For interview-based projects, we find that this collaborative approach to editing leads to the best outcomes. Following these steps streamlines the workflow (saving time and money), improves communication, keeps the project organized and the footage safe, and results in the best possible final product. Here we have outlined each step of the Post-Production process, with estimates for turnaround time and hours spent. We look forward to working with you!
The initial steps in our Post-Production process involve backing up and organizing the footage, setting up the project, and providing you with reference videos and transcripts of the interviews.
Turnaround time: 2 - 3 business days after the shoot
Hours spent: 2 - 8 hours, depending on the number of interviews and volume of footage
Transferring the Raw Footage
As soon as possible after we’ve completed a shoot, we back up the raw footage to a RAID-protected external hard drive, and then copy the same raw footage to the external hard drive where we will be doing the primary edit. If the project is being edited by one of our editors outside of Boston, we will also ship a copy of the footage on a portable external hard drive.
Transcoding the Raw Footage
While our editing program Premiere Pro can usually work with multiple file formats, this can be a drag on the processor and slows down the edit. Additionally, some file formats are difficult to preview outside of the editing project. For these reasons, we often transcode all of the raw footage into the ProRes codec.
Setting up the Project
After the footage is ready for editing, we set up the Premiere Pro project following a system that keeps the media and sequences well-organized.
Creating and Exporting Interview Sequences
We synchronize the raw footage for each multi-camera interview, trim the edges, and remove non-essential audio tracks. We then export and upload reference sequences of each interview to share with you online. This gives us a common reference as we review the interviews together and collaborate on the editing.
Transcribing the Interviews
We send the reference sequences to a transcription agency, which provides us with Word docs of the entire interview with time stamps every 30 seconds. These transcriptions make it easy for everyone to review and discuss the footage.
Sound Bites Cut
In the Sound Bites Cut, our objective is to build a narrative from the interviews, telling a story that delivers your message and your key bullet points, while keeping the viewer engaged. The challenge is to cut down the sequence as tightly as possible without losing essential content.
Turnaround time: 5 business days after we receive your notes on the interview transcripts for the first cut, 3 business days after we receive your revision requests.
Hours spent: Roughly 2 hours per 30 minute interview
Client Reviews the Interviews
You review the interviews, watching the clips online and following along with the Word doc transcripts. You highlight preferred soundbites on the Word doc, and provide us with any additional notes. This step helps us zero in on the best messaging in the first pass of the edit, which saves considerable editing time.
Editing the Initial Sound Bites Cut
Once we have your notes on the interviews, we edit an initial Sound Bites Cut. At this stage, our only focus is the spoken content.
Client Reviews the Initial Sound Bites Cut
You review the initial Sound Bites Cut and provide us with your notes, using time codes to specify which sound bites you would like to add, move, or remove; and indicate where you would like new or moved sound bites to be placed in the edit sequence.
Sound Bites Cut Revisions
Following your notes, we revise the Sound Bites Cut, send it back to you for review, and continue the process until there is an approved Sound Bites Cut.
B Roll and Music Cut
In the B Roll and Music Cut, our objective is to overlay action footage that illustrates or compliments what is being said in the interviews. This does not add length to the video unless b roll is inserted between (rather than over) the interview segments. We also add watermarked music which creates a feel and tempo for the video.
Turnaround time: 5 business days after we receive your approval on the Sound Bites Cut, each revised cut ready roughly 3 – 5 business days after we receive your notes.
Hours spent: Roughly 4 - 8 hours for the initial cut, 2 – 3 hours for each revision
Picking Potential Music Tracks
Prior to adding the b roll and music, we will send you links to potential music tracks on the stock music libraries Pond5.com and PremiumBeat.com. Your feedback is enormously helpful in picking the right music track to set the mood for the video. If you change your change your mind on the music, we can always swap it out with another track.
Editing the Initial B Roll and Music Cut
We place a watermarked music track into the video sequence, and overlay b roll footage onto the existing sequence to help tell the story visually. Please note, the audio watermark will play about every 8 seconds, and it can be a little distracting until you get used to it.
Client Reviews the Initial B Roll and Music Cut
You review the initial B Roll and Music Cut and provide us with your notes.
B Roll and Music Cut Revisions
Following your notes, we revise the initial B Roll and Music Cut, send it back to you for review, and continue the process until there is an approved B Roll and Music Cut.
Color and Graphics Cut
In this final stage of the editing, we bring out the best colors in each shot and match the shots throughout the video. We also add text graphics, and sometimes intro/outro bumpers.
Turnaround time: 5 business days after we receive your approval on the B Roll and Music Cut, each revised cut ready roughly 3 – 5 business days after we receive your notes.
Hours spent: Roughly 2 - 6 hours for coloring, the amount of coloring depends on the degree to which we match specific colors; 1 - 3 hours for text graphics.
Color Correction / Color Grading
Once we have a lock on the B roll and Music Sequence, we color correct and color grade the sequence. Color correction is the process of making the flat raw footage look “normal.” Color grading is the process of matching colors to be consistent throughout the video and making stylist adjustments. It is important that we do this step late in the overall editing process, because we color each shot individually. If we don’t have a lock on the B roll and Music Sequence before we start coloring, we could end up spending valuable editing hours coloring shots that don’t make it into the final cut. One of the challenges of coloring footage is where to place priority – is it on the skin tones of people in the shots, or is it on the color of other objects in the frame? Unlike when editing still images, we cannot separately adjust different elements within the frame without adding substantial editing time.
Adding Text Graphics
After we have colored the cut, we add text graphics. These are generally lower thirds titles of speakers, occasional captions, and company logos.
Client Reviews the Color and Graphics Cut
You review the cut and determine whether it is approved for delivery. At this point, corrections are very minor: brightening a shot, switching a font, keeping a logo on screen longer, etc.
Once the video is approved for delivery, we download-enable the preview link, which allows you to download the full-quality video to your desktop. We can also share the video with you through Dropbox.
One Last Tip...
When you are reviewing a cut, it is best to get consensus from all the decision-makers on your team before submitting revision requests. This helps reduce the number of incremental revisions, saving you time and money!