Frame.io for Video Production – A Year of Testing

I love being organized. It is part of the reputation I have built for myself. Some have even jokingly said that I give most producers and project managers a run for their money. So it would make sense that I would strive to use the most efficient and easy to use video review and collaboration software right? Enter Frame.io.

About a year ago I implemented Frame.io as the new system we would be using at the agency. Since then I have used it for many large scale projects, small one-offs, and unique hybrid situations. I have used it to collaborate with teams of 2 all the way up to multiple companies – each with dozens of contributors. The point is, I think I have had the opportunity to stress test it in many situations in a small to medium sized agency environment. In addition to that, I have used various platforms in the past, such as WireDrive, Vimeo Pro, Simian, and Brightcove.
 

Ease of Use

Frame is incredibly easy to use and sports a responsive, minimalistic UI that I really dig. I was up and running within an hour of the first time using it. This easy to use interface is great for collaboration allowing new users to participate without any training. One the keystone elements of the Frame experience is its awesome player. You can easily track versions, compare cuts side by side, add guides and so much more. It also sports an incredibly intuitive commenting system that automatically syncs comments and drawings with the timecode.

 

Collaboration

Collaboration is super easy, you simply add the email address of the people that you want on the project. From there, they get an email instructing them how to set up their account. The good news is that collaborators will only have to do this once, regardless of how many projects you want to add them to. One additional thing I have learned is that Frame can sometimes blast out a lot of emails. I recommend changing the email settings for collaborators when you first create a project. You can also direct each individual to change the settings to what makes the most sense for them.

 

Client Review

Sometimes you don’t want to give someone full access to a project but you still want to share edits for review. Usually, I find myself in this scenario with clients. There may be a lot of chatter going on with collaborators, or files that aren’t necessarily relevant to the client. They way to solve this is to create a branded presentation. By doing this, Frame creates a shareable link and skins it based on color settings and logos you provide. The only downside to doing this is that you cannot add comments, or have access to the advanced player controls. This has not been as crippling as I initially worried it would be. Usually, there is someone from account services managing the client interaction as well as capturing and consolidation feedback.

 

File Management

This section is harder to critique since we use an enterprise level cloud file storage system at the agency, so typically I only use Frame to provide final versions of files or in specific instances where assets are changing fast enough to warrant the stronger commenting system in Frame. All said I think that the file management in Frame is good, it just doesn’t compare to a platform designed strictly around file storage.

 

Premiere Integration

One of the newer features of Frame is its Premiere integration. Installation is easy and it integrates in a way that feels like it should be default functionality of Premiere. Comments to projects by collaborators jump to that moment in your timeline with one click. This has proven to be great for fast turn projects or when I am working with teams across the country. With projects that are primarily editorial, it is a great experience. With projects destined to be animation, I now use Premiere to build an assembly edit – allowing for real-time collaboration during the genesis of the project. My only major complaint with the system is the inability to custom name the files it saves to disk. I use very strict naming conventions and save every version to my RAID.

 

iOS App

Frame also expands their great desktop app to iOS with one of the best desktop to app conversions I have seen. Almost all of the functionality is maintained in the app and it allows me to remain productive while mobile. Sometimes I find myself using the app to read and respond to comments even when I am at my desktop.

 

Summary

In summary, I love this web app. The team over at Frame clearly understands the industry and what we need from a system like this. On top of that, they are constantly improving the product by looking for new ways to expand it with new features as well as improve existing ones. Having used many systems like this before, this one is hands down the best.

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