Quality creative content is the end result of months, or even years, of close teamwork. That’s why collaboration is a huge factor in how ideas and skills are combined to create influential media.
As of mid-2022, all of the most expensive (and successful) film productions in history were either made by or in collaboration with studios in the United States. Whether a studio is creating a short film or a major blockbuster film like Black Adam, when it comes to digital media, collaboration is a vital factor for success.
During media production, production teams are usually running around as if they are on fire. What can department leaders, on set crew, and even directors or executives do to help reduce the chaos and create quality content faster? To answer this question, we have curated three digital media collaborative tips that can help remove friction.
1. Use Fewer Tools in Every Production Phase
Our first piece of advice, and possibly the most important to keep in mind, is to reduce the number of tools your team is using in their day to day.
In media productions, there are hundreds and hundreds of tools used throughout the entire production lifecycle. Different departments use their own tools, creatives often have their own preferences, and producers usually don’t want to have to learn every single platform their team uses.
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This list of tools can be overwhelming. Senior executives and producers are usually so busy with the high-level view of their productions that they're likely not going to have the time to learn an operating system or a new software program. They’re running around all day meeting with agents and talent, pitching scripts and packages for their next projects, taking hundreds of phone calls, all while supervising their film and television shows and their individual processes.
If they need to learn what every department and production team is using, they'll drown in tools! The trend of using more and more tools is on the rise, as nearly 80% of employees used collaboration tools for work in 2021.
To improve your digital media collaborative efforts, try to reduce the number of tools that your team uses. There are other benefits to this reduction as well, such as:
- Bolstering the security of your digital assets
- Removing fragmented systems and tools to improve efficiency
- Eliminating duplicative work of downloading and uploading files to different systems for higher-up executives
While removing duplicative tools can start to streamline media management workflows, another key aspect of digital media collaboration is setting expectations.
2. Set Early Expectations to Create Quality Media
Media collaboration relies heavily on modern technology, especially if there are remote teams. However, there is also tremendous value in setting expectations as soon as possible. For example, the director’s vision is important and needs to be pulled out of the script, but the cinematographer also needs to figure out how to convey that vision.
“The biggest thing I have realized was that you have to choose your collaborators very carefully and that not everybody can like you.”
— Peter Capaldi, Actor
The balance of meeting the director’s needs while also coordinating with every department requires expectations. Plenty of flexibility before and during production, and even in post is also needed. Having clear communication and being open to each other’s point of view can save a lot of time and budget. Before each scene, shot, or transition, ensure there are well-defined expectations and enough time to pre everyone involved.
When everyone is running at 110% during production, tensions are high. There will always be something that will go wrong on set or something that can’t follow the original plan, but effective digital media collaboration and management means being flexible to overcome those challenges.
3. Take Advantage of Asynchronous Media Collaboration
Not every digital asset needs to have a live review with multiple people present. Because digital media files take a significant amount of time and resources to create, collaboration can happen at different times of its lifecycle.
“Filmmaking is the ultimate team sport.”
— Michael Keaton, Actor
If your production team is in different locations, then time zones can also necessitate offline reviews. If one team is in Los Angeles while the director is in Asia, then there needs to be a structured review process that happens asynchronously.
While some digital media collaboration tools offer solutions to help their live reviews go smoothly, it’s up to the team members themselves to figure out offline feedback loops. Some Digital Asset Management Systems (DAM) can even record your live review sessions so that others can review it later on.
Interested in learning how Marvel did over the shoulder digital media reviews during the pandemic? Read this article on major studio’s media production and management!
Between camera footage, VFX shots, scripts, storyboards, locations, backgrounds, and trailers, it can be a hassle to find time to review every piece of media with busy decision-makers and creatives. To make it work, try shifting to a mostly asynchronous review schedule. This can be possible with using the right combination of tools, as long as they’re not used excessively.
Are You Ready for Your Digital Media Process to be Collaborative?
During (and even after!) production, nothing always goes exactly to plan. To ensure your production is as collaborative as can be, consider implementing these three recommendations:
- Remove unnecessary tools and platforms in your workflows
- Set expectations for every department during production
- Review digital assets and other media asynchronously as needed
It’s not just smaller production teams that are always looking for more efficient ways to work together. For a major studio like Marvel, having the ability to collaborate on digital media assets, while mitigating security risks, is crucial. That’s why they continuously chose a battle-tested and trusted tool – 5th Kind’s CORE platform – for more than ten years!
Discover how real-time collaboration software like 5th Kind can empower your production workflows today!