Studio Workload Management: Pre-Production, Production, and Post-Production

Managing the production process

The production process involves many moving parts from start to finish, so you need to keep them under control if you want to get a desirable result. There’s no one-size-fits-all for every project, but you should always follow a carefully laid out plan if you want the easiest creation process and to make sure you’re using all of your resources properly.

If you make sure you’re prepared, you’ll waste a lot less time and money fixing any last-minute issues and mishaps. When you streamline your process and have a plan to take with you, you’re already in a much better place to solve any unforeseen problems.

All production processes are composed of three parts: Pre-production, production, and post-production. This involves the very beginning stages of laying the groundwork, all the way up to a fully edited and finished product. Directors, managers, and other personnel in leadership roles depend on project management to bring ideas to fruition and support efficient workflows. Luckily, there are plenty of digital tools available for managers to use with their teams that help improve efficiency and save money.

What is project management?

In general, project management is defined as the combined effort of using skills, knowledge, tools, and techniques to create something of value through a service, a product, or some other result. All projects typically consist of a budget, timeline, set of expectations, and a dedicated team—they have a clear beginning and end, which occurs when the goal is achieved.

Some projects are meant to function as short-term solutions and others play out over a longer period and require multiple smaller projects until the larger goal is reached. Project managers assume the responsibility of making sure work is adequately organized and assigned to team members with the proper skillset and experience.

Why is project management important?

At the end of the day, project management drives change. Today’s “Project Economy” is a perfect illustration of how it’s becoming more and more effective to focus on project management to solve problems rather than operations. Of course, there are always improvements that can be made from an operational standpoint, but you yield many more benefits when you approach business problems from a “project” perspective.

What are the benefits of project management?

  • Improved organization and communication across team members.
  • Remove confusion from projects and improve team efficiency.
  • Keep your organizational goals, project plans, files, and other important items in one place.
  • Coordinate work efforts more effectively and assign tasks easily.

It isn’t just about managing your resources as efficiently as possible, but you need to have measures in place to ensure that you’re equipped to face any challenges that might come your way.

Why old processes need to be updated

Technology is changing every day and developers are constantly making updates to different software to meet business needs. If you want your projects to meet even the most basic standards and exceed your expectations, you need to have updated techniques and production practices. People don’t conduct project management the same way they did years ago, and there are plenty of digital tools and resources at our disposal that can streamline different workflows, automate certain processes, and improve overall efficiency.

Regardless of industry or niche, project management is something that every kind of organization needs to consider. If you don’t already take advantage of project management tools, it’s time to start thinking about how you might apply workflow management software to your own projects.

Studio workload management processes

Specifics will depend on what you’re working on, but there are five major stages of studio project management that you’ll want to consider each time you’re ready to start something new.

  1. Project initiation: This first step involves identifying your team and the overall scope of your project. For larger projects, it’s beneficial to create some kind of roadmap that will help you transition to the planning stage.
  2. Project planning: After initiation, you need to outline your entire project and identify your goals. When it comes to studio work, this applies to everything in pre-production. You’ll make all the arrangements you need to carry out your production from deadlines and costs to major milestones and objectives.
  3. Project execution: The execution phase is where all the magic happens, but the preparation beforehand is crucial to ensure everything proceeds as planned. During this phase, you’ll work with your team on project deliverables. You’ll want to employ project management software to track assigned tasks, monitor progress, and collaborate with your team. Execution can cover both production and post-production, as it involves everything that gets you to your final product.
  4. Project performance: If you want to ensure future success, you need to carefully evaluate project performance during the project for peak efficiency.
  5. Project closure: This final stage involves collaborating with your team to evaluate successes and where there might be room for improvement. The more attention you pay to this, the better off you’ll be for your next project. Taking time to identify any lessons learned is crucial for improving your project management processes and making the most out of your studio work.

What is studio project management?

Studio project management involves all the same core concepts as general project management, but there are specific applications you’ll want to be aware of when it comes to managing different projects in your industry.

Studio projects involve three main segments:

  • Pre-production: all the planning involved with getting a crew together, developing a concept, and detailing how you’ll reach your final product.
  • Production: when you put your plans into action and create or capture the content you want to produce.
  • Post-production: Anything related to editing and finalizing your project, this can also include distribution.

The best way to tackle your studio project is with the right workflow software. When you implement project management software as part of your studio workflow, you’ll be able to avoid all kinds of delays and setbacks, leaving you with more time to focus on what you do best. We’ll dive into each production phase and how you can use different tools in more detail below.

Studio workload management strategy

With the right studio workload management software, you’ll find planning, executing, and monitoring your projects a breeze. The best part about streamlining your workload management is that it allows everyone to be on the same page. People working on the same project can easily track progress and provide any necessary updates. This helps ease communication and breaks down traditional barriers when team members aren’t in the same location or simply don’t have time to meet.

When it comes to identifying the kind of software you’ll need for ongoing studio projects, there are several core functions that you’re going to need.

