Post Production Workflow – Understand it or DIE! – IFH 014

Post Production Workflow – Understand it or DIE! – IFH 014

– [Alex] Welcome to another episode of the Indie File Hustle Podcast,
Episode Number 14. The best way to pursue happiness
is to help other people, nothing else will make
you happier, George Lucas. – [Announcer] Broadcasting from
the back alley in Hollywood, it’s the Indie Film Hustle Podcast, where we show you how
to survive and thrive, as an indie film maker in
the jungles of the film biz, and here’s your host, Alex Ferrari. – [Alex] Welcome guys to
another great show today! We have a topic that I’m gonna be talking about that is very near and dear to my heart. But before I get into it, make sure you head on
over to that’s and get your free audiobook immediately. So one thing I wanted to talk about and it’s something I’ve seen so much time I’ve delivered over 100 different independent film projects over the years. Not including over a thousand including all the commercials, promotions, music videos and other things I’ve done. But one thing I’ve seen
common, common problem with not only all of those, but specifically with independent film. In the technical aspect of it is post production workflow. A lot of independent
filmmakers who are not technically inclined trust a lot of times
the people around them to just take care of
all this stuff for them. And it is I’ve seen so many
filmmakers fail miserably to the point where their movies look horrible, can’t get finished, they can’t get distribution,
they can’t get it sold because they didn’t figure out workflow. So let me explain to
you what post production workflow is. It’s understanding the workflow
all the way from production to final deliverable. And I’ll go over that
with you in a second. So, basically when you’re on set, you’re gonna shoot on a camera. Based on that camera, see the old workflow was
much easier was film. So film was film and the
workflow was the same for 90 years. Almost 100 years, the
workflow never really changed for the most part. But now, there’s new cameras, new formats, new aspect ratios, everything’s changing daily. So workflow is more important now than it ever has been before. So let’s say you’re gonna shoot a movie that is $50,000 movie. Let’s say for an instance. You’ve got a DP who has a brand new RED Dragon 6K and he’s like, “we’re gonna shoot this 6K. “Then I’ve got these
lenses I’m gonna be using “and all this great stuff. “But we’re gonna shoot 6K. “We don’t have a lot of lights, “so don’t worry about the light, “because the Dragon will
pick up everything.” Well mistake number one, the Dragon will not pick up everything. You still need light. But back to workflow, I don’t want to get into my colors. I want to take my colors hat off and put my post production
supervisor hat on. So let’s say you have that RED Dragon and you shoot the whole
movie on RED Dragon. Now unfortunately, you
don’t have money for post. So you are gonna edit this
on your laptop at home. With Premier or Final Cut or any other editing software, but let’s say you’re going
to do it with Premier. Which could handle 6K natively. But unfortunately, you’re
doing this on a laptop and your drives aren’t fast enough. So you can’t really edit it. You can’t even watch it, you can’t even do anything with it. So you’ve got this beautiful or at least this huge amount of footage on a format that you really
can’t do anything with. So now, where you thought
you didn’t have any money that you weren’t going to spend any money you’re now going to spend money. Because now you gotta go hire an editor who can handle this workflow. Who can handle not the workflow
but can handle these files. Now, that’s step one. Now let’s say you find an editor
that runs Premier natively. You’re great. If not, then you might
have to find a guy who’s cutting on Final Cut 7 and he’s gonna transcode everything which will take you depending
on the kind of system he has could take you weeks of transcoding just to
get it into a format that he can edit and then once he’s done editing it, let’s say you lock that cut, I’m not even talking about visual effects, I’m not even talking
about speed changes, RAMs, recomposition, I’m not
talking about any of that. I’m just talking about the basic stuff. All those other things I just talked about are bigger headaches that will create more and more
problems in your workflow. So I’m just going to take
you through the basics and then we’ll go back and
talk a little bit about the other stuff. So then, you’re gonna have
this guy edit your movie. So let’s say he’s able to edit natively. Let’s say best case scenario. Well once he’s done editing this, and this one workflow,
we’re gonna say native. Native meaning that he’s
just taking the raw files and editing those raw files. Once he’s done doing that, then he has to once he’s done editing it, let’s say you’ve locked the picture well now, you got to
send all your RED files and all your EDL, Edit Decision List to a colorist to color this because RED without color grading is it’s garbage. You have to color grade all your movies have to be color graded. Or else you’re never going
to be able to sell it. It has to have some
professional look to it. So now, you send it over to a colorist who has to hopefully be able to understand RED Premier EDL and then also handle RED. So a system that’s strong enough and big enough to handle RED. So let’s say you go to a DiVinci system which is kind of industry standard now. But let’s say you go to a guy
