Author, Willie Lee
Production house operations have remained unchanged for the longest time, as long and tiring on-site shoots with talents from all around the world are required, depending on the scale of the project. The process of shooting a video involves a lot of physical contact as well, with directors, photographers, videographers, talent and other crew members needing to converge at studios to produce content. This is no different for local production house, Big 3 Media, that has worked with brands such as Lazada, Shopify, Canon and other government bodies across four markets.
As a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, demand for entertainment-based content has seen an increase with 76% of millennials having increased the amount of time they spend consuming online content. While this surge in content would usually be music to content creators’ ears, social distancing means production houses aren’t able to operate like normal.
While many businesses have resumed work albeit with social distancing measures and other strict sanitation guidelines, global companies experiencing similar circumstances in their respective countries such as Google and Twitter, for example, have declared that most of their staff are able to work from home or remotely on a permanent basis and not just during the lockdown. It is understood that tech giants are able to do so as there is great flexibility in how their employees approach their tasks to get the job done, allowing for easier work-from-home arrangements. Few would think this could apply to the highly social film industry and yet, Big 3 Media, one of Singapore’s largest production houses, is considering adopting a permanent work-from-home arrangement for up to 90% of their workforce.
How Technology Has Made Video Production From Home Possible
This could be the way forward thanks to today’s technological advancements and the divergence of content to different forms. Animation, for example, has seen a huge rise as a preferred means of communication by large corporations as it allows for more creative freedom and costs much less than hiring talent and a whole crew. It also takes a shorter amount of time and resources such as camera crews while allowing for more expression in the form of humour and other emotions in a light-hearted way.
Besides animation, the advancement of technology has also seen tools used for video editing and visual effects (VFX) become much more portable in the past few years. Gone are the days that video editing required employees to access software on a massive computer in the office. Today, similar tools are available on our laptops, enabling a much more flexible way of creating content. While the initial investment in such hardware and software can be costly as cutting-edge technology does not come cheap, the ability to create content anywhere and at any time is definitely a benefit worth investing in.
Finding Balance In a Work-From-Home Environment
In managing work-life balance, many have found it more difficult to draw the line between work hours and personal time since the work-from-home arrangement has been implemented. This can be attributed to the lack of a professional work environment and the multitude of distractions at home such as chores, attending to family members and for parents with new-borns, kids that need constant attention. To that end, the Big 3 Media human resources team has introduced weekly chats with focus groups to help resolve issues that arise as different individuals have different needs when it comes to working from home. This aims to help employees better manage their time and ensure they find a balance between work and personal life, improve overall performance.
A lack of social interaction with colleagues is also something that can lower morale, leading to a less productive team when working from home. Socialising with colleagues is understood to primarily take place after work hours but in a typical working environment, that social interaction is present throughout an 8-hour workday, be it over lunch or working on projects together. However, this interaction is lost in a work-from-home environment where employees interact merely to get tasks done. To help boost team morale, Big 3 Media has also scheduled more frequent team virtual bonding sessions, allowing for more structured social interaction despite the lack of contact at the office.
Interconnectivity Through Online Tools
To add, the convenience of online conferencing tools such as Zoom, Google Hangouts and Skype have truly made the transitioning process from offline to online as seamless as possible. These applications have enabled us all to mimic a work environment from the comfort of our homes, ensuring work gets done in an orderly and systematic yet convenient way that does not put others at harm by adhering to social distancing.
Understanding the limitations of the current climate we find ourselves in, Big 3 Media looks to move forward by investing in its people and technologies that will help improve both convenience and efficiency of its workforce while remaining responsible members of society.
Willie Lee is the Managing Director of Big 3 Media