MONTREAL — Immersive entertainment company Felix & Paul Studios (www.felixandpaul.com) has been using Shotgun Software (shotgunsoftware.com) for several years, as part of its VR pipeline. The studio has team of 60 spread across offices in Montreal and Los Angeles, where they provide end-to-end creative capabilities and proprietary tool development.
The studio’s post production process begins in Adobe Premiere, for the selection of key shots. From there, shots get integrated into Shotgun for other team members to use. Shotgun gives the production team the flexibility to make changes without impacting other departments. For instance, for live-action experiences, the compositing department delivers the final rendered content, but is not directly impacted by editorial decisions; the content may be used in different narrative threads with different timing.
Felix & Paul Studios’ proprietary Story Encoder tool is linked into Shotgun and allows artists to produce encoded content for multiple delivery platforms (Oculus Go, Oculus Rift, Samsung Gear VR, Facebook 360, YouTube 360), with versioned elements and dynamically-linked timing based on a chosen story version. Prior to the final encoding, the editorial team can identify which shots have changed and avoid re-encoding those which did not. Ultimately the combination of Shotgun and Story Encoder helps the studio minimize errors while saving time.
“Our studio is a home for all types of creators, including directors, editors, compositors, interactive designers, technologists, and more,” explains Hans Payer, lead pipeline developer at Felix & Paul Studios. “We create our experiences from end to end, which can present interesting pipeline challenges, as multiple people are involved, and navigating different contexts. Shotgun helps us streamline task management and editorial changes for all the different players who need access across our production, compositing, editorial, I/O, integration, audio, and CG departments.”
In addition, the team at Felix & Paul Studios uses the Shotgun Toolkit’s Standalone Publisher tool extensively to validate and secure data, thereby minimizing human and technical errors and saving time on communication between different departments. Shotgun is also used to incorporate metadata from set before footage is ingested, and to validate the ingest as it’s synced.
The studio is currently working in partnership with Time on the ISS Experience, a groundbreaking VR experience where astronauts from several countries aboard the International Space Station are spending a year filming their missions. Shotgun is playing a key role in the project’s workflow, making it possible for large amounts of high-res footage to be effectively shared with the team on the ground.
“This project brings the most complex logistics and technical challenges so far for our studio,” notes Sebastian Sylwan, CTO and creative partner at Felix & Paul Studios. “We designed a workflow that relies on Shotgun to streamlines the tracking, selection, and downlink of footage from the ISS. This enables the entire team on the ground to easily review at all stages of the production chain and only downlink relevant footage, which saves us time and minimizes the use of astronaut time as well.”