Technology has come so far that post production specialists have the ability to literally do anything. Voice alteration, facial mapping, color adjusting, 3d imaging and illustration are just some of the wide ranging tools editors and visual effects artists have at their disposal to deliver breathtaking results. But too often these highly skilled professionals are using their time and your video’s budget correcting simple errors that are easily avoidable.

“Can’t we just fix it in post?”

Of course you can.

But the more important question is why do you have to fix it in post?

That’s not to say there aren’t unforeseen circumstances on set that require a post production touch up. What you don’t want to fall victim to is using the fix it in post attitude as a crutch.

Most of the time the reason that stereotypical phrase comes up amounts to a breakdown in pre production or a lack of foresight for your post team during production. Now you’re on set trying to stick to a schedule that’s tighter than you’d like and the fastest way to stay on track is to hope your editors or graphics team can bail you out. To stay on their good side, here’s a few suggestions to getting yourself out of the fix it in post attitude.

Double check what's in the shot

I know, you’re trying to get the most beautiful shots possible. You’re an artist after all! But there’s nothing artistic about a random c-stand, key light, or boom mike along the edges of your frame. Loose equipment and materials hanging around set always manage to find the camera. After a take, review the footage. And after you secretly think your brilliantly composed footage deserves an award, double check that everything in the shot belongs there. Otherwise your post team won’t think you're so brilliant or artistic. What would have taken you a few seconds to remove could take an editor hours.

Reflections can reflect poorly on you

Equipment gaffs aren’t the only culprits that magically appear in your footage. If you’re filming somewhere with mirrors or windows you, the camera and most of the crew behind you will make a surprise cameo in your video. Even filming bodies of water can cast unwanted reflections that your post team has to remove. All you had to do was pay more attention to your camera angle.

Logos are everywhere (and you can't use most of them)

The most common blunder that’ll drive your post team up a wall are logos. If you don’t have permission to show a product’s logo, it has to go. Build a little extra set dressing time in your shooting schedule to cover up or simply remove objects with logos from your shots.There’s nothing worse than turning your footage inside a convenience store into a complete blur fest. Your video will quickly go from professional to amateur hour.

Logos on clothes are just as bad especially in the video marketing world. Wardrobe for actors is one thing. You have more control over what they’re going to wear. But for interview or documentary style pieces you have to keep in mind your on screen talent isn’t as savvy to the dos and don’ts of filmmaking. It’s not their line of work, it’s yours. Make sure whoever you’re interviewing or filming knows what to wear for their onscreen debut especially if you’re filming b-roll with them. All of a sudden a simple logo removal could turn into a motion tracking nightmare for your post team because movement is involved.

Someone has to update those old logo files

You would think a company you’re making video content for would give you their most up to date artwork and branding guidelines. Or they would tell you ahead of time the sign on their building isn’t up to date. Think again. It’s important to coach your clients on the importance of having their most up to date artwork so your post production team isn’t working with the wrong materials. It’s like giving a painter a fork for a paint brush... a waste of time.

License plates have no creative license

The joy of blurring out dozens of license plates in a parking lot must be endless for your post team. Unfortunately it’s necessary. But this is another area where camera angles and set dressing can save your post team a lot of trouble and you can avoid another blur fest. While filming and broadcasting people’s license plates is a no no, using dummy plates out of card stock is not. In fact it’s how some professional art departments dress a parking lot set.

If you have to fix it in post, make a plan!

All these little production goofs add more work for your post team, which adds more time to their post schedule. That affects your profits when you look at how many hours it took to make a video.

Through pre-production, location scouting, and thinking ahead while filming, most of them are avoidable. If you’re planning to add a visual effect, eliminate an object, or add a physical or magical element to your shots... prepare for it. You can even have your editor or motion graphics experts on hand that day to place any tracking markers on set or just have an idea of what they’ll be faced with in post. More importantly, you’ll be able to effectively plan, budget and manage your post production schedule more accurately.

Fixing it in post is an option, but use it as a technique not a cop out. Your post production team will thank you for it.

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