Post-Production For Video & Film: A Step-By-Step Guide

what is post production
Post-production is an important process of video & film production. For more information read our detailed step-by-step guide on post-production.

Raw footage alone has no value. It’s not enough to make your film a blockbuster. A well-produced video or film relies on plenty of factors and processes that take place during and after the production.

This is where post-production comes into action. It’s a process of editing raw footage, incorporating sound and visual effects, color grading, and editing so it turns out to be a cohesive, compelling video.

Post-Production involves many people and trust and is perhaps more important at any other point in the filmmaking process. These are the last processes and serve as the glue that keeps the film together.

Thus, what is Post-Production, who is engaged, and what should be considered before its commencement? Let’s take a walk through the post-production process and take a look at it closely.

So, What’s Post-Production?

Post-production is generally defined as the process in which a slew of highly professionals are involved – sound engineers, editors, colorists, foley artists, and others.

A few universal techniques apply to television, feature films, and other visual mediums.

However, it’s crucial to keep in mind that the Post-Production process will vary based on the size of the production, its budget, and the medium (television, cinema, or even video games).

The definition of post-production

Post-production is the final stage of film or video production, where the filming is wrapped, and editors start editing audio and visual content.

Post-Production is a highly collaborative process that often lasts a few months to a year, depending on the scope and complexity of the video/film project.

The Significance Of Post-Production

There is no completed product without the post-production stage— a raw video may or may not tell the story you want to tell. Indeed, raw video is frequently filmed in the order in which it is intended to be displayed, but rather in the most efficient order for the performers, location, and other variables. Presenting an unedited film would almost certainly be incomprehensible, let alone provide a compelling tale.

Each stage of post-production contributes to the overall plot of the film. For instance, background music establishes the piece’s mood and tone—which are further improved by color grading. A film or video can be brought to its maximum potential with expert editing.

Production vs Post-Production: The Primary Difference

The main difference between Production and post-production is that they are two critical — but distinct — stages of the filmmaking process. Filmmakers capture raw materials for the video or film throughout the production process.

This stage of the process entails transporting your crew, performers, and equipment to the location(s) of your choice and recording every viewpoint and scenario on your shot list.

Typically, the video post-production process begins at the end of production; however, the two processes occasionally overlap. This procedure entails evaluating the film, assembling it, and editing it with audio and visual effects.

Now that we know what post-production means let’s take a close look at the workflow of post-production in detail.

The Post-Production Workflow

After the film has been shot and the production has concluded, you can finally retire to bed! I’m joking. It’s time for Post-Production. You will be engaged in at least a couple of steps of this process, regardless of whether you are a director, producer, or editor. Additionally, there are several levels.

Let’s get started!

Is your footage secure?

Once you’re through filming, before you do anything more, make certain you have trustworthy storage — a safe location to save the material you just spent hours capturing.

It might be anything from a single rotating hard disc to many spinning hard drives or even RAIDs (a combination of hard drives).

RAID might be internal or external to your computer. It is typically utilized by editors who work with large amounts of video to improve the performance and reliability of ordinary data storage.

Prior to accepting a position or hiring a video editor, ensure that safe and secure storage is in place.

Stage 1 of the Post-Production Process

Start with the editing of visuals

Let’s move to the next critical element — the editing process, more precisely, image editing (we’ll discuss sound editing later).

While your cinematographer offers ideas, ensure that you are familiar with their work before hiring an editor.

Now it’s time to begin the editing process.

Your editor may begin working their magic after reading the screenplay and examining the dailies (or rushes) from the day’s footage. They’re likely to create an Edit Decision List (EDL), in which they’ll trim the film in the way they feel is most beneficial to the tale.

This is a huge job, so ensure that everyone you employ knows the film’s tone and feel in advance. Don’t be hesitant to allow them to use their hired abilities – achieving that balance is critical to delivering a strong visual story. Adobe Premiere, Avid, and Final Cut Pro are all suggested editing software.

Assembling footage takes time — between a month and a half and several months is typical. The film’s rough cut is referred to as the Rough Cut, while the final version is referred to as the Answer Print. When the director is satisfied with the sights, they will “lock the image,” signaling the start of sound editing.

Stage 2 of the Post-Production Process

Creating and editing sound

Once the image has been locked, it’s time to modify the sound. Employ the greatest sound editors possible, as this project requires a great deal of labor. They’re in charge of constructing your film’s audio files, trimming conversation tracks, reducing undesirable noise, and even adding sound effects. Whoever is hired will be determined by the unique sound requirements of that particular project.

A foley artist is frequently tasked with the task of creating sound effects. When the pre-recorded sound from the set isn’t quite right, foley artists are brought in to recreate the sound.

They see the film in a studio and frequently duplicate the sound of footfall by walking on tile floors or occasionally wearing specific types of shoes to get various sounds. They devise ingenious methods to cause doors to bang and bones to shatter.

ADR, or Automated Dialog Replacement, is the process through which performers return to the studio and re-record conversations over the sequence. When sound is not caught adequately on stage, sound engineers and sound editors do this.

However, it is occasionally done for artistic purposes. This is especially useful for sequences that need voiceovers or other off-screen communication. And, of course, ADR accounts for the majority of “filming” in animated films.

This is also crucial for sound editors to compile cue sheets in preparation for subsequent sound mixing.

