Step 4 – Post-Production… it’s time to edit!
You are in the final stretch! Now is the time when all of the planning and production work come together and you can finally see what you have made. Here is a list of things to keep in mind as you work through this final step:
Make sure you have all of your assets. As you start your time-line, make sure that you have everything that you need readily available. This includes:
- Video (Everything you have shot, plus any stock footage or extra visual elements)
- Audio (including music and sound effects)
- Still photos or graphics
There is no fail-proof method for how to keep track of your files, just be careful to keep everything that you need in a place where you can find it easily. I recommend that you start one folder with the project name and then add sub-folders with all of your assets. (As you do more projects, use similar file titles so that you always know where to find things)
Save your work! This is a habit worth starting as early as possible. Ask anyone who has been editing for any length of time and they will likely have a horror story about losing work because they forgot to save it and had an unexpected power-outage. I like to save my work every few minutes; it is a small step that can pay great dividends!
Stick to the plan. Your production plan should have served you very well up to this point, don’t abandon it now! While we all wish we had an infinite amount of time to finish a project, we’re almost always working to meet a deadline. By working to fulfill the original idea, you will avoid running down a rabbit trail with new ideas. This does not mean that new ideas can’t work, sometimes they’re awesome! Just try to avoid re-inventing the whole thing; you can end up frustrating yourself. This is an especially important step if you are doing a project for your pastor or other speaker who is expecting things to be done a certain way so that it fits within the context of a sermon or special event. Since what we do is often happening concurrently with sermon preparation, following the original “map” will keep you on track.
Blink. Okay, this may sound a bit odd… but what I mean here is to take a break every once in a while! I know that too often, I will sit in front of my machine for hours without a break, this usually means horrible posture and sore eyes. Get up, stretch, walk around the building, grab a cup of coffee or a bottle of water… I firmly believe that a 5 minute break can help keep you sharp.
Fresh eyes. This is something that I have really come to rely on; ask someone else to look at what you’re doing, even if it’s just a rough draft. Allow them to ask questions and give their opinion. Don’t ever get so caught up in what you’re doing that you neglect to consider how it may look and sound to someone else. This can be a great way to make sure that you’re sticking to the plan or to know if you’ve veered off track. (you can read more of the specifics on fresh eyes HERE)
Video treatment. This is where you add visual enhancement with Adobe After Effects, or perhaps color-correction or other treatment with something like Magic Bullet. Here is another area where you need to figure out what works for you. I know editors who like to lay out their entire sequence before they add any treatment or color-correction; for me, I start to look at options after I have just a few clips on my time line simply because it helps me continue to visualize how the piece will look when I’m done. Understand that this can drastically change the amount of time it can take to finish your project as these treatments can take more time to render.
As I entered the final phase of the process on “Monsters”, I must admit that I couldn’t get into the edit fast enough! This was an idea that I had been brewing in my head for the better part of 3 months. I had a two-part deadline: The first part was to put together a short teaser that would really get the kids in our student ministry talking about things and hopefully getting their friends interested in coming.
I really love a good cut of music to edit to… use the big ‘pops’ in the music to add some drama and suspense! The first piece ran 3 weeks out at the Wednesday night youth service to a roomful of screams (WIN!).
The second piece includes all 4 kids and will run the week before the series starts.