Post Production

Finally, your film is "in the can". It’s time to put all the pieces together. Post Production is the phase where a movie really becomes a movie. This is where the editor chooses the sequence of shots, all the music and effects are added, and your vision is fully realized. Now you’re ready for the theaters.

Editing –The editor goes through all of the footage and assembles the best takes of each shot into a “rough cut”. The editor often sits down with the director in the cutting room so that they can work together to make the best film possible, though the director must be careful not to overstep his or her boundaries. Sometimes the editor can see things that the director cannot because he/she is very removed from the film, and it’s important to give this perspective a chance. (Sometimes neither the director nor the editor know what’s best for the film, and so they take the film to test screenings to see what audiences have to say). Eventually, the cut becomes tighter and tighter until the director, the editor, and the producers are happy and it flows like an actual movie (the picture part that is) – this is called “picture lock.”

Visual FX – The visual effects editor adds things in post production that could not be done on set. For example, he might superimpose digital images onto a green screen or insert crowd templates where there were once empty stadium seats. Some films are almost completely done by visual effects on computers using CGI (computer generated imagery).

Sound – Having good sound is essential to your film, but there is only so much you can record on set. Therefore, the rest if done in post. The foley artist creates some sounds (see IP film term glossary for details), and others are gathered from stock sound libraries and can be purchased for a fee (for example, if you just need the sound of a door closing, there is no need to record that when you can just get it off a CD often times for free if it is very generic sound effect that one). ADR (automatic dialogue replacement) is another important sound element that happens in post. Sometimes the actors' lines don’t record at the correct audio levels during production. Well, during an ADR session, the film is projected on a screen, and the actors re-record their lines into a microphone, trying to match up their voices with the movement of their mouth. Or maybe new lines have been added, in which case an actor will have to come in for an addition sound recording or a voice over recording set up in a sound booth. Finally, the film's music will be added. The composer will create something original for the score (the instrumental background music throughout the film) and the music supervisor will pick out already produced songs for the soundtrack (but beware – soundtrack songs are expensive and require all types of rights – a single song can costs hundreds of thousands of dollars, potentially more than your entire budget!) All of this additional sound will eventually be laid into the film on different audio tracks, which will then be mixed together. so that none is too loud or too soft, by the sound mixer.

The Final Cut – The final cut is the final assembled movie, what we see in the theatres. So now you have it all ready to go. What do you do with it?? This is one of the trickiest parts of the filmmaking process. See our film distribution page for details.

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