5 ways to optimize your post-production efficiency

It’s been a long production process, but it was worth it. Shooting is over, and it’s time to start post-production. This is where the story comes together – where it becomes a single piece made of many and hopefully lives up to its potential. Having a thoughtful workflow for your post-production process is key to balancing all of the many facets of post-production so you can focus on being creative. In this article, you will take away 5 ways to optimize your post-production process for efficiency.

Stay organized

Organization is key. Let’s face it: The production process creates lots of data to manage. This is why you should have a system set up to manage that data. Once you have an asset, use a defined process to bring it into your post-production workflow. Have a plan for how you will offload, transfer and back up your data. 

All productions are made up of many assets, and those assets should always be easy to find. Design a file structure before you start and stick to it. This will allow for an easy handoff during the process to another team member. It ensures data isn’t orphaned outside of the project. Missing files are not something you should accept. To prevent this issue, keep track of where files are saved. 

Use easy-to-understand names for your files and folders, then keep to that naming convention for the whole process. This will allow you to quickly access assets without having to dig for them. For instance, place your music and sound effects in a folder labeled as such. If you have A-Roll, put it into its own folder and label it A-Roll. This makes finding a specific file much easier and faster. 

For a quick example, here is an ingest workflow for a simple production: Once media is in hand, it is copied onto a local drive and sent to the cloud. Then add metadata to each file, so that they can be found based on what they contain, rather than just their filename. Once imported, those files are to be brought into your editing program where you keep up that folder structure you started when you first imported the asset. Then it’s time to start editing. 

Simplify your process

The easiest way to increase efficiency is through simplification. The goal is to achieve the same outcome in fewer steps. Start at the beginning of your process and identify where changes can be made. Look for places where similar work needs to be done. Doing similar work together speeds up the process. For example, you’re editing a documentary and have a lower third with each interview subject’s name and title ready. You could add them as you get to the first appearance of the subject in the story, but a better and faster way would be to place all of the similar assets at the same time. This will allow you to have more continuity in how they are used. It might not be a huge time saver on each placement, but over the length of the project, it could save time for some other aspect of the project. And better yet, they could save the production money. 

Simplify the whole process, even the work done outside of the editing timeline. Rid your process of the undependable. If your system requires multiple adapter dongles to connect monitors and peripherals, know that those connection points are likely to fail over time. Those temporary fixes could lead to more time wasted dealing with an imperfect cable connection. Undependable connections are an easy place for errors to occur. They are also very simple to correct. Assess your system and look for places to reduce the number of cables needed. Look at monitor connections, power connections, storage connections and media reader(s) connections to ensure a seamless experience.

Optimize connectivity

You are only as fast as your slowest connection. Optimize your connections to speed up your data offloads and transfers. Make sure you’re using your fastest output ports to gain the best performance of your data transfer speeds. Along with that, use the proper cables to connect natively to your device. If your external SSD is USB-C™, connect to your system using a USB-C cable plugged directly into a USB-C port on your system. This will allow for the best performance possible. Using a USB-C to Type A cable that supports a different USB spec will lower the speed and performance of that connection. 

Consider the time savings that can be had if you were able to offload all of your media at once. Not one clip at a time, but all together. Each asset might not take a long time on its own to transfer, but having to wait for each to complete before moving on to the next will be much more time-consuming. 

Create a workflow and stick to it

If you don’t stick to the plan, you won’t reap the rewards it’s designed to create. Stay disciplined in your process to reap the benefits. This will also allow you to identify problems in your process when they occur. Reducing the work you have to revise is an easy way to save time. Pay attention to the details and the outcome will be easier to predict.

Having the same process will allow you to free up your energy for the work you are doing instead of thinking about what to do next. Thinking through your workflow not only prepares you for the work but will allow you to get to the work much faster. 

Focus on the story, not the equipment

Through all of your efforts, the story should be at the center of all of your choices. Consider the technical aspects of the task before the work needs to be done. Prepare your equipment and keep it up to date. Resolve any outstanding issues, and don’t let the equipment you use get in the way of the best story. An optimized post-production workflow should set you up to focus on the creative, not the technical.

A new tool from SanDisk Professional aims to optimize your production efficiency

The SanDisk Professional® PRO-DOCK 4 has everything you need to best optimize your post-production workflow. The PRO-DOCK 4 is a four-bay reader docking station that accepts SanDisk Professional PRO-READER card readers. While each reader can be used on its own via USB-C, the readers can also lock in place within the PRO-DOCK 4. More than just a card reader that can offload multiple cards at once, the SanDisk Professional PRO-DOCK 4 is designed with a maximum data rate of 40 Gb/s over the Thunderbolt™ 3 interface. Moreover, it provides up to 87W of Power Delivery to power a laptop with just one cable. The PRO-DOCK 4 lives up to its name with two Thunderbolt 3 ports, two USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C™ ports, two USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A ports, one DisplayPort™ 1.4, a Gigabit Ethernet port and a 3.5 mm audio combo. Plus, compatibility isn’t an issue: It is Windows® 10+ and macOS 10.9+compatible.

The SanDisk Professional PRO-DOCK 4 is ready for mixed-media workflows with different versions of PRO-READER devices to support various card types. The PRO-READER Multi Card is for CF (CompactFlash®), SD and microSD (both UHS-I and UHS-II). The next is for the blazing fast CFexpress® Type B cards. The third is for CFast™ 2.0 media. The fourth is the PRO-READER RED MINI-MAG Edition. The latest addition to this product line is the PRO-READER SD and microSD, which supports the company’s proprietary SanDisk QuickFlow™ technology that enables UHS-I read speeds up to 200MB/s on select SanDisk Extreme UHS-I SD and microSD cards1.

The SanDisk Professional PRO-DOCK 4 is ready to optimize your post-production workflow. Click here to learn more about the SanDisk Professional PRO-DOCK 4.

1 Speeds vary by capacity. For SanDisk Extreme PRO microSD and SD (64GB-1TB), SanDisk Extreme PLUS microSD (64GB-1TB), and SanDisk Extreme PLUS SD (128GB-1TB): Up to 200MB/s read speeds, engineered with proprietary technology to reach speeds beyond UHS-I 104MB/s, require compatible devices capable of reaching such speeds. Write speed lower. Based on internal testing; performance may be lower depending upon host device, interface, usage conditions and other factors. 1MB=1,000,000 bytes.  

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