Post Production

The last scene has been shot. The wrap party is over. But in many ways, the movie-making process is just getting started in the post-production phase. All the footage must be edited and assembled, the music and sound effects cut in, and visual and optical effects created.
Like production, "post" requires a vast array of talented, technologically savvy crews. The picture editor and editorial assistants start their work during production when they view dailies (each day’s filming) with the director, and begin assembling work prints into coherent scenes. By the end of principal photography, the editor has cut together a rough assembly of all the scenes, which the director will use as a starting point to shape the picture into the story he or she wants to tell. Directors generally have at least ten weeks to edit their assembly of the film before the producers view this "rough cut," suggest their changes, then show it to the studio executives.
Advancements in technology have made the editing process faster and, some would say, more creative than it used to be. Directors and editors are now able to make and view changes instantly with digital workstations. Computer-generated visual effects can be easily laid in for the director to see. The days of cataloguing strips of film, splicing scenes together, and running them on a flatbed editing machine have given way to transferring film to tape through a process called telecine, then digitizing the taped scenes, which are viewed and edited on a digital editing system such as an Avid® or Final Cut Pro®. The scenes are stored as files and can be opened or transferred to other computers in a flash. Digital editing systems are also helpful when creating optical effects, such as fades or dissolves.
Once picture editing is underway, sound must be added. Although most of the dialogue recorded during production is used, it usually needs to be cleaned up, by removing pops and hisses, or replaced through ADR, Automatic Dialogue Replacement, in which an actor re-records lines of dialogue in a studio to match the picture. This process is commonly called looping, referring to the strip of film that used to be repeatedly played in a "loop".

An editor at work in one of Columbia Pictures' cutting rooms.

An editor works in one of Sony's state-of-the-art editing suites.