Mar 24, 2021 | Joe Harrison
Like the rest of the world, the media industry had to make a sharp pivot in 2020. With the health of workers in every level at risk, the industry was swiftly shut down, halting productions and creative teams all over the world. Beyond this, teams scrambled to figure out how to finish projects that have already been filmed. Like so many others, post-production teams had to shift to working remotely. This posed а practical challenge:
How can the team establish a remote workflow that allows them to collaborate creatively and work efficiently?
This requires remote access to content for every step of the post-production workflow: everything from picture editing to color correction and VFX, as well as access to content for freelancers. In this post I’ll attempt to highlight some of the basic steps you must take on your way to collaborating remotely.
The first step is to take stock of what your existing infrastructure allows for. This includes everything from existing hardware infrastructure, software licenses, and bandwidth capabilities. Many different software licenses allow for remote access, but will team members be able access the content they need fast enough to work efficiently?
Once you have a clear idea of what your existing infrastructure allows for, it’s time to look into potential upgrades and establishing a budget. This largely depends on the size of your team and the projects you are working on. If you’re a two-man operation you can probably get by with an over-the-counter solution like Dropbox. For larger teams working on multiple projects simultaneously, this gets more complicated and might require an investment in cloud services to ensure team members have fully functioning virtual workstations at home. You also need to factor in that a big chunk of the post-production process involves collaborating with third parties on different aspects of the project.
Once you have ensured that all team members will be able to access the necessary content seamlessly, it’s time to consider the actual workflow. This will vary from team to team and it’s important to find a rhythm and process that suits your individual needs. One of the biggest challenges of remote work is enabling collaboration between team members. Most importantly, you will want a standardized form of communication outside of email. Luckily, there are a number of inexpensive options to address this, including Zoom, Teams, Slack, etc., which allow for private messaging, video calls, and screen sharing. You might also want to consider a project management tool to track progress, ensure deadlines are being met, and allow the team leaders to get a general overview of the entire project.
Tiger Bridge, our software-only data management solution, enables you to connect any number of servers (or workstations) to the same cloud account. Content created on one server gets pushed to the cloud and files appear on all other servers. This allows all team members to access the content they need without interruption.
A big challenge with all post-production workflows, remote or otherwise, is collaborating with numerous freelancers. Optimizing workflows while dealing with freelancers and prying eyes can be quite demanding. Who should access what content and when? Tiger Spaces allows you to easily manage your production pipeline by setting up project-based virtual workspaces within your shared storage that can then be assigned to users and teams. Users can strictly see and access only the project data they were given access to.
If we look beyond the many challenges that the pandemic poses, there are tremendous advantages to enabling your team to work and collaborate remotely. The most important thing is to make sure that your infrastructure doesn’t become a bottleneck to the creative process. Having a strong infrastructure in place, along with a well-designed workflow will allow your team to work together seamlessly without geographical constraints.