ftrack Review is the latest contender in the reign of online reviewing tools. But this one has the advantage of being the little brother of an established project management tool.
Collaboration. That’s a big thing nowadays, even more so since many one-man-band creatives working all over the world, trying to connect to each other and, well, to collaborate. A tool is needed and that tool should tick all the boxes: 1) Ease of use. 2) Universal app, preferably in a browser and accessible through any device, desktop or mobile. 3) Flexible file types, not only video.
Enter ftrack Review. This is the latest addition to ftrack Studio, a popular project management and production tracking tool. ftrack Review is the little brother to ftrack Studio, so to say. Its focus lies on the reviewing process only without the project management tools found in the Studio version. Therefore it’s more accessible for individuals such as indie filmmakers and it reduces clutter you might not need if you don’t work in a studio environment.
ftrack Review runs entirely in the cloud and you access it via your browser of choice – even on a mobile phone. Just upload the (video-) file in question to the ftrack cloud and let your clients review it.
After setting up your account (or a free 7-day trial, as I did), you’re asked to create your first project. After that you have to create a new review container in that project. Whitin that container you can add anything. All kinds of video files, different types of images, entire edits, multi-page PDFs, you name it. Lastly ftrack asks you to invite people to actually review your uploaded files. That’s it. It is all happening in your browser of choice and everything is kept securely in the included 250GB chunk of ftracks cloud.
Everybody you’ve invited to review your files will get an email with a link which takes them directly to their browser. Each comment, visual remark or request will populate in a chat-like box right beneath the given asset and you plus your team mates associated with the given project will get a notification via email.
Furthermore each remark is timestamped to the frame on which it is made. So everybody knows exactly what is going on. Once everybody is happy, assets can be marked as approved. Done, moving on. And if there is still something to tweak, just upload the same file with the same filename again and it automatically gets versioned up.
You don’t have to involve clients in order to collect a first round of feedback. The same tools can be used for an internal review with just your team members involved. After that, invite your client and off you go.
ftrack review keeps track of all changes, comments, versions and approved files so you don’t have to. Every workspace gets 250GB of storage and unlimited projects, review sessions and participants. But remember, you have to pay for each team member (not clients but active team mates who can access the back end, upload files etc.).
You also can output a PDF summery containing every comment on each asset. Everybody should be on the same page, right?
ftrack Review vs ftrack Studio
ftrack Review is actually included in ftrack Studio but the Studio version is much more than just a reviewing platform. It’s a fully-fledged project management and production tracking tool. It’s more expensive, it’s more advanced and it’s certainly more focused on larger studios rather than one-man-band creatives. That’s why ftrack decided to roll out ftrack Review as a standalone product. And I think this is really great! What ftrack Review lacks is deep integration into popular NLEs such as Premiere Pro, Final Cut Pro X or DaVinci Resolve.
The Studio version offers a bunch of integrations plus a flexible Python API for exactly these deep integrations but the Review part of ftrack doesn’t. Plus, to be honest, I’d be a bit overwhelmed to code my own integration.. So maybe, just like its bigger brother, ftrack Review might see some dedicated integrations in the future. That would be nice to see, indeed. Frame.io is a good example for neatly integrating such a service into different NLEs.
ftrack Review, just like ftrack Studio, is billed on a per-user basis. A user is a team member who is allowed to access projects and upload data. A user is not to be confused with a client. You can have as many clients as you wish without being charged a penny. A client will get notifications once you invite someone to review your uploaded assets. A client doesn’t require a login, the provided link in the invitation email is all they need to access your ftrack Review portal.
For using ftrack Review you will be charged $15 per month per user. However you also can choose a yearly payment which is $120 per user per year ($10/month) and ftrack also has a special offer for that tier until May 31: 50% off the monthly price for one year, so $7.50 per user per month instead of $15. After the first year your account will automatically be transferred to the yearly tier ($120/user).
A free 7-day trial is also available (no credit card required). You can add as many users as you wish, just be sure to adjust this number before the trial ends.
What do you think? Just another collaboration service or finally the right tool for your needs? Share your thoughts in the comments below!