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 feature film The Apostle on Netflix, Sci-fi thriller The Machine, or the BBC One drama series Casualty. Besides this, 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 numerous 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 big, 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.
As BAIT Studio is still a small company, managing director Peter Rogers gets to wear many different hats. Besides running the company he is also involved with the creative process and bringing on work. Currently, he manages 8 full-time employees, while working with a lot of freelancers who are added on per project. For some time, the team had been using a different project management tool. While it was never exactly what they needed, it worked the best out of all the options at the time so they just accepted it. As time passed however, some features were never updated, while others were updated in ways that no longer supported their workflows.
When BAIT Studio met Rodeo
Many great things start with a Google search, and this is exactly how Rogers started his mission to find a new tool. Creating an excel sheet, he added all options along with an overview of features and functionalities. It was quite a challenge to find one that really had everything he was looking for. Ranking most to have around 60%. After a while of trying some of them out, he almost found himself prepared to settle for something that would have to make due. Peter Rogers: "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. 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 really appreciated how simple it was to set Rodeo up, and how much more intuitive it was compared to other tools. Peter 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. After that, they would just send me a bill each month without ever checking in to see how things were going and if it worked well for our workflows.”
This is in stark contrast to how demos are provided by Rodeo, completely tailored to the needs of a company. Peter Rogers: "The sales rep really took the time to ask all 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 most advantage. After all that time and effort, they still kept the pressure off and weren’t pushy at all. Giving me the free trial, I was told to just try it out and feel free to contact them if needed”. Subsequently, Rogers and his team gave us the green light after the trial period. Our next question during the interview was how the company had benefited from Rodeo since then. Rogers had a lot to share with us.
Time tracking feels so unintrusive, everybody sticks to it
Firstly, the team really liked the design of the interface. The dashboard and all the different views look very sleek and as would be expected from visual artists, they really appreciate a tool that’s visually appealing. Secondly, the employees loved how straightforward the software is. The team literally uses all Rodeo’s features, from budgets and planning to invoicing and reports. 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
Sometimes clients will spontaneously call asking for project updates. At BAIT Studio, they have found out how handy the quick views are. Peter Rogers: "With Rodeo, we can see exactly what’s going on with our projects, providing much more context to base updates on. Clients have really noticed how we can give way more details about the project status than we used to. This data is also very helpful for managers and clients, as we now have better reports to base decisions on.”
Projects are more cost-efficient
Budgets are connected to projects in Rodeo, making it super easy to keep track of costs per project and the balance of different accounts. Moreover, the tool offers the option to view status updates converted into cash. Peter Rogers: "During the process when costs need to be added, this can be done so intuitively. But what really adds to how you track your projects, is being able to see the updates converted to cash. With every decision or move we make, we immediately see the effects of added spending. 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 always changing because they always add on freelancers or complete teams for all the different projects. In the past, they would have to pay a certain amount per user to get the whole team to use the project management tool. Although some users -especially freelancers and graphic artists- don’t really need a lot of functionalities. Peter Rogers: "With the other tools we used, we were charged an amount per user with full functionalities. Artists like to keep their task view clear, so their interface isn’t too distracting. 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 on the same system, paying for a full month for functions they don’t need. Until we started using Rodeo!”
Most project management tools charge a fixed amount per user, sometimes even requiring you to commit to a minimum amount. Rodeo allows you to add users based on user profile, so you can select a cheaper option for fewer functionalities. Peter Rogers: "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. My bill from Rodeo is different every month. We have managed to cut back significantly on costs for project management software, even while having more staff. We are saving at least 50%, 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 for Rodeo, the support team remained on hand and there has been regular contact to check how things are going. This plays an important part in maintaining customer satisfaction, but also to provide the development team at Rodeo with valuable information. Peter Rogers: "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. As mentioned before, we initially felt like Rodeo had at least 80% of what we were looking for in a tool. But even for the remaining percentage, I feel like it’s still coming along. Whenever I made a suggestion for something that couldn’t be developed in the near future, they were able to explain exactly why not, or why not yet. But I see new updates every month, so I’m confident the tool will only become more useful to us in the future.”
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.
Set up a personal demo to find out how Rodeo can benefit your business, and start your 14-day free trial now.