After graduating from RIT, John Traver ’10 (motion picture science) began working for a post-production company and soon became frustrated with video collaboration offerings for the creative industry.
“We were working on multiple projects with freelancers and clients and found it extremely difficult to manage them,” Traver recalled. “We looked to see if there were solutions for our industry and were pretty disgusted with the options available.”
Most software was “really expensive, really poorly executed, or both,” Traver discovered. So he and Emery Wells, the post-production company’s owner, set out to spend a few months building a better solution.
“We quickly realized that we weren’t the only ones experiencing this issue, and that we should spin it out as its own company and focus on it full-time,” he said.
Last June, frame.io—the New York City-based company’s video collaboration platform—was one of only 12 apps to win the Apple Design Award in San Francisco.
Apple praised the platform for “filling a big gap in the creative workflow” together with “elegantly solving the complicated collaboration process of reviewing and providing feedback … and was picked as a winner because it solves a real problem in an elegant way.”
Used by companies like Facebook, Spotify, NASA, Uber and Snapchat, the platform enables people to create private workspaces where they can upload video, still and audio assets; invite others that need access to those assets; communicate in-line with time-stamped comments and annotations; manage multiple versions of those assets; and ultimately distribute to external stakeholders.
Despite the platform’s quick adoption and wide industry acclaim, Traver said he and co-founder Wells were almost in disbelief that night in San Francisco. “Disbelief that it happened so fast,” he said. “We were aware of the potential for a while. Winning a design award was certainly a goal of ours that we are so excited to have achieved.”
It hearkened Traver back to why he chose RIT and its motion picture science (MPS) program for its unique combination of film, animation and engineering he didn’t see anywhere else.
“I grew up making skateboarding videos and was very interested in CAD, 3D modeling and animation,” Traver said. “RIT—and MPS in particular—allowed me to explore a wide range of disciplines across the fields I found most interesting.”
Traver also serves as frame.io’s chief technology officer. He built and deployed the platform’s initial version, including the web client, application programming interface, media processing stack and real-time servers. He also created a custom animation framework for achieving “super smooth” 60 frame-per-second animations on the web.
Winning the Apple Design Award proves “we truly believe we can build the best software in the world,” Traver said.
And how does frame.io plan to leverage the honor? “We hope to use the award to attract more talent and more investments to fuel our growth.”