Plan your edit schedule backwards from final delivery and make sure you allow enough time for all the components you will need in your edit.
This part of the post process may start already during the shoot, as you want your crew to check if they have got what you need. But you need to allow sufficient time for your edit team to review and familiarize themselves with the footage. Allow for double time [footage duration x2] so that your team can take notes and tweak their file management.
Transcribing your footage sounds like the least interesting thing to do - but it is absolutely essential for the edit, especially if you want to make a longer film beyond 3-5min. Some editors can do without, but we found that we prefer to have at least the key interviews transcribed. If you are lucky, you can work with your director's notes from the shoot, but not everyone take legible notes... There are specialized services that offer transcribing, highly recommended if you have a budget - or try one of the voice-recognition systems, makes for funny translations but if trained well, can safe a lot of time.
And this is no school homework torture, a transcript is the best tool to identify what points you have covered in your edit. Also, most broadcasters demand a full transcript - so if you are planning for TV, do the transcripts as soon as possible.
There is no fixed rule for scheduling the main stages of editing:
• Assembly - review, trim, grouping of footage, ideally with title cards
• Rough cut - blocking out your narrative, but leaving alternative edits on the timeline
• Fine Cut - trimming your rough cut to a emotionally charged narrative, with clear voice, tone and feel
Our experience is that most projects demand about double the time you have allocated for them, if not 3x longer... It all depends on the amount of footage you have and the complexity of the issues covered. A short teaser video made from simple 5min interviews and some action footage could be put together in a day, but if you have to wade through hours of long interviews and boring footage, schedule for a full week. Our co-creative community projects usually need a 2-3 week edit, depending on scope.
Make sure you have some time, crew and ideally budget to re-shoot or get someone to shoot pick-ups for you. You can never have enough random cut-aways! Even after more than a decade we still undershoot the most essential projects, when it comes to simple coverage, because in the moment you want to believe that you are done, you got it all... but you haven't. Have one more look at your shot-list and talk to your director and editor.
This is biggest date in your edit schedule. Pic Loc is a line in the sand, where your editor, director and producer agree that the narrative fine cut and overlay - ALL footage - is done. After the lock off no further edits should be allowed, as to not change frames for the sound mix, pushing voice over out of sync or needing to re-render complicated graphic layers.
Once you have picture lock off, you can export the fine cut for your sound team and GFX team to do their work, knowing that the exact length of every segment and every edit will stay frame-accurate. In an ideal world that is... usually you will find that at the last minute something comes up and needs changing... The key is to communicate a lot with all your team members to avoid such last minute changes that literally push the hosue 3mm to the left and may require a full re-mix of the sound track.
As per above. But if you have an indication of your pic loc date, get your musician to work earlier, so that you have some music bits and pieces ready for your sound editor to play with.
Same applies to your special effects team. Have them consult early on with the director and editor so they can start making prototypes and templates. Some of the GFX and Supers can be used even at rough cut stage, especially useful if you have clients who need to see a more polished rough cut with title cards and lower thirds. Double check all your spelling and send text documents to your clients / partners to check factual correctness.
Find more info in our GFX section.
Before any of your content can be released, you need to double and triple check your chain of title. Have you got release forms for all on-screen and voice contributors? Do you have fulfilled all your contractual obligations [logo placements, credits, opening title, lower third name plates with correct job titles etc?]. We had to recall a whole badge of DVDs once because we didn't go through this process with a fine tooth comb. If you have taken our advise from development and pre-production on, you may have by now a really well organized production folder with all your permissions and agreements in one place. Tip: attached photos or clear and easy to understand identifiers to your release forms, so you know who is who when you are in the edit 3 month later. Or have to re-visit the project 2 years down the track as a broadcaster now has become interested.
This used to be the sleepless night of our post prod process. Hoping that the computer would be able to cope with intense render and so on. All this is now much easier with even laptops having multiple CPU's and much more computing power than 5 years ago. But anyway, plan for things to go wrong - allow an additional day to fix problems and have a resident geek on standby to de-frag your drives...
And viola - you done it. There is your project. Ready to be launched, burned, uploaded, projected - got to distribution to find out more.