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Finding New Editing and Post-Production Workflows in the Age of COVID-19

Posted by Valerie Nolan on August 20, 2020

Video productions of all kinds, from corporate in-house departments to Hollywood films and television shows, are searching for ways to ramp back up to greater levels of productivity during the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. Operating a business safely means something very different today than it did only a few short months ago, creating the need for new workflows.

One such new development is the physical separation of shooting video and pre and post-production to online/remote options. While it may have once been convenient to handle all these tasks in the same space, companies creating video content now see the benefits in handing off post to a partner organization set up to handle the work in a safe and compliant way.

Filming Under Tight Restrictions

Major studio productions have shown how shooting and editing can be accomplished under pandemic conditions, demonstrating both difficulties and workarounds that corporate video producers can learn from. CNBC reported that every task that can be done remotely is receiving this treatment. The list includes script polishing along with pre-production work such as location scouting and casting, which are now handled via video.

On the post-production end, everything from visual editing to effects work and scoring is now a fully remote task. Studios are only bringing in personnel who must interact with talent directly. For instance, there is no way to perform hair and makeup tasks remotely, so these crew members remain on-site. In some cases, hair and makeup is just done by the talent themselves.

“Creativity flourishes under restrictions.  I’ve seen an increase in 360 Video/Virtual Reality approaches, using a high-end cameras live on a Zoom call to stakeholders, and a renaissance of studio shoots,” Crews Control Senior Production Manager, Ashley Brook said. “While the virtual backdrops are fun, there’s nothing greater than a neutral, sanitized AND beautiful space where people can keep their distance.”

British independent film organization Raindance recommended that remote post-production teams equip themselves with the latest technology, including cloud-based tools to share material. This means employing decentralized computing to make data available to every relevant department. Companies pondering a digital asset management or media asset management system may find the crisis is the perfect time to make such an upgrade.

In addition to staying away from shooting areas and talent, editing departments need to manage their spaces carefully. The Los Angeles County guidelines for restarting film production mandate, for instance, that workstations have to be a minimum of six feet apart, and that gathering areas for employees are also designed to keep them six feet from one another.

When there is group work on editing or recording, people must disinfect objects that are frequently touched. The guidelines require EPA-approved cleaning chemicals and disinfection procedures that occur at least three times a day. Furthermore, production offices need to have posted capacity requirements to make sure there is never an unsafe number of crew members working at one time.

In-house corporate media departments are also redesigning spaces and workflow to ensure the safety of talent and crew.  In-person location shoots are currently being replaced by remote or robotic camera packages, producers are calling in to direct via Zoom, and media managers are looking at making modifications to in-house studio, editing and production and audio spaces.  Workflow modification includes separation and partitioning of work-spaces, scheduled cleaning of gear, clean tables and dirty tables and using disposable equipment or equipment covers.

cta 1 post-production

Outsourcing to Keep Productions Moving Along

Delving into the new style of filming, editing and production leads to a serious question: What about companies that are not equipped to affordably create facilities to handle their editing? Cleaning costs alone could make businesses question the wisdom of reopening their doors. The Los Angeles Times reported that many companies are opting for professional deep cleaning at a cost of $800 to $1,200 for a building of 800 to 1,200 square feet, or a per-square-foot cost of $0.50 to $2.50 from another provider.

Businesses that decide not to reopen their post-production and editing facilities can keep their production schedules moving along if they make the call to outsource these processes entirely, welcoming third-party partners into the video workflow. This is not a big leap at present, with productions being dispersed between multiple locations anyway and people working remotely due to COVID-19. A new era of creative partnerships could enable businesses to keep their productions going.

“There’s nothing that gives your final deliverable better quality control than working with a professional editor who has access to a full editing suite including color correction,” Brook said. “And in this time where we are all in our own personal (and sometimes professional) bubbles, having a second set of eyes before you send the final edit off is key.”

The important part when selecting partners for this purpose is to find companies that are putting in maximum effort to stay up-to-date complying with requirements and keeping all their personnel safe. There is an audience for well-made video content, so businesses that make these partnerships and continue their video production slates may find the decision pays dividends.

Turning to explicitly studio-based outsourced creations such as animation and motion graphics could represent a more drastic solution for companies that have not found a safe way to keep their in-person filming going. No matter what an organization’s approach to weathering the crisis may be, an expert partner can help that company succeed as conditions change rapidly from week to week.

Ready to work on your next video project? Call you Crews Control PM at 1-800-545-2739 or click here.


  1. Interesting that I receive your blog in my email today, today is the first day of our completely re-designed post-production area for getting work done in the Covid-19 era. Accord Productions – Miami is doing exactly what you suggest in the blog, perfect timing!

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