One of the agencies we work with out of Chicago came to us with an international client who had been going through a major acquisition period and needed a messaging campaign that helped welcome and unite the core values with all of their offices around the world.
We were tasked with producing a series of testimonial videos that highlighted various employees speaking on a specific core value of the company. Each month, they would release several of them speaking to that month’s specific value.
After producing the first batch for the Chicago headquarters, we then built a best practices document that could be shared with the various video teams gathering materials from every major international office.
Meanwhile, our production team was flown out to LA and Tijuana to capture additional sets of videos, as well as some supplemental material for videos to be produced later this year.
While every production presents a set of challenges and problems to overcome, our LA jaunt provided a particularly interesting problem for post production to tackle.
We sat down with our post production manager, Daniel Skubal, for a quick interview about some of the details of this project…
RVP: Dan, what challenges arose while working on this edit?
Dan: The greatest challenge we faced was the turnaround time for the next set of videos. The client needed final master files in-hand at least a day before the end of the month, and with the Real production team being gone an entire week on this shoot, we would only have a few days with the footage before final files were due.
Depending on the scope of the job, we typically allocate one to two rounds of revisions before final delivery into our schedule, which meant an edit would have to be turned around within 24 hours of the hard drive hitting our desk to keep the projects on track.
The team went back and forth on ways to tackle the project and deliver everything on time. We discussed everything from overnighting a hard drive, to renting some additional hardware and working with Camera to Cloud (C2C) dailies, to pre-building the project on-site with all the assistant editor work virtually completed by the time it was backed up to our server.
The solution we landed on involved a remote proxy workflow utilizing Frame.io. While we hadn’t ever worked this way before, but after some internal testing, we felt confident that we could pull this off.
Frame.io really integrates perfectly with our workflow, and our clients love it.
RVP: What is Frame.io?
Dan: Frame.io is a media review platform with an intuitive timecode-based commenting system. Frame.io really integrates perfectly with our workflow, and our clients love it. We have been using the platform since it was in beta testing, and is our preferred way of sharing edits with clients to get comments and criticism as we are shaping the final product.
RVP: How were you able to use Frame.io to help solve the challenges you faced during this edit?
Dan: There were three things we aimed to accomplished:
1. We knew we wanted to generate proxies (compressed, easy-to-play files that can be re-synced with the full raw footage later on).
2. Because time was precious, and the production team needed to stay focused on the shoot, we wanted the actual process of creating those proxies to be automated and easy as possible without having to babysit each file conversion.
3. We needed a way to automatically upload those proxy files to a designated project on Frame.io the same day the interviews were conducted so the edit team could pull the files immediately and begin building the spine of the story for each of these video pieces.
We had hit a bit of a dead end, and while we began looking at other options, I dug a little deeper with Frame.io
Dan: We knew any one of these 3 objectives could be accomplished with an on-set DIT, offloading and managing the media, but given the parameters of the project, we needed a solution that could be done by our immediate team in as few clicks as possible in-between interview setups.
After doing some research, it didn’t appear that the standalone Frame.io app, nor the integration plugin for Premiere would let us export individual clips directly to the platform— only a single timeline file at a time. We had hit a bit of a dead end, and while we began looking at other options, I dug a little deeper with Frame.io.
6-7 years ago, when I was beta testing Frame.io, we were constantly in communication with the support team, putting in feature requests— and nearly every suggestion would quickly be rolled into the next release of the platform, so I knew reaching out to them about this specific need would be examined by their team and taken seriously.
I quickly heard back from their team, and received confirmation that our proposed workflow wasn’t possible yet with their platform but would be shared with their development team for a future release— and a possible solution would be setting up a dynamic “Watch Folder” in the standalone Frame.io desktop app, and running the batch process through Adobe Media Encoder, pointing all files to the designated watch folder.
With only a few hours before the team had to pack up and leave, we ran a quick test of this workflow and it worked flawlessly. Within a few seconds of a clip transcoding in Media Encoder, the media would appear in the Frame.io portal, and be able to easily scrub and play the clip instantly.
While this wasn’t quite a one-click solution, it removed several steps to the process and could be performed relatively quickly and painlessly to get us the interviews quickly without much interruption of the actual production.
Real Video just delivered the final edits on-time and without any issues.
RVP: So did you make the deadline?
Dan: I’m happy to say, we pulled it off. This all went on behind the scenes, and the client had no idea we went to these lengths to ensure delivery of the videos. For them to receive the first cut so quickly was a big feat for us, but for the client, it just happened with no worries on their end— Real Video just delivered the final edits on-time and without any issues. That was our goal from the start.
RVP: How will Frame.io help REAL in the future?
Dan: Man, I think Frame.io is only headed upward. They’re rockstars at what they do, and now that Adobe has acquired the platform, they are already rolling out some amazing integrations into the Adobe suite.
I’m particularly excited about C2C aka “Camera to Cloud”— their new turnkey solution for remote video production, which allows you to privately stream a production to team members anywhere in the world using only a couple pieces of hardware, or to instantly generate proxies directly from the camera to pull down and begin editing while the production is taking place.
Everyone wins with a solution like that. There is more global collaboration with team members who can help solve problems while they are happening on set, and post production can begin immediately, which could definitely help in instances like ours with tight turnaround times.
For Real Video to be able to offer a painless workflow like that to our national or international clients, particularly in the agency space, is an exciting prospect and could be a really valuable tool to our clients.
We are definitely ready to use C2C as a regular practice within our productions.
RVP: Awesome! Thanks for taking the time to chat with us about this project.
Dan: Of course, it’s always exciting when we can find solutions like this that make everyones’ life easier.