Troubleshooting: A Post Production Asset

One tool all good editors and post people should have troubleshooting skills. If you don't, "...your part of the problem and not the solution…" as John McLane would scream.

This does seem obvious but many people hire good "machine operators" but never really pay attention if they are problem solvers.

My year hiatus from post work, which is now officially over, was replaced by working in fim industry production side. Focusing on Rigging Electrical (lighting) work which permuted me to enjoy my new growing family. I bounced around in the union and commercial world; but the biggest job I took on was Rigging Best Boy on a New American Network Series.

I learned there that I have many new skills that developed and learned from my years of post production and that I had somewhat matured. Being able to adapt to new situations, being calm in an film "emergency", managing personalities, being comfortable being "wrong" or making mistakes and most importantly my biggest strength is troubleshooting. 

Troubleshooting is something that I have just done over the years as I have had to build my own editing system, teach myself digital editing and staying up-to-date with technology. Even if I am in an Apple environment, to break the myth that Macs "just work", well they don't just work in the post production world. You have to deal with an amount of 3rd party software, codecs, OS updates, crashing, hardware and that is the inhouse stuff. When you need to collaborate or deliver your dealing with other people's set ups and deliverables you get even more problems.

As I am embarking on a few large projects that have many workflow issues because of their scope and deadlines. I realize now how important it is to have these skills. When you encounter, and I have had to deal with this post personality recently, those people that are at a stand still when something doesn't work like it is outlined in a manual or cannot systematically eliminate problems and find a solution or offer a workaround in one of the steps of the workflow, it makes you realize how important it is to be able to troubleshoot.

Believe me that in the 11th hour of the project when things inevitably breakdown you need someone that can figure the problem(s), you don't want to discover that your people in post haven't got this skill set in their repertoire.

I realize now that this is a skill that you must have in this modern age of sharing, collaboration and complex workflows. Knowing how to operate the machine is the least of your concerns, being able to not "freeze up" in adversity and creatively get the job done is not a skill that most focus on until the "train is about to hit the bus".

In production, I have always said, "there are 2 types of film people, like in war, people you want in front of you, that you can always see, and people you can trust behind you. "