Attendees were treated to a slew of great production and post-production workshops on day two of the filmmaking summit in Atlanta.
Dana Popoff presented a workshop on budgeting, with some great tips about determining the budget for any film project. She reminded us content determines price. It’s not enough for someone to ask: how much for a 90 second spot? If the video involves flying around North America, the budget is different than shooting a talking head.
Dana suggests using software like Showbiz Budgeting to plan your costs; as the software prompts you to consider budgetary elements you might otherwise forget: like gratuities for valet parking or costs for renting walkie-talkies. Dana provided examples where hiring talent, renting gear from different places, choosing locations and shooting a specific time of day, had an impact on the overall budget. I never really considered time of day costs, but apparently shooting at night might be preferred by some locations, but you may end up paying extra for labour.
Dana mentioned a cover letter should accompany every budget. The cover letter should clearly layout what the producer will be responsible for and what the client is in charge of. Most importantly, the cover letter should include any contingencies that might have an impact on the overall budget, so you don’t have to go back to the client for more money.
For example, if you haven’t determined an exact location you may not know what the power limitations of the location will be. If in your cover letter you write: possible generator required for x days at x amount of dollars, there is a contingency in the budget the client already knows about. I will definitely be including a detailed cover letter in my next budget quote.
Sound Design for Editors
I’ve been editing for a long time, and I’m always looking for ways to increase the production value of my edit. Sound design is one element that if done right, will directly increase a picture’s quality.
Sound Designer Michael Cardillo presented a workshop for editors on how to prepare and hand-off an edit to a sound designer.
Michael focused on some quirks in Premiere Pro that cause mono and stereo edits to duplicate when exporting to sound post. Final Cut Pro X and AVID handle sound perfectly for exporting purposes, it’s just Premiere that multiplies tracks in the export, so if you’re a Premiere editor, beware.
Michael walked the class through best practices in naming audio tracks and reiterated an important fact: sound doesn’t have to follow video in the edit. Sound is meant to flow between tracks, with a dissolve in the cut, not end abruptly like video—unless it’s being done for artist purposes. When the video cuts, it does’t mean sound has to follow suit, even if the editing program automatically cuts like that. I personally like providing a gentle flow of sound from one edit to another to help hide the cut in picture.
Production with the Diamond Brothers
The Southeast Creative Summit was built around the post production workflow, but what’s a convention about post, without addressing the production element of filmmaking?
The Diamond Brothers from New York, held a workshop on pre-production, production and post-production planning, covering: budgeting, selecting gear, determining if you should buy or rent, choosing the best resolution for the project, and developing a post workflow.
Josh and Jason believe camera choice should be made to meet the needs of the project. Don’t just use the camera you have access to, really think about what is the best camera for the job, ie: if you have a tight budget vet need two cameras, rent a RED camera and shoot in 4K so you can use one camera and reframe for two shots.
As camera choice impacts workflow, developing a concise post-production workflow highlighting storage considerations, workflow scenarios (4K etc), grading, and delivery is crucial when developing your pre-production plan. In other words, plan your post workflow during pre-production, as it will influence the budget required for the project—what a great tip.