By Karen Dewey, CEO and co-founder of Lumi.Media
Television and film production teams have faced an extraordinarily complex task during the pandemic with many creative artists pivoting to use software tools to work remotely. Having secure and reliable software platforms that make it easy for production teams to collaborate wherever they are is critical to maintaining Australia’s television and film industry.
In order to produce the shows we love to watch they need to film, share and edit footage. The team that works on each stage of this, from writers to actors, directors and producers use a variety of tools including cloud-based data sharing platforms as well as editing suites, project management tools and communication platforms.
In the days when crews worked in one place using physical media, processes were different. But many of those processes, created during the analog age, have been retained. The era of digital production affords production teams many advantages if they are prepared to embrace digital transformation.
Here are four ways the television and film production industry can reap the benefits of new digital technologies to streamline and simplify the production process.
1. Leverage the power of SaaS
Software as a Service (SaaS) has completely changed the way teams can access tools and share information. With SaaS, there’s no need to build or buy software and install it directly on an internal server or a user’s computer, new team members can get to work quickly simply by accessing through a web browser.
As the software is held centrally, security and functional updates are instantly available to all users ensuring everyone is working with the most up to date tools. As well as reducing deployment and operational costs, SaaS tools make it far easier to share information so everyone is working with the most current data all the time, from anywhere.
2. Streamline workflows
Having everything about a production in one place ensures that everyone is working from the same information, even when the person who created that data has left the team. For example, notes taken by a casting producer are used by every stage of production. But by the time the shoot commences, the casting producer may have moved on to their next project.
During post-production, producers need nuanced information that comes out in cast interviews and plays out in scenes that help build drama, suspense, comedy, friction and other emotions between cast members. It’s often tiny details captured in those notes that make for a better show. Having a central tool that makes it easy to capture and share that information ensures that it is not lost and can be used right though the production lifecycle.
When information such as shoot logs, production notes, footage and other content is shared quickly and easily the production process can flow smoothly and everyone can trust that the process works. For example, instead of maintaining complex spreadsheets to manage task lists, a central tracker can ensure everyone is looking at the most recent information as it changes in real time.
If information is stored across a multitude of platforms and in people’s heads then organisational knowledge is diluted. Or, even worse, it can be lost when people walk out the door. A central hub of information, that is accessible now and into the future, means knowledge is captured in a consistent way that can be easily found again when needed.
3. Empower the team with automation
Automation can be a powerful tool that helps production teams do their jobs more effectively and efficiently. Instead of spending time manually organising logs or pulling together information from different sources, automation can assist by reducing the time spent on repetitive tasks so the team can pour their creative energy into producing a great show. The best ideas come from moments when people are given the chance to stretch their imaginations. But when they are bogged down with administrative minutiae, they lose those opportunities.
4. Protect and grow your assets
Spoilers are the anathema of great storytelling. When we watch the concluding episode of Survivor or Love Island UK, we want to be surprised by that final revelation. We want the narrative to make sense and be satisfying. When all the people who craft these stories come together in one place, they can concentrate on the narrative – the whole team connected to the story. Having a platform that everyone on the team uses to liaise, rather than sending emails, is a more secure way and efficient way to collaborate. It builds a network of information and gives you the ability to easily access and leverage IP across both individual production teams and the broader organisation.
Television and film production was born in the analog age. But digital transformation is an opportunity to streamline the production process. It simplifies information sharing and workflow while allowing teams to execute faster, more securely and more cost effectively.