How To Make A Commercial: Post Production

How To Make A Commercial:

Post Production  

“How To Make A Commercial,” Pre Production and Production, are covered in the first two parts of this series, so make sure to give those a read before you dive in here.

If you’ve followed along this far, you now have everything you need to move on to the movie magic of the editing room.

The first (and most time consuming) part is the logging and shorting.


Think about it; every second of footage you shot needs to be watched and reviewed. This task scales exponentially. For example, one hour of footage will take about three hours to review, organize, and label. Five hours of footage will take a few days. Ten hours can take over a week. Editing is wonderful, but the reality is, it’s also a massive time-suck. Make sure your Pre Production scheduling leaves you plenty of time to get the work done.

Rough Cuts

From the logged footage, the editing team can beginning piecing together the parts that best deliver the messaging and/or the story. We use the phrase “rough” because the transitions will be a little off, the music (if there is music) is subject to change or will be watermarked, and no coloring will have been done, so the footage may seem unusually flat. In this phase it’s way easier to make changes, not to mention cheaper. Usually there will be one to three rounds of rough cuts passed around before you’re ready to lock stuff down.


With the structure of the piece secured, aesthetics can begin to be finalized. First comes picture lock, which means no more changes will be made to the sequencing of the selected footage. Those edits are final. Now audio mastering can start, so music is purchased and foley and sound design are implemented. Finally, color lock, which digitally adjusts the warmth and light levels to be consistent throughout the piece.


If your piece includes a graphic element (as in logos and designs, not like Saw IV), that can be inserted during the locking process. Like always, the only caveat is that you plan ahead for it. Animation isn’t cheap, though, so don’t be surprised if it’s inclusion inflates your budget.


If the file is large (and it probably will be), you may need to familiarize yourself with services like Hightail or Dropbox. And don’t rule out the old fashioned way of mailing an external drive.


Now all that research you did at the start comes back into play as your finished product is sent out into the world.

There you have it! The long and multi-faceted answer to “How to make a commercial.” Hopefully now you have a better grasp of the way video production works, but if you have more questions on specifics or you’re wondering what some other options may be, drop us a call. We’d love to talk to you.

If you’re looking for more resources as you branch out into video marketing, be sure to check out our Research Page for our yearly guides, our Podcast Page for weekly news, and our Vlogs for more topical videos.

Hunter Smith