the Frankie by Cospective
Cospective has been developing visual communication tools since April 2000. Originally spun out from visual effects boutique Rising Sun Pictures as Rising Sun Research, and changed name to Cospective in 2012 to better reflect the broadening nature of the business.
Cospective is a small agile company made up of experienced professionals from diverse backgrounds, including VFX, games, film post production, engineering and corporate software development.
Rory has been with Cospective since 2006, previously as Product Manager for cineSync, taking over as CEO in 2011.
Prior to Cospective, Rory worked as an AFI-award winning sound engineer and was Studio Manager at the South Australian Film Corporation.
What is Frankie?
Frankie is simply the easiest way to share and collaborate with video in real time. It’s a way of synchronizing video playback across the internet, so you can collaborate with anyone, anywhere. It allows you to invite people to review video with you, to play, pause, scrub, draw on the frame and make text notes – and all in sync with everyone else in the review! It's all completely browser-based too, making it totally accessible.
It's a really unique project! Nobody has done something like this before in history! How was the idea for the project born?
Our company, Cospective, has been developing and selling another software product named cineSync for nearly 10 years now. Like Frankie, cineSync is an interactive, synchronized video review and approval tool and it’s used widely throughout the film industry, especially in VFX. In 2011, we won an Academy Award for cineSync, due to its positive impact on the film industry. However, we found that cineSync wasn’t quite as suited to short-form production like advertising, so we decided to build a similar tool but to make it as user-friendly and as accessible as possible. The result was Frankie.
How does it work?
Frankie is a bit like YouTube, in that if you want to share a video with someone, you can upload it via a web browser and they can watch it online. However, unlike YouTube, Frankie is private, and instead of people watching the video by themselves, you can watch it with them! You can present work in progress and explain decisions or have clients ask questions, all while everyone is looking at exactly the same bit of video and exactly the same time. It’s much the same as having a review and approval session with everyone in the same room, except the people can be across town, across the country or even around the world.
Frankie is completely interactive, so guests in the review can also circle or point things out on the screen using Frankie’s annotation tools. They can jump to a frame they want to discuss and you can see exactly what they’re showing you.
Traditionally, particularly in advertising, review and approval of work in progress was done via email – clients would be emailed a clip and they would have to would have to work out how to download the attached video, play it, and then email notes back. But quite often there would be issues. Videos emailed from a Mac might not play on a PC. The client may not have a compatible video player installed. The video could be blocked for being too large. Trying to send files via FTP is too complicated. Very commonly, there was miscommunication as people tried to describe in emails what they were seeing in pictures. Surely there must be an easier way! That's Frankie.
Frankie bypasses all those challenges and makes it as possible to send people video, to guarantee it will play on their machine, and to watch it with them in real time. No more email attachments, no more FTP, no more miscommunication.
What are the main advantages and benefits of Frankie?
Frankie is browser based and will work on any of the commonly used internet browsers on Mac or PC. When you upload a video to Frankie, your video will be transcoded into a format that will play on any browser, so you’re guaranteed the video will play, first time, every time.
Anyone invited to a review is simply sent a link. When they click the link, it’ll launch their preferred browser, load Frankie, pull in the video and put them in sync with the host of the session. They don’t need to know anything about Frankie to make it work – it just happens. There is no technical ability required and nothing to learn. We know that people get pretty sick of trying to work out how to use the latest gadget or software, but with Frankie, they’re up and running in no time. And it’s fun!
The big benefit of Frankie is that it allows media professionals to work with anyone, anywhere. We have customers in South Africa who work with clients in London and the US, we have customers in the Czech Republic who work with clients in Poland and Indonesia – and they all use Frankie to clearly communicate visual ideas with context and clarity.
Could you say that Frankie is a much more than a simple software? And how it could be used in different industries?
Frankie is definitely more than just software – it’s genuinely a communication tool, as important as a phone or video chat. By enabling people to know that they’re seeing exactly what everyone else is talking about, Frankie brings confidence to remote collaboration. It’s used in VFX houses that are working with advertising agencies, it’s used in post-production facilities working with production companies, it’s used in design, pre-visualisation, title design – anywhere where people need to communicate visual ideas or to give clear and simple feedback on a work in progress.
Could you share any impressive story with our reader about any massive project that came alive with the help of the Frankie?
Post-production agency Hinge Digital (http://hingedigital.com/) recently used Frankie to create a 30-second PSA called Suitcase. Hinge conceptualized, wrote, designed, and animated the clip, but with so many partners’ hands in the mix across the country, the studio needed something to keep everyone on the same page as the project sprang to life. Frankie proved to be that essential tool, as its web-based video review functionality allowed remote parties to view the work in real-time and collaborate with ease.
Hinge Digital called Frankie “the perfect blend of cineSync’s power with web-based ease of use,” and says it allowed the team to overcome the distance between themselves and the client companies. With Frankie, a remote could be easily invited into the review session, and everyone could quickly share their comments and notes. It made everyone feel like a part of the active process.
As with any advertisement, there’s a level of care involved, and a need for client approval and guidance. But particularly with a project like this, which is focused on the welfare of children and a very sensitive, emotional subject, it was crucial that everyone was on point when it came to honing the message and the work. “We feel the investment in Frankie far outweighs the lost time of miscommunication with a client,” said Hinge Digital.
Hinge Digital now has 12 people using Frankie daily for reviews across all sorts of projects. The team finds that its web-based reviews, accessibility and easy approach to remote collaboration make Frankie the perfect tool for Hinge Digital’s style of work. “Frankie is specific to our needs and client needs,” said Hinge. “There are a lot of tools out there, but Frankie combines all the good things out in the market and rolls it into one cohesive package.”