We’d like to believe we can erase all the mistakes we’ve ever made; unfortunately there are some we have to live with. When it’s a mistake made on a shoot, there are certain people that believe you can just fix it in post. I’m here to tell you – fixing a scene after the fact takes time and money. And that’s probably money you didn’t have to begin with.
I just completed a shoot where the agency was providing a sign the talent would hold up and after a few lines the talent would toss the sign away. The sign arrived with three major problems; 1) it had very strange brown spots all over it, 2) it was too big, covering a large portion of the talent’s chest, 3) there was an exclamation point missing from the sign. While I was out of the studio handling other things it was decided they’d shoot it anyway and then fix it in post production. Needless to say, I went to the agency and said that was a big mistake. Trying to fix all these errors would never happen in post production and if it could be fixed the cost would be exorbitant. I suggested we rush out and get new signs made and shoot a different scene in the meantime. The cost of getting new signs made on a rush basis was high, but not nearly as high as the cost of trying and potentially failing to fix that mess in post production.
As a producer, I always look for ways to save money and make sure the shot is right. But I’m keenly aware that the ‘fix it in post’ route will always be the more expensive and painful way to go. It really is easier to just shoot it right and know you’ve got what you need.