Tag Archives: collaboration

Collaboration company Pix acquires Codex

Pix has reached an agreement to acquire London-based Codex, in a move that will enable both companies to deliver a range of new products and services, from streamlined camera capture to post production finishing.

The Pix System  is a collaboration tool that provides industry pros with secure access to production content on mobile devices, laptops or TVs from offices, homes or while traveling. They won an Oscar for its technology in 2019.

Codex products include recorders and media processing systems that transfer digital files and images from the camera to post, and tools for color dynamics, dailies creation, archiving, review and digital asset management.

“Our clients have relied on Pix to protect their material and ideas throughout all phases of production. In Codex, we found a group that similarly values relationships with attention to critical details,” explains Pix founder/CEO Eric Dachs. “Codex will retain its distinct brand and culture, and there is a great deal we can do together for the benefit of our clients and the industry.”

Over the years, Pix and Codex have seen wide industry adoption, delivering a proven record of contributing value to their clients. Introduced in 2003, Pix soon became a trusted and widely used secure communication and content management provider. The Pix System enables creative continuity and reduces project risk by ensuring that ideas are accurately shared, stored, and preserved throughout the entire production process.

“Pix and Codex are complementary, trusted brands used by leading creatives, filmmakers and studios around the world,” says Codex managing director Marc Dando. “The integration of both services into one simplified workflow will deliver the industry a fast, secure, global collaborative ecosystem.”

With the acquisition of Codex, Pix will expand its servicing reach across the globe. Pix founder Dachs will remain as CEO, and Dando will take on the role of chief design officer at Pix, with a focus on existing and new products.

Frame.io intros 10 new features for video collaboration

Frame.io, which makes a video review and collaboration platform, has introduced 10 new features that will improve how media professionals collaborate on video, from initial upload to final delivery. Top user-requested features now available in Frame.io include a new reel player presentation format, @mentions and support for multi-page PDFs.

Here are some details:
– Multi-page PDFs: Users can now collaborate on scripts and storyboards just like on video. Entire video projects from the initial brief to the final deliverable, can now live in Frame.io.
– Enhanced version management: Users now have more control over how they manage versions. They can reorder or remove versions in one place.
– Private comments: For teams who routinely create a separate review link for internal teams to gather feedback they don’t want clients to see. Internal team conversations can be separated from client conversations, all within the same project.
– @mentions: Users can tag anyone on a project to quickly grab their attention when it’s needed most. Anytime someone is @mentioned, they’ll receive a notification creating streamlined communication.
– Reel player: Drop all assets into a filmstrip format for easy viewing, complete with built-in autoplay
– Archival storage (beta): Users can now free up more account storage by archiving projects. Original files will be archived but low-res preview files stay online and searchable. Users can still comment, compare and share Frame.io archived projects. Originals can be restored within a few hours.
– Updated review pages (beta): Frame.io review pages now include a simpler interface that makes it easier for clients to leave feedback with no login required.
– Redesigned iPhone app: Frame.io’s iOS app has a design update. Users will see a cleaner,  improved app interface.
– Short links: No more long and clunky URLs for clients and collaborators. New shareable URLs will use a f.io shortlink, making sharing them significantly more user-friendly.
– Account switching: For those users with multiple accounts, Frame.io now offers a simple way to navigate between them on Frame.io.

AJA Introduces Kona 5 with 12G-SDI I/O

At IBC 2018, AJA debuted Kona 5, a new eight-lane PCIe 3.0 video and audio I/O card supporting 12G-SDI I/O and HDMI 2.0 monitoring/output for workstations or Thunderbolt 3-connected chassis. Kona 5 supports 4K/UltraHD and HD high frame rate, deep color and HDR workflows over one cable. For developers, AJA’s SDK offers support for Kona 5 multi-channel 12G-SDI I/O, enabling multiple 4K streams of input or output.

The Kona 5 capture and output card is interoperable with standard tools such as Adobe Premiere Pro, Apple Final Cut Pro X and Avid Media Composer, using AJA’s Mac OS and Windows drivers and application plug-ins. The card supports simultaneous capture with pass-through monitoring when using 12G-SDI and offers HDMI 2.0 output for connecting to the latest displays.

“With today’s audiences expecting the highest quality content, high resolution, high frame rate and deep color are quickly becoming the norm across broadcast and post workflows, prompting the need for faster, more efficient approaches,” says AJA president Nick Rashby. “Kona 5 combines the flexibility of AJA’s Io 4K Plus into a desktop I/O solution with a more powerful feature set.”

