The Final Countdown
Video Post-Production, The Finishing Touch
Video post-production is the third and final stage of the entire production process. It is the “rounding off” of the final product, and can include tasks such as editing video footage, soundtrack creation, sound effects and music, inserting titles and graphics, colour correction, adding of special effects, and re-shooting of certain scenes if required. This can often be a long and complicated phase, and if you want to ensure that your final product is the best out there, this phase should be dealt with in meticulous detail by seasoned industry professionals.
More common tasks in post-production include fixing errors and inconsistencies that may have occurred during filming. This is most often done during the editing process. Initially this stage will include what some call the directors’ cut where the director and producer have to work together with the editor and compromise as to which pieces of a footage are to be kept and which are to be cut out. The attention to detail that goes into this phase of production, highlights how imperative it is to place your video post-production needs in the hands of professionals who appreciate the intricacies of the task.
Relying too strongly on the phrase “fix it in post” is something that should be avoided at all costs. While many errors can be fixed, there are many that can’t, such as eliminating unwanted sounds from an audio buzz track. Not only are some tasks impossible, many take up time that should be allocated to polishing and perfecting the final product, rather than cleaning up a mess that could have been avoided through proper planning in the video pre-production and production phases. Important factors that need to be considered when it comes to post production are:
- Powerful PC and video editing software: a PC boasting lots of free hard disk space, a speedy processor, and plenty of memory is best. Your video editing software needs to be tailor-made for you: are you editing HD footage? Do you need a large amount of audio and video tracks? Other factors to look out for are keyframe editing and DVD and Blu-Ray Disc authoring. Do not forget about the audio aspects as well, such as an external microphone for voice-overs, and audio-editing software.
- The editing process. The first step is to import all the footage that you have taken – warts and all – into your editing software. The editing process includes the rough cut, second edit and final cut. The rough cut involves laying down all the important shots that communicate your story, and here you can sever off any unwanted parts of the video. The second edit is when interest is added to your footage by way of close ups, and you cut away any unwanted, distracting and undesirable shots. The final cut is for losing unwanted video, adding effects that is needed and for fine tuning. Here you will also be adding a title sequence, captions and credits.
- After concluding the editing process, prepare your video for export. Pay attention to the colour grading, and the sound. Faded colours and unwanted noise or poorly sequenced sound should be perfected first.
- When the video is ready for exporting make sure that you optimise the video to obtain the best quality in the smallest size. Video files can be altered according to the size that you need – a video for a Blu-ray Disc requires different settings to a video posted online, so ensure that your export settings are equal to your needs.
Don’t go about it alone, hire the professionals!