Do Not Fix It In Post, Please.


I am not the only person having worked in post-production who can tell tales of  being (barely) awake at insane hours in order to ‘fix’ various mishaps and accommodate requests before the looming deadline.  I have witnessed the contagious attitude that things will just magically work in post, and worst come to worst it can always be fixed. Ok, kind of true. But, don’t. Just, don’t, please. Do not fix it in post.

I doubt editors like to spend their time cutting around noticeable problems of continuity and pace. They would rather concentrate on building characters, relationships and rhythm. Edward Dmytryk 1st rule of editing is, after all, to never make a cut without a positive reason, and there is nothing positive about hiding your casting and directing problems and other mistakes .

My fellow colorists would rather spend time enhancing the mood and supporting the emotional map of the plot rather than spend hours matching exposures and relighting mismatched scenes.

Visual effects artist, aren’t you tired of having to deal with extra tedious labour because of lack of considerations during pre-production and production? Wouldn’t you rather concentrate on the more creative and rewarding aspects of the job? Trackers? Who needs trackers!

My dear friends in the sound department, do you remember having to clean endless lines of badly recorded audio tracks only to be asked to ADR them later? I’m sure you would rather be sweetening your mix or add layers and depth to your design.

Bad media management has been a heavy burden for many post-production specialists I have met throughout my wandering. Nobody likes reconfirming projects; nobody. If you imagine that by mislabelling media and getting your files and formats mixed up you will add excitement to the life of the people having to edit and later reconform your work, you are greatly mistaken (and you are probably endangering your life.)

I’m in favour of the ‘fix it right now’ mentality.  I’m  also in favour of narrowing the gap between production and post-production. If one should not fix it in post, why not “post it” on set. I can see the director and an editor collaborate tightly on set. I can imagine the Director of Photography and the Colourist exchanging ideas and trying out solutions. Sound designers could provide short previews throughout the process. Music has been used during the production process by the like of Sergio Leone and Moricone. It is a powerful guiding force which can be used to emotionally charge a actor, or an entire set. I’m in favour of achieving a compromise on the ‘fix it in post’ debate. Bring post closer to the set and see if it can help to “fix it”. This is not the future, as it is already happening, but it is not a common trend.

With new technology becoming more affordable, implementations of workflows allowing production and post-production to coexist even on lower budget productions is becoming a reality. I’m not excluding the need of working in the cocoon-environment of the post-production lab. Also, I do not want to doubt the incredible value of reshooting after a first cut is achieved with the director being capable of stepping back and see the work with different eyes.

I can understand the pressure a 1st assistant can sometimes go through when looking at certain schedules. When the clock is ticking it’s tempting to go with the ‘fix’ it in post solution. In the end, it shifts the balance a little bit more on the post-production side of things, but more work does’t always mean more business. Please, as much as you can, do not fix it in post, just don’t. Let’s just fix it together. All I wish is to always find a good integration of the production and post-production processes (and maybe for an excuse to spend more time on set).

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