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Lost Dreams Studios Intros Post Production Approval Tool

By John Virata

Jeremy Evans was in a dilemma. The partner at Lost Dreams Studios in New York's Manhattan borough occasionally had communication issues with clients when it came to their projects, issues that often caused unforeseen revisions to projects. Issues that cost valuable time. So Evans decided to do something about it. Rather than have clients breathing over his shoulder asking him to change this and change that, Evans created an application that puts a lot of the approval process on the Internet, so everyone, from the editor to the project supervisor to the client, knows at what stage the project is coming along. Called Post|Stream Live, the web based project management application, enables editors and project supervisors to post on the Internet, a client's media project for comment and collaboration, at any stage of the project's progress. In addition, the tool offers users the capability to post comments on a project's various stages of development.

"It's a great organizational tool because all media and client comments for any given project are located in one place," said Evans. "No more misunderstandings and the client feels like he or she is a part of the process without actually breathing over your shoulder while you work." PostStream|Live started out as an internal management tool, but Lost Dreams Studios' clients liked the application so much that the studio decided to make it available to others.

PostStream|Live enables you to post anytime and anywhere. While the application works as a plugin to Final Cut Pro, you can also compress the video file with an application such as Discreet's Cleaner or Sorenson Squeeze before you post it with a different applilcation. In addition, you can post any streaming file that can be played with QuickTime or Windows Media Player. It can also play Flash movies. PostStream|Live runs on an Xserve as well as a Windows server.


Click image for larger view
 

The interface is really quite simple. It takes up an entire web page, and is quite intuitive. From the left, a post house can have all of its projects online, available for viewing to those the post house gives access. The project files can also be made available, as well as any file that you wish, including EDLs, a script or even a graphics file. This can be done at the project level as well as the clip level. You can also have multiple project with multiple project elements and streaming cuts in each project, Evans said. Three levels of access are available; Editor access enables the editor to add projects. The PostStream Administrator has the capability to add and delete projects, and the Super Administrator oversees all aspects of PostStream, ranging from which editors and clients have access and what level of access they have, as well as the capability to remove projects and files.

Current Project screen

The Current Project Screen
As changes to the project are made, editors can post those revisions as a QuickTime file or Windows Media file, or any file format supported by these players via PostStream|Live. Clients can then review the revisions online and download the revisions as well as make comments to the revisions. Clients can review these revisions anywhere there is a working Internet connection, so they no longer have to travel to the facility to review the revisions, or wait for a Fedex from the studio. They can also hasten the revision process as well. For example, if there is an updated logo that needs to be added to the project, that logo can be uploaded and accessed by the project manager, who can then have the logo placed into the project. In addition to posting a video revision via an FTP or other web software, Final Cut Pro editors can publish the revisions right from the Final Cut Pro Timeline to PostStream|Live.

You can review clips and make comments

Now Showing
The Now Showing screen is where the revisions are shown via QuickTime. Comments can then be made in the Posted Comments screen, where you can look at all the comments to the project as well as specific comments for specific revisions of the project. the comments can also be exported out to a text editor for further review.

"The major differences between this piece of software and others like it is that it the interface is very clean and easy to use. It's not complicated, and clients appreciate that. It's also very visual," said Evans. "Using thumbnails to identify clips and instructions in the Media Center as to what the person is suppose to do next help out with the experience. Clients don't have time to learn a new program in order to supervise a project. They'd rather just come down to the studio in person."

Priced at $4000, the platform neutral application will ship in March. For more information, contact Jeremy Evans at Lost Dreams Studios, 212-727-2540, or visit www.lostdreams.com


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John Virata is senior editor of Digital Media Online. You can email him at jvirata@digitalmedianet.com
Related Keywords:Lost Dreams Studios , post production approval tool, PostStream Live

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