Editor Paul Barnes has been associated with several productions about music, including the 1982 documentary The Weavers: Wasn't That a Time! and the Ken Burns Jazz series. Barnes attended The New York University Institute of Film and Television between 1969 and 1973, and continued studying with the great experimental filmmaker Len Lye as well as George Stoney, whose documentaries have been highly praised. Barnes was chosen while still a student to edit a federally funded film on pre-school education, beginning a schedule of editing assignments in which the notion of free time would require a whole new set of cuts.
Barnes won an award for best documentary editing for the film on the Weavers, and has also worked on Say Amen Somebody and The Thin Blue Line, the latter film chosen as the best documentary of 1988 by the New York Film Critics association. Coincidentally, composer Philip Glass, who worked on the score for The Thin Blue Line, has also written a composition for a classical pianist named Paul Barnes, but there is no connection between the two men. The editor Barnes began his relationship with Burns in 1984, cutting the Academy Award-nominated documentary entitled The Statue of Liberty. Since that time, Barnes has also worked on The Civil War, the highest rated series in the history of PBS, as well as the controversial Ken Burns Jazz production, Baseball, Empire of the Air, Thomas Jefferson, and Lewis and Clark: The Journey of the Corps of Discovery.
In the spring of 1997, Barnes began producing his first project with Burns, based on the story of suffragists Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony, and released under the title of Not for Ourselves Alone: The Story of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony several years later. Besides his editing and production assignments, he teaches in the film departments of New York University and Keene State College.