The genesis of PocketStudio: why it matters to moviemakers and storytellers (3/3)

Published on: Monday 31st August, 2020

Ed Catmull explains in his book “Creativity Inc” that the ability to iterate quickly and often in order to try different ideas is fundamental for growing what essentially looks like an “ugly baby” at the start of a movie project into “a beautiful movie star”. Story development is when most of that nurturing work is done; it is a deeply collaborative process where original, often fragile ideas coming from a variety of people and departments are being put to the test in a constant iterative flow.

Traditional workflows are hardly optimal for that process, as you get interrupted each time you have to move data from one step of the production chain down to the next to see the result of an idea. And as Joyce Carol Oates wrote: ”Constant interruptions are the destruction of the imagination”. What she refers to as “imagination” here could also be referred to as the “flow” or as an artist put it to me once, “the tunnel effect”. Real-time unified workflows, on the other hand are much better suited for that task. They make it possible to work on any part of your movie in parallel and see changes downstream in real-time. Change a camera position in a scene, and you will be able to see the result of that change on the editing timeline straight away.

pocketstudio creative eye

A real-time unified workflow alone, though, is not enough to maintain that experience of flow while working on a project. Why is it so? Even the current generation of tool supporting a real-time unified workflow doesn’t provide a “shareable workspace”. Each person working on a project works in a silo; it’s only when members of a team combine their individual efforts that they can see the “big picture”, the sum of the parts. However, this generally involves having a system like a Perforce or Shotgun running in the background that lets artists push and pull data to synchronize their work with one another, and that is an interruption. Think of that little frustration you feel when your Internet connection stops working for no reason while doing a search for which you need an answer now. That’s how most of us, creatives feel all day long. Our imagination gets destroyed right there… and having a unified workflow doesn’t entirely fix that problem. To fix it entirely you need to bring together a cohesive system with both a real-time unified pipeline and a real-time collaborative editing workflow.

The idea of PocketStudio’s development was to have a solution with which it would be possible for several people to put the content of a movie together at the same time, seamlessly, providing a virtual space where they could interact with one another and see the result of their actions in real-time, without any interruptions of any kind at all.

Such solutions didn’t exist on the market when we started the development of PocketStudio in 2017, and that’s the reason why we embarked on that endeavor. We like to think that our 2018 SIGGRAPH Real-Time Live! demo has inspired other people to look into collaborative editing since then, but to our knowledge PocketStudio still remains to this day the only solution that is designed to make real-time collaborative editing work out of the box, as simply as the process of editing a document with others in Google Docs. That’s what makes PocketStudio so unique for creatives.

Jean-Colas Prunier & the PocketStudio team