Mistakes happen. That’s how we learn. However, when a filmmaker screws up the shot and does not care to undertake the time-consuming process of shooting it again–you hear those dreaded words: “We’ll fix it in post.”
“We’ll fix it in post,” they said. And all the film fairies shudder and weep. The editor grows more cynical by the minute. Time stops and the universe ceases to exist.
Over dramatic? Maybe. Kind of true? Yep.
The phrase-that-shall-not-be-uttered has become somewhat of a safety net for the digitized age. With exponentially advancing technology, we have certainly become accustomed to having some wiggle room when it comes to post-production.
However, if you make the egregious decision to leave a mistake to be fixed in post, you’re asking for trouble. And here is why.
“Fix it in post” prolongs the post-production process
The editor has enough riding on their shoulders to be smacked with post-production surprises. Delay in the post-production process doesn’t just do damage to your budget, it has a strong negative affect on momentum. Without momentum, you lose morale and the project is likely to suffer.
Instead of ignoring the problem by attempting to fix it in post, adapt and adjust to find a solution. Perhaps you will have to compromise, or dare I say–even let go. In the end, you will thank your past-self for fixing it in camera.
“Fix it in post” leaves future-you to deal with the problem
Speaking of your past-self… The future-you is very elusive, it is virtually impossible to tell how they’re going to be feeling or what they’re going to be thinking.
This is why leaving the problems of present-you for future-you to deal with is never a good idea. You just can’t, in good conscience, trust future-you to follow through.
In other words, better to suck it up and deal with the issue at hand yourself. Your present self. Fix it in camera by being prepared.
“Fix it in post” shows your lack of preparation
Benjamin Franklin once said “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” At least it is widely spread that he said that, there’s no way to know for sure. Although this Quote Investigator article “has found no substantive evidence that Benjamin Franklin employed this adage.” Who knows.
But I digress.
As filmmakers we must always prepare. Over prepare. And that means:
- Script (notated, lined, broken down)
- Shot lists
- Strip boards
Any all other necessary pre-production materials that start with ‘s’.
The inevitable conclusion
Things don’t always go your way on set. I will argue that every film set on planet earth in all the history of humanity had something go wrong at some point.
And so if you successfully over prepare, whenever something inevitably goes wrong–you will be ready to adapt with a backup plan B, and plan C, all the way to plan infinity.
Above all, happy shooting and stay safe out there filmmakers!
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