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Pro Media Tools 1.4.4 released with new QT Edit Quick Tasks

Earlier this week we released Pro Media Tools 1.4.4, a minor update to our suite of media management and workflow tools for video professionals.

QT Edit Quick Tasks

We’ve added some new Quick Tasks to QT Edit:

  • Invert pixel aspect ratio (e.g. 10:11 becomes 11:10)
  • Copy reel name from filename - Sets the timecode track’s reel name field to the movie’s filename
  • Copy reel name from folder name - Sets the timecode track’s reel name field to the folder that the movie is located in

The reel name tasks in particular are extremely useful when applying to multiple clips at once in a batch.

Other changes

  • QT Edit - Improved compatibility when conforming movies with generic media tracks
  • QT Edit - An alert message is now only shown for the first Quick Task queued up in batch mode
  • Various other minor bug fixes and tweaks

Pro Media Tools is an essential toolkit for media professionals. To find out more, view the feature list, read the user manual or download the free 15-day trial.

Posted by Jon Chappell on May 18 2016 to Pro Media Tools, DR News, Front Page News
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Kollaborate Server 2.0 - notification digests, hoverscrub thumbs, peek in folder, Web Hooks and more

We've just launched Kollaborate Server 2.0 - a major update to our in-house workflow platform for video professionals. This is the in-house companion to Kollaborate 2.0 that launched on the cloud last month.

File management improvements


We've rebuilt the Files page to behave more like a desktop browser like OS X Finder, including arrow key navigation, click to select, shift-click to select a range of files, etc.


QuickLook is also back but this time it behaves a lot more like the one in OS X. Press Space on a selected file to preview it without opening it. You can even QuickLook folders to peek inside them.

Notification Changes

One of the key goals of Kollaborate is keeping people informed, but with the old system it could sometimes be difficult to balance the needs of people who wanted to know about every single change vs those who wanted a much looser connection to the project.

So we’ve now introduced the concept of subscriptions. By default, everyone will receive a periodic digest summarizing recent changes to the project in a single email. You can choose to receive this once an hour, every few hours, once a day or not at all. (If there are no changes to the project in that time you won’t receive an email.)

If you want to receive instant alerts like in the previous version, you can subscribe to a project, file or task. Subscribing to a project makes the behavior identical to the previous version and can be done by clicking the dropdown next to the project on the Projects page.

Subscribing to a file or task alerts you to instant changes involving that item but without switching on alerts for other files or tasks in the project. Some actions automatically subscribe you to a file - such as uploading or commenting on it. You can click the Subscribe button again on the file to unsubscribe.

 

Thumbnail view and hoverscrub

You can now toggle between the traditional list view and a new thumbnail view. This provides fewer power user options but is a great way of graphically browsing through your files. 


We've also added hoverscrub thumbnails like in FCPX so you can browse through a file just by scrubbing your cursor over it. You also get a thumbnail view when you hover your mouse over the playhead in the player.


Additionally, audio files now show a thumbnail of their waveform instead of a generic icon.

(Note: hoverscrub thumbs are currently only created by Kollaborate Encoder and the latest beta of Kollaborate Transfer.)

To-Do Comments


Tap the checkbox icon in a comment to turn it into a to-do comment, then tap it again to mark it done. 


You can filter by to-do and choose to only export to-do comments to your NLE. 


Adobe Premiere panel


We've also launched an extension for Adobe Premiere that functions as both a file browser and task manager.

You can browse files in the cloud and download them directly into your project by double-clicking them. You can also import  markers into your current sequence. 


View your current to-dos, click on them to jump to that position in your timeline and then click the tick to mark them as complete.

The extension is supported on Mac and Windows and Kollaborate Server is supported by version 1.0.2 and higher.

Dashboard

Dashboard is back - view recent project changes, assigned tasks, favorites, to-do comments and more at a glance. 


Web Hooks (Beta)

Kollaborate Server can send events such as uploads or new comments to a custom script either on the same server or another server for integrating with in-house databases and task managers.

Some examples of what you could use it for:

  • Logging every file uploaded to a database
  • Adding new tasks to your calendar management software
  • Adding comments or tasks to your in-house work tracking system
  • Sending custom email alerts to users
  • Creating keywords or hashtags in comments that trigger certain behavior in your in-house systems

Note that web hook events are not immediate and will normally arrive after a few minutes. This is a beta feature so we're keen to hear how customers plan to use this feature and what additional data they need for integrating in-house.

