Even after you’ve completed your picture lock off stage, and then done all the business of tidying and polishing, your film still isn’t quite finished. Sure, OK, the film is finished, but whose going to see it, and how? Once you’ve completed planning, shooting and cutting, it’s time to deliver on the goods.
The first thing you’ll need to get together is a list of all the things you promised way back at the beginning of your project. If you said you were going to deliver a DVD and web based version of your film, plus a handful of PR shots and a cover document, then you better make sure you have all of those things. If you only need to upload a copy to YouTube, your delivery requirements will be different.
Depending on where you’re video is going to be played there may be a number of rather particular considerations to, well, consider. If it’s for television, you will need to check with the broadcaster about their specific requirements. As an indication of the kinds of things broadcasters need, have a look at the ABC’s delivery specifications document: ABC Delivery Specifications. The document has requirements such as aspect ratio (video size), colour conventions and a host of audio requirements (peak signal allowances, relative volume of dialogue etc).
Web requirements will be a little more relaxed, just refer to the website you plan to upload to.
Basically, check what you said you would do, and then do it.
As this is a filmmakers toolkit, you will be delivering some sort of film at the end of all this (we hope!). Depending on what your deliverables are, you will have different requirements for exporting your project.
When you have finished your film go to the menu of your NLE and hit export. You’ll then be prompted by your NLE to choose from a selection of daunting file extensions. Depending on what you need, this is where you will tell the computer how to encode/compress your film. Good practice is to export it at full resolution at the highest possible settings and then to down convert that hi-resolution version (using MPEG stream clip provide link) into the standard that you need. For instance, Vimeo prefers H.264 videos and has a list of compression guidelines on their website (http://vimeo.com/help/compression). YouTube has other requirements (https://support.google.com/youtube/answer/1722171?hl=en&ref_topic=2888648). Physical media like DVD or USB delivery will again have unique requirements, based on storage size (a 2GB video file won’t fit on a 1GB USB drive).
There is a wealth of info on sound management in various other areas of the CMT (Sound mix, soundtrack, and sound recording). In general, for your final delivery, you’re audio needs to be mixed nicely so that there are no ‘peaks’, moments when the sound gets so loud it is literally ‘too loud’ and will crackle and distort upon playback. If all your sound is below 0dB and is sounding good then your delivery format won’t change, audio is exported to the same file as video (obviously) so file requirements are the same.
If you have to deliver audio assets separately, like a TV theme song or accompanying ‘podcast’ then again, make sure that you use the correct file formats.
Making sure you’ve delivered everything you said you would leads to the last few odds and ends that need tidying up. Did you tell your client they would get 100 PR stills? You better get those organized and onto a USB stick. Did you promise an accompanying ‘behind the scenes’ documentary with your main project? Because we often do, and you better believe that we deliver one every time we said we would.
At this point in your project everyone is probably so exhausted and frayed that they will just throw everything onto a USB and say ‘there, that’s the delivery’. It is absolutely crucial that someone has a cup of coffee at this point and sits down and makes sure everything’s been completed properly. The last thing you want is to come in on Monday morning to find the delivery you made at 10pm Friday evening wasn’t inclusive of everything you said it was.