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).


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!


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.


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.


Blackmagic Fusion : Getting Started

Blackmagic Fusion is a node-based compositor, which Blackmagic recently acquired from Eyeon Software. Similar to other high-end compositors like Nuke and Flame, Fusion uses a nodes for visualizing compositing work. This way of working may seem strange to artists accustomed to layer-based compositors such as Adobe After Effects, but I urge you to give it a try. In the end, compositing is the technically the same process in any system, just using different tools, plug-ins, etc. Blackmagic has taken its traditional aggressive development and pricing structure and applied to to Fusion, offering a free version with a few limitations, and a "Studio" full featured version for $995. 

To help you start your journey with Blackmagic Fusion, I;ve gathered a variety of resources that should show you the basics and demonstrate the potential of the application. I've barely scratched the surface of the application myself, but I'm already extremely impressed with what I see. Also, I'm encouraged by how aggressively Blackmagic tends to develop software, judging from Resolve, so I assume this is just the beginning. 


Although from a slightly older version of Fusion (v6, current is v8.2.1), this "cheat sheet" should come in handy when you first start working with Fusion. Please remember that some things may have changed, especially since Blackmagic acquired the software development from Eyeon right after v7.5 and added its own UI enhancements & features in the V7.7 and V8 beta releases (Thanks to Joel Chambers for providing the below cheatsheet.)


Colorist Jason Myres provides a very useful guide to optimizing performance in Fusion 7, which is still valid for Fusion 8. Absolutely worth a look before you start doing major work within the application.  

Some great BTS examples of professional work completed using Fusion & Fusion Studio include Hollywood feature films & popular Television series, such as :

Outside of mainstream television and film, you can find Fusion being used to do some fairly complex compositing work, as demoed by VFX Artist Alf Lovvold in his 3-min epic short film and breakdown, all composited in Fusion. 

VFX Breakdown

Alf has started a teaching the basic of Fusion with a set of tutorials on his Vimeo page, so I urge you to follow him for future updates and tutorials. Below is an example of one of his tutorials.

In this series of videos, VFX Artist Alkesh Nanavaty demonstrates some advanced techniques such as projection mapping, 3D particles, tracking, and overall pipeline between applications as he re-creates a shot similar to one seen in the Hollywood blockbuster, "Transformers 2".

Kert Gartner of VFXHaiku.com breaks down a detailed greenscreen composite in this 40 min node-by-node breakdown. Highly recommended if you are interested in seeing a more advanced composite broken down, and Kert spends some time explaining his reasons for using each node.  

Overview: Blackmagic Fusion v8.2 offers a very intuitive node based compositor, both a highly usable free version and a fully featured "Studio" version, which includes OFX support and collaborative features, version for $995. It is an easy application to jump into with even the most basic knowledge of compositing, and I highly recommend you download the free version, even if to try out a few things and see if it fits your style of working. The free version is remarkably powerful and capable, like Resolve, until you need 3rd party OFX plug-ins , optical flow, and collaborative functionality, which is only available in the "Studio" version. The biggest issue I see with the application is the lack of training, which isn't an issue with the application but more of a reflection of how the industry views the application. Hopefully, the recent acquisition by Blackmagic will change that, as they've applied their usual tactics of aggressive pricing & development. 

If you are interested in trying out Fusion, stop by Blackmagic's website to download the free version or purchase the studio version here.