The Fellowship of the Shoot: On Working Remotely

On Working Remotely

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In the Beginning…

Three photographers, each of sound mind and body, banded together as they faced not one but two shoots that threaten to challenge their abilities as a collaborative force. This fellowship was new. Their hopes were high. Their drive, unwavering. Each with their own particular talents and abilities. Each living in a separate city. They planned. They schemed. The gear, they knew well. The techniques were ingrained in their brains. They knew how to think on their feet. What could possibly go wrong? Their workflows would never be the same again. This is that story.

The Shoot

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On the day, the three creatives stood shivering in the cold. The morning was crisp. The world of corporate photography and videography loomed before them. It was to be a day filled with one challenge after another, not to mention the sound of a generator. A problem they easily overcame later in the day. Needless to say, they survived the day and another magazine shoot a few weeks later without too many headaches. The details of the shoot are of no importance. But what is important is what came after – post production.

The Passion of Post-Production

Here’s where things get a bit tricky. And here’s where I cut the theatrics. Post-production is an easy enough task. But with two or three people working on the same project at once, the challenge of collaborating remotely now faced us. The interwebs is full of answers to this subject. Some offered a collaborative workflow. Some easy file transfers. All required additional money out of pocket. Whether that was addition subscriptions or one-time fees, we didn’t want to add to our existing overhead for this test. We needed to conserve our resources for the rocky road of freelancing that lay ahead. But that is another story for another time.

Since everyone already subscribed, we decided on Dropbox. As long as we could maintain structure and organization, all should be fine. But like any good story, there’s always a twist, an unexpected event that keeps our heroes and their egos in check. It wasn’t just one event. It was more of a culmination of circumstances. New materials were added last minute. Deadlines loomed ahead of us. Who doesn’t like a payday?

The major issue we encountered occurred when either Brandon or I made new edits. Sometimes assets would unlink. Sometimes new assets were added as we moved along and those got lost in the master project file. This mostly happened when either one of us would download the project to work locally, since that was the easiest way to work. Then upload it after that particular session was over.

The Lesson

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Since we weren’t able to open a Premiere project file and work within Dropbox, that caused an irksome issue of having to reorganize and relink those pesky files after uploading and downloading. It was a pain, annoying, but ultimately nothing we couldn’t handle. A minor problem in the greater scheme of things.

While we were all relatively organized, we realized that it was most important to maintain the same workflow amongst everyone involved, or at least agree on a plan of action. Then stick to it. Otherwise time is wasted relinking and reorganizing. Unfortunately, we discovered that towards the end of the project. But that’s all part of the process, right? Learning and growing.

How do you work remotely with others?

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