Post Production

By now you will have finished shooting your film and will be ready to put it together.

a. Editing

Editing is like doing a jigsaw where you put all the parts of your film together so it makes sense to your audience.

Top Tip: Titles and credits are important; your cast and crew will feel a real sense of achievement when they see their name on the screen. On your short film you will want to list the cast, crew, funders and anyone who helped out by giving their time or money. Checkout this guide for tips.

Changing from one shot to another can be done in three main ways:
Be creative and use your imagination when editing, you may want to think about the following:
1. Cut
Where the action swaps from one shot to another.
2. Dissolve
Where the action changes from one shot to another by a slow blend.
3. Fade
Where a shot appears or disappears slowly from or into a blank screen.

Top Tip: Always cut on an action as this will connect your two shots. Try using a movement, such as a character putting on a hat or using a TV remote. When editing you need to get the pace or the speed of the film right. Make sure the action isn’t too slow and boring or to fast and rushed.

Top Tip: Don’t be frightened of cutting chunks of dialogue out. Use cutaways (a shot of something related to the action that can be used to cover up an edit) to break up or cut short a long piece of dialogue, or help to get out of a scene

b. Music and Film Clips

Adding a soundtrack to your film is a great idea that will make the film more interesting and set the mood. You need to be aware of copyright laws. If you want to use a piece of music in your film you MUST get permission from the copyright owner to use it. This might involve paying a fee, and in the case of well known pieces of music this can be expensive.

Clearing music usually involves talking to two sets of people:

Publishers – these people own the rights to the words and music in written form. So if you wanted to strum your own version of a Madonna song, you would need to get permission from these people.

Record Company – they own the rights to the actual performance and recording itself.

Seem complicated? Just remember: if you want to sing your own version of a Razorlight song, you only need permission from the publishers. if you want to use a clip from an actual Razorlight song, you would need to have permission from both the publishers and the record company.

Find out more here

Getting round copyright issues
Why not think about composing your own soundtrack, or think about using tracks from a friend’s band?
There are also some free music websites such as Musopen and Creative Commons

Copyright applies for TV and film clips too. For example, you might be making a film about a game show winner and decide you would like to use a clip of a show like Who Wants to be a Millionaire. You would need to get permission from the production company who makes the show to use it.

Top Tip: Think about alternative ways around this, for example you could film a spoof game show and use this as your clip.

c. Copyright

Congratulations, you have now finished your film! Under UK law, your film is automatically copyrighted so you may want to put a © symbol at the end of the credits with your name and the year.

If you receive funding from outside sources to make your film, such as from First Light, then they may require finished copies of the films, often on specific formats.

Use only your masters to make any copies you need – if you start using copies of your masters to do this you will notice the picture quality will not be very good.

Next Step: Exhibition and Distribution