Kanbanchi and how it is revolutionizing our VR workflow
I want to share a little secret about a tool that’s completely changed how we interact and create content as a small independent VR shop. That tool is called Kanbanchi.
For those of you who have heard of Trello, this is going to look really familiar. That is because both tools are built using the Kanban method of organization. The main reason I like to use Kanbanchi is that it integrates seamlessly with Google drive, which makes sharing it, and the files I attach to cards (more on that later) incredibly easy.
At Light Sail VR, we recently undertook a huge project creating our own original interactive narrative called “Speak of the Devil”. This project was the biggest we’d ever attempted. We had mapped out 56 locations in a forest and over 110 unique scenes that we had to track through a post production pipeline that included spatial audio, VFX, and Unity game development. Our creative collaborators were working remotely across town in Los Angeles, San Antonio, Texas, and as far as Toronto (that’s in Canada, FYI). We knew we needed a way to track our shots across all departments and keep track of notes.
We began by putting together a master board filled with every shot we knew we’d have to track through our pipeline. We then made columns for each milestone in the project. Our lead editor, Chris Willett, added tags and notes to each of the cards to help us keep track of important information that could be handy later when we were attempting to find shots later.
Moving shot from milestone to milestone, we’d use a combination of checklists and color coordination to give us a micro and macro overview of the status of the project at any given moment. This job involved a lot of repetitive tasks such as relinking files, sending stuff to render, and importing into the Unity project file. Using color made it easy to keep track of the progress within a milestone and have an instant read on what needed to still be done.
As the project progressed, we created special boards for our VFX and audio teams. On these boards we were able to break down the milestones and keep track of their progress through the workload so that we could chime in with priorities, notes, etc and they wouldn’t be overwhelmed with information that they didn’t need. We also were able to always start our board with a column that contained important information such as formats, color space, color key, etc.
One of the best features is the ability to attach Google Drive documents to the cards. Instead of keeping track of dozens of emails and versions, we could deliver the required assets via Kanbanchi and they could deliver their work on the same card. This was game changing for us when keeping track of so many assets and where they exist in the pipeline!
As we keep using Kanbanchi we keep discovering refinements and improvements to our existing workflow. Right now, we’re simply using the free version and it’s more than capable for our needs. On future projects we’ll probably upgrade and have access to more project management features that will help with scheduling and management.
I hope the development team continues to add new features. I’d love to see a real time notification system where I can tag team members and push an email note similar to how notes in Google Docs operate. I’d also love to see the ability to copy and paste a list of notes right into checklists when addressing client notes. Another feature I’d love is the ability to sort the cards alphabetically. Small tweaks, but they’d go a long way towards further improving our workflow.
Do you a Kanban system for keeping track of shots? How do you stay organized when pushing so many VR shots through your pipeline? Curious to hear your thoughts!
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