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Originally featured on BroadcastEngineering.com
Mar 8

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3/8/2012 7:52 PM  RssIcon

Oktobor Animation has relied on Shotgun software to manage all facets of their production pipeline since opening their doors in 2010. Based in Auckland, New Zealand, Oktobor Animation was founded with Nickelodeon as their primary client, and the studio currently delivers animated programming to the cable channel. All work is done in-house and projects include the animated series “The Penguins of Madagascar” and “Kung Fu Panda” as well as the upcoming buddy-comedy, “Robot and Monster.”

In any given week the company has a minimum of two 11-minute shows in the layout pipeline, eight 11-minute shows in the animation pipeline and twelve 11-minute shows in CG post production; in just 19 months Oktobor has delivered 630 minutes of final animation. “Shotgun is the backbone of almost everything we do,” said Rob Di Figlia, Head of Production, Oktobor Animation, who over his fourteen year career tried a host of other solutions before finally landing on Shotgun, “We were in production the first week we were open so we had to hit the ground running. We needed an efficient task-based management system where an artist could sit down, publish, ship work and have it all tracked from one centralized location. Shotgun hit all of those requirements and was easy to integrate. Over the past 19 months, we’ve been amazed at how it’s been able to scale.”

Shotgun is a web-based system that provides instant project access to critical data, messaging and real-time project progress. With an open API, studios can build custom tools and bridges to other applications around Shotgun. Oktobor Animation has grown very quickly, from zero to 135 artists in its first 12 months and was able to evolve and customize their use of Shotgun on the fly, “As we were ramping up, new departments were literally coming online each week. We didn’t have to go back into code to create new reports and pages—that’s been the greatest strength of Shotgun, it’s very customizable at the user level,” said Jason Adams, Creative Director at Oktobor Animation.

“Everything we do touches Shotgun—it’s more than just a tool, it’s a platform. We’ve set it up so that you can’t open Maya without it querying Shotgun to bring up an artist’s work for the day,” Di Figlia continued. “We’ve been able to automate so many tasks within Shotgun and have defined tools that update shot progress within the system without requiring any manual input from the artists. Shotgun is also set up to let our packing department know what assets are ready to be shipped out at the end of each day—and is updated automatically so that at any given time our clients can log in and see the latest progress on any given shot. It’s an out of the box solution that we’re able to implement like a proprietary tool designed specifically for our studio’s needs.”

There are, on average, about 6500 tasks per week across each of the departments in the studio, in addition to these core production tasks, Oktobor also manages HR functions, finances, billing, candidate recruiting, vacation requests, contractors, machine and software inventory and IT tickets all within Shotgun, all with custom levels of access for different departments and personnel and all in one central location.

“Without Shotgun we'd have to have a small army of producers and PA's to track the volume of data moving thru our studio on a daily basis,” concluded Di Figlia. “With Shotgun, those resources are freed up to put more money on the screen, which leads to happier clients. Shotgun becomes more indispensible every day as we continue to shape it to meet the needs of our studio.”

About Shotgun Software

Shotgun Software was founded in 2006 by a group of visual effects professionals to build production tracking and pipeline solutions. The founding members worked together on a major studio animated feature and are developing Shotgun to fill the mounting industry need for a commercially viable system for managing complex projects spread across multiple locations. Shotgun is actively developing the system with more than 300 industry studios including Digital Domain, Double Negative, Reliance, Framestore, Pixomondo, Playstation, Blizzard and Zoic Studios. For more information and an online demonstration visit www.shotgunsoftware.com.

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