The media production industry is robust and includes thousands of film, video, and sound recording businesses across the globe. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics recorded nearly 22,400 motion picture and video production businesses in the second quarter of 2021.
In such a vibrant and growing industry, businesses that want to thrive must streamline their processes to give themselves an edge over their competition.
The most productive companies in the space outperform their competition when it comes to efficiency, both in production for clients and in managing their internal and external operations.
Unsurprisingly, audio, video, and film production project management software has become the most crucial tool for studio efficiency.
Thankfully, cloud-based management solutions exist, which help innovative sound & video production companies maintain a solid competitive advantage in the industry.
Let’s define some of the basic features and benefits of studio project management software and why it is critical to the modern company’s success.
What is Project Management Software
Project management software is designed to help drive business solutions. Project managers can automate, plan, assign, and schedule project tasks and allocate resources more efficiently.
In the most general terms, project management is using available resources, skills, techniques, knowledge, and tools to drive a company’s operations towards achieving all its goals despite limitations.
Project management software ensures the optimal use of resources to efficiently run a company day to day, deliver quality products or services to end-users, and generate sustainable revenue. A good project management tool reduces resource waste and saves time.
What is Studio Project Management Software?
Studio project management software is specifically designed to help studios and production companies plan and coordinate their projects, schedule tasks, track equipment, and delegate resources.
User-friendly project management software for studios allows production facilities to significantly improve their processes, expand their client base, and increase revenue even in the first year of use.
Why older processes no longer work
The processes involved in the production of a TV program, movie, music production, radio program, or any other form of media can be tedious. In trying to coordinate and get all operations running smoothly, you lose valuable time that could be saved for the creative aspects of production. Efficiency is a key component in any creative endeavor and the better time management you have, the better your business will perform.
With old production methods, things were a lot harder and slower, everything had to be completed manually and carefully documented. A lot of time and effort was put into coordinating and managing administrative tasks. Client onboarding, staffing, prospecting for new clients, tracking produced media, and tracking equipment were cumbersome and required multiple people. Studio project management in the old days meant sheets of paper, lots of filing, and worn-out secretaries and personal assistants. All of this has now been streamlined with the right software and tools.
Computers with processing power and the internet stepped in, and things got a bit easier for media production companies.
Studios started using various computer tools to try to address the many aspects of project management, including budgeting, talent management, task scheduling, tracking, and production.
Studios then found themselves handling multiple projects at a time. Keeping track and delivering on time for all these projects became impossible without increasing the use of resources and budgets.
Competition in this industry is fierce, and whenever a studio is unable to duly deliver on a project, they can be almost sure they of losing the business to a competitor. Staying ahead of the game and utilizing the best tools at your disposal has become the only option to thrive among your competitors.
A studio project management software approach
Instead of introducing a whole host of multiple new tools and software to meet an operational need, modern studios use studio project management software. This offers an integrated solution that caters to all aspects of studio management in one all-inclusive interface.
Transitioning to this kind of software is easier than ever when you already use cloud-based business management software. If you opt for those that are specifically designed for studio management, expect to effortlessly manage your projects from prospecting clients to planning and budgeting and final project delivery.
Project management software is not enough, it must be built for the studio
So far, we have covered the general reasons for using project management software, but there’s also a growing need for software designed specifically with a studio in mind.
For starters, software no longer needs to be separated by function. Resources like equipment management, project, inventory, and budget management software are now combined – you can say goodbye to multiple fees and subscriptions!
Studio management software is designed for studios to ease all the processes involved in the production and delivery process. Covering any form of media, whether sound, video, or photography.
Below you’ll find the top functions and features of efficient, top-quality studio management software.
Production and Project Monitoring
Chances are, you won’t know all the details of your project when it starts, and that’s normal. Even when it comes to projects that have an assigned manager, there will always be room to adapt and change for different reasons. Project management is not a static process, so to know everything ahead of time is virtually impossible.
Great studio management software allows the management team to monitor every aspect of a project. Your team can personalize, input, and track various records of the project process and progress. This becomes easy to refer to if you ever want to check in on the progress of a project.
Budgeting is another huge component of studio management software. Your project management team can monitor the project budget throughout the entire production process. They can compare the proposed budget with the ongoing spending to determine if a project is running within or over the proposed budget.
Using software also helps you stay on track and ensure that project execution is timely. If you start to fall behind, the software can help the management team quickly assess and determine the bottlenecks and how to address them efficiently.
The project monitoring features help you keep track of all the moving parts in your project to ensure that nothing is overlooked or missed. With this insight, the management team can make necessary adjustments to existing processes and enforce practices that will help drive business results.
Don’t forget that great studio project management software doesn’t limit your monitoring and tracking to one project at a time- You can monitor all productions or projects on the go.
You’ll also have access to features such as automatic notifications, notes, and creative directives which are all useful in monitoring various aspects of a project, from sessions to client interactions.
Contact management for studios
Maintaining a solid relationship with all contacts related to the studio including leads, clients, and vendors is a key component to thriving in this industry and necessary for any studio around the globe, no matter their reputation. The size and nature of your studio work don’t matter, each client needs to feel just as important as the next.
One of the best ways to ensure positive relationships with all customers is by integrating customer information with your management software.
When everything is in the same place and updated, you will never miss a callback, a task, or an appointment. You can save all the information you have on your contact and have access to them in one click.
The right contact management system always offers:
- Tracking follow-ups of a client or vendor
- Saving or documenting notes, files, emails, letters, and other attachments used in communication with the contact.
- Visibility to a client’s related projects or a vendor’s products.
- Categorization of contacts by keyword.
- Saving and viewing past related invoices.
Even a very small studio will have anywhere from 30 to 50 pieces of equipment lying around. That number easily exceeds the hundreds when you get to medium-sized studios and thousands for larger enterprise studios. However, regardless of the amount of equipment, it all needs to be maintained and looked after.
When you track your equipment successfully, you have a much clearer idea of how much everything is costing you. You’ll find out how often it needs to be serviced or repaired, or when to replace it. When it comes to offsite projects, tracking equipment is not just an option, but a necessity. You need to verify that all the equipment was returned safely and note the condition at the point of return.
If you’re unsure of whether or not you need to be tracking your equipment, ask yourself the following questions:
- Are you still paying for a piece of equipment? What is left to be paid off?
- Did the studio lend out some equipment? Was it all returned? Was it in good condition when it was returned?
- How do you avoid double-booking your equipment?
These questions are nothing to worry about if your studio has top-quality, seamlessly designed studio project management software to keep track of your equipment.
Equipped with a maintenance module, the equipment management software feature provides the capacity to create maintenance schedules and keep track of repair statuses.
You can rest assured knowing that all your equipment, from vehicles to mini cameras, is accounted for.
When it comes to the production process, you risk the quality of your output each time you run into a timing issue. It’s also essential to stay on top of constantly changing trends so you can continue to update your creative processes as necessary. Being prepared to adapt to change is a good trait for anyone in the production industry. A change of plan could be requested at any given time, so schedules need to be flexible and adaptable to ensure deadlines are still met.
You also want to avoid a scheduling mix-up at all costs. The right software can keep your production schedules organized and coordinated across the right channels, avoiding potential setbacks and headaches. Calendar features allow you to book projects and strategize resource allocation across projects ahead of time. You can always visualize the next steps—when, how, and where they will happen.
Additionally, it’s a great benefit to know the real-time availability of resources—it helps better manage the studio at large, not just the ongoing projects. The scheduling functionalities of cloud-based studio management software allow you to keep track of all your studio operations in real time and adapt to last-minute changes. This also helps foster collaboration and helps everyone stay on the same page so your team can work together to meet deadlines even when things don’t go as planned.
Budgeting is one area that can get a bit more complicated. With each new project, you have to do calculations and comparisons to determine a prospective budget. In many cases, this does not always reflect the actual budget once the project gets underway. The last thing you want to burden yourself with is explaining to your client why you couldn’t predict the changes.
With the right project management tools, you can compare projects or productions to determine common or recurring spending and use a “Rate Card” function to create a standard, specialized rate for such expenses. Using this simple yet effective function, companies can monitor changes in the cost of their product and service offerings. It’s also a helpful way to benchmark costs to ensure they make a reasonable profit from projects.
Beyond budgeting, studio project management software is an essential tool in managing the following crucial financial functions:
- Sales tax reporting – This allows studios to calculate sales tax, create the appropriate report, and forward it to the relevant authority.
- Sales commission – Automatically calculate the commission on each sale and remit it accordingly.
- Invoice generation – This allows you to create and send invoices and store them for reference purposes. Track and archive invoices effortlessly.
Additionally, the leading software allows you to easily integrate with QuickBooks and maintain your studio’s financial operations across all channels.
