Frankie simplifies the remote video review-and-approval workflow at Drive Thru, allowing the company to streamline the creation and approval process of commercials in the era of remote postproduction workflows.
Frankie, the browser-based and interactive video review tool from the maker of Academy Award-winning cineSync, is a key part of the review-and-approval process for the commercial campaigns of Drive Thru. Based in Minneapolis, Drive Thru is a production and postproduction company that relies on Frankie during sales pitches, throughout its internal creative process and for collaborative review-and-approval sessions with clients. With Frankie, companies like Drive Thru now have an innovative tool to streamline the creation and approval process in the era of remote postproduction workflows.
Drive Thru uses Frankie for real-time video reviews, allowing everyone in the session to comment, make annotations and even sketch right on the screen, all in perfect sync with everyone on the review. Although Drive Thru makes good use of real-time reviews, the company wanted its clients to be able to review and provide feedback in their own time and not be tied to someone else’s schedule. Drive Thru suggested this to Cospective, which then modified Frankie to include the option to un-sync reviews. Now Drive Thru can conduct its review process exactly as it wants to.
“By un-syncing video reviews, our clients can look at a work-in-progress at their convenience,” said Aaron Esterling, VFX assistant at Drive Thru. “We send them a link of revisions and they can review it wherever or whenever it works for them.”
Simplifying the remote workflow
“Frankie has changed the game of how we share material with clients and get their feedback,” said Bob George, owner and Flame/VFX artist at Drive Thru Editorial. “This ability to collaborate remotely either in sync or not is a feature we asked Cospective for because it’s integral to how we operate. It’s just one of the ways that we’re thinking differently than the traditional post shop.”
Drive Thru is a lean team of directors, editors and colorists handling everything from creative editing to graphics to online finishing for making commercials. Before it found Frankie, Drive Thru uploaded compressed video files to a server and then sent clients a file to download before they could begin a review. This was a time-consuming process, fraught with complications. Now with Frankie, Drive Thru uploads an uncompressed video file to the cloud and sends a URL to all those invited to review the video. By simply clicking the URL, their clients are taken straight to the review, complete with all the files.
“This kind of remote, collaborative review tool is totally new for our clients, but once they see the simplicity and power of Frankie, they love it,” explained George. “They no longer have to save files to the hard drive and remember where they are. Also, they like being able to send the video on to their clients in turn.”
Providing clarity for remote client reviews
“One of the neatest things about Frankie is that the client can draw right on the screen,” said George. “It makes understanding their feedback so much easier, removing the ambiguity inherent in email exchanges. Even if you’re in the studio, clarity during reviews can be difficult to achieve – we may go up to the screen and point to what we want or they want to be different. How much easier it is to do this remotely with Frankie!”
Because Drive Thru is often collaborating with out-of-state artists and clients, streamlining the review process is essential to its mode of working. At the end of each review session, Frankie allows Drive Thru to generate a PDF summary that includes all comments, notes and marked-up screenshots. Having all the feedback in one spot helps Drive Thru avoid its former practice of collecting cumbersome emails, full of responses from numerous reviewers.
“It’s amazing to consolidate everyone’s feedback into one document,” explained Esterling. “Sifting through reams of email comments was confusing and frustrating for us. With Frankie’s PDF summaries, each frame has everybody’s comments and it’s a simple matter to review. We then pass the PDF around to individual artists who are working on the material.”
Thinking differently than the traditional post facility
Another innovation that Drive Thru has developed is to use Frankie in sales meetings. “Using Frankie during pitches lets us explain visually what we’re thinking of doing,” said George. “Frankie works great this way, filling the gaps for us between Wiredrive and Interdubs with offline and online approvals.”
Bob George is looking forward to testing the full-screen feature of Frankie that was added in March to see if it can be used with their retina display laptops. “I think the colors may hold true and having the full-screen viewing capability of Frankie will let us test this,” said George. “It could be perfect for making those final online decisions.”
“One of Frankie’s strengths is that it looks so good,” said George. “It works great on my iPad and my iPhone and is an invaluable tool in this world. Frankie has streamlined our workflow, helping us realize huge savings in man hours, allowing our team to work on creative, instead of wasting time with file compressions. We believe in these guys and the direction they’re going in.”
Jennifer Wolfe is Director of News & Content at Animation World Network.