What Are You Going to Stop Doing When 5.1 Comes Out?
In less than two weeks, we'll be rolling out our next release, Shotgun 5.1. I recently read an old 37signals blog post that inspired me to write about some of the upcoming features a little differently this time. Rather than telling you about all the new stuff 5.1 will let you do, I'd like to tell you about the things 5.1 might let you stop doing:

Snoop the file system to see what others are working on

Most of our clients are doing some incredible work. When you're an artist on one of these projects, you usually get to see many, many (many) iterations of the work you're doing, but because the project is moving so fast and spread across multiple people, you sometimes don't get to see what others are working on. To get around this, we've seen artists periodically dig through the file system or poke their heads into review sessions just to get a glimpse of what's happening.

Now in 5.1, you'll be able to see all of the versions in the project show up on the Project Overview, click and play one to watch it, then add a note if you spot something that needs fixing. There's even a big, beautiful billboard for admins to slap on the top of the page.


Create project email aliases

One thing we've seen many of our clients do in the past is create email aliases so people can easily send messages to others on the project. Though powerful, these are difficult to maintain because they require someone to both create and keep them up to date. Since many of our clients already link their people to the projects in Shotgun, we thought it'd be helpful to let you easily send notes to all those people without creating another alias/group.

Whenever you create a note from the Project Overview, it will get sent to anyone linked to the Project and show up in their Inbox.

Keep multiple tabs open to jump between things in Shotgun

We've all done it. You're working on lots of different things in Shotgun, and you don't want to jump back and forth between them in one browser tab. So to solve the problem, you open lots of different things in 6 or 7 tabs (or sometimes 20!), then jump between each tab. Thank goodness Chrome and Firefox are so fast.



You'll no longer need to do that in 5.1. We've added a new viewing mode on all our pages called "Master Detail". It will allow you to view a list of things you're tracking, such as shots, assets, or tasks, then select one in the left pane to view its details on the right. We've been using this internally for a few weeks and it's quickly becoming our favorite page in Shotgun. It's fast, simple, and much more user friendly if you frequently move between different items in Shotgun.

Coming on July 7th

Those are a few of things we hope you no longer have to do after 5.1 comes out. All existing sites will be upgraded during the weekend of July 7th. We'll be posting a more complete set of features and fixes next week. Get your project billboards ready!

Big Buck Bunny - footage courtesy of (CC) Blender Foundation, www.blender.org

8 Comments


At June 27, 2013 at 10:03 AM , Blogger wnhagan said...

I don't think it's a good idea to let just any artist comment on another's work. Creates chaos, the receiving artist doesn't know *who's* driving and who's notes to address. Could also create resentment

 

At June 27, 2013 at 11:06 AM , Blogger Andy Cochrane said...

Sweet, we will use the heck out of these new features.

I have a few requests for future tweaks, is there someone I could chat with about them? We are really heavy users of both ShotGun and ScreeningRoom and there are some really simple things you guys could implement that would make everything even more amazing.

We dig the new features in 5.0 a lot, you've taken huge strides to making SG more artist-friendly!

 

At June 27, 2013 at 2:59 PM , Blogger Ben Hadden said...

@wnhagan, All of the new features in 5.1 will continue to respect the permissions you set on your site. Although not recommended, it is possible to prevent certain permission groups from creating notes. I'm curious if it would help if we supported different note "types" so it's clear which notes artists should act on vs which ones are just fyi comments?

@Andy, Awesome! So glad to hear you're digging the new stuff. I'd love to hear about your ideas. Would you mind posting them here? You can also send them along to support @shotgunsoftware.com and we can discuss offline.

 

At June 27, 2013 at 5:36 PM , Blogger Andy Cochrane said...

@Ben Hadden: Sure, I can definitely share here if it's the preferred forum to do so:

1) The way that your software searches for things (the magnifying glass) is inconsistent across the various places it appears. For instance, try searching for a user by their first name in Inbox, Overview/Versions, and Screening Room. The three different places will return different results. In my case, I search my name and I get a ton of returns in the Inbox, nothing in Overview, and a random shot that happens to have my name in the comment field in Screening Room. I wish that the Inbox method could be used everywhere, it seems to aid in finding and refining searches better than your other methods, it searches all fields and allows for combining of search terms.

