Outlook 2018: The need for heightened VFX business intelligence
Andrew Sinagra
Issue: December 1, 2017

Outlook 2018: The need for heightened VFX business intelligence

Every year we’re seeing VFX schedules and budgets tightened – but client expectations remain high. With such opposing forces operating in every day production, it’s a wonder that studios can remain profitable, let alone show growth from year to year. How can today’s studios balance quality expectation with necessary cost? 

Well, staying ahead of the curve in today’s environment comes down to three key factors: efficiency, the ability to remain nimble and clarity of vision. 

The starting point is efficiency. Am I using my resources to their maximum potential, or am I leaving man hours on the table? With so many moving pieces in production, it is imperative to understand at a glance where your efforts are being placed and how you can better utilize your artists. 

Next, a studio’s ability to remain nimble speaks directly to how well they can work in a dynamically-changing environment. It is rare that a project finishes with the exact specifications that were outlined in the initial bid. How well a studio can respond to these changes in the middle of production, while still making informed decisions that will meet the client’s expectations and stay within budget, can be the difference between a sinking ship and a triumphant delivery. 

Lastly: clarity of vision. Can I see what’s truly happening in any given project or across all projects at a moment’s notice? Is a project being derailed by endless change orders? Are we consistently underbidding one discipline that’s affecting our overall margins? 

All three of these needs can be addressed via in-depth business intelligence. 

The ability to see such issues quantified enables a studio to perform at a high efficiency level, and enables artists, supervisors and stakeholders to make beneficial decisions from both a creative and financial point of view. 

However, the status quo of comparing spreadsheets and juggling emails won’t cut it. Business intelligence solutions that can provide insight at all levels are key. Today’s studios need in-depth tools that can help them to understand their business from the inside out if they’re to stay afloat in the turbulent seas of 2018.

Andrew Sinagra is the Co-Founder of NIM Labs’ (http://nim-labs.com) and Creative Director of Ntropic in Los Angeles.