You shot your video… Now what?

It’s a typical snowy day in Calgary and the perfect time to write another blog post. We have found that clients often have questions about the editing process and so I’ve decided to write a quick post that goes over what the process entails and how we approach it to give clients an idea of what’s actually going on behind the scenes!

If you’re paying for video editing services you probably want to know what is involved because first of all, you’re paying for it, and secondly, it’s a technical area that you don’t really understand, hence why you’ve hired other people to do it. So let’s get into it! Keep in mind that this is our process and not necessarily how other agencies or production houses might approach it.

1. Pre-editing and considerations

Depending on the shoot, we probably had external audio devices and cameras recording at the same time to make sure we have good quality audio and video content to work with to deliver your final product. This means that we have a large amount of audio and video data to sync together and organize before getting started on the edit.

We also don’t want to lose this data, so we are backing it up. We do not charge for when we are loading, rendering, and exporting our data because in our opinion you’ve hired us because we have software and equipment that you don’t, not because you want to be buying us new computers and our costs of depreciating equipment have already been built into our pricing. We charge by the hour for editing because it can vary so much depending on what the client needs and it is not always a linear process. That being said, we have lots of experience editing so we will provide estimates to give you an idea what to expect.

2. The Rough Cut

Once we get all our files organized and backed up, we are ready to start editing. The first step is syncing up and putting together our clips and audio files into sequences. This is a fairly straightforward process usually and so the amount of time really just depends on the number of clips we have to go through.

Once clips are synced up, we will do a first pass through all the content and cut out any that we are sure we won’t use and fix any glaring issues. This gives us a chance to review all of the material we are working with, or if the editor was not at the shoot, gets them acquainted with all of the material which will help them to make editing decisions efficiently later on. The editor may then do a second pass through or have another one of our team look over the first pass and see if anything else can be cut right off the bat. What we have left after this first couple of passes we usually call “the rough cut”.

3. The fine cut

After the rough cut is done, the next stage is making a finer cut. This fine cut will ultimately be the footage that is delivered to the client after some refinement. A major part of this stage is taking the material we have and fitting it into the specifications of the client. Often, we will have specific requirements from the client regarding the length or resolution of the final deliverable (eg: it needs to be under a minute long and 1920 x 1080, or a vertical resolution for Instagram TV).

Depending on the specifications and the footage that was recorded, refining the rough cut can take some time since decisions will have to be made about what stays and what gets cut. This is when our editors will ask themselves questions of the footage like

  • “does this advance or distract from the narrative?”
  • “is this clip adding value to the video as a whole?”
  • “does this convey the feeling and style we want?”

Among others. Questions like these help us to decide which clips to keep if we need to decide between shots to keep for a short promo video or between takes for a narrative piece. Once we’re done cutting down the footage we call this “the fine cut”. There may be multiple iterations of fine cuts.

4. Creation of graphic assets or motion design

Graphic assets refer to the digital image files that we may need in order to finish the video. Motion design refers to any animation that we need to do to complete the project (often this means adding movement to make visually engaging titles or infographics to go along with the video). This can happen at the same time as the first two steps if we assign another editor to the project and know exactly what we need for the final deliverable. Sometimes this step is not necessary either if the client just wants us to put their logo in the corner or already has the graphics that they want used in the video. However, most of the time we design and animate the assets for our clients. As you can imagine this step can vary greatly in the amount of time needed based on how much work and the the complexity of work needed by the client.

5. Color correction and color grading

Depending on lighting and white balance, colors can look very different from what we might perceive as “natural”. Color correction refers to how the colors of videos need to be corrected and balanced from clip to clip to ensure that a correct and consistent look is maintained throughout. Often, videos will also be filmed in a flat picture profile to allow for more flexibility to adjust colors later on, especially if a specific look or feel is desired by the client. Achieving this final look is called color grading.

5. Audio

Adjustments or repairs to any audio issues take place at this stage. Since there are typically multiple audio sources over multiple clips, these will be balanced and have their levels adjusted. After that we will work on sound design and make sure everything overall sounds good and produce/add any additional sounds or music needed by the client.

6. Send to client for review

Depending on the project and the client’s desired level of involvement, clips or cuts may be sent for feedback throughout these various stages. A video may go back and forth a couple of times for small revisions before completion.

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About Hot Neon

Hot Neon Productions is a passionate online content creation and video marketing company based in Canada and operating since 2018. Hot Neon produces creative video, motion, and digital content that helps you build your growing business, start-up, or social media channels.

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Hot Neon Productions is a passionate content creation and video production company based in Calgary, Alberta. Hot Neon produces creative video, motion, and digital content that helps you build your growing business or start-up. We love meeting new people and hearing about your ideas and goals, so give us a shout below today. We’re always interested in new collaborations, projects, and supporting other entrepreneurs.

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