A motion picture technical database: Shotonwhat.com

Written by Patrick Jong Taylor

Shotonwhat/RedSharkShotonwhat

A fledgling website, shotonwhat.com, aims to be your new destination for movie tech info. The twist? The site needs you to fill in its blanks

Have you ever wondered what camera filmed Prometheus? Or which productions used a Sony PD150 or a Canon XL1?

Well, wonder no longer, thanks to an upstart filmmakers’ resource. Shotonwhat.com, launched in September 2012, greets visitors with an ever-expanding index of titles and corresponding technical information. The site gives you have multiple options for satisfying your query, including a title search, a keyword search, and tabbed menus and submenus. The menu system provides a good overview of the site’s breadth of content, or more accurately, of its ambitions.

Beta

Still in beta, shotonwhat.com boasts 2000 ‘updated’ movie and television profiles, which isn’t a wildly impressive number, but definitely a good start. On the downside, the site is a hodge-podge of information at present with less-than perfect means of getting at that information. The search function is a work-in-progress: the title search is unforgiving, giving zero results if you misspell, forget to type a comma, or type ‘and’ instead of ‘&’; the key word search is better, but also lacks the ability to perform fuzzy searches. You can drill down from menus, effectively calling forth any items with the selected tag or group of tags, but the tagging is incomplete and doesn’t reflect all the information already on the site. For example, a “Lightworks” keyword search yields 130 hits, yet only a handful of titles are tagged with ‘Lightworks’ (as its editing system). This is because much of the information on the site is straight from IMDB, and is searchable, but hasn’t been retagged to optimize the browsing experience.

Appreciative following

It’s not all doom-and-gloom, however. Although shotonwhat.com shows signs of youth, it has built, over five months, an appreciative following that actively contributes to the database. The site leans on this growing user base to add titles and to fill out technical information on its existing pages. Over time, such a social venture could prove more and more successful, as information for past productions gets filled-in and the resource matures and solves its usability issues. Eventually, it could become common place for productions to list its tech info on shotonwhat.com.

Don’t worry. You can always get an office PA to do it.

Update:

Since this article was written, our colleagues at Lightworks have begun tagging on shotonwhat.com

Tags: Production

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