Web Hooks can be switched on from the Configure page in the admin area. Only super admins can access this page.

Major architectural overhaul


We've made significant under-the-hood modifications to the software, not all of which are immediately noticeable to users, but they pave the way for significant features in the future.

If you are upgrading from a previous version, be aware that this version moves a lot of things around so please be patient if the upgrade script takes a while. Playable proxies are now stored separately from original media files and thumbnails are now stored in your media storage area (expect thumbnails to take up 2-3 times more space than before due to the new sizes and hoverscrub options).

Another area we've made significant changes to is our API. This improves security by allowing you to approve or deny access to your account on a per-app basis. Did your laptop get stolen? Did you log into an app on your friend’s computer and accidentally forget to log out again? Not a problem - you will be able to revoke access on those devices remotely once we fully switch over to the new API.

We’ve made the changes in such a way that the current apps still work, but this is only intended to be temporary. We currently have beta versions of our apps available that support the new API and will be revoking access to older versions in the next few months. We’ll make a public announcement when that date is set so that users know when to update to newer versions.

Kollaborate Encoder 1.1

A corresponding Kollaborate Encoder update has been released that supports Kollaborate Server 2.0, can generate hoverscrub thumbnails and also fixes some bugs from the previous version. This is an essential update for Kollaborate Server 2.0 users with an encoding license.

Upgrade instructions

Full upgrade instructions are located in the Quick Start Guide but the basic workflow is as follows:

1. Download the new update (available after logging in).

2. Copy the contents of the Installation Files folder except the config folder to the root folder of your web server, overwriting any .

3. Visit yoursite.com/upgrade in your web browser and click Upgrade.

4. Delete the "upgrade" and "install" folders from the root folder of your web server.

Kollaborate is an essential cloud workflow platform that allows you to share files with clients and team members while integrating with Digital Rebellion apps and services. Kollaborate Server allows you to host the platform in-house on your own servers and storage. To find out more, see the Kollaborate Server overview or register for the free cloud trial.

Posted by Jon Chappell on May 12 2016 to Kollaborate, DR News, Front Page News
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Kollaborate 2.0 - notification overhaul, hoverscrub thumbs, peek in folder, Premiere extension, Web Hooks and more

We've just launched Kollaborate 2.0 - a major update to our cloud workflow platform for video professionals.

Notification Changes

One of the key goals of Kollaborate is keeping people informed, but with the old system it could sometimes be difficult to balance the needs of people who wanted to know about every single change vs those who wanted a much looser connection to the project.

So we’ve now introduced the concept of subscriptions. By default, everyone will receive a periodic digest summarizing recent changes to the project in a single email. You can choose to receive this once an hour, every few hours, once a day or not at all. (If there are no changes to the project in that time you won’t receive an email.)

If you want to receive instant alerts like in the previous version, you can subscribe to a project, file or task. Subscribing to a project makes the behavior identical to the previous version and can be done by clicking the dropdown next to the project on the Projects page.

Subscribing to a file or task alerts you to instant changes involving that item but without switching on alerts for other files or tasks in the project. Some actions automatically subscribe you to a file - such as uploading or commenting on it. You can click the Subscribe button again on the file to unsubscribe.

File management improvements


We've rebuilt the Files page to behave more like a desktop browser like OS X Finder, including arrow key navigation, click to select, shift-click to select a range of files, etc.


QuickLook is also back but this time it behaves a lot more like the one in OS X. Press Space on a selected file to preview it without opening it. You can even QuickLook folders to peek inside them.

Thumbnail view and hoverscrub

You can now toggle between the traditional list view and a new thumbnail view. This provides fewer power user options but is a great way of graphically browsing through your files. 


We've also added hoverscrub thumbnails like in FCPX so you can browse through a file just by scrubbing your cursor over it. You also get a thumbnail view when you hover your mouse over the playhead in the player.


Additionally, audio files now show a thumbnail of their waveform instead of a generic icon.

(Note: we're still converting some of the existing files on the server so it might be a day or two before you see the hoverscrub thumbs show up for files you've already uploaded.)


