In a recent article, I wrote about making the client approvals process as straightforward and effective as possible. Since writing that article I was introduced to Frame.io 2, a platform which sells itself as Video Collaboration Software - if you are thinking I don't make videos so I'll not read any further then I urge to read on.
Frame.io is primarily a platform for Video Collaboration, but it offers far more than simply a place for clients to watch videos and approve or amend them.
First Frame.io allows you to share any kind of media with your team or your client. That media can be kept in folders, for example on a recent project I shared the camera rushes of an interview with the client, I also shared all the audio from that interview with Mike Thornton so that he could do some audio cleanup in RX. As the project progressed I then shared edits with team members so they could collaborate - as changes were needed then anyone on the team could add frame accurate notes to picture or sound.
What Frame.io offers is an entire collaboration workflow that eliminates the whole 'put stuff on Dropbox and then send an email with notes in it kind of workflow.'
Even better as a cloud application Frame.io is not app dependent so collaborators can work with whatever applications suit them to get the job done. As changes arrive all those invited to be collaborators simply mark up the media and have timecode stamped chats about the changes required, be that video or audio with notes and annotations. For video editors Frame.io offers integrations for Apple Final Cut X, Adobe Premiere, After Effects and Slack, all of which are free. This means you can download notes to appear in the project timeline in certain apps, but if you don't have an integration then you can print a set of changes with timecodes as a PDF, notes, XML, CSV or Excel, whatever suits you.
Speed And Security
When it comes to uploading speeds these are impressive too, They claim to be 5x faster than Dropbox and in tests, I've found that to be the case.
Security is also taken seriously too, Frame uses 256 bit SSL encryption in transit and at rest.
Each project, file, and even comment need to be authenticated by a user ID. Every project is totally private and secure by default. Only your team members or collaborators you explicitly invite have access.
Frame.io was designed by a team of production practitioners and it shows. it is low on gimmicks and high on features that make checking and amending work a dream, here are a few of my highlights;
- Stack two versions side by side - You can put two versions side by side and then choose which audio to hear, so if someone has sent you over a new audio mix with changes you can check it against the old version with the click of a mouse.
- Folders - Media can be kept in folders so if you want to keep all the audio for the sound mixers or the composer then it's as simple as drag and drop.
- Media sorting - Media can be sorted in various ways to make sure you are looking at the latest edit or mix.
- an iOS app so you can check and comment on the move.
Frame.io Plan Pricing
|Starter Plan||For individual freelancers with a handful of clients at any given time 3 projects 10 GB storage 10 Collaborators No team members||$15 per month|
|Professional Plan||For solo professionals with several concurrent projects Unlimited projects 50 GB storage 25 Collaborators No team members||$25 per month|
|Free Plan||1 project with 2 GB of storage||FREE|
If you haven't guessed it I'm sold on Frame.io, it's perhaps the best $25 a month I'm spending on my business.
Gone are the endless email threads with comments getting lost, as is a Dropbox full of versions of different projects. Learning Frame.io is a doddle and the four clients who have been collaborating with me on projects have got up to speed with it without any major issues, I've certainly not spent any time on having to train them to use it - even better I've had no complaints from them.
Having introduced other members of the Expert team to Frame.io I've also been the person doing the approvals and have found the Frame.io workflow simple and effective. If anything you have to get people out of the habit of emailing you to tell you they have uploaded a new version or changes as Frame.io does it automatically.
Pro Tools Expert team member Alan Sallabank said this;
"When collaborating over the internet, there's always the issue of how you share your work for review with your client, without giving them a master copy that they could possibly use and not pay you for. Frame io allowed me to go through a complete review process with the client, with really slick notes and version tracking system. Excellent collaboration features while maintaining intellectual property. The only thing that I'd like to see somehow is to be able to lock it to Pro Tools, which would complete the circle for me. As it stands there's still a manual element to the process, but I'd love to see integration of systems like this within Pro Tools and perhaps some way to import and export markers? Pete Gate's excellent software might be the key for this."
Pro Tools Expert team member Julian Rodgers said;
"I recently tried Frame IO to share cuts of a video with Russ. Russ’ glowing reports of his experience certainly motivated my curiosity. So what did I think?
In short this is a brilliant tool. Sign up and upload was quick and painless, setting up a project and sharing it is incredibly easy. Comments are time-specific so you can see exactly which section is being commented on in the same way as comments on Soundcloud and email notifications are sent through when comments are left. All in all I couldn’t be happier and I’ll definitely be using this in the future.
I haven’t looked closely at the specifics of Frame IO. In fact I just looked up the pricing as I hadn’t previously looked. The fact that I’ve completed a project without reading anything about the service does say something about how easy it is to use and I’m now looking at the pricing of a service I’ve had a positive experience of using rather than a service I’m reading about before using - that really colours your opinion."
Although Frame.io is not aimed at music approvals and collaboration it can be used for that without issue, simply upload a mix and then the person reviewing it can mark it up with notes like "can you remove this cough here?" or "can the strings be a bit louder?"
If you mix or edit audio, make movies, compose, do sound effects or anything that requires approvals then I urge you check out Frame.io and see what you think. I love it and my clients love it too - what more could I want?