Copyright Qode Interactive 2016
Time is money, save it where you can. By Ashley Hall, 07 February, 2017

As Benjamin Franklin once said, “Lost time is never found again”. Well that’s not strictly true. In the case of content production, it normally can be found in the final invoice from the post production facility.

Those un-factored hours spent in the edit ingesting, transcoding and syncing can really add up if not forecast. But these costs can be avoided or minimised dramatically by asking a few simple questions in your pre-production prep.

Green Rock have a busy central London post facility operating exclusively with an Adobe set-up. Being the generous types we are, we’ve compiled the top 5 factors we’ve seen waste time and money on productions. Invest a few minutes swatting up on the common things that trip up even the most accomplished production managers, and save yourself valuable budget in the long-run.

It sounds obvious, but I cannot express enough the need to encourage the right communication up front.

You’d be amazed at how much it doesn’t happen. The production manager might talk to the editor in advance of the edit starting and the director might send over notes about grades… which is great because the cameraman you use all the time knows which codec to use… doesn’t he?

The issue is that whichever crew combo you use they all have their way of working; their favourite camera and their preferred editing software. But without that little bit of planning and dialogue upfront, something could go wrong in the process and cost you time in the long run.

Our tip is to encourage dialogue between your post team and the cameraman before the shoot. That way they can actively discuss what kind of project is it, the cameras, codecs, LUTs and frame rates etc.

Not only does that 5 minute chat save so much time in edit prep, it continues through to making sure you don’t have a sluggish timeline through to a tedious conform in the online. All things that cause edit delays, missed deadlines and unwanted headaches!

We’ve all done it, but why shoot 4k for an online corporate video? We know the Director’s vision is that it needs to be shot on at least an Arri or the whole thing is going to look dreadful and the client will never sign this off. But the thing is…you don’t necessarily need your online feature to be in this format if the budget is tight. Ask yourself if it’s REALLY necessary.

There are absolutely times when it is justified, but when you’re being hounded to make productions work on a tight budget, scaling down the kit will make a big difference. And it’s not just the kit you’re saving on, it’s the knock-on effect associated with that.

Are you constantly being charged for an edit prep day? Well that’s likely because 4k rushes often need turning into proxy files in order for any editing application to handle them. And as for the conform you’re constantly getting lumbered with? Why can’t you just go straight into the online with your director – why is there an overnight charge to do this or a day or more delays while your rushes are being ‘prepped’? Weren’t they prepped before the edit starts?!

At Green Rock we encourage a dialogue from the very beginning so if your client can only pay x amount but needs it by Friday then something may need to budge. No matter what, we’ll get the edit up and running as quickly as possible, but you may need to factor in the prep time or shoot in a different format. Either way, talking it through will help get from concept to delivery the quickest.

Previously operating as an FCP and Avid post facility and switching to a full Adobe set-up a couple of years ago, we have devised solid workflows that meet different production needs efficiently.

Two years ago we delivered an 8-part fashion series where we used the beta version of Adobe Anywhere, and never looked back. We had multiple editors working on individual VT’s for a 30min studio-based show. This allowed a slick multi-edit production to be controlled from one master suite and immediately showcased Adobe’s methods to use the power of collaboration.

“All well and good, but Premiere wouldn’t work for my long-form content!” I hear you cry. Well, we want to dispel that rumour, we’ve produced numerous long-form content within Premiere for the BBC, ITV, Netflix to name a few.

Make sure you know upfront your editing tool’s capabilities and question it when someone says you can only edit that on Avid. Notable feature films have been cut in Premiere – Deadpool, Gone Girl, Hail Ceaser to name a few. So if it’s good enough for Hollywood…!

What are you paying for when you book an editor. Just an offline? Or one that can colour balance your material, fix that audio problem and produce some cool graphics?

Gone are the days of having your graphics created in one location which need rendering overnight – if someone tells you otherwise, question it.

A huge plus point of the Adobe Creative Cloud is having access to all of its creative tools. Dynamic Linking to After Effects greatly improves the workflow as graphics are simultaneously being worked on whilst the offline continues or even better, right in front you so the director / producer sees their vision unfold in front of their eyes. This all saves time and money.

Don’t be rigid with a workflow; kit changes, technology changes. Look at what happened to Final Cut 7. It worked, we all relied on it – then it fell over and had been ‘upgraded’ to its big brother FCPX which just didn’t work in a broadcast environment. So we all switched and now our Adobe set-up does everything we need – and more importantly, everything you need.

Relying on one eco-system is a risk as you never know what’s around the corner, so it’s about adapting to ever changing technological advancements and your production needs to allow for that flexibility. Look at the advancements of cloud based editing, a method that is only going to continue to flourish as portable, global editing needs increase. We can adapt to the environment and respond with a workflow that matches.

WE’RE HERE TO HELP
We love to help too. We have in place the best practices to make all productions work, and being always-on we can help you stick to breakneck timelines too. We do that by knowing the product, using the right tools, maximising the operator’s capabilities, and communicating throughout.

And what’s more, we like to talk about it. If we can help in any way, we will. So get in touch and we’ll talk, after all – we encourage it!