The simplest way to discuss your video production.
Creating a TV commercial is a three-step process involving pre-production, production and postproduction. The production company comes in early in the process, answering an ad agency’s call for storyboard ideas to bring its scripts to life. It is here that Suneeva, a production company in Toronto, has found a novel and interesting use for Frankie, pitching its ideas to the ad agency during a synced review session.
An ad agency is typically looking for storyboard ideas for its script, as well a director and creative team to produce the commercial. The directors at Suneeva use Frankie to present their ideas for how to make the script come to life, pitching to agency staff remotely. For example, the client might be on the other side of Toronto, the director in L.A. and others on the team are elsewhere. Suneeva simply sends clients a URL for the Frankie session, then guides them through its pitch, page by page, during the synced presentation. This allows Suneeva to show them how it envisions the commercial taking shape, including what elements and characters it intends to use.
“We find Frankie is the most straightforward and reliable way to present our ideas,” said Robert Perry, Head of Production at Suneeva. “It allows us to sync everyone, which is important for our sales presentations. We need to know our clients are looking at the same page that we’re talking about, that they’re not distracted by looking at the wrong image.”
Although Suneeva primarily shows images, it has found that video can be used as a helpful reference.
“During the presentation we might ask our clients to watch ten seconds of a video, and we know everyone is watching at the same time,” explained Perry. “This allows us to reference examples of lighting, dialogue and other elements from other commercials, TV shows or movies we want to draw on.”
Once Suneeva has shot the commercial, it passes it off to an editor who does the postproduction work.
“Frankie is so simple,” Perry said. “We send a link to our clients, they click on it and we’re ready to walk them through our creative pitch. Because our directors are competing against three or four directors from other production companies we are always looking for the best way to show off our concepts. The value of Frankie is its slick interface and reliability. It really is a great sales tool.”
Take a look at what Suneeva has produced here: www.suneeva.com
Frankie is designed very much with your clients in mind. We place a strong emphasis on usability and aesthetics, making Frankie something that’s really enjoyable to use. When your clients join a review they’re treated to a slick, professional interface that gives them confidence in the system and, consequently, in your business and services.
Going one step further, Frankie allows you to customise the interface and the PDF summary with your own company branding, adding an even higher level of professionalism. Upon clicking the link to load the review guests are immediately greeted with your company logo, providing assurance that they’ve reached the right place and reinforcing your brand.
You can add your own logos to the review interface and PDF summary by using the Custom Branding panel on the Settings page.
Once you’ve uploaded a custom logo for the review interface it will appear in the top left corner, in place of the Frankie logo. For the most professional results you should use a light coloured logo with a transparent background.
You can replace the logo at any time, or remove it and just have the standard Frankie logo displayed instead.
You can then upload a separate logo for the PDF summary. It’s best to use a different logo in this instance, since the PDF has a white background. Using a dark coloured logo with a white or transparent background will look best. The logo will then appear in the top left corner on every page of the PDF, in place of the Frankie logo.
Again, you can replace the logo at any time, or remove it and just have the standard Frankie logo displayed instead.
By carefully selecting appropriate logos for the review interface and PDF summary you can achieve an extremely professional result that you’ll be proud to show to your clients. And if you haven’t yet discovered the power of real-time synchronised reviews, try out Frankie for free today with your clients and colleagues – simply click Try Frankie for Free! at the top of this page.
One of the unique benefits of Frankie is the ability to host live, interactive reviews. Rather than just reviewing in isolation, Frankie enables you to interactively review and discuss videos between multiple locations. You can play, pause, make notes and even sketch ideas right onto the video – all in sync with everyone in the review. This makes it a very effective way to work with people in other cities and countries, eliminating the challenges of distance.
“Frankie helped us bring together very busy people from across the state and globe, to work as if we were all in the same room.”
– Abby Hunt, Head of Onscreen, Belgiovane Williams Mackay
Obviously it’s not always possible to schedule a live review (perhaps due to time zone differences), which is why Frankie also allows people to leave feedback in their own time. But when possible, real-time synchronised reviews offer a far more effective way of working together. Happily, Frankie enables you to seamlessly transition between both modes of working.
“Our clients feel comfortable with Frankie and are excited by it, because we can discuss the work as if we’re sitting right next to each other.”
