So you’ve paid to have a video made and so far the planning and filming went off without a hitch. You are naturally excited to see the first edit. Sometimes that first edit is more or less perfect. It does everything you want and you couldn’t be happier. However in the majority of cases there will always be something you don’t like. Video is an organic process and as much as you plan and script, editing is a creative process on it’s own.
During this process amazing things can happen, and a good editor can find things you might not have thought of during filming. But more often than not that first cut might not quite be what you wanted or include something you’d rather not show.
But don’t panic! In the original costing from your production company should be a section on changes. Most production companies will allow for you to change the first edit. It’s always worth checking this though.
In the majority of cases hopefully those changes are nothing too dramatic. If the original brief/script was agreed and filmed, any changes should be possible. The process can get complicated if too many people start asking for different things. In most businesses and organisations it’s common for more than one person to have an opinion on a video. With this in mind it is best to discuss with everyone what changes you want made to the first cut before contacting the editor. Talk about what you like and don’t like. Create a list of things you want to see happen.
Hopefully with those changes made the second cut will be exactly what you want. But what if it isn’t? What if it is so far from what you wanted you cant see anyway back? Perhaps the technical side is below a standard you expect. Or the content is nowhere near the original brief.
Firstly from a technical point of view I would argue that if a production company provides a video there is no excuse for poor quality visuals and sound. Its likely the first cut has yet to go through the sound mixing or colour grading stages, but if its clear you can’t hear what is being said or everything is out of focus you are right to ask for a reshoot or refund.
However if the problem is content of the final video, this is slightly more troublesome. Fortunately we have never been in this position. On a couple of projects we have had to make drastic changes between cuts but it is usually a question of style and pace.
This is because before we start filming we have a very precise brief that outlines the video. This includes the concrete measurable elements like length and platform (where it will be shown). It will also outline how many crew and what equipment we’ll bring and how many days we’ll be shooting. Crucially it will outline the aims/message of the video and how we will achieve those results.
By doing this it ensures everyone is on the same page from the start. Without this it is possible to get it wrong. It’s why the planning is one of the most important parts of making a video
If you find yourself in the position of not liking the final video the best thing to do is sit down with your production company and address your concerns directly. Address what went wrong and go into detail to describe what you think is missing.