I’ve often joked that projects I work on are never finished, they just run out of time and money. In the past, that was more of a joke, but with the ever-pressing need to produce more and more content with less and less resources, the humor in that statement is somewhat diluted.
The challenge in post is being able to match the edit to everyone’s expectations of time, budget and creative. So when I talk with the key players for the shoot—a director, DP, DIT or a producer—I really need to stand up for the whole post-production process. If I don’t, some of the decisions made could have a great impact on my part of the project. They could cause long days and nights, missed deadlines or simply failure to achieve the result everyone envisioned.
For example, with an HD or 4K finish, if the DP wants to shoot 8K instead of 4K, I’ll have twice the amount of data to work with. The same goes if they want to shoot 60p instead of 24p.
Just look at all the options you can choose from on the RED as shown in the image at the top of this article. A DP could make a case for any of those settings. During setup on the camera, those choices are accomplished by a simple switch, but they represent complications in post.
They mean longer ingest times. They mean more time creating proxies. They mean I need to account for more storage space during the edit and in archiving once the project is complete.
All of those changes affect the time I have to get the edit done. So, when I have that conversation in the project’s initial stages, and the key players suggest they want to shoot 8K, I’m upfront about that impact.
Just as a DP wouldn’t want an editor to demand additional days for shooting, I don’t want production adding days to my edit schedule. That’s particularly true if I’ve already agreed on that schedule and a budget.
It’s not that I’m inflexible, I just want the whole team to work together to produce the best show, given the time and budget. In my experience, that’s what works. What doesn’t work? When you hear, “They’ll fix it in post!”