Making The Production Workflow Clear

Lucy Seaborne, Senior Product Manager, EditShare

Production workflows have become way more complicated than they used to for all sorts of reasons, but there are ways to keep the complexity under control.

The move from film or tape to files has had the incidental effect of massively increasing shooting ratios. It is simply easier to do more takes with more cameras, and keep them all, when they are “just” digital files.

It wasn’t that long ago when holiday-makers had to take one or maybe two rolls of 36-exposure film on a vacation and carefully choose the moments they wanted to capture. Now our cameras and phones get filled with hundreds, maybe thousands of pictures which we later need to sort out. The same has happened for the movie and television industry.

While shooting ratios have gone up, timescales have often been reduced. The goal is to get from set to screen as quickly as possible, especially to start recouping production costs.

More material; less time. We have to find a better way to work.

Many production workflows are still rooted in old, linear methods. Which is understandable: if you are trying to complete a project, then having proven and comfortable practices can be very reassuring. But it is definitely time to rethink the way we work.

The idea of having a central place for all the assets that make up a production is not new. All the material comes into a single server, and everyone who needs to access it can log in. Completed work gets written back to the same server, making the process convenient and streamlined.

This is great. But the challenge is that this “single server” might actually be a distributed set of storage nodes, on location, in a post house, at the production company, or in the cloud. The system that is tracking all the material needs a single database that covers all these locations.

Also, the content might come in different formats: the camera resolution (and there may be more than one camera type); the edit format (perhaps with a proxy for remote editing); and the delivery packages. Metadata needs to track not only formats and resolutions, but also the points at which value judgements are applied: quality control; editorial decisions.

But our main goal is to create the best possible television programme or movie, which means everyone, at every stage, needs to devote their energies on their part of the production without getting bogged down in the complexities of the underlying media management system.

The goal, then, is to have a high functionality, agile storage infrastructure that can handle multiple formats (and converting between them), is geographically diverse, and can manage metadata. That is exactly what EditShare FLOW was designed for.

But on top of that you need a simple, intuitive, role-appropriate user interface, so that each person in the creative team sees the information and content they need: no more; no less.

That is why we have developed EditShare One: the next generation of workflow management. One single sign-on; one place for capture, edit, review and deliver; one platform for production collaboration.

What makes this possible is a single user interface concept that is infinitely customizable. Every user has their own dashboard, showing them just the content and features they need. These dashboards are dynamic, so tasks can be assigned as needed, with all resources available.

We think EditShare One is a transformative leap forward in workflow management. It makes collaborative production environments practical and productive, and leaves creative people free to get on with creative tasks.

In my next blog I’ll look at a typical workflow, using the Produce Tool within EditShare One.

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