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October 2016

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WORKFLOW 46 POST OCTOBER 2016 ontent creators in film, television, commercials and games know that the secret to success is an efficient review pipeline. A robust review toolset is one of the most important parts of any production pipeline — especially when involving the high volume of content required to produce animation and visual effects today. The iterative process — review and revise, review and revise, and so on — is crucial for facilitating the level of cre- ative collaboration needed to deliver top-quality results. As our industry evolves, teams are regularly spread out across multiple buildings — or increasingly around the globe. Simultaneously, powerful mobile technology and the popularity of on-demand streaming have changed the way we, as consum- ers, view media. In the same way that these two developments have changed our daily lives, they have transformed the way creative teams manage their review process. Content creators and their clients want to manage the review process on demand — from any device. However, in contrast to consumers, content creators are typically engaged in an iterative review process, watching the same clips over and over again. This iterative process can be slowed down when you're faced with the challenge of getting the right clip in front of the right person for review — which only becomes more prevalent when teams of artists are working together on the same projects from remote locations. Everyone needs to access the same media, often at the same time. With the pace and schedule demands of the animation and visual effects industries, content creators can't afford to have any roadblocks slowing down the review process. Miscommunication in the review pipeline can lead to very costly production mistakes down the line, whether you're a small independent shop out- sourcing work, or a global studio with facilities around the world. Media collaboration in VFX and animation production mod- els can be broken down into four actions: The need to share, browse, view and collaborate on content. Media must be easy to share across teams, easy to browse and pinpoint the clip that's relevant to the current task, viewable in any video format and in a variety of contexts even at high resolutions, and presented on a platform where feedback and notes can be shared in a collaborative way. There are a variety of different approaches to making all of this happen, but before standardizing on a review methodolo- gy and process, there are factors that studios and facilities should evaluate. One thing to consider is: Will it be possible to play back any media type from any source? This is probably one of the most important considerations since proj- ects and files are generally captured from various sources and manipulated in a wide range of creative tools, often yielding materials for review in disparate file formats and frame rates. For that reason, it's also essential that multiple clips can be viewed side by side, even if they exist in different codecs and resolutions — anything from QT, MPEG 4, Windows, AVI, Red r3d, Cineon, Open EXR, IFF, JPEG, Arri Alexa, RAW SLER, DPX or TIFF. Having a viable way to review VR files on the desktop is also becoming increasingly more important. Another important consideration is that artists and supervisors need to be able to easily search, access and sort clips related to a task at hand, and then view them with nothing more than Internet connectivity and a browser. While review pipelines haven't been known to evoke the same level of excitement as, say, a simulated CG tidal wave destroying a major city on the big screen, it's part of the process that may just be the key to keeping the visual effects industry healthy and viable. While there are a lot of options out there for review, it's important to find the solution that best suits your team, clients and way of working. THE SECRET TO SUCCESS: AN EFFICIENT REVIEW PIPELINE SHARE, BROWSE, VIEW & COLLABORATE C BY JOHNNY DUGUID PRODUCT MANAGER, SHOTGUN REVIEW AUTODESK WWW. SHOTGUNSOFTWARE. COM

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