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(1) Humans have limits

Making an editor stare into the screen for 15 hours won’t give you a better job.

Giving the compositor a foreground camera plate shot with 24mm and background plate with a 50mm lens won’t give you a credible image.

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(2) Extreme care

When working with different camera formats.

Compressed mp4, AVCHD or XAVC footage from Go Pros or DSLR won’t jive with Alexa or Dragon/Weapon RAW. You end up working with the footage with lowest dynamic range; in this case, the compressed files.

Understand bit depth as well. Some pro res are 8 bits while others could be 10 bits.

(4) Resolutions and Artworks

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Providing artworks in JPEGs is like ingesting handycam footage into HD-res telecine.
An A4 sized print ad will look crap on a 5 by 7 meter billboard.
A picture shot with a 1st generation Blackberry will be pixelated on the latest Samsung, XiaoMi or iPhone.

(5) Computer Generated Imagery (CGI)

In a simplistic nutshell, this involves modelling the objects, texturing, simulation, rigging, animating, lighting and compositing.
Therefore, time, man-hours and machine hours are of ESSENCE. You’ve got time and money, you’ll have a good job done.

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(6) Offline edit

Experiment all you need. But bear in mind that once you’ve LOCKED an offline edit, the processes which follow are complex, possibly including grading, rotoscoping, 3D tracking, CGI (explained above), projections and compositing.
One change to an edit could set you back days, weeks or even months depending on complexity of post-offline.

(7) Preparation

Everyone pays FULL attention to pre-production for a shoot. The same is deserved of post production.
Does the offline editor have an idea on how much footage he/she is expected to preview and select?
Did the post producer have knowledge of what formats they will need to ingest into their facility, and what the desired output resolution is?
Does the colourist have the director’s cinematographic and “mood and tone” references?
Did the agency provide you with the right fonts and high res artworks for the supers and logos?
Did the post producers or editors see the storyboard and directors’ treatment to understand the extent of work required?
Did the director inform you or the compositor that there will be camera plates which will require retouching and compositing?

The above article was prompted by and resulted from discussions among fellow producers and industry insiders.

It’s been almost 10 years since the onset of digital imagery acquisition in mainstream film production; yet, many of the basic rules and digital “common sense” thought to have been second nature, are resurfacing as recurring problems during post production. Let’s hope these reminders can help to bring about a more efficient post production experience.