Post-production supervisor (Post-production)
What does a post-production supervisor do?
Post-production supervisors help achieve as much as possible in the edit process without going over budget.
On films that involve using complex CGI (computer-generated images), they make sure the producer is aware of all the creative and financial considerations of post-production before work on the film even begins.
Post-production supervisors help hire staff for the edit, like sound editors and titles designers. They work closely with the production accountant, supplying accurate information for the cost reports.
They usually continue to work on the production until all the elements needed for the completion of the film are delivered. This includes the music and effects version, which allows the dialogue track to be replaced with different languages.
- Mermaids on Mars Behind the Scenes with post-production supervisor Vince DeQuattro
- Edd Maggs, editor and post-production supervisor
- The role of a post-production supervisor explained
What’s a post-production supervisor good at?
- Understanding post-production: know the process in detail, stay up to date with the effects that can be achieved through constantly changing technology
- Budgeting: plan, use film budgeting software, keep track of spending
- Multi-tasking: prioritise conflicting demands
- Problem solving: find solutions to creative and practical dilemmas
- Communication: persuade producers of the creative possibilities and limitations of post-production, keep a team working happily
Who does a post-production supervisor work with?
The post-production supervisor works very closely with the picture and sound teams, especially the editor, first assistant editor or supervising sound editor. They also work with the following:
- Post-production coordinator
Post-production coordinators manage the administration of the department and organise paperwork, documents, proper storage of final video and audio masters and offline editorial materials. They maintain good communication between the production and post-production facilities and make bookings for ADR (additional dialogue recording) sessions and preview screenings.
- Bookings coordinator
All jobs at a post-production house are monitored by the bookings coordinator who manages the scheduling of technical and creative teams. See the job profile for bookings coordinator to learn more.
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 an 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 understand signal paths and the labelling of every frame of a project using roll numbers and timecodes that conform to recognised industry practices. They can 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 assistant
Library assistants handle all tapes and media coming into and going 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.
- Post-production runner
Runners are a combination of waiter, cleaner, handyman and messenger. See the job profile for post-production runner to find out more.
How do I become a post-production supervisor?
Most post-production supervisors have worked in the industry for at least four years, either in an editing, sound or management role. It’s essential to have an intimate knowledge of the workings of the highly complex processes of post-production. Most post-production supervisors come in as runners. Go to our runner job profiles for details of how to get your foot in the door.
At school or college:
If you want to go to university, A-levels or Highers in art, design, photography, drama and theatre, English, film studies, graphic design, graphic communication, media studies, physics, psychology and computing science are useful. Or you might want to take the following Level 3 vocational qualifications:
- NCFE Applied General Certificate in Art and Design
- BTEC National Diploma/Extended Diploma in Art and Design
- BTEC National Extended Diploma in Creative Digital Media Production
- UAL Applied General Diploma/Extended Diploma in Art and Design
If you want to go straight into a job or apprenticeship, the following Level 3 vocational qualifications will equip you:
- Aim Awards Diploma in Creative and Digital Media
- OCR Cambridge Technical Diploma in Art and Design (3D Design)
- OCR Cambridge Technical Diploma in Art and Design (Graphic Design)
- OCR Cambridge Technical Diploma in Art and Design (Photography)
- OCR Cambridge Technical Diploma in Digital Media (Moving Image and Audio Production)
- BTEC National Diploma in Film and Television Production
- BTEC National Diploma in Film and Television Visual Effects
- BTEC National Diploma in Photography
- UAL Diploma/Extended Diploma in Art and Design
- UAL Diploma/Extended Diploma in Creative Media Production and Technology
Get a degree:
It isn’t essential, but if you want one, have a look at ScreenSkills’ list of recommended courses in film and TV. We recognise courses with our ScreenSkills Select award where they offer training in the relevant software, dedicated time to building a portfolio and have strong links with the film and TV industries.
Take a short course:
The National Film and Television School (NFTS) offers industry-recognised short courses for all grades, and there are some postgraduate courses available. Go to ScreenSkills' page on training, events and opportunities and click on "training" to see if there is one available in film production.
Go to ScreenSkills training, events and opportunities and click on "events" to see what's on, especially Open Doors where you can meet people who work in the industry. Give people in post-production your details and ask if you can do work experience.
Create a LinkedIn profile. Find the Facebook groups or other social media communities for people working in post-production. Join them and join the conversations. Create a ScreenSkills profile.
Search for jobs:
Research post-production houses. Regularly check their websites to see if they are advertising for junior roles. Check out ScreenSkills job boards and Animation UK job vacancies. Send your CV and ask if they’re recruiting.