Outlook 2018: Bigger budgets, faster turnarounds
Rory McGregor
Issue: December 1, 2017

Outlook 2018: Bigger budgets, faster turnarounds

The creation of today’s expansive, world-spanning motion pictures is dependent on the contribution of hundreds – if not thousands – of creative collaborators. It never fails to hugely impress when you consider the process that must occur for one person’s creative vision to filter through the minds of so many global partners, only to come out feeling coherent at the other end. 

But while the end results may appear straightforward, the work involved is anything but. As we move into 2018, we’re going to need to see more tools that enable smoother global pipelines – solutions that not only enable clearer and more consistent communication, but also access to artists and creative teams who may not live in a traditional hub for post studios like LA, London or Vancouver.

Earlier this year I was speaking with VFX producer extraordinaire Karen Murphy, who had recently completed work on the visually sumptuous Blade Runner 2049. She mentioned that on the project she formed a “global dream team” that she had assembled to make this project a reality – and that it was these tools that made this global collaboration possible with her chosen creative partners.

Such workflows are going to be even more important in 2018 as the industry continues to expand. A few years ago we thought diversity in the post production landscape was shrinking as takeover after takeover was announced and many mid-level shops were absorbed into global conglomerates…And make no mistake, the big multi-national post and VFX companies (backed by even bigger multinational parents) are still winning a lot of the work - but we’ve also started to see the opposite – smaller specialized shops are being brought in to work on some of the biggest productions of the year. That’s still partly driven by tax incentives, but also by the smaller companies specializing and finding a niche in which to exist. In either case, technology is enabling them to work from anywhere, contributing to and collaborating on the biggest projects in the business such as Game of Thrones and the Marvel Cinematic Universe. 

I expect this year ahead will see this trend continue to proliferate, and for more studios leaning on “virtual support” to generate better work, no matter this distance that separated creative minds. Utilizing the technology that opens up projects to thinkers across the world will enable the industry to capitalize on the influx of projects coming in from not just the big film studios, but the vast wave Netflix, Amazon, Hulu - and now even Apple - film and TV projects.

Rory McGregor is the CEO of Cospective (https://cospective.com), a South Australia-based developer of review and approval tool used in post production.