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Keeping Clients Accountable

Jeremy Evans developed PostStream Live to streamline client approval for his post house By Frank Moldstad

Jeremy Evans developed PostStream Live! as a way to streamline the client approval process for Lost Dreams Studios, a New York City-based production house where he is producer/director. Instead of emailing 4MB files to clients, or directing them through the maze of an ftp server, he now tells his clients simply to log on to a secure web site and view files on line, or download them if they wish. There are provisions for comments, client approvals and a history of the project.

After using this in house, Evans began to get questions from clients and other post houses who were interested in using it. So he's now making the program available commercially.  "It seems like without doing too much selling, everybodys interested in it," he says. Here, we talk with him about what PostStream Live! does and how it works.

How did you get the idea for PostStream Live?

Well, it was partly that I needed to hold my clients accountable for what they were saying.

Thats a good reason. Do they like that aspect of it, too?

Some of them do, some of them dont, because its all there in black and white, and their bosses can see how the project has evolved as well. That can be good and that can be bad as well.

Yeah. But at least from your standpoint, it gives you a specific road map to work from thats iron clad.

Right, exactly. So that was the starting point. And also was the fact that I needed something that was really fast and that clients could also use easily. A lot of this stuff  thats out there tries to do everything, and you need to train your clients to use it. So Ive never had to explain to any of my clients how to use this. I just say, log into it, select your projects. Even my, lets say, most computer-challenged clients had no problems.

Excellent.

Yes, its very cool. And so we used those two requirements to develop this software and we built upon it and we had so many good ideas for it that I think its developed into something people would really like, especially editors. Its very fast. You can basically publish whatever you want to from your timeline and it doesnt matter what the application is. You can even publish out of Microsoft Word onto the web site.

PostStream Live user interface


So lets say youre working in Final Cut Pro, what do you do?

Basically, you do your edit, you select the section that you want for approval, and you export to a specific designated folder for PostStream.

As a QuickTime?

It doesnt matter what it is, QuickTime or Windows Media, as long as the client has that player. It doesnt matter what it is. Obviously, it has to be some kind of streaming media. You export it to this folder, a little PostStream window comes up. You select the project you want to put it in, the name of the clip and the comments, and then just let it go. Theres no screwing around, which is good. That was the big thing.

What did you do before for these situations?

Theres two things I used to do. One is we had this ftp site. And that can get really confusing for clients. Its not graphical, and I know it sounds stupid, but a lot of clients like pretty pictures and they like icons. Its easier for them to navigate through that instead of giving them a path to specific folders and things like that. Its just a better experience for them. So I had an ftp site, and also if the cuts were small enough, like if I was doing promos, I would just email them to the client. The reason why that was bad was that the client had so many different cuts in their email that they didnt know what was what. It also blocks up their email, because of 3 or 4 MB files they have to download, and while theyre downloading it they cant get any other emails. And keeping track of revisions was very hard for them. They couldnt see how things were progressing, because even though they had all the cuts, they couldnt see where it was going.

No matter how you labeled them.

Exactly. And they end up with like 10 files on their hard drive, and it takes up space. So basically with this, everything is laid out for them. They can choose to download it if they want, or they can just leave it up there and stream it. If they want to pass it around their office, they can either download it or they can leave it up there and give people the link.

Plus, you can open multiple windows in QuickTime or Windows Media Player, and have three different versions of a spot to compare side by side.

Exactly. And theres other software out there that does this, but they want to do everything. They want to do rough cut approval, they want to do data management, they want to do video conferencing. They want to have everything in one piece of software. It becomes very complicated. But my main goal is to keep it very simple for the client and for the editors. 

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Related Keywords:PostStream Live, Lost Dreams Studio, Jeremy Evans, postproduction

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