(612) 455-6161

Category: Post-Production (Finishing)

Picture of a man in a swimming pool.

The Finesse of Finish (Post-Production)

Creating a video may seem like a top-heavy project. It’s all about writing the script and filming actors, right? These may be the glamorous aspects of a video, but what if I told you that the last 10% of finishing a video production can make or break the impact?

The big picture is important. The earlier stages of the process are important. But it’s the attention to detail that tells the story. The final 25% of finishing a video production can take just as much time as the first 75%.

Finishing (or Post-Production) involves a number of strategies, such as:

  • Editing
  • Original Music
  • Sound Design
  • Sound Mixing & Audio Mastering
  • Color Correction
  • Motion Graphics
  • Visual Effects
  • 2D/3D Integration

Pretty wild, right? There’s a lot more complexity to post-production than many people realize.

Beyond the Final Phase

Finishing videos is more than what happens after production — It should be connected to the storyboard stage all the way through to completion. The impact of this decision can be tremendous.

When a post-production team is plugged into a video campaign from the start, it can streamline production and save money. It’s the most efficient way to produce the best result!

Problem Solvers

It’s highly recommended to have a post-production person (or team) on-set to:

  • Supervise discussions during pre-production
  • Troubleshoot any difficulties that pop up at the shoot

Trust us, something will come up during the shoot. Having a person responsible for finishing the spot onset is invaluable for determining solutions and keeping the production on schedule.

The Value of a Post-Production Services Partner

Finishing isn’t a one-and-done process. It’s done multiple times to make each video work on a variety of platforms, including:

  • Broadcast
  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • LinkedIn
  • And more

The number of required versions of a video has increased 10-fold over the last five years because of the unique video requirements of each platform. As you can imagine, executing and planning the deliverables is a tedious and time-consuming process. Fortunately, we’re here to help you!

VOLT Studios can concept, create, storyboard, design, animate, shoot, and finish your project. We are fortunate to work with many of the planet’s most talented clients on some awesome projects, like this one for Hotwire.

Bold ideas deserve brilliant production, and we’d love to collaborate with you on your next campaign. If you need video production and post-production, we’ll bring your ideas to life. Call 612-455-6161 or contact us online and we’ll chat about your options.

The Oohs and Ahhs of Design and Animation

Motion graphics can help brands simplify their message to connect with audiences. Even if you’re unfamiliar with the lingo, you’ve seen this type of animation before in:

  • Commercials
  • Explainer videos
  • Corporate presentations
  • Infographics

… Just to name a few. Motion graphics can also help make videos shorter while generating a big impact, which is a huge plus in today’s world of short attention spans. But what exactly are we talking about here?

The Big Deal With Motion Graphics

Designing spots through motion graphics is an art that involves shaping digital or animated visuals to create the illusion of movement. By utilizing strong branding elements such as color, images and logos, you can create stunning animation that’s distinct to the brand.

Motion graphics can be combined with live-action videos and images, or the entire production can be completely created by a designer. Let’s take a look at how these work… 

Going 100% Illustrated

When you completely illustrate a spot, you’re suspending reality and constructing a world that aligns with the brand. This method guides your audience to focus on what matters most through strong narrative and design. Here’s one example of this technique in action.

Combining Graphics With Live-Action Visuals

Another strong approach is to take photographic stills and create camera motion and animation on top of the imagery. There are numerous occurrences of this technique in a spot we just finished for the University of Northern Iowa. Take a look at one moment in particular from the final spot:

A woman welding with the word "curiosity" hovering above her.

This scene perfectly encapsulates the motion graphics elements. It wasn’t originally a video at all—it was a still image! Our designer created the parallax (movement) you see and added welding sparks, smoke and words to make it dynamic.

There’s great power in motion graphic design. Utilizing it in your videos will do more than enhance the visuals. It will help increase ROI. Hook people’s attention, draw them in with your message and get their business.

Need Motion Graphics for Your Campaign? 

VOLT Studios can concept, create, storyboard, design, animate and shoot your next motion graphic project. Bold ideas deserve brilliant production, and we’d love to collaborate with you on your next project. Call 612-455-6161 or contact us online and we’ll chat about your options.

LED Backdrops vs Green Screens [Which is Better for Your Production?]

Green screens have been around for decades. They help add visual effects to scenes and put characters in grand backgrounds and alien worlds. But there is a newer technology being used in major productions that could eventually replace green screens—LED backdrops (or virtual sets).

What’s the Difference?

With green or blue screens, actors play their roles without the benefits of seeing the effects or scenery around them. In these circumstances, the visuals are added much later in the post-production process.

But when productions utilize virtual sets, the actors are surrounded by giant LED screens that display the backgrounds at the moment of filming scenes. The actors can play their roles naturally with more fluid movement because they’re surrounded by virtual environments instead of blank screens.

LED backdrops don’t just help the actors—They also help the members of the crew, such as the cinematographer, by providing accurate visuals that assist with setting up proper lighting, camera angles, and other technical aspects.

6 Big Differences Between Green Screens and LED Backdrops (Virtual Sets)

LED backdrops completely alter how production teams operate and make lives easier for finishing crews. Here’s a quick look at the benefits and differences:

1) Backgrounds can follow with the camera as it moves on set, which makes for realistic and accurate visual tracking.

