2021 Will be the Year of Flexible Production for the Film Industry
If 2020’s unforeseen circumstances taught us anything, it’s that we should all learn to expect change. While technological advancements and improvements like the latest iPhone 12 or new 5G connectivity consistently guide us forward at a steady pace, last year, almost every industry faced change at an unexpected speed. Many went from up-and-running to packing up offices and heading to work from home in just a day’s notice.
While certain industries and companies were of course positioned to fare better than others in the face of these changes, others — like the film industry — relied upon onsite team collaboration. Film production teams were forced to create alternatives to in-person work in the face of the crisis, and we’ve now been in the midst of it long enough to evaluate how well these alternative solutions are working.
And now that we’re at the beginning of a new year, we’re both evaluating last year’s successes and looking toward the future of the industry in a post-pandemic world. Spoiler alert: we foresee continued accelerated change for the future. This means that the film industry will continue to rely on flexibility this year. Here’s what production might look like for the film industry in 2021.
· We will see a continuation of remote teams, locations, and safety-first filming practices.
Now that production teams know that they are capable of producing quality content remotely, this work style is likely here to stay. While some industry experts argue that this is simply a continuation of the track on which the industry was already headed, others lament the recent lack of in-person collaboration.
Covid-19 stay-at-home orders specifically in L.A. roiled January production schedules, causing concerns about the timing and logistics of on-site production and post-production work. Even streaming service giants like Netflix were calling for week-long production holds.
“Film and TV production has been exempt from coronavirus restrictions and continued after the current stay-at-home order was instituted in early December… in Los Angeles County, the vast majority of TV studios and streamers have postponed January production for one or more weeks.“– Nellie Andreeva Co-Editor-in-Chief, TV, Deadline Hollywood
While there is still uncertainty, it’s clear that remote film locations, teams, and unique uses of technology with prevail in 2021. They have to; and there are definitive positive aspects with regard to remote production and post-production: the ability to create a fast turnaround (especially if employees are located in various time zones) and the ability to view footage or content immediately are two of them. We believe that this increased movement toward digitization will likely stick around.
· Post-production will continue to move toward a more hybrid model of remote and in-person work during the second half of 2021.
Since parts of post-production can be difficult to handle remotely without high-quality recording booths and other types of audio equipment, we foresee that audio post-production practices will move toward a hybrid model more quickly.
But, cloud-based servers and software will be crucial this year, enabling remote producers and teams to churn out video editing assignments faster and more efficiently from home offices using equipment they may already have on hand.
“Cloud-based editing also allows the heavy processing work to take place away from your workstation, meaning that even intensive edits of high res footage can be performed on a basic machine. Rather than production houses investing in expensive hardware that needs updating regularly, cloud servers work as virtual machines to handle it instead. These are paid for on a monthly basis and are scalable to the precise needs“– Sophia Fiorino, SMTP
Additionally, shooting and editing in remote locations naturally requires transferring large files back and forth. Since most post-production teams are sharing work via the Cloud, security will be of the utmost importance, as will space, and internet connectivity.
· There will be an increased demand for high-quality 5G internet and the devices that can tap into it.
Remote internet connections across the country can be unreliable due to a variety of factors, the ability to provide secure, fast internet is of the utmost importance for project collaboration. 5G’s emergence as the fastest and most cutting-edge option will be in demand for production and post-production. Rentable 5G that can be delivered to specific remote locations and set up quickly and securely will help in the case of slow connectivity and low latency, especially for remote production teams.
2021 will be a year of continued learning for the film industry. In a sense, it is a liminal year in which we are still in the midst of the pandemic, yet we are hopeful that the end is in sight. The film industry will examine the ways in which remote work and outside-the-box production options benefited their companies, employees, and content. And while we all work through what worked and what didn’t, the industry will remain flexible as we examine how things will change for good.
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