Thoughts on Production: Digital & Analog

In Chapter Two, The Production Process: Analog and Digital Technologies, the author discusses the stages of production and how both analog and digital technologies play a role in production, as well as creating various roles among production teams.  The world of production has changed drastically with the introduction of digital processes, allowing teams to choose their aesthetics and techniques for whatever project they might be working on.

There are three stages of production that must be understood before developing teams or the aesthetics of a project. First is pre-production, which includes project proposals, premises, synopses, treatments, scripts, script breakdowns, production schedules, budgets and story boards.  All of these areas must be accomplished before the production team can move forward with their setup and rehearsal.

The next stage after pre-production is production.  Those working on this middle part of a project take the research and plans made in pre-production and begin recording.  Before recording, performer blocking and camera blocking are very important to insure camera placement and movement of the performer.  In the event of a live transmission, the director must be able to anticipate the action in each shot and move the camera accordingly.  During this stage of production, the entire project is in the hands of the director and his direction to those working with him/her.

Finally, post-production begins once all recording has been completed; however, in live broadcasting, production and post-production happen simultaneously.  The bulk of visual and audio editing happen in this stage, smoothing out all the wrinkles and rough edges in film scenes or audio.

While these stages do happen separately, it is important for each stage to have an understanding of the other two stages.  A director cannot visualize a scene without knowledge of how it can be edited in postproduction, so it is helpful to be proficient in all areas of production.

While each stage of production has been affected by the evolution of digital technologies, the most significant technology advancements are seen in postproduction.  All three stages have definitely seen changes, from changes in digital storyboards in preproduction to camera sizes in production, but the biggest advancements can be seen in the digital editing and manipulation happens in postproduction.

The terminology used in production also an important thing to understand in order to proficient in the entire production process.  Words like television, audio, film and video have much more specific and technical meanings when used in the context of production.

There are also many pieces to a production team and many ways they can be organized.  It is important to know your role, along with the roles of others.  Whether a production team falls under a hierarchical model (Producer is in charge and decision making power flows down to director, etc.) or a cooperative model (every member has equal decision making power and control), knowing the jobs around you can help in the decision making process.  Some productions teams will actually combine models so the producer and director still have more decision making power, but each team member has the ability to submit ideas.


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