– Jeff Jaffers, Executive Producer, Mirage VFX
By default, Frankie reviews will start with sync turned on. This provides the simplest way to bring everyone into a real-time review, eliminating any possible confusion. When new guests join the review they’ll be synchronised to the current frame once the movie has loaded.
“Frankie improves our efficiency significantly and doing the reviews together makes feedback immediate and meaningful for our dispersed team.”
– Lee Konen, Creative Director, Cerebral Lounge
When you (as the review host) leave the review you can decide whether to provide guests with access while you’re offline. By clicking ‘Yes’ and allowing access you enable your guests to provide feedback in their own time. You can then view the feedback and download the corresponding PDF summary next time you login.
Clicking ‘No’ when leaving the review will block guest access and make the link inaccessible. This is useful when you want to limit access to older versions of a work-in-progress, or at the conclusion of the project.
As your guests become more familiar with Frankie you may wish to provide them with more options within reviews. By adjusting the Sync Options (using the panel on the Settings page), you can allow your guests to control sync during reviews. This enables them to “drop out” of sync if they wish, enabling them to view and annotate media at their own pace while others continue with the synchronised review.
Read this blog post to learn more about how the Sync Options work.
By combining these different review modes you can choose a combination that perfectly suits your workflow. And if you haven’t yet discovered the power of real-time synchronised reviews, try out Frankie for free today with your clients and colleagues – simply click Try Frankie for Free! at the top of this page.
Congratulations to our sister product at Cospective, cineSync, for its role in the creation of VFX for all five movies nominated for an Academy Award in the Best Visual Effects category: Gravity, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, Iron Man 3, The Lone Ranger and Star Trek Into Darkness. For Gravity, the lead VFX vendor, Framestore, engaged Rising Sun Pictures to create the climactic sequence. They used cineSync to review their work between London and Adelaide. From the news today:
Cospective’s video review software cineSync played a key role in a globe-spanning VFX pipeline for Alfonso Cuarón’s Gravity. Charting the lonely quest of an astronaut (Sandra Bullock) to survive after her spaceship is crippled, the film received ten Oscar® nominations, including one for Best Visual Effects. Framestore, principal VFX vendor on Gravity, tasked Australia’s Rising Sun Pictures with completing a spectacular reentry sequence. From their facility in Adelaide, Rising Sun was able to integrate seamlessly with Framestore via cineSync. With cineSync as a remote collaboration tool, distributed postproduction teams can work together closely to create groundbreaking VFX, regardless of locations and time zones.
In fact, cineSync was used for remote review on all of the movies nominated for Best Visual Effects this year, including The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, Iron Man 3, The Lone Ranger, Star Trek Into Darkness, as well as Gravity. cineSync itself won a Technical Achievement Award from the Academy in 2011.
The Pull of Gravity
Rarely has the big screen been put to better use than it is here, in conveying the immensity of space. The tight confines of spacecraft are set against infinite blackness. Often the only sounds in the film are the breathing of Bullock’s character, astronaut Stone. Physical objects float unbearably slowly, even as the narrative races inexorably forward. The tension is so complete, and the imagery so seamless, that is easy to forget that the entire film depends on visual effects work.
To read more, see http://cinesync.com/news/read/119.
Technology is changing the way we do business, with online communication tools like Skype expanding the possibilities. Remote collaboration is becoming richer, and faster Internet speeds make it possible to share large files with someone across the world and connect with them via video chat to interactively discuss the contents. This makes it possible to work with clients half a world away and to utilise the best talent regardless of where they live and work.
Finding ways to easily collaborate with colleagues and clients to create the highest quality TV commercial (TVC) or music video is important. Production companies have to adapt to an ever-changing work environment to deliver stand-out work whilst remaining commercially competitive. Taking a look at how a few cutting-edge companies have adjusted their workflows to allow collaboration between far-flung cities gives a glimpse of what is possible.
The Australian agency, BWM was recently tasked with the creation of dynamic TVCs for its client, the Bank of Queensland. BWM chose to try something new to get the best quality product, while meeting its client’s expectations. BWM used Frankie video review technology to create and edit these commercials with the help of their client. Abby Hunt, national head of onscreen at BWM, used Frankie to review work in progress simultaneously with both the clients, based in Brisbane, and the animators, who were in London.
