Making feature films requires a number of crew members and good teamwork to break the big project down into specific parts to do it faster and with higher quality. But this type of work causes the need for management and to lead groups of creatives into the exact goal of the film, and that’s why beside famous roles like the director and the DP, there is a not so famous but effective role like the post-production Supervisor. So today we want to see what is inside this type of supervising role and how it affects the success of a film project.
You might think that the role of post-production supervisor -as the name suggests- starts after the production is done but that’s not the case for many films. In some cases, the post-production supervisor appears on the set to give some hints about the needs they will have in the post that should be in mind during the production, but the supervisor’s main job starts right from the “cut” when s/he is responsible to find the best way to deliver the footage to the editors quick and safe. In many cases, the trailer version of the film needs to be created before even the production is over and this is where the supervisor should get it done with a group of editors before their main job begins. The post supervisor also helps to recruit the best crew for the post-production based on the budget and project’s needs. But two things that every post-production supervisor should be taking care of more than anything else are the budget and timing. They got to find out a way to deliver what the director and the producers want in a specific time period using a specific amount of budget.
As the post-production supervision makes them responsible for time and budget, one thing these supervisors should do is to design a workflow that boosts up the speed and the quality of the post-production. This is where they have to connect and sometimes gather so many different creatives to bring them on the same page for good teamwork. Usually, it’s not an easy part because of the difficulties of media transferring and task management besides having fast and pro ways to communicate in a team. But as technology does its best to make everything faster and smarter, there is a rising online post-production workflow that can overcome the conventional obstacles of the post-production teams using a video editing collaboration platform. Using these new platforms allows a supervisor to deliver the footage, set tasks and project deadlines online, and communicate with the team from anywhere at any time. Using an online video workflow like this will also decrease the need for the cutting room up to 80%, and gets the job done from an editor’s computer miles away without physical presence. But this is the responsibility of the post-production supervisor to decide which way to go, what workflow to use, and how to manage everyone to work together creatively.
After setting a suitable workflow for the post-production team, the supervisor is responsible to do all the follow-ups to make sure that the project is moving forward step by step. s/he should be sure about the quality of the picture editorial and the rough cut in the first round of editing and the sound editorial and mixing section after that. The post-production supervisor is also responsible for some parts of the music section like composition, supervision, editorial, and licensing but this is a section that in some cases the director and the composer do the most parts. The supervisor should then take the project into the hands of the VFX and graphic designers to add the extra layers and effects to the film. Sometimes the VFX section takes more time and effort than the previous steps and isn’t just the finishing touch of the film. A good example of this is the Avengers movies with heavy VFX and character designs that create the world of the Marvel movies. Then the colorist takes the project in hand and the finishings happen to bring the project closer to the delivery part. So in general, this is the part that the supervisor got to make sure that the director’s order of “fix it/bring it in post” is done to the max.
The last part of a post-production supervisor’s job is to make sure that all the needed formats of the film are built with the standard quality and ready to be published in all forms. It’s where the supervisor checks the final product with the director and editor and together they do the last quality check before sending it to the distribution center. Now we know that there are some roles behind the camera, that not only don’t get recognized in festivals and awards nominations but work harder than others sometimes to deliver the best artwork. So let’s raise our glass for them as a professional courtesy and appreciate their efforts and perseverance.