I love to shoot, produce and edit and when I’m done, I can’t wait to see what’s been captured on camera. I know that the client is excited to see the results of all those days of shooting as well.

Unfortunately, sometimes all that excitement can get you a little carried away when you’re getting your first look at the rough cut. So take time to relax. Slow down and keep a few basics in mind as you review your project.

The first pass
The first time you see your rough cut, watch it all the way through without stopping. Focus on the story. Don’t stop if the wardrobe isn’t just right, if the music’s too loud, the voiceover too low or if the color is a little off. You need to see the big picture. Does it follow the approved storyboard and script?

At the end of the first pass, cross a few of the basics off the list. For example, if you are producing a television commercial, be sure it has the proper call-to-action. Is the logo right? Are the phone number and URL correct?

The second pass
Ok. So you’ve run through the footage once. Now it’s time to run through it again and take a closer look at the pace of the footage. Do you like the cuts? Are they too fast? Not fast enough? Maybe you want a dissolve rather than straight cuts between scenes. This is the time to make these notes.

Take note of the music and imagery. Does it match the tone of the script and voiceover? Does the imagery match the content? Does it match the storyboard?

During this second pass, you’ll also want to review any motion graphics. Are they on screen long enough? Are they clear enough for the viewers to engage with? How about their transitions? Are they too slow or too fast?

Get others involved
You may have people in your organization with a critical eye who are part of the approval process and were not involved in the shooting. The second pass is a great time to get them involved in the beginning of the process and get their feedback early on so you don’t get set back toward the end of the project.

Taking some simple steps in reviewing your first and second rough cuts can save you a lot of time and stress as you move further through the process toward completion.

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