When creating award-winning projects for high-profile clients like Mercedes Benz and Sony, staying organized is key. Production timelines continue to tighten, and studios need to be as flexible as possible. For nhb studios, a studio awash in tools, the answer was NIM, an all-in-one studio management platform that helped the company speed up every part of the production process, from projects to people.
"TV commercials are like working at a startup. One comment and the whole project can change," says Quang Tran, head of nhb Berlin. "NIM helped us break down the physical and organizational barriers that were preventing flexibility. Now, we can easily utilize our entire network, bringing together the best talent for each project."
Four separate locations and a wide network of on- and off-site producers, directors, designers, animators and composers have helped nhb become one of the top production houses in Germany. Equally well known as a talented one-stop-shop and partner of renowned VFX studio The Mill, nhb currently specializes in advertising projects, ranging from luxury automobiles to brand work for Coca-Cola, Volkswagen and eBay.
The need to scale led nhb to various studio tools, but with each search, two problems emerged: either they were too specialized or too focused on pipeline.
"We always knew we needed an organizational layer to fuel production, but the solutions on the market didn’t reflect the realities of the industry," says Tran. "NIM was different. We immediately felt that this tool was made in a production business like ours."
Created by studio pros, NIM was designed to cover the entire studio spectrum from projects to profitability. With tools like timecards and reviews in one place, nhb has been able to connect their offices into a central hub, gaining real-time feedback from artist inputs and NIM’s visual aids. "All the functionality and options were door openers for us," says Tran. "And we could use it right off the shelf."
nhb started their exploration into NIM through its bidding and financial tools. As the inputs came in from artists and producers, Tran was able to access detailed views of the actuals in real time, without having to manually input and track numbers in Excel. After that, the company adopted it across departments and now applies it to all incoming projects.
As nhb continues to stream information into the system, NIM becomes a living database filled with timelines, storyboards, watchouts, graphs and project notes that nhb can use to make informed decisions about current and future projects. "At this point, it’s like a project wiki," said Tran. "At any moment, I can get a real-time view into the status of the studio, whether I’m trying to track profitability across projects or reactivate a project down the line. The more we feed in, the more we get out."
With NIM Connectors, nhb has established a live link to industry-standard tools like Nuke and Flame, providing even more up-to-date information as artists work. The Nuke Connector, in particular, brought the onboarding process of freelance Nuke artists down to just five minutes, opening up new efficiencies around remote work. Once jobs started, the Connector took file and naming conventions out of artists’ hands, saving the team hours of time formerly lost to accidental errors.
"I think simplicity plays a major role," says Tran, "in why one tool works and another doesn’t. NIM gives us a simple structure that we can easily adapt from project to project, instead of something we have to maintain through code. And that lets us scale faster than we ever have before."
Visit NIM Labs online to sign up for a free 30-day trial.