Bookings and administration
Bookings, operations and administration of post-production facilities houses cover a wide range of vital job roles involved in the day-to-day running of post-production. This can include interfacing with clients, scheduling work, installing equipment and archiving.
Skills required to work in post-production bookings and administration
- understanding of the equipment and technology of a post-production house
- excellent communication skills
- a high level of organisational skills
- negotiation and budgeting skills
- precise attention to detail
- initiative and problem solving skills
- effective team working skills
- diplomacy and sensitivity when working with clients
- basic IT skills
- knowledge of health and safety legislation and procedures
Ways into bookings and administration
Most people will enter the post-production house as a runner, they may progress to by head runner after six to twelve months, and then other roles such as reception, library or bookings before moving on to other post-production roles like editing or supervision.
Specialist courses in editing and production budgeting are available, but no specific academic or training qualifications are needed to work in post-production administration. Some may have media studies degrees, though these may not be as relevant as retail and catering experience can be. Understanding of the post-production process, media formats, online and offline editing and the difference between masters and dubs is valuable.
Most post-production coordinators have work experience at a post-production facilities house, and most post-production supervisors have worked for some time as assistant editors, production coordinators or production assistants.
Jobs in bookings and administration
The role of post-production supervisor varies according to the size of a production. Post-production supervisors liaise with the director, editor and producer about the hiring of post-production personnel, and during post-production they work closely with the production accountant to supply accurate cost reports. They may be working on a number of productions at once, usually alone though on larger productions they may hire an assistant.
A post-production coordinator works across many facets of post-production to ensure the smooth operation of the editorial department and the production and delivery of final elements. They manage the administration of the department and organise paperwork, documents, proper storage of final video and audio masters and offline editorial materials. They much maintain good communication between the production and post-production facilities and make bookings for ADR sessions and preview screenings.
All jobs at a post-production house are monitored by the bookings co-ordinator who manages the scheduling of technical and creative teams. They are also responsible for client liaison and account handling, including quoting and costing jobs, preparing job sheets and invoices and knowing what staff and technical facilities are available at a given time.
A post-production receptionist will answer calls, operate the doors, log and meet clients and visitors and may be responsible for some aspects of catering and building security. In some cases they will work as a de facto office manager, monitoring supplies and being responsible for traffic, dispatch and runners. Many receptionists start their careers as runners and progress to becoming edit assistants.
Junior engineer or engineer assistant
Engineering assistants keep facilities running and integrate new technology. Their work is often combined with other job roles including tape operators and machine room assistants. Engineering assistants are responsible for electronic engineering maintenance, technical problem-solving in edit suites and the maintenance of IT systems and networks. They must understand signal paths and the labelling of every frame of a project using roll numbers and time-codes that conform to recognised industry practices. They must be able to read oscilloscopes and audio meters, understand TV and video signals, understand compression and media formats and identify the technical requirements for different media and broadcasters.
Library assistants handle all tapes and media coming into and out of facilities companies. They know the location of all media relating to specific jobs and log new tapes and other media into and out of the library. They check that all media are labelled accurately and distributed to the appropriate personnel. They generate, update and maintain up-to-date records and databases of all media and may be required to research the availability of archive footage.
Runners are part of a team that supports post-production personnel and clients. They act as a combination of waiter, cleaner, handyman and messenger. Runners are expected to perform menial tasks such as fetching tea and food but do have the opportunity to learn about every aspect of post-production and editing. They must be able to cope with extreme pressure from clients and co-workers and respond and act quickly. Being a runner is essentially a learning role, so being prepared to ask for help and advice is important. Most people working in post-production will have once started out as runners.
Find out more about working in booking and administration
Organisations and websites:
- Video Editing and Post Production, by Gary H Anderson
- Audio Post Production for Television and Film, by Wyatt & Amyes
- How Video Works, by Weynand & Weise
- Nonlinear Editing Basics, by Steven Browne
- Digital Editing with Final Cut Pro 4, by Mamer &Wallace
- Editing Digital Film, by Jaime Fowler
- The Technology of Video and Audio Streaming (2nd Ed.), by David Austerberry
- Broadcast Engineer's Reference Book, by Joe Tozer
- Video Systems in an IT Environment, by Al Kovalick
Some other job roles in post-production
Good editors are invaluable to a film or TV show, and most began as post-production runners before working up through the ranks of assistant to editor
Sound post-production is a creative and technical job that involves re-recording and dubbing dialogue, sound effects and foley
DVDs and Quicktimes
Knowing how to encode video and audio formats is a film and TV job for someone with a love of IT, programming and computer science
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