The 5 Common Challenges With Digital Dailies Management [& Solutions]

Wish your digital dailies reviews were simple and fast? Understand and solve your biggest challenges with dailies in this article.
Dailies Distribution
January 13, 2023
The 5 Common Challenges With Digital Dailies Management [& Solutions]

There is perhaps no workflow as embedded into an industry as dailies are in film and TV production. Since the early black and white silent movie days, dailies were rushed from the lab, often hand-couriered to filmmakers so they could review their work, and ensure it fit perfectly with their vision.

Even as digital media entered the production universe, early “digital dailies” were created from high-res scans of developed film reels, too large to transfer across the Internet, and delivered on hard drives to be viewed on computer screens. 

The concept remains the same: get the files as quickly as possible so you can verify the quality of every scene, every setting, and every delivery. The dailies workflow is here forever, but it has improved over the decades, and will continue to evolve with every advancement in technology.

Today, dailies are available almost immediately with high-bandwidth connectivity and digital asset management platforms. However, with evolving tools and processes come unexpected obstacles.

For example, where dailies are handled by a lab or DIT on-set, they may be processed and color-graded and sent directly to post-production. The lab can also process raw digital files simultaneously and have dailies ready to view in something close to real-time. This requires a holistic file management strategy to ensure that multiple workflows work together seamlessly.

Studios all now leverage some solution to help them track, manage, and review digital files. Productions and individual departments will also rely on their most trusted solutions for working with dailies, and they all face these challenges:

  • The rigors of production, limited budgets and timeframes, and unfamiliarity with various new processes and tools make new digital dailies solutions harder to adopt.
  • Individual digital dailies management solutions vary widely in capability, some requiring proprietary file types, and some with limited IP protection and security.
  • Dailies platforms allow for viewing separately by individuals or together in screening rooms, but most aren’t capable of supporting real-time simultaneous review among multiple participants, driving true collaboration.
  • Security is limited or nonexistent, in some cases digital files are just stored in a global repository where anyone can access it, with limited or no ability to know who has downloaded or shared the files. High value content protection features like digital rights management, forensic watermarking & security segmentation are rarely used.
  • Both post production vendors and on set technicians are producing clean, color graded  digital dailies assets, requiring a file taxonomy and metadata strategy to ensure consistency and continuity with other related WIP production assets. 

Dailies is a necessary workflow, simple in concept, but made more complex in the digital age. For many in film production, whether they're responsible for processing or distributing digital files, filmmakers are complaining about technological limitations. In this article, we’ll dive deep into these barriers, and offer concrete solutions to solve them.

1. Dailies platforms vary widely

Productions with multiple departments find themselves using a number of solutions to support their varied workflows. These tools can number in the hundreds across a large production. With busy schedules and little downtime between projects, it’s hard enough to evaluate, learn and purchase another platform without creating a lot more work.

Beyond that, a new solution needs to be evangelized to other departments, and teams with varied capabilities and responsibilities for their part of the production are also extremely busy, without the time or focus for a new tool.

Dailies used to be captured on 35 mm film. Now, modern technology platforms have allowed for the film dailies processes to evolve.

Compounding the problem, digital dailies platforms cover an entire gamut of capabilities, some being very fast for distributing files to filmmakers and studio execs, but with limited security and access controls. Some may offer robust IP protection measures such as watermarking and role management, but require limited or even proprietary file types for distribution. 

Only one platform tackles all of these concerns with versatility and access, by allowing configurable roles and security levels, providing fast upload and download capabilities for large files, as well as supporting nearly every file type your production can create.

How 5th Kind does it differently:

To meet these needs 5th Kind’s CORE gives you control over digital dailies. Team members responsible for managing assets can quickly send dailies to filmmakers, crew, talent, and studio execs according to their responsibilities and access levels. 

This gives ample oversight over a centralized process that can be applied to multiple departments across the production.

2. Your current dailies solution isn’t collaborative

Dailies have always been a collaborative effort. From the set to any number of crew members and studio execs to review together or individually. Dailies allow directors to know whether they captured the right shots, and give post-production staff a preview into things coming to them downstream. For example, an editor can start thinking about the sequences they might assemble or VFX can start visualizing how shots are extended and cleaned up with VFX work. 

