You have created your movie. All of your preliminary work is done, and the scenes are shot. But your work is just begun. Now you have to do the post-production work. Below are the 13 steps that you have to take in post-production to help your movie become a finished product.

1. Choose Your Editing Format

There is two ways that you can do post-production. One is the older way and this is doing it with film. Shoot the film and then edit it or you can splice the film with equipment made for film editing. Not a lot of filmmakers do it this way anymore.

The second way for editing is through doing it using digital. This is an electronic way. You’ll need to get rushes digitalized. This means you’ll need to have them scanned so that they’re digital or telecined. From now on the steps will be the same no matter how they’re edited.

2. Hire Your Picture Editor

The cinematographer you have been working with can probably recommend someone. The job of the editor’s is to create your EDL or Edit Decision List. They will read the script as well as look at your rushes. From there they are going to cut your film based on the editor’s opinion about what will make your story better. Since this is a huge deal, it’s good practice to hire someone before your project has gone into production. Someone who is good will advise you on what kinds of shots they are going to need and the tricky issues post-production before your film starts.

The typical schedule when a feature is being edited is anywhere from 8 to 10 weeks. During those weeks, the editor is going to create various drafts of the film. That first draft will be called your rough cut, the final draft is your Answer Print. The edit has two conclusions – the firsts when you’re happy with your visual imagines, which is the locking picture. The second is when you’re happy with your sound, which is the sound lock.

3. Hire Your Sound Editor

Once the step above is done, the picture film is tight but the look has to be enhanced using sound. Therefore, you want to hire your sound editor as well as their assistant for anywhere from 5 to 6 weeks. They will

  • Cut the dialogue tracks
  • Recreate the sound effects
  • Get the cue sheets and make sure they’re ready so that Step 7’s simplified

4. Do ADR

ADR stands for what is known as Automatic Dialogue Replacement. This is a big hollow room which has a projector in it. That will project the most recent draft and will have the actors return and loop dialogue and lip sync anything that wasn’t clear and sharp.

5. Do Foley

Go to the room that you used in the step above, but don’t bring the actors. You want to bring Foley Artists to put in sound effects such as footsteps and slamming doors into the film.

6. Secure Music

Before we tell you what you should do, let’s tell you what you shouldn’t do.

Do not use any old songs to which you haven’t purchased the rights to.

Do not use classical music or public domain songs because it’s either going to become really expensive or it’s going to miss the mark.

Do not used any CD-ROM music that has been pre-cleared since its quality will not be good enough.

What to do:

Find a musician that has their own studio and have them compose new original tunes and songs so that you can have those rights.

7. Do the Mix/Re-recording

Say you have 20 to 40 tracks of ADR, Foley, dialogue and music.  You have to layer them over one another so that a feeling of depth is created. This is known as mixing or re-recording.

8. Get Your M&E

One day you are going to sell your film rights to the other countries. The nation’s distributor/buyer will want a sound track that doesn’t have any English dialogue so they’re able to dub your dialogue. Therefore, that M&E is going to stand for just music & effects.

9. Get the Titles

Now your editing is done you have to get those final pieces you need for your answer print. The first few pieces are going to be the 6 to 8 cards for the opening title as well as your Rear Title Crawl. Those titles files will then be added to your master track.

10. Get Your DCP

It allows you to deliver your film. You are going to have to create your DCP, or your Digital Cinema Package. This is the hard drive that will contain your film’s final copy that has been encoded so that it is able to play in the cinemas.

11. Get Your Dialogue Script

Foreign territories are able to subtitle or dub your film.  You are going to have to create your dialogue script. This will have the precise time codes for each dialogue piece so the dubbing artist or subtitler knows where the dialogue is placed.

12. Get Your Campaign Image

It’s said that pictures are worth one thousand words. The campaign image is likely the very first thing festival programmers or distributers are going to see of the film. This image with your credits and titles should tell the viewer what that film is about.

13. Get Your Trailer

Create a trailer of 90 to 120 seconds which will convey the atmosphere and mood of your film. Often distribution and programming decisions are going to be based upon your trailer’s strength. This is what audiences are going to see before the movie comes out in theaters to make them want to go see it.

These points listed above are the 13 steps that you have to take when you are doing your post-production work on your movie. When they are done, you have a finished product and you can see where your movie goes from here. Hopefully to the theaters and to millions of adoring fans!

About 800-KAMERMAN

800-Kamerman is a 20 time National Emmy award-winning video production company with over 30 years of experience producing compelling branded content, commercials, live events, features, corporate communications and educational videos for clients. Offices in Orange County and Los Angeles.