Before we explore the steps of post-production, it’s important to know what it is!
What do we mean by post-production?
Post-production is the phase of the filmmaking process where the footage shot during principal photography is assembled into a cohesive narrative and other aspects of the film are put into place and polished, including the dialogue, score, sound effects, and visual effects.
How important is post-production?
There’s a common saying that goes “a film is made three times–once during the scriptwriting process, once during the shooting process, and then once again during the editing process.”
Which is all to say that every part of the filmmaking process is critical to the success of a movie, and post-production is no exception.
Prior to a film entering the post-production process, it really and truly is not a film yet–at least, not one that would make any sense to viewers or be perceived as a cohesive story. It takes considerable time, energy, and talent from those who work in post such as Editors, Composers, Colorists, and Sound Designers to shape what they receive into what we recognize as a movie.
What are examples of post-production?
Post-production is a phase of the filmmaking process, but the phrase “post-production” actually refers to multiple filmmaking components, each with specific goals in mind.
- Editing. The editing process involves stringing together the individual shots filmed during principal photography. It’s primarily through editing that a coherent story with an understandable narrative is created.
- Music composition. Most films include some type of instrumental musical score that helps to emphasize the emotional tone of any given scene. Some of the most successful and notable Composers include John Williams, Alan Silvestri, and Hans Zimmer.
- Visual effects. Computer-generated imagery, or CGI, has become a key component of filmmaking over the last thirty years or more. Whether a film is set in reality or another world, visual effects can be incredibly effective in helping to tell stories that cannot be created through traditional filmmaking means alone.
- Color grading. The look of a film in terms of brightness, color saturation, and other visual elements can be highly important in helping to set the mood for an individual scene or to create the entire world of a film. Color grading is a process of altering the look of the footage according to these different elements.
- Sound design. For nearly the last 100 years, sound has played a key role in helping to tell cinematic stories. From dialogue to sound effects to the aforementioned score, the entirety of a movie’s sound is critical to its success. For this reason, sound design has long been an important part of the post-production process.