Project management is a critical skill, due to the complex interconnected nature of media projects. It is important to know how to balance the scope of the project, track resources and cashflow, and maintain the schedule and budgets defined in advance.
Informed decisions early on are crucial and this can avoid an enormous amount of time – and hence cost – spent on “cleaning-up” or “fixing it in post.” With the proper amount of planning and decision-making, many “could-be issues” become non-issues. The goal of planning is to determine what questions to ask and how to proceed with the decision-making.
Creating high-quality video is now the expected standard. Improvements in technology and education as well as camera technology have enabled creative professionals to push beyond former limitations. Through proper planning, the best use of the project’s resources can be made.
- Project objectives
- Interfaces and formats required
- Evaluation criteria
- Schedules (due dates)
- Project team readiness
Everything that happens before shooting begins, for example, meeting with the client, research, story-boarding, location planning and permissions, etc. For feature documentary filming, pre-production is more specific and only begins when other milestones have been met such as:
- Location scouting
- Prop and wardrobe identification and preparation
- Special effects identification and preparation
- Production schedule
- Set construction
- Story design and writing of shooting-script
Production refers to the part of the process in which footage is recorded and the beginning of the production phase marks the “point of no return”, i.e. the point at which it is no longer financially viable to cancel the project.
Post-production is the third and final major phase of the production process. In some cases post-production is relatively straightforward, consisting of choosing and arranging footage in the correct sequence. In most cases however, post-production can be a time-consuming job taking longer than the actual production phase.
- Editing video footage
- Editing the soundtrack, adding sound effects, music, etc.
- Adding titles and graphics
- Colour and exposure correction
- Adding special effects
- Re-shooting certain scenes if required (“pick-up” shots)
The term deliverables refers to a collection of “finished products” required to release a program. Deliverables are the last things created by the production team and delivered to the distributor.
Deliverables can be divided into three categories:
- Digital materials: The actual program or film in the form digital video transfer used to create versions for different media, trailers, etc.
- Publicity materials: Still images, press releases, synopses, profiles of main talent & crew, etc.
- Legal documentation: Paperwork required to prove that you have all the appropriate rights to make and distribute the film. This can include release forms and contracts for talent and crew, music licenses, location/resource/environmental consent and “Chain of Title” (a record of ownership for different aspects of the film).