The digital age has given creative professionals many impressive tools. Access to powerful laptops and online networks are just some of the many advances allowing today’s creative talent to become a truly distributed workforce. The availability of editing software, high-speed Internet connections and FTP clients are also among the more obvious features changing the industry.
Sadly, the options for networking and collaborating on creative projects haven’t evolved at the same speed. Far too many photographers, directors and their collaborators are still relying on long email chains, text-based instant messaging, and unsecure photo/video sites for feedback and review with clients and team members, often leading to a chain of confusion. Does your client have the right codec for the rough cut you uploaded? Who asked for the blonde model instead of the brunette, the art director or the Vice President? Which edit did marketing finally sign off on?
Thankfully, that is starting to change. A new generation of companies is currently developing Web-based tools to address the needs of creative professionals. From finding and connecting with talent for a specific project, to client feedback and cloud-based editing, there is a new dawn for creative collaboration. Here are three sites worth taking a look at.
Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and the rest of today’s social media have their uses. But promoting yourself and connecting with creative professionals in the middle of the constant white noise can be frustrating, if not downright impossible.
Movidiam, a U.K.-based company, aims to change that. Covering everything from the initial search to final payment, Movidiam offers online job listings, media asset uploading, video reviewing, interactive feedback and even storyboarding templates.
“With Movidiam, we have looked at the transient, project-by-project nature of the film industry and focused on fusing a social network and project management tools specific for commercial filmmaking. By creating profiles, filmmakers become visible to those searching for their talents, and can easily collaborate with project management features,” says Movidiam co-founder George Olver. “A lot of the collaboration tools currently on the market aimed at filmmakers are single-proposition tools that look at one element of the process. With Movidiam, we’ve looked at the process as a whole from profile search and networking, through to project management and payments.”
One of the most intriguing aspects of Movidiam is its “testimonial credit” reputation system, designed to help good work to be shared and recognized within the network and within the industry. Movidiam has also created a secure payment option for freelancers. Now you can pay or get paid from around the globe in multiple currencies. Combine all of this with Movidiam’s identity verification system, and you have the makings of an accurate, trustworthy ecosystem for creative professionals.
With a free account you can showcase your work, connect with the community, work on projects, and even get paid through their payment systems. Plans that include the use of Movidiam’s project and team-management features start at $25/month.
Collaboration and Client Feedback
One of the biggest headaches for creative professionals working remotely is to connect with clients for feedback and approval. Miscommunication between you and a client can cause delays and problems down the road. Whether your fault or not, clients won’t recommend someone they’ve had communication problems with, particularly if they affected the final product or deadline.
Wipster promises a way around those troubles. As Wipster’s CEO Rollo Wenlock explains, “There’s a clear gap in the toolset for professional video producers, teammates and clients to collaborate together during the creation process. Traditionally, the video review and approval process has been inaccurate and inefficient, creating unhappy clients, misguided video, and freelancers with dwindling client bases.”
With drag-and-drop uploading, pro-level encoding, the capability to add feedback notes directly on top of the footage, automated to-do lists from those notes, client notification when a new version is uploaded and an archive of all older versions, Wipster has a robust feature set. “From day one we’ve aimed for absolute simplicity within the app. We believe in the mantra ‘do less, better.’ One feature that has remained very simple but which has incredible power is the ‘point and click’ commenting. When watching an edit, you simply click anywhere on the image, on any frame, to provide feedback. This is automatically sent to everyone else on the version review,” to which they can reply with agreement or disagreement, says Wenlock. While video has been Wipster’s initial focus, the goal going forward is to be a medium for sharing and collaborating on any form of creative content, from audio to images to design.
Used by companies as global as NBC Universal and as tech-savvy as Evernote, Wipster still has much to offer the individual working professional. Accounts are free for basic users, and start at $25/month for more upload time and larger teams.
What if, instead of just sharing video, your team could actually edit your production remotely from anywhere there was a high-speed Internet connection? WeVideo offers cloud-based video editing and takes the concept of remote creative collaboration to a whole new level.
After video clips are uploaded to WeVideo—either directly or imported from other online storage sites—they become available to all team members. Your team can edit each other’s videos from different locations and devices. There is even an option to allow comments by colleagues or clients outside the team. Three different display options (Storyboard, Timeline Simple and Timeline Advanced) help tailor the editing interface for beginners, experts and everyone in-between. The editor itself is not so robust—think more iMovie than Final Cut Pro. Still, WeVideo has been adding features at a rapid pace. A recent update saw the addition of animation capabilities for moving titles and the Ken Burns photo-effect. Green Screen and Picture-in-Picture options are two more examples of WeVideo’s more advanced editing functionality.
Perhaps most fascinating of all is the fact that WeVideo offers iOS and Android apps that allow for basic storyboard-based editing. Not only has WeVideo eliminated the need for teams to be chained to powerful desktop computers, but they’ve started down the path of eliminating computers completely. Your production team could, in theory, exist anywhere and use almost any device.
With a claimed 2 million monthly users, WeVideo has seen rapid interest and adoption by everyone from NBC Universal to individual working creative pros. The most basic account option is free and paid plans with more storage, export time, and features start at $4/month.
While Movidiam, WeVideo, and Wipster are three sites worth trying out, they are far from your only options. Looking for a social site with an indie-film feel? Team ProCreate may fit the bill. The site gives creatives a chance to promote their work as well as advertise or respond to job and collaboration opportunities. Monthly mixers add a touch of old school networking for those in the Los Angeles area.
Feedbac, just out of beta, offers feedback/review collaboration capabilities with unlimited projects and contributors. Pricing is based solely on storage space needed.
Unlike many of the companies in this space, MediaSilo has been around for a while. Although it’s a more costly option, it has also been trusted by professionals for years and has features—such as Adobe Premiere integration and an available API—not offered by other sites. Even large companies see the importance of these offerings. Sony is behind Ci, a very slick-looking media asset review, management and archiving system. While Ci doesn’t offer cloud editing like WeVideo, we wouldn’t be surprised to see a company like Sony make a move in that direction.
If you’ve been doing your client feedback and collaboration the same way you did ten years ago, it might be time to make a move to something more accurate, secure, and easy to use. These sites can’t promise that a client will love your work, but they will give you a far better shot at having their feelings clearly communicated.