You just received the first cut of your video project from your editor and it’s not quite the cinematic masterpiece that you and your team signed off on. Don’t Panic!
The post-production process is just that; a process. And that process begins with a rough cut with only the fundamentals of post-production structural editing applied. This is why your first cut may seem faded or have watermarked audio and stock video, or may contain some choppy edits. This is not because you have an untalented editor, it is so he or she can receive direction from you before spending more time potentially moving in the wrong direction.
Despite this, we understand that you may be overwhelmed at the sheer roughness of a rough cut and may not know the right questions to ask or directions to give moving forward. That’s where we come in. If you follow our simple pointers for navigating the terrain of the post-production process, you and your editor will be able to breathe a sigh of relief and move forward productively to create an end result that will exceed your expectations– and do it all on time.
Why is there a voice talking over the music? Why does the coloring on the beautiful footage we shot look off? Why is the text not what we sent you? Why are there jarring cuts between shots? Why is this not perfect?
A rough cut is far from the final cut.
All of those imperfections are normal and, yes, your editor sees them too. The first few cuts are not to establish an overall look or sound for your video, but instead to develop the tone, the pacing, and the story.
You don’t have to point out or worry about the obvious flaws. Your objective is to make sure the editor understands the vision you have and is headed in the right direction. So take a deep breath, ignore those shoddy graphics, and watch the video.
Focus on the story.
A rough cut usually has little to no maintenance performed on it. Before your editor spends time crafting beautiful transitions and lining up clips with a specific music track, they need to know that the foundation is solid and that the structure of your video is strong before building it up. These are all factors that will be addressed on your second or third cut.
Focus your feedback on the structure of the video. Does the story make sense? Does it flow and keep your attention? Is the overall message in line with what you want to get across to the viewer? Do you think the speed and tone of the footage fit the tone of the story you want to tell? If not, now is the time to speak up.
Story first, aesthetics later.
Be open to new ideas.
Stop. Watch the video. Ask yourself if what you’re watching has value and quality. Does it make sense? Does it make you look good? If yes, run with it. The truth is, your editor is experienced and likely knows what will work well for your video. Take advantage of their knowledge, have a little faith, and give honest feedback, even if it’s not what you had pictured.
What’s the purpose?
Now during post-production, you need to confirm that your rough cut serves that established purpose. If not, revisit your pre-production notes and regroup on what this video has to accomplish. Without correcting this now, you are guaranteed to waste time later on in the post-production process.
Does it represent your brand or company?
Every company has a voice, mission, brand, values, or an overall identity they aim to uphold. You know your identity best, and therefore you have to be the one to make sure it is represented in your video.
Your identity consists of what you believe in, what your viewers will expect from you (or what they’ve come to expect), what emotions you hope to evoke in your viewers, and an overall feeling that this video belongs to your brand.
If you’re a nonprofit company full of young, creative minds, your video should reflect that. If you’re a company of healthcare providers full of seasoned professionals, you must convey that. If your video does not speak to who you are, now’s the time to speak up.
Is the tone appropriate for the message you want to send?
While the purpose of your video focuses on what you aim to achieve, the tone is how viewers should feel when they hear your message.
If your video is about persevering and holding out hope in the face of adversity, it should be paired with inspiring music, include motivational visuals, and give the viewer time to take the weight of the video in.
If your video is about a bustling New York City business, it should be upbeat, fast-paced, and fun.
Your video’s tone is the most important factor to sign-off on when presented with a rough cut. If you have any critiques at all, voice them immediately.
Get a second, third, fourth… opinion.
The fate of your company’s video does not have to fall on your shoulders alone. Ask your coworkers, interns, boss, or even friends to give the video a look. When all is said and done and your post-production process is complete, you will not be the only one watching this video. So why be the only one watching your video now?
The more feedback and initial responses you receive, the better you and your editor can understand what worked, what didn’t, and how to move forward.
At the end of the day, you’re investing your valuable time and money for video production, and you deserve to get the most out of their investment. If you’re looking to begin a production, post-production or have any other questions or concerns, you can reach our production specialists through our website, or by email.
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