Lessons from 130+ Days of Post-Production Insights

How to Learn More about Post Production Every Day

For the past 130+ days I’ve shared a two minute post-production insight with my Cut/daily readership every Monday through Friday and in this post I wanted to share with you, a few of my favourite curated insights from that time.

Hopefully this will give you a taste of what’s on offer over at Cut/daily, and thanks to Artlist.io’s recent sponsorship there are now over 50 free issues of Cut/daily waiting for you when you sign up for free.

Or you can invest in your own post-production learning for just $5/month and get a new issue of Cut/daily delivered straight to your inbox every Monday to Friday plus access to the entire archive of every issue of Cut/daily and exclusive member benefits and referral rewards.

Personally, I think this is a steal – especially when you see how much work goes into each issue!

It was actually really tricky to constrain myself to just five of my favourite issues from 130 to choose from – there’s just so much great post-production learning to be had!

Five of my Favourite Post Production Tips and Tricks

#1 – Create Instant J or L Cuts in Premiere Pro

Probably the most useful thing I’ve learned is something incredibly simple.

As an editor who spends most of my time in Adobe Premiere Pro I never knew you could simply hold ALT when selecting the edge of a clip to temporarily override linked selection, allowing you to instantly create J or L cuts without having to first unlink the audio from the video.

This is a huge time-saver and provides almost no interruption to your editing flow. Amazing!

I picked up this tip from Paul Murphy and it was just a small part of Cut/daily issue #019 – Shortcuts for Faster Graphics Editing in Adobe Premiere Pro.

#2 – Perfect Matches Across Every Edit

My second favourite tip is from this excellent 107 second tutorial, where trailer editor Derek Lieu shares a brilliantly simple hack for perfecting your eye-trace across cuts.

It’s so simple, yet so useful, that you’ll say “Well, why didn’t I think of that?

  1. Park your playhead on the cut between the two shots you’re matching
  2. Add a dissolve transition
  3. Adjust the positioning or timing of the clips to match the eye-trace
  4. Delete the dissolve

As they say “If you can’t solve it, dissolve it.”

This was part of issue #007 – Mastering eye-trace, an Editor’s secret weapon.

#3 – The only thing that matters

This tip comes from #069 – (Probably) The Greatest Editor Audio Commentary Track of All Time? Which features 5 takeaways from the writer and editor commentary track from Steve Jobs.

Screenwriter Aaron Sorkin asks Editor Elliot Graham a few times why certain lines were cut out which, early on, leads to this great response:

The only thing that matters is the film from beginning to end.

That’s what matters.

The only thing that’s sacred is the film in its entirety.

Does it work?

Editor Elliot Graham

I’d not heard it put this way before and this is a great way to focus and line up everything that is in an edit towards the ultimate goal.

Does the whole thing work?

If something could come out, story wise, it didn’t matter how good it was… it had to come out.

Editor Elliot Graham

#4 – How to EQ Dialogue to Perfection

In this detailed tutorial from Michael Wynne of In The Mix, you can get a superb understanding of just what to listen for when polishing the EQ of your dialogue.

One of the things that was interesting to me was that I had been usually setting my high pass filter to around 100 Hz, but Michael suggests that I’m losing too much ‘body’ that way.

It’s probably one of those things you’ve got to judge for yourself each time, rather than being lazy and slapping a number in.

  • 1:10 – 0Hz to 50Hz – (Remove mostly unwanted rumble and bass)
  • 2:10 – 50Hz to 200Hz (Remove room resonances, Increase warmth & bass)
  • 6:40 – 200Hz to 600/700Hz (Remove nasal or congested frequencies)
  • 9:00 – 600Hz to 4kHz (Almost always leave this band alone, possible wide 2k subtle boost)
  • 10:00 – 4kHz – 8kHz (Removing sibilance and whistling frequencies)
  • 12:00 – 8kHz+ (Michael suggests leaving it, although can add air and brightness if adjusted with nuance)

This tip was part of issue #125 – How to EQ Dialogue to Perfection

#5 – Save yourself and your clients from trouble with a front slate

This is what I mean by a front slate…

When I used to edit with clients in the room, or have people come in for an attended review session (remember those?), right before hitting play it would be easy to turn to everyone and say:

“Right now the graphics are still temp…”

Or

“This isn’t graded yet.”

Or all manner of little notes and reminders to help frame what they’re about to see.

These days I try to list these things in the email that contains the link to Frame.io for them to review, but you never know if they’re really paying attention until you get comments about the stuff you already mentioned in the notes they ignored.

(sigh)

A better way is to add a front slate to the file you upload which once again reminds them of the current condition of what they’re about to watch.

The Future – My Frame.io Feature Request

What I’d love is if Frame.io were to build a slate feature into their video review service whereby you could create a front slate – either as the holding still of the review file when the review page is loaded, or as a few seconds of branded count-down leader.

The benefit of this is that you could list all the details you wanted by filling in a few text fields AND the slate isn’t actually part of the uploaded file (it’s just some web magic) so the client can still download it and use the file, as is, without having to remove the slate, or for you to re-upload the file without the slate.

Please and thank you.

Front Slate – The Details

So what should you include in your video review version of a front slate?

Whatever you want, but here are some suggestions:

  • Project Name
  • Video Title
  • Date
  • Version Number
  • Duration
  • Temp: SFX / Grade / VFX / Graphics / Mix etc.
  • Specific Notes – Alt ending, Missing Scene 4 etc.
  • Editor Name
  • Company Logo
  • Resolution
  • Frame Rate
  • Aspect Ratio

Depending on your needs and what is essential to communicate to the client you might want to drop the final five in this list, so that they don’t get overwhelmed by a bunch of text on screen and fail to read it.

This was part of issue #121 – Why You Should Use a Front Slate on Your Video Reviews which also includes more information on the history of front slates and several free front slate templates to download!

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