Lessons Learnt: In Post


(Out of It) #1

We’re the creators of the web series Out of It. This is our new weekly column to share with you all the things we learnt along the way.

5. Lessons Learnt – In Post

Besides being ecstatic that we’d managed to actually film our pilot, as it turns out we also had a decent number of takes of each scene too. Of course, this means when we sat down to edit we had a ton of footage to go through. Even though it can feel like you’ve finished all the hard work, as we soon realised, editing takes a long time and sometimes more effort than being on set. Here are some examples of what you may need to think about in post:

Sound of… What?

As can often be the case when it comes to editing, we found we needed extra sound recordings that hadn’t been picked up in filming. Luckily, we didn’t need any ADR sessions but we did need Foley to maximise particular sound effects that were key to the script. When we needed to recreate the sound of one character, David, as he disgustingly chomps on chicken, we actually recorded our Director loudly eating his dinner, mouth open, in a soundproof room.

Timing is Key

We found timing was particularly important with Out of It, as it is a comedy. For example, we have an awkward reveal that the character Lucy has been cheating (this sounds a lot less funny out of context…) We were surprised when any test audiences (friends and family) didn’t laugh. We realised we had to invest in the moment more, so we edited in several reaction shots – a couple from different pieces of dialogue entirely. This immediately had the desired outcome and made the moment a lot funnier. Make sure your edit is timed to emphasise the tone of each scene.

Keeping Up with the Continuity

Filming a dinner scene with five people drinking was a bit of a nightmare for keeping continuity. There were some takes we simply couldn’t use as it was obvious to us that it would look out of place to have an empty bottle of wine and then suddenly a full one. Although it’s something we did keep an eye on in filming, it’s natural that mistakes can be made. This could have been avoided by looking at the footage before the end of filming but we realised not all footage can be usable and unfortunately we just had to deal with it. Alternatively, if you’re able to get a dedicated script supervisor, they will cover continuity for you.

Deadline Day

Be kind to yourself and don’t put unachievable deadlines for editing. Although it’s a tricky process, taking our time in the editing room made all the difference for the professionalism of the pilot.

We would love to hear any lessons you’ve learnt in post too – what tips have you taken on board in filming that help you when it comes to post production for your series?

Join us next week to discuss Finding the Funds: Fundraising Options.


(Bri Castellini) #2

Things I’ve learned:

1 Double and TRIPLE check sound. We usually record sound on lav mics attached to iPhones and sometimes we’ll miss starting one actor’s recording (since we have to start recording on every single actor, instead of just one), and that always leads to hours of ADR.

2 Just assemble clips first, before you try to start fine-tuning, because sometimes you’ll end up swapping out a take later on, and then all that work will have been for naught

3 Especially for important moments, keep a second or third option somewhere on your timeline (I use Final Cut, and like to drag a muted alternate take below the one I’ve chosen), just in case one of your teammates wants to see other options. This way you don’t waste time hunting down all the other takes- you already have alternate ones you think could work.


(Jonathan Hardesty) #3

Almost a year ago I took a job as an assistant editor to try my hand at it and to give myself a bit of an editor’s boot camp. The big thing I took away from it was organization, and it’s why I take the first part of any project I get at work and I organize everything in my editing program. For most of our shoots at work they use two cameras filming simultaneously so I’ll group all those shots together and make it so that I can switch between the cameras on a whim. It’s called multicamming (or grouping in Avid) and it’s AWESOME. But even when I don’t have a two camera shoot to work from I string everything out in sequences based on type. I’ll have a sequence of all my broll from location A, and a sequence of all the broll from location B, etc.

Premiere allows you to rename all your imported footage without having to rename the files themselves, so I rename all my footage in there to something like “Location_subject_action_quality” so I can reference it later or if I have to do a quick search I can just type any of those qualifiers in there and find what I need.

Usually, by doing all this organization up front, I end up with a pretty good memory of what any given clip is and if I can use it.

And I’ve gotta give an amen to the notes on sound from both @Out_of_It and @Bri_Castellini - continuity can take a hit way before sound can take a hit, and a scene generally requires more sound than you might think. GET ROOM TONE. Many years ago on my very first project I filmed in a gas station with very loud freezers, and I didn’t bother to account for that when recording audio. I had to ADR and foley all of those scenes…and they were at least 60% of the project. It took months to get people back individually for that, and in the end it still didn’t sound quite right because I had to make up that freezer tone using something else and it just never quite mixed.

So whatever you can do to not have to worry about sound in post, do it. :smiley:

Love this post. Thank you guys for bringing this stuff up!!!


(Bri Castellini) #4

Was about to respond to this with “How did I forget to mention room tone??” and then I realized… it’s because every time, without fail, I fucking forget to record room tone. Sigh.


(Jonathan Hardesty) #5

I should add that generally about 2-5 minutes is great. If you can only manage 1 minute, cool, but programs like adobe audition or audacity or pro tools really shine if you can give it a lot to work with. And frankly, while you have the sound guy on set, get EVERYTHING you need. Saves so much time in the final mix.

If you don’t have actors speaking and are just getting broll, have the set remain quiet and divert the sound guy to grabbing room tone. You could even get the sound equivalent of broll by getting sound from the items in the room - like light switches, shoes on carpet, shoes on linoleum, shoes on wood, etc. Really, you could build a mighty fine sound library while on set if you wanted!


(Bri Castellini) #6

That’s actually something I’ve been meaning to do for a while now- build a sound library. I’ve got a bunch of random foley (zombie kills, zombie gurgles, footsteps, screaming, running, falling to the ground, etc) that I have to individually hunt down every time I want to use it. Good reminder! Maybe I’ll do that this weekend…


(Out of It) #7

Definitely agree with you both on the importance of organisation - as well as keeping alternative takes on your timeline. That came in really handy for us as there were three of us making decisions and obviously we didn’t agree all of the time! Thanks for the tips on sound as well!


(Jonathan Hardesty) #8

Oooh. I like the alternate takes on the timeline. Premiere does a nifty thing where you can “disable” a clip which leaves it on your timeline how it has been edited, but it doesn’t show up when you export or when you’re previewing on the timeline. I’ve done that a bunch with clients who are undecided on cuts, and it has been a time saver.


(Bri Castellini) #9

I think that’s what Final Cut does? It doesn’t show up in export or anything, but I’m also an idiot and don’t know things like “terminology” and “words” so WHO KNOWS! But yeah, the alternate takes have saved me many a screaming match with collaborators hahahaha. It also teaches me to pick my battles.


(Jonathan Hardesty) #10

I used to work for an EP who changed her mind constantly, so I got into a habit of after every round of notes duplicating the current timeline and changing the version number. It meant a LOT of timelines, but it also meant I could track all my changes and revert them much faster. I do a much more subdued version of that for my day job, but generally any time I get notes that means I move everything to a new timeline.

And as for terminology, if I get too lingo-y, let me know. It’s a bad habit I’ve developed. :stuck_out_tongue: