A Smoother Workflow

It's now been five happy months since the introduction of three essential pieces to our work flow:  (1) Adobe's After Effects/Premier/Encoder package on the (2) super sexy and powerful iMac, thunderbolted to the (3) Pegasus Promise raid drive system. Premier's live rendering and Encoder's live rendering reverses the computer-editor waiting game. While we used to feel productive when watching the Daily Show and eating burritos, waiting for Final Cut or Compressor to render for hours, Adobe's suite has basically eliminated comfortable waiting times. On top of that, the iMac eliminates comfort from the waiting times. And thunderbolt to the Pegasus eliminates the waiting. The last three finished products have evidenced a dramatically faster post work flow. Each project dramatically different in almost every way imaginable, yet a near flawless workflow on the back end.

The first example, a holiday video for a great cause with Ennis, Inc. we shot with one partner, one camera, one day. The post production may have actually taken as much if not less time than the shoot itself. Any editing platform on any machine could have turned out the rough cut as quickly as we did. Ultimately, the ability to tweak the minor details in the successive revisions mattered to the client. These edits were a fast moving process the freed up communication between us and multiple parties on the client's side. By nature of the short and very specific concept of this piece, the ability to make these detailed changes efficiently was imperative.

The second example, the Wyss Institute's Third Annual Retreat, demanded efficiency in post production in a completely different way. After rolling three cameras almost non-stop for six hours, we needed to deliver a ~three minute product. Luckily, the controlled environment allowed us to sync almost all the footage. Will's great notes about the project allowed Tripp to edit the whole piece in a day and a half, and Harvey to grade just hours before flying back to Nashville on the Monday morning after Thanksgiving. The changes that the client requested account for maybe two percent of the final product, but took many more days to finish. While there isn't much we can do to speed communication with the client (yet) and therefore we don't have much control over the revision process, here we were able to dramatically reduce our overall post time by cranking out the first edit in less than three days.

And in the third example, CC Productions and Jaguar, we needed to plan our every hour of the first two weeks of the new year to complete the product in time. Our post-production responsibilities were clearly established in a calendar with next to zero room to spare. Six days of two cameras and microphones soon filtered into three minutes. And to go another step, beyond previous work, title work and motion graphics demanded sometimes hours of attention to individual frames. So much of this blog post has been about the importance of an efficient and reliable editing station, but so much can be said, especially after this job, about human capital. While Will sees his family on vacation and Harvey hosts friends at his apartment for New Years, Sam Ewing designs the perfect music and Tripp recreates the sleepless production schedule in the firehouse office. After a week, he can hand off the picture lock for noise reduction to Will and color grading to Harvey, and take a few days off himself.

We are a team of stunt doubles, because there's no way in Hell any one of us could crank out these final edits on our own in the same amount of time. Both the new editing suite and the human collaboration has since become so integrated into the workflow that we now shoot with post-production efficiency in mind. California, here we come.