To-Do Comments


Tap the checkbox icon in a comment to turn it into a to-do comment, then tap it again to mark it done. 


You can filter by to-do and choose to only export to-do comments to your NLE. 


Adobe Premiere panel


We've also launched an extension for Adobe Premiere that functions as both a file browser and task manager.

You can browse files in the cloud and download them directly into your project by double-clicking them. You can also import  markers into your current sequence. 


View your current to-dos, click on them to jump to that position in your timeline and then click the tick to mark them as complete.

The extension is currently Mac-only but will be available for Windows soon.

Dashboard

Dashboard is back - view recent project changes, assigned tasks, favorites, to-do comments and more at a glance. 


Storage boost

We've given both subscribers and trial users a storage boost.

Package Old Storage New Storage
Trial 1 GB 2 GB
Freelance 20 GB 25 GB
Small Business 40 GB 50 GB
Business 60 GB 75 GB
Production 120 GB 140 GB
Studio 200 GB 225 GB
Studio Plus 350 GB 400 GB
Network 750 GB 1 TB
Network Plus 1.5 TB 2 TB

Web Hooks (Beta)

Kollaborate can send events such as uploads or new comments to a third-party server for integrating with in-house databases and task managers.

Some examples of what you could use it for:

  • Logging every file uploaded to a database
  • Adding new tasks to your calendar management software
  • Adding comments or tasks to your in-house work tracking system
  • Sending custom email alerts to users
  • Creating keywords or hashtags in comments that trigger certain behavior in your in-house systems

Note that web hook events are not immediate and will normally arrive after a few minutes. This is a beta feature so we're keen to hear how customers plan to use this feature and what additional data they need for integrating in-house.

Web Hooks can be switched on from your profile page and will only apply to projects you own.

Major architectural overhaul


We've made significant under-the-hood modifications to the service, not all of which are immediately noticeable to users, but they pave the way for significant features in the future.

One area we've made significant changes to is our API. This improves security by allowing you to approve or deny access to your account on a per-app basis. Did your laptop get stolen? Did you log into an app on your friend’s computer and accidentally forget to log out again? Not a problem - you will be able to revoke access on those devices remotely.

We’ve made the changes in such a way that the current apps still work, but this is only intended to be temporary. We will be releasing new versions of our apps in the coming weeks that support the new API and will be revoking access to older versions in the next few months. We’ll make a public announcement when that date is set so that users know when to update to newer versions.

As always, we take all feedback on board so please let us know what you think using the Feedback link on the site or by contacting us.

Kollaborate is an essential cloud workflow platform that allows you to share files with clients and team members while integrating with Digital Rebellion apps and services. To find out more, see the overview or register for the free trial.

Posted by Jon Chappell on Apr 7 2016 to Kollaborate, DR News, Front Page News
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Cut Notes Avid sync plugin 1.1 - improved accuracy and responsiveness

We've just updated our Avid Media Composer timecode sync plugin for Cut Notes to version 1.1.

Because Avid renders several frames ahead of playback we have to offset that in order to keep timecode in sync and you can now directly adjust the offset in the plugin settings window.

The full list of changes is as follows:

  • Added a Playback Time Offset option in settings to offset the effect of Avid rendering several frames ahead of the current playback position. The option only applies during playback and is ignored when stopping or scrubbing.
  • Improved responsiveness
  • UI improvements
  • Minor bug fixes

Cut Notes is an iPad app for quickly taking notes while synced to various NLEs, time-of-day or cloud videos. To find out more, please see our product page or browse the app page on the iOS App Store.

Posted by Jon Chappell on Mar 15 2016 to Cut Notes, DR News, Front Page News
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ARRI Alexa dailies workflow with DaVinci Resolve 12

I've been working on a feature film shot on the ARRI Alexa and Alexa Mini and had to come up with a workflow for syncing and rendering out dailies. DaVinci Resolve 12 proved useful because all of the prep work could be done in one application all at once, with the added bonus of being able to roundtrip again after picture lock.

Step 1: Offloading

I used our very own Auto Transfer tool to offload the memory cards to two hard drives at once with checksum authentication to ensure the copies were identical to the source files. The media files were then backed up to LTO tape at the end of the day.

