Interview with nhb studios Regarding the NIM Studio Management Tools: Quang Tran, Head of nhb
February 16, 2019 – Recently, Quang Tran, Head of nhb Berlin had explained to us the work of Car Stars nhb studios Turn NIM Loose on Major Ad Spots. They are back today to tell us about NIM.
nhb studios has a lot to manage: four locations, a growing staff, and an impressive docket of ads for Mercedes, Sony and Coke. That’s a lot of moving parts, even in the best of times. Looking for a way to scale faster, the team started searching for something that would help them cover every part of the studio process, not just a piece or two. They found that flexibility in NIM, the world’s first studio management platform, that now allows them to analyze everything from projects to people.
// From Quang Tran, Head of nhb Berlin
How did you discover NIM? What made it different from other production tools?
We played around with a lot of other solutions for many years. The main issue we had with them was that they needed a lot of coding and were built around a more rigid idea of pipeline. You could feel they were coming from an older animation feature film background, built on maximizing throughput. This is totally fine for those industries, but in commercials we face a different production environment, guided by short prep and tight turnaround times.
But even more important is the fact that production parameters can change at any stage of the project. Stakeholders join the project on different stages doing their comments, which result in changes, for example, in edit or grading. Edit changes are especially hard to manage in a merely shot-based tool when you are up against short turnaround times. Most changes by high-level stakeholders occur at end of production, so we need to be able to manage late turnarounds fast.
We read an article about NIM when it launched. We got in touch with the team behind it, started a trial period with a team on our side, and got started. NIM felt different right away. We felt it was made by a commercials-driven production house, as many of the features directly answered our needs. It also connected different stages of production into one tool, which was nice to see.
What NIM features are you currently using and how is it useful for VFX Professionals and Artists?
The first feature we put into heavy production was bidding. We were Excel-based before NIM, which is incredibly inefficient. So much so that an executive consultant friend of mine once told me that whenever he gets into a company and sees a monitor with Excel on it, he just says, “these processes need to be optimized” and writes a bill. Once we brought our bidding process into NIM, we dramatically sped up bidding for our clients in a matter of days.
Later on, we got more into the project forecast features of NIM, which opened up a better, higher-level understanding of the project much earlier in the process. From there, we adopted file and version management to Nuke and Flame, which is now the main setup we use. On the artist side, it brings the usual benefits of a pipeline tool: no file browsing, version and change management. You don’t need to bother with where to render to, naming conventions, etc. Projects are being published from Flame, which acts as the main production hub at nhb. So together with the connected conform feature for Flame, we’re seamlessly getting plates and shots into NIM, so everyone in the production process can start immediately. This is especially helpful for the producers, who do task management in NIM. Moreover, we got a good dialogue with the team from NIM Labs, so we’re happy to see that many ideas and suggestions made it into later versions of the product.
What is nhb studios’ production process?
nhb is offering full-scale post production, including classical offline / online, as well as very renowned grading artists, visual effects, sound and music composition, which just recently spun off into a newly founded company, Sup3rsonic. So we got several different production processes to manage. For picture, our core is built around Flame / Nuke for online and visual effects and Avid in offline. That’s also the point of production that involves NIM the most.
How does NIM speed up a studio’s production and management process?
NIM offers us a high-level view over the bidding process, as well as the production itself. The smart part for us, is that there is no real barrier from bidding to production. Bidding data is taken into production, so we can directly pull actuals for each project. Task management is also nice, so large teams can just concentrate on their tasks.
What’s the value of having production, bidding, feedback, client review and more in one place?
That’s a big value for us and lasts more than, for example, having single tools, which perform better at a single task. The fact that it transports data from all stages of production and links them is a huge timesaver too. It’s also very beneficial when it comes to budget and production monitoring.
How has NIM Connector support been, especially for standard tools like Nuke and Flame?
The Connectors worked right away for us, so there is nothing really special to say for us. In general, we had a good dialogue with the team at NIM Labs. We’re glad many of our comments made it into NIM.
What are some VFX and animation projects you have used with NIM on?
We were using NIM since November 2017. First, we started in our Berlin office and later on adopted it in Hamburg and Munich. Since then, we’ve used NIM more or less on every project. So usage ranges from daily work to high-profile projects like Mercedes C-Class “Never Stop Improving”, Volkswagen “Kid’s Dreams” and the new “ID Range” or Sky “Balloons Brand ID”.
What about your future plans and projects? Anything you want to share with us?
We’re continuing to deepen our expertise in award-winning grading, online, vfx and sound design. Especially for visual effects, we’ve become experts in environment work. Together with our knowledge and history for grading and Flame work in car moving image advertising, this builds a very strong combination. We also see a high demand in this field. We’re already on 5 large scale projects for 2019, so we’re curious about the rest of the year to come.
Visit NIM Labs online to sign up for a free 30-day trial.
A big thanks for your time.
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