who has color for God’s sake or is trying to color grade this in Adobe. Or color grade this in Final Cut X or Baselight or SCRATCH or a
million other different colors. They all have color systems, they all have to be able
to talk to each other. Whatever the color system is. I use DaVinci, it is the industry standard for especially for indie film. But, you have to have a system that can be able to handle 6K files. And that’s if you shot everything at 6K. Let me go back for a second. You might’ve shot some stuff slo-mo. And if you shot some
stuff slo-mo, guess what? It’s not 6K anymore, it’s gonna drop down to
five, four, three and 2K depending on how fast you go. So now you have to take
that into consideration. So let’s take that into color grading. So now he color grades the whole thing. And again, I’m doing this
the best case scenario. I’ll throw some worst case
scenarios at you in a minute. So he colors the grades
it, the whole thing. But he has to make sure you have to make sure
his system can handle it. He has a calibrated monitor so you actually see the
color that he’s seeing is an actual correct
representation of the color. Once he’s done with it, then he has to render it out. And now you have to figure out
where you’re going with this. So if you’re going to a digital format, there’s a lot of talk about 4K right now and I know in the future, this
is gonna sound old fashioned but for right now, the moment
that we’re here in 2015, 4K is still a bit of a pig to master to. It’s doable. I master to 4K all the time now. But I also have a juiced up
system that can handle that. More likely, 2K is gonna be more than fine for you and more and likely
1080P is gonna be more than fine for you. Depending on your movie, depending on what you’re trying to do. If you can master at 4K
for future proofing your your project, 2K is industry standard right now. Most people master at 2K, you’ll be fine. And many movies I’ve
mastered are at 1080P. Actually most I would
say 95% of all the movies I’ve ever mastered. Or worked on, mastered at 1080P because I was a standard as well. So once he renders it out, you have to render it out to a QuickTime. And who’s gonna online this for you? Now the online process is once all those files go back to an editor, who puts it all together for you. You have to put together the audio, you have to put together any graphics and then I’ll get to
visual effects in a second. But let’s say you have visual
effect shots coming in, those have to be placed on and all of these kind of problems happen. You have to make sure the new system that’s gonna be able to
handle whatever he outputs which could be DPX files,
which could be QuickTime files, which could be a bunch of
different type of format. I’m not trying to scare you here. But I’m trying to impress
upon you how complicated this process can be, especially when you’re
dealing at the upper echelon of files. So we start off with a RED camera. This conversation’s completely different if we’re starting off with a 5D, a Blackmagic but the
concepts are all still there. You still have to be able to handle these file formats. And be able to have the hard drive space. Be able to have a clean workflow. Preferably, you hire someone like myself or at least consult someone like me. I’m telling you, if you hire someone like
me for an hour conversation and you pay their hourly rate whoever that might be, a post production supervisor or something and they can just draft
out a workflow for you, my God, that will save you so much time. And you do this before you ever shoot. If you have a budget, and you
have a little bit more money you hire them for the shoot and they can kind of
supervise this entire process. It’s so important. Especially with the plethora of formats that you
are dealing with today. It’s absolutely nuts. And everyday, I’m getting new. Oh this is a new file format. Which is one of the reasons
why I love DaVinci so much because DaVinci reads everything. And works with everybody. DaVinci is one of the best color systems and online systems out there right now. Best bang for the buck without question. So anyway, you go back, you get to go
back to your online situation. You online everything and then output. You can output to a DCP, you can output to a ProRes file. You can output to a DPX file which will go to a DCP and then the QuickTime, there’s
so many different options. So, going back, let’s say you’re
shooting on a Blackmagic. I have a Blackmagic cinema camera. And you shoot ProRes. Well that makes life so much easier and that might be perfect
for what you’re trying to do. You shoot on ProRes 422HQ. You take it into any editing system almost that’s worth its wait is gonna be able to handle ProRes. You edit it all. There’s no big files to deal with. You can do that on your laptop. No problem at all. And that might just be
what you can afford! Regardless if you’re shooting Regardless if you have a freaking Alexa or a or a RED shooting 6K raw. You might not be able to handle that. And it might take you two
years to finish your movie. Or you can shoot ProRes shoot with a smaller camera
that still looks gorgeous. Get your kind of movie done. Edit it yourself. You have complete control of it. Send it over to a colorist. Any colorist is going to
be able to handle ProRes without question. They color it, they send it back to you. But when you’re shooting ProRes, you have to make sure
you have an amazing DP who really understands
lighting and things like that because you start
bringing down your formats or your kind of file
