Nickelodeon -

Nickelodeon Animation Studio Maximizes Series Assets with Extensis Portfolio

Where they started…

Industry: Broadcast & Media
Product Line: Digital Asset Management

For the last 23 years, Nickelodeon Animation Studio’s elite staff of animators has turned concepts like “SpongeBob SquarePants,” “Dora the Explorer,” and “The Penguins of Madagascar” into engaging cartoons that kids just can’t get enough of. An impressive two hours of new animation is produced every week, making for a rapid accumulation of content used Nickelodeon’s Animation Studio.

Manual archiving used to govern how assets were cataloged and tracked. Animation cells, drawings, painting, scripts, and voice recordings were all tabulated in a binder, filed away into boxes, and then transferred to an offsite storage facility. Attempts to search for these assets were far from simple and relied upon inconsistent descriptions that would differ between departments. The system was slow, costly, and time sucking. And everyone knew it.

What they did…

To install some order into an inefficient process, Nickelodeon went in search of a system that would:

  • Present a highly visual interface that could be easily used and taught to the production teams
  • Catalog all assets in easily searchable format that featured thumbnails and rich metadata
  • Accommodate cross-platform users working on both Mac and Windows-based machines

They found a new friend in Extensis Portfolio Server. Portfolio Server quickly allowed them to bring all of their assets into one place, so they could stop digging through random boxes and focus their energy on producing kid-friendly entertainment.

Where they landed…

Since deploying Portfolio Server, Nickelodeon has:

  • Organized all assets into galleries that are specific to each show, allowing animators to quickly find assets they can work with or re-use for future programming
  • Streamlined the asset archiving, search and retrieval process
  • Reduced the gap around archiving materials from once a year to real-time updates
  • Created an environment where animators can browse through materials from other shows
  • Increased speed that cross-country users can access and archive with the Web Client portal.

Where they’re headed…

What began with archiving will soon manage the network’s design review/approval process. With one place for animators to upload works-in-progress and department heads to provide quick feedback, Nickelodeon will be able to increase the speed at which everyone can get their content completed and on-air. In time, a framework will be installed that will allow individual animators to skip the server step altogether.

A trip to their Gallery will be all they need to find their next assignment. That’s a long way from the boxes and binders, and probably a good thing for the parents out there too. They know better than anyone what happens when kids don’t get their SpongeBob. It can be scary.