Step 2: Organize and sync clips

In Resolve 12, create a new project, then go to File > Project Settings and switch off Use local version for new clips in timeline from the Color page. This will be important later on.



Then bring the video and audio files into your Media Pool and organize them in whatever manner makes sense to you. I chose to create bins for each scene (be careful what names you choose for the bins).

On this particular movie no audio was shot in-camera so the only way to automatically sync audio and video is by timecode. Select the video and audio files in your bin, right-click and choose Auto-sync Audio Based on Timecode.



In theory this is all you should need to do to get perfect sync, but in practice timecode can drift or it may be set incorrectly (or not at all) in the camera or sound recorder.

An additional reason for splitting things into bins is because if you are shooting time-of-day timecode, you may have multiple clips with the same timecode that could confuse Resolve and cause it to sync clips up to audio from a different scene.

In the event that the audio is not synced correctly, open the video in the viewer, scrub to the exact frame that the slate hits on and write down the timecode for that frame. Then open up the audio file and stop it on the exact frame that you hear the clap of the slate (in a lot of cases this will be an obvious short spike in the waveform towards the beginning of the file). Then right-click the audio file in the Media Pool and select Clip Attributes. In the Timecode pane, enter the timecode from the video you noted down earlier. Then repeat the earlier step of selecting the video and audio files, right-clicking and choosing Auto-sync Audio Based On Timecode again.

(If you can't hear the slate, go to the Audio pane of Clip Attributes and make sure your extra audio channels aren't muted.)


This will modify the timecode of the audio file so it can then be matched up automatically. You may be wondering why automatic matching is so important when you could just manually sync clips in a sequence. There is an important reason for this that will be clear later on.

Now select all the video clips then right-click and select Create Timeline Using Selected Clips.

Step 3: Grading

Open the timeline then switch to the Color tab and grade the clips as you normally would.

Step 4: Render

In the Deliver tab, choose the Individual source clips option under Render timeline as and Use source filename under Save as. This will export each clip in the sequence as an individual movie file with the same  filename as its original source file - this is important to make it easy to reconnect back to the high-res source files later. Because these are offline clips we're rendering as ProRes Proxy to keep file sizes small but keeping the resolution the same as the source files.



This is why it was necessary to auto-sync the clips in the earlier step. I could find no way to manually sync audio clips and then link the audio back to the original source file. That synchronization will only exist in the sequence itself and is ignored if you choose the Individual Source Clips option.

Mark in and out points on the timeline at the bottom of the Deliver page to make sure it's going to render out all of the clips, then click Add to Queue. It's easiest to queue up lots of sequences and render them all out in one go.

Step 5: Edit

Import the rendered proxy files into the NLE of your choice and edit.

Step 6: Roundtripping back to Resolve

After editorial, export an XML from your NLE and reimport back into your Resolve project. (With Avid you need to export an AAF and things become a bit more complicated but this is covered in the user manual.)

On the Load XML dialog, deselect Automatically import clips into media pool (because they already exist in the media pool) and deselect Use color information if you edited in FCPX. Then click Ok.

Resolve should present you with a timeline from your NLE, however often things will not translate fully and need to be fixed. A great way to do this is to render out the full sequence from your NLE and then navigate to it in the media pool's browser. Right-click the file and select Add as Offline Reference Clip. Then right-click the timeline in the media pool window and select Timelines > Link Offline Reference Clip and choose the clip you just added.

Switch to the Edit pane and click the icon that looks like a filmstrip underneath the left-hand viewer. Choose Offline and Resolve will show the file you rendered from your NLE. You can then scrub through or play your timeline and it will show the reference clip alongside the corresponding frame of your timeline so you can compare them.

If any clips are offline you can right-click the timeline in the browser and select Timelines > Reconform from Bin(s), then select the bins with your source media. If the clips still won't reconnect, select the relevant clip in the media pool then right-click the offline clip in the timeline and choose Force Conform with Selected Media Pool Clip.

(At this point you may want to media-manage the timeline onto another drive to save disk space but I opted not to.)

Now go to the Color tab. If you don't see the grades you did previously, select all of the clips (you may need to click the Clips button at the top to see them) then right-click and choose Use Remote Grades (you may need to right-click again and choose Update All Thumbnails to see the changes).