“Frankie helped us bring together very busy people from across the state and globe, to work as if we were all in the same room,” said Hunt. “Frankie video reviews saved us so much time with back-and-forth communication while still diving deep into the creative conversation.”
All five participants could discuss aspects of the commercial on a frame-by-frame basis, using drawing tools to draw right on the screen or by writing notes for all five participants to see simultaneously. Everyone was given an opportunity to provide their feedback on the content thanks to Frankie.
Another need is for internal communication when members of a production team are not located in the same space. Cerebral Lounge specialises in postproduction of TVCs, network promos and visual branding from three separate studios on the east coast of the U.S. One way they keep creatives in these three cities connected is by holding virtual weekly meetings, during which they review video works in progress.
“We use Frankie every Monday to review work from the previous work so the entire creative team can see what everybody else has been doing,” said Lee Konen, creative director at Cerebral Lounge. “Improved communication always improves efficiency and watching something in sync with the rest of the team really makes feedback more meaningful.”
As long-time users of cineSync, Ingenuity Engine already has a good workflow for reviewing the work they do on music videos and TVCs. They were looking for a simpler tool to use on short-form content like TVCs, something that was foolproof for clients to log into and use for review.
“With Frankie it’s easy,” said Oliver Taylor, VFX producer at Ingenuity Engine. “We just send a link and begin. Frankie makes review so straightforward and so much faster.”
Given the short length of many commercial projects, efficiency is paramount. Mirage VFX was one of six vendors, on three continents, that worked on a TVC for an Indonesian battery company. To get approvals done in a timely fashion, Mirage held video reviews across Australia, Indonesia and Spain. This allowed review work to involve the head of the production company of the spot even while he was at home with his family.
“We must have ways to work effectively between multiple locations,” said Jeff Jaffers, executive producer at Mirage VFX. “Frankie makes this possible. It’s the visual equivalent of Skype, and we use the two in tandem.”
These examples show how technology allows working relationships to evolve beyond the walls of a studio. In a future post we will be discussing more about the rise of the virtual studio.
Streamlining the Ad Creation Process with Efficient Video Review using Frankie
Frankie is a part of a new globe-spanning workflow created by Trizz to produce its innovative commercial campaigns. From its headquarters in Barcelona, Trizz uses Frankie to collaboratively develop spots with producers, agencies and clients from the U.S., Europe and Asia. With Frankie, creatives and postproduction teams can now operate as “virtual studios,” employing the best talent regardless of location, and communicating with their clients on an ongoing basis, wherever they are based.
Trizz is known for its unconventional work, directing and designing for a mix of 3D, VFX and experience design, including multi-touch, interactive and projection mapping. Its work appears in TVCs, art galleries, publications and even during concerts and other live events. Chris Vulpi and Oriol Puig, who co-founded Trizz in 2009, have identified inefficiencies in the VFX and post industry and applied a more streamlined, workable model to their business.
“Our philosophy has always been to bring the best talent into our projects, whether it’s around the corner here in Barcelona or across the ocean,” said Vulpi, executive producer at Trizz. “In the same way, we are able to share what we offer at Trizz to our clients, wherever they are. By having our screens connected remotely, our customers don’t feel disconnected by distance and we don’t have to sacrifice opportunities to work with different creative suppliers. Frankie really is essential to making this happen seamlessly.”
The rationale for a remote studio
With the rise of the mobile workstation and home office, collaboration can occur across continents and time zones. Vulpi’s professional life mirrors this globalization of the industry. After graduating from film school at Ithaca College in Upstate New York, he worked for Select Magazine in Germany and then moved on to an agency where he began working in postproduction, opening a post suite at Grey Düsseldorf. From there he established, in partnership, a U.K. post studio, eventually employing 40 people and cornering the German TV market for 14 years.
“At the studio in Düsseldorf, I brought in talent from the U.K., Paris or wherever else I located the right people,” Vulpi explained. “As fate would have it, one of those artists was Oriol, who had a thriving freelancer career between New York and his homeland in Barcelona. And, as I no longer wanted to run such a big shop under five partners, Oriol and I decided to open a boutique in Barcelona. That’s Trizz today.”
