Why we should hang on to remote production

If we’re smart, we’ll keep the tools and processes that make production more efficient.

There is a lot to be proud of about the production industry’s response to Covid-19.

We quickly found new ways to work together without being together. Thanks to our ingenuity and resilience, we helped keep e-commerce afloat and connected consumers with brands on social media. Most importantly, we did it with safety as our primary focus.

With vaccines rolling out, we can begin to imagine a future where we can collaborate in person again. I can't wait for the day that I can walk onto a lively, mask-free set.

But should we reverse all the ways we’ve adapted to the pandemic just because we can? I would argue there are plenty of reasons not to toss aside our new ways of working when we return to normal. In many cases, shooting remotely will continue to be the best option. 

Going remote can drive profits

Over the past year, we ran countless shoots with the production team in New York, the creative director in Los Angeles and the talent in their country home with a photographer. In almost all cases, it went seamlessly. We still got great shots, worked with A-List talent and met our deadlines. 

We also saved money. By omitting travel alone, we could skim $5,000 to $10,000 off our budget. While it’s not the best option for all briefs, remote shoots work, especially when they involve teams in different locations. Cutting back on the expenses to get everybody in one place can make a job profitable.

Clients like it

Working remotely has made the client’s job easier. CMOs already spend too many days on the road. To save two days of traveling cross-country, just to visit a shoot where they spend most of their time waiting to make a decision, is very attractive.

Cutting down on travel is especially valuable for parents. As we see women continue to leave the workforce in shocking numbers, offering working mothers the flexibility of a remote shoot can mitigate this crisis in our industry.

It’s a more modern approach

Like many industries, COVID-19 has sped up advancements in our field out of necessity. We all learned how to Zoom overnight. We quickly adopted various platforms and tools that let us collaborate or edit from multiple locations.

This modern approach is more efficient. Removing as many people as possible from the set streamlined production. Approvals sped up and productivity increased, resulting in better creative output in less time — which should always be the goal.

Remote art direction is here to stay

While being on set can be a wonderful experience for the creative team, it also pulls them away from other projects for long stretches. Remote art direction allows the creative team to join only when necessary, while giving creative leaders more control over more projects.

Thanks to remote direction, creative directors can now oversee a set in New York on Monday and in Los Angeles Tuesday. Prior to the pandemic, getting everybody on set at the same time was a scheduling nightmare. Undoubtedly, the brand would delegate a proxy on set, which always slows things down.

It would be silly to throw out remote production just because we don’t need to be remote.

Mathieu Champigny is CEO of Industrial Color

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