2) LED backdrops can provide realistic lighting and reflections to a scene. For example, the main character in The Mandalorian has reflective body armor.

If scenes in that show were filmed in front of a green screen, the post-production crew would have to go through a tedious extra step to add reflections into armor. But since the lighting and scenery already appear on camera thanks to an LED backdrop, the reflections are naturally added to the shots.

3) Green screen reflections and glare can “spill” onto actors and their props, which means that extra green has to be removed during post-production. This problem is eliminated with virtual LED sets.

4) Green screens usually require a lighting package for the action and a lighting package for the screen itself. By dropping the green screen, you eliminate a lighting package and save money.

5) LED backdrops require larger pre-production planning and up-front costs since green screens are cheaper and all of the backgrounds are added later. However, LED backdrops can help save money overall.

6) LED backdrops can provide more flexibility on the day of the shoot since crews have the ability to change camera angles and movements along with aspects of the backgrounds projected on the LED screen.

However, it’s important to note that green-screen shots are still easier to change if you want an entirely different background (Changing the virtual background on an LED screen after shooting requires time-intensive rotoscoping).

What’s the Right Option for Your Production?

At this time, green screens are the more affordable choice when it comes to up-front costs, which often sets it as the default decision. But things are changing quickly and LED virtual backdrops are gaining recognition for reducing costs long-term.

Sound like a technique you’d like to use in a future production? We’d love to help you make it happen. Call us at 612-455-6161 or fill out our contact form and we’ll chat about your options.

Sarah Thomas

Staff Stories: Sarah Thomas

“Why don’t you go work on movies?”

That’s what Sarah’s aunt asked her when she was in high school. Surely it can’t be that simple. A person from the Midwest doesn’t just go work in movies and television, right? Wrong!

This sweet suggestion was the spark that gave Sarah Thomas the idea to pursue a career in TV and film. She enrolled in The Art Institute and began studying and training to make her dream career a reality.

After graduation, she had two options—Move to the east or west coast and do freelance work, or stay local and see what she could find. The notion of freelancing didn’t appeal to her, so she opted to stick around Minnesota.

Around that time, Steve Medin was just starting VOLT Studios and was in need of an employee to handle photoshop work. Sarah’s name was suggested by a colleague, and she went on to be Steve’s assistant for seven years.

But eventually, Sarah felt like she’d done everything she could at her position and decided she wanted to move on. So, she took a break to travel to Peru and came back to work in VFX and Post-Production (Finishing) using Flame software.

Six years later, she’s still happily filling this role at VOLT and has been recognized as one of the 32 Under 32 by AdFed. She’s also one of the few females in the industry working as a Flame artist, and VOLT is proud to have her on the team.

“In a field that’s been predominantly filled by men, it’s really cool to see a talented female like Sarah breaking into the industry,” says Jim Martin, Director of Marketing for VOLT. “We’re lucky enough to have Sarah on the team when she could easily be out in L.A. or New York.”

Now that you’ve got some of Sarah’s background, let’s jump into some questions!

How would you describe your job to an outsider?

I make video productions look pretty! Once a project comes to us, we can fix patchy grass, add more leaves to trees, remove logos.

We clean up the videos and make them as attractive as possible because whether you’re shooting inside or outside, there are always factors you can’t control.

For example, if a client was filming outside and the weather wasn’t cooperating, we have to make it look like it was sunny that day instead of cloudy (or vice versa).

What’s been your favorite project so far?

There was a span of two months where our Subaru and Cadillac commercials used songs by The Black Keys from the Brothers album.

The Black Keys happened to be one of my favorite bands, and I got to work with their songs before they blew up and their talent rights got too expensive. That was really cool.

What would you work on if you could pick any project?

A feature-length television show. Like an 8-12 episode series.

Where do you see Flame and other Finishing software going in the future?

I was doing research to see what other companies use. Flame, Nuke, and Houdini are the top three, and I don’t see them going anywhere.

They each do different things and there are features of the others I’d like Flame engineers to implement, but overall I like it a lot. We use Flame for VFX and everything else in the process.

Word has it you have a fantastic shoe collection. Care to tell us about that?

In high school, I fell in love with Kangaroo tennis shoes. When I started driving, I would wear one pink and one green shoe. Eventually, this interest transitioned into heels, which I think are fun.

What are your thoughts on the video production industry in Minneapolis?

The one thing about Minneapolis is there aren’t a lot of new Flame artists or Post-Production Finishers in general.

I’m in the younger generation, but a lot of people younger than me are going into the creative agency side of things. The talent specific to Minneapolis is good, but the market isn’t saturated.

You love to travel. Where have you been and where are you headed?

I’ve been to Bali, Greece, Turkey, Peru, and Costa Rica within the last 10 years. Southwest Asia would be a top choice for my next place to visit.

You’re a huge Harry Potter fan. Which house would you be sorted into?


Got any advice for those who want to make it in Post-Production?

Check your feelings at the door, unfortunately. Sometimes your artistic ability and vision aren’t going to get seen and you have to be able to let that go and follow what your clients want. You have to be able to let people tear your work into shreds without getting hurt over it.

Finally, sometimes the simplest things are the worst to do and the technical things are the best. Things don’t always go as planned, so be ready for any challenge!