Quick Turnaround Projects and How to Make Them Efficient
Throughout my career I have worked on various projects and some of those have had very fast turnaround times. So I have spent a lot of time honing ways to make quick turnaround projects as efficient as possible. It all starts with preparation. The first thing is to understand the deliverables and exactly how much time you have. Most of the quick turnaround projects I have done are filming events and then creating content to go live either later the same day or the following morning. Getting a good understanding of the project and exactly what the clients wants is essential and that may mean several meetings to discuss this, and hopefully an on site recce of the venue to try and flag and eliminate any issues that may crop up during the event. Based on the information gathered I will create a workflow and decide what equipment is required, what is the most efficient camera system to use for the job and how many people are needed.
The next step is to bring as much post production forward into pre-production as possible. This will save a lot of time when it is most needed. I look at anything that can be agreed, created and signed off before the event like music and motion graphics. There are some amazing music libraries around at the moment and I currently use Artlist. It allows me to create shareable playlists with ease so it is really easy for both myself and the clients. I create a playlist of possible music tracks and ask the client to pick one favourite and two alternatives. All three are signed off to use so that when it comes to the edit I can start with choice one and if that doesn’t feel right I can immediately switch to one of the alternatives.
Similarly I ask for brand guidelines and logos for the event well in advance so I can get any motion graphics created and signed off. Title cards and name straps are the most common items needed so I always make sure I have the correct call to action for an end panel and sometimes I will ask for a list of names that are the most likely interview candidates.
In addition there may be slides from a presentation or stock footage of the venue that is available for use. I try to find every second I can save in post production.
When it comes to the actual shoot a well briefed team is essential. Everyone should know where to be, what they are doing and when. This includes the method of communication to be used and who reports to who. I like to have one person as the single point of contact for the client. That way all information flows through one person and nothing gets missed or miscommunicated. Having a shot list also helps a lot. It doesn’t have to be a strict storyboard but a rough guide to the sort of shots required can be really useful. Quite often if I am filming an event that I will be editing I try to think like an editor whilst filming. That helps me focus on exactly what I need and not just on getting cool shots.
Finally once the edit is done all that remains is to sign it off. I will always suggest to the client that if possible one person takes the responsibility for signing it off and if they say it is done it is done. The biggest cause for missing the deadline is when there are too many people feeding back and signing off. It is absolutely ok to have multiple levels of sign off on large projects that are done over a period of time but if you are trying to jump on a news cycle or get your content out first then you need to keep it simple.