Video Tips & Tricks: Post-Production

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    B-Roll and Stock Footage

    B-Roll footage is secondary filler footage that can be interspersed between main shots. This can be used to cut away from an edit, or to add context to a scene. You can never have too much B-roll. A lot of this footage may never get used, but sometimes it can help with editing. If one scene isn’t working, you might be able to swap it out with some backup footage. B-roll tends to work best when you set up multiple cameras viewing the subject from different angles.

    Stock footage can also be interspersed between cuts. Just make sure it is licensed under creative commons and not copyrighted material. In general, it is best to stay far away from using any music that isn’t yours in a video. There are sites that have free music and sound clips, but if you aren’t sure it’s better to be safe than sorry.

    Video Creators: How To Legally Use Copyrighted Music, Games, and Movies on YouTube

    IDA: Raiding the Lost Archives, Wisely and Legally: A Short Guide to Clearing Copyrighted Footage

    Editing- What should and shouldn’t make the final cut?

    Editing can make or break a great film. Never become so attached to one idea that you can’t let it go and make an improved version. It is normal to film more content than you will end up using. While it hurts to let that all that work go to waste, just sacrifice it and move on. Get feedback on what works and what doesn’t. Make videos as short as possible without compromising the coherence of the story.

    Mental Floss: Film Editors

    Every Frame a Painting: How Does an Editor Think and Feel?

    Editing- When to cut to the next scene?

    ASL (Average Shot Length) indicates the average duration of a shot between cuts in a film. Action scenes tend to have lots of fast cuts, while long takes are preferred by actors since it allows their full performance to be seen without edits. Knowing when to cut is an intuitive process rather than an exact science, but if you break it down scene by scene it is kind of similar to knowing how many panels to include in a comic book. You want to move the story forward without unecessary exposition while still conveying drama and emotion to the audience.

    RocketJump Film School: Cuts & Transitions 101

    RocketJump Film School: Pro Tip: Editing to the Eyes

    Channel Criswell: Breaking The Rules – The French New Wave

    Nerdwriter: Casey Neistat- What you Don’t See

    CineFix: 12 Best Long Takes in Film History


    Reshoots have a garnered a somewhat misleading reputation due to the media.  The slightest rumor of reshoots is taken to indicate that a production is undergoing a lot of problems behind the scenes.  This may sometimes be the case, however, reshoots are actually relatively common in the industry.  Most productions schedule in advance a set period of time specifically for bringing back actors to redub audio or shoot a few extra scenes. The new content can be cut into existing footage to patch weaker areas and improve the flow of the narrative.  These kinds of reshoots are generally a good thing because they improve the cohesion of the final product.

    Reshoots are generally a privilege for directors, since they are not always an option.  Sets get torn down and actors might have other projects that cause inconvenient scheduling conflicts.  Short deadlines and tight budgets might not allow much opportunity to go back and capture new footage.  Reshoots also require bringing back all necessary crew, which can raise production costs significantly for even just one day of filming.  Extensive reshoots that involve redoing entire scenes or sequences are expensive, and most studios are not willing to push back release dates and pay lots of money to remake large portions of a movie just to improve the critical reception of the final theatrical cut.  It is always preferable to plan out scenes in advance so that major reshoots are not needed, but sometimes a director will think of a better idea in the middle of production and reshooting a key scene will make a much better cut.

    Screen Rant: Suicide Squad Was Crippled By Its Lack of Development

    Dailies and Market Testing

    Once a rough cut has been assembled in either the late production or post-production phase, it is a common practice to screen the product to a test audience for initial feedback.  This can help prevent horrible PR disasters or critical market failures.  However, it can also lead to studio executives panicking and ordering last-minute reshoots that drastically alter the director’s original version.

    If possible, always try to get an impartial audience, not your best friends and family.  Consider all feedback with an open mind.  Sometimes cuts get really negative early reviews, but the final product ends up being very successful.  The purpose of gathering feedback is to make any last minute improvements before the public release.


    For professional film and video productions, audio is generally recorded twice.  Audio is recorded on set normally, but the majority of this audio is simply for reference, as all audio will be completely replaced in post.  The reason for this redundancy is because microphones on set pick up lots of undesirable background noise.  To get the best quality audio, it is preferable to record isolated sounds separately in a closed sound studio.  Using this method, music scores, foley effects, and voice acting can all be seamlessly layered together and adjusted accordingly.

    Automated dialogue replacement is recorded by bringing in the original actor or a voice actor to read lines from the script as they watch the original footage on a screen.  Headphones will play the original audio and the actor will attempt to replicate the dialogue in sync to their timing and lip movements on screen.  Directors usually want to try out multiple takes, so the recording sessions can last several hours.


    Masking is used to block out parts of a composition, usually backgrounds. This is particularly useful for compositing different scenes together. Masking work can be somewhat tedious when compositing lots of scenes and layers, but it is fairly standard in most types of professional productions.

    Creative Cow: Creating & Using Masks in After Effects

    Juik Han Choi


    Cameras often move around a lot on dollies and motion control rigs.  When adding in CGI or composite special effects to a scene with camera movement, the digital effects will need to match the positioning and orientation of the camera at all times to align properly.  Match move artists are tasked with tracking certain marker points that allow the effects teams to add in their effects without having to do a lot of tedious calibration and rotoscoping.  It isn’t a glamorous role, but it is an important one.

    The basic principle behind match move is triangulation and blocking.  By isolating known reference points or coordinates that are consistent throughout, it is simple to determine the placement of objects relative to those points.  In green screen environments, walls are usually intermittently marked with xyz dots corresponding to the appropriate axis in space.  Colored tape is also commonly used to block out positions that actors can use to ensure they have the correct timing or framing to be in a shot.  The markers will be edited out in post.

    Various software programs can automatically calculate the positions of markers and planar surfaces.  This is very useful for generating point cloud projections and triangulation markers in 3D environments.

    Exporting and Rendering

    In New Media, you’ll see a lot of grey export windows with a bunch of confusing setting options to choose from, most of which are completely superfluous and you’ll never use. In general, after adding to your render queue, check that video settings are H.264, Quicktime(.MOV), with audio export turned on. HandBrake is a recommended free video compression tool if your video file ends up being larger than it should. HD format, uncompressed audio, and large dimensions are the usual culprits behind oversized files.

    To format a video for YouTube or Vimeo, use the custom codec for those sites. There’s an automatic export setting in After Effects and most othe video editing software. YouTube compresses videos to make the file size smaller, which may affect your video resolution.

    BakersTuts: How To Render in After Effects (Composition, Work Area, and Audio)

    FilmShortage: YouTube or Vimeo?

    No audio in exported video

    It’s easy to forget to make sure the audio option box is checked on in the render queue. If audio levels are too high or low, you may need to adjust the levels.

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