On the latest episode of the Creative Operations Podcast, Daniel Jester welcomes Brian Guidry of Pixelz, an outsource service provider for post-production, to chat about ways that studios and vendors can work together productively in the age of agility.
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Want the full chat? Stream the episode on the web or on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or Amazon Music. But read on to get just a few takeaways from Daniel’s chat with Brian.
Gain A Partner, Not A Pinch Hitter
It may sound appealing to bring in vendors for short-term occasions here and there, to merely address backlogs and bottlenecks. But Brian points out it’s not a rhythm of collaboration that grants you a true partnership with a top vendor.
Instead, look for a provider who can learn the inner workings of your studio, and build rapport with your team and familiarity with your workflow. “Looking for a vendor you can grow with, that can essentially be an extension of your team—I think, for me, that's fundamental,” Brian says.
Looking for a vendor you can grow with, that can essentially be an extension of your team—that's fundamental.
- Brian Guidry
See Behind The Scenes
The two also talked about how, when it comes to physical supply chains, it’s common to research raw goods providers, to make sure you’re comfortable with the people and their process. Yet in the digital supply chain, there’s not as much inspection—but there should be.
“If you start peeling back layers, there are people and organizations, and oftentimes multiple tiers of organizations behind these companies,” Brian says. “And there's a reason why things cost a certain price or things are so cheap.” He points out that his company offers Pixelz Pulse, a real-time status update on customers’ projects, and invites customers to the company’s production locations across the globe.
Want to make sure you’re working with ethical, effective vendors? Do your research, look for tools that reflect accountability, and possibly pop in for a visit.
Build A System That Blends Automation And Live Talent
Your in-house team is always searching for ways to streamline workflows with automated processes and still give the most discretion-based tasks to human talent. Chances are, your vendors’ teams are attempting the same thing.
Especially in light of how workflows were revised in 2020, this is a good time to become more agile by using automation and by working with partners who employ automation too. In some situations—this is the case with Pixelz—a vendor will have proprietary AI systems that save both studio and vendor time and cost.
Brian estimates that 60% of the retouching process—like pathing, masking, and cropping—can be done through AI. “And then our specialists are going to come in and they're going to do the things technology can't,” Brian says. “Like we're going to be working on, say, skin on wrinkles, shaping silhouettes, and that's really going to take images to the next level.”
Expect agility to remain a top concern for content studios. How do you address it? Automation and outside vendors—or, better still, put those together and find outside vendors who leverage automation too.
Want to learn more about successful outsourcing partnerships, and hear Brian and Daniel reminisce about studio budget glory days? Stream the episode from the website or from Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or Amazon Music.