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Experiential events studio Sila Sveta projects success with ftrack Studio

Over the past 14 years, Sila Sveta’s artists have created more than 600 projects for shows in 32 countries.

And those projects are certainly varied, covering experiential events, extended reality, virtual production, 3d video mapping – and much more.

Ilya Samokhvalov is both Production Supervisor and Head of Research and Development at Sila Sveta and has worked on dozens of the studio’s projects. “Over the years, we’ve created multimedia presentation shows, stage designs, interactive installations, and large-scale city projects like 3D video mapping onto famous buildings (such as the Bolshoi Theater and the Times Square Edition Hotel). We’ve also achieved things like the first AI-generated video mapping in the US at LUMA Festival and contributed to the AURA long-term interactive performance in Italy,” he says. “Some of our most significant projects were the Drake and Migos’ North American Tour, Billie Eilish’s XR live show, and the 9 Samsung Galaxy Unpacked events, for which Sila Sveta created the unveil of Samsung devices like the Galaxy Note 9, Galaxy Fold, and Galaxy Flip.”

Ilya Samokhvalov

Production Supervisor, Head of R&D

Company: Sila Sveta
Location: New York, Moscow


The studio is clearly busy. At the time of writing, Sila Sveta had more than 40 projects running concurrently through the studio, all at different stages of production. “We’re working on many special productions, like projections onto moving objects, extended reality (XR) and virtual production-related projects, robotic hands experiments, and experiences involving lasers and drones,” says Samokhvalov.

With so much work in production, Sila Sveta relies on ftrack Studio to ensure seamless collaboration and keep its productions running smoothly.

Adopting ftrack Studio

Before ftrack Studio, Sila Sveta relied on Cerebro for its production tracking needs. However, various issues with the software and the lack of tools Sila Sveta needed to run its productions caused Sila Sveta to look elsewhere for its unique pipeline-related requirements.

“The standard editorial-based visual effects pipeline, with shots, assets, and departments, isn’t directly applicable to Sila Sveta,” explains Samokhvalov. “We create physical or interactive installations, with 3D video mapping, light and laser shows, and so on. Such projects often require significantly different types of assets, special lighting control pixel maps, laser shapes, and animated .fbx files for kinetic systems control. We also work with complex folder structures, which can vary from project to project as requirements shrink, grow, split, and evolve. As such, when it came to project structure, we needed a tracking solution that did not so rigidly adhere to the Show-Sequence-Scene-Shot architecture.”

It was in ftrack Studio that Samokhvalov found the flexibility required of Sila Sveta’s pipeline. “ftrack Studio immediately stood out as something that could address our varied needs,” says Samokhvalov. “We loved the modern and clean user interface. Other solutions are overloaded with tabs, buttons, and other controls – it’s easy to get lost. Not so with ftrack Studio.”

Increasing clarity with ftrack Studio

One of ftrack Studio’s most immediate benefits at Sila Sveta was the breaking down of communication barriers, which are anathema to any studio looking to cultivate efficiently.

“With ftrack Studio, we were immediately able to introduce clarity to our productions by keeping the whole team on the same page,” says Samokhvalov. “At Sila Sveta, we work on global projects. Our creative director might be in Qatar, our Producer in New York, our Art Director in Jakarta, our Supervisor on the shooting stage, and our artists in Moscow. We need to keep everyone connected. ftrack Studio does just that. The software handles all the assets, previews, and comments moving around the studio, and everyone can see precisely what stage each production is at.”

Samokhvalov found ftrack Studio especially beneficial when working with external freelancers and remote teammates. “ftrack Studio makes it so much easier to communicate with external freelancers and staff,” he says. “We can get them up to speed really quickly, send them their task lists, and share everything they need to get going on a shot. On the production side, the Versions tab makes it easy to explore all versions from a bird’s eye perspective, without needing to dive into separate tasks to see where we stand.”

ftrack Studio’s filtering ability has also helped to cut out the noise at Sila Sveta and, in fact, stands as one of the primary decision-making factors behind the studio’s adoption of the platform.

“Filtering information inside ftrack Studio is one of the platform’s more brilliant features,” says Samokhvalov. “Sila Sveta’s previous production tracking solution lacked any filtering features for versions. Indeed, there was no “version” entity itself. There would be, for example, no differentiation between a style frame published by an artist or comments painted over this style frame by the art director. We would just have two .jpegs without additional metadata, meaning there was no data to filter.

“With ftrack Studio, the situation is completely different. We can assign metadata to Versions, such as status, fps, resolution, container, codec, artist’s name, publish date, etc., and sift through it all using ftrack Studio’s powerful filtering system. With ftrack Studio, it’s easy to find what you need, when you need it.”

"ftrack is the best production tracking tool compared to the competition, and I’m confident it will continue to take Sila Sveta in the right direction."

Ilya Samokhvalov
Production Supervisor


Staying in sync

Media review in ftrack Studio also supports Sila Sveta in its client><vendor and internal communications. The feature came in particularly useful during lockdown.

