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How the Pandemic Has Changed Production and Post

Will pre-pandemic video production budgets ever return? Will postproduction collaboration remain remote? White Label Productions' Chris Wagner and Culture House's Nicole Galovski discuss the challenges producers and editors face in this clip from Streaming Media West Connect 2021.

Learn more about remote production at Streaming Media East 2022.

Read the complete transcript of this clip:

Brett Sappington: How about on the production side, Chris and Nicole--what changes are you seeing? We talked about companies being rolled up into larger companies. There's always demand for low-cost production. But will budgets increase?

Chris Wagner: No, they're not going to increase. When 2008 hit and the market crashed, all the budgets went down. Everybody's crying poor. Advertising dollars aren't pouring in anymore, et cetera. Then, after that, with just organic inflation and the market bounced back eventually, the budgets never went up again. So, lasting change from that crash, we saw smaller staffs, less cameras out in the field, et cetera. So no, I don't think that they will, I'm sure that they will not go up. You're always gonna have the tentpole event show. But I think the lasting change we'll see from this is technology, both in the field and postproduction. More efficiencies. I wonder what office space will look like, just standard office space rental. What else? I think those are the biggest ones. As unfortunate a global pandemic, it's forced everyone, both personally and professionally, to re-evaluate their priorities and what's important, and how to do things better.

Brett Sappington: Nicole, thoughts?

Nicole Galowski: It always feels like budgets are going down. We've gotten some pretty healthy budgets. I think it's always gonna depend on what the content is, too. I think it's very much attached to that, but when you get too big, you create a vacuum and somebody else comes and fills that space that can do it at that price.

I'm really interested in the creative process as well. The creative process has been extremely affected. One of the most difficult things about going full-on remote was the water cooler talk, or being able to just pop in, or people just overhearing some of the conversations that were happening. That's all gone, the idea of being in a room, like a writer's room, in which you get to bounce ideas off of each other and have lots of time and just pop in or steal somebody for a little bit to have that creative brainstorm. It doesn't necessarily translate to these Zoom calls or phone calls or whatever. We've learned to do that, obviously, but I don't know that it still gets to the essence of what we had before.

Same thing with edits. It's wonderful and it's awesome, Chris, that you're looking overseas for postproduction and things, but not being in an edit room is just mind-blowing and slows it down so much. When you go back and forth on five emails and five phone calls, and then, if you would've just been sitting there, it would've been five seconds. I think that that if offices can come back, we can re-create that creative energy and be able to bring people together. That is same thing for postproduction and being able to facilitate those creative elements. But other than that, I feel like a lot of people are now getting pretty happy, being able to live wherever they wanna live, and with the quality of life that they wanna have. And so I think people are starting to figure out the sacrifices that they're willing to make within their careers or their process to facilitate those things.

Brett Sappington: Interesting. Well, it sounds like there there's a type of gravity in terms of having the postproduction team together and to be able to be all in one room. Is that enough to where that part of the of the industry comes back? Do you feel like that's going to return, or will it remain remote?

Nicole Galowski: I think that that's really tough to say. Different creators will take a different stance. I will be hard pressed to do another remote edit after doing this. And we're just in this really intense postproduction with a postproduction team of 10 that are all working at different places, and there's been lots of technologies that have risen up to be able to fill that need. But the times that I have gotten to work with an editor in person, it just goes so fast. And you almost forget when you're doing this remote work, how fast it can actually be. So I do think that elements of postproduction and writers' rooms and preproduction will, will come back. But it's tough to say for for everything else.