Company Fulcrum Labs
Location Los Angeles
Based in Hollywood, California, the company looks to equip higher education and corporate clients with an easy to use, personalized learning platform while eschewing the PowerPoint presentations and dull, grey conference rooms that have marred training experiences in the past.
The Fulcrum Labs platform does this by analyzing users’ habits and competency levels and leveraging that data to personalize each learning experience to the individual. Furthermore, Fulcrum’s systems can adapt to an individual student, using advanced algorithms to ensure learners remain immersed in the information they’re attempting to digest.
Fulcrum doesn’t just offer the platform, but also produces the content itself, partnering with companies such as Allegiant Air to design entire courses – courses that can span 25,000 assets and several hours of video footage, some 70% of which can comprise entirely original motion graphics.
With timelines sometimes as tight as six months, Fulcrum needs a project management solution that it can rely on. ftrack is that service, enabling Fulcrum to oversee its sprawling projects at scales large and small.
VP of production, Fulcrum Labs
“We can look at ftrack and see when crunch time will hit. We can identify it early and begin planning.”
Big data, better learning
Fulcrum Labs’ approach was inspired by the personalization algorithms employed by tech giants such as Netflix and Facebook.
“Facebook has the most personalized engine on the planet, so no one’s Facebook feed is the same,” begins Christina Ferguson, VP of production and operations. “We looked at higher education and corporate training and realized that, in today’s world of personalization, nobody is personalizing a training experience for their students.”
Personalization has long been considered a vital element in education: Albert Einstein famously said; “everybody is a genius, but if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” The data and analytics we can collect today enable educators to tailor learning experiences in a more bespoke fashion than ever – and also at speed.
For instance, one of Fulcrum’s core verticals is in aviation, with Allegiant Air standing as one of the team’s prized clients. Training a pilot to handle $100 million aircraft and the lives of hundreds of passengers requires a delicate approach, but Fulcrum’s platform stands as a holistic training solution.
Along with the learning platform – which enables trainees to focus on precise educational components of learning, and companies to track progress right down to individual objectives – Fulcrum creates comprehensive educational programs that include original live-action video and high-end animation.
Many of Fulcrum’s principals have TV and film production experience, which helps when working on projects to this scale. “Managing 20,000 assets for a pilot training course is no easy feat,” says Ferguson. “The whole production is a vast undertaking – from the lengthy scripting process to physical production, original animation, editorial, and lots of approval.”
The ability to manage and track this process is key. That’s why Fulcrum started looking for a project management platform that could oversee such projects at a broader scale, while also dialing in on details along the approvals process.
“We were looking for a solution that would not only give a bird’s-eye view of what is complete and where we are in a project but would also help us track the review process.”
Fulcrum’s team tested multiple project management solutions before turning to ftack. Previous solutions failed to offer the detail and automation required when wrangling tiny details on such massive projects or were too complex and difficult to train new employees on.
ftrack hit the sweet spot between the two. “While we’re not in visual effects, there is a component of what we do that is very similar to that, with client approvals and tracking,” says Ferguson. “We started using ftrack, and everyone in the office, from the script-writers to the animators and the project managers, loved it.
“This has been the platform that really stuck with us.”
Managing massive workloads
One of Fulcrum’s recent programs for Allegiant Air involved a comprehensive training package based around the inner workings of the Airbus A320.
Fulcrum developed a training program that spanned 25 hours’ worth of content – including 200 videos and over 2500 interactive activities. The videos alone totaled over eight hours of content including six hours of motion graphics animation. “That’s about four feature films in length, and we had to finish those in six months,” reveals Ferguson.
Even with two production teams, a small core staff of seven animators, six video producers, and a scalable freelance pool, this was a huge job. It was “all hands on deck” to finalize the content within six months.
“ftrack earned its keep in these months, as it was always clear when handoffs between teams needed to happen,” affirms Ferguson. “The toolset was really important when figuring out what was finished and what had to be done next.”
Fulcrum begins each project breaking its course into components, deciding what content should be covered and how, i.e. using live-action video, animation, or text. Ferguson says Fulcrum saves an incredible amount of time in this stage with ftrack, as it enables them to separate and assign some 8,000 tasks between curriculum designers, video producers, animators, writers, editors, and project managers.
Once production has begun in earnest, ftrack allows Fulcrum to visualize those tasks and see how far along they have progressed, making adjustments on the fly as necessary.
“ftrack allows us to quickly and visually see roadblocks and delays that may cause a project to fall behind schedule or go over budget,” says Ferguson. “We can look at ftrack and see when crunch time will hit. That’s really important, because instead of having to scramble and fall behind schedule because we need another animator or writer , we can identify that early and begin planning.
“We can communicate this with our clients and have a paper trail in case we do need to charge overages,” she adds. “ftrack allows us to have a more stabilized budget, which just makes the overall process so much simpler.”
Falling for ftrack
Ferguson says her team is “enamored” with ftrack, and are looking forward to explore more of its advanced functionality, including using the platform to share content for client reviews. But ultimately, it’s the tool’s ease of use and simple design that made it ideal for the team. After all, for a team of educators, simplicity in learning is key.
“The fact that we can see week-over-week what we’ve completed is really helpful for me as an executive,” concludes Ferguson. “We’re yet to really start digging into ftrack and finding out what it can do, but the simple fact that it solved that problem was a huge win for us.
“There’s a pleanty of room for Fulcrum Labs and its ftrack integration to grow.”