Her latest editing work includes AMA (2017), General Magic (2017) and Count Me In (2020).

You can watch Claire’s full Masterclass here.

Ollie Huddleston in Conversation with Kim Longinotto

Got an edit coming up? Or are you half-way through an edit? Here’s some wise words from Ollie Huddleston and Kim Longinotto about the importance of having a good director-editor relationship during post-production for a good working environment.

Perhaps the most renowned partnership in observational documentary filmmaking, the two first worked together in 2001 on Runaway. Since then they have worked on many films together, including Sisters in Law (2005), Hold Me Tight, Let Me Go (2007), Rough Aunties (2008) and Pink Saris (2010).

Ollie has also worked with many documentary directors including Sean McAllistair, Joe Bullman and Simon Chambers, however in this session Ollie and Kim discussed their working method together.

Since this masterclass, Ollie and Kim have worked together on Salma (2013), Dreamcatcher (2015) and 2019’s Shooting The Mafia.

You can watch the full Masterclass here.

Here, David Charap explains the relationship between the director and the editor and how they are able to work creatively as a team. He also highlights key editing techniques that can be used in both fiction and documentary.

Much acclaimed editor David Charap has worked across documentary and fiction genres. He has edited many Marc Isaacs documentaries and completed his The Road: A Story of Life and Death, which premiered at the London Film Festival in 2012.

He edited In the Land of the Free… directed by Vadim Jean and also fiction films from Pawel Pawlikowski’s Last Resort and My Summer of Love to Terence Davies’ The Deep Blue Sea.

He brings a unique approach to editing documentary having successfully moved between fiction and documentary during his extensive and varied career.

You can watch David’s full Masterclass here.