Don’t Fix It In Post: Shooting for the Edit
Don't Wait to Fix It Later
What was once a rule to live by has now mostly turned into an on set joke,
"Don't worry about it, we will fix it in post."
While it may be an offhand comment, some people still use post production and editing as a fallback to push a shoot forward and worry about a problem at a later date. In today's world of guerilla filmmaking, this is definitely something to avoid.
Save Time and Money
Editing, actually most post production work in general, is definitely a love it or hate it process. I don't know if I have heard anyone say, "Editing's ok,"...ever. They either love the creative process of molding a story out of rough footage or despise it completely.
I remember when I started editing in high school, I immediately fell in love with it. I would help my friends shoot their projects and then jump at the opportunity to edit it for them, reveling in the final reveal and anxiously awaiting their reactions. Since then, I have made a living as an editor and director. Personally, I don't think I would be nearly as effective of a director if I didn't have an editing background.
Being able to visualize how a scene will be cut together not only helps me in planning out a shoot, but it also helps me vocalize my "vision" to cast and crew. While directors must be fluid, able to make changes on the fly depending on a multitude of factors, having a basic idea of how a scene is going to be cut together puts you two steps ahead before you even step behind a camera.
In a recent interview we did with Michael Roussellet from 5SecondFilms, he talks about how on the set of their feature, "Dude Bro Party Massacre III," the ability to know exactly what they needed in each scene for the edit helped them speed up production on an already tight shooting schedule.
When daylight is fading and you still have a page of script left to shoot, there is nothing more valuable than knowing exactly what you need.
It may not be the greatest cinematic scene ever and you may not all the shots you wanted to pull off your pièce de résistance, but what is most important is getting all the coverage and shots you need to create a well executed scene that makes sense to an audience.
Basic Knowledge All You Need
Now before you cringe at the idea of learning to edit, just know that you don't need to get deep into the world of post production work. Like I said, a lot of people hate having to edit and there is no guarantee you won't be a part of that group. But just having a little bit of editing knowledge will help.
I don't recommend you start editing a high intensity action scene to get the gist of post work, keep it short and simple until you either realize your love for editing or want to get into more complex films.
The most basic of scenes is the shot/reverse shot dialogue scene. And easy edit, it helps you learn the basics of structuring a scene in post and knowing exactly what you need in terms of footage.
While it is easy to see that knowing the basics of editing can help you save time, thus more importantly money, during production, there is an added benefit of a speedier post production as well.
Knowing how the scene should be structured helps you find the right takes quicker, build those edits faster, and get your film closer to completion much much sooner. So next time someone mentions that they will "fix it in post", kindly remind them that they should,
"Fix it in production."