Clarity in Motion: Your Post-Production Workflow
Updated: May 15
March 22nd, 2023
By Robert Tiemstra / TinDragon Collaborator
1. Post-Production: Where a Video Comes Together
When creating video content, many first time creators put all their energy and planning towards the shoot itself. This makes sense! Video production is where you film the talent, the product, the story, everything that your audience will see.
The final stage, Post-Production, is where it all comes together. All the raw footage from the shoot comes together into a sleek final product, with music, graphics, supplemental footage and more. Post is where the hard work in production and in pre-production comes to fruition, along with your video.
As someone who has worked as both an editor and a writer, I’ve noticed this one thing both roles have in common: everyone thinks they can do it. With the advent of TikTok, Instagram Reels, even back to Vine, video editing has become second nature to anybody with a computer.
However, this ubiquity does not make post-production less important, just because anyone can do it. When you hire a professional editor or a production company like TinDragon Media, you’re not just bringing on someone who just knows the programs necessary to do the job. You’re hiring people with creative instincts and technical know-how to make your video the best it can be.
So, whether it’s your first video or your hundredth, here are some tips and tricks to navigate post production with confidence.
2. Pace Yourself!
One of the first and last concerns of video editing is pacing. How long do we play this shot? Is this series of cuts too fast for the viewer to digest? Do we need to build up to the moment so it lands with impact? Is our hook strong enough to get people to watch the full video?
These questions are worth asking, and worth answering. The best place to find your answer is your intended platform of release.
Are you making an informational video for a corporate workplace?
Keep it focused on the key talking points and allow the information to be delivered in piece-meal. So take your time.
For reference, check our Game Creek Video A1 Demo video.
Are you releasing a brand video onto social media platforms to boost your engagement?
Time is of the essence and every shot counts. Some videos are only seconds, between 6 to 60, emphasizing the importance of catching your audience fast! According to a study by Adweek Branded and gumgum.com, the shorter content prevails on Instagram and TikTok:
53% of advertisers are using 6-second ads.
77% believe they’ll be using them as soon as next year.
80% of advertisers rate 6-second video as effective or very effective.
Watch The Barber Truck brand video that's only 22 seconds long!
Certain formats have an advantage here!
I find it helpful, as an editor, to imagine discovering the video in its natural habitat (i.e. stepping into a darkened theater or scrolling idly through TikTok). The more you understand whose attention you’re trying to grab, the better you’ll be at reaching your target demographics.
3. The Importance of the First Cut
The purpose of a first (sometimes ‘assembly’) edit is like that of a written first draft. It’s about laying a rough version of the story end to end. Sometimes this cut never makes it to the client, some clients want to be as involved in the process as possible - both are valid approaches to video creation.
While the first cut is the roughest your video will ever be, it also is a precious opportunity in the process.
I always encourage clients to give their broadest notes on the very first cut. If I am an editor, I’m looking to see if I’m on the right track with their vision. For example, discuss if the scene or interview works for you, music choices, if the visual aesthetic matches what your brand is. This is not where we should worry or nitpick about whether the video is a minute too long, or if a specific soundbite isn’t working as intended. The little stuff can get fixed later in the revision process.
Can you see your ideal video on the horizon? If not, tell the editor something feels off and begin a discussion. Editing is about trying new approaches and tools to get the vision you want. If so, ask your editor questions about where they think the important areas of focus are. Either way, you’ve got a good place to go from there! This first cut is about aligning your vision with the editor’s instincts and know-how.
4. Motion Graphics & Animation
There’s also the crucial element of graphics and visual effects. These are often as crucial as the video clips themselves - here at TinDragon, we offer animated video production services, creating entire videos that are primarily made up of motion graphics and customized 2D animated assets (Locations, Characters).
Unlike the video editor, motion graphics and animation artists aren’t cutting down hours of video. They are creating material out of whole cloth for your story.
Things to keep in mind when working with motion graphics and animators.
The use of logos and icons: This is perhaps the most straightforward sort of visual effect you see in a branded video. Dressing up clips with logos and specific titles in order to put your company’s stamp of approval on a video.
Yet even this carries with it some key points of discussion. “How prominent do we want the icon to be on screen?” “What tone are we conveying with the text we’re using?” “Does the composition of the shot support these added graphics?” Clarifying all points in an edit ensure your video doesn’t wind up feeling disjointed.
The creation of original assets: The use of entirely generated assets is an important style of video that deserves discussing. Whether you’re presenting information powerpoint-style, or creating a whole animation, these sorts of sequences require a different creative approach than logos and titles.
Always keep in mind that these sorts of shots are built using specific assets the graphics person has to create themselves in programs like ProCreate and Adobe After Effects. This means that sudden changes in direction can derail the video timeline if you are not carefully considering the full workload the animators and motion graphics artist are dealing with. For every 25-100 hours an animator works a video (depending on the complexity of the animation), a total redo can set their work back by hours and days.
One of TinDragon Media's biggest projects, Smooth Sailing, required a team of designers and animators to build characters, locations and assets to be animated. That means the team had to conceptualize, design, storyboard and add motion to all assets made! Here are a few examples of the approach:
Animation by Tim Wong
This is where the magic truly happens. Once everything has been approved, the team can start animating, compositing, piecing together your perfect video. All along the process, TinDragon work closely with clients to make sure each frame is animated exactly as they envisioned it. So communication and budgeting time is essential!
5. Specificity vs Micromanaging
Anecdote Time! One of my earliest jobs was directing video essays for a youtube channel called Wisecrack. Our post-production team included 3 key people - the director (myself), an editor, and a motion graphics artist.
I would create a spreadsheet that broke down the video into segments for the editor and graphics artist to handle separately. The motion graphics segments were the toughest, because they required a full description of what I wanted the artist to create, the timing, and the point it was trying to illustrate.
I learned an important lesson here: People respond to specificity, not micromanaging. It is important to make clear requests when adjusting a video, but if you cannot explain the rationale behind these requests, you’re treating your post-production team like machines rather than collaborators.
It is more effective to have a discussion with the editor or graphics artist about the idea being communicated than simply to tell them “cut 3 frames here” or “that bit of animation should be faster.” Give your editor the Why! The Why gives greater insight into what you, as a client, need. It’s about beginning a conversation that leads to a solution.
Think about why you’re having a reaction to the clip you’re looking at. Is it making you anxious when you should be excited? Is it not as friendly as you want? If you give your editor a suggestion that’s focused on how the viewer should be feeling or comprehending, they will come up with a way to execute it.
6. The Takeaways
Post-Production is a journey and an opportunity to see your work from a new perspective, then assemble all the ideas, visuals and story! This is where we as creatives get to shine. To recap:
The platform and intention of the video should dictate its pace.
Whenever possible, give your general feedback at the beginning of the editing process! (Tone, Use of Footage, Visual Branding, Aesthetic).
Post-Production is about communicating. Remember to be specific and clear on what you need.
Still not sure how to tackle editing? TinDragon Media’s professional production team would love to chat! The most accurate way to estimate your project is to get a quote that’s tailored to your vision. Contact us below to get started! Happy Editing!
About Rob Tiemstra
Rob Tiemstra is a writer, filmmaker and editor based in Los Angeles, California. Their editorial credits include TinDragon’s own Killer of the Week, the music video Crystal Blue Dreams and several short films & online videos. Rob's latest short film as a director, The October Martyr, is in the midst of a successful film festival run, and will be playing at the Salem Horror Festival this April.