How to make a short film : Post-production (part 7)

You have finished your short film and you are now staring at your tapes, memory cards or VHS. It is time to put all the magic into your story and to cut the scenes together.

Your editor (or you) should capture all the material and place them into bins depending on which software you use. Most editing suites these days will have an area that allows you to drag and drop your files into folders (bins) Try to label these and to customize them which will help you structure your shot lists. If you have shot on film and are capturing sound from a DAT, you will need to match your sound and sync it with your clips before you start editing.

Once you have organized and captured everything, you can start editing everything on your sequence. A good tip is to rough-cut a scene before trying to tackle the whole footage. There is no one rule on how to go about creating your first edit, but focusing on one scene will allow you to see how your footage works and what pace it needs to be at.

Your next step is once you have a good edit, to ensure the continuity of sound. This can be overlooked, and the audience will feel those uncomfortable jumps. If you have a sound designer, go through this with him/her so that they can create a great soundtrack and sort out the dialogue and background sound issues.

You may discover that you need to do some ADR (re-recording voices) for actors who were too far from the microphone. This is delicate, but your sound should be consistent. Audiences are far more relaxed with image quality compared to sound, which has to be perfect.

Once your sound is good and your edit is complete, its time for some colour correction. Add those filters, give a feel to your film and then once you have final cut, export it onto the highest quality format you can.

Once you put something onto a DVD whether you shot it on DV or Film, your compression will always be downgraded to mpeg 2. However, do not save your film in this format! You may need a high quality file for a BETA copy, especially for TV distribution and larger festivals.

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