Is your VFX team struggling to stay in sync after transitioning into a remote work environment? It may not be the fault of anyone on your team, but instead, a lack of tools to help make remote collaboration feel less, well, remote.
We've compiled some of our favorite tools, from project management tools to virtual conference rooms, to help your VFX team work together more effectively and cohesively on your next project while following best practices and meeting tight deadlines.
11 tools for seamless remote VFX work
Evercast is a remote collaboration platform that allows you to share content, make notes, and communicate with your team in real-time.
This will enable you to gather your entire team of visual effects artists in a virtual “room” that can be used for various applications. For example, you can hold virtual pre-production meetings, review new assets, screen demos, and even stream a live camera feed of your motion-capture sessions, all through one virtual meeting room.
- Ultra-low latency HD video streaming (less than 150ms)
- Record and review function to review key session moments
- On-screen drawing for visual notations
- Time-stamped notes to keep comments organized
- Real-time video conferencing, HD project streaming, and comments/visual note-taking all under one platform
- It’s not a file transferring platform, so you won’t be able to send the final pre-vis file through the platform for download.
- While team members can watch recorded sessions, it works best when everyone can gather together in real-time.
Our flagship product for all your real-time collaboration needs, starts at $749 per month (per virtual room). Special pricing packages are available for larger studios or teams.
Wipster is an aesthetically pleasing visual collaboration platform that allows team members to review, comment, and organize creative projects through every step of the feedback process.
If your remote workflow makes it impossible to get into a meeting together, this is an excellent interface for gathering feedback and tracking new edit versions remotely.
- Threaded comments linked to individual frames
- Version control to track edits through different revisions
- “Stages” feature which allows everyone to see which stage of approval each project is at (ex: “needs changes” or “approved”)
- Activity notifications that can be linked to browser, email, or Slack, so you never miss an update
- There is no ability to live-stream edit sessions and get real-time feedback.
- There is no creative software integration setup, so all projects must be manually uploaded to the platform.
Free for teams of up to two people with limited storage and playback resolution. $25 per month, per seat for groups of over two people with HD video playback and 250GB of storage. Custom pricing is available for enterprise users.
Frame.io is a cloud-based media collaboration program focused on getting feedback and approvals on media files. It also integrates directly with Adobe products such as Premiere Pro, and After Effects, so you can seamlessly export your Adobe-based projects.
- Lightning-fast media upload speeds (less than 3 minutes for 5GB of data)
- Custom-branded presentations to present work
- It supports most common video editing software integrations and has an API that allows it to custom-fit the workflow to your needs.
- Time-stamped notes and on-screen annotations
- No live editing feature for real-time feedback
- It does not support video calling
Free for up to 2 users, paid packages starting at $15 per user, per month. Custom pricing is available for enterprise customers.
Filestage is a content review platform that prioritizes making client approvals fast and easy and allows teams to provide feedback on all sorts of projects, from videos to wireframes. This is a great option if you’re looking for a clean interface to store and share media files and assets that doesn’t have a ton of bells and whistles or are looking for one-click approvals.
- Unlimited file storage
- Unlimited users per project
- One-click approvals
- Collaboration tools like @ mentions to keep everyone in the loop
- Downloadable assets with download permission controls, so only the users who need the file have access
- No software installation is needed; the platform works directly from the browser
- No real-time collaboration features
- It does not natively integrate with pro editing tools like Adobe Premiere
It starts at $99 per month for up to 15 active projects and basic features.
ShotGrid is an end-to-end production management and content review platform designed specifically for video and game production teams.
Similar to Wipster and Frame.io, you can share your pre-vis files and receive text and visual feedback on your edits. One feature that’s really handy is the ability to see previous notes and versions during a new content review, so everyone gets the full context of what’s been added or changed. So if your VFX artists are specifically working on game production, this is honestly a must-have.
