We rely on iChat constantly when working on a film, mainly in text form although its very handy for directly sending EDLs/changelists & audiofiles without having to upload/download via ftp etc… This applies between cities & countries but also even between buildings or the room next door. But I recently became aware of a company/product called cineSync who have taken remote collaboration to the next level…
Quoting explanation from their own website: “cineSync is a remote review and approval tool based on Apple ® QuickTime technology. By synchronising the timeline and playback of movies, you can quickly and efficiently view your work at the same time with anyone anywhere in the world.
Build a playlist of movies, scrub to a point in a movie, playback a movie, draw on the screen with your mouse, write, circle and point to areas using the drawing tools – all synchronised in real time with everyone else in your review. You can also navigate through your playlist using Text Markers (‘Bookmarks’), transfer your movies using a built-in FTP client, import and export Final Cut Pro XML data and save your session and your drawings for future reference.
cineSync offers an unparalleled user experience, making it possible for your clients to participate in a review session without needing their own account. All they need to do is download a small self-contained package, and login using a key that is unique per-review session. Movies are never transferred through the cineSync servers, ensuring that your reviews are secure, and your media never leaves the privacy of your own file servers.”
They offer a subscription-type costing based on duration (1 month, 6 months, 1 year) and the number of users, which lends itself to charging the production on a project by project basis rather than it being a permanent service available to a facility… Apart from the obvious uses for VFX and picture editing approval, this could be very handy as a means of remotely spotting a film or scene, or reviewing temp mixes, since it is possible to embed 5.1 audio into a Quicktime file….
A friend commented: “Film post production advances towards being environmentally friendly by reducing travel imperatives, although coming along as well is the prospect that we editors may end up being like battery hens. This will no doubt be followed by a popular backlash against inhumane filmmaking with demands for labelling: “Only free-range editors were used on this production” etc…