As the post-production industry progresses, so does the types of university courses available for students looking to get into the post sector. With more and more “Creative Media” and “Video Editing” degrees popping up across the UK, it seems that students graduate with excellent editing and motion graphics skills, but no hands on experience in a post house or advertising agency, meaning (like everyone else) they have to start off at the bottom – as a Runner.
So, if you’re looking to get into Post Production but you’re not sure which route to go down, I’ve put together a little guide that’ll hopefully give you some insight into different routes you might have if you decide to join a post house or agency.
Being a Runner is the best type of entry level job you can get. It gives you exposure to every aspect of the post production process, and you’ll usually land excellent opportunities to train with fellow staff and clients – but you’re expected to do it in your own time ie lunch or before/after shifts.
It’s hard work, and in the larger facilities the runner staff turnover rate is quite high, so resilience and determination is key, and if noticed by management, can get you some good solid progression.
Yes it’s usually minimum wage, yes you are expected to take the bins out and yes you are expected to walk through rain & snow to get lunch for clients you never really see, but it’s a means to an end.
Kitchen Management – Making teas and coffees – running media and materials from one site to another – client management
Edit Assistant / Technical Operations
Edit Assistants are the technicians behind the scenes managing the Offline, Online, Grade and Audio edits. To put it basically, within the MCR (Machine Room or Master Control Room) they manage the media that goes into the server, setting the media up within the edit & audio suits and making sure it comes out visually and technically perfect, ready for transmission. There are a lot of hard core technical responsibilities involved so this role requires a lot of training across each discipline!
This role is usually considered as a stepping stone into an Editor, Colourist or Audio Engineer position but do bear in mind, 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.
It is advised that if you are a runner looking to progress into an Edit Assistant role, to do it in house. It is very hard to move from one company as a runner, into another company as an Edit Assistant.
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 can have different job titles so always be sure how senior the role may be. People usually 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, liaises with management, producer, clients, manages technical work flows, 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 closely with the Engineers and IT to maintain system upgrades, licences and resolve any technological issues.
Some Technical Managers can be really senior and report directly to the CEO.
Technical Operations Management – Team/Department Management – systems management – workflow supervising – IT – Engineering – client management
The Library team or Media Logistics team are the people who manage the hard drives, tapes, archives and any other media storage that come in and out of the company using the Scheduling Software. You’ll usually find a dedicated Media Logistics team within larger post houses rather than boutique post houses or agencies – this is due to the volume of media coming in and out of the facility. In the small facilities, this role is managed by the MCR. It is crucial that all media is logged correctly and goes through the media logistics team. They are a very important part of Post as they are 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. This means a lot of time is spent on the phone organising couriers and to producers who want to locate a drive or tape that may need to be used by the MCR. Many Librarians get to do some basic Edit Assistant work too.
Librarians can progress towards an Edit Assistant role or to be a Bookings Coordinator (depending on the company and routes of progression).
Logging media – tracking media – liaising with Producers, courier companies, clients and MCR – filing and sorting media and storage
Bookings Coordinator/Post Production Co-ordinator
The Bookings Coordinator, also maybe called Post Production Co-ordinator is usual stepping stone between Reception/Front of House and Producer.
The Bookings Coordinator is 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, making sure that all the technical parts of the ‘jobs’ (ingest etc) created by the Post Producer are completed by the Edit Assistant.
The Bookings Coordinators might also help manage the runners and liaise closely with The Librarian making sure that all the correct hard drives and tapes are in the right place and get dispatched on time for transmission.
The next step for a Bookings Coordinator will be Senior Bookings/Head of Bookings/Post Production Manager or to Junior Post Producer to Post Producer.
Most Popular Schedulling Software:
CETA Software Farmerswife ScheduAll Xytech
The Post Producer manages the post production process on behalf of the client. It’s very rare that a Post Producer 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 Production Houses/Facilities or Post Production departments within agencies.
You can get Long Form Post Producers who work on content that it classes as long, such as Factual Programming and Drama, Short Form Post Producers who 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) 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 coordinate the project, and the editors who 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) are the post producers for 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 be liaising with more people within the facility as they are usually based in advertising agencies who will manage the account (brand) in more ways than just Post (eg, 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 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 and needs to be adapted 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 longform. There is no cross over between a long form Versioning Producer and an Advertising Versioning Producer.
Promo Producers are also Post Producers however also do some editing. Promo Producers work within a Broadcaster and create promotional videos for the channel brand and their TV shows using the long form content that has already created. This will include editing intros and bumpers and in putting 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 it isn’t easy and some ad agencies have slightly different recruitment requirements.