Essential features of studio project management software

  • Dashboard: each user will have their own customized dashboard with project deadlines, task updates, and other notifications.
  • Scheduling & deadline management: Leaders can see a summary of each team member’s workload and assign tasks as needed. Employees will be presented with new assignments or work tasks in a much more digestible manner and be less prone to overwhelm.
  • Ability to assign and notify of roles: let each team member know exactly what they are responsible for and when.
  • Collaboration: Team members can communicate and collaborate easily via remote connection.
  • File upload: Secure file sharing is crucial for employees to share important information and documents.
  • Project templates: most programs will come equipped with a library of customizable templates for you to work with.

Managing your project: pre-production process

What is pre-production?

The pre-production phase involves planning different creative and logistical elements of your creative project. This is where you get all the preparation done prior to shooting and creating content. You’ll have a chance to map out the most crucial parts of your project ahead of time, hire the right crew, work out a schedule, and secure locations, materials, and any other resources you might need.

There simply isn’t time to deal with problem-solving on set, that’s why pre-production is so important.

What does the pre-production process look like?

The pre-production workflow has many steps, but they are all essential in making sure you and your crew are prepared to carry out your project. Each project is going to look a little different, but if you incorporate project management tools with the steps that make sense for you, you’ll be able to go in confident that your goals are attainable.

  • Concept development: it’s important that you take time to flesh out your ideas. Make sure you have a clear picture of what your overall message needs to be and what you want to achieve with your project.
  • Production planning: Once you have clear goals, you can start to plan the various elements that will help bring your ideas to fruition. You’ll need a realistic budget that accounts for any expenses you might incur during the production process. Consider the cost of hiring a team, outsourcing as needed, equipment that is owned or will need to be rented, and other things you’re going to need to carry out different tasks. It never hurts to be overprepared and wind up under budget, but if you go over budget and can’t make it up, you might wind up having to cut elements that are crucial to your final product.
  • Treatment/script development: this part is going to vary based on the nature of your project. But there is bound to be some type of content creation and development that you need to work on before any shooting or production can take place. Make sure you have a clear picture of what you want your production process to look like and the context in which you achieve your goal.
  • Scheduling: If you want to achieve the goals you set out in concept development, you need a realistic schedule that you can stick to. Of course, you can’t plan for everything, so try to keep in mind that things might not always go according to schedule and try to allocate some spare time to make up for any lost time. Worst case scenario you’re leftover with extra time down the line!
  • Production document prep: This part might not be as enjoyable as the creative side of things, but it’s essential to protect yourself, your crew, and your project. Any printed documents including contracts, payment agreements, and other important paperwork need to be created and reviewed before any action can start.
  • Talent and crew acquisitions: There’s no project without a reliable and capable team to help make it happen. Make sure you build a reliable team who believes in your vision and wants to support you along the way. You should also take note of what skill sets you’re going to need as you plan everything out—make sure you hire people with the right experience for the job. If you already have a more permanent team in place, you’ll just want to make sure you assign tasks to the right people, so you can achieve the best result each step of the way.
  • Location scouting: If your project requires using different locations, you should ensure they are all available at the times you’re going to need them. For instance, if you’re filming something, you might need to get permission to use certain locations. Sometimes the right location makes all the difference in a project’s success, so it’s worth the effort, just make sure you plan accordingly.
  • Set construction: If you’re going to need any kind of set or props for your project, they need to be designed and completed before any production can begin. With that in mind, you should get started as soon as possible. When you’re hiring a crew, you’ll want to make sure it consists of staff that can help with set construction and other related staging tasks.
  • Equipment: Any equipment needed for your project needs to be scheduled, rented, or purchased before production can begin. If you’re missing crucial equipment pieces, the production might not be able to continue. Inventory management software is a great resource to ensure you can track everything in real time.

During the pre-production process, there are plenty of digital tools for you to utilize with all of the steps mentioned above. You’ll want to make sure your project management software includes budgeting, digital asset management, and contact management, among other applicable features!

Managing your project: production process

What is the production stage?

The production stage is where all the action takes place. You might be recording music, filming a TV show, producing a live show, or doing other creative projects. Most of the time, when production begins, it is officially more financially sound to follow through with the project, rather than cancel. That’s another reason why it’s so important that you prepare for production so diligently.

What does the production process look like?

  • Production management: Overseeing of the overall production operation, ensuring that people are where they should be and that tasks are being completed as expected.
  • Directing: Managing the creative direction of the project to ensure the goal is attained. Directors need to be supported by a reliable team so they can focus on their job and get the best performance possible.
  • Recording: Physical recording of creative content that will be edited in post-production. Preparation for this is essential so you don’t incur delays during production time. Recording failures and mishaps are a huge source of financial stress, especially when you have to rent equipment.
  • Setup/management: Managing the physical space where creation takes place. Whether this is a special location or your regular workspace, you need to make sure the surroundings are set up and are ready to adapt to project needs.
  • Set and prop management: Managing inventory and supplies is essential during production. If you’re missing something essential to a storyline or operational elements, you might have to hold off on production, or continue without it and lose value.
  • General production assistance: Ensure that tasks and roles are assigned to staff with the appropriate skill set. When you have the right people helping with the right work, you can build an unbelievable team, you just need to know who is best at what, and assign accordingly.