Studio Project Management Software Integrations
Running a studio involves a lot of different moving parts. Using applications that help streamline the processes involved in studio productions and operations is vital to achieving maximum efficiency. Consider applications that integrate with accounting, file sharing, team collaboration, content creation, and messaging to aid in carrying out various business processes.
The best studio project management software allows project managers to access and manage all project processes in one place. More importantly, teams can collaborate better and ensure that all production goals are met.
A that could be integrated into a project management software include but are not limited to:
- Quickbooks online
- Office 365
- Google Drive
Essentially, you’re putting your collaboration, administration, and communication channels in a single streamlined interface that is easy to use. With the right studio project management software, you will be able to access all essential functions and seamlessly manage your projects how and when you want.
Choosing the right Studio Project Management Software
When it comes to choosing your studio project management software, you can’t make any assumptions. There might be some software that sounds fancy and has a matching subscription cost, but none of the real functionality to back it up. Many studios are left spending thousands of dollars on software that ends up causing more headaches instead of providing solutions.
If you want to avoid any costly dilemmas, make sure you consider the following elements when choosing your software package.
Comprehensive Building Blocks
Although you want your studio project management software to be simple, it still needs to be comprehensive. A good standard to go by is that 90% of studio management tasks should be taken off your hands.
Don’t be shy about your requirements. The best software choice is one that is custom-built to specifically serve your exact project management needs. You should have built-in controls that cater to studio demands you may have been struggling with in the past. You should also find features that provide solutions to common and unforeseeable problems.
The main purpose of investing in software to begin with is to fill in the gaps where you can’t. So, make sure that whatever you choose makes project management less time-consuming for you.
Make sure to be aware of data limitations. Can you create a production for up to 20 projects and be able to monitor, save, and update information on each project without experiencing issues? What are the limitations to the kind of fields you can create and the type of data you can input?
You should also have access to project data on to go and be able to track project history to make future comparisons.
Chances are your studio handles a lot of sensitive information. Privacy and security are h when it comes to managing any kind of business that deals with a lot of data. In order to protect yourself from hacks or leaks of any kind, make sure the software you’re using provides the highest possible security standards.
Make sure there are measures in place to protect you from any kind of malware attacks.
Always prioritize data protection and don’t use any software that isn’t compliant with regulations and associated authorities.
Studio project management software should be the easiest part of your workflow, it’s all about making things easier and streamlining your process. Team members should be able to make sense of the software and operate it without being confused or overwhelmed. Make sure you allocate an appropriate amount of time for training so there aren’t any hiccups down the road.
At first glance, the interface should be inviting and user-friendly. It should be simple enough to allow for multitasking and gathering insights from multiple projects with ease.
What is the point of project management software if your teams can’t seamlessly collaborate?
Your project management software should always work as a cross-functional tool that allows your finance, operations, and equipment management teams to collaborate on the go and find a middle ground on the decision-making aspects of any project in real-time.
It should allow multiple users to simultaneously make contributions without causing a delay or unnecessary conflicts in the system or your process.
Troubleshooting and Tech Support
No software or hardware system is flawless, it’s normal to run into errors and maintenance problems at some point. What’s most important here is that you choose software that is supported by an unparalleled, professional tech support team.
What keeps cloud-based software systems agile is the amount of tech support and maintenance they get. Ensure you go for studio project management software that is backed by highly professional and responsive tech support.
When you invest in a company that has the right support in place at any time you may need it, you can rest assured that issues will be resolved in a timely fashion and not result in any great losses.
The Right One-Stop Solution – Studio Suite
If you are looking for an intuitive studio project management software that checks all the above boxes and more, Studio Suite is the solution for you.
From simple tasks to complex production processes, our software was designed to handle anything that your production team might deal with.
Today, Studio Suite is setting the standard for project management software worldwide. Studio managers all over the globe testify that it contains all the right innovative features needed to streamline their workflow.
Developed by Adatasol, Studio Suite meets and complies with global data protection standards. The backend and front end of the software are coded to withstand malicious impacts and protected with the help of a dedicated team of developers who work around the clock to ensure the efficiency and security of the platform.
With Studio Suite, you can make lasting and impactful changes to your workflow, protect your business data, and drive revenue beyond expectations. More importantly, teams can collaborate better and ensure that all production goals are met.
Are you ready to increase your efficiency with Studio Suite?
Click the link below to book a demo and see how you can maximize your studio operations.