How to Land a  Job in Post Production

If you’re looking for a post-production role, here’s our guide on breaking into the industry and the different job routes that follow.

As the post-production industry progresses, so do the types of university courses available for students looking to get jobs in the post sector. With more and more ‘Creative Media’ and ‘Video Editing’ degrees popping up across the UK, students are graduating with excellent editing and motion graphics skills. However, with no hands-on experience in a post house or advertising agency means, like everyone else, they have to start at the bottom – as a Runner.

Post Production Runners

Being a Runner is, without doubt, the best type of entry-level job you can get. It gives you exposure to every aspect of the post-production process. You will also have excellent opportunities to train with fellow staff and clients, although you need to do this in your own time, i.e. lunch or before/after shifts.

It’s hard work. In the larger facilities, the Runner staff turnover rate is quite high, so resilience and determination are key. However, if noticed by management, you can soon make some good solid progression.

Yes, it’s usually minimum wage. Yes, you will have to take the bins out, and yes, you’re likely to walk through rain and snow to get lunch for clients you never really see, but it’s a means to an end.

General Duties include: kitchen management, making teas and coffees, running media and materials from one site to another, client management.

Young man holding 'How Do I Start' Board

Post Production Job Routes:

Edit Assistant/Technical Operations

Edit Assistants are the technicians behind the scenes managing the offline, online, grade and audio edits. In simple terms, they handle the media that goes into the server within the MCR (Machine Room or Master Control Room). Setting the media up within the edit and audio suits, making sure it comes out visually and technically perfect, ready for transmission. There are a lot of hardcore technical responsibilities involved, so this role requires much training across each discipline!

This role is often a stepping stone into an Editor, Colourist or Audio Engineer position but do remember that in-house Editors are very few and far between. Many Edit Assistants become freelancers to build their editing portfolio ready to become a Freelance Editor.
Furthermore, we would advise that if you’re a Runner looking to progress into an Edit Assistant role, do it in house. It’s very hard to move from one company as a Runner, into another company as an Edit Assistant.

Duties include: ingest, transcoding, digitising, encoding, consolidating, file sourcing, exporting/importing, systems management, troubleshooting, set up, conforming, Qcing.

Technical Operations Manager or Head of MCR

Technical Manager roles within post-production can have different job titles so always be sure to check how senior a role may be. People generally progress to Technical Manager from a Senior Edit Assistant or Supervisor position, working their way up through the ranks. A Technical Manager is the person who manages the MCR(s), all technology assets, management, producer and client liaison, as well as managing technical workflows, upgrades and recruitment for the technical team.

Technical Managers are not always hands-on with technical duties and usually sit closely to the Producers so they can manage the technical ins and outs of each project. They work with the Engineers and IT to maintain system upgrades, licences and resolve any technical issues.

Some Technical Managers are very senior and report directly to the CEO.

Duties include: technical operations management, team/department management, systems management, workflow supervising, IT, engineering, client management.

Media Logistics

The Library team or Media Logistics team in post-production use Scheduling Software to manage the hard drives, tapes, and archives. You’ll usually find a dedicated Media Logistics team within larger post houses due to the volume of media coming in and out of the company. In smaller, boutique facilities, the MCR manages this role. It’s crucial that all media is logged correctly and goes through the Media Logistics team. They are an essential part of post-production as they’re the people who can tell you what hard drive is where and help manage the delivery of projects going from the post house to the broadcaster/production company. They spend much time on the phone, either organising couriers or talking to producers who want to locate a particular drive or tape. Many Librarians get to do some basic Edit Assistant work too.

Librarians can progress towards an Edit Assistant role or a Bookings Coordinator role (depending on the company and routes of progression).

Duties include: logging media, tracking media, liaising with Producers, courier companies, clients and MCR, filing and sorting media and storage.

Bookings Coordinator/Post Production Coordinator

The Bookings Coordinator, sometimes called Post Production Coordinator, is usually a stepping stone between Reception/Front of House and Producer. They are in charge of booking ‘jobs’ into a post-production scheduling system, coordinating edits with the Edit Assistants and the Editors. The Bookings Coordinator will be in direct contact with the client (this can include Production Producers, Directors and Editors), the Post Producer and the Edit Assistant. They make sure that the Edit Assistant completes all the technical parts of the ‘jobs’ (ingest etc.) created by the Post Producer.

The Bookings Coordinators might also help manage the Runners and liaise closely with the Librarian, making sure that the correct hard drives and tapes are in the right place and dispatched on time for transmission.

The next step for a Bookings Coordinator will be Senior Bookings/Head of Bookings/Post Production Manager or Junior Post Producer to Post Producer.

Most Popular Scheduling Software: CETA Software, Farmerswife, ScheduAll, Xytech.

Paper aeroplanes showing directions

Post Producer

The Post Producer manages the post-production process on behalf of the client. A Post Producer rarely does anything creative. The job is focused much more around budgets/cost approvals, time management, scheduling, raising POs, liaising between the client and technical staff, briefing the Editors and Bookings Coordinators. You will usually find Post Producers in post houses/facilities or post-production departments within agencies.

You can get Long-Form Post Producers who work on content such as Factual Programming and Drama. Short Form Post Producers work on branded advertising, trailers and music videos (in ad agencies you’ll also be working on social assets) and Film Post Producers who work on film.

Depending on the company, Producers may need to sit in on QCs and manage projects focused round Language Reversioning.

Post Producers (Long Form)

Post Producers (Long Form) are the producers for each TV programme in post. They will liaise with the client (production company/broadcaster) to complete the post-production process on time and within budget. They work closely with the Bookings Coordinator who coordinates the project, and the Editors whom they schedule in and manage workflows for, from ingest to delivery. The Offline Editors are usually freelancers who are hired directly by the client so are also treated as clients. The VFX Artists, Audio Engineers, Grade and Online Editors are mostly in house.

Post Producers (Short Form Advertising)

Post Producers (Short Form Advertising) work on advertising projects. The main difference between a Long and Short Form Producer is the workflow and of course, the content. The length of each project is very different and requires a different amount of time with each Editor. Also, a Short Form Producer can be working on double or triple the amount of projects that a Long Form Producer may work on, just due to the length of the content.

A Short Form Post Producer will also liaise with more people throughout the facility. They are often based in advertising agencies and therefore manage the account (brand) in more ways than just Post (e.g. Marketing, Digital). Typically, Account Managers and TV Administrators are also teams that the Producer will need to work with to get the project ready for final delivery. In most agencies, the company also manages the production with their in-house production team, so the post team usually has regular contact with them.

Versioning Producers

Versioning Producers are Post Producers except they aren’t working with raw material. Post Producers usually produce with the raw footage (rushes) whereas Versioning Producers work with content that has already been made but needs adapting for different markets and territories. They liaise with Audio, Online and VFX departments (the final stages of post). You will usually find Versioning Producers in advertising agencies or post houses. You can also get Versioning Producers who work within a broadcaster and work on Long Form. There is no cross over between a Long Form Versioning Producer and an Advertising Versioning Producer.

Promo Producers 

Promo Producers are also Post Producers, but they do some editing. Promo Producers work within a broadcaster and create promotional videos for the channel brand and their TV shows using Long Form content already created. These include editing intros and bumpers and inputting channel idents. Promo Producers create promos for different language markets, so have lots of reversioning experience. In some cases, Promo Producers can move into a Versioning Producer role within an ad agency. However, this isn’t easy, and some agencies have slightly different recruitment requirements.