- Version and note history tracking
- Shot comparison features
- Mobile platform to review projects on the go
- File transfer through the platform
- No live collaboration features for in-edit feedback
It starts at $40 per account per month.
Create together remotely, in real time
LookAt is a collaboration platform that includes a unique VR production feature that could be a huge asset for anyone producing visual effects for VR projects. It also shares many of the most popular features in our previously mentioned platforms, such as annotation tools and version tracking.
- On-image, real-time annotations
- Version management and comparison
- VR/360-degree production platform for collaborating on VR projects
- Seamless Adobe Premiere and AfterEffects integrations
- No video chat feature in-app to collaborate face-to-face with team members
- No file transfer system
It starts at $12 a month for up to 5 reviewers and three projects, $299 a month for unlimited reviewers, and up to 15 team members. Enterprise pricing packages are available.
Vidhub is a video collaboration platform that prioritizes timecoded, chat-based feedback for video review. This is great for teams that mostly communicate through text-based notes but may fall short if you prefer visual annotations. For a visual effects company that just needs to share a few assets back and forth and doesn’t have extensive resources, this is a good lightweight option.
- Direct imports from either your hard drive or from cloud-based storage like Vimeo or Dropbox
- Automatically pause and timestamp your feedback just by typing a comment
- Real-time collaboration with team members
- Automatic feedback request reminders
- No video conferencing feature
- No on-screen annotations
- No professional software integrations
It starts at $19 per month for a single user, with team accounts starting at $39 per month.
This cloud-based creative team collaboration app that’s great for VFX teams that are working on more than one episode or project at a time, thanks to its controlled file access and multiple project organization features.
- Timestamped, color-coded, and searchable comments
- On-screen annotation tools
- Simple Approve/Reject buttons for stakeholders
- File download options
- Controlled file access
- Professional software integrations
- No face-to-face video chat feature
- Low storage limits in the lower pricing tiers
The basic version is free; professional versions start at $10 per month.
Screenlight is a video review platform that tries to make the process of gathering and implementing asset feedback a more organized, straightforward process. If you’re constantly chasing down feedback from other teams, this is a good tool to make that process a little bit simpler.
- Superfast file upload speeds
- Easily toggle different collaborator permissions (view only, view and comment, etc.)
- Time-stamped notes to keep comments organized
- Easily review content on a web browser, tablet, or mobile device.
- Not specifically designed for video or game team workflows
- No video chatting feature
Free for a basic single-user version, $9 per user, per month for the professional version.
ReviewStudio is another online proofing platform that makes content reviews quick and painless. You can also assign tasks to certain commenters and collaborators so you can get straight to the editing after you’ve received feedback.
- Threaded comments
- On-screen drawing for visual annotations
- A wide variety of file types supported
- Assign tasks directly to commenters right from the review thread
- No video chat feature
- Low storage capacities
It starts at $15 per month for a single user; team accounts start at $56 per month for up to 7 users.
Ziflow is an intuitive platform that makes online proofing quick and easy, which is perfect for VFX teams that want to ensure everyone is actually watching the new assets and has input their feedback, so no one gets left out.
- Allows you to review a variety of content, including videos, images, websites, and documents
- Easily track who has received, opened, commented, and approved the content
- Automated workflows so there’s no need to manually add collaborators to each project
- It’s a web-based platform, so it’s unclear how fast media upload speeds are
- No video chat feature
It starts at $9 per user per month for the basic platform.
Productivity tools unlock creativity
Utilizing collaboration and productivity platforms can make a world of difference for remote VFX teams because they eliminate exhausting email threads and break down communication barriers. When it feels like your team can communicate freely and aren’t having to hunt down edits, it allows the creative process to flow, unlocking your team’s full potential.
Hopefully, these tools will help you get a jumpstart on your next project and allow you to access all the benefits of remote work without many of the drawbacks. Hire talent outside the typical hot spots like New York City and Los Angeles, because all your employees need is an internet connection.