Fix It In Post – 5 Important Reasons Why You Shouldn’t

Have you ever worked on a tiny independent film where a mistake was made during a shoot and someone said, “Don’t worry, we can fix it in post”? 

Today’s filmmakers have access to advanced post-production technologies like Adobe Premiere Pro and DaVinci Resolve, which may transform your project. 

Based on my experience with Adobe creative cloud, this software tool can add stunning visual effects to your production and even rectify certain flaws that were captured accidently while recording. However, attempting to repair everything in post-production is a massive mistake that can completely destroy any film project.

But, to fix everything in post, is a huge mistake that can derail any film project. Why? Because, no matter how good your editing software is or how much time you have on your hands, it’s often quicker to simply reboot the scene. 

I’ve had a few situations in the past with a full-length feature and a short feature where I discovered things throughout the editing process that I couldn’t fix in post. As a result, many projects have been shelved as a result of this.

Yes, if you have time to reassemble the crew and reshoot a few sequences to remedy the error. But what happens if you can’t control your workforce in minutes in this new normal of the Covid age? 

In this article, I’ll go through five compelling reasons why reshooting certain situations is preferable to “fixing it in post.” So, without further ado, let’s get this party started!

Fix it In Post
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Continuity and Visible Errors

Boom microphones are required for practically every shot, but do you want them to be visible in the frame as well? The issue with certain shoots is that the microphone may get in the way when shooting in order to get decent clean audio.

If you see the boom in the frame yet the performers’ performances and lighting are outstanding, you should consider your options as soon as possible. You might be able to crop out the boom mic in post if you detected it in the frame at the beginning or conclusion of the action.

If, on the other hand, the boom microphone appears throughout the scene, do yourself a favour and do another take. Here’s an example of when doing another scene instead of depending on the words “fix it in post” is the better option.

Last year, I created a feature picture set on an island that could only be reached by boat. The issue was that the crew’s automobiles were seen out in the distance, covered by surrounding trees, during one of the pictures.

The director chose to keep the shot and correct it in post because we were running out of daylight that day. The difficulty is that if you’re a new editor with little experience with visual effects, trying to repair it in post will take longer than simply reshooting the scene the next day.

Unfortunately, the movie is still not available due to a large number of post-production modifications. Do, if you can remedy a continuity or visual fault while still on set, do so since it will save you time and effort later when you try to fix it in post.

Never Trust Auto White Balance

Do you have any idea what Auto White Balance is? Here’s a quick rundown of what Auto White Balance can accomplish for your video. The Auto White Balance (AWB) setting allows the camera to select the optimal choice for capturing what your eyes see.

When working with natural illumination outdoors, AWB works better than when working with more sophisticated lighting settings. Some filmmakers choose to leave the camera’s Auto White Balance on all day and correct the colour temperature in post.

When conditions are ideal, this may work, but if you plan on shooting in multiple places and under various lighting conditions during the day, dealing with AWB can be difficult.

On the last short film I filmed, when I was jumping from outdoors to indoors regularly, I made the error of leaving the AWB on the camera, and now I’m having a hard time colour correcting in post. Plus, if you have a vision in your brain of the colour you want to use to set the tone for each scene, you’ll want to be able to adjust it while shooting rather than waiting until post-production.

If you’re having trouble with auto white balance in post, do yourself a favour and reshoot the scene with the colours you want. It will allow you to save both time and money.

Motion Tracking Concerns

The process of following a moving item in a video is known as motion tracking or mask tracking. The majority of the time, you’re tracking movement with a mask, hence the phrase mask tracking. Motion tracking in Premiere is done with position keyframes and provides up a world of creative and colour options. 

Doesn’t it sound fantastic? Motion tracking in tools like Premiere Pro can add something to your vision if you know how to use editing software.

But, If you’ve ever used motion tracking to fix a mistake in the past, then you will understand how long of a process it is, and sometimes you may not get the results you want in the end.

Again, when you are directing a film, have conversations about your vision of the shot with your director of photography before each shot, means something you don’t have to fix it in post.

Cropping reduces resolution

Let’s face it, mistakes will inevitably occur during the production of a film.

For example, suppose you’re filming a period piece and an actor forgets to remove a Starbucks Coffee Mug from the scene. Alternatively, the boom comes in and out of the camera, yet the actors deliver a superb performance, which you notice later.

While cropping the frame in the editing suite could disguise the error, depending on the camera you’re using, you risk losing resolution in the shot.

You can’t make modifications to a video without also re-encoding it, such as cropping. There will be some quality loss when you re-encode a video, no matter how careful you are. However, if you start with a high-quality video, you can minimize the quality loss to a minimum, possibly to the point where you won’t be able to tell the difference with your naked eye.

If you want to keep the file size as little as possible while minimizing quality loss, your best bet is to export using the same parameters as the original. This will usually result in a file of similar size and quality.

The more compressed the original video is, the more difficult it is to work with, and the more evident any quality loss would be.

Being Rushed

Most films require a significant amount of post-production work.

You never want to have to deal with mistakes during a film production that cause you to lose time, especially if you’re under pressure to finish the movie in a certain amount of time.

Identify your boundaries ahead of time, whether you’re dealing with a time frame centred on the completion of a client commercial project or having to complete a film project before a film festival’s closing submission deadline.

Clients are sometimes dissatisfied when projects are completed months after the expected completion date. Always be realistic about your post-production timeline so you can identify mistakes and reshoot if necessary.

Conclusion

Now am I telling you that you should never “fix it in post?” Of course not.

But understanding how to fix problems on set before the editing phase will save your butt more times than you’ll be able to count. Always be careful about relying on fixing it in post, because to fix it in post, doesn’t solve all of your problems.

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About the author: Trent (IMDB Youtubehas spent 10+ years working on an assortment of film and television projects. He writes about his experiences to help (and amuse) others. If he’s not working, he’s either traveling, reading or writing about travel/film, or planning travel/film projects.

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Top 5 Important Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Fix It In Post

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