- Wednesday, Oct. 22, 2014
In the just published first installment of a series of Sponsored Entertainment & Advertising Technology features, SHOOT delves into digital workflow solutions, placing the spotlight on five pioneering companies, including Shotgun. In this feature, SHOOT connects with leaders who tell their stories of how their tools are helping to define today’s constantly evolving digital workflow.
The feature titled "Workflow in the Digital Age" was published on October 17, 2014 across SHOOT's digital and print platforms including SHOOT Magazine, SHOOTonline and The SHOOT>e.dition. Shotgun senior director Don Parker was interviewed for the article.
Here is an excerpt from the SHOOT feature about Shotgun...
Ten years ago, when Don Parker and his colleagues worked on the software tool team at a major Hollywood studio, they quickly realized that the studios needed many tools in addition to their major VFX and animation software packages. A big studio could afford to hire their own experts to write custom software, but there were dozens of medium-sized and smaller studios that couldn’t.
Shotgun started eight-and-a-half years ago with the mission of building project management and tracking tools. “We wanted to connect the supervisor, the manager, the artist so they could focus on the creative but also run a healthy business,” says Shotgun Senior Director Don Parker, who notes that Autodesk has acquired the company.
Soon after its founding, Shotgun was working with large animation studios and VFX houses; they’ve done work on “all the big tent-pole visual effects movies,” for clients such as Laika, Double Negative, Blue Sky, and Tippett Studios. According to Parker, Shotgun has 600 clients, mainly in the VFX/animation portion of the entertainment industry.
In recent years, Shotgun’s creators began looking into how to connect studios. In the highly collaborative world of VFX and animation, studios needed to be able to easily share data, both internally and externally. “We started working with more and more studios and began studying how they worked,” says Parker. “We noticed patterns and similarities. We started building our software to promote best practices based on what we saw.”
The first problem Shotgun tried to solve was a production tracking system. “There’s always someone at the studio--a coordinator or manager--who is asked to get their heads around a lot of information, which they usually do in Excel or Filemaker databases,” says Parker. “Because there were no tools, they’d have to build it themselves, and the information would be scattered across multiple spreadsheets.” This first Shotgun tool enables the manager or coordinator to consolidate all the information digitally in one spot, for real-time access. “Workflow optimization is to centralize the information rather than have it fragmented,” he adds.
Shotgun’s production tracking software was well received, allowing the company to take the next step. “The review process was another bottleneck,” says Parker. “In production, each artist is showing the progress of their work to their supervisors over and over again. Because the artists were distributed around the world, it became very slow and therefore expensive.” Shotgun built a set of tools on top of the production tracking, to make it easy and fast for artists and supervisors to communicate back and forth.
These review process tools were just rolled out on the iPhone. With these review tools in place, Shotgun has recently rolled out a client presentation site. “It’s very easy to put a list of media together, a playlist, that you can share with an outside client in a simple, secure way,” he says. “Connecting artists and supervisors to their clients is an area we are going to continue to optimize.”
Next, Shotgun built the Pipeline Toolkit. “We noticed many of our clients were spending a lot of time building little artist tools to connect the different software platforms,” says Parker. “The process is very painful unless you have the tools. The Pipeline toolkit are polished, individual tools that speed up the artists working within their creative tools.” Because Shotgun is now part of Autodesk, it is showing off integration with the Flame. “If I’m working on Flame, for example, and some artists need to do 3D or 2D work, I can easily set the file system up, organized for Nuke or Maya,” he says. “The tracking system is updated so the manager or supervisor can see what’s happening inside the Flame suite. It takes care of all the boring housekeeping, and let’s the artist focus on being creative.”
To read the full "Workflow in the Digital Age" sponsored feature, please visit one of the following links:
Click Here to read the online version of the article. Here's link to online version of article.
Click Here to view article in the PDF version of the October 17, 2014 PDF version of SHOOT Magazine. (click on first issue at top of the page)
Click Here to view/download PDF version of just the article.
Click Here to request information on future SHOOT Entertainment and Advertising Technology sponsored features. Sponsorship includes participation in feature article plus digital and print advertising & promotion.
Shotgun Software is a developer of scalable, cloud-based production tracking, review, and asset management software for the film, television and games industries. Shotgun’s tools for production management are used by some of the world’s leading production studios, and are tightly integrated with many of the most widely used tools in the industry. Shotgun staffers come from production studios and are passionate about building tools that help artists, managers, supervisors and developers bring inspiring work to the world while enjoying the process and maintaining a healthy bottom line.
About SHOOT Magazine / SHOOTonline
SHOOT® Magazine and SHOOTonline® are the leading publication and website for commercial and entertainment production & postproduction; edited for agency, movie & studio creative and production executives, executives at commercial and entertainment production/post companies, TV/Online/Mobile networks, brand marketer production executives, independent filmmakers and artisans including directors, cinematographers, editors, colorists, vfx supervisors/artists/animators, composers, sound designers & mixers. Through its "News" and "ScreenWork" sections, "Columns" and in-depth "Features", SHOOT publishes timely news, relevant information and a behind-the-scenes look at the best new work and profiles/interviews with industry news makers. In addition, SHOOT reports on the latest cinematography, post & editing technology and equipment. If the work involves advertising and entertainment motion picture content that consumers view on a screen---a TV screen, Cinema screen, Computer screen, Mobile screen or Game screen, SHOOT is searching out who's doing the most innovative work and what's coming next. For further information please visit www.SHOOTonline.com®
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