Cerebro is a project management system with a unique toolset for collaboration on visual content. It has been developed to meet special demands of advertising agencies, VFX/CGI and animation facilities, TV production and post-production companies, web studios.
The key advantage one gets from Cerebro is “less typing – more understanding – faster turnover”. By using the toolkit, artists easily understand what managers want them to do, whereas the managers do not need to type and ping-pong miles of e-mails; and clients do not need to arrange meetings with the managers every time they have an issue or a comment on visuals.
Speaking exclusively to AnimationXpress.com’s Sidharth Iyer, Cerebo (SF, USA) CEO Konstantin Kharionov shares his insights on what is Cerebro all about, its world class services, tapping Asian markets and much more.
What is Cerebro? How did it come into existence? How many people worked on its development and how long did it take to develop the software?
Cerebro, is a resource planning and project management software with a Media & Entertainment specific toolkit. Basically, ?erebro helps better remember who is working on particular tasks and deadlines; get visuals and sound comments from managers, understand – where is the saved last version, etc. And it works not only inside your office, it especially works good for outsourcing companies or freelancers, even for managers sometimes working from home.
The history of Cerebro started in 2008, when current founder of company, worked at the R&D Department at Cinemateka (now Mang? Company), the leading postproduction facility in Russia over the past decade. The Department’s primary objective was the development of various software tools for automation and optimisation of CGI production processes, and the Cerebro Project, became the most ambitious challenge for the team, as it aimed at something really big – to create from scratch a multi-functional software platform for the production team, a handy toolkit for project tracking, communication and file storage.
Today the company is incorporated in two countries – the US and Russia, have in permanent and contract staff about 20 people.
The software works as an all-in-one toolkit for projects, but does it require a system to work on or can it also work on cloud?
System can work on-prime’s like full local installation or HyperCloud, in this case, files service installed locally at your office server, but the Data Base is located at one of our data centers.
What benefits do your clients get on using Cerebro? Does it function on all platforms?
We can up the productivity by almost 25 per cent by using the system. Our strongest points, unique embedded tool for video reviewing, module for secure synchronizing heterogeneous file storages around the world and for final we more cost-effective that our competitors.
Most advanced client type is desktop applications for MS Windows, Mac OS X and Linux. We have web interface for your clients, and mobile version for iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch. The server runs under Windows 2003, 2008 or Linux x64 (Ubuntu, Debian)
How is it useful for VFX studios? And what relevance does it have in the Indian markets?
Basically, our clients use our software all the time in their work. For example, all CG artists receive new tasks and comments from the system and at the end of day they create new dailies, reports, and time logs in just two clicks. Managers create all processes and tasks, assign people, use statistics in order to fully understand the big picture of the current project or for the entire company. Clients only see what is needed for your portion of information.
We noticed that even big studios in India, for coordination and project tracking, broadly use MS Excel, and so we just want to inform people about our approaches and methods. You can speed up your production, understand which particular artist is not working so good compared to others and the most important part, you will have good sleep at night, because your projects will have a better chance at being done by the right date (smiles).
Some of the big animation studios in India own their assets/version software, and that is a good sign for the industry, and we have strong plans to create a connection between in-house systems and Cerebro, for taking advantage from both.
Readers can check out our presentation, with list of all our benefits.
Do you feel that the pricing of the software is slightly high?
No, we are more cost effective than all of our competitors. For example, our raw price (we have additional volume discounts) for India is INR 1,500 per person per month, and the salary of the average experience artist in India is INR 50,000 and as so our software will cost just 3 per cent of the salary. We can guarantee the performance of the average department from 10 to 25 per cent and because of that you can have all of your investment returned straight away.
What are the technical glitches that the software has experienced? How fast is the customer service wing?
We do not have any big technical problems; the main problem that we must solve is located in our minds, it is the approach for how to manage resources. However, we think it’s just a training issue and because of that we provide education for free.
We are not a large corporation such as Adobe or Autodesk, and so we can deal with problems immediately. We don’t have a “first level” of support; all of whom deals with support are the same programmers who write code and our support office in Moscow is located pretty much in the same time zone as India, so just call us.
How did you develop the Mirada Player? What are the benefits of using it?
When we start developing, we set up goal. We needed a tool for comments on videos/images from the office or even from a remote location. We wanted a software program that you could run from “home” in the same manner as putting your finger at a specified place to monitor and comment on a video just by using your voice.
Now, by using Mirada you can draw or type over the content (video, images) and record your activity (zoom, pan, timeline dragging and mouse movement) together with your VOICE comments. And as a result, the reviews are submitted to Cerebro.
How does Cargador work? What are the benefits of using this module?
For our module Cargador, we create a special secure (by SSL) protocol for transferring files, in which you can drag and drop even a 100 GB file or even a directory with thousands of files and we send it without any problem, and by the way, the speed will be higher than by using FTP.
For example, if you have several locations to interchange files with – clients, vendors, freelancers, or your own remote facilities – then Cargador makes it possible to make them secure, synchronizing heterogeneous file storages around the world.
How successful was the recently held roadshow in India?
In late April 2014, we visited more than 15 Indian companies and all of the responses after the presentation were like “We definitely want to start with a demo!” We do not push our product, it is an act of goodwill, if the company is willing to change then we are ready to help them.
How important is the Indian market for Cerebro?
Our greatest value is our current customers and we can’t forget about other new markets too. We think India can be a good market for us, and because of that, we already hire India representatives and we will soon install a new server. Within a couple of weeks, we will deliver one of our Data Base servers to India, which helps speed up the time of response on the Hyper Cloud (studio) plane.
Who are your clients globally? How has the association been with them?
Now we have more than 140 companies around the globe that start and finish their every working day with Cerebro. It is mostly VFX, Animation, Motion Design and Archviz companies; 70 per cent of our clients are located in Russia.
In India we have a major client base that uses our system for managing all of the outsourcing work, and several companies use Cerebro accounts from Russian animation companies for outsourcing.
If you have staff that is familiar with Cerebro, you have more chances of getting outsourcing work from Russia. Maybe that sounds like a joke, but in any good joke there is some truth.
What is Cerebro’s outlook for the Asian, especially the Indian, market?
Asia is a huge market, and so the main task for the local market is to learn how to do business there. For example, in Russia we have ONLY 12 animation studios (by the way 10 of them use Cerebro) and almost every studio creates not only content as a product, but the best product is intellectual property, and merchandising is key for stable success. I wish the same smart position for India!