Kona 5 feature highlights include:

• 12G-SDI I/O and HDMI 2.0 monitoring/output for 4K, UltraHD, 2K, HD and SD with HFR support up to 4K 60p at YUV 10-bit 4:2:2 and support for RGB 12-bit 4:4:4 up to 4K 30p
• 4x bi-directional 12G-SDI ports and 1x reference in, on robust HD-BNC connectors, with HD-BNC to full-sized BNC cables included
• 16-channel embedded audio on SDI, 8-channel embedded audio on HDMI
• 8-channel AES audio I/O, LTC I/O, and RS-422 serial control via supplied break-out cable
• 10-bit downstream keyer in hardware, supporting up to 4K resolution
• Compatibility with Adobe Premiere Pro, Apple Final Cut Pro X, Avid Media Composer, Telestream Wirecast, AJA Control Room and others
• AJA SDK compatibility, offering advanced features including multi-channel 4K I/O
• Three-year international warranty

Shotgun 7.2 — plug-and-play integrations, streaming in RV, more

Shotgun has released Version 7.2 of its cloud-based review and production tracking software. With an eye on simplifying workflows and helping studios of all sizes collaborate, this latest update transforms integrations with content creation tools and streamlines the review process.

Updates to RV also make reviewing media from the cloud seamless and SDI functionality is now standard. The release also adds single sign-on to give IT departments centralized control over user access and permissions in Shotgun.

Highlights include:
– Plug-and-Play Integrations: It’s now easier for Shotgun users to connect their content creation tools with Shotgun. New plug-and-play integrations auto-discover Maya, Nuke, Photoshop, Houdini, 3ds Max and Flame, and then embed the Shotgun Panel, loader and publisher directly within them without requiring any manual configuration.
 – Web Streaming in RV: Many Shotgun users work on dispersed teams around the world, and might not always have access to the high-res media for reviews in RV. With the addition of cloud playback support in RV, web-connected artists and supervisors can review shots in context, even if the content is not stored on their computers. Shotgun simply recognizes if media isn’t available and seamlessly pulls it into RV from Shotgun on the web.
– New Publisher: A new publisher tool allows for easy tracking of files in Shotgun and can either run in content creation tools or as a standalone app. This gives users the flexibility to publish files from any content creation tools, not just the ones currently supported by Shotgun.
– Single Sign-On: Single sign-on bolsters security in-house by centralizing authentication, making it easy for your IT department to grant, limit and revoke access and permissions for any user.
– SDI Functionality in RV: SDI functionality, previously only available with Shotgun’s deeper support option, is now available to all Shotgun clients.

Shotgun pricing starts at $30 per account/per month with standard support, or $50 per account/per month with deeper support. Free trials are available here.

Frame.io 2.0 offers 100 new features, improvements for collaboration

Frame.io, developers of the video review and collaboration platform for content creators, has unveiled Frame.io 2.0 , an upgrade offering over 100 new features and improvements. This new version features new client Review Pages, which expands content review and sharing. In addition, the new release offers deeper workflow integration with Final Cut Pro X and Avid Media Composer, plus a completely re-engineered player.

“Frame.io 2 is based on everything we’ve learned from our customers over the past two years and includes our most-requested features,” says Emery Wells, CEO of Frame.io.

Just as internal teams can collaborate using Frame.io’s comprehensive annotation and feedback tools, clients can now provide detailed feedback on projects with Review Pages, which is designed to make the sharing experience simple, with no log-in required.

Review Pages give clients the same commenting ability as collaborators, without exposing them to the full Frame.io interface. Settings are highly configurable to meet specific customer needs, including workflow controls (approvals), security (password protection, setting expiration date) and communication (including a personalized message for the client).

The Review Pages workflow simplifies the exchange of ideas, consolidating feedback in a succinct manner. For those using Adobe Premiere or After Effects, those thoughts flow directly into the timeline, where you can immediately take action and upload a new version. Client Review Pages are also now available in the Frame.io iOS app, allowing collaboration via iPhones and iPads.

Exporting and importing comments and annotations into Final Cut Pro X and Media Composer has gotten easier with the upgraded, free desktop companion app, which allows users to open downloaded comment files and bring them into the editor as markers. There is now no need to toggle between Frame.io and the NLE.

Users can also now copy and paste comments from one version to another. The information is exportable in a variety of formats, whether that’s a PDF containing a thumbnail, timecode, comment, annotation and completion status that can be shared and reviewed with the team or as a .csv or .xml file containing tons of additional data for further processing.

Also new to Frame.io 2.0 is a SMPTE-compliant source timecode display that works with both non-drop and drop-frame timecode. Users can now download proxies straight from Frame.io.

