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Post Production as Pre Production

One of the biggest concerns Producers have about moving to HD is how it may affect their current post production workflow. However, as more and more post houses add HD equipment and expertise, these concerns will quickly dissipate. For many producers the changes are minimal, particularly with the right work flow and post team.


As in Production, HD need not be a difficult format to switch to if you do your homework. Mistakes are made when people fail to plan or budget accordingly. Talk to your post team and make sure there are no unresolved issues in your proposed work plan. Remember: we now have more choices in terms of frame rates, tape formats and delivery; so making sure everyone from the Camera department to the Post department is fully informed can help you avoid costly mistakes that can be detrimental to your project.

While it is impossible to cover all of the technical details, here are a few main points worth reviewing to get you thinking about how to make the move to HD.

Note: While many of these ideas were important in working in standard analogue formats, they now become critical in working successfully in HD.

  1. Treat post production as preproduction – plan what you’re doing.
  2. Make sure your budget properly reflects real HD costs – don’t make assumptions.
  3. Find a post house or post team with good HD experience.
  4. Discuss your format choice and project workflow with your Post House or post production team before shooting to avoid problems.
  5. If you make changes you must tell your post team. Communicate.
  6. Do a test if you need to deal with any special issues such as EFX.
  7. Create a workflow that makes the most sense for your production and delivery formats.
  8. Understand your broadcaster’s HD deliverables.
  9. Plan for 4:3 output before you shoot if that aspect ratio is required.
  10. Up-converting standard def footage is challenging (re: aspect ratio and quality). You may need to devise new ways of presenting standard def footage within your HD production in order to make it palatable to viewers and broadcasters.
  11. Verify your broadcaster deliverables re limits on stock (NTSC) footage.

Click here to download a Powerpoint presentation on HD post planning.

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