on March 15, 2016 Workflows

Death by a Thousand Cuts: The Review and Approval Black Hole

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I started working in video production as a intern for a magazine overseeing virtually all of the video production and editing for events. At the end of filming, I spliced together the footage that worked and sent the cut to the Creative Director for the thumbs up -- if only it was so easy. From there began the painstaking process of review and approval. Whether you're working at an independant shop or a large studio, the feedback loop can kill productivity and creativity. It can be death by a thousand cuts--literally. Below are just a few ways this last point in the creative process can be hindered --or improved -- in ways that are within the reviewee's control.

1. The Delivery

image via pymnts

Judging a book by its cover has always been frowned upon, but as a society we’ve come to rely on the cover a lot. It gives us information about what’s inside. It amplifies interest and can influence our overall opinion of the actual contents. So for that reason, you should definitely consider the “cover” of your video. Delivering the first cut of a new episode or commercial via a Vimeo or youtube link may diminish the first impression as just a little less than professional.

Instead, strive for a more personalized delivery mechanism that allows you to add your brandmark, a client’s logo, or just a more exclusive feel to your project. It can set the tone for a productive beginning of the feedback process.

2. The Inner Circle

Knowing who is a part of the feedback loop can save a ton of headaches and the dreaded “let me forward this to xx” notes on your rough cuts. Remove potential roadblocks by including all important parties in initial rounds of feedback.  

3. The Feedback

The quality of feedback is obviously important. But often overlooked is the mechanism by which feedback is recieved. Haven't we all received at least one long email thread full of notes in indiscernible blocks of texts? I once had a reviewer tell me in vague terms that “the scene with the 2nd guy should be cut down”.  Not exactly useful for an editor that relies on specifics.

This is where good tools come in. Invest in a tool that allows for exportable timecoded comments (even better if they can be imported into your NLE directly). This can make a world of difference in tracking the many opinions on your work.

4. The Time Line

Editors and post-supervisors have high expectations when it comes to deadlines. Yet, the same pressure is not always put on the reviewer. A kickoff meeting and followups between key stakeholders can lead to more efficient review and approval cycles on both sides.

 5. The Security

Small shops may not worry about this as much but bigger companies should take note. The security of your post-production workflows can come back to haunt you.  A leak can kill your review and approval process simply due to the chaos it may cause. On top of using a tool that looks cool and is easy to use, make sure your sharing mechanism of choice has security features to match. Password protection should be a must and for even “top secretier” projects the option to have 'user only' access should be an option. Even better, consider watermarketing everything, even dailies and rough cuts -- our new SafeStream real-time watermarking solution can help. A solid security workflow can build trust and  protect your hard work. 


Shannon Hawkins

I'm a content marketing/strategist at MediaSilo. I'm also the first person on record to ever feel "whelmed".