Hello. We are running a complex vfx-heavy show with Shotgun on the Studio side, and I have had a lot of issues with it for this use. Coming from Filemaker for many years, which is the typical tool on this end, I find Shotgun to be hard to use for what we need and very slow. Please see below.
-Finding information: There are so many filters and buttons to click through and create each time in order to find things, that I often give up and find workarounds to get the info I need. I’m used to Filemaker instant finds/constrains/omit/etc to drill down into information very quickly, and it’s driving me nuts and really hampering my workflow. Doing a detailed search like [“this” AND “that” or “other” but not “thing4”] seems undoable or takes a long time and I haven’t found any good methods to help. The saved filters and advanced filters don’t really help as far as I have found, depending on the search. I would love the ability to run SQL queries, that could be a way to speed it up. Also there is no way to search a range of anything that is not pure numbers, which is maddening. For instance I can’t search for scenes 20 - 40, or SHOT_0010 - SHOT_0100. Filemaker can do this and it’s a lifesaver. Every Shotgun user I’ve brought this up to has said I just need to click on every shot or scene I want in the filter bar to turn them on…but what if I want to look at 40 shots? So many clicks, so many loading pages I have to wait for, that’s not a good workflow. Additionally once I have a set of filter checkboxes I like, it seems the only way to save it is to save the whole page. But what if I want to flip through a different set of 20 checkboxes in the filters with one click, staying on the same page? Arg. The saved filters don’t act the same way as they require a query.
-Page load times / overall slowness: It’s hard to use a database that won’t show me more than 75-100 things at time without freezing or getting super slow, and takes time to load each page and each filter. Just slows down our workflow and makes it easy to miss information because I forgot to turn every page. Also coming from a hotkey workflow, needing to click all the time on buttons and menus is super slow. Each click makes me wait for something to load.
-Custom page views: I find the customization to be frustrating as it’s very rigid in what it can do. You can arrange a few widgets and add columns and rename headers and such…but I can’t get rid of all the stuff I don’t need that’s mandatory, or really arrange things in a custom manner to get what I need. It’s paint by (some) numbers when I want a blank canvas. I’m sure there are constraints with the web etc, but it feels barely customizable at all.
-Printing: Straight up cannot print the documents and reports I need. I’ve had to use Filemaker and excel, doubling my workload for things I already do in Shotgun. Reports, lists, etc are very important for Production meetings, reports other departments need, etc so this is a major issue with using the tool for Production use. I have tried using the help page guide but it didn’t help, it prints terribly with errors. E.g. ugly web headers (why can’t we hide headers and menu bars? So much screen real estate wasted and looks awful for print), random pages of grey background between groups, squishes down the thumbnails randomly. It just does not work. To be an effective Production tool, it needs to be able to print custom decent looking documents.
-Lack of transparency in the relational design: Not being able to tell how the entities relate to one another is frustrating. Without seeing that, it’s hard to know what information I can see via links, what automatically relates to what and does not, where I need to create something custom, what field needs to match the import, etc. Coming from Filemaker where you have control over everything and can see how it’s connected, it’s tough to not have any idea how the data relates to the other data and whether I can change it to get what we need.