Shotgun Provides Plug-and-Play Production Tracking and Review for Indie Stop Motion Short “Mermaids on Mars”
Athena Studios is an Emeryville, Calif-based full service production and animation studio. The studio has been creating films, video and multimedia projects for over 20 years, and is currently producing a stop-motion short called Mermaids on Mars. The short is based on a book by Nancy Guettier, directed by Jon V. Peters and features the work of artists whose credits include stop motion films Coraline, James and the Giant Peach and The Nightmare Before Christmas. 

Mermaids on Mars is a 20-minute film, comprised of 300 shots, many with complex compositing demands on a small team of visual effects artist with a post schedule of just over three months. Vince De Quattro is the project’s digital post-production supervisor, “When I came onto this project I set up a Google spreadsheet to manage production assets, but once we got to the review stage, it was nearly impossible to track all of the moving parts on this show and stay on top of the latest iteration of a take. Shotgun came to the rescue, and straight out of the box helped me, the artists, our director and compositors get on the same page.”

Mermaids on Mars is the story of a young boy named Julian who is magically transported to Mars where he tries to stop an evil martian from destroying the last of the planet’s mermaids. The entire story is being told piece by piece in painfully meticulous, hand-crafted, stop motion animation shot on Athena’s soundstage. From end-to-end, the short film is being shot, produced and finished on-site at Athena Studios and the Shotgun production management and review platform is being used for all post management and shot review.

“Shotgun helps the team do detailed reviews of several iterations of each shot and helps me retain complete control over the eleventh hour artistic process,” continued De Quattro. “Instead of relying on an editor, I can craft a playlist in Shotgun myself, and have anyone on the team access it from a cell phone or iPad remotely or on set—I can work at 2AM and anyone can get updates at anytime since everything’s online.”

Twenty minutes of film with an average of five comp iterations per shot, equates to approximately 300,000 frames processed to final, and with a small team under tight festival deadlines, Athena didn’t have the schedule or resources to develop a custom production tracking solution. “With Shotgun it was plug-and-play from the get go. Mermaids on Mars is a very small budget production and Shotgun is so inexpensive that even if you have a small show, you can benefit from the production management, review and tracking tools in Shotgun.”

In addition to producing Mermaids on Mars, Athena Studios regularly provides studio services, and provides animation, production and post for commercial clients. Athena also produces executive training videos for sister company Athena Online, and is implementing Shotgun to track that pipeline as well, from production through to transcoding and sound. For more information about Athena Studios, visit and for more information about the film, visit
Good Luck Academy Award Nominees
Good luck and congratulations to all of our Academy Award nominated clients!

Shotgun is excited to support so many amazing studios that worked on films that have been nominated for Academy Awards this year. We're honored that you use our software and we will continue to build tools to help you bring the world inspiring work.

We wish you and all nominees luck at the awards this year!

GDC 2015

Shotgun will be heading to GDC this year!

We're really excited to show you what we've been working on and look forward to hearing what you think.  If you'd like to schedule a demo during the show, please email us at to set it up.

See you in San Francisco!

The Shotgun Crew

I'm excited to announce that our friends at Tweak, makers of the mighty RV player, will be joining our Shotgun team here at Autodesk! (Autodesk has acquired Tweak’s team and technology.) Effective this week, our combined teams will work side by side to build artists and supervisors the review collaboration tools they need to do their best work in a rapidly changing industry.

If you don’t know Tweak (what?!), they developed the RV image and sequence viewer relied on everyday by tens of thousands of artists, production teams, and studios worldwide. If you make a living creating images, you need an awesome tool to review them; knowing playback speed is great, color is spot on, and even things like stereo and high frame rates will just work. That’s RV.  And like us, the Tweak team comes out of production, works closely with clients to build new tools, and is obsessed with providing amazing client support.

