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Emery Wells on his now-launched collaboration app Frame.io

By Randi Altman

After years of development and months of private beta, Frame.io — a cloud-based video review, collaboration and sharing platform for creative teams — is now available.

Back in July of last year, I spoke with one of the creators of Frame.io, Emery Wells (@emerywells), a working colorist and owner of New York-based post house Katabatic Digital. With Frame.io, Wells, along with his partner John Traver, set out to put all aspects of the review and approval process into a single application, calling on his experience as a working post pro.

While the product is now live, our story from last year maps out in detail what Wells and team had in mind for the product.

Here is a very short list of what the product offers: accelerated uploading in the browser for fast and efficient media file loading; cloud transcoding of video assets for guaranteed playback on any device, with support for professional formats; hover scrubbing for instant preview of clips; drag-and-drop interface for simple manipulation of files, content and communications; private workspace for managing separate projects; time-based, frame-specific comments and annotations for clearer communication; and side-by-side version comparison for a simple view of changes between versions.

L-R: Emery Wells and John Traver.

L-R: Emery Wells and John Traver.

The app is available now in a free version as well as a more robust monthly subscription package that starts at $15 a month. So, now that the product is complete and available, we checked in with Wells to learn more.

I interviewed you last July about your product. Can you talk about what updates have been made since then and why?
Over the past six months we’ve taken Frame.io out into the real world and worked with over 150 companies to get it ready for a wider release. It hasn’t been so much about changing the product as it has been about learning from our private beta testers. We’re offering a multimedia experience that’s never been seen on the web before — desktop-like performance, right in a browser. It took some serious engineering to get it right… three years worth.

Who is using your product currently? Can you describe their workflow?
We’ve been in private beta for the past six months with some really incredible companies, including Facebook, Nice Shoes, Red Giant, Birchbox, Refinery29, CNN, Nike, Yale, IFC, NBC and many more.

At the time of this interview we have 1,246 active users in the private beta. It’s great to see such a wide range of use cases. We’re seeing everything from cloud dailies to work-in-progress review to file sharing.

There are a number of tools out there in the market right now that seemingly do what yours does. Can you talk us through what makes your offering different?
When we look around at the landscape of competitors we see some cool companies that are solving one slice of the problem. That may be sharing large files and distributing it to a team around the world, or maybe that’s work-in-progress review during the editorial process, or cloud dailies for features and episodic workflows.

Other services tailor their services to the high-end VFX studios or are only accessible to huge enterprises. Some solutions only focus on video or only focus on photos. Frame.io is really targeted at solving the whole problem, and we had to build everything from the ground up to really get the performance and features we needed.

How much of you being a post pro yourself played into how you built the app?
Being working professionals ourselves means we have a great deal of empathy for our users. We’ve lived in the trenches and can share our war stories with the best of them. We built Frame.io after years of frustration using the tools that were available.

I previously founded a media post company, Katabatic, that created hundreds of digital shorts for Saturday Night Live and thousands of commercials. The process of working with our clients and vendors was always a complete mess and required three or four web platforms just to get the job done. Frame.io solves this mess and is making tools previously only available to movie studios and making them available to anyone that works with and creates media.

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