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What is post-production?

What is post-production?

 You often hear the term 'post-production' mentioned in filmmaking and you might have wondered what it involves. It's the third stage of filmmaking, and it doesn't matter whether you're filming a Hollywood blockbuster or a small commercial promotional video, the three-stage process is the same.

Firstly, there's pre-production. This is when the film is planned, the location scouted, script written and edited, and the people who will be featuring in it found and prepared. Production is when the filming takes place. It can last from anything from a couple of hours to several weeks.

Then comes post-production when the work begins on the final product. This is, in many ways, the most important part of the entire process. It includes everything that take places after filming is complete and prior to the video being released.

What post-production includes in more detail

Editing

Editing is the task most often associated with post-production. It's a key part to the whole process, when raw footage is tidied and made into a polished and coherent finished product. This is when clips from the shoot are selected and put into a specific order to tell the desired story.  Editing includes both sound and picture manipulation. Editing is a broad heading, that can include any kind of critical and development work to ensure that the completed material is as effective as it can be. Getting the editing process right really matters when it comes to fine-tuning your end-product.

Managing the data

This is the selection of the footage you intend to use in the completed production. A short film can have many hours worth of footage from which to edit down into the final product. A number of different cameras might be involved, all of them lending different perspectives to the footage. Perhaps one of them was a time-lapse camera or one mounted on a steadicam rig, or a drone. Decisions about how this different footage is combined and marshalled is a real skill, combining both instinct and experience.

‘Lower-thirds’

The editing process will also include the addition of what's known in video production as 'lower-thirds'. Put simply, this is a graphic overlay that's placed in the lower area of the screen. It might be a small area at the bottom of the screen, not necessarily the entire lower third.  It might contain graphical elements such as images, boxes and shading. Some ‘lower-thirds’ contain animation, different backgrounds and text. Getting your ‘lower-thirds’ right is all important to the finished product. What is the purpose of the information or visuals you're including? Too much going on in the lower-third can become a distraction to what you're trying to achieve.

Colour correction

It's an often-forgotten part of the editing process, but colour correction is key if you're to maximise the visual impact of your video. When you're shooting a video, you may well be using several cameras and multiple locations. This can lead to colour anomalies across the recorded footage. It's the job of the production team to try and ensure that camera settings and lighting are as consistent as possible during filming, but there will always be some variations. Particular attention needs to be paid to colour depth. Colour-correction may seem like a perhaps unnecessary added extra, but it's crucial to maintaining continuity and tone throughout the completed video.

Visual effects

Are any visual effects to be added to the footage? These can include any visuals done in post-production and can refer to any image that can't be filmed during production.

Computer generated images are one of the most common types of visual effect to be added during the post-production process. As well as breath-taking effects added to action movies, CGI has lots of everyday uses in commercial video production. It can include anything from talking characters, to models and designs that enhance the overall message.  

In the past, this might have been achieved through animation, but increasingly CGI has replaced animation in video visual effects. The two disciplines are quite distinct and shouldn't be confused. Old fashioned animation has some advantages and may suit the overall aesthetic of some brands.

With commercial video making the aim throughout is selling a product or service, so any visual effects need to support that aim rather than detract from it.  Less is often more.

Music & Audio

Is music going to be added to the footage? This may be specially commissioned music for the piece or it could be carefully selected from a music library. Using music intelligently with the footage is all-important and takes considerable skill.

Adding a voice over

If the video has a voice over track it will need to be recorded. The video producer may work with the voice over (VO) artist in person, or the VO artist will record what's required in their own studio. The only way to ensure the highest quality voice over is to record it in a professional sound studio with a professional engineer. The words for the voice over need to be well chosen and professionally scripted. Attention needs to be paid to how they work with the edited footage.

Client edits

At some point in the proceedings a working edit will be forwarded to the client for their approval and input. Clients may visit the edit suite to take a look at the developing work. If this isn't possible it might be shared with them digitally. It's important that the film-making team and the client retain a close working relationship. Creating effective marketing videos benefits from the candid exchange of opinions.

Post-production is key to a successful finished product

Post-production is a key stage in the creation of effective marketing videos. At Eight Engines we create versatile, impactful marketing videos that audiences can engage with. Intelligent, considered post-production is at the heart of everything we do.

Why not get in touch to find out more about how our creative and strategic marketing video production team use the post-production process to get results?

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