Whether you’re a creative or commercial filmmaker, it is rare that you will be working alone all of the time so video collaboration platforms are a ideal. When beginning a new project, it is essential to understand how you will receive feedback from your producer/director/client, and how this may affect the editing process.
Naturally, the most efficient ways to receive feedback is to sit down with your collaborator in person and go through the editing stage-by-stage with them. If that isn’t possible, then here’s a selection of recommended video collaboration platforms that can help even the most challenging client give concise feedback quickly and efficiently.
When you are starting out, you may find that YouTube is enough for your needs. Most clients will be able to access YouTube from their work computers and utilising the ‘unlisted’ option will ensure only your client see unfinished work.
YouTube is also free, so it may seem like the most cost-effective video collaboration platforms for getting feedback, but there are interactivity options are limited.
Upon review, clients can email feedback or leave comments below the video but don’t expect these to use timecode. Even if you explain that you need the times referenced in the video, it is unlikely they will get this right immediately. Often clients won’t understand the required precision afforded by timecoded feedback and will approximate the time of the requested change, leading to potential confusion.
YouTube’s lack of structured filing can also cause issues, with numerous edits uploaded for a variety of different projects, it doesn’t take long for your account to become cluttered and out of control. When using YouTube for your reviews, make use of Unlisted Playlists to separate clients, and employ relevant file names numbered in version order, so updates are more manageable.
Vimeo has its own built-in video collaboration platform, but it’s not free. To access the review platform, you need to be signed-up to the Pro or Business package at a minimum of £14 per month, which isn’t an unreasonable fee for what you get. Many experienced videographers on Vimeo already have the Pro package, which comes with a host of other tools including Pro stats and Professional customisation.
The actual review elements of Vimeo’s platform are similar to our other two platforms on this list – Wipster and Frame. It allows precise referencing against the video and leaves a helpfully timecoded list of edits. Each uploaded video has to be explicitly set to Enable Review. The sharing options are similar to YouTube, with the bonus of password protection and the ability for videos to be downloaded.
Vimeo, however, is not yet a dedicated review platform and suffers from some familiar problems. The main issue being the lack of ‘versioning’. Vimeo does allow direct replacement of a video file attached to a URL but doing so deletes the previous version, making comparing edits impossible without downloading each cut.
Ftrack.com is a relatively new video collaboration platform, which is already making waves in this niche market.
The editing review platform is similar to both Frame and Wipster, where Ftrack stands above the others, however, is in its range of preproduction and production tools.
Planning, team management and production tracking tools allow you to centralise your entire production to the platform. Invite team members and clients to collaborate and designate them specific user preferences to limit what they can view.
Ftrack is competitively priced, with their full production studio available for $20 per user per month. Compared to the price of Frame and Wipster it might be the obvious choice, however, for those creating smaller projects independently or in small teams Ftrack might be overkill, and you can spend a lot of time setting up tools that you don’t really need to use.
Fortunately, Ftrack will soon be releasing a $10 per user per month offering that is just for the review system. This simplified package could be a great way to start and easily upgrade if you feel you need the studio package.
The Wipster Vs Frame conversation is well-worn amongst editors. The truth is that both video collaboration platforms are in direct competition with one another and are continually updating their offerings. As the major players, let’s drill down into what sets them apart.
Wipster and Frame are both dedicated edit review platforms, with all the extras missing from YouTube/Vimeo-based workflows.
Both sites work on a file system of Projects > Subfolders > Videos, with unlimited subfolders available inside Projects. Inviting people to review edits works similarly: You can invite a client to collaborate on a project, which means they will see everything within the project folder, and any subfolders. Or, you can share an edit review link for a specific video, which will be the only video that invitee will be able to view.
Both sites also offer ‘versioning’: Allowing all the different versions of a video to be bundled together, meaning your folders stay clean, but you can still look back at prior edits and feedback. You can even compare versions with side-by-side playback.
Each platform allows uploads of other file types, including all image-based files your client may use when providing you with assets. While any file format is storable here, you can only allow review functionality on PNG, JPEG and PDF documents.
Wipster allows you to add comments to the video itself; clicking on the video will create a pointer that can be used to direct the viewer to a specific element, especially helpful for pointing out smaller details in the overall image. Frame, however, offers a range of components including arrows, boxes, and even free drawing on the video, all in a variety of colours. For animation projects, in particular, clients can be specific and concise with the feedback.
Remember with both platforms that for a client to collaborate they will need to sign up for an account. While this won’t cost them anything, it may cause accessibility issues. You might find some clients, specifically in larger companies, are denied access to either site by IT restrictions.
Frame is the only one of the two offering a Freemium service: with 2GB storage a month limited to one project. This option may serve well those upgrading from a YouTube/Vimeo solution.
Both sites offer free trial periods of their paid plans: Wipster limits you to a 2-week trial, whereas Frame gives you a full 30 days. While you may want to jump in and start using the video collaboration platform correctly during the free trial, don’t be too eager. Think about how long a project may take to complete, then consider the difficulty of moving all your material if the site doesn’t work for you.
For the starter package, Wipster is slightly more cost effective at $8.25 per month compared to Frame at $13 per month. However, the content of these packages needs exploring.
Frame will limit you to 3 projects, 10GB or storage and 10 Collaborators. You will also not be allowed any additional Team Members on this package, which makes it perfect for freelancers. Wipster will give you Unlimited team members, unlimited reviewers and Unlimited projects.
Looking at the Pro plan is when Frame begins to feel like the better deal: Unlimited projects; 50GB storage and 25 collaborators for just $22 a month. Wipster, on the other hand, rises to a massive $99 per month, the only discernible differences being the massive 250GB of storage and the ability to create multi teams.
Both sites are very similar and suffer the same pros and cons. Overall, Wipster seems geared toward larger production companies. For freelancers, it’s unlikely 250GB will be required, but more than 15GB is almost inevitable, whereby Frame’s cost-effective 50GB model ticks boxes.
Video Collaboration Platforms – Wrapping Up
What’s vital is to find a video collaboration platform that works for you. Every editor has their personal process, and the review stages are just a part of that. Find something that not only fits with the way you edit, but that compliments your workflow and helps deliver the best possible work efficiently.