By: Jackie Richter, Senior Editor

While the process of actually filming your video project can be watched, it’s hard to envision what goes on behind the scenes during the post-production phase. If you’ve ever wondered why editing a video takes so long or what goes into the process, this blog post is for you.

There is much to consider when it comes to the amount of time it will take to edit a project. Videos are like snowflakes- they’re one of a kind and each project has its own creative needs and variables. Variables that help determine how long an edit might take can include shoot dates and length, project budget, sophistication of graphics, and more.

That said, there is a standard post-production process we use to create movie magic long after the cameras have stopped recording. It can be summed up in 7 steps:

1) Back up, organize, and import

Once the post-production team receives footage from the production crew it must be transferred over from the media used during the shoot (generally SD cards or CF cards – the modern version of the good old video tapes we used in home camcorders).

We transfer to two areas –our backup server, for safekeeping, and a hard drive that will house that project throughout post-production. Once on a hard drive, we organize and transfer the video, audio and still image files into our non-linear editing software (at GBP we use Adobe Premiere). This is also known as “importing” or “ingesting” footage.

-Why backup? Backing up footage gives us peace of mind in case lightning strikes, or something is accidently deleted on the hard drive. It means we, and in turn you, always have access to the original footage.

-Why organize? -Organizing all video, audio, and other assets for a project lets us easily find footage and make changes quickly and efficiently.

2) Let the editing (magic) begin

Once footage is organized and ingested, it’s time to craft the story. Our editors go through all of the footage and pick out only the Creme de la Creme to create the most compelling and interesting pieces. This includes key sound bytes from interviews and the most beautiful or pertinent B-Roll footage.   

During this phase, editors are trying out a myriad of video, audio and graphic combinations to come up with the most creative, coherent and cohesive story. The best editors come up stories so engaging and effective that audiences are unaware of how much thought and complexity (magic) went into the stitched-together story they’re watching.

3) Time for QC (Quality Control)

Before it even makes it into your hands, our client, videos undergo a number of reviews from the director, producer and creative director. Once all parties are happy, it’s time for us to send the video out into the world, and await feedback and notes from the most important party, YOU.

Client feedback is absolutely essential, after all, who knows your business and objectives better? The more specific the feedback is, the better. This helps keep on track and hone in on your vision for the piece. In fact, we offer multiple rounds of revisions to make sure the story is as finely tuned as possible for the your audience.

4) Text and animations (GFX)

Once a story has been edited and is near ready for finalization, it’s time to add in the bells and whistles. We add logos, special transitions, animation, still or motion graphics, multilayered images (compositing), and “lower thirds” (name and title information for the interviewees/speakers).

Why? Text and animation can emphasize key points and help audiences digest information.

Here’s our motion graphics/VFX reel

5) Color and exposure correction

Your video has been tweaked and perfected; now it’s time for the finishing touches! First off- color correction. Color correction is necessary to keep footage looking consistent and can be altered and used to set a mood, or help emphasize a feeling you want to convey. It also gives the video a professional, polished, high-value look.

More info on color correction

6) Sound design

Almost there! Once the video is edited and the picture is “locked,” meaning we no longer intend to make any changes, we can begin cleaning up the dialogue with more detailed audio editing. This includes balancing audio levels, adding sound effects and correcting any flaws in the natural audio.

-Why? Mixing the levels of all the different clips together will create a balanced sound mix.

Spot we produced with awesome sound design

7) Mastering for output and delivery

Mastering is the process of assembling everything your project needs into a single, deliverable bundle ready for use (broadcast, upload, presentation, family reunions, etc…)

Each project and client has different deliverable needs for their media files. In some cases this includes separate versions of the video with and without titles (also called texted and textless versions), format conversions, closed captioning and subtitle insertion, and alternative audio mixes for different audiences. Good news is, we can do them all!

So there you have it.  If you have any questions feel free to drop us a line!