The best project management software to streamline your video production

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Even if you’re a full-time video creator who has never encountered a so-called “day job,” chances are you’ve heard of task-management software. Office workers are eminently familiar with platforms like Asana and Trello, but creators are no strangers to using these apps to kanban their to-do lists and streamline their workflows either. Maybe you’re already using that software to keep all of the team members for your video projects on the same page. 

But there’s another level to unlock here, because making videos requires not just delegating tasks but managing a complicated project with multiple moving parts. So if you want to up your game, you should check out project management software for video production. This stuff is geared specifically towards helping video creators keep track of everything that goes into their work, from pre-production to post and everything in between.

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Why video creators should use project management software

Getting acquainted with a new system has a learning curve, but if you’re serious about filmmaking, we think it’s worth it. Some benefits of using production management software include:

It allows for better organization and task management

Video production can be… well, quite a production. Writing a script and assembling your cast is just the start — you also need to think through where you’re going to shoot, what permits might be needed, what crew you’ll require, and if and how you’re going to feed them, among other concerns. And that’s before you hit the editing bay for post-production! Committing to project management software built for video creators allows you to keep track of all of the pieces of this complicated puzzle. 

It lets you allocate project resources effectively

When you can see the arc of the production, it’s easier to be strategic about what you’ll do when. Can the budget accommodate a sound editor and sushi lunch on shoot days? Is your co-producer supposed to be on set and in meetings for another project during the same week? Do what you can to avoid trouble early, because no matter what, something unexpected will come up and throw a wrench in your plans at some point anyway. The more organized you are, the less likely it is that chaos will ruin your plans.

It provides for better communication

Make sure your entire production team is on the same page about schedule and budget, with all of the information they need included in a centralized location that gets updated in real time. 

It’s easier to see areas that are falling behind

Instead of waiting for calls or texts about how something is going, you can check in to your project management software and see for yourself. Is pre-production lagging because of delays in getting costumes ordered? Is a byzantine approvals process creating a bottleneck that could easily be resolved? Project management software gives you an overview of the production in progress so you don’t find out about problems when it’s already too late to solve them.

The best project management software for video production: Our picks

Different productions have different needs, so the trick is to find the right software: something that will help you achieve your goals with minimal friction and a relatively shallow learning curve. Here are some of our picks for the best project management for video production software on the market:

  • Movie Magic Scheduling: Regularly hailed as the industry standard for production management, this program offers tons of features like script and cast breakdowns, scheduling, and budget management. It focuses heavily on the stripboard, a scheduling tool that breaks down each scene into a single strip of information that gets stacked according to when it will be shot. Pricing is a one-time fee of $498.
  • Gorilla Scheduling: Gorilla Scheduling is a similar program to Movie Magic, but requires less of an upfront commitment since it’s priced both monthly and yearly. Originally created by a group of guerrilla filmmakers to fit their needs, Gorilla Scheduling is built to help you out with tracking cast and crew, scheduling rehearsals, locations management, basic budgeting, scheduling, and expense tracking. However, there can be such a thing as too comprehensive: both Movie Magic and Gorilla are built to handle large productions, and might overwhelm small, first-time teams. A yearlong subscription to Gorilla will run you $240. 
  • Assemble: Assemble, on the other hand, was specifically built to streamline production for smaller teams with simpler video concepts, so it might be the right place to start your journey. Its scheduling function will sync with GCal and Outlook, among others, and it has task-management elements built in, as well as robust file-sharing capabilities. With plenty of templates available, it can help you figure out what you need from project management software on early shoots. Its pricing plan is simple, too: $19/month for an all-access pass. 
  • Dramatify: Dramatify offers workflow templates designed to accommodate a range of production styles, including everything from drama to talk shows to commercial video. If you’re working with a script, it can be imported from Final Draft or written directly into the program; it can then be broken down into sides, shared with your team, and used to help schedule shoot days. Dramatify offers robust personnel profiles so you can always find someone’s food allergies, wardrobe measurements, and phone number and email address if you need to be in touch. They offer a 60 day free trial for all of their tiers; after that, paid plans start at $299/month. 
  • StudioBinder: StudioBinder offers many of the same automation and integration features as Dramatify. One thing that sets them apart is their focus on storyboards, for which they offer plenty of templates. Once you’ve made your storyboard, StudioBinder allows you to customize your layouts, shot lists, and aspect ratios as well. If you’re going to be doing some writing, the program’s native screenwriting functionality automatically formats scripts for you, so you never have to think about what’s supposed to be ALL CAPS and what isn’t ever again. Two notable absences: it doesn’t include tools for budgeting or contracts for your shoot. You can try StudioBinder out for free, with paid plans starting at $29/month.
  • Yamdu: Yamdu offers the standard slate of features, including helping you to generate call sheets, manage crews, contact tracking and budgeting. And for anything it doesn’t? It integrates seamlessly with other project management software like Movie Magic and Celtx. To see if it works for you, try it out for free, and if you like it, they offer paid tiers starting at $70/month. 
  • Celtx: Celtx can help you produce a video — but if you invest in Celtx Studio, it can also help you make games. For either kind of project it’s super-strong in the writing stages, allowing you to storyboard and create notecards to see beats as they evolve. Then you can collaborate on scripts in real time with your team, and break that script down into a stripboard. One of its best features is its shot list, which is super-detailed and will allow you to completely visualize what you need for each scene before you show up on set. After a free trial, paid tiers start at $14.99/month. 

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