The editing process is probably one of the most important part of a video project. Bad footage can be saved by good editing but good footage can be destroyed by bad editing.
The process goes through various rounds that vary according to the nature of the finished piece (video business card, commercial, documentary, etc…) and the budget allocated to the editing part. Editors usually charge per hour or per day.
Assembly Edit: The goal of the Assembly Edit is to cull through the entire footage to select the clips that will be used and string them in an order that tells the story. The assembly edit is usually longer than the final cut so the client can give their feedback and communicate the parts they do not want.
Rough Cut: The Rough Cut is a step where many elements of the video start to get added, like the music (rough track) and supporting footage or “b-roll”. In most cases, other pieces are not placed yet such as graphics, lower thirds (like the name and title of the speaker at the bottom of the screen) and sound effects. Refinements like color correction, color grading and audio mixing are also missing. In fact, the producer, director, and editor work on several versions of the rough cut until they reach a point where they feel confident enough to share it with the client.
Fine Cut: A Fine Cut is a video that is essentially complete and no more changes to the selection or duration of the shots can be made. This is the step that allows final minor change requests that remain within the original scope of work and budget. This version is basically done with the graphics or other elements placed but it may lack some polish. The goal is to get the client’s approval before beginning the final audio mixing, color correction and color grading.
Final Cut: The Final Cut or Approval Copy is the final step where all changes and minor improvements to the picture and sound have been made. The client is asked to review that all changes that were requested have been made but it is not an opportunity to make new requests without having to bear new charges.
Delivery: This is the step where the final cut is delivered in the most appropriate format to the final usage if the video.