Stage 3 of the Post-Production Process

Securing or scoring music

It’s usually preferable to collaborate with a composer and create an original soundtrack for your film than to deal with the hassle of licensing music from other sources.

Of course, obtaining the music you choose is totally doable, but it is costly, and the Music Supervisor (who you will also hire) takes care of obtaining the recording and publishing rights.

It takes time and money, and don’t forget to renew those licenses on a regular basis. Certain directors use a unique approach.

But that’s not away feasible. So, we strongly suggest you go for it if you have a budget to afford a musician! It’s better to spend some money and record an original score than get into the hassle of acquiring licenses.

Stage 4 of the Post-Production Process

Sound mixing

Now that you’ve recorded your sound effects, music, and re-recorded speech, it’s time to begin layering each track on top of the previous one. It’s Mix time.

Sound mixers will adjust all volume levels, eliminate distracting elements, and ensure that everything sounds perfect.

Stage 5 of the Post-Production Process

Apply VFX

Visual Effects, or VFX, is led by a VFX Supervisor who supervises a team of artists and other engineers who use computer-generated imagery, or CGI, to produce images that would be hard to capture on set.

For instance, in Game of Thrones, the dragons are not conceivable in real life, and regrettably (or fortunately?). However, many projects will not necessitate these impacts.

Once the image is locked, the VFX artists begin their job. This is because they work frame by frame, which creates a tremendous hassle if they need to add more frames or re-shoot a shot. Thus, the editor must complete all dissolves and other tasks before VFX can begin.

Stage 6 of the Post-Production Process

Color grading and correction

While color correction and color grading can be performed prior to VFX, they have frequently been performed afterward. It truly depends on the requirements of each department. Occasionally, coloring is performed by a visual effect artist.

A colorist can digitally enter and change the shots as long as the image is locked. They brighten frames and modify colors for consistency and to suit the scene’s tone.

Stage 7 of the Post-Production Process

Producing graphics, credits, and titles

Following that, editors build title cards, credits, and other relevant visuals (date stamps, etc.) and include them.

The opening credits are critical! While first impressions are critical, they also provide an opportunity to convey the tone and atmosphere of the project. Put your best foot forward and spend some creative efforts immediately engaging your audience.

End credits are not nearly as creatively demanding (but it wouldn’t hurt). Having stated that, you’ll want to focus on professionalism and accuracy here. There are both verbal and unspoken laws governing how end credits function, which you should familiarize yourself with before dealing with credits.

The process is about to end. Although the project is virtually complete, there are a few further steps to consider, particularly if distribution plans are involved.

Stage 8 of the Post-Production Process

Gear up for distribution

Even if the Post-Production phase is concluding, you must still consider distribution.

To begin, ensure that you have an M&E (“Music and Effects”) track. If you wish to market your film overseas, you must supply a soundtrack devoid of English speakers in order to facilitate dubbing in a different language.

DCP- Digital Cinema Package

If you choose to send your video out, ensure it is stored on a hard drive and ready for delivery. Create a Digital Cinema Package containing the final version of your film encoded for distribution to cinemas.

Create a dialogue script

If you’re selling it to an international audience, you’ll need to write a script that includes the correct time code for each word said. This way, the dubbing artist or the person responsible for producing the subtitles will know exactly where to place your phrase on the screen.

Stage 9 of the Post-Production Process

Film Promotion

As you know very well, the first impression is everything. The main purpose of film promotion is to hook your audience instantly. Since the film industry is highly saturated and a massive amount of content is released by every day, people are becoming more selective.

Campaign poster/image

This might be the first visual your audience will see, including your programmers and potential distributors. So, ensure that the tagline, credits, and image you use on the poster explain exactly what your film is all about in an engaging way.

spiderman noway home

Source: IMDB

Hiring a professional poster designer is a great idea if you don’t have one, as they are well aware of contemporary trends, techniques, approaches, and tools needed to create a highly captivating film poster.


Without letting the cat out of the bag, make short a minute or two trailer to promote your film. Nevertheless, nowadays, the giants in the industry prefer hiring Trailer Editors. If you can afford one without breaking your budget, let them take over.

These are people who have zero emotional attachment or are not immersed deeply in the film. You can take advantage of this fresh set of eyes. They have the expertise of pulling out the most noteworthy and breath-taking bits from the film to create eye-catching trailers.

Let’s Wrap Up Post-Production

One of the most important parts of the post-production process is trusting each other. It’s a process that calls for high collaboration, and many different people with different skill sets are involved in it.

So, don’t take the risk and look for professionals with proven track records. Once they’re on board, give them full freedom to experiment with things and unleash their inner creativity and innovation.

It’s not necessary that your project may require all the steps we have mentioned in this guide. This stage seems to be the most exhausting stage of the production process, but if you are able to comprehend the basics, then it will be a smooth slope.

If you’re done with production and looking for a video production company to avail post-production facilities provider, we strongly suggest you consult BuzzFlick – a video animation and post-production studio offering an extensive range of video production services without burning a hole in your pocket.

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Eich Eyf

An animation enthusiast who enjoys explaining complex animation techniques, mediums, and videos. Her love for animated films drives her. In her spare time, she enjoys watching animated films from Pixar, Disney, and Illumination productions.

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