This VFX supervisor/filmmaker shares his thoughts on this newish cloud-based platform for reviewing, approving and collaborating.
By Hasraf “HaZ” Dullul
We now work in an industry where talent isn’t restricted to being local or location dependent. The same can be said about clients. In any project there is always “review” or “dailies” to be done for feedback on the work or sign-offs.
Software like CineSync does a very good job in providing that remote collaboration dailies session, but for a small boutique studio or freelancer working from home the price tag is a bit out of reach. There are other tools out there in the market, and online reviews/dailies feature is a core component in VFX management tools like ftrack and Shotgun. These are feature rich and deep, and most of these tools require some time to get to get to know and implement into the pipeline.
Recently I stumbled upon this very friendly and uncluttered looking online tool called Wipster, and thought to myself, “How different can this be from the other tools out there that do a similar thing?” Firstly, this tool is designed for ANYONE to use. Secondly, it’s very fast, whether you are uploading or playing back content or adding comments. I was particularly impressed with the encoding speed as well as the quality of the encoding.
Taking it For a Spin
What jumped out at me immediately was the ability to create a team profile without bugging anyone to sign up for the tool — this is always a turn-off when I try to get a client to log-in to review work.
With Wipster, when I have a list of shots for a client to look at and review, he or she just gets an email with a link that goes straight to the review page (no log-in required). The client can review and make comments, which are saved along the way.
I then get an email with all the notes and thumbnails, which is very useful if I’m out of the office using my phone to check emails. I can then click on the note from the email to take me to the site and reply to that right away like a conversation thread on the frame. What I also like is the stacking up of versions of the videos uploaded, making it easy to go back to compare revision notes and versions of the videos.
Lastly, you can scrub through the video timeline and see clearly where notes/annotations have been made, allowing you to click on the markers to bring up the conversation thread of comments on the particular frame.
That’s all there is to this, and that’s why I had to shout-out about this tool, because it does exactly what it says on the tin! It’s fast, simple and very efficient, making this a core component to have in the pipeline of any production.
Although the no log-in required by the client makes for a non-hassle experience for clients to review work and feedback in the hectic period of post production, it does however make me think about the other clients who are “sensitive” about the easy access to the material in Wipster if someone else got hold of that email. But as with everything… it comes down to good security practices from its users rather than the tool itself.
By the way, I was doing all the above on the Free version. There are various pricing options, starting from $25 month if you want a lot of content uploaded and unlimited space, etc. But to be honest with you, the free version had everything I needed to do the above.
HaZ Dulull is a freelance VFX producer as well as a movie director (his film Project Kronos is currently in development). He has been nominated for several VES awards for his VFX supervision. He is also principal at his own production company HaZ Film.