Client-side workflows in Shotgun

Hey everyone! :wave:t4:

I’ve seen a few posts (not many, but a few) regarding client-side (ie. production-side, show-side) usage of Shotgun. I knew you were out there! From what I’ve seen over the years (and even more recently), it’s a growing client base. Agree? I’m interested in learning more about what is working well and and not so well. Perspectives from both the client-side and vendor-side experience (ie. cases where vendors were given access to the client-side Shotgun site for shot lists and assignments, status submissions, media submissions, notes visibility, etc.).

Any killer features (available today) that is making the adoption of client-side Shotgun a no-brainer? And what’s missing to make this experience better all around for collaboration/engagement across the studio-client-vendor ecosystem? This is also a shout out to the companies (GPL, ReDesign) and freelance individuals (too many to list!) out there helping push this forward every single day. I know it can be a tough audience to crack into!

(Of course my first post ever would be about this topic)

Stephen

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Great question, @Stephen—curious to see what comes up. Also, welcome to the forum!

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Oh, I have a LOT to say about this! So much I don’t know where to start, honestly.

I’m a “perma-lancer” for a small-ish studio in Atlanta, and I am the resident Shotgun expert in terms of the front-end/producer & client side stuff. We use the client review site for some clients, and that’s sometimes worked great and other times been…not great. The main problem with Client Review is it’s lack of portal where they can keep track of what they’ve been sent to look at, from what I’ve seen. Using Client Review as the client means you either keep the tab open forever or lose track of what you commented on. We don’t use Shotgun in this way as much as we do the other option we have (outlined below).

On the other end of the spectrum, we are the vendor working on an animated show for a client but we control the Shotgun project. The client has custom access to our site - we set up a custom permissions group (or rather, the Super Awesome Support team set it up for us) that allows them full access so they can use Screening Room and other features and allows us to have a constantly flowing feedback process with them. The customization we made was that they can only see notes that are addressed to them, or on which they are copied - so while they might be able to look at a version in Shotgun, they can’t see our discussion on it. Once we loop them into a thread they can see it, or we start a separate note thread if we DON’T want them to see the prior discussion. It works really well for us on this project - every once in a while they might see something we haven’t sent them for approval yet & comment on it if they notice we’re heading in the wrong direction, but in general they wait for us to ask for comment.

I’ve never worked in the reverse - as a vendor with access to someone else’s project, so I’ll be interested to see how that works for people.

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Hey @Stephen and @jlweiss!

Love this conversation. Client review has been a topic of discussion at Shotgun as of late, and we hear what clients are saying about the Client Review Site, what works, and what’s missing. While I don’t have an definitive update for you at this point, it is something that we are reviewing in full.

If you have any ideas you want us to know about for either client or vendor workflows in Shotgun, please pass them along through “Submit Idea” on the roadmap.

But perhaps more importantly, keep the conversation going here! I like it! I’m really excited to see what comes of these talks and what we can create together :rainbow:

Cheers,
Beth

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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.

Thanks!

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Hi @Tamar_Shaham, really appreciate all the detailed feedback and hearing your perspective on this. We’ll circulate this internally with Product and Design teams and do our best to improve the experience for you as we move forward.

I can certainly relate, and we’ve heard similar feedback from other people migrating into :shotgun: from a Filemaker Pro background. While we offer some clear benefits over Filemaker in terms of collaboration, integration and review-related features, there is a lot to be said for the ease with which someone new to FMP can jump in and setup a layout that works for the data they need.

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That’s exactly what prevents us form using it more often. A kind of Media app for Client Review that will allow clients to keep track on previously delivered version is really the first improvement for me.

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