- A new report reveals the extent to which remote online collaboration tools are being used to save time and money and add flexibility to film and TV productions.
- Post supervisors and editors find it more convenient and cost-effective to work from home and are not dependent on an extensive infrastructure or office to get their work done.
- Limiting in-person meetings presents some challenges during post, however, including an increased need for dubbing, which requires additional spotting sessions and pickups.
Remote from anywhere practices and technologies adopted at scale during 2019-2022 have now been cemented into the industry. A new report confirms that workflow efficiencies are a key reason for film and TV productions to use online collaboration tools over that of in-person office/suite meetings for an increasing amount of pre- and post-production work.
The inaugural Video Production Workflow report by collaboration tools vendor Shift Media surveyed postproduction pros about changes in their work habits.
The report found that the physical presence of personnel from all departments is still being limited post-pandemic:
“In the years since the initial pandemic lockdown, processes that at first took hours have been streamlined to minimize errors and quickly get review and approval from all stakeholders.”
While production teams have adapted to having fewer people on hand during production, this means depending on more tools for video conferencing, virtual interviews, and sometimes shipping equipment. It can sometimes mean relying on talent to record themselves while DPs guide the production remotely, the report notes.
The report also finds that production teams have become accustomed to going into a show remotely using high-quality cameras connected to platforms like ScreenFlow (from Telestream), allowing for high-quality capture.
Actors and interviewees have learned to prepare their locations for filming with props or set design, so they are camera-ready, then share footage for review and approval via links.
According to Shift Media, post supervisors and editors find it more convenient and cost-effective to work from home, without depending on a super extensive infrastructure or office to get the work done.
Further, clients and directors “trust the post-production process more every day,” using technology to their advantage, shortening review time by getting videos directly on their phones and computers, and allowing them to watch and provide feedback anytime, anywhere.
As an unnamed executive producer commented to the survey, “The biggest difference is that there are [fewer] people during shooting, which has both positive and negative aspects. There’s more focus on pre, and that’s good. There’s tougher work in post, and that’s bad.”
Platforms that allow reviewers to comment on rough cuts frame by frame to minimize the back-and-forth during approvals and reliably share large files securely and quickly have made remote post work much easier.
Recent changes have also helped create an industry that’s more flexible to the various needs of filmmaking teams, with many finding talent from other continents who obviously wouldn’t be able to come to an office.
One VFX supervisor quoted in the report says, “All of us have our own edit suites and production suites at home now. There will never be a need to put us all together in one building or office. Also, we have started handling clients from all over the world. They don’t care where we are working, just as long as we complete the work.”
All of this is positive, but limiting in-person meetings does come with some challenges.
Per the report, “critical conversations are taking place virtually, increasing the reliance on video sharing and collaboration platforms to share files and review animatics vital to navigating remote workflow.”
Difficulty capturing sound and dubbing has continued to cause frustration for some, requiring additional spotting sessions and pickups.
This new production process often leads to longer days and increased security measures.