format or your camera, the lighting has to be much better. I can save a lot as a colorist. I can save a lot in a RED file. Because a RED file does have
a lot of information in it. Or in a raw file from a Blackmagic or a raw file from a Alexa or Sony or things like that. But when you start getting into more of those compressed
files like a ProRes file or God forbid a 5D mp4 which is the lowest
quality you can shoot with. If you’re trying to do something else, you better have a really great DP to be able to make that image look good. If not, you’re done. You’ve wasted your time. So, I’m very passionate about this because I’ve seen so
many movies die in post. I’ve been brought in to
save many many movies. Purely because they did
not understand workflow. It was such an important part of the post production process. Without workflow, you’ve got nothing. And I didn’t even touch
upon audio workflow. Making sure that when you lock your cut, that final cut has to stay locked. That information is sent to the colorist and you also send that
to your sound people to be able to match everything perfectly. If one frame goes off,
everything goes out of wack. I mean, I can go on and on and on. There’s so much
information to be doing so. If you have a low budget movie use a camera that gives
you a beautiful image. A Blackmagic camera’s perfect because I’m not a big fan
of the 5Ds and 7D cameras. Because you really need to have a really good lighting scenario or shoot a lot of stuff outside. But even then, you’ve got to protect
yourself from blown highlights and things like that. The range that the
Blackmagic camera gives you is a lot better than the 5D or 7D and it’s approximately
the same price point. And the workflow is a lot easier as well. So you got a big fatter file and so on. So I like the Blackmagic. It’s all preference but,
on a technical standpoint, an mp4 file is so so
low on the totem pole. Versus a ProRes file which then goes into the higher
res formats like the DPX. XLR or or the raw files. So, I would use a Blackmagic if you’re gonna do a low budget movie or something equivalent. Even if you shoot Alexa. Alexa has ProRes. You can shoot 2K or 4K ProRes files. If that’s the workflow
you can handle, great! The new REDs are being able to shoot
ProRes files as well. So, you might be able to just if your workflow can’t handle RED, transcode everything from RED
to ProRes and work with it. I would suggest against it. That’s what the reason
you’re shooting with RED. But so on and so forth. I’m kind of babbling a
little bit here, I’m sorry. But basic take away from
this episode is workflow. Understand your workflow. Get people who understand workflow clearly to give you a guide on
how to finish your movie. Because if not, it will
sit and die in post. And I seen it happen multiple, multiple times. So hire someone like me to just consult with you. If you can’t afford, 150 bucks to 300 bucks out of your budget to talk to
a post production supervisor to have them give you a basic workflow is probably one of the best
investments you’ll make in your filmmaking process while making a feature film. So, if you have any questions
at all about post guys, hit me up on the website. I do offer I’m gonna do self promo I do offer consulting as far as post production workflow as well as just a consulting over a phone call or I can actually build out
an entire workflow for you. But I’m not trying to do a hard sell. Honestly guys, if you
don’t use me, use somebody. I don’t care. Just use somebody that
can help you with that. There’s plenty of amazing
post production supervisors out there who will be more than
willing to talk to you for an hour on the phone or
two hours on the phone or meet you for coffee. And you pay them for their time and they’ll work the workflow out for you. And if you can afford to hire them, it is so beneficial to your process so you can always just head on
over to And at the very top of the bar it says “Do you want one on one coaching?” Just click on that. Or you can head over to and that will give you all
the information you need about what I offer. Filmmakers but I’m real passionate about this guys because I really want to
see your movies get made no matter what your budget level is. If it’s 10,000 bucks or if it’s a million
dollar budget or above, you really need to have someone like me help you with the post
production workflow. So thanks again guys for tuning in and I will see you on the next podcast. – [Announcer] Thanks for listening to the Indie Film Hustle podcast at that’s


6 thoughts on “Post Production Workflow – Understand it or DIE! – IFH 014”

  • Raymond Roberts says:

    new to your channel and really thought the podcast was helpful! Thank you! I was debating on working with a canon c100. Now Im interested in the Black Magic Cinema Camera. Just seen some work done on the C100 that I really liked and I havent view a lot from a Black Magic. Im trying ask, could you speak in terms for a low budget filmmaker which will give me what qualities for editing. The more info in the shot the better and my system can handle 4k. Im debating on either camera haha Thanks!

  • ALEX–A question?? I may have missed this in one of your videos-when you need to edit for long periods of time-do you use a vertical mouse or some special set-up to make things more comfortable? Have been looking into this but don't know where I'd get a better answer! LOVE THIS Video and it got me thinking a lot-as always man–great info! Thanks!

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