Monday, 2 March 2015

5 Essential Tools for Managing Post-Production

When I first took on the role as Post-Production Coordinator at Swagger, I scoured the Internet trying to find articles, blogs, anything to give me some insight. Sadly, I found very little or, rather, none. So I was forced to figure it out on my own. Now that I have a few years under my belt, I think Ive learned enough to share my knowledge. Sooo welcome to the first of many blog posts about life as a Post-Production Coordinator. This blog will feature the 5 essential tools I believe every Post Production Coordinator should have in their tool kit. If Im missing any, feel free to comment below. 

1. Mind Map Software 

Working for a small business, I have the pleasure of balancing anywhere between 10-25 projects at a time and each project varies in complexity. Some have the full package: 2D Animation, 3D Animation, and Video Editing. Others are simple cuts in and out. One of the essential duties of my role is figuring out when and how these awesome projects will get completed. This is where MindNode comes in play. 

MindNode allows me to take a project and break down all components (music, VO, graphics 2D/3D, editing, etc.). This helps me wrap my head around what’s needed in order to complete the project. It’s simple, easy to use, and there’s an app to sync with all of my devices, so I can continue to mind map wherever I go. 

2. Task Management Tool

After I layout what needs to be done for a project, I can start assigning each task to my team. Some projects are simple enough to need only one editor, while others are more complex and require the entire team to pitch in. At Swagger, we use a wonderful task management tool called Asana

Asana allows you to create a task, assign it to one of your team members, add notes, and establish a deadline. You can even create subtasks to track the progress of each component. Its easy to use and its free for up to 10 team members.

3. Magazines, Blogs, and Books

Keeping up with the latest technology and softwares are a must for the post world. As Post Coordinator, I’m always looking for ways for us to get things done more quickly and efficiently. Plugins, software updates, and computer updates can often help cut post time in half. When I’m not planning, scheduling, or editing/animating myself, I’m checking out what’s new. A good site to check out regularly is IndieWire.

4. Budget Management Tool

Most producers will tell you, post is where the budget goes out the window. Well… it can. Unforeseen production issues and technical issues can lead to overage of post hours. As the Post Coordinator, it’s my job to figure out how to solve these problems while still maintaining the budget. It’s a hard task and is sometimes impossible to do. A tool that helps me keep an eye on the budget is Harvest

Harvest helps me keep track of the time each team member is spending on different tasks associated with a project. It even has a timer feature to help team members track their hours in real time. At any point in the day, I can see how much time we’ve spent and how much time we have left. My favorite feature is the report tool, which shows me the project as a whole and how much time was put into each component. This helps me identify what areas we can be more efficient in, as well as plan for the next project of a similar scope.

5. Energy Booster 

Every one who’s ever worked in post knows that one of the beauties of post life is long nights and early mornings. Render times (which has thankfully decreased thanks to advancement in technology and NLE’s), quick deadlines, and massive projects can all lead to long nights and early mornings. In our world, clients needed their video yesterday. We are always working quickly, early and late to make sure our clients get the best product on time. If youre not a coffee drinker, I recommend something to keep your energy going. 

The most important thing to remember is to get a few days of rest after a work-binge. You don't want to burn yourself out! 

Have any other tools you’d like to share? Have any questions about being a post-production coordinator? Did you find any other helpful articles? Leave them in the comments below or tweet them at us @Swagger_Media!

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