Production database is
building a growing legion of pro and non-pro fans eager for details about the
gear used to make movies and TV shows.

Los Angeles—Motion picture and television
professionals hungry to know what gear was used to shoot the latest Star Wars epic or Netflix’s hottest new
show are quickly turning ShotOnWhat? into
one of the production industry’s most popular destinations on the web. The
production and post production database site, which includes detailed
information on everything from the camera lenses to the sound equipment to the
visual effects software used to produce particular movies and TV shows, has
pushed past 100,000 page views per month. And site founder James LaViola
predicts that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
“The response from the professional community has been
overwhelming,” LaViola says. “If you want to know the names of the stars and
crews of a movie, you can look that up on other major movie websites. But if
you want to know what cameras, lenses and other gear were used to make that
movie, you go to ShotOnWhat? For cinematographers, editors, colorists and other
pros, technical details related to production and post production are very
important. We’ve built a database where all that information is freely and
easily accessible.”

Steven Poster ASC, President
of International Cinematographers Guild calls ShotOnWhat? an indispensable
tool. “ShotOnWhat? takes off where IMDB stops,” he observes. “It is a technical
reference to everything about how movies are made, far above any other.”
ShotOnWhat? collects data submitted by crew members and
others about gear, technology and processes used in movie and television
productions. The information is verified, classified, indexed and made
available through the site. Since its launch in 2012, the site has gathered
information on more than 20,000 TV and movie productions. That includes data on
more than 3500 items in 85 categories, with new data added at an accelerating
In terms of its depth of information on filmmaking
technology, there’s nothing like it. And, it’s not just information related to
current and recent films. ShotOnWhat? makes a concerted effort to gather data
on movies of the past by encouraging older and retired pros to share their
recollections and submit data, as well as film historians. That makes the site
valuable not only as a production planning tool but as a rich repository of
information about movie-making’s past.
“If we don’t capture this information, it is likely to be lost
forever,” notes LaViola. “No one else is collecting information about how early
movies were made and the tools that were invented or pioneered on individual
ShotOnWhat? recently spawned a companion site ShotOnSet!, a collection of thousands
of behind-the-scenes photography from TV and movie sets. Both sites are built
through communal collaboration with expenses met through manufacturer
participation and sponsorships, advertising and donations.
In its little more than three years of existence,
ShotOnWhat? has developed into an invaluable resource and planning tool. “Cinematographers
who want to emulate the look of a particular movie scene come to our site to
find out what cameras and lenses were used,” LaViola explains.
Similarly, the site has drawn praise from technology
manufacturers. “If you’re a dolly manufacturer, you can quickly find out which
movies have used your product,” LaViola observes. “That information was
previously unavailable. It’s a great marketing tool.” LaViola adds that the site
has also built a dedicated following among researchers, film students and movie
LaViola has plans to expand the site and increase its
features. One planned upgrade would connect location data to Google Street View
so that visitors can get a bird’s eye view of the places where a movie was
While the site’s database is expanding quickly, site visits
are growing even faster. LaViola expects the number of visitors to the site to
more than quadruple this year. “As traffic increases, we’re getting more
interest from advertisers and investors,” LaViola says. “That in turn will help
us further develop the site and add more of the features our users are
clamoring for.”
About ShotOnWhat?
ShotOnWhat? is dedicated to preserving detailed data about
production and post production aspects of motion picture and television production.
It includes technical information about cameras, lenses, gear, post, sound, VFX
and other associated elements, processes and notations. Information is
verified, searchable and cross referenced. Since its launch in 2012,
ShotOnWhat? has become an essential resource for professionals, researchers,
students, and movie-buffs alike.
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