Wipster : The next generation of video review & delivery?

 

SPECIAL FOR BLOG READERS: Wipster has been kind enough to offer Cinetic Studio blog readers a special coupon code that extends the trial period by an ADDITIONAL MONTH. Use code CINETICSTUDIOS and check out why we love them.  

   Driven by the latest "cutting-edge" technology, our methods of working, collaborating, and communicating seem to change on a daily basis, especially in the field of video production. While that innovation brings a consistent stream new hardware, software, and workflows that can contribute to our efficiency, I do not feel it always does. How efficient it can be is based on how well that technology is implemented, in my opinion. Working in freelance requires both your work and your tools to be smart and efficient, so the search is always on for the next great tool \ service.

When I started working as a freelance colorist, I was surprised regarding the number of clients that were perfectly happy & satisfied to work completely remotely, with some type of accurate review (of course!). In fact, my first job as a professional colorist was acquired through a conversation on Twitter, and everything was handled remotely. With my background in IT, I've had plenty of experience working with clients remotely, but working with computers is a farstretch from the creative work of color grading or editing. With something as subjective as color and editing, communicating effectively and efficiently remotely is absolutely crucial to avoid issues and miscommunication(s) when it comes time to final delivery. Uploading a client review  to YouTube \ Vimeo with a password not only looked unprofessional, but wasn't efficient aside from getting an overall opinion. I would get feedback such as "It's looking good" or "it needs a little more work", but I did not get those crucial shot or scene specific notes and timecodes, unless I asked for them or they happened to provide them.  I was then introduced to the video review service, Wipster.

I was immediately impressed from the moment I logged in for the first time. It's unique and friendly user interface was very appealing,  and the "pop-up" style FAQ guides you through the entire service immediately upon logging in for the first time. It was more than I personally needed, as it was simple enough to figure out within a few minute, but it's nice to see the effort to be so approachable.

Once signed in, uploading videos for review and delivery is simple. You can upload video files directly from your local computer or connect to Dropbox, Google Drive, OneDrive, Box, Amazon Cloud Drive, and even FTP (which opens up the possibility of a neat "render to Cloud, auto upload to Wipster" workflow), . Once uploaded, videos can be neatly organized by folder(s) and you can "archive" them once a project has been completed. As there will inevitably be several versions \ revisions of an edit or color grade,  newer "versions" of the same video can be uploaded and tracked, without discarding any previous versions (and anything attached to them, such as comments).

WipsterUI
WipsterUI

Adding a recipients \ reviewers to a video is as easy as adding an email address to a list, and Wipster even provides an appropriately named "nudge" feature for those clients who require a little reminder to review and comment. Moving on to the actual "review" functionality, comments are as easy to add as a click of a mouse at the moment and physical location on the video where you would like your comment to appear. They even appear color coded by user, as you can see from the screenshot below. Each comment can actually be an entire conversation, marked consistently at the timecode and location on the video. You can only imagine how useful this can be with the intricacies of color grading and editing, for example: "that cut is a little too soon" or "please brighten up her face".

Finally, once the comments and conversations have been worked out, its time to get back to work on the revisions, based on the provided feedback. While I would like Wipster to have the ability to export the comments as markers that could be imported directly into my NLE (as some other services do), it does a great job of providing either a digital checklist or a printed list of all the comments with exact timecodes.

I personally load up this digital checklist, and go down issue by issue and check off the comments when they have been completed. It still gives you that good "I get to cross that sucker off" feeling after completing a task too!

PrintOut
PrintOut

Now, I just found out about this feature this past week and it adds an entirely new level of usefulness to Wipster. I previously only used the service as a video review platform, but after clarifying with their fantastic support team, they confirmed Wipster is fully intended to be a review and delivery platform. That means if you upload a high resolution "master" file, such as one encoded as ProResHQ or DNxHD, your client can download that EXACT file by simply clicking a "download" button underneath the player. No need for additional FTP hosting space, sharing over Dropbox, shipping hard drives, or any of the previous delivery hassles associated with remote creative work. Review and delivery consolidate in one platform, which is efficient and smart.