“Media review in ftrack Studio is one of our core production processes,” says Samokhvalov. “We dive into review sessions every day to comment on versions and make annotations on video. I must say that the ability to run these sessions in interactive, real-time sync is amazing. Playing videos on shared screens via Zoom calls is a laggy nightmare. Synced review in ftrack Studio overcomes these issues and helps us get to the heart of the matter in our creative discussions. The collaborative process feels like we’re in the same room, even when we’re not.”


Customizing a pipeline

Another feature that factored into Sila Sveta’s choice of ftrack Studio was the platform’s customizability. As mentioned, Sila Sveta is a unique company with unique pipeline requirements. ftrack Studio’s powerful Python API and deep customizability meant that Samokhvalov and his team could take the software and build upon its codebase to deliver bespoke production solutions fully tailored to Sila Sveta’s way of working.

“As Sila Sveta’s Head of Research and Development, I’m leading a team responsible for custom software and pipeline development,” says Samokhvalov. “The RnD department provides Sila Sveta’s artists with custom-built tools. Thankfully, ftrack Studio has an amazing, easy-to-use API that has enabled us to build custom, automated scenarios that speed up routine tasks and free up the time we previously spent on manual, non-creative work.”

Since Samokhvalov first discovered the power of custom tool development in ftrack Studio, the ideas for automation have blossomed. Here’s a look at some of the tools he and his team have developed to increase Sila Sveta’s pipeline efficiency:

  • A custom Project Start Wizard Action
  • A mobile Notifications Engine
  • Reconfigured ftrack Connect
  • After Effects integration
“We developed this tool to assist supervisors through the Sila Sveta project start-up process,” says Samokhvalov. “The Action creates a project structure from a template, automatically batches shots and folders creations, and adds the project team. This tool’s implementation has reduced project start-up time from an hour to five minutes.” Learn more about the Sila Sveta’s Project Start Wizard Action



“At Sila Sveta, we create projects around the world,” says Samokhvalov. “Sometimes, the ability to fire up a laptop and connect to Studio’s network through VPN to get a notification is not an option. As such, we need to review and comment on dailies on the go via cell phone. As ftrack Studio does not (currently) have a mobile app, we created a custom-built Notifications Engine based on our production messaging app, Telegram.

“The Notifications Engine listens to events happening in ftrack Studio, and, when something of note happens, it delivers instant notifications to the relevant team members. For example, when a version is published, our whole project management team receives a video preview. If a version is ready for feedback, a producer might receive a notification and then spin up a review session with the art director and creative director. If a version receives a comment or a new task is assigned, an artist can receive a notification about that. Upcoming milestones can be pinged to the production director. Everyone stays in the loop.”



“We created our own version of the ftrack Connect desktop app to support our publishing process at Sila Sveta,” says Samokhvalov. “We added sequence support, metadata check, sequence validation, automated preview generation, and more. The artist publishing process is super streamlined thanks to this work.”



“Our workflow at Sila Sveta is heavily based on CG generalists, many of whom work with After Effects,” says Samokhvalov. “We wrote an After Effects integration tailored to Sila Sveta’s pipeline, which allows users to browse through versions in ftrack Studio and preview thumbnails or filter versions by parameters such as publish date, user, status, latest version, asset type, and so on – all inside After Effects.

“We also created an auto-update feature,” he continues. “Here, the After Effects integration manages all data inside the edit project. When a version is imported for the first time, the integration creates the default structure inside After Effects and places the version in the right place, according to the shot. Artists receive notifications via our Notification Engine when a new version is published. When a more recent version is imported, it replaces the previous version automatically inside a dedicated pre-compose.”



Sila Sveta is also working on its proprietary digital assets library creation and management system, Asseter.

“Asseter is a browser-based system providing flawless assets navigation, search, and filtering with quality previews, 3D models, and HDRIs,” explains Samokhvalov. “The software offers an AI-powered batch discovery, categorization, dependency collection, automated preview render, and tagging tool, with which you can build an assets library and find what you need in a few clicks, along with textures and other dependencies. We’re working on DCC software integrations with Asseter that will enable users to import/export assets on the go without needing to leave their DCC software interface.

“We will tightly integrate Asseter with ftrack Studio, so artists and supervisors can easily send a published version in ftrack Studio over to Asseter to save it as a reusable asset in the future,” continues Samokhvalov. “The team and I are working on an Asseter>

“We hope to have this system commercially available for any interested production studios in 2022, with a native ftrack Studio integration built in. You can learn more and participate in the beta at”


Looking to the future

For a moment in 2020, when COVID-19 rocked the core events industry Sila Sveta served, things looked uncertain. However, thanks to new thinking, new projects, and a lot of innovation, the studio weathered the storm.

“In mid-2021, the world started to awaken again following the pandemic,” says Samokhvalov. “At Sila Sveta, we faced a new wave of incoming project requests. We hired back the artists we had lost, then grew, and now our team has reached a historical maximum. We have a new office, exciting new projects, and much to anticipate.

“This is thanks in part to ftrack Studio, which helped keep Sila Sveta connected, even when things worldwide took a turn for the worst. I’m a big fan of ftrack – it’s the best production tracking tool compared to the competition, and I’m confident it will continue to take Sila Sveta in the right direction.”

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