We’ve worked closely with them for years, integrating our tools, sharing booth space at Siggraph, traveling on road shows, and even throwing some great parties (white Russians anyone?!). Inevitably during most our events, we’d start brainstorming on how we could join forces to build products for our customers as a single, unified team. Autodesk has now given us the opportunity to bring all of our tech, teams, and experience together.

This deal was designed with our customers in mind. Let’s address some obvious questions:

What is happening to the Tweak team?
The whole Tweak team is joining the Autodesk Shotgun team, working as a unit under Jim, Seth, and Alan’s leadership and in close partnership with me and the rest of the Shotgun team.

Will RV stay on the market?
Yes. We plan to continue to develop, support and sell RV, and keep it open to integration by other companies.

Will I still get the same (legendary) support from Tweak?
If you have an existing Tweak support contract, your terms won’t change with this acquisition and you will continue to be serviced by the Tweak team as part of Autodesk. Their support team and tools will stay in place, and they’ll continue to operate and communicate with all of their customers as part of Autodesk. Over time, we’ll back them up with our “street team” to make sure you can come to the same great team about any issue and we’ll have you covered.

Will you combine Shotgun and RV?
We’re certainly going to do all we can to make using all our software great with no set-up time. We’re brainstorming through this now and will report back.

Is there a catch?
Nope. This is all good news.

Read more detail and an FAQ, and you can always contact us directly any time.
I can’t tell you how excited we all are to be under one (virtual) roof, with direct access to all of the technology we’ve developed collectively and more resources to go faster for our clients. This is our idea of a dream team, and we expect great things to come out of it. Hold us to that.

Don and the Shotgunners (now with Tweak!)
2014 Hackathon
Behold the annual Shotgun Crew Hackathon! The Hackathon lasts 3 days. Day 1 and 2 are for building. Day 3 is for pitching back to the company.

This year we did a “Shark-Tank” themed Hackathon, where Shotgunners pitched their projects and ideas to a panel of judges before we all casted our votes for the Best User Facing idea, Best Internal idea, and Wackiest idea.

Be sure to check out who won at the end of the post!

Here's what we built:

Project: Fields with Benefits 
Ben W, Ben H, and Colin

This team took a stab at creating a new field type called, “Calculated”, which allows users to write simple math, logic, and string formulas that compute values between fields on a single entity. There are still a lot of performance and UX considerations to make before we’d release this, but this Hackathon project served as a killer proof of concept.

Project: Record "Audio notes" over images and playback in Shotgun (IOS and Web)
Hugo, Karine, Sylvain, MC, Alex

Review Audio Notes (™) allows you to record, attach and playback voice comments when reviewing Media in Shotgun. Review Audio Notes works both on the web review app as well as the IOS review app, allowing you to annotate Media with the power of your voice. See this project in action thanks to MC’s outstanding acting skills here!

Project: Shotgun Project Book 

The Book takes a Shotgun Project and turns it into an eBook. The book is jam-packed full of stuff like notes made on the project, some statistics, as well as highlighting the most prominent images from the project's shots and sequences. It even shows the evolution of the more complex shots, and ends with a "movie barcode" made up of all the versions in the project in the order they were created.

Project: Shotgun Archaeology 

Brandon’s wife is an archaeologist, and he’s always wondered if Shotgun could be used to track all the work, and finds, from an archaeological dig. Using data from he mocked up the Areas, Trenches, Loci, and Artifacts catalogued from the Kenan Tepe site in Turkey. While not revolutionary with the data tracking, Brandon’s wife noted that Shotgun’s ability to assign and track work as it related to the site and artifacts would go a long way towards keeping everything better organized on a dig.

Project: Video Chat within Shotgun via Google Hangouts
Eric, François, Luc

This group created a way for users to launch Google Hangout collaborative review sessions from within Shotgun by clicking on newly inserted camera buttons throughout the site. Clicking the button launches a separate Google Hangout window for each user with an embedded view of Screening Room. Users can share webcams while they review shots together via the Google Hangout and can zoom, pan, resize their players as they’d like.

