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Suggestions for the iPhone ap?

Hey all, we've been thinking a lot about a Shotgun iPhone ap recently and are curious to hear what you would like to see in that application.  What should we build?

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    Stu Aitken

    thats a hard one

    dealing with notes (ie writing, reading and replying) strikes me as an obvious one

    an iphone specific dashboard with an (obviously) reduced screen footprint would be the other place I'd start (facebook and linked in apps are fairly well done from that POV)

    the biggest issue, I guess, is how you would go about navigating through what could be large lists of entities with large amounts of data with such little screen real estate - solve that and I guess most things are doable :)

     

     

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    Mike Romey

    On set data aquasition such as camera lens information and measurments.  Perfect for offsight supervisors so they can relay information to the team back at the studio.

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    Ryan Mayeda

    I think that the absolute most important factor for a potential Shotgun iPhone app is security.  No other feature compares to it, at least from my perspective, since it will be the gating factor with whether or not I'd even be able to let our users load it on their phones.  I've seen lost VFX laptops escalate into ridiculous drama that kicks all the way up to movie studio executives calling for the jobs and careers of coordinators (no joke!), and with that in mind, a lot of care will need to be taken in this area in order for the VFX studio decision-makers to be comfortable with this kind of access, regardless of the conveniences it might provide.

    Anyhow, I was just talking to Quan about this, and it seems like there are also going to be some technical hurdles to get over as well.  You guys might already be aware of a lot of these, but for what it's worth, here are the two main things we discussed:

    Studios that host their own servers (like us, and many others, I would imagine), remote access to Shotgun needs a VPN connection.

    • When you lock your phone or it goes into standby or whatever, the VPN connection is lost.  Apparently this is an iPhone OS thing to save battery life.  This means that the user would have to reconnect to the VPN each time, unless the Shotgun iPhone app somehow handled this.  Think about how often you lock your phone and put it back in your pocket!  :)
    • Dropping the VPN connection is actually kind of a good feature for security though, since it means that the app bombs out and the data wouldn't be visible anymore if someone else picked up the (lost) iPhone.
    • It definitely seems like the Shotgun app needs to handle whatever the VPN/authentication thing is because making the user reconnect to VPN each time isn't a great workflow.  Accomplishing this seems like it's going to be tricky though.  Maybe there needs to some sort of "tunnel" from your hosted server into our local server?  That opens another security issue to work out with the VFX studios though (speaking only for myself, I know this would be a tough sell here - we don't even allow people to connect via VPN on their iPhones right now).  And if the Shotgun app covers the VPN/authentication thing, it still might need to do some sort of check when it opens, or I guess we could just rely on the users putting passwords on their phone locking...

    Performance might be hit-or-miss depending on the connection.

    • In another case of battery life conservation, the iPhone doesn't support background activity, so you if you try to load something and it takes a while, you can't put your phone in your pocket for a couple minutes, then pull it out to see what it returned.
    • Quan thought that maybe something could come out of the new "push" stuff Apple added in the latest release.
    • This might not be a big deal if what gets displayed is simple/minimal.

    A Shotgun iPhone app would be super cool though, don't get me wrong!  I just think that for a lot of studios, the security thing will be a major hurdle, and all other features will be moot until that's addressed.

    Feature-wise though, I think that a nice workflow to start with is for supervisors and production people who are on their feet a lot and rarely at their desks.  If the Shotgun iPhone app could help keep key info at their fingertips whenever and wherever they needed it, people would be ecstatic.  This would include stuff like:

    • What is the status of this shot?
    • Who (or who else) is working on this shot?
    • What is the cut range of this shot?
    • Has animation (or whatever) been published for this shot?
    • What is queued up that needs to be reviewed?  (This is an area that we, as Digital Domain, need to do a better job with in terms of best practices though).
    • Etc.

    A contact sheet style thumbnail setup that you can touchscroll through would be pretty nice (to answer the eternal, "wait what is the shot I'm talking about?" question in the hallway), although I wonder if it would take forever to load.  Some way to enter notes is an obvious one (tied into the thumbnail view, double-click to enter a note?).  A pointless use of the "shaking" feature is also a must!

    I guess this means I need to buy an iPhone...  :)

    Ryan.

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    Andy Geers

    Purely speculating here, but knowing my producers, I'd say something like a clipboard where you could subscribe to a bunch of shots you're interested in for today, and then instantly see at a glance the latest activity on those shots. Access to incoming Notes is obviously a given.

