Television deadlines plus multi-site workflows is a perfect storm for creative stress. Not so for Vision Holdings. The company may produce content for huge brands across three facilities in Seoul, Shanghai, and Tokyo, but ftrack holds everything together. We spoke with Iman Javaherypour, VFX Supervisor at the Vision Shanghai branch, to learn how the facility’s use of ftrack Studio has streamlined cross-site production and made for better projects.
Please tell us a little about the work you do at Vision Shanghai.
Vision Holdings is a Korean-based creative company with more than 30 years’ experience. We provide a variety of post-production and VR solutions cross Vision’s three Asia studios. Our services are wide and varied: they include pre-visualization, CG, animation, FX, motion graphics, compositing, online as well as in-house sound and grading facilities.
Most recently, we worked on a commercial that required several intensive CG tasks. We needed to integrate CG creatures and massive buildings with live footage, as well as plenty of DMP shots.
It sounds like a complex task!
It was! Thankfully, we got involved with the project early, during its pre-production stages in the Seoul HQ. We had a lot of meetings with the Director and Creative Director on the agency side.
Based on the initial storyboards, we got to work creating this fantasy, dream-like city. It was exciting work, especially as the agency gave us so much creative freedom in constructing the city.
We performed extensive research and brainstormed lots of unique architectural elements. It took a bit of back and forth before the skyline started to crystalize. But soon enough, we had finalized the tone and atmosphere of this fantasy world.
Did you encounrter any major challenges on this project?
The most challenging aspect of an intensive project such as this one is not technical but practical. It’s how to keep everyone on the same page and create synergy.
As an international company, sharing assets, managing data, farming out shots to other studios, and monitoring progress can be a daunting task. It requires a lot of focus to manage the output of Vision’s in-house artists, its army of talent in other studios, and all of the freelancers that come on board as required. This is where ftrack Studio really makes its mark.
Why did you turn to ftrack Studio to help organize production?
We needed to enable collaboartion between producers and supervisors at various locations. We also needed to streamline our production process and increase visibility and control. We implemented ftrack Studio as the in-house studio management pipeline tool to do so.
Before implementing ftrack Studio, Excel was crucial in scheduling and planning. The drawback was that we saved these plans on our local server. Vision’s other branches were unable to see the others’ schedules in real-time and, as such, were unaware of workload and time management occurring elsewhere.
Our revamped, cloud-based ftrack Studio pipeline provides greater visibility and insight and enables greater flexibility in managing resources across all of Vision’s studios.
What attracted you to the ftrack Studio platform specifically?
There are a lot of off-the-shelf project management solutions out there. What makes ftrack Studio the most appealing is that its solution design is TVC (television commercial) industry-oriented.
Considering the demanding deadlines in our industry it can be quite a hassle, not to mention stressful, if artists have to work around a tedious management solution. That’s when they bypass non-valued admin tasks and work starts to fall through.
Thankfully, ftrack Studio is simple enough that this isn’t an issue. Its user-friendly GUI enables producers to plan efficiently, the task-assignment functions are accessible for our artists, and the publishing tools expertly organize the files on our servers.
ftrack Studio’s Overview tab also presents an easy-to-read board of events and tasks of various active jobs. By locking in set milestones and events, ftrack Studio facilitates Vision’s time and schedule, but also makes our team more productive.
Furthermore, the dashboard features allow me to see what’s happening across all of our studios in multiple countries at a glance. That expedites scheduling and blocking artists’ time on jobs, but it also provides excellent management insights when evaluating team competencies and process improvement.
How has ftrack Studio’s review functionality helped improve the work you deliver at Vision?
The review functionality is arguably the most impressive of ftrack Studio’s features.
Thanks to review in ftrack Studio, users from all over the world can jump into media and make annotations on any specific frame. For instance, when I want to review an animatic, the team can send me a link. I can jump in, go to the specific timecodes that need work, and leave my comments there. It simplifies the feedback process.
Is ftrack Studio fit for purpose for studios such as Vision?
ftrack Studio is genuinely an excellent solution for post-production studios. Its numerous features are built to facilitate the pipeline and workflow of companies like Vision. It makes life easier for producers, supervisors, and artists alike.
At Vision, we’re glad that ftrack Studio is there to support us.