The Frame.io 2.0 player page now offers better navigation, efficiency and accountability. New “comment heads” allow artists to visually see who left a comment and where so they can quickly find and prioritize feedback on any given project. Users can also preview the next comment, saving them time when one comment affects another.

The new looping feature, targeting motion and VFX artists, lets users watch the same short clip on loop. You can even select a range within a clip to really dive in deep. Frame.io 2.0’s asset slider makes it easy to navigate between assets from the player page.

The new Frame.io 2.0 dashboard has been redesigned for speed and simplicity. Users can manage collaborators for any given project from the new collaborator panel, where adding an entire team to a project takes one click. A simple search in the project search bar makes it easy to bring up a project. The breadcrumb navigation bar tracks every move deeper into a sub-sub-subfolder, helping artists stay oriented when getting lost in their work. The new list view option with mini-scrub gives users the birds-eye view of everything happening in Frame.io 2.0.

Copying and moving assets between projects takes up no additional storage, even when users make thousands of copies of a clip or project. Frame.io 2.0 also now offers the ability to publish direct to Vimeo, with full control over publishing options, so pros can create the description and set privacy permissions, right then and there.

Quick Chat: Wipster’s Rollo Wenlock on Slack integration

By Randi Altman

Cloud-based review and approval tool Wipster, which lets you upload your latest edit, share it with clients and colleagues and have frame-accurate conversations directly on the video, now offers integration with Slack, allowing for realtime team messaging.

Wipster CEO/founder Rollo Wenlock says, “Now you can get your Wipster notifications directly in your team Slack channel, making it super-easy for the whole team to instantly see where a review is at.”

I reached out to Wenlock to find out more about Wipster, the Slack integration and what it means for users.

wipster-slack-comment-streamHow old is Wipster now, and can you describe how it works?
Wipster was born in 2013. Wipster is a content review and approval platform for creative teams and their stakeholders to rapidly iterate video projects by sharing work-in-progress for realtime pin-point comments right on the content. Teams speed up their production by up to 60 percent and get closer creative collaboration with their workmates, thus enhancing the work. We like to say that Wipster is the “Google Docs of video.”

How has the tool evolved over the years?
In the beginning we were very focused on creating a very specific user experience to prove people wanted to share work-in-progress and talk all over it. Wipster only worked for single users, only certain types of video could be uploaded, and at the very start, when comments were made, you had no way of knowing who made them!

Now Wipster works for multiple integrated teams, comments are realtime, with replies, added imagery and social “likes.” All commentary becomes automatic to-do lists, and you can have the whole Wipster experience right inside Adobe Creative Cloud.

What types of pros have been taking advantage of Wipster?
In the early days it was freelancers and small studios working for large agencies and brands. Now we have the large agencies and brands as customers as well. Companies like Red Bull, Delta Airlines and Intel. We have every type of creative team using Wipster every day to enhance their creative work.

There are many review and approval apps out there these days, what makes Wipster different? Is it suited to a particular workflow?
Since our launch there have been a number of other apps launch, some doing a great job, others not quite getting the user experience right. The reason why brands and studios are coming to Wipster is our relentless focus on making the review experience work seamlessly between the creative and the stakeholder.

Oftentimes, these people have never worked together before, and creating a very easy and memorable experience heightens their relationship. For our customers, Wipster is a new way of working, which takes them 100x beyond the process they had before, which usually involved a disconnected collection of social video apps and email.

Can you talk about your Slack integration? What does it offer users that they didn’t have before? How does it enhance the process?
We talk to our customers every day, multiple times a day — and they tell us about all the apps and workflows they already have, and what they would like them to do with Wipster — which is insanely helpful.

Our customers want to use Wipster as their “pre-publish” platform, and anything we can do to make their lives simpler and more enjoyable is top of our list. Thousands of our users are working in Slack every day, so it was a no-brainer that we create a Wipster activity channel for them to access right inside Slack.

When using Slack and Wipster together, you can access all your Wipster activity right inside a Slack channel in realtime. This means people in your team can see when videos have been uploaded and shared. You can see when teammates and clients have viewed work, and made comments. You can even see what frame of the video they commented on, with a green dot showing you where they had clicked. This workflow is just another way we are rapidly speeding up the process in which creatives and stakeholders can work together.

Main Photo Caption: Rollo Wenlock (far right) and the Wipster team.

Collaboration app from Frame.io available for iPhone

Frame.io, which seems to be releasing new features and tools almost monthly, has developed an iPhone app for video review and collaboration. The all-new iOS app gives editors, producers, artists and filmmakers the ability to share, review and collaborate on videos wherever they are.