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    Pliny (John Eremic)

    I know this is broad, but when I am mobile I am more interested in monitoring that inputting.  Yes it's great to assign tasks, update statues, &c.  But knee-jerk reaction here is that I'm more interested in an iPhone app that can show me the overall health of my projects than one that will allow me to upload 200 new records.

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    Don Parker

    Lost of killer ideas all.  The wheels are turning over here.  A couple comments:

    - Ryan, maybe the ap could require the user be on the network so images are not flying over the internet?

    - Pliny, what are the key data points are that define the health of your projects?  Guessing:  Day left, Shots (or other entities) to go, Shots needed per week, Weekly Shots completed on average to date, Shots completed last week, etc.  Of course, when we get into money:  Total budget, Total spent, Budget remaining, Estimated Total Cost.  Is that right? What would you loose or add?  (we need this in Shotgun too, and we're working on ideas to handle this)

    I agree the Dashboard, clipboard summary UI is key.  I also wonder if a personalized data stream of events ala Twitter would make sense.  It would be cool to scan a feed list to quickly catch up on major things that are related to you, whether they are notes or changes to data, upcoming milestones, etc..  And each events has an optoin to dive in to see details and take actions.

    Romey, I remember Andrew showing me that UI he built for onset data collection.  I think that could be pretty easy.  It would be awesome to take pictures or movies, and collect data, then import it all at once to the mother ship.  Maybe you can prep your on set ap from Shotgun data before you go down so you have a list of all the entities we already know about.  Hmm...

    Please keep the ideas coming!

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    Andy Geers

    Few more thoughts:

    When we're on set, the big things we want to be able to do are enter camera information and so on onto a shot - i.e. there's a small subset of fields on a shot entity that we want to be able to enter text against.

    Somebody else also suggested it might be good if you could take a photo with your iPhone camera and "attach" it to an entity (e.g. camera sheet, ...)

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    Stu Aitken

    I like the twitter/facebook style idea - ie its essentially a nicely decorated event log that you can filter according to basic options and dive deeper into specific feed item as required

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    Mike Romey

    We use shotgun for timecards, facility reports, projections, render management and actuals.  I know everyone would love to see some method to access these pages in some summarized manner at anytime via the iphone.  I was thinking about this a bit more.  Not really thinking iphone app more thinking iphone formatted access to Shotgun.  You guys have these different page layouts,  calendars, list pages, thumbnail pages and card pages.  The card page seems like the ideal candidate for iphone integration.  Might be smart to make a new view type called mobile card.  The layout would be such that any entity could have a corresponding layout that had limited space for specific information and maybe allowed the user to swipe their fingers across the screen to jump from entry to entry.  Equally valuable might be the ability to have a mobile list layouts that could display the group summary values.  This is particularly useful for us when dealing with timecards, actuals, projections and render managment.


    On this same note of having specialized layouts for mobile access, it might also be valuable to have specialized layouts that are specific only for client access.  These pages are specifically laid out to show only admin approved information and values.  Having a client side of Shotgun could potentially make it possible to login Shotgun as a client to a specified project and only show pages specified for display with very explicit pre formatted filters for the client. 


    We use this thing called interdubs, and I would love to find a way to use Shotgun in lieu of interdubs to show client side information.  Equally benifitial would be to show this information to our clients on a mobile phone like the iphone. 

    Just another 2 Cents from me.


    -Romey

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    Ryan Mayeda

    I'm not sure how other studios set up their internal wireless internet, but in our case, the wi-fi is totally external to the studio network.  If you have a laptop connected only to the wi-fi, you'd still need to VPN to access anything internal (like Shotgun).  The only way to access the studio network directly is to plug in.  Our Systems group has it set up like this due to security concerns with our internal network being transmitted through the mean streets of Venice...

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    Bryan Holland

    I love Mike's comment about replacing InterDubs (or WireDrive or ...?)

    The InterDubs external interface works well- for external viewing-
    so a client can login and only see what I give them permissions to see and its well branded so FUEL/FOX get their props

    and

    the client can upload a file or....

     

    or -

    when you save a view/page you can save as a iPhone View.

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    Rob Blau

    After seeing:
    http://www.filemaker.com/products/bento/iphone.html
    http://www.fmtouch.com/

    There did seem to be some cool features that would be great on a mobile device.  Definitely having mobile layouts for detail pages and an easy search/navigation interface to get to those detail pages.  One other thing that I found pretty interesting was integrating a barcode system into the app.  That was we could print out the barcode on reports or list views and then quickly while out on set find out all the information we'd want on the thing we scanned.  Would cut the whole search step out.