Project: Text Tool and Annotations in Context 

Xin's Text Tool and Annotations in Context project is an attempt at letting users view annotations in context of their media. For creating text annotations, a new text tool was added to write directly on the media. For viewing annotations, a feature was added to open annotations directly on the media while it’s playing. We liked this one so much that we'll be rolling it out to all Shotgun subscribers in a future patch!

Project: SGUIKit: Desktop style HTML/CSS Layout Engine for the web 

Owen looked at improving our ability to manage our expanding code base by building a desktop-style app UI layout engine to help with refactoring HTML, Javascript and CSS. As a proof of concept he rebuilt the new Tracking Settings UI using a basic implementation of the layout engine.

Project: RunDeck 
David, Patrick Hubert

This team’s project was to install a RUNDECK server to facilitate all our operations on the production servers. This will help the street team to do some operations themselves to provide quicker response time to customers.

Project: Changing Hubot's litter box 

Philip spent time updating and upgrading our chatroom Hu Bot who helps us with everything from making it rain corgis to handling pager duty rotations and assisting in ticket resolution and site deployment. For our clients, this means more efficient team conversations for decreased turn-around times. And corgis.

Project: Sublime Text engine for Toolkit 

JF focused on creating a generic Toolkit engine that uses XML-RPC as the communication channel between the DCC and Toolkitapps. The complete integration was done inside Sublime Text 3 and supports importing in ascii art versions of Photoshop files.

Project: Artist Home Page 

The artist homepage concept provides artists with a Shotgun landing page that presents three channels that they can monitor and use as entry points into their Shotgun workflows. Each channel presents a different context; the projects they are working on, the people that they work with, the notifications in their activity scroll. The channels are presented in columns that can be individually ‘tuned’ to tailor how to display the information in each one.

Project: Searchable time machine for production support

This project consisted of creating a system that gathers logs and relevant execution information for 30 days allowing the Street Team to better investigate issues our customers may be facing. Through an integrated search engine, the Street Team can quickly access operation logs to provide a quicker response. This can also be used to monitor real-time trends and also identify potential issues before they happen.

Project: A Toolkit Tornado Engine
Stephane Deverly

Stephane developed a Toolkit Tornado Engine that launches Toolkit apps from a URL. A new sgtk:// protocol handler allows the apps to be launched from a Shotgun Action Menu Item. The engine can also be used to serve web pages from Toolkit.

Project: Shotgun Review for Android

Neil prototyped basic functionality of the iOS mobile review app using 100% cross-platform tools, and ran the app on an Android phone. He used the widely popular Cordova library to build the app in HTML 5 / css / javascript: the same toolset as our browser-based Shotgun client. This approach would make it much easier to develop and maintain mobile apps that run on all platforms.

Project: Shotgun Promulgation

Rob added Apple Push Notification support to Shotgun so that notifications are sent for everything that shows up in your Shotgun Inbox. Shotgun Promulgation is an OSX menubar app that receives these push notifications and shows you an alert to make it trivial to open the event in Shotgun. For example, if the event is from a Version, you can open the media in Screening Room just by clicking on the notification badge. Even cooler? If the notification is from a note, you can reply right from the notification and skip going to Shotgun entirely.

Project: Event daemon plugin for calculated fields 

Eli developed a prototype plugin for the Event Daemon to provide calculated fields inside Shotgun. Using a method similar to Excel, it allows the user to enter a formula directly into the Shotgun field, which is then replaced with a calculated value through Eli’s plugin.
Users can create custom calculated fields.

Then input the desired formula using the custom fields.

Then calculated value is automatically generated.

And the Winners are...

Best User Facing Idea

Fields With Benefits by Ben W., Ben H., and Colin

Best Internal Idea

RunDeck- by David and Patrick Hubert

Wackiest Idea

Shotgun Project Book by Jack

Which ideas would you like to see us release?
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