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Camera, Set, Action: Automating Film Production via Business Process

Chun Ouyang
Arthur ter Hofstede
Marcello La Rosa
Michael Rosemann
Faculty of Information Technology
Queensland University of Technology
Brisbane, Australia
Katherine Shortland
David Court
Australian Film, Television and Radio School
Sydney, Australia

The application of Business ProcessManagement (BPM) technology can provide significant
benefits to an organisation in terms of cost savings and responsiveness to changes. In this
paper the application of this technology in the context of film production is investigated. A
prototype called YAWL4Film was developed on top of a state-of-the-art BPM system.
YAWL4Film supports collection and entering of production related data andautomatic
generation of reports required during film production. This system was deployed in two pilot
projects at the Australian Film Television and Radio School.

1. Introduction
In recent years the field of Business Process Management (BPM) has risen to prominence
in terms of its perceived importance by the IT industry. Successful BPM implementations
may lead to significant efficiency gains,may help demonstrate compliance with standard
practices and procedures, and may increase adaptiveness to changes in the environment in
which a business operates. While there are several definitions of BPM sometimes
emphasising different aspects, a core notion is the concept of business process. Examples
of business processes include the processing of insurance claims, mortgage applications,
andtravel requests. BPM is concerned with the lifecycle of these processes, which not only
involves their brief and execution, but also their post-execution analysis and subsequent
improvement (van der Aalst, ter Hofstede, and Weske, 2003).
While BPM technology has reached a certain level of maturity in recent years and has great
potential to deliver benefits in a wide range of applicationareas, it is typically applied by
medium to large companies with a high adoption level of information technology. As part of
the ARC Centre of Excellence for Creative Industries and Innovation (CCI) 1 , we move well
beyond the typical use of BPM and investigate how the application of BPM technology can
deliver benefits to the field of screen business.
The screen business comprises all creative andbusiness related aspects and processes of

CCI’s website is available at


film, television and new media content, from concept to production and finally distribution. A
value chain model for the screen business consists of four major phases: development, preproduction, production, and post-production (Clevé, 2006). Whether it is a live action drama
withactors, a documentary or animation, the production period is generally the most
expensive in screen business. It is during production that the majority of cast and crew are
contracted and the majority of the equipment and resources are utilised. A production can
be as short as a day, or last several years. During each shooting day, a number of activities
such as acting, visual effects, camera andsound recording are performed in studio or on
location. Whilst shooting is taking place, designated onset crew collect the information
associated with each of these activities via corresponding production forms. For example,
the Camera Assistant is responsible for filling in the camera sheet with details of each shot
recorded while the Sound Recordist will complete a corresponding sound sheetof all
dialogue or effects recorded on set. This information is later gathered and collated by the
production offer to generate the daily progress report. The production office also monitors
requirements for the subsequent shooting days and communicates this information prior to
the start of the next shooting day. Traditionally the forms and reports are purely paperbased and the production...
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