2) A shot, a task, a version, and a note (and others) can each have a status. They are not linked, so updating things requires a massive amount of duplicated effort. For instance, the final "in progress" task gets a new version. I approve it, and the version, task, and shot are now all final. So I need to go through and tell Shotgun that, in 3 different places. I can play some games with the view options to get these different statuses viewable in Screening Room, but if the artist forgot to enter a task when they submitted via Screening Room (VERY common) then I can't even do that 3-click solution. I want to link version, task and note statuses so that once a version is approved, the notes are closed and the task is set to the appropriate status. As it stands now, we ignore note status and most version statuses and use the task status as the one guide to where a shot stands. But this is messy. IF everything were linked, things would be good.

3) Which brings us to submitting via Screening Room, aka the most wonderful thing in the world. I have 2 requests- 1 can you make the task field a drop down that is populated with the tasks currently assigned to the artist? The way it is now, they need to remember exactly how the task is named if they want to bring up the autofill. 2 can we customize the fields on this submit stage? We want to have control over what info we require from artists when they submit.

4) While we are on the topic of preferences, it seems that the "More Info" panel in Screening Room resets for each new show? We'd love to be able to create a better default Screening Room interface with fields like "path to frames" there by default.

5) And speaking of "path to frames": can you make it so that all users can copy/paste paths from this field in Screening Room. This is quickly becoming our default way of finding things, and not being able to copy this path unless you are an Admin is a minor annoyance.

6) When starting a job and creating the required tasks, it is extremely easy to accidentally send 100's of emails to anyone who has not changed their email settings. Can we get a "setup mode" where nothing you do generates an email or a notice? This would allow us to add a bunch of new things quickly without overloading the artists with information they do not need to know.

7) Screening Room seems to work very poorly in RV on OSX. Crashes often, fails to generate Quicktimes and thumbnails, doesn't even submit sometimes. It makes our OSX folks not want to use the product, which is an issue from a project management perspective.

I will have more, but that's the list that has been building up so far.

-Andy

 

At July 4, 2013 at 2:40 AM , Blogger Bree said...

Guessing your master details page will be a list of everything you are following? Can you un-follow from here?

 

At July 8, 2013 at 11:36 AM , Blogger Ben Hadden said...

Hi Andy,

Thanks for such a detailed list. I'll try my best to address all your points here and let you know which ones to send to our support team so we can link you up to any existing feature requests:

> 1) The way that your software searches for things

We use "free text search" in a number of places in Shotgun, which searches on a set of fields that often we, but sometimes you, define. This method shows up in the Inbox, My Tasks, and the search box you see at the top right of every page. It should be combining your search terms with an "AND", so if you find a place that isn't happening, let me know--it's a bug. On Pages, you can actually tell us which fields you'd like to search on specifically using the disclosure triangle to the left of the search box. If this doesn't get you the results you're after, I'd recommend emailing the specific page and search query to support and they can help.

> 2) A shot, a task, a version, and a note (and others) can each have a status.

We've been thinking a lot about this issue and have the makings of a solution. Many of our clients have started to rely on the Task status, like you, which often tells the most truth about the status of a Shot. We're thinking about ways to "roll-up" the Task statuses for any given thing into a summary status that lives on the Shot, and even Project. It would be good to hear from you how you'd use this. What types of searches would you perform the Shot level if you had a summary status available?

> 3) Which brings us to submitting via Screening Room

Are you using the web-based Screening Room or Screening Room for RV? If it's the former, we just released an update to My Tasks that will let an artist use the "Task Actions" menu to submit a version. This will populate the new Version with their Task and the Shot, so they don't need to worry about that. You can, of course, add custom fields to the Version form that will show up for them too.

> 4) While we are on the topic of preferences, it seems that the "More Info" panel in Screening Room resets for each new show?

