International visual effects house Pixomondo has standardized on Shotgun Software’s web-based production management and collaboration system. It is the center of Pixomondo’s worldwide production pipeline that spans 11 studios and more than 600 employees in Berlin, Beijing, Burbank, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Los Angeles, London, Munich, Stuttgart, Shanghai and Toronto.
“What Shotgun does for us is to literally get everyone on the same page,” said Pixomondo managing producer John Parenteau. “It centralizes the entire production – schedules, shot status, playlists, etc., and updates made anywhere are immediately available to everyone. 80% of our projects are worked on at multiple facilities, and with Shotgun it’s like working with another department, not another country. Shotgun has taken a lot of the stress out of production and has brought people together.”
Pixomondo began testing Shotgun as it considered the buy vs. build decision after expanding beyond what its existing database could handle. “In the production environment you simply don’t have the time to build everything from scratch, and because Shotgun is comprehensive and gives us a good base to build around, we didn’t have to,” said Pixomondo head of pipeline Patrick Wolf.
Today, Pixomondo’s Shotgun system houses more than 120 projects, 7,500 shots, 1,100 assets, 30,000 tasks and 500,000 notes.
Designed specifically for visual effects, CG feature animation and video game industries, Shotgun enables all parties involved in a project with instant access to critical data, messaging and real-time project progress. It is also features an API that enables users to write their own tools and integrate Shotgun with other pipeline tools and creative software applications.
“Shotgun’s API is really flexible and our developers and scripters can build tools very quickly,” Wolf noted. “When we rolled out Shotgun worldwide artists picked it up right away – and people only do that when it’s something that truly helps them.”
While the system can be hosted locally, Pixomondo opted to have Shotgun host its system, to eliminate the direct costs of building and managing server infrastructure to support it.
Pixomondo has deployed Shotgun on features including Super 8, Green Lantern, Sucker Punch and Fast Five and is currently leveraging the system heavily for The Invention of Hugo Cabret, the highly anticipated feature from Martin Scorcese, with 10 Pixomondo studios working on the project simultaneously, as well for Red Tails, Hawaii Five-0, Terra Nova, Hindenburg and other features and TV shows.
“With so many divisions sharing work, communication needs to be transparent, to make everything rum smoothly and let teams from all over the world feel and work like one team,” said Pixomondo COO China and executive producer Jan Heinze. “Shotgun has replaced all of the emails that used to go back and forth with schedules, version updates and feedback; the notes coordinators took on all sides and sent around. That’s all gone. Shotgun made our information exchange real time. We can now discover problems before they become problems. Shotgun has given us the transparency a multinational and multicultural working environment requires.”