Keeping track of all the planning that goes into your average production, even a small-scale one, can be a nightmare task involving too many apps and too much confusion. PRODUCER aims to change all that.
So, what tool do you use to manage your video shoot? Google Docs (guilty), Milanote, Monday, Asana (or any other “project management SaaS”)? Or just a notepad. Or worse, is it “all in your head”?
I know from experience that this is an element that is often overlooked. We know our workflows based on experience and do our best to share as much as we can with the client and the subject with storyboards, call sheets, and treatments. This is an imperfect solution in an industry that is swimming in amazing technology to connect and share your workflows. Wouldn’t it be great if there was a tool that could give you a head start? Well, the team at www.the-producer.io have built exactly that.
The company has developed PRODUCER Maker Machina, a name with a nod to the company’s roots in Switzerland, and an all-in-one production software tool that looks to simplify, organize, and streamline the whole process. And it seems to work too. The team worked with Salient Media, a fast-growing and successful production company also based in Switzerland to test their solution at scale, and the results were extremely positive.
Everything, everywhere, all at once
Project overview lets you easily find everything under a few tabs
“The main struggles and problems that we had before using PRODUCER Maker Machina’s ProFlow were actually that all our documents regarding projects in pre-production, budgets, time schedules… they were all everywhere on Google Docs and drives and whatever,” says Salient Media co-founder, Govind Sharma.
PRODUCER Maker Machina solved that problem for them, bringing everything together ‘under one roof’ and enabling the team to become much more efficient as a result. And there were other benefits too.
After using PRODUCER Maker Machina for an extended period, another thing that changed for the team was the pitching process. Having more adaptive software, the team can create more personalized pitches. Being able to label storyboards with individualized labels boosted their overall efficiency. By making it obvious what component was what, with labels indicating that one section was a voiceover, another section was an establishing shot, etc, it made it easier for clients to provide feedback and reduced the possibility of human error. This saved valuable time compared to typical ad hoc methods such as loading all that info into Google Docs.
PRODUCER Maker Machina also enables creative changes without interrupting the entire workflow. If there is a problem, it is easy to communicate with the whole team. Consistent communication with the team builds collaboration, which means the entire project becomes more adaptive to the needs of the development. This flexibility empowers the team to experiment with different concepts and sequences in the creative process. This also means the team can remain adaptive throughout the process since they can "find everything in one spot," says Sharma.
Users can easily set deadlines for different production milestones
It is also interconnected enough to keep track of changes. If a sequence is altered, that change is reflected throughout the storyboard. "That was a very big plus for our creativity because we didn't need to worry: if we changed something on the concept, everything else changed too," he says.
Improved communication, reduced time
The Salient Media team in production
Adaptive workflows also improve client communications, keeping everyone on the same page throughout production. Using a single platform means Salient Media was able to provide a seamless experience for sharing project milestones and receiving feedback. The ability to share video files directly within the platform improved client perception of the team's professionalism and overall experience.
"You can share your first or second rough cut, your picture locks, and your final deliveries with the customer on the same platform, and they can give you feedback. So it is very - what is the word? - convenient," says Sharma.
Clients can easily give feedback from the first rough cut onwards
In fact, PRODUCER’s organizational benefits contributed to an incredible 50% reduction in pre-production time at Salient Media, improving the team's overall efficiency and allowing it to grow. Following its initial first year, the team took on larger productions, doubling the number of projects in the second year, partly thanks to PRODUCER’S ability to let it manage more extensive and complex projects.
"That unification of communication triggers or increases your level of proficiency. And, how you communicate to your client is one of the most important things in a producer's eyes."
PRODUCER addressed the initial challenges faced by the startup and became an integral part of its growth story. That makes it what looks to be an essential tool for modern filmmaking, regardless of project size.
We're using it already
Here at RedShark, we make a lot of content. For our readers and other companies too. It keeps us sharp and honest when we are talking about video production tech’. I’ve started to use the tool for a shoot we are doing soon in Budapest, and I’m already impressed. So much so that I will film a behind-the-scenes on-set showing how we have used it up to that point, along with a deeper piece on how it all connected pre-, on set, and in post. It has already saved me time, and I know our clients will appreciate it as well as it’s very intuitive. There’s a very cool test project using Breitling assets (yes, these guys really are Swiss) that is very helpful to new users. You’ll see the deeper dive here later this month.