Post-production is the third and final stage of the video production process. By now, you’ve completed all pre-production preparations and have likely just wrapped up an incredible day of production, filming amazing content to put together for your epic brand video.
The best way to sum up the post-production phase is exactly that – the putting together phase. All the content has been envisioned and captured, and now it’s time to piece it together. There’s quite a few important elements to post-production that need to work together in order to make your video really work.
Here are the seven most important key elements of post-production to pay attention to before releasing your video online.
The 7 Key Elements of Post-Production
1. The Rough Cut
Before anything else, edit together your visuals to create the rough cut of your video. This is where you scour through all of your footage, categorize it, and start selecting which shots you want to use to assemble the video. You’ll want to research editing software like AVID, Adobe Premiere, Final Cut Pro, and more to see which is right for you. Using editing software, you’ll select your footage, cut it up, and splice it together.
Most likely, you’ll have an agency like Lemonlight do this editing for you, or hire your own freelance or in-house video editor.
When you have a rough version of your video put together, you have what’s called an assembly edit. You don’t need to add any music or special effects just yet, though you can edit to a temp track if your video has no dialogue or voice over. We’ll cover all of that in a moment.
If you hire an agency like us to do your post production, we’ll usually share the rough cut internally and get a round of internal notes from the team to share feedback and try to make the best-looking rough cut possible. After that, it’s time to share it with you!
If you’re editing your video on your own, the best thing to do is screen an early cut with your internal team before deciding your rough cut is done.
2. The Picture Lock
Once you have a rough cut of your video, the next step will be to achieve a picture lock. Picture lock is the stage in the post-production process where all of the shots have been locked into the proper order, essentially “locked in place.”
In a traditional movie production, this means it’s ready for the sound and visual effects editing teams. However, if you’re creating your own video, you’re likely to change things after adding music and voice over, especially when syncing the two. Before completing a picture lock, watch your video with the music and voiceover you want over it to make sure it edits together well.
If you’re incorporating visual effects into your video, provide a lower quality rough mock-up of the visual effects shots to help you visualize where the effects will come in, especially if a shot is going to be completely vfx. If you don’t account for it in your picture lock, it can really throw off your video’s flow after adding in music and sound effects.
3. The Sound Mix
Now, you can begin the sound mix, where you edit together different audio tracks for your video. This is also done through video editing or sound mixing software. The different sound elements your video might have include: dialogue, where featured actors or interviewees speak on camera; sound effects, like a doorbell or dog barking added after the filming is done; music, in the background of what’s happening on screen; and voiceover, where someone off camera talks over the images of your video.
For some audio elements, like voiceovers or sound effects, you’ll need to record separately. That’s because you need a soundproof place to get clean audio. Sometimes, you might even need to re-record audio like dialogue that you captured on your production day, due to cars honking, dogs barking, or other unwanted sounds in the background.
As we mentioned in our production day blog, sound quality = video quality, and nothing makes a video worse than bad sound. If you don’t know what you’re doing, make sure you work with someone who does! Otherwise, your video views will be dramatically reduced, and we aren’t being dramatic when we say dramatically!
Pro Tip – When working with music, make sure you’re working with music that’s been cleared to be used by you, or you’ll run into copyright issues once it’s online.
4. Visual Effects
Now it’s time to add your visual effects. By now, you should’ve already mapped out where you want your visual effects to go in the pre-production phase, which you can read more about here. If done correctly, you storyboarded these shots, and planned for where the effects will go during your production day. If not, it’s still possible to add effects after the fact, but it can often be tricky and limiting when added in late.
The most common visual effect you might use in your video is animation. If you’re confident in your ability, or are working with someone capable of advanced special effects, you can also use CGI modelling, where you create unique 3D rendered objects or models or objects or characters using special visual effects software to add to your already filmed shots.
Sometimes, all the visual effects you need amount to something very simple, like adding a filter, or a fade in or fade out to your video. These effects are usually available inside whatever video editing software you use. Other times, all you need to add is some text, which is what the lower third is for.
5. Lower Third
If you’ve watched any news broadcast, documentary, or interview, you’re already familiar with the lower third — it’s text that’s added onto an image or shot positioned in the lower third of the screen. These lower third titles are used to provide contextual information, whether it’s the name of a new location, a person’s occupation, or other relevant additional information. For example, in an interview, the lower third will usually feature the name of the person being interviewed, as well as their relevant role or job title.
Lower thirds are meant only to convey information and should be as little distracting as possible. Consider using text-only lower third titles to get straight to the point; however, if you’re trying to get a point across, there can be room to add a little animation or design to a lower third in order to make it pop. Especially if it’s important for convincing the person watching the video to take an action or pay attention to a specific detail. Just remember to follow the general rule: less is more!
6. Color Correction
Finally, when all your visual effects and lower third titles have been implemented, it’s time for color correction. Color correction is the process of altering the color of the light in each shot with digital filters so each shot matches one another. These corrections include fixing exposure problems, where too much light is in one shot and too little light is in another; or white balance issues, where the color of the light just doesn’t match.
You want your video to flow together nicely. In the same way you want your audio levels to be equal, you want the visuals to all look as similar as possible, so no individual shot sticks out as jarring or of lower quality than another. When done correctly, no one should even realize any editing has been done.
7. Title and End Cards
The last step is adding any additional title or end cards. End cards are a title graphic placed at the end of your video. You should be familiar with the concept of end credits, as filmmakers use them at the end of each film to give credit to everyone who worked on a film. End cards in digital videos are similar, but usually promote the brand in question. They’re not necessary, but may be a nice way to remind the viewer of your brand.
You’ll typically use the end card to highlight your brand’s name, logo, and any additional links, like a homepage, discount link, or email sign-up form. The end card should also encourage viewers to take an action using a CTA (call to action), like “Shop Now,” “Visit Us,” or “Get Started!”
With all seven of those elements implemented properly, you should now be finished with post-production and have a complete video ready to post! If this video production phase seems complicated, that’s because it definitely can be. If you don’t have the right skills or the right team members to tackle it all, don’t be afraid to look for outside help. It’s always better to hire a professional than churn out a cheap, low-quality product because you didn’t have the adequate resources.
Keep in mind, the best way to get it right is to get it right early on. If you’re just starting your video production journey today, let us help you! Schedule your first creative call with one of our Executive Producers, and let us help you get it right from the get-go. From pre-production to post-production, we’ve got you covered.
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