One stage of the post-production process is providing feedback on the videos that have been produced. Since many contracts specify a fixed number of revisions, you want to make sure you provide actionable feedback. This will make everyone happy and will save you and your post-production team time and money.
Here are some tips about how to provide effective feedback.
Provide honest feedback
If you aren’t happy with something, it’s your job to let the post-production team know about it. Don’t bottle things up and hope that your unvoiced concerns will be addressed later on.
Many people have a hard time talking about problems. But guess what, your concerns will come out eventually. The further on you are in the process, the more expensive it is to change course.
If you wait too long, there is a good chance you’ll miss deadline, blow the budget, and create hard feelings. Nobody wants this.
Make feedback constructive and relate it to the project objectives
I find that it’s easier to keep feedback constructive if I relate it back to the objectives of the project. By doing so, it becomes much easier to keep personal preferences from dominating the conversation.
So before you start to provide feedback, it’s a good idea to take a look at the creative brief and notes from pre-production meetings to refresh your memory about was discussed and agreed upon.
If you feel that something doesn’t work, you can say why it doesn’t align with some of the objectives. This is going to be more productive than just saying something is wrong or prescribing what needs to be done.
Make feedback specific and actionable
To provide effective feedback you need to be really specific. Ambiguous language like “make it pop” is going to mean something different to everyone, so you want to use precise language to clearly describe what you would like changed.
Whenever possible, you should provide time codes to reference segments of the video that the feedback applies to. When someone is in the edit suite making changes, this will help them find the right point quickly, and will eliminate potential miscommunication. Plus, time codes save you the hassle of trying to describe a specific moment of a video. Tools like ScreenLight make it easy to provide time-coded feedback on videos.
Examples can also help you provide specific feedback. Again, you can go back to storyboards, and other pre-production materials to help with this. The more context you provide, the easier it is for the post-production team to incorporate your feedback.
Start with the big picture and then move on to the details
It’s much easier to discuss feedback when you start with substantive points that can change the structure of what you are working on. Once you have covered the big picture, you can move on to more of the specifics and fine details. This helps with prioritizing what feedback can / will be incorporated.
Usually this will coincide with the different stages of review. The rough cut will likely contain placeholders for graphic elements, and it may not include the music or sound effects that will be used in the final version. At this stage of review, the focus is on the story, the footage that is used, and the pacing.
During later stages it’s time to time to sharpen your focus and concentrate on the details like names, logos, transitions, color, etc.
Provide one set of feedback
Quite often, multiple people need to provide feedback on a video. This can be a great thing. More eyes can catch more things. However, not everyone is going to agree about everything. Someone will have to resolve disagreements, so the post production team has a single set of directions.
Your post-production team can support you on this by explaining to people why a certain approach was taken, but you shouldn’t ask them to take a bunch of conflicting feedback and decide what to do with it. You will have to agree internally on whose vote matters most and who the ultimate decision maker will be.
Give the team time to make changes
Editing video isn’t the same as making a change in a Word document. Making changes takes time and a small change can impact different portions of the timeline. As an example, a change to a tittle sequence usually involves a couple of different programs, rendering time, and time to encode another version of a video for review.
If deadlines for other parts of the project have slipped, it’s tempting to try to make it up in post, but you’ll end up with a much better product if you give the post-production team time and space to do their magic. It’s worth it!
- Chris Potter