    -r

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    Bill Gilman

    What's the current status of this?  Seems like the iPad creates a new set of opportunities;   maybe the iPhone directed app could be for overview stuff and the iPad directed app could be for more detailed work.  Of course, you guys seem really busy working on other stuff at the moment, so I'd understand if this was on the far back burner.

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    Don Parker

    Hi Bill and all, this is on our "we wish we could do this right now!" list.  But we feel there are some high priority issues in the core ap to focus on first (based on client feedback and our own observations of people using Shotgun).   So we'll be focused there for the next few releases.  As soon as this one rises to the top, I'll be posting here to let everyone know.  We'll likely post ideas / designs too so you all can comment.  Dang, I wish today was that day!  Soon though...

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    Pliny (John Eremic)

    Agree with Don here.  Sure an iPhone app would be swell, but I'd much rather see things like, oh I don't know, time code field sums ...

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    I3d

    maybe you should go about this the other way around, i.e. design an iPad version of shotgun and then trim it even more for iphone

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    Alex Nikolaev

    Any new about iPad App?

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    Doron Kipper

    page loading speed and navigation using standard iphone touch conventions would be a huge thing.  I loaded shotgun on my iphone while connected to a VPN using Junos Pulse, and it loaded, but actually navigating the page with fingers was slow and unwieldy.  A native app would do wonders for checking Shot Detail pages and their task statuses and dates at a glance while walking around with artists.

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    Ben Hadden

    Hi Doron,

    What sort of things would you use a Shotgun iPhone app to do? Can you let us know a little more about your role at the studio and the things you'd like to do with Shotgun on the run? You sort of hinted at it with "checking Shot Detail pages and their task statuses and dates at a glance while walking around with artists"...we'd love all the details you're willing to share!

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    Doron Kipper

    Sure thing.

    I'm a coordinator for a department of artists, and when I'm visiting an artist at their desk, and they have a question about other departments, I would like to be able to bring up a shot using Quick Look, and view the Shot Detail page....we have this page as a global layout for all shots....with tabs for Tasks in each department linked to the Shot.  I would want to view the task status, dates, etc. for other departments to relay to the artist when they might expect assets from an upstream department, or when their assets are due to delivery to a downstream department.  

    A design mode that would let you create pages with layouts designed for an iphone or iPad screen would go a long way towards making these pages easier to view on a phone....but if a native app allowed for iOS style text editing and dropdown list popups (using iOS GUI standards), it would be a dream come true.

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    Doron Kipper

    Sure thing.

    I'm a coordinator for a department of artists, and when I'm visiting an artist at their desk, and they have a question about other departments, I would like to be able to bring up a shot using Quick Look, and view the Shot Detail page....we have this page as a global layout for all shots....with tabs for Tasks in each department linked to the Shot.  I would want to view the task status, dates, etc. for other departments to relay to the artist when they might expect assets from an upstream department, or when their assets are due to delivery to a downstream department.  

    A design mode that would let you create pages with layouts designed for an iphone or iPad screen would go a long way towards making these pages easier to view on a phone....but if a native app allowed for iOS style text editing and dropdown list popups (using iOS GUI standards), it would be a dream come true.

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    Ben Hadden

    Hi Doron,

    Awesome. That really helps. We're making steady progress on this project and will report back when we know more about what a Shotgun iPhone app could be!

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    Doron Kipper

    If you need a beta tester, let me know!  Will this app possibly be universal for iPad and iPhone?

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    Ben Hadden

    We will!  We're still in exploratory mode, so no details on iPad vs iPhone just yet. If you had to pick, what would your preference be?

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    Doron Kipper

    iPhone definitely.  However, I would suggest trying to go for universal from the start....as I believe iCloud syncing of preferences, etc. only works between different kinds of devices when the app is universal....I might be wrong.

    iPad would personally be more useful to me....but I chose iPhone because I know more people have iPhones.

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    Chris Scott

    Where is this? We've been wanting something like this for ages! We use iPads, iPhones, etc. and do a lot of tracking from home.  Make this thing happen!

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    Armando Ricalde

    We've started developing a Python App for Android to review Versions and make comments. The prototype was an App to submit Tickets.

    In the meanwhile I use a web browser, not too comfortable but it a hurry it works.

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    Kurt Hartman

    If this is still alive, I'd be very interested.  Better review approval tools would be nice.  Right now the Review app lets you watch and make comments - would be even better if the user could change the version status.  I've tried to use the website in iOS and its pretty difficult.

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