Right Time, Right Place: Production Scheduling and Coordination

You need to meet someone. There are two key factors: You have to set a time, and you have to set a place. If you agree to meet at your 11th floor office, the person meeting you has to take three dimensions into account. Instead of the dimensions we learned in basic geometry (length, width and height), let’s say call them longitude, latitude and altitude. The longitude and latitude are where your building is located, and the altitude is the 11th floor.

Creating a schedule, and making sure everything stays on that schedule, are crucial to video production

Creating a schedule, and making sure everything stays on that schedule, are crucial to video production

But if the person shows up five hours after you went home, the meeting won’t take place as planned. Even if you’re both at the correct building, on the correct floor, without coordinating that critical fourth element—time—you still won’t connect.

Time is the basis for production scheduling on a video shoot. It’s basically the plan. You plot out the production timeline from start to finish. What days do you shoot the video? What days are set aside for editing? Where in the timeline does production of graphics fall? What about sound booth recording—before or during the edit process? As part of this scheduling, you need to make sure everyone knows where they’re supposed to be, and when. Again, this is the plan.

As They Say, The Best Laid Plans….

While scheduling is planning where everyone will be and the time frame for each activity, coordination is actually making this happen. It’s bringing the plan from paper into the real world. It’s a bit trickier than just following steps in a list.

For example, suppose a key piece of equipment such as the drone you planned to use for aerial videography breaks down a day before the shoot. Can you find another drone in time? If not, do you have to reschedule the entire shoot (which likely means rescheduling most of the aspects of post-production like editing)? Will everyone be available on the new date? As a last-ditch solution, can you rewrite the script to allow most of the shoot to be done as planned and the aerials shots to be put in later, knowing that some of the people you planned to have in those shots won’t be available (and can you persuade the client to accept this solution)?

It’s All About Precision

Like lining up dominos, everything must be in place and timed perfectly. One misstep and the whole arrangement can fall to pieces haphazardly.

This is why production companies will often build pad time in to the schedule. If part or all of the shoot can’t take place on the intended days, alternate days may be selected as a backup. This is not as easy as it sounds, since many crew members like the director of photography and makeup artist may be working on a freelance basis, and may have fairly full schedules.

At Hencar we understand that the more complex your project is, the greater the chance for potential hiccups. Our commitment is to be honest with you and give you a realistic time frame for completion, which may include extra padding to account for any delays, so that you know how to plan related endeavors such as P.R. releases and social media campaigns.

Other responsible companies also will give you reasonable time estimates for completing your project, but be sure to ask them if they have added in any pad time for unforeseen circumstances. A little extra time spent with pre-planning could save you a lot of time, and anxiety, in the long run.