In the film industry we work fast: Soliant not only kept pace, they maintained incredible flexibility and service. I’ve never encountered a software organization like theirs.
Traditionally the script supervisor and props supervisor are responsible for tracking props and scene continuity, but with performance capture, a high level of detail is required by multiple departments. Digital markers on each asset must be positively matched with their animated avatars during the editing and post-production processes.
In addition to the requirements for production, Tintin’s producers anticipate filming sequels—so all of the physical assets needed to be tracked, manifested and packed into shipping containers in an orderly manner once production wraps on the first film.
Working with Soliant to invent a new system for managing props has been really rewarding. I’ve been able to completely rely on their technical expertise and creativity. It’s satisfying to see the software evolve just as we’re inventing a new way to film.
I’ll admit, I had my doubts… there’s little time on-set for fiddling with a computer, but Soliant really converted me with a screen that gives me just what I need and no more. They’ve been great to work with.
The team recognized they’d need to invent a new way to manage props that would not encumber the shooting crew and yield a high level of prop and set tracking detail. In three weeks, Soliant developed a custom application that satisfied the evolving requirements of the crew: they can now quickly develop inventories of assets, including both physical and digital versions, that then are easily organized and tagged with meta information. Attributes include common names, inventory codes, and ID numbers generated by the film’s animation software. Barcode tags allow for quick retrieval and cataloging of any prop using wireless scanners. With a wireless scanner, the prop crew can easily scan props on and off each take, and conveniently add and subtract props from a take using search, breakdowns, cloning previous takes, etc. The prop supervisor is now able to create traditional scene breakdowns, printed as a reference for the scenes planned for shooting each day, and to preload first takes whenever the shooting crew switches to a new scene.
Not only does the application allow the prop and script departments to accomplish their traditional tasks, it also provides conveniences that make their work easier. The prop inventory and breakdown interface replaced a cumbersome Excel spreadsheet: the new breakdown application allows the prop supervisor to create lists and binder pages sorted by day or by scene that previously were not easy to create. It also eliminates an enormous amount of redundancy traditionally done with copy and paste. Revisions are more accurate and more convenient.