Back in the Nineteen Seventies and Eighties, Fram had a series of ads for their oil filters that always used some variation on the tag line, “You can pay me now, or pay me later.” It’s a catchy little slogan, that illustrates what folks in business school call a “false economy.” A small initial savings that winds up costing much more in the end.
When planning and budgeting a production there has never been a shortage of false economies to be avoided, but in these days of file-based acquisition, and a billion different codecs to chose from, it has only gotten worse. Back in the day, you didn’t have to give much thought to post production until you wrapped production. Now, you need to have your post people involved in your pre production. Yes, that’s going to cost you up front. But, it can save you down the line, and some times, substantially.
You say you want to shoot XAVC, but are editing with FinalCut 7? Get ready to spend a lot of time transcoding files. And that costs money.
Shooting a lot of green screens with a 5D? Not only will the h.264 files slow down your edit (transcoding is a common solution), but you’re going to have to work harder to pull a seamless key from that highly compressed footage. Something as simple and inexpensive as renting an AJA Ki Pro might wind up saving you money.
Want to shoot RAW? Great. Will your system handle the DI? Really?
These are the types of problems that arise routinely. Most of them also wouldn’t be problems if they had been dealt with in the planning phase. Look, the “we’ll fix it in post” mentality has been around a long time. There’s not a post house or an editor who doesn’t gladly cash the checks that mentality has written. But, is that the best way to spend your time and money? Wouldn’t that money be better spent, rather than fixing mistakes, making the product better? Even if it does cost a little extra money up front?
Like the man says, you can pay me now, or pay me later.