March 16, 2018 \ Geoff Birmingham
Video production: more than meets the eye

We were filming at Floating Children’s Hospital last weekend, and when we came through the door with all of our gear, one of the doctors said, in so many words, “Holy cow! That’s a lot of equipment.” Relatively speaking, it actually wasn’t all that much, but her response is a common one among folks who haven’t experienced video production before.  Throughout the weekend, she also commented several times that the amount of work and attention to detail required in a production surprised her.

For first-timers, the other part of the video experience that can sometimes be a bit of a revelation is learning what happens after the footage is captured, during post-production (editing). That’s not so surprising either. The footage is captured, after all. How much beyond that is needed? Trim out the bad stuff, add some music, insert a title or two, and voila! Video done.

Just briefly, though, the basic post-production work that happen with most videos probably includes:

  • Media management. Import footage into the editing system and then back it up (to two different places to ensure the greatest possible safety)
  • Transcription. Extract interviews, string them together, export audio, send audio to transcriptionist.
  • Scriptwriting. Read through transcripts, piece together a script.
  • Video drafts. A minimum of two drafts, more likely 3-4 needed
  • Polishing.  No matter how talented the camera person or the sound recordist are, the video picture and audio always need enhancement
  • Miscellaneous. All the little details that are found on final review

The real revelation for clients, though, is how their footage can be manipulated in the edit suite. So many times, they might express a little concern during filming about their “actors” delivery on camera, and I always assure them: “Don’t worry. We’ll make it work in post-production.”

This is probably why editing has always been my favorite part of video production, and it’s especially fun to see the reactions we get from clients if they come in to collaborate during post-production. After we perform a few tricks with their footage, they invariably shake their heads, laugh, and point out how they, like our doctor client, never would have imagined what happens in the edit suite.