Trizz taps into the specialist pool of talent in Barcelona and brings people in on occasion from L.A. or London, but its need for remote collaboration with distant artists continues. Vulpi has learned that, regardless of studio size, the management of the design and postproduction workflows is extremely important, requiring tools like Frankie that facilitate remote collaboration.
Decreasing the need for client visits
There will always be a need for some face-to-face meetings with clients, but Trizz finds its virtual studio model also works well for its client relationships. Of the 30 or so jobs Trizz delivers in a year, there may be only three or four client visits to Barcelona.
“Agency clients sometimes visit and that gives me a chance to meet in person and explain our modern concept,” Vulpi explained. “It takes an open-minded agency to make the leap into only working remotely with someone new.”
Frankie makes remote collaboration a reality. “We have some clients who tell us that they’d rather work with us on Frankie than go to the studios, even if around the corner,” said Vulpi. “They find it more efficient to log on and, often, agency management doesn’t want their creative team travelling far because they may be working on five or six other projects that require their equal attention.”
“Working as collaborators the world over means we can offer our best people from our studio, while saving the client on travel, time and, very often, money. Instead of charging for our machines, as many companies do, we charge for our creative process. That’s a good reason for these agencies to reach across the ocean and know they’re not going to be disadvantaged by the distance or the time zone.”
Trizz is increasingly attracting new clients, especially from the U.S., but since they are not in New York or Chicago, Vulpi quickly makes everyone comfortable with the remote workflow, using Frankie and its easy-to-use annotation tools. Frankie allows any user to draw right on the screen, as well as write notes in the margins of any frame. After each review session Frankie generates PDF notes, which Trizz shares with its clients and its own team.
“The PDF arrives a few minutes after the session and if anything in the session was forgotten, the PDF record helps to literally put everyone on the same page,” Vulpi said. “The client knows that they were understood, while we use it as the paper trail to confirm what was agreed to during the review.”
Frankie also makes for an efficient in-house workflow at Trizz.
“As a client-facing tool, Frankie is used for very precise communication,” Vulpi said. “We then take the feedback from our sessions without having to travel, or otherwise interrupt our internal workflow in any way. We immediately implement what we were just talking about. This is important for 3D work, for example, which can require a number of simultaneous steps to make a single change.”
Managing the virtual studio
Vulpi, who manages acquisition and marketing, and Puig, who acts as creative director, have a knack for bringing great people together, as they did with four executive producers and the director on a current animated feature film, being shot in Russia. Vulpi and the head of production at Trizz answer practical questions about how to approach the project, cost, timing, contracting and legal terms. Puig then enters the discussion with creative ideas.
“Using art and creative direction, we have a focal point to dialogue with our clients,” Puig said. “They really appreciate the attention and how we understand their objectives visually. With that in place, we can move smoothly on to the next steps in production.”
While Trizz also does regular postproduction commercial work, Vulpi and Puig pride themselves on designing and directing work that stands out for brands. A good example of this is the work they did for Renuage brandy. It exemplifies their use of CGI to create story, sculpt and animate gorgeous liquid forms.
“Most agencies want to be ahead of the curve in what they create for their clients,” said Vulpi. “When we’re given the freedom, we can offer work that is unusual and striking. In a world where there’s so much media, we’re helping our clients and their products to stand out.”
“At each of these stages we use Frankie,” said Puig. “Clients can make their comments visually, which is often the best way to work. We have tried other solutions for sharing video but we need something that works every time. With Frankie, one click and the client is in, it’s working, and the whole experience is polished and satisfying.”
With all the year-end lists we’ve come across out there, we thought it would be fun to show you what a few production companies and VFX houses got up to in 2013. Here are some fun and interesting ads from companies we know.
1. Ingenuity Engine, featured in a recent blog post about its work on a TVC for Virgin Holidays, created this amusing take on how an organic farmer, and his organic Holstein, deal with pesky pesticides. Ouch!
2. BWM, in Sydney, Australia, used Frankie to produce a series of commercials for an Australian bank. We profiled them in this blog post, but here’s two more from the series.
