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For many of you looking to make a video, the ideal agency partner will take full responsibility for creating the final product without the need for much oversight.  For those of you who are just beginning to add video to your marketing playbook, and are learning about the process, you may want to know a little more about how this process works before you make an investment. With you in mind, we’ve authored this series of posts on how to make a video with an agency, concluding here.

Editing and More.

The final step of the video-making process is called ‘post-production’ (or simply ‘post’) and it’s where the raw materials you’ve assembled are combined into a greater whole.  We’re going to look at the major stages of post-production and how to make sure your results meet your expectations.

Does Your Script Stand Up?

The first part of the post-production process is the creation of an assemble edit – a very rough version of your video put together in order allow you to listen to your script aloud for the first time, often with missing video content, jump-cuts, and placeholder graphics. An interview excerpt or scripted statement may have an inflection or emotional sense that can’t be determined on paper, so in reviewing an assemble edit, your sole focus should be on making certain that you HEAR your story completely and compellingly. If you don’t like what you’ve got, this is the time to re-tool your script – so don’t proceed until you’ve heard your message loud and clear.

Show And Tell.

When you’re confident that you’ve got your story told, the next part of the post-production process is to add elements to complement your story visually in a ‘fine cut’.  You’ll be able to add graphics, photographs, and video to reinforce or add meaning to your video and cover the missing video from your assemble edit.  At this point your goal is to underscore your story’s message and stimulate the emotions of the viewer. Use text and animation to visualize statistical information. Juxtapose your audio with strongly contrasting visuals to reinforce a point. Add music and sound effects to help cue your audience as to how they should feel while watching your video.

Getting Input.

If you’re not experienced making video, you’ll want a production partner who understands how these elements work best and is willing to help by indicating when you can or should use popular music, when a visual not literally connected to your story can be a more powerful choice, or when a graphic will help clarify a complicated point. This is the part of the process where you can and should experiment with the elements you have – and show it to stakeholders to get a sense of how your story is received by an audience. Sometimes we are so immersed in the details of a production, it is easy to lose track of the larger picture. The opinion of someone who isn’t working directly on your project can be invaluable at this stage.

A Polished Piece.

Once you have approved and ‘locked’ the content of your video in the fine cut, the next step is to polish that content and make it look its best for your ‘Master’ cut. It is here that a talented editor can often be left to his or her own devices. Video footage will be ‘color-corrected’ to look interesting and uniform – subtle changes in the timing and juxtaposition of your content will give your piece its own rhythm and energy – transitions between ideas and content segments will be linked in interesting and meaningful ways. Your video will become as you imagined – only better!

Let It Go.

There is a lot of temptation to tinker or make changes to your video in the ‘Master’ cut phase – especially if you’ve been working with it closely. Remember that your audience will likely watch it only once – and they have a different background and set of expectations that they are bringing to the viewing experience. You may come to ‘dislike’ choices that you made earlier in the process, simply because you’ve seen them many times. Trust your production partners to help you determine when your video is truly done, or you can go crazy over-working it.

Remember Your Goals.

There was a reason you wanted to make a video in the first place, wasn’t there? You’ll want a way to measure how successful it was – especially if you made a significant investment. This is easy if your video is on the web – the number of views and, more importantly, the engagement of those viewers, can all be tracked down to the second. If your production team can’t or won’t measure the results of your efforts, your IT team can. Of course, if your audience is live, you can get instant feedback in the form of laughter, applause, or “Good Job!”s received. No matter how you determine the ROI of your video, make sure you’ve done so. A partner that costs a ton, and makes a gorgeous video that doesn’t get results should get the boot – and if a low-budget video hits all of your targets, don’t be in a hurry to spend more the next time.

What has your experience been like making videos? I’d love to hear from you about lessons learned, bridges burned, and what I may have missed myself. Leave a comment with your thoughts, and I’ll be sure to get back to you.