Location: Cardiff, United Kingdom
Employees: 8, plus freelancers
Using Rodeo: since 2019
Clients: Netflix, BBC, ITV, Sky, Channel 4, Film 4, Europe, Deep Purple
Visual effects created by BAIT Studio for the feature film Apostle on Netflix
Creating captivating visuals for tv, film, advertising, and music, the team at BAIT Studio has won multiple awards for their brilliant artistry. You might have marveled at their amazing visual effects while watching the feature film The Apostle on Netflix, the Sci-fi thriller The Machine, or the BBC One drama series Casualty. They also worked on animated music videos for bands Deep Purple and Europe, in addition to advertising campaigns and corporate projects.
From idea conception to final post-production, it’s challenging to keep track of multiple projects as they progress through different production phases. We set up a video call with Peter Rogers, Managing Director of BAIT Studio, to tell us how demanding work behind the scenes can be, and how Rodeo has lightened the load while optimizing their work processes.
Why BAIT Studio needs a project management tool
At a visual effects and motion design studio with a wide range of different production types, there are always a number of projects running simultaneously. BAIT Studio usually oversees about 10 projects at the same time. During busier periods, this could go up to 25-30 projects.
Some projects are quite large, spanning 6-10 weeks, with some smaller projects only taking up half a day. You could be anywhere in the earlier processes of discussing an idea, writing a script, or planning a storyboard. Or moving on to the later stages of pre-production, editing, or post-production. BAIT Studio has always worked with project management software because otherwise, it’s just a mess keeping track of when projects start and how they progress.
At BAIT Studio, managing director, Peter Rogers, gets to wear many different hats. Aside from running the company, he is also involved with the creative process and bringing on work. Managing a team of full-time employees while also working with freelancers who are added on per project can get out of control without a proper project management tool in place.
When BAIT Studio met Rodeo
The team had been using a different project management tool for a while, but it just wasn't enough anymore. Some features were never updated, while others were updated in ways that no longer supported their workflows.
Starting with a Google search, Rogers started his mission to find a new tool. He created an excel sheet and added all options along with an overview of features and functionalities. It was quite a challenge to find one that checked all the boxes of what he was looking for.
After a while of trying some of them out, he almost found himself prepared to settle for something that would have to make due.
"It might have been an ad, or maybe I just checked Google one last time. I noticed Rodeo, which I had never heard of before" recalls Rogers. "Adding it to the list, we checked it out. Our verdict was that it came much closer to our company's needs. At first sight, it probably seemed to have around 80% of what we needed.”
A smooth onboarding thanks to the plug-and-play setup and personal service
While testing multiple tools, Rogers noticed how time-consuming it can be to understand how to use a project management tool and how to implement it into your workflows. Sometimes he lost a lot of time, spending weeks on the process.
This is why he appreciated how simple it was to set up Rodeo, and how much more intuitive the platform was as compared to other tools.
According to Rogers, "It was so easy to plan a demo with a sales representative, who took the time to learn about our company first. A huge difference from other companies I had tried out. Most didn’t ask much about my company, they just explained their tool’s features and let me figure out myself how it could benefit our business during the trial period. Then they kept following up just to close the sale.”
This is in stark contrast to how demos are provided by Rodeo, completely tailored to the needs of a company. "The [Rodeo] sales rep really took the time to ask about our processes and workflows to understand what we needed. He went into detail about how Rodeo could facilitate us, and how we could use the tool to our advantage" says Rogers.
Time tracking feels so unintrusive, everybody sticks to it
Right from the start, their team liked the design of Rodeo's interface. As would be expected from visual artists, they really appreciate a tool that’s visually appealing.
Peter Rogers: "Obviously the planner is really handy for keeping track of when jobs come in, where we stand in the process, and who’s working on what. Even things like time tracking feel very unintrusive, so all the artists have no problem sticking to doing it. When discovering they forgot to set the timer, they can just add the time later.”
BAIT Studio has won an RTS Award, a Canmol Wales Marketing Award, and 4 BAFTA Cymru Awards.
Updates for clients are far more detailed with better reports
Oftentimes, clients spontaneously call asking for project updates. Rogers explains how BAIT Studio has been benefiting from using the quick views, "With Rodeo, we can quickly see what’s going on with our projects, providing much more context to base updates on. Clients have really noticed how we are able to give way more details about project status than we used to."
Projects are more cost-efficient
One of the biggest advantages of using Rodeo is that budgets are connected to projects in Rodeo, making it easy to precisely keep track of costs per project and the balance of different accounts.
For BAIT Studio, this helped them optimize their processes and understand costs, "What really adds to how you track your projects is being able to see the updates converted to cash" adds Rogers. "With every decision or move we make, we immediately see the effects of added spending with Rodeo. This motivates us to plan accordingly and work more efficiently. As a result, we always have a handle on each project’s budget.”
The team who worked on Dream Horse with director Euros Lyn, at the film's cast and crew screening.
Costs for project management software are cut back at least 50%, even while having more staff
As mentioned before, the crew size at BAIT Studio is constantly changing because they add freelancers or complete teams based on each project need.
In the past, they would have to pay full cost per user to get the whole team to use the project management tool. Even though some users—especially freelancers and graphic artists—don’t really need a lot of functionalities. "Artists like to keep their task view clear, so their interface isn’t too distracting," Explains Rogers. "We would always have to go into the backend to manually switch off all the functions they didn’t use. Sometimes in terms of cost-effectiveness, it would make no sense to add a temporary freelancer to the same system, paying for a full month for functions they don’t need.”
Most project management tools charge a fixed amount per user, sometimes even requiring you to commit to a minimum amount. Rodeo is different because it allows you to add users based on user profile, that way you will pay less for fewer functionalities.
This was a game changer for BAIT Studio, and allowed them to keep their software costs down,"The flexibility Rodeo offers is amazing. I can add new users on and off continuously, sometimes even just for the few days I use them," explains Rogers. "We have managed to cut back significantly, at least 50% on costs for project management software, even with far more users than before.”
Team members at BAIT Studio appreciate how straightforward Rodeo’s interface is. Because of the plug-and-play setup and personal guidance from Rodeo’s support team, the onboarding process was very smooth.
Rodeo is becoming more useful every day
Ever since BAIT Studio decided to go with Rodeo, the support team remained on hand and there has been regular contact to check how things are going: "The team at Rodeo is always eager to hear about what else our company might need from the tool, to discuss the possibilities of adding new functions in the future, shares Rogers. "I see new updates every month, so I’m confident the tool will continue to become more useful to us in the future.”
This plays an important part in maintaining customer satisfaction, but also to provide the development team at Rodeo with valuable information.
Since switching from another project management tool to Rodeo, BAIT Studio is able to:
Limit the time spent on testing the tool and figuring out how it works due to the plug-and-play setup and personal onboarding process.
Get the whole team to stick to reporting their hours since time tracking with Rodeo feels so unintrusive.
Give clients detailed progress updates when they spontaneously call, as the quick views option offers a lot of context to base updates on.
Generate comprehensive reports to help managers and clients make informed decisions.
Help keep all projects more cost-efficient by viewing project updates converted to cash.
Keep a handle on budgets as each move now illustrates the effect of added spending.
Save at least 50% on costs for project management software, even when they have more staff on the team.