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Case study

How Moonrock adapted to a
“transformation in the industry”
with ftrack

Logo - Moonrock

In the last few years, we’ve seen a transformational shift in how work gets done, with remote and hybrid models now the norm. This change has raised challenges for creative businesses that traditionally relied on a lot of in-person collaboration.

But for Moonrock Animation Studio, a Hungarian studio launched in 2021, early adoption of remote-capable technology such as ftrack Studio meant the company has been ‘future ready’ from the start.

Moonrock provides computer graphic (CG) services to various prestigious customers, including Axis Animation and Platige Image. The company is led by a seasoned team, and CEO Gábor Marinov has worked in the CG business (and taught at a Budapest film arts university) since the early 1990s.

We spoke with Marinov to learn why the company chose ftrack Studio, how they use it, and what it means for their production processes.

Iron Maiden: The Writing on the Wall music video. Client: BLINKINK. Moonrock Animation Studio provided: character modeling / lookdev / rigging / animation, shot lighting

The Writing’s On The Wall for traditional production processes

Hungary has become a desired location for Hollywood productions such as Dune, Blade Runner 2049, and The Witcher. Ample government support means startup studios like Moonrock can provide competitive pricing for their services, which puts Moonrock in a great position to take on more work. But Marinov and his team work on more than Hollywood projects.

Marinov explains that one of Moonrock’s first projects was working on the Iron Maiden music video The Writing On The Wall. The company was commissioned to create a 3D version of Eddie, the band’s iconic mascot.

At that time, the writing was on the wall for the traditional way that CG studios operated. It was 2021, and the COVID-19 pandemic and the rise of remote work were changing how companies worked. “The lines between employees and freelancers were becoming increasingly blurred,” Marinov recalls.

From the start, Moonrock predicted that this change would likely become the norm. So, they chose to operate as a fully cloud-based business to “enable efficient capacity scaling and minimize idle time expenses,” Marinov explains. Moonrock set up its infrastructure in a private cloud and used the cloud-based ftrack Studio for managing its projects.

Moonrock has also “developed a cloud-based infrastructure and management methods specifically optimized for seamless scalability,” which makes it easier to onboard both permanent employees and short-term freelancers. “Hungary’s abundance of skilled 3D artists also enables us to scale efficiently on the human resources front,” adds Marinov. “ftrack certainly makes onboarding new team members simpler.”

Call of Duty: Vanguard & Warzone - The Pacific P2 cinematic trailer. Client: Platige Image. Moonrock Animation Studio provided: character modeling / grooming / lookdev / animation,  enviro modeling / lookdev, shot cfx / fx

“The time and energy we save using ftrack is significant.”

 Gábor MarinovCEO

The right solution for a startup studio

Finding a suitable project and asset management platform can challenge small businesses. "It’s simply too expensive for a studio like Moonrock to maintain a custom solution, and other solutions on the market are unnecessarily complex,’ says Marinov.  

“ftrack is extremely well-suited for small and medium-sized studios like ours"

But here is where ftrack stood out. “ftrack is extremely well-suited for small and medium-sized studios like ours,” he continues. “The platform centralizes all production-related information and presents it in an easy-to-access user interface for all involved parties.” 

Moonrock is a boutique studio with a variety of projects. “It would be time-consuming to configure our project management system on a project basis,” Marinov says. But with ftrack, he points out that “we can build our project structure in a lean way (adding more details as we go), and ftrack simply always displays relevant information.”

Built for efficient project management

Like production studios of any size or specialism, managing media projects is complex. But cloud-based production in ftrack Studio means Moonrock can easily handle all work. 

“For most of our projects, we follow a SCRUM-like agile approach to project management, conducting weekly and daily meetings where we plan and track our progress with the team,” explains Marinov.“We create task lists for every week, marking the planned finish date as well. In our daily meetings, we continuously re-evaluate the state of the production and rearrange our weekly and daily task lists. We utilize ftrack’s super flexible lists for this process.” 

ftrack’s flexibility in approach around project management also means the Moonrock team can use it in different ways. “For some projects, we use a more traditional Waterfall project management model. ftrack can support SCRUM or Waterfall  without any problem.”

Myléne Farmer: Nevermore tour visuals. Client: Bordos Artworks, Myléne Farmer. Moonrock Animation Studio provided: character modeling / grooming / lookdev / rigging / animation, shot hfx / fx / lighting / compositing

Features designed to support project work

“We have found ftrack’s flexibility to be super helpful,” Marinov emphasizes. “While almost every project management software allows you to customize views, ftrack elevates this to another level. For example, we can select an item from the project hierarchy, and ftrack automatically shows related tasks, versions, or even statistics for the selected item This allows users to quickly focus on the state of different project elements from the entire project through a sequence or shot down to an individual task. It is a great time-saving feature for boutique studios, where structures can vary from project to project. With this feature, we don't have to set up rigid views for each project. This way, most of our small projects don't require any ftrack setup beyond creating the project structure itself.

Marinov also highlights how ftrack’s “review and note system is excellent. We use it extensively for client and internal reviews, which is a huge time-saver. Another advantage is the integration with cineSync, which connects to ftrack and enables us to perform high-resolution review of original media in sync.”

A “win-win situation” for CG studios

Working with ftrack is a “true win-win situation” for Moonrock, reckons Marinov. “The time and energy we save using ftrack is significant.”

With its intuitive, easy-to-use interface, ftrack has also proved popular with employees and freelance collaborators.

“From the start, there was no artist or manager who didn't like ftrack” Marinov recalls. “Everyone could start using it after a quick tutorial. It elimates artist questions like ‘Where can I find this or that information?’ With ftrack, everything is readily available.” 


Ready for the future of work?

ftrack is delivered over the cloud, meaning studios of any size, anywhere, can use it for project management, production tracking, team collaboration, and digital asset management. Studios like Moonrock are using ftrack to show how hybrid and fully remote working styles are possible in the production industry.

Want to see how ftrack can help you adapt to remote work while scaling flexibly and managing costs?