Frame.io for iOS includes: time-based comments and video annotations so you can draw directly on video frames to accurately communicate your feedback; video transcoding in the cloud so you can upload any video format and not have to worry about playback compatibility; version control so you can see what your video looked like one version ago or 100 versions ago; Comment Replay, which loops a four-second range around any comment so you can get a sense of what it means in context; TouchScrub, allowing users to slide their finger over a thumbnail to preview; and Touch ID for added security.

“We spent eight months perfecting the Frame.io experience for iPhone”, says Frame.io CEO, Emery Wells. “The old way of working with email and 10 different file sharing and video review services just wasn’t cutting it. We first solved that problem on the web and now with Frame.io for iOS we’ve made the entire video review and collaboration experience accessible from anywhere.”

We reached out to Frame.io’s Emery Wells to find out more about the app. First we asked, why the eight-month timeframe for building the app?

“Doing an iOS app from scratch is a big undertaking. We wanted it to be 100 percent native. We didn’t choose to reuse any code, we didn’t rewrap the web application. This allowed us to take advantage of all the latest features available in iOS like Touch ID and 3D Touch,” he explains. “We completely redesigned three or four times before arriving at the final design. Simultaneously to designing, we started coding all the really essential parts of the app. The stuff we know we’ll need even if we go through another drastic design change. We kept working like this until we came up with two to three magic moments. When we impress ourselves then we know we’re ready to start thinking about shipping.

Wells believes the magic moments in this first release were these three key things:
1.  Pull down collaborator animation. This is really custom UI/UX and animation.
2. TouchScrub with Peek and Pop support. “The first time we got TouchScrub working everyone was giddy,” he says. “There is something so satisfying about scrubbing your finger over a clip to get a quick preview. Peek and Pop support was icing on the cake.”

3. Comment Replay. This was an idea Wells came up with when they were working on their Premiere launch video. “Team members were leaving notes for me like, ‘Needs to come in on the beat.’ I’d be reading these notes on our yet-unreleased iPhone app and it would be really hard to experience that little moment where the note was left. I wanted to loop that little range a few times to a get a sense of what he meant and understand the comment in context. We came up with the idea of Comment Replay, which loops four seconds around any comment. It’s insanely useful.”

We also asked Wells if plans for a non-iOS mobile device was in his future. “We started with iOS probably because most of our team is iOS-centric. We all have iPhones and Macs. It’s not a religious decision. Android is great and hopefully at some point in the future we’ll see Frame.io on Android but our expertise and familiarity was more in line with iOS.”

Also available in French and German, the Frame.io iOS app can be downloaded now from the App Store. Check out their product video…

Answering questions about ‘the cloud’

By Randi Altman

The cloud is everywhere. Workflows, as well as companies making tools for those workflows, are popping up all over, but still some post pros are dubious. What exactly is the cloud? How will it help beyond regular workflows? How does it keep my assets secure? Those are just some questions being thrown around by those who have yet to make the transition.

We thought reaching out to a company that capitalized on the cloud early and from a post production perspective might be a good way to get some of these questions answered.

David Peto owned London-based post house Unit Post Production until 2009 when he started Aframe, a cloud platform that enables teams and organizations to collaborate, organize and move media. He designed the product from a user’s perspective. Let’s find out more about the cloud and its benefits for post pros…

David Peto

David Peto

Some people don’t have a clear understanding of the cloud. Can you help them out?
In its simplest definition, the cloud is a combination of software and services that run on Internet-accessible servers rather than on local computers.

Can you describe how your company uses the cloud?
Aframe was built as a cloud platform from the very beginning. We recognized that people were shipping hard drives all around the world, making unnecessary copies and versions of their media, losing comments and other metadata, and generally spending too much time just waiting to work with media. Using the cloud gives organizations a central repository — a one-to-many point of distribution — that enables more people to access media and do their work regardless of where they may be located and what time of day it is.

There are private and public clouds. Can you describe the differences? What are the benefits of each?
Public clouds are generally owned and operated by a third party such as Amazon’s Web Services, Rackspace or Microsoft Azure. They are provisioned for use by many different types of users — banks, pharmaceutical companies or content distribution networks featuring the latest grumpy cat video!

Private clouds are owned by one company for the specific use of its employees and partners, and generally have very high security standards and limited accessibility.

Which does Aframe use, and why?
Aframe sits somewhere in between being a public and private cloud, which we think offers benefits from both types. What we offer is sometimes referred to as a Vendor Cloud. Like a public cloud offering, Aframe is globally available and accessible to all, but has been purpose-built for a specific task: handling large and complex media files.