3. The People’s Republic of Animation is located just down the hall from us at Adelaide Studios. They create great animations for short films, series and video game trailers. They also did this animation of two creepy crawlers who have met their match.
4. Heckler, did this PSA for Zoos Victoria. In it, a lip-synching orangutan encourages consumers to protect the rainforest by making informed palm oil purchases.
As online tools for video production get more sophisticated and online venues for disseminating ads become more popular, we are seeing the line between commercials and entertainment blurred. Many ads are looking more and more like short films. And some short films are looking like ads, like this great recent piece from Cinesite. We look forward to seeing what these companies have in store for us in 2014.
We’re pleased to announce that Frankie 2.2 has now been deployed to our servers and is available immediately. We recommend reloading the Frankie page (⌘-R on Mac OS X; Ctrl-F5 on Windows and Linux) to ensure that you’re using the latest version.
Here’s a selection of the improvements in this new version:
We introduced the new Sync Options to provide a simpler way of getting clients into synchronised reviews, while retaining the option of having more flexibility in the way that you conduct reviews.
With the switch in the OFF position (the default mode), guests are automatically pulled into sync without being prompted and they’re unable to turn sync on and off. The host can still turn global sync on and off if required. This gives the host greater control over the review, eliminating any chance of a guest being out of sync with the rest of the group. It’s a great way of working when your guests have never used Frankie before, and it’s similar behaviour to earlier versions of the software.
When the switch is in the ON position, guests are able to modify the sync state within a review: this includes declining sync invitations, turning sync on and off both for themselves and for the whole review. This mode is useful when you want to conduct a synchronised review with some guests, while allowing other guests to view and comment at their own pace. It’s a really flexible way of working when your guests have had some previous experience with Frankie.
Specialising in postproduction of network promos, commercials and visual branding, Cerebral Lounge depends on a shared review workflow between its offices in Washington, DC, Baltimore and Silver Springs, MD. The company has been using cineSync successfully for over a year and recently added Frankie, which they use for video review during their weekly meetings of team members between the three sites.
“Frankie allows our teams to collaborate and share work internally between our three locations,” said Lee Konen, creative director at Cerebral Lounge. “We use it every Monday to review the previous week’s work so the entire creative team can see what everybody else has been doing. It’s solved the same problem cineSync solved but it’s easier to set up for each review.”
Shooting and producing a TVC or other video project requires intricate collaborative skills between all the players with their separate needs: the client has a vision for a desired result and needs to be involved throughout the production; the producer envisions the process from conception to completion; the creative director plays a vital role in the vision for what the video should look like. It is essential to get everyone’s suggestions and feedback on the project, but this can be tricky when there are so many people involved.
Yet everyone working on a Cerebral Lounge commercial project can have a say in how the video is coming together, even when they are in separate cities. By holding a virtual meeting at the start of each week, the entire team reviews the footage simultaneously. It has never been easier to collaborate to get the best end result.
“It is so much easier to explain things and share ideas with the video images in front of everyone,” explained Konen. “Frankie improves our efficiency significantly and doing the reviews together makes feedback immediate and meaningful for our dispersed team.”
To get an idea of what the folks at Cerebral Lounge are capable of, head on over to their website at Cerebral Lounge.
The People’s Republic of Animation (PRA) is an animation studio specialising in creating character animation for gaming developers, advertising and screen industries. They recently moved into the new Adelaide Studios, just down the hall from the Frankie studio. One of the attractions of the Adelaide Studios for the PRA is the presence of Cinenet, a fibre optic network for high-speed transfers of their offsite rendering work.
“Having a direct link to a premium network like Cinenet changed our workflow exponentially,” said Sam White, CEO of PRA. “Now we can upload massive files in ridiculously short times.”
PRA is a great example of the rise of the virtual studio. Using tools like Cinenet for moving large files fast, and Frankie for their collaborative video review allows the PRA to communicate efficiently and more cheaply, wherever their clients and colleagues are located.
“We have been using Frankie during Skype meetings between project managers and off-site animators to discuss production feedback,” White said. “Production feedback meetings have been a lot easier to run with the use of Frankie. It has helped communication to flow much easier between managers and animators.”
To read more about the PRA and the tools needed for a virtual studio, see http://www.cine.net.au/?page_id=737.