OK, so you're not going to actually travel through time. My premise here is that learning is a lot like time travel. You gain knowledge about something without having to invest the time, trial, and error of figuring it out yourself. Tools are like that too. Why spend time re-inventing the wheel when someone already did that? Production schedules are tighter than ever these days and nearly every new project has a creative component or requires a piece of gear that's new to me. Times like these require trusted, go-to resources that give me the info I need to produce quality results quickly. Below are some of my favorite time saving video production resources.
The folks at No Film School describe themselves as the "leading worldwide community of filmmakers, video producers, and independent creatives." Here you will find industry news, interviews, tips and tricks, gear reviews, community discussion boards and tons more. If you're like me, you sometimes find yourself halfway through a great article or blog post before you realize you're back at a site you visited twice already today. That's No Film School. Super informative and interesting stuff. Really, if you're at all interested in video production, movies, TV, streaming content, etc. check out No Film School.
If you are not reading this through the icy fog of your own breath, then the sun is still dutifully providing heat and light to our little corner of the cosmos (Or it's out and you have a fireplace). If you plan to shoot anywhere besides a studio, you're probably going to have to deal with that sun. It may be in a great position when you show up to your location, but where is it going to be in an hour? If only you could look into the future. A sun tracking app like Sun Surveyor will show you the sun's path over time, so you can plan accordingly to flag it, or add fill light, or wrap up before it blasts your lens with 18,000 watts of hell fire. This app also tracks the moon, as well as providing golden hour times, moon phases, and a bunch more. All super useful stuff for outdoor shoots, time lapses, or even an interview near a window.
If you need an After Effects tutorial on anything, chances are Andrew Kramer at Video Copilot has one just for you. Andrew has been in the motion design and visual effects game forever, and his tools and tutorials are a huge time saver for anyone using Adobe After Effects. He also posts a lot of his project files, which is an incredible resource. Opening and digging through another designers project files is a great way to learn creative techniques, as well as work flow, file organization, and just how to tie together complicated projects.
What Video Copilot is for After Effects, Greyscalegorilla is for Cinema 4D. You'll find tons of time saving tutorials, lighting rigs, texture kits, and more. Nothing has the potential to destroy your production schedule like 3D render time. You might create a beautiful image, but if it takes 48 hours to render, and your deadline is tomorrow, you are stuffed. Knowing how to properly set up your scene is critical, and the guys at GSG won't just show you how they pulled off a cool effect, but they'll show you how to do it within an efficient workflow. I only get into C4D a few times a year, and GSG saves me a ton of time both building and rendering those projects.
Ritual is a pretty recent addition to the stock music world. I talked with co-founder Matthew Lyall a few weeks ago and I was impressed with the ways they're trying to separate themselves from the other stock music services. Their niche is offering curated tracks so that you don't spend all day looking for the perfect song for your project. They also have a list of composers that can offer custom music on-demand. As I write this, they're offering 50% off your first track for new users, so peep their wares and grab a deal!
If you feel like your daily commute is wasted time, find yourself a podcast. Jordan Brady is a comedian, filmmaker, and commercial film director. He sits down for long form interviews with producers, editors, motion designers, ADs, DPs, and many other industry professionals, both acronymed and otherwise. Learn about working with actors, why comedy plays better in the wide shot, and just what do all those industry professionals do exactly? There are a lot of great production podcasts out there, but what sets Respect the Process apart is that it's focused more on commercial filmmaking. Jordan talks about pitching ideas to agencies, working directly with brands, and gives great insight into the rapidly changing world of commercials.
If you invested the time to read this, thanks! I guarantee any one of these resources will pay that investment back many times over. Remember not to tear the time-space continuum, and happy time traveling!