POST PRODUCTION TIPS: Building Your Communication HUB


Building Your Communication HUB 

By: Roberto Cardinas

When the director shouts “That’s a wrap!”, it’s only just the beginning for the post production team. Post has a ton of moving parts and deliverables that need to happen efficiently and on time, so it the project can stay on budget. The best way to make sure this happens is to have a solid communications plan and tracking method in place. Here’s a breakdown of the key ingredients of your hub:

Deliverables Schedule
It’s a tedious job, but someone’s got to create a calendar of ALL of the tasks and deliverables for the project. Every scene, every sound mix, every visual effect, every graphic, every…you get the picture. Be meticulous, be all-encompassing, and be realistic about the timeframes needed to get each task accomplished.

Roles & Responsibilities
Make sure to assign a team member to each task, so you know who is responsible for its forward progress. It is also a good idea to make sure everyone is aware of oversight roles as well – who is ultimately responsible for making sure that task is done well and on time. 

Progress & Approvals Tracking
Ensure that your calendar is accessible to and editable by team members, so they can see what is needed of them and provide updates on their progress. Communicating task status is crucial to making necessary adjustments in resources or expectations when hiccups arise (as they inevitably do). Providing approval status within the calendar will also help the team manage moving parts and know when they can move on and take next steps. 

Communication Pathways & Timing
It is important to set up clearly defined communication systems for the sake of collaboration, meeting deadlines, and streamlining the post production process. Since everyone has a different work style, it is best to discuss within teams and throughout the hierarchy how often to status, how much in-person communication is required, and how much autonomy makes sense. Keeping lines open about potential changes in delivery expectations is critical, both from the perspective of understanding needs and recognizing the reality of the team’s ability to execute.  

The Notes Process
Post-production is highly collaborative, and you can’t get around the notes process. If there is not clarity on both sides of the table, there can be a lot of wheel spinning and frustration trying to nail that final winning edit.

Producers - Make sure that the notes you are giving are time coded and specific about what isn’t working. Provide executable ideas on changes you envision that may resolve your issues. The editor took it to the place it stands, so being vague in your direction – putting it all back on the editor – might not get you where you want to go. Also provide a clear timetable for when changes need to be completed. And, for the sake of morale, remember a talented team member has put time and energy into what you are critiquing…choose your words wisely.

Editors – After receiving notes, be clear about what changes may not be executable, what ways you plan to address each note, and how long it will take to make this round of edits. Make sure you are on the same page before digging in and potentially wasting your time. And, remember, this is a subjective, collaborative process…sometimes you can be too close, and a different perspective will help…and sometimes you need to break it to build it up even better. Hooyah!

Your Hub
The schedule and key communications should be “hubbed” somewhere accessible, whether that be on a shared drive or an office collaboration program  (like @ftrackhq – a collaboration program made specifically for post production work). There should also be an accountable “Keeper of the Hub” assigned to making sure the hub is functioning correctly and being updated regularly by team members. 

In short: Clear (communication) lines, full (tracking) hubs, can’t lose. #fridaynightlights #greatshow


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