Commercials VFX group The Mill adopts ftrack worldwide

Monday, 07 April 2014

Juggling a huge range of simultaneous VFX commercial projects across a multi-site infrastructure is a complex business, which is why more studios, like award-winning VFX group The Mill, are turning to ftrack to help manage the global production challenge.

Commercials VFX group The Mill adopts ftrack worldwide

With individual projects spanning several locations around the world, it’s important to find a simple, effective solution to streamline production tracking and asset management. The need for this flexible simplicity played a big part in The Mill group’s decision to adopt ftrack to better overcome many of the issues faced by its global commercials-driven studios.

The Mill currently has sites in London, New York, Los Angeles and Chicago where each location has the ability to run the same project with an identical toolset. It’s normal to have several hundred commercials online simultaneously across the four installations and this workflow volume presents significant organisational and tracking issues.

“Many of these projects are shared between the sites, so logistically we have to be able to track and manage assets in real-time, but also have the ability to transfer targeted assets as quickly as possible,” explains Dave Levy, Group CG Technology Director at The Mill. “Right now, while we have scene and dependent asset linking we don’t have a transfer mechanism connected to the version control, and this is compounded by some components not being part of the dependency set.”

With more data being transferred between the sites than ever before, a more targeted approach was needed to help streamline the process, he says. Despite having developed several in-house solutions to address the multi-site nature of the group’s business, The Mill found ftrack’s joined-up nature really fills the gaps that the group hadn’t yet addressed itself.

“It certainly looked like a clean out-of-the-box solution which brought together, at a higher level, more of the production process than our in-house systems,” says Levy about his first impressions of ftrack’s capabilities.

The team from ftrack helped The Mill to look at new ways of streamlining the way they were working across multiple sites and timezones, and the group was subsequently impressed with the potential of the offering.

“The team at ftrack fully understands our distributed model. We use per site utility servers, which must be able to perform local heavy lifting but still be recognized as part of a global common structure,” Levy explains. “The recent ‘locations’ system will bring this capability to any multi-site organization which faces the same issues. What excites us the most is the extension of the locations concept beyond the case of the local high performance storage into other aspects of the pipeline. Examples of this would be distributed libraries, archives and Flame file systems.”

Fredrik Limsäter, CEO of ftrack comments: “This is an exciting development for us. We have really been able to focus our toolsets so that they can be used in a collaborative way. The Mill’s adoption of ftrack is a great endorsement to the functionality we now have in ftrack.”

The Mill is working closely with ftrack’s developers to implement it system-wide.

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