Production staff need the ability to review dailies media in the office, a screening room, or remotely, as well as synchronously (in real-time) or asynchronously. A live review function should be part of a dailies review platform, allowing users to log in, review the same sequences and individual frames, discuss together in a video conference, annotate the shared media, and provide written feedback all inside each participant’s screen.

With the right dailies tool, it’s possible for one person reviewing dailies to loop in executives, editors, VFX artists, within one meeting, keeping everyone on track and streamlining the production.

How 5th Kind does it differently:

CORE, our Digital Asset Management Platform (DAM), is customizable to focus purely on making digital dailies workflows as simple as possible.

Because 5th Kind CORE also operates as a DAM beyond a dedicated dailies solution, anyone on your production can easily reference any stored media assets during a dailies review, and they are easily tagged and made more findable by anyone on your team.

You can also start real-time conversations where multiple production users view and comment on dailies and other digital assets.

When it comes to film dailies management, seeing is believing. Schedule a quick demo to see how your dailies workflow can transform your workflows!

3. Your dailies are not secure

One issue that keeps producers up at night is having key sequences and images which reveal critical storyline and characters leaked before the final content is released. 

Security is a multifaceted concept. A dailies platform designed to share digital assets across a widespread group of crew, talent, studio execs, production vendors and partners needs to be built on a reliable cloud platform, with persistent perimeter monitoring, distributed backup, a network of global operations centers, and zero downtime. It is also critical to have digital rights management that ensures encryption at rest, even when files are accessed offline or downloaded from the app.

Further, while it’s critical to prevent piracy and DOS attacks, tracking file usage within the team requires internal monitoring and forensic capabilities to ensure vigilance.

Additionally, robust cloud security, user or session specific on-the-fly visible watermarking and forensic watermarking features help ensure that digital dailies are protected from screenshots, piracy and leaks. 

How 5th Kind does it differently:

5th Kind delivers viewable as well as forensic watermarking features, and relies on the most trusted global cloud networks to ensure your dailies are protected by default to the gold standards required by leading Hollywood production studios creating the most well-known films and episodic shows.

4. Digital dailies compromise quality and bandwidth

After a long day shooting on set, it’s frustrating to see digital dailies files that don’t match the quality of what was filmed, or take way too long to upload to the cloud, even with a fast internet connection. For production teams based around the world, dailies reviews need to be high-quality, fast, and accurate.

Quality matters a great deal, especially once your team needs to review high resolution, color accurate videos. Decisions cannot be made based on inaccurate detail. Plus, compression/decompression schemas and proprietary wrappers used by your storage solution may be incompatible with the needs of various departments. 

How 5th Kind does it differently:

Our CORE digital asset management solution allows you to upload more than 200 file types, ensuring that your production can share files directly from the lab. You save time because no one wants to waste time pre-processing source files to share on a proprietary platform. 5th Kind lets you deliver files in the varied formats your production uses, at the high level of quality you prefer.

Want your dailies to always work no matter the bandwidth or internet connection? Learn why major studios leverage 5th Kind as an optimal solution.

5. Your dailies platform should support your digital asset strategy

Every shot, every setting, every image, and every design your production generates needs to be stored and cataloged according to a forward-thinking, production-wide strategy. Whether during production, for marketing, or storing files for future projects, your digital assets need to be given fully-detailed meta tags and titles so that multiple departments can always package and find them based on multiple attributes.

Your digital asset management platform should fully support your taxonomy planning, while adapting to your production as it evolves. It should also be configurable to meet the needs of future productions with new and different teams.

How 5th Kind does it differently:

CORE can automatically apply metadata and descriptive tags to every file you upload, according to which package, which shoot, which environment, color set, or any other attribute you determine. 

This ensures that production staff in each department will be able to find dailies for review much more quickly, while knowing the files are accurate and secure.

5th Kind gives you advanced dailies functionality

Dailies will be with us forever. The focus for today’s modern filmmakers, studio production, and post execs is how to improve dailies workflows so they are easier to manage and deliver. 

With 5th Kind, dailies aren't the end of the discussion, they’re where the discussion starts and leads to creative review of related inspiring media upstream and assembled content downstream.

5th Kind’s Dailies solution is built on a DAM platform with a high standard of security that meets the needs of leading studios and large production teams, while maintaining versatility to support every kind of project from independent films to episodic shows lasting multiple seasons. CORE allows for tightly-managed access and admin rights, helping you support your teams for many successful production seasons.

Learn how our solution can take away all of your film dailies headaches by speaking with a member of our team!