Because you switched off local grades by default at the start of the project your grades were remote, which means they will stick across different timelines and if you adjust the grade of a clip, any other copies of it on your timeline (and throughout the project) will also be updated. In some cases this may not be desired, so you can right-click and choose Copy Remote Grades to Local so that your changes only apply to that specific instance of the clip.

Step 7: Sending back to the NLE

After grading you'll probably need to send it back to your NLE again for titling and syncing with the finished audio. You can do this one of two ways: export each clip individually like in Step 4 and then reconnect in your NLE (media managing before doing so will help a lot) or render out a single QuickTime file of the entire timeline. If you don't expect many editorial changes at this point the latter is simpler, which is what I opted for.

Posted by Jon Chappell on Feb 1 2016 to Tutorials, Color Grading, Video Editing
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Pro Maintenance Tools 2.1.7 - DaVinci Resolve plugin management and improved FCPX support

Pro Maintenance Tools 2.1.7 is a minor update to our suite of maintenance and troubleshooting tools for video professionals.

OS X 10.8 or higher required

Pro Maintenance Tools now requires OS X 10.8 or higher to run. For users on OS X 10.6 or 10.7, older versions are available here.

OpenFX plugin management

Plugin Manager can now install, remove, enable, and disable OpenFX plugins used by tools like DaVinci Resolve and Nuke.

Improved FCPX integration

We've also improved FCPX integration with all of our tools including Corrupt Clip Finder.

Other changes

  • Plugin Manager - Performance improvements
  • Media Salvage - Batch set settings if multiple files are selected
  • Updated Crash Analyzer definitions
  • Various other bug fixes and tweaks

Pro Maintenance Tools is an invaluable toolset to help working video professionals get up and running again quickly in the event of a problem. To find out more, see the feature overview, read the user manual, watch the overview video or download the free 15-day trial.

Posted by Jon Chappell on Jan 27 2016 to DR News, Front Page News, Pro Maintenance Tools
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Pro Media Tools 1.4.3 - set QT track names, export edit points as still images and run scripts upon render

Pro Media Tools 1.4.3 is a significant update to our suite of media management tools with some great new features for video professionals.

OS X 10.8 or higher required

Pro Media Tools now requires a minimum of OS X 10.8. If you are running a version lower than this, you can access older versions here.

Set QuickTime movie track names

You can now specify track names in QT Edit, allowing you to give a user-friendly description of the track's contents, such as "M&E" or "French language dialogue". These descriptions will show up in the Movie Properties pane of QuickTime Player 7 and any app configured to support them. We will be adding support to CinePlay soon.

Export edit points as still images

Edit Detector can now export full-size still images of the frame at each detected edit point, which are useful for creating thumbnails or adding to spreadsheets.

Run script upon render

Render Watcher can now run an AppleScript, Bash or Swift script, or alternatively an application, upon successful render. This is useful for connecting with other services such as Slack.

Other changes

 

  • QT Edit - Improved support for importing FCPX markers
  • QT Edit - Fixed an issue that could cause timecode to run at a faster rate than the movie's frame rate
  • Render Watcher - Improved support for Compressor droplets

Pro Media Tools is an essential toolkit for media professionals. To find out more, view the feature list, read the user manual, watch the overview video or download the free 15-day trial.

 

Posted by Jon Chappell on Jan 19 2016 to Front Page News, DR News, Pro Media Tools
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Introducing our new online store

Today we are launching our new online store to streamline and simplify the payment experience.

You now have more choices with regards to billing and we've simplified the process of purchasing products like CinePlay which are linked to a Digital Rebellion account.

Furthermore, the new store provides us with a lot more flexibility and paves the way for new products later in 2016. This is just the beginning and we will be adding new features to the store as the year progresses.

Posted by Jon Chappell on Jan 14 2016 to DR News, Front Page News
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2015 - Year in Review

2016 is now upon us so here's a look back at the past twelve months.

New products

CinePlay for Apple TV -  Play Kollaborate cloud videos directly on your TV.

(Note: It's not possible to link directly to Apple TV apps so we'd recommend searching for "cineplay" on the App Store to find it.)

Kollaborate Today extension - View what's new in your project at a glance directly from your desktop.

