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Heads of Production Talk Integration, File-based Editing


Agency Production Execs Discuss Integrated
Production, File-based Workflow Issues

SourceEcreative-sponsored Heads of Production meeting hears
from AICE representatives on digital issues, discusses
continuing challenge of integrating traditional and digital production.

By Anthony Vagnoni

SourceEcreative sponsored yet another in its series of quarterly Agency Heads of Production meetings in New York last week, and the topics of integrated production and file-based editing were the main orders of business.  The meeting took place on Thursday, October 28 at the West Side headquarters of Ogilvy & Mather, and was hosted by Patti McConnell, O&M New York’s Director of Production. Click here to view photos from the event.
On hand were Production Department Heads from over twenty US agencies, as well as a group representing AICE, the Association of Independent Creative Editors, who discussed the impact of file-based digital workflows on the editorial and post production process.  Representing the organization were Chris Franklin, Partner/Editor at Big Sky Editorial in New York; Clayton Hemmert, Partner/Editor at Crew Cuts in New York; Tom Duff, president of Optimus in Chicago and Santa Monica and President of AICE’s International Board; and Burke Moody, Executive Director of AICE.
One trend that came out of the meeting was the ongoing back and forth production heads are having over defining their role.  For example, some agencies that previously used the term ‘integrated’ in their heads of production’s titles have dropped the term; others have gone from being heads of broadcast production to simply heads of production.  There appears to be no firm consensus among directors of production as to which title fits best, and as many at the meeting commented, it varies from agency to agency.
On the integration front, McConnell invited four members of her staff to the meeting who sit on the agency’s new Production Council, which is charged with ensuring that all areas of the agency production process work toward a brand by brand, project by project integration, ranging from print and broadcast to digital work.  The council, working with McConnell, decides what set of skills are needed for each project and assigns their personnel that way.
The AICE representatives made a compelling case for the increasing complexity of file-based workflows as more and more commercials are being shot on a range of digital formats.  According to their rough estimate, the amount of work that’s coming in to editorial houses shot digitally can range upwards of fifty percent or more, often captured on multiple camera systems and formats.  They pointed out that in addition to this added layer of processing (all digital footage needs to be transcoded, for example, before editors and assistants can begin the procedure of logging the footage and pulling selects), the use of digital is resulting in considerably higher amounts of footage coming in—at times as much as 15 or 20 hours, in some cases, as opposed to 2 to 4 hours while shooting on film. The amount of time the editors and their assistants are being given to review this material has not increased commensurately.
Franklin, Hemmert and Moody offered a variety of suggestions to help agencies deal with the impact of digital production, and several of the agency production heads offered their own.  They included:
-Shoot digital like a film shoot, use clapsticks so all of the cameras have easy sync points.
-Bring the editor in at an early stage.
-Facilitate a call between the production company and the editorial house to review questions before shooting, so the editors know what formats to anticipate and prepare for.
-Make sure you give the editor all the specs of what formats you are shooting on.
-If possible, give them more time.
The AICE has some information on its site which Moody says is in the process of being updated that agency producers may find useful when working with file-based post projects.  They include overviews of file-based workflow considerations (to review the PDF, click here), shooting with digital cameras (click here) and an Agency Producers check-list (click here). 
 Photos from the event appear below.


Ogilvy & Mather New York's Production Council: (l to r) Kate Kehoe,
Pierre Wendling, Patti McConnell, Melissa Mapes and Cindy Rivet.

DDB Chicago's Diane Jackson and Karen Jacobs, GSD&M Idea City.

Dane Johnson, Berlin Cameron, and Patti McConnell.

Connie Newberry and Matt Faris, 22 Squared, Atlanta.

Andy Wilcox, SapientNitro, and Steve Torrisi, Digitas.


Paddy Giordano, Draftfcb New York, with (l to r) Chris Franklin,
Big Sky Editorial, Burke Moody, AICE and Tom Duff, Optimus.

  Brian DiLorenzo, BBDO New York (left) and Stan Prinsen, Martin/Williams, Minneapolis.

Larry Byrne, O&M Chicago (left) and David Perry, Saatchi & Saatchi New York.

Published 30 October, 2010

Published 29, October 2010