Like private clouds, we offer very tight security, greater flexibility and features tailored to users. We also own and operate all of the equipment in the datacenters and do not outsource any portion of our infrastructure to third parties.

For content creators and owners dealing with large, often complex, high-resolution media files, dedicated processes and services are required to enable post workflows. Far beyond simply storing content is the need to automatically transcode to different formats and extract and add descriptive metadata, while also providing a method to review and approve assets for all stakeholders on any device.

How do you educate people who have concerns about data security?
The best way is to explain the different security areas that must be considered. First there is file transfer security where anytime your media is moving to or from the cloud, it should be encrypted during transit. Media in transit is encrypted with an extended validation 256-bit SSL encryption at all times. This means that our corporate identity and place of business has been verified by SSL certification.

Application Security is where we use 256-bit SSL encryption at all times in the browser. Like banking online, your browser will display a green box that shows a verified connection when you are logged in. For server security inside our datacenters, access is protected by powerful 2048-bit RSA encryption keys. This can only be accessed by senior members of the Aframe team.

For physical security and backups of the data itself, we firmly believe that it is not safe unless it is verified to be stored redundantly in at least two geographically separate locations. Our customers rest easy knowing that their files are backed up hundreds of miles apart at opposite ends of the country.

Why should a post organization consider a cloud-based solution? What are the advantages?
Most post houses, regardless of their size, are experiencing the headaches I’ve mentioned with regards to teams working in different locations, having to FedEx media and having silos of workflows where not everyone has access to the types of files they need. Only certain people need high-resolution files, others are happy to view proxies.

Being able to add timecode accurate notes and comments for the editor or producer is critical, but so are automatically transcoding, uploading and downloading files, as your workflow requires. All of these are necessary to get the maximum productivity to hit ever-shrinking deadlines and budgets. In the end, people should be concentrating on the creative aspects of their jobs, not the mundane moving of files to different departments and other stakeholders.

Can you give any examples of how post facilities are using Aframe?
There are many workflows being used by our post customers today. Some users upload dailies to the cloud so that stakeholders can view and log comments and even embed complete transcriptions. Others are using Aframe as a central repository where team members in offices across town or across countries can collaborate and get access to the latest footage. All metadata is indexed and preserved so that searching for just the right shot is effortless. Avid, Final Cut or Adobe editors benefit by seeing all comments and feedback when they transfer the metadata into the edit.

How is Aframe different from something like Amazon S3’s cloud offering?
That’s a great question. Amazon is a true cloud solution. It’s big, and in use by countless organizations every day. Unfortunately, that’s exactly where it can fall short for companies working with high-resolution files and broadcast masters. Amazon was built to serve many masters and as such, they have a different business model that can be quite costly for content creators.

Amazon charges for uploads and downloads, Aframe does not, which can make uploading a 500GB show master very expensive. With Amazon, it’s not as clear where your media is stored, and where the backup of that media is stored. Finally, Amazon is sharing their bandwidth across a huge cross-section of customers in a way that Aframe is not. It’s just not built for the media and entertainment industry.

A lot of people say the Internet is not fast enough to support upload/download of full-res video for any meaningful post workflows, how do you answer that?
That’s a completely legitimate question, because it is true that your experience in the cloud is only as good as your Internet connection. However, we have optimized file transfer protocols to be the fastest in the industry. Our transfer speeds are 15x faster than FTP, for example. There are many users working from home or from coffee shops that are quite successfully viewing media and making comments over 3G or 4G connections with as little as 5Mbps.

Obviously, you’ll want more than that if you are uploading dailies, but the good news is that Internet speeds are increasing exponentially every year and most post organizations have very capable connections in place today.

At NAB, Aframe showed a collaboration between Aframe and Adobe Anywhere. Can you talk about that?
Since the beginning of Aframe, I’ve dreamed of true, no-download cloud editing. I’ve seen a lot of people fail for various reasons. However, four years ago, Adobe showed me their Anywhere product which allowed full resolution material to be streamed down a standard Internet connection allowing you to edit in Adobe Premiere Pro on your laptop just as if you were back at the facility. I was blown away at the possibility, because I could imagine hosting Anywhere in Aframe’s cloud platform,  allowing full broadcast quality, no-download edit in the cloud using Adobe Premiere on your laptop.

That’s exactly what we showed at this year’s NAB. It’s pretty amazing to see someone upload material into the cloud and never download it again, through the entire post process, until someone actually sees it.

This is significant for our industry because it means that you could now be editing from the office, home, the beach, the local café… anywhere really. It brings editing into the modern world and unchains the editor from all the storage and big iron workstations when you need to be someplace else!

Main image: Stock Photo