Kollaborate Folder Watcher - Automatically upload files to the cloud when copied to a particular folder on your hard drive.

Major updates

Pro Media Tools 1.4 - Major Auto Transfer overhaul with faster camera memory card offloading and embeddable metadata.


CinePlay 1.3 for Mac - We improved our professional Mac media player with audio waveforms, audio scrubbing and BWF timecode support.

We also released CinePlay 1.2 earlier in the year with support for playing back image sequences and drawing annotations directly over a video.



Pro Maintenance Tools 2.1 - Our suite of maintenance and repair tools received a Plugin Manager crash tester overhaul, improved FCPX repair capabilities and improved Avid and Adobe CC support.

Pro Versioner 2.1 - Improved support for backing up FCPX projects.

Cut Notes 2.4 for iPad - Enhance your note-taking workflow by sharing custom note button profiles between iPads.

CinePlay 1.5 for iOS - View media file metadata and approve/reject files stored on Kollaborate.

Video Space Calculator 1.2 for iOS - Our video storage calculator received a UI refresh and support for additional codecs.


In total we released over 100 updates for our apps.

Cloud enhancements

As well as increasing subscriber storage space three times, we made the following improvements to our Kollaborate cloud platform:

  • Simplified team management
  • Full-screen commenting
  • Compare revision notes
  • Drag and drop uploading
  • Additional permissions
  • Additional statistics for shared links
  • Save / restore playback position
  • Simplified file sharing
  • Python scripting of Kollaborate Server
  • Project alerts
  • Import markers from FCP 7 / FCPX XML
  • Larger thumbnails
  • Kollaborate Encoder - Automatically transcode media files uploaded to Kollaborate Server
  • Toggle email alerts
  • Multi-factor authentication
  • Archived projects are now locked to prevent changes
  • Kollaborate Server admin area overhaul
  • Comments now appear as markers under the video
  • Comments can be sorted and filtered
  • Comments can be exported according to color, author or favorite status
  • Simplified task management
  • Nudge users to remind them to view a file
  • Manually set video thumbnails
  • Improved playback navigation controls
  • Import users from another project
  • Revisions can now be made accessible in shared links
  • File statuses can be batch-edited from the Files page
  • Previously-entered settings are now remembered when sharing a link and exporting comments
  • Files can be filtered by type or status
  • Duration is now shown on the Files page
  • Search for team members on the Team page
  • Annotations now appear automatically when clicking a comment
  • And many more

Stats

Our most-downloaded app was FCS Remover but our most-used app was Post Haste. Our most popular paid tool was Pro Maintenance Tools. Our most popular iOS app was Video Space Calculator. The number of subscribers and daily logins for Kollaborate doubled.

We also performed a complete redesign of our website from scratch, which allowed us to streamline our customer service and make it easier to find information you need. We're currently working on additional features that will make their way to the site in the next few weeks.

The most popular blog posts in 2015 were:

What's next

2016 will be a big year for us with brand new products, major updates to our existing ones and expansions to additional platforms outside OS X and iOS. You can keep up to date with new products, features and tips by subscribing to this blog, following us on Twitter or Facebook or by subscribing to our mailing list.

Posted by Jon Chappell on Jan 2 2016 to DR News, Front Page News
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Introducing Kollaborate Folder Watcher

Today we launched Kollaborate Folder Watcher, a free tool to automatically upload files to the Kollaborate cloud platform from your desktop.

Choose a folder on your system to watch for modifications - you can watch multiple folders and link them to different projects, or even to different departments or subfolders within a project. You can also set various preferences such as choosing between automatically converting all videos to playable copies or uploading the files as-is.

The app works on OS X 10.8 and higher but users running OS X 10.10 and above benefit from Finder integration. This allows you to see color-coded file statuses (green = uploaded, orange = upload in progress, red = error, no icon = not queued for upload) and adds right-click options such as manually uploading files within a watch folder and viewing an uploaded file in your web browser.

Kollaborate is a cloud workflow platform to make sharing files and working with colleagues easy. To find out more, check out the quick overview, view the feature list or try the 15-day free trial.

Posted by Jon Chappell on Dec 8 2015 to Kollaborate, DR News, Front Page News
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