Interesting. Can you send this one to support? Sounds like either a bug or a feature request we should know about.

> 5) And speaking of "path to frames": can you make it so that all users can copy/paste paths from this field in Screening Room.

Also sounds like a bug. Please send to support.

> 6) When starting a job and creating the required tasks, it is extremely easy to accidentally send 100's of emails to anyone who has not changed their email settings.

If you haven't already, I'd recommend having your users turn off all "Legacy Email Notifications" via User Menu -> Account Settings -> Email notifications. You can also do this for them via the fields on your People (turn off everything but "Subscribe to Notes in your Inbox" and "Subscribe to Updates in your Inbox"). This should cut down on email significantly. Then people can just follow the things they want to notify them.

> 7) Screening Room seems to work very poorly in RV on OSX.

Definitely send this our way. Sounds like a bug we should address right away. We've had a couple known issues involving Safari on OSX, but that shouldn't affect RV. It could be that your studio is on an older RV Package. Support can help.

Keep the feedback coming! We love hearing about what we could be doing better.

 

At July 8, 2013 at 11:37 AM , Blogger Ben Hadden said...

Hi Bree,

In 5.1, there still isn't a way to view a list of things you are following. You'll be able to follow new things from the Master/Detail mode by right-clicking them on the left, or by selecting "Follow" on the right. This is still a feature we're working on, so we'll continue to keep you posted!

Cheers,
Ben

 

At July 8, 2013 at 1:12 PM , Blogger Andy Cochrane said...

Ok, awesome, some great stuff here. Some additional info:

>On Pages, you can actually tell us which fields you'd like to search on specifically using the disclosure triangle to the left of the search box.

I'll start a support thread on this, the triangle only lets you choose ONE field to search at a time, unless I am missing something? I honestly just want everything to work like it does in the Inbox, by default, across all search boxes on the site (and in Screening Room). It works PERFECTLY in Inbox, fast, clean, simple, powerful. You NAILED it there.

>It would be good to hear from you how you'd use this. What types of searches would you perform the Shot level if you had a summary status available?

Here's my dream scenario: I make a task, I assign it to an artist. They submit a version via RV, I see it in my Inbox and I play it (where any previous not closed notes are also displayed), make some new notes or mark open notes as closed, and mark the version status accordingly. The version, note(s), and task now share that status (need improvement etc). They address my notes and upload a new version, if it's good, I mark it as approved. The task and version are now marked as approved, and all notes are closed. In this scenario, artists can simply look at their tasks and see all open notes that need addressing, and then as they are addressed they are closed. This way we minimize the "data entry" part of the job and focus on making notes, addressing notes, and closing out tasks so we can move on to the next thing.

>we just released an update to My Tasks that will let an artist use the "Task Actions" menu to submit a version. This will populate the new Version with their Task and the Shot, so they don't need to worry about that.

We are exclusively using the RV/Screening Room pipeline. (and loving it). Will try the new Task Actions today and report back. Currently, updating to 1.35 is not working but we are looking into it. As an aside, we need more lead time when something is going to require an update, your push of 5.1 was expected but you didn't tell anyone that RV would need updating so you took our whole facility down this morning in terms of Shotgun/RV pipelineā€¦ No bueno...

>You can, of course, add custom fields to the Version form that will show up for them too.

Where? How???

> 6) When starting a job and creating the required tasks, it is extremely easy to accidentally send 100's of emails to anyone who has not changed their email settings.

If you haven't already, I'd recommend having your users turn off all "Legacy Email Notifications" via User Menu -> Account Settings -> Email notifications. You can also do this for them via the fields on your People (turn off everything but "Subscribe to Notes in your Inbox" and "Subscribe to Updates in your Inbox"). This should cut down on email significantly. Then people can just follow the things they want to notify them.

Will try this today and report back, sounds good to me.

And a big +1 to Bree's request for a global following pane to manage those preferences.

I'll keep the feedback flowing and will submit some support tickets today regarding the items you asked me for.

-Andy

 

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