Timing is Everything Timing App

Automatic Time-Tracking for Multimedia Post-Production Projects with the Timing App

We’ve all been in busy post-production sessions that sometimes descend into chaos. Keeping track of the hours used for each client can be a chore when things get rushed. Under tight deadlines, we sometimes forget to charge for phone calls, planning sessions or office work.

At the end of the day, many an exhausted editor has had to guesstimate the number of hours a job takes. Without precise measurement, this leaves room for mistakes and lost revenue. Most in the post-production business know this scenario well. I certainly do.

There are many time measurement applications available for all types of computers. They can make your life much easier. Try them out to find the one that best fits your facility and workflow.

Because I use the Apple Mac platform, I tried one of the most highly rated automated time monitoring apps. It’s a subscription program called Timing that can help you keep track of time without lifting a finger.

Timing automatically tracks applications, documents and domains while you work. For Mac users in video post-production, it can track your activities and keep perfect records of the time spent on a project.

Though Timing works with all kinds of apps, we focused on post-production for this article. Timing has been tested and validated to work with Apple’s Final Cut Pro, Adobe Premiere Pro and After Effects, Blackmagic Design’s DaVinci Resolve, Cinema-4D, frame.io and several lesser-known post apps.

On the audio side, it works with major DAWS, including Avid’s Pro Tools, Apple’s Logic Pro and Ableton Live. For other apps such as Avid Media Composer, Adobe Audition and Adobe Premiere Rush, Timing will track only time spent in the app overall, but not on which particular project. Once every second, Timing automatically records the window title and document path or URL of the active window being used. Apps running in the background are not recorded.

When a user switches apps, Timing will start to automatically track time for the new app. After a period of inactivity — say a lunch break — Timing will suspend auto tracking. The user can adjust or manually fill gaps, creating time entries on the timeline.

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Most post-production users of Macs care a lot about getting maximum performance from their CPUs during editing. It’s a good question then to ask how much impact comes from using Timing during an edit session?

Timing’s creator says the app will not slow down a Mac in any way. The tracker app’s average CPU usage is less than 0.5 percent and consumes less than 50 megabytes of system memory. We confirmed this on our Mac.

For those editing on Mac laptops, Timing has negligible impact on battery life. This can be verified by checking the “Energy” tab in the Mac’s “Activity Monitor” app. Timing’s activity database has also been optimized to consume as little storage as possible, growing by just a few megabytes a month.

Timing can work on many projects at once. Just set up a folder for each project. When the job is complete, use the data for billing. It is easy to start a new project from scratch.

Timing has been designed to not only track the application being used, but also specific files being edited. In order to be able to find out the path to that file, the app needs the Accessibility permission which can be granted in the Security & Privacy System Settings.

Manually fill gaps in the Timing timeline

Timing 2023.5: Say Hello to the Vertical Timeline

Some apps, such as Adobe Premiere Pro, do not share their window title through Timing’s Accessibility API. This means that Timing can’t track window titles for such apps unless it uses an alternative method. It does not record the actual screen, but rather uses this permission to access and track the window title of the app in focus when the Accessibility API is not sufficient.

By doing this, Timing can still accurately monitor and log usage of applications that don’t readily make their window titles available via Accessibility.

A feature called Timing Sync allows users to automatically synchronize Timing data across several Macs, which is great in a multi-machine facility. Timing also integrates with Apple’s Screen Time system to import and show iPhone and iPad usage on Timing on Macs.

Rather than simply keep a record of hours of work, a reporting feature can generate data including PDF, XLSX, CSV or HTML to create timesheets and invoices. Freelancers, contractors and team managers can view reports. For example, team managers can view reports of their groups’ work time, but personal times and details are protected as team admins only see aggregated times associated with team projects.

Timing’s Team View

Beyond basic time tracking, Timing allows integrations with other apps. It can send time entries to billing software with Zapier integration (no code required) and export data for further processing with Timing’s Web API.

If part of your billable time is phone calls, in-person meetings and other offline activity, these hours can be added manually to your timeline.

Once set up, you will forget you are using Timing, since it will work automatically in the background. After it has tracked some activities, you can assign those to projects by dragging them to the corresponding project in the sidebar. To avoid even having to do that repeatedly, Timing uses a rules system that can automatically categorize almost all of your activities. This works by keeping the ⌥ key pressed while dragging an activity to a project. Timing will then create a rule that automatically assigns such activities to this project. Setting up just a few rules can reduce the amount of manual categorization needed by 80 to 90 percent. 

Beyond post-production, Timing automatically tracks virtually every app, document and website used – including the full file path or URL. Say a letter is typed for a client on a word processor. This extra can also be added to the cumulative time for the job. This makes assigning activity log data much easier and more accurate.

Timing’s calendar integration allows the user to assign any calendar event quickly, so you’ll never forget billing that client meeting again. In addition, Timing automatically asks you to record time after each video or audio call, making sure that all that time gets accounted for.

Setting up Timing is quite easy. Download it for a free trial now and you’ll automatically receive a 10% discount on your first payment. It has excellent documentation, videos, tutorials and illustrations that walk any level user through a quick setup. Rules make it very flexible and powerful. Pricing of the Professional is $8 a month for basic features, billed annually; the Expert edition with additional features such as the Screen Time and Calendar integration is $10 a month, billed annually; and the Connect edition with support for sharing projects and time entries with team members is $14 a month, billed annually.

In an era where time accuracy is demanded, clients can keep close track of their hours. An auto time tracker like Timing can really make a difference in any post-production business.

Whichever time measurement application you choose, keeping track of precise time is a good business practice.


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