Frame.io for iOS

Real-time video collaboration, now with a native iOS app

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Emery Wells
Emery WellsMaker@emerywells · CEO, Frame.io
Hello Hunters. Frame.io co-founder here. Im super excited to finally release Frame.io's first mobile app but first some background... Frame.io is InVision for video. A year ago we launched our web app, solving the challenge of video collaboration. A typical video team is comprised of multiple artists and specialists including producers, directors, assistants, clients, graphics and visual effects artists, and audio mixers. These people need to exchange huge media files and give mountains of creative notes. Frame.io for iOS focuses on these teams allowing them to contribute to the creative process, wherever they may be. Creating an iOS from scratch was a big undertaking. Amongst all the different product and engineering philosophies out there (lean, agile, waterfall, etc), I thought I would share how we approached launching the first version of our iOS app which doesn't fall under any of the aforementioned categories. The first few months of design and development is dedicated to what I call "finding magic moments" and we don't even think about shipping the first version until we can find 2 - 3 of these moments. It's a time for creative exploration without worrying too much about details. A magic moment is a key feature or idea that our customers will emotionally connect with and say "YES, I NEED THAT IN MY POCKET." It's something that makes all of us (the internal team) really say “wow”. Sometimes it takes scrapping old ideas to find those moments. We scrapped the first 3 design passes before arriving at the current version. The magic moments in this first release were three key things: Pull down to reveal collaborator animation (watch the video for reference): This is really custom UI/UX and animation. It's not a feature and we could have easily used a completely stock table row transition. The app would still have the exact same level of usefulness in either case. But wow, it just feels AWESOME to use. It's emotional. When you use it or see it for the first time your inner voice says "Oooooooo". TouchScrub with Peek and Pop support: The first time we got TouchScrub working everyone was giddy. There is something so satisfying about scrubbing your finger over a video to get a quick preview. Peek and Pop support was icing on the cake. Comment Replay: This was an idea I came up as we were working on an another product launch video. Team members were leaving notes for me like “Needs to come in on the beat”. I'd be reading these notes on our yet unreleased iPhone app and it would be really hard to experience that little moment where the note was left. I wanted to loop that little range a few times to a get a sense of what he meant and understand the comment in context. We came up with the idea of Comment Replay which loops a 4 seconds range around any comment. It's insanely useful. All three of these could have been scrapped and the core value prop of our app would have remained exactly the same, but our customers would have had no emotional moments to connect with. Once we hit those 2 - 3 moments we start getting serious. There are million details to cover and we then adopt a more lean/agile methodology. I don't proclaim this is the way all teams should work but it's a critical part of how our product development process works. Would love to hear your thoughts!
Alex Bauer
Alex Bauer@alexdbauer · Product Marketing — Branch.io
That collaborator animation is insanely cool. It reminds me of the first time I saw the Path app animation years ago!
Alfonso C. Betancort
Alfonso C. Betancort@abetancort · Shot, develop & print 300 rolls of film.
@alexdbauer Path? Ughh! What scam of app!
Alex Bauer
Alex Bauer@alexdbauer · Product Marketing — Branch.io
@abetancort won't disagree on that. But the animation was awesome :)
Alfonso C. Betancort
Alfonso C. Betancort@abetancort · Shot, develop & print 300 rolls of film.
@alexdbauer I'll give you that though.
Matt Aunger
Matt Aunger@matt_aunger · Writing & marketing at @HelpDocs
👏👏👏👏 This looks amazing. Great concept, and execution. 🙌
Alfonso C. Betancort
Alfonso C. Betancort@abetancort · Shot, develop & print 300 rolls of film.
If you are serious about video, as I think you are, you started with what I think it is small strategy error, the small screen... Serious film/video go from big format (lower audience but more professional) to smaller format (higher audience - generalist) and you know it from what I see your main client is web based to adapt to large screens... From large format iPad to iPhones, if you're are app is going to be used by any one doing any serious video editing collaboration they will have an iPad or larger, it's a niche product, not to say it could not become more generalist but only if the pros-am in video editing and collaboration praise about it and give it traction to more casual user (Pixelmator is a perfect example on how the pro-am praised so much it found it way to substitute photoshop in many casual and not so casual users desk, iPads and iPhones), not to say that your short term strategy as your integration is with pro-am editing app like final cut or premiere (non of them "naive friendly"). Remember that most of the time for the average user good enough is more than enough... segment your market and target accordingly, carpet bombing rarely works at least on the App Store, for anything that isn't simple game. Your pro users are accustomed to large format screens are going to need a loupe to approve, reject or comment a video edit proposal on any size iPhone (from 27" 4K or 5k to the real state of any iPhone screen there's a universe).
Emery Wells
Emery WellsMaker@emerywells · CEO, Frame.io
@abetancort Hey Alfonso, thanks for your input. I hear what you're saying about iPad. iPad is heavily used in the professional video market and we fully intend to support it. But *everyone* has a phone and it's always with them. The same can't be said for iPad. I previously owned a post production company that did post on over 100 digital shorts for Saturday Night Live, Super Bowl and commercials, etc. Everyone works from their phone. Everyone. Doesn't matter if you're making the next Spider Man or a corporate video. Access on the mobile device that's always with you is essential. Stay tuned for iPad :)
Alfonso C. Betancort
Alfonso C. Betancort@abetancort · Shot, develop & print 300 rolls of film.
@emerywells If you all video pros are using iPhones, you should be aware that you are on the right path to suffer from what it's called adaptative induced chronic myopia syndrome on top of what ever you have already. If you only work only in the editing room that could be fine as you will artificially delay short sightedness but you will have to forgo doing anything behind the camera using optical viewfinders (you won't have any acuity beyond a couple feet from your nose but you will see perfectly — near 20/20 — up to a foot). Would not recommend stressing their eyes that way to anyone whose livelihood depends on his ability to see what others don't.
Yok
Yok@sanooktiew · Founder, SanookTiew ! สนุกเที่ยว
I think @abetancort offers some seemingly highly technical feedback which may be helpful. I don't really understand the post production process at this level. @emerywells This is one of the coolest, most intuitive UI I have come across for an otherwise complex process. To counter Alfonso's argument, I think this tool will further lower the barrier to entry for amateur videographers aiming to explore the art of videography and/or up their game, and by extension it stands to achieve traction among generalist users, particular among the 18 million+ and growing population of bloggers in the US market alone who are increasingly turning to video as an additional creative. Quick note: on the landing page when scrolling up from the bottom of the page, the nav bar is briefly hidden behind the iphone overlay. Not sure if that is intentional. Great product Frame.io. Badassery at its finest, imo.