Makeweights & Snap ins

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Help and Advice on Makeweights and Snap Ins

This article offers help and advice for Producers, Production Managers and Editors on how to deal with Makeweights and Snap Ins.

Makeweights and snap-ins are interchangeable terms, but it may be easier to think of them separately.  They crop up in pre-production when you see your Production Agreement and Deliverables Schedule and realise that you are required to make them for the broadcaster, and they become a real issue once you are in post-production and have to produce them.

What are Makeweights and Snap Ins ?

Makeweights and snap-ins are extra pieces of fully cut and post-produced material or sequences that are required in order to take your programme from its commissioned Total Running Time (TRT) that is “cut to clock”, i.e. with commercial breaks in it, to a contractually specified longer running time that is seamless, i.e. without commercial breaks.

The easiest way to deal with the process of making these deliverable elements is to view them separately like this:

  • Makeweights - extra sequences required to make your original programme up to its new length.
  • Snap ins - material required to bridge commercial breaks.


Makeweights are new sequences not previously seen in the main film, but which add to the narrative, or at least, don’t disrupt it; or they can be extensions of existing sequences – the trims that you cut off because it was all getting too long.  And they should be scattered throughout the timeline of your film so that they don’t all end up being usable in the front third.  However, they’re not to be made up of a few seconds here and there, but should be anywhere between 1 and 4mins long – sizeable sequences that you wouldn’t be ashamed to see in your main film.

Snap Ins

Snap Ins are more bridges than sequences, designed to cover the commercial break, the tease to the break and the intro after the break.  If you get lucky and closing the gap for a break having removed the tease and intro leaves you with a continuous narrative (and it’s rare), then you’ll still need a bridging line of voice-over to cover the new continuous mood of the film instead of the crescendo you would have been building to with an end of part (EOP).

Seeing these two terms as totally different elements will make the process of editing them much easier.


Written by

Louise has extensive adventure, observational-doc, drama-documentary, corporate and commercials experience. Louise has filmed all over the world and has first hand experience of dangerous location filming.
© Copyright Louise Heren