Project management tool applications in production

During the production process, there are plenty of digital tools for you to utilize with all the steps mentioned above. You’ll want to make sure your project management software includes scheduling, inventory management, contact management, and other relevant features!

Managing your project: post-production process

What is post-production?

Post-production is the third and last major phase of the production process. After you finish capturing the content for your project, you need to finish editing and formatting until you get the final product you want. Depending on the nature of your work, there might be different steps involved.

What does the post-production process look like?

  • Content editing: Any content that was captured gets edited into the predetermined order, format, etc.
  • ADR and Foley recording: adding in extra sounds and background noise to make the audio sound more realistic.
  • Text and graphics design: Any graphics or text that needs to be added to any element of the product will be added in post-production.
  • Special effects: Any special effects that are relevant to the project should be added in post-production. Keep in mind that these will use up more time and money, so use them only where appropriate and where they will provide value to the project.
  • Music selection/creation: Whether you are adding music to a video or mixing your own custom audio, this is a major part of post-production.
  • VO/narration: Any kind of voiceover or narration work will take place after production.
  • Video compressing/encoding: This part will take longer with larger projects, so make sure you give yourself plenty of lead time for everything to get compressed.
  • Distribution: Even if everything goes perfectly according to plan, your studio project isn’t going to see success without the right distribution. This is the final step of the production process and afterward, you’ll be able to monitor and evaluate performance so you can make necessary tweaks and improve future studio projects.

For the most part, post-production is relatively straightforward, it just takes up a lot of time to complete the work. Sometimes it can take longer than the actual production phase, depending on the quantity of editing required.

Project management tool applications in post-production

Post-production management software is essential if you want to properly monitor the success of your project and prepare yourself for future creative endeavors.

Choosing studio project management software

When it comes to choosing a specific software for your project management needs, it’ll ultimately depend on your unique needs. There are several cost-related elements to consider, as well as determining where you currently stand in terms of your goals and needs.

Cost considerations with project management software:

  • Number of users: with some software, you’ll pay more each month for more users, and with others, you’ll get a larger user allowance with each payment tier.
  • Features: More features might mean a higher price tag.
  • Billing frequency: A lot of software providers will offer discounts if you pay for a full year rather than monthly.

Understand your needs. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do I have a start date?
  • Do I have an end date?
  • Do I have a clear sense of my goals?
  • Does the project include recurring components?
  • Who else will be collaborating with me on the project?

If you can answer these questions, you’re ready to take the next step and investigate what software can meet your needs. Not only that, but you should invest in software that has more features than you might think you need. It’s always better to be overprepared instead of finding out down the line that you’re missing the capabilities your work requires.

Studio Suite is your solution to managing your studio project

What is Studio Suite?

The leading studio software management system, Studio Suite takes project and task management to the next level. From solving various studio issues to streamlining your scheduling, Studio Suite is the studio project management tool that has it all.

Software with a mission, built on passion

Studio Suite was developed over 20 years ago by a team of industry veterans that recognized a problem in the industry. After years of experience in music production, it became evident that there wasn’t anything on the market that would do anything to address their workflow issues.

As a result, they came up with a solution that would help users manage their workflow during pre-production, production, post-production, and everything in between. When it comes to any kind of studio work there are multiple moving parts to be aware of, so it’s crucial that you’re able to streamline your process, which is possible with Studio Suite. With features tailored to each step of your process, you’ll wonder how you ever managed without it.

Studio Suite project management software includes:

  • Project management: Manage your studio’s multiple projects and constant changes.
  • Scheduling: Adapt to last-minute changes without sacrificing your time or budget.
  • Contact management: Seamlessly manage clients, vendors, and all contacts with Studio Suite’s CRM—specially designed for the content production industry.
  • Inventory management and tracking: Avoid double-booking equipment and improve your allocation with real-time repair statuses and maintenance schedules.
  • Budgeting: Studio Suite lets you compare budgets for productions and projects to help you become as profitable as possible.
  • Media asset management: Track and manage all your digital assets and organize your media library.
  • And even more!

At the end of the day, you need project management software that you can depend on. The production process is full of unexpected twists and turns and having the right digital tools at your disposal can mean the difference between success and failure. Instead of worrying about how you’re going to manage your projects, what if you were able to instead focus on your creative direction and what you want to accomplish? With Studio Suite, you’ll be able to improve your efficiency and open yourself to a level of creative opportunity you never had time for before.

Customer experience is our number one priority, and we are always updating our software to include the latest features and technology. We always build our innovation around solving customer problems, focusing on adapting our systems to address various pain points.

Start improving your studio’s productivity with a customized demo if you contact our team today!

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