We’ll fix it in Post.
Think of dreams. Many people – the newcomers, the lazy ones, the fly-by-night operators, and the wannabes-who-can’t-produce-excellence-if-their-lives-depended-on-it-but-still-want-to-be-the-boss – believe post production is a totally new dream, one which begins afresh regardless of what happened in production.
I can understand why they feel that way. It’s a new location, closer to home perhaps, with air-conditioning. You’re with new people, and it’s a quiet and peaceful setup.
But make no mistake. The post production dream is a continuation of your filmmaking saga. If your pre-production was sloppy (or non-existent), your production was hell. Post-production, naturally, is the seventh level of hell. Your nightmare will continue. It’s quieter, but scarier.
This is where it’s time to pay all your bills. You’ve been running all this while – possibly running away from many things. They’re all going to catch up here, and it’s better if you realize and believe this before you started running.
What is Post Production?
Post Production is everything that happens from the minute you stopped shooting your last take, to the final deliverables of your movie or video.
We used the cooking analogy in What is Pre-Production? Let’s continue with that. You’ve cooked your food, now what?
Cooking Post Production You haven’t added salt. You can add it in post, but it’s not going to be same thing. You’ve forgotten an important ingredient. You can’t add it post without paying a whole lot more than what you would have had if you’d done it during production. You haven’t thought about the presentation. It’s going to look average, unmotivated and patchy. You hadn’t planned the portions correctly. Your film is either too long or too short. You spent too much time cooking. There isn’t adequate time left for proper post production. You spent too much money cooking. There’s no money left for plates, bowls, cutlery, that all important candle, and just-the-right music. You haven’t thought about the menu card. You haven’t thought about the posters, website, or trailer. You’ve chosen a bad ingredient. This is what happens with audio. Everyone will hear it, no doubt.
A smart chef will visualize the entire experience of eating – from the moment a customer walks in the door, gets seated and reads the menu; to the after-meal experience and the ‘good-bye-with-a-smile’ at the end.
A newcomer isn’t expected to know the entire sequence of events leading up to a release or finished product, which is why it might be critically important for you listen to my advice.
Only those who have been burnt by fire will know how bad it really is.
Why is Post Production the least-important stage of filmmaking?
Simple. If you have seen the end result in all its minutest detail at the beginning, and you have planned and executed your pre-production correctly, your production will go well (even when the you-know-what hits the fan).
Post production, then, just becomes an extension of your journey, kind of like running a home run after the ball has left the park. It’s still work, mind you, and you can’t afford to slip up.
In The Different Stages of Post Production I’ll go into detail about each stage and what it entails. For now, just remember this:
Post production physically starts after production, but mentally begins and gets completed prior to pre-production. If you know exactly where you’re going, you’ll have the freedom to find the most efficient way to get there.