Democratising post-production: The future of the creator economy

For the current generation every hour is rush hour. Is the production industry innovating fast enough to keep pace with creators of today and tomorrow?

By  Harish PrabhuJan 27, 2023 2:18 PM
Democratising post-production: The future of the creator economy
Of late there are a few cloud collaboration platforms that have greatly helped to minimize any communication gap. But it would still require regularly uploading and downloading footage, exports, draft versions and other assets. The 2022 Adobe conference itself showcased several innovations that are meant to limit the mundane struggles of creators. However, the foundations of the industry haven’t been strengthened in a long time. We’ve just been renovating the structures above. This is a generation for whom every hour is rush hour. They’re constantly innovating, coming up with new concepts and surprising the world. (Representational image by Alice Donovan Rouse via Unsplash)

We’ve all heard the term “fix it in post”. It means realizing there’s an issue while shooting but deciding that it would be more efficient and cost-effective to correct it in post. But post itself isn’t efficient or cost-effective. The industry is expensive, rigid and sometimes unforgiving. As a community we’ve accepted the exorbitant prices, the heavy technical requirements and the rigidity of the post-production life because there is no other option. It’s surprising. Our art is rebellious, confrontational and reflective, but our attitude towards the demands of the industry are submissive. "More than 50 million people around the world consider themselves creators, despite the creator economy only being born a decade ago."* In just a decade, the creator economy has become the fastest type of small business. There are so many brilliant minds simmering with ideas, moving and getting things done at the speed of light. I call them the fast-moving creative generation (FMCG). They cannot be bound by technical obstacles.

Since 2020 the number of creators has gone up by 48%. This is a big boost in so little time. The industry is getting populated and the room has become crowded. It’s now time to make the room more inclusive, let in the brilliant minds of today and help them create more art. While the post-production industry has matured by leaps and bounds with incredible softwares and tools, the access to them is still restrictive. It’s expensive, people work in silos, they have to travel to studios within cities, inter-city or even across countries to just see the work or make edits. (*SignalFire) If you meet with a creative team anywhere today, this is how it functions. They need to first invest in a hardware setup, purchase the required licenses, install them, make sure it runs well on the setup, buy any required plugins, invest in the necessary storage devices, share the work across teams and be on the same page at all times. Smooth collaboration requires the team to either work from the same room or constantly be on calls. Over and above this, content security has become a big cause of concern. Currently, apart from having ‘closed-door edits’ and contractual obligations, there is no other technology led security a creator gets over his/her content. Of late there are a few cloud collaboration platforms that have greatly helped to minimize any communication gap. But it would still require regularly uploading and downloading footage, exports, draft versions and other assets. The 2022 Adobe conference itself showcased several innovations that are meant to limit the mundane struggles of creators. However, the foundations of the industry haven’t been strengthened in a long time. We’ve just been renovating the structures above. This is a generation for whom every hour is rush hour. They’re constantly innovating, coming up with new concepts and surprising the world.

During the pandemic, people have had to resort to remote production, remote desktops and remote reviews. Collaboration became increasingly difficult. Fine detail work like grain matching and grading became painstakingly tough. Either the office setups had to be transported to editors’ homes or creators ended up upgrading their own systems. Creators were suddenly in the spotlight everywhere but ‘creating’ was an issue.

As much as the CAGR increased it only made the flaws of the industry more obvious. The whole working model was unsustainable. Art should always be able to showcase the core idea. The rawest thought that develops into the final output. Executing it should be a challenge, but not a hindrance. And the challenge should be all about the mind, the process or the idea itself. Not about hardware configurations or software compatibility or communication gaps. When I think about the future of the content industry, a Sanskrit phrase ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’ comes to mind which means ‘The whole world is one family’. And the success of our industry lies in enabling this philosophy by bringing the world’s creators together. We need an industry that hasn’t submitted to the restrictions of yesterday. An industry which will be led by technology and can give creators an added layer of security, complete visibility and control over their own content. One that is more affordable, accessible and flexible. One that’ll empower creators to do more and free their minds of all the technical obstacles standing in their way. And, we will always have to “fix it in post”. But, right now it’s time to fix post itself.

Harish Prabhu is an industry executive and professional in the field of media tech and post production. Views expressed are personal.

First Published on Jan 27, 2023 11:12 AM

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