That’s a wrap—almost. Post-production and your video

Woo-hoo! The camera is being packed away, the lights are being shut off, and your paid spokeswoman is offering to buy a round of drinks for everyone. The video shoot is over!

The work, however, is not. Far from it. What you’ve essentially done up to this point is gather the raw materials for your video project. Now it’s time to assemble them into the finished masterpiece.

Lights, camera, action. And then more action. When the recording stops, post-production begins

Lights, camera, action. And then more action. When the recording stops, post-production begins

How complex is post-production? It’s directly related to the complexity of your project. If you had five cameras going for three days straight, plus a drone getting aerial shots, there’s a lot of work ahead. If you had a single camera shooting your spokeswoman in front of a green screen, things obviously will be much simpler. We have an extensive section detailing the post-production services Hencar offers, but here’s a quick summary of what may be involved for your project. You can get more information on each step by clicking on the links below.

EditingNo matter how simple your script or shoot, there is absolutely no way you can download a finished project straight out of the camera. Even if the people in the video got the dialog right the first time without the slightest hitch, you’re going to need editing. Every element you have in your video has to be married into a seamless whole through the editing process.

AudioDespite the “what if” scenario we gave above, it is virtually impossible that the audio track will be perfect the first time around. People speaking will have to do more than one pass. They may stutter, stumble, or pause dramatically (well they think it’s dramatic. To you and the video editor, it’s irritating). Audio editing can smooth out all of the little kinks, trim out all the little pauses, and bevel down the rough patches so that the track is smooth. A good audio editor can also sweeten the tracks so that they sound their best and clearest. Of course if the people speaking were on camera, these edits mean you’ll need to work some more magic. If you take a pinch here and a dash there from someone’s on-camera track, you’ll get what’s known as a jump-cut. The speaker will look like Max Headroom on a Red Bull binge. So this is where your editor will use…

B-rollThis is all of the video you have showing people who aren’t speaking directly on camera. Scenic shots (known as cutaways), shots of your product if this is a sales or marketing video, or reaction shots from someone who’s not speaking at that moment. All of these are examples of b-roll. This is used not only to help convey the overall message and/or cover up the audio edits, but also to highlight transitions in time or location and in general add a bit more depth and polish to the final video. B-roll can cover a spoken audio track, or it can cover music. Which brings us to…

Music: What, you thought we were going to jump to the Emmy awards? Patience. Music can be one of the trickiest parts of the post-production process. Finding the right music takes time, unless you have custom scoring (which still takes time, but you’re much more likely to get exactly what you want more quickly). When you pair the right music with your video, it can make a world of difference for the viewers’ experience.

Whether you buy music or have custom scoring, the right tunes will add sparkle to your video

Whether you buy music or have custom scoring, the right tunes will add sparkle to your video

Special effectsDid you use a green screen to make it look like your on-camera talent was somewhere specific, or in front of a special backdrop? Then this is the time when that garish green will be removed and the chosen backdrop will be put in. Speaking of green…

Color correctionDid someone in the video look a little green around the gills? Ideally this would have been caught and corrected with proper lighting and makeup during the shoot, but sometimes it isn’t noticeable until you see the raw video after the shoot is done. Or perhaps your talent actually was green on purpose, but now you think that specific hue is just a little too much. Color correction can help you tone things down, but be warned that it takes a skilled hand to do it properly. Otherwise you can go from bad to worse—or in this case from emerald to chartreuse—in the blink of an eye.

GraphicsIdeally these will be created during the pre-production and production phases, so that they’re finalized and ready to go when post-production begins. Graphics which involve text only, or simple effects such as read-outs or fade-ins, will take far less time to produce than motion graphics. This is one part of the process where you need to take an active role in giving feedback. Graphics might not make or break your final video, but they can really drag things down a notch or two, sometimes even seven, if they’re not up to par.

When the final video is put together, the process still isn’t over. There are more steps including:

TranscodingWhere are your videos going to be seen? Will they be on your website, will they be on another site like YouTube or Vimeo, will they be sent to television networks? Of course, you fully intend for it to be viewed on multiple devices like smart phones and tablets as well as desktops and laptops. Your video has to be in the right format or it’s not going to be seen at all, regardless of where you send it. Speaking of sending it…

Delivery servicesHow are you going to get the video to its final destination? Can you upload the video to your chosen websites yourself or do you need the production company to work with your web developer to make it happen? Do you need hard copies like DVDs? A word of advice here: make sure you work out these details with the production company when you ask them for a proposed budget. Otherwise they may tack these services on as an added, and unexpected, expense.

Whew. We said it was going to be a quick summary, and this is about as quick as we can make it. As you see, there’s a lot that goes into getting a final video even after the cameras have stopped recording. While it may look daunting at first, an experienced company like Hencar will gladly guide you through the steps and explain anything that’s unclear. If this blog post inspires a lot of questions from your end, great. Ask away. That will ensure you come away with exactly the video you want.