Post-production is part of filmmaking, video production and photography process. It occurs in the making of motion pictures, television programs, radio programs, advertising, audio recordings, photography, and digital art. It is a term for all stages of production occurring after the actual end of shooting and/or recording the completed work.
Post-production is, in fact, many different processes grouped under one name. These typically include:
- Video editing the picture of a television program using an edit decision list (EDL)
- Writing, (re)recording, and editing the soundtrack.
- Adding visual special effects - mainly computer-generated imagery (CGI) and digital copy from which release prints will be made (although this may be made obsolete by digital-cinema technologies).
- Sound design, Sound effects, ADR, Foley and Music, culminating in a process known as sound re-recording or mixing with professional audio equipment.
- Transfer of Color motion picture film to Video or DPX with a telecine and color grading (correction) in a color suite.
Typically, the post-production phase of creating a film takes longer than the actual shooting of the film, and can take several months to complete because it includes the complete editing, color correction and the addition of music and sound. The process of editing a movie is also seen as the second directing because through the post production it is possible to change the intention of the movie. Furthermore through the use of color correcting tools and the addition of music and sound, the atmosphere of the movie can be heavily influenced. For instance a blue-tinted movie is associated with a cold atmosphere and the choice of music and sound increases the effect of the shown scenes to the audience.
Post-production was named the one of the 'Dying Industries' by IBISWorld. The once exclusive service offered by high end post houses or boutique facilities have been eroded away by video editing software that operates on a non-linear editing system (NLE). However, traditional (analogue) post-production services are being surpassed by digital, leading to sales of over $6 billion annually.
The digital revolution has made the video editing workflow process immeasurably quicker, as practitioners moved from time-consuming (tape to tape) linear video editing online editing suites, to computer hardware and video editing software such as Adobe Premiere, Final Cut Pro, Avid, Sony Vegas, Cinelerra, and Lightworks.
In television, the phases of post production include: editing, video editing, sound editing, animation and visual effects insertions, viewing and the start of the airing process. It is imperative that post production executes and oversees the preparation until the final product is completely ready.
Professional post-producers usually apply a certain range of image editing operations to the raw image format provided by a photographer or an image-bank. There is a range of proprietary and free and open-source software, running on a range of operating systems available to do this work. All computer hardware suitable for the post-production of photography features high amounts of RAM. The CPU (and GPU of the software supports GPGPU) depends on the operations to be performed.
The first stage of post-production usually requires loading the RAW images into the post-production software. If it's more than one image, and they belong to a set, ideally post-producers try to equalize the images before loading them. After that, if necessary, the next step would be to cut the objects in the images with the Pen Tool for a perfect and clean cut. The next stage would be cleaning the image using tools such as the healing tool, clone tool and patch tool.
The next stages depend on what the client ordered. If it's a photo-montage, the post-producers would usually start assembling the different images into the final document, and start to integrate the images with the background.
In advertising it usually requires assembling several images together in a photo-composition.
Types of work usually done:
- Advertising that requires one background (as one or more images to assemble) and one or more models. (Usually the most time consuming as a lot of times these are image bank images which don't have much quality, and they all have different light and color as they were not controlled by only one photographer in one set location)
- Product-photography that usually requires several images of the same object with different lights, and assembled together, to control light and unwanted reflections, and/or to assemble parts that would be difficult to get in one shot, such as a beer glass for a beer advertising. (Sometimes to composite one image of a beer glass it requires 4 or 5 images: one for the base, one for the beer, one for the label, one for the foam, and one or more for splashing beer if that is desired)
- Fashion photography that usually requires a really heavy post-production for editorial and/or advertising.
Techniques used in music post-production include comping (compiling the best portions of multiple takes into one superior take), timing and pitch correction (perhaps through beat quantization), and adding effects. This process is typically referred to as mixing and can also involve equalization and adjusting the levels of each individual track to provide an optimal sound experience. Contrary to the name, post-production may occur at any point during recording and production process and is non-linear and nonveridic.
- Cinematic techniques
- Color suite
- Direct to disk recording
- DTE (Direct To Edit)
- Dubbing (filmmaking)
- Film editing
- Film score
- Linear video editing
- List of film-related topics
- Negative cutting
- Non-destructive editing
- Non-linear editing system (NLE)
- Offline editing
- Audio editing
- Sound effect
- Special effect
- Tapeless camcorder
- Video editing
- Video editing software
- Video server