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What is Turnaround Time in Film?

Various film terms are commonly misunderstood by newbies and those just entering the film industry, and for good cause! They sure can be confusing. For example, you might have heard the term turnaround time. It’s almost guaranteed that you think it means the amount of time from when a film project is ordered until it has been completed and sent back to you by the studio. But, what if we told you turnaround time has another meaning in film? What is turnaround time in film? And what does it actually mean?

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Turnaround Time Has Multiple Meanings

In the film industry, turnaround time has multiple meanings. You’ll almost certainly need to hear the term used in context. In order to figure out exactly what is meant by it.

For example, turnaround time might be used by a film studio to describe the amount of time between the order of a film project and the completion of the project. 

Other Meanings

But, sometimes turnaround time in film means something entirely different. Film turnaround time often means the amount of time that stands between the wrap on set, and the call time the next day.

In this sense, turnaround time represents the amount of time that the film crew will have to relax, spend time with friends, take a shower, eat, and sleep. 

For most film sets, especially those that are union, turnaround time has a standard of 12 hours on, 12 hours off. Thus, if a shoot wraps at 7pm, the call time the next day cannot be before 7am. This allows for film workers to live their lives.

Why is Turnaround Time Important?

Turnaround time is important in filmmaking. Because it provides guaranteed opportunities for film workers to rest and relax. Without these rules and regulations set forth for the labor workers of a film set, burnout can happen.

The industry was once widely known for taking advantage of workers. Unions require film workers to have the twelve hour time period, turnaround time, between their next call even if the previous days’ shoot runs over.

Thus, the film’s AD and Director or anyone else responsible for adjusting the schedule will be required to make adjustments to the schedule if the shoot runs over this way a full 12 hours is provided between the next call.

Another Use of Turnaround Time

The term turnaround may also be used in another context. Such as a turnaround deal. Which means that a film studio has declared a loss on the company’s tax return for the production costs of a project.

When a film studio declares turnaround on their taxes, they are no longer allowed to exploit the property any further. 

In Summary

As you can see, when it comes to describing turnaround time in film. There are several uses of the term that could mean different things.

Most commonly, the film turnaround time is either the 12 hours between the wrap and the next days’ call time.

But if you’re talking with a studio about the turnaround time for your project? It could mean the amount of time you can expect to wait for your project to be completed and returned to you finished.