The talent is gone, the sets dismantled and the footage captured; now what? How does the raw footage and images captured in studio become transformed into the content that you see on TV? Mark Henning, Director of Post Production sits down to explain just that.
So you and your team essentially turn raw assets into gold? You make all this content useable for whatever application that it has been designated for, correct?
Well here’s kind of the progression of things and how things work from pre-production through post. In pre-production they write a script that serves as the guide for shooting the commercial, then when it’s all finished we take whatever assets they’ve gathered and use the script that was written as a road map of sorts; it’s kind of like we’re writing the script a second time. We take the puzzle pieces so to speak and assemble them in a way that creates the best picture possible.
So who makes up your team?
It runs the gamut, we have everything from assistant editors that bring footage in and get it organized and prepped to editors who make creative choices. We have guys who do 2D graphics and motion graphics, we have 3D animators that can create almost anything you can imagine, we have sound mixing and sweeting, color correcting and visual effects all going on – it’s all very involved.
What would you say is the most difficult part of the post production process?
Honestly, every project is different. A long form project has the challenge of having to tell a bunch of small stories individually for the entirety of a 30 minute infomercial and yet still make it flow and be a cohesive show. People may have the misconception that a short form is easier, but that isn’t always the case. With only 30 seconds you have to utilized every frame and each second the best you can in order to explain all the features and benefits of the product. So the real answer to your question is that each project presents unique challenges, you can’t necessarily nail down one thing as the “most challenging”.
How did you get into this line of work, what advice would you give to someone who is looking to get into this field or someone who is just starting out?
I started editing as a kid by splicing film together, I’ve loved filmmaking since I was 10 years old. My advice is two fold, firstly, learn by watching tutorials. It is an easier field to get into now than it was in the past because of the access to tools and knowledge. Back when I was starting computer editing was brand new and it could cost half a million dollars or more, but today there are so many tutorials on YouTube and other places, it helps a lot. So be willing to learn and work hard. My second piece of advice is this, you have to be passionate and make your own projects. As I said before, there isn’t a lack of resources to learning about these things, become well versed in a specific skillset and make it your expertise so that you have something you can offer to a studio or production company.
What is the one thing that you want people to take away after reading this article?
Post is where you have the ability to really craft a story. Yes there is an important technical side to it, but even more so than that is the creative side. When a post team brings these two things together, we’re able to advance the production beyond the original script and footage shot, into the best possible product.
Now you know, the process that happens after shoots is a time consuming and labor intensive one, but it is integral to producing the content that we as consumers all crave. While very technical in nature, the creative side is just as important, so when you have passionate professionals like Mark Henning leading the way in post, you’re able to have amazing, engaging content that works.