Every Film Is Made Three Times

I’m in post production right now on three tv commercials (plus a bonus PSA!), and while I watch the render bar progress in After Effects (most film work I do is pretty heavy on the compositing/visual effects) it really hits home how the old saw about how a film is made three times- once on paper as the script, once on set, and finally in the edit room- rings true.

I like all phases of production, and I’m one of the lucky guys who usually gets to be very involved in all three phases of a project. It means we do fewer projects, but it also means I get to make sure the quality and vision are there. Back in the day, filmmakers regarded post production as a mysterious black box, something they weren’t involved with. George Lucas pretty much blasted through that stereotype, but even today, some filmmakers aren’t very hands-on or knowledgeable with post. What a huge mistake! Can you imagine leaving a third of your story up to someone else who doesn’t grok your vision? Can you imagine being on set and not knowing exactly what you need to capture for a shot? But it happens. Then again, there’s the amazingly hands on filmmakers like Robert Rodriguez. I love his credits in some of his movies: “shot, chopped, and scored by”. Nice!

Anyway, I’m in post now, and I’m finding that we’re basically rewriting a lot of the work, whether visually (setting emphasis on something else in frame, relighting something digitally, or placing an element in a whole different background) or, sometimes, actually messing with the delivery of the dialog in the spots so things flow better. It’s truly mind boggling, the things we can change- and hopefully improve- with good post production. Yes, it takes a huge effort. Sometimes it’s tedious, too. But the results are amazing, and totally worth it.

Our RED Rocket is getting a huge workout on this stretch, and I’m excited to see how it fares with our new DaVinci color station. Supposedly they’ll work together very nicely. Some of the other tools we’re using for these spots are the whole Adobe CS5 suite, Final Cut Studio, a huge number of products from Imagineer Systems, and Shake. Shake’s one of those tools I always think we’re done with, but it seems there’s always one or two tasks it does more elegantly than anything else in our toolbox.

I love post production.  Knowing all phases of production is vital- there’s no way we could have shot for a week like we did and gotten everything needed for these 4  tv spots, otherwise. Call me the postman.

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About PatrickOrtman, Inc.

PatrickOrtman, Inc. is one of the top-rated video production companies in Los Angeles and New York City. We make high-end corporate videos, and commercials for TV and digital for clients that include 11 Fortune 500s.