DownloadHQ
DownloadHQ

Now, what does it cost and will it be accessible to me? A thought I usually whenever I hear about some cool and new, but different. In this case, you can use Wipster for the whopping monthly cost of free. Yes, they honestly offer a free account with 15 minutes of video upload a month completely free (up to 45 via referrals), which you can sign up for right here.  Should you require additional minutes per month, personalized branding, HD, or the wealth of other features they offer, it is $15 per user a month. 

Overall, I've been using Wipster for almost a year now and I'm very happy with it. They have extremely responsive support, an easy to use user interface, a complete review and delivery system, and competitive pricing compared to similar services. I highly recommend you check out Wipster.io for your video review needs, even if just to try the free account to see if it fits your needs.

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Plug-in Review: qp Grade Assistant 2

So we gave in....... and decided to review the occasional software, gear, and training package. This will not be turning into a "camera and software" review blog however.

While the internet is fullof reviews for video gear, software, and training, we will be reviewing different, often unheard of products that will hopefully grab your interest and deserve your support. I occasionally feel a product deserves special mention on our blog if it changes the way we approach a certain aspect of storytelling, if it's use in our work substantially improves our workflow, or if it simply an outstanding product (officially awarded "Cinetic Awesomeness").

As I've been testing out a new After Effects plug-in on our newest video, I discovered it offered some really great tools that were unavailable with an built-in After Effects plug-ins or features. qp Grade Assistant 2 , available at AEScripts, offers you every type of scope you could ever want right inside After Effects: Lumascope, Vectorscopes, RGB scopes, and few more useful features that can really help you grade or composite your images with more accuracy besides "that looks better".

All Scopes and RGB Channels

Now, why would you want scopes in After Effects? We have them in our editor & color grading applications, so why add another? Plenty of reasons! After Effects has some extremely powerful controls for color correction and grading (even better than Premiere Pro CC and Final Cut XPro), it can be used as for finishing due to its powerful text and design tools, and we can't forget about the massive collection of third-part plug-in available which add untold levels of functionality. Add in the tracking potential from Mocha and 3D Camera Trackers and After Effects is easily the be most useful post production application around with scopes. OKAY, even without scopes, After Effects earns that title, but adding scopes really gives it a set of legs with ANY use involving color manipulation.

RGB Scopes

Besides the basic addition of a variety of scopes, this plug-in adds two neat features called Comp Assist and Grade Assist.

Comp Assist aids in the compositing (or combining multiple images into one) by displays the red, green and blue channels individually so you can the correct the colors to match (see my sample below). This makes compositing, say for example, a green screen key to a background much easier, as its essentially the act of matching 3 different black and white images using a basic levels of curves effects in After Effects on each of the Red, Green, and Blue channels. It's all messing around with each color channel until it looks just about right, or hitting reset on the effect and trying again, but eventually I'm betting you'll nail it, especially if you have some help like this plug-in.

Comp Assist of the Right

Comp Assist of Green Screen

Grade Assist aids by giving you live, responsive scopes while you grade with a huge number of effects loaded up (within reason and depending on your system configuration). That simple, but extremely useful, as its completely missing from After Effects and unavailable outside of Color Finesse, which is still a paid third party plug-in. Whether you like to use levels, curves, or third party plug-ins like FilmConvert to work with color, I found qb Grade Assistant 2 to be an extremely useful addition to After Effects if you need to manipulate color accurately in Adobe After Effects.

Final Decision

: I found the

qb Grade Assistant 2

quite useful and would definitely recommend it, especially if you do a lot of color correctinggrading or chroma keying in After Effects. It's

not

an absolute necessity at $79.99, but it really did make the process easier especially with the scopes and two useful 'assist' features. Be sure to check out the plug-in at

http://aescripts.com/qp-grade-assistant/

where you can try it or purchase it, if it sounds interesting. 

Disclaimer: I am a beta tester for this plug-in and was provided a license for testing and evaluation purposes. This fact does not factor into my review or opinion whatsoever. I won't support software or gear simply because a company offers to pay or provide free product in exchange for a positive review. Period.