TiM (Time is Money) was conceived in 2015 by a pair of crewmembers, who had worked their way up from PAs to production management, eventually becoming DGA-member ADs. Experiencing the inefficiencies and paper-laden frustrations, they set out to envision a better way. They created TiM, a solution to making start paperwork easier for everyone on set.
We developed this software to make the onboarding of the freelance workforce of film, television and commercial production paperless. The backbone of our software is a highly customizable, permissions-based, database-driven forms creator and approval system, where Aspose.PDF for .NET is a core component. We also had another goal to eliminate paperwork on the set. By importing several different PDFs into our system, we provided a mechanism for distributing these documents electronically (instead of printing them out). Overall, we created tools to help bring film, TV and commercial production into the 21st century by creating tools that have been purposely built for this, unique and complex industry.
Our success heavily depended on our ability to create a system that becomes user-friendly, fast, efficient and incredibly reliable.
We were a startup with very limited resources. Our product was ambitious in form and function. To find a middle ground between our vision and cost, we went searching for an out of the box solution for uploading and exporting PDFs. The solution was required to be reliable and easy to integrate into our existing code while also being cost-effective. So during our limited, closed alpha tests, the response was overwhelmingly positive. In subsequent months, we had a plan to roll our product out nationally.
We used Aspose.PDF for .NET for:
- The ability to import PDFs and turn them into images that can be later combined and exported as a single PDF.
- To create documents with highly manipulable fields.
- Ability to apply information from our database to said fields.
- Ability to create large PDFs quickly.
Finding a solution
With such a tight budget, we shopped around considerably to find the right tool for the right price and our lead programmer happened on Aspose.PDF for .NET during our search. We immediately used the free trial to gauge whether or not Aspose.PDF for .NET would fit our needs and, sure enough, it did.
Onboarding paperwork is immensely diverse in the filmed entertainment industry. For this reason, we enabled production to upload it’s own custom forms into our system and then “prep” them to receive information from our database. Effectively, we built a system that fills out a new hire’s paperwork for him/her. We also gave the production the necessary tools to track this “paperwork” as it is approved and is eventually delivered to the necessary recipient entities. Generally, this paperwork is composed of twenty to thirty customized forms, which is where we rely heavily on Aspose.PDF for .NET.
Each production can hire hundreds or thousands of freelancers over its life. We import, export and store the paperwork for each one of these freelancers. As a product that sells itself as a time-saving tool, it is very important for us that large amounts of forms with varying complexity can be quickly imported from PDFs. Aspose.PDF for .NET enabled us to accomplish this requirement.
Our software also allows for productions to maintain a wide selection of other custom forms within our system. Examples of these are box kit rental forms, union-specific 401k forms, and schedules. Many of these forms have to be updated on a frequent (sometimes daily) basis, so having a simple, reliable upload process was so important to our user experience. We accomplished this by piggybacking on the functionality we’ve accomplished with Aspose.PDF for .NET for onboarding forms.
Aspose.PDF for .NET worked exactly as we needed it, by integrating seamlessly with the rest of our product’s functionality. We were successful in using Aspose.PDF for .NET to tackle all of our objectives while expending minimal resources.
As we expand our system to include other types of film production documents, we will have an ever-expanding need for importing PDFs. We see Aspose.PDF for .NET as a long-term building block on which future functionality will depend.
Overall, Aspose.PDF for .NET is a powerful, out-of-the-box solution that has allowed us to focus our development efforts on the proprietary and specialized functionality of our product. The samples on the Aspose website made prototyping a breeze. It was extremely quick to implement with just a handful of lines of code to import any PDF file.
This ease of use helped in keeping our development on schedule and allowed our dev. team to stay focused on the intricacies of our product.
CrewBridge Technologies, LLC