There’s almost nothing as rewarding, as satisfying, as being on set and hearing those three words, those three beautiful little words, shouted across the masses: “THAT’S A WRAP!” Your day is done, you got the footage you needed, and all is right in the world.
But really, you’re only halfway there.
Next comes the long journey of post-production. While post can be a fun part of the production process where you can really piece together your story, in the wrong hands it can become a long and tedious affair. So how can you tell a good post-production house from a bad one? How can you syphon through the masses to find the place that best fits your project and (perhaps more importantly) your wallet? Let’s take a closer look, shall we…
1) What does their portfolio look like?
As the saying goes, “The proof is in the pudding;” and in this case, the proverbial custardy dessert is a post-production house’s portfolio of work. When you scan through the projects they’ve worked on, how would you describe the quality? Is it top-tier craftsmanship with crisp edits, cool graphics work, and clean sound design? Or do one or more of those crucial facets leave something to be desired?
No matter the size and scale of your project, you’re gonna want a team who knows how to execute at the highest level at all stages of the post-production game. Sometimes a project’s budget dictates how in-depth the post team can go with certain aspects of the process, especially when graphics and animation gets involved; but nonetheless, the overall quality of their body of work speaks volumes about what kind of product you’ll get at the end of day.
2) What are the services they offer?
Think of your search for a post-production house like hunting down a great lunch spot: you want something that’s high-quality, reasonably priced, and has lots of options on the menu. Sure, you might have an idea of what you want, but as you look the options over you might realize that you actually want to add something extra to your order. When you get that hankering, it’s nice to be able to get everything you want from the same place, instead of having to go piece together your meal from a bunch of different spots.
Piecing together an edit is the bread-and-butter of post-production houses; but what else can they offer you in-house? Do they have graphics and animation capabilities? What about skilled DaVinci Resolve wiz-kids? Do they offer other aspects of production as well? I mean, it would be nice to be have a one-stop-shop for all your productions needs…Simply put: know what your prospective post-production solutions can offer, and think proactively about what you might need both now and in the future. It’s never too early to start building those relationships.
3) How is their client service reputation?
How is this company generally perceived by their former clients? Are they the doting boyfriend who caters to your every need, or are they the negligent ex who shies away from responsibility and is never on time? Working with a post-production house is more than a business transaction: it’s a relationship, with both parties respecting each other and enjoying their experience together.
Doing a bit of digging on how much a post-production house’s previous clients enjoyed working with them can pay huge dividends. From scouring old press releases on the internet to actually picking up a phone and calling these old clients (a radical suggestion, I know), you can learn a lot about how a team will treat you and your project. A company’s demeanor and digital presence can say a lot, too, so be sure to check out their social media to get a pulse on the vibes they’re putting out.
4) What do their offices look like?
Listen, I know this point is going to come across as vanity on high, but when you’re potentially going to be spending hours in this space during marathon edit sessions, the look and feel of the place is going to matter. Piggybacking off of the importance of client service, when a post-production house has a comfortable edit suite–or 2, or 7–it’s a great testament to both their concern for the client as well as their legitimacy as a service provider. Sure, you could go with an über cheap option, but when you’re stuck sitting on some dude named Germaine’s pint-sized apartment couch for six hours straight, I assure you that you’ll regret that decision.
5) What are they working on currently?
A portfolio says a lot about a post-production house, but in a “what have you done for me lately?” society, the content they’re churning out lately may be an even greater indicator of where they stand as a company. Companies that have been in the game for decades like famed post house Crawford Media Services may have great name recognition, but a closer look might reveal that not everything has been coming up roses as of late.
Not every post-production house is going to start off editing, coloring, and sound mixing cool, big-budget projects–it’s just not a realistic expectation. But, if their recent works reflect a growing customer base and a widening scope of projects, it’s a fair assumption that they’re doing something right. And why not let them do that something right for you?
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If you ever have any questions, need advice, or even want a quote on a project, please just email me at email@example.com. I’m happy to help you make magic in any way that I can!