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Kollaborate 3.0 - AI transcription, new UI, Documents, customizable file columns and more

Kollaborate 3.0 is out now on the cloud, which is a major update to our workflow platform that both delivers new features and sets a foundation for future features to build upon.

AI transcription (Beta)

We're using machine learning technology to create transcripts of the spoken audio in your videos. Kollaborate will automatically highlight the current sentence as the video plays and you can click on sentences to jump to that point in the video.

Kollaborate uses the transcript to create automatic captions below the video and you can even export them as a separate file in common formats like SRT or VTT.

Best of all, this technology is completely self-contained on our servers. Privacy is extremely important to us so we wanted a solution that protected our users' data and did not share it with third-parties. We needed a solution that would also work for our self-hosted customers, some of whom host in environments with no external internet connection.

While it would have been trivial from an engineering perspective to integrate with something like Google or Amazon's speech-to-text technology like our competitors do, those services do not meet this criteria. After a lot of investigation and some code contributions, we finally settled on Mozilla's DeepSpeech. This is a more complex solution to the problem but it gives us maximum flexibility and the ability to finely tailor the technology to fit our customers' specific use-cases.

Our competitors charge extra for transcription and limit the number of hours per month you can transcribe. Using DeepSpeech allows us to make our transcription service free and unlimited. Transcribe as many files as you like for no extra cost and the only limitation is how quickly our servers can process the queue.

Because our speech models are still being refined, we're calling this a beta so that customer expectations are aligned correctly. You can read more details about the situations the model performs best at here, but the short explanation is that content like podcasts and voiceovers will currently return the best results. That's not to say that the transcription feature can't be used in other situations, but the technology is likely to make more mistakes. Over time we will expand the number of situations in which it performs well.

We're building our models on both open source data and data that more reflects our customers' use-cases. You can help improve transcription by correcting any mistakes and then clicking the Learn button. We don't use your data without permission so it is only used when the Learn button is clicked, and you can specify if we can use the entire file or just the sentences you corrected.

The audio of the file then gets cut up into pieces, given a random filename and uses the transcript you provided for training. We don't share your original audio with anyone and once it's part of the model the audio can't be extracted back in its original form.

Another way you can help is by contributing your voice to Mozilla's Common Voice project. This is a public domain speech dataset used by Kollaborate, Firefox and a variety of other projects to create open and privacy-conscious speech technology. All voice data is useful, but especially when it comes from women and non-Americans, who are currently underrepresented in Common Voice's dataset.

New UI

We've made many changes to improve the user interface, the most significant of which is the vertical navigation bar which is designed to balance out the interface and place your content closer to the center of the screen.

If you find yourself needing more horizontal space, hover over the Kollaborate logo at the top left and click the arrow that appears to collapse the navigation bar. The navigation bar will automatically collapse by itself on small displays or when you resize your browser window.


While video is the most popular format used on the site, our customers also upload many other file types such as MS Word and PowerPoint documents. The only way to view these files in the past was to download them.

Now Kollaborate has a specific Document file type that supports file extensions like PDF, DOC, DOCX, XLS, XLSX, PPT, PPTX, ODT, ODP. These files will now show thumbnails and be viewable directly in the browser once converted by our servers.

Leaving a comment on a document now tags that comment with the current page number and clicking on a comment will immediately take you to that page.

Customizable file columns

Columns in List view on the Files page can now be resized or dragged to change their order. You can also right-click to hide them or show additional columns. You can now, for example, show the number of comments a file has next to its name and sort the list by this field.

Advanced Search

Advanced Search has been completely overhauled to be more powerful. Use criteria like file size, type or width to narrow down your search. You can even locate files with specific words in their transcript.

Overhauled image viewer

Images can now be zoomed and navigated with a lot more control than before. Annotations can be drawn over the image at any zoom level.

Version names

Versions can be given custom names like "Rough Cut" or "Fine Cut". To do this, click the purple number next to the filename to view all of the versions, then right-click a version and select Rename Version.

Comment attachments

Even though you can leave comments at specific timecode positions and draw over a video, sometimes that isn't enough to get your point across, so you can now attach files to comments. So you can say "I want the color to look like this" and attach a photo, rather than trying to describe it.

Other changes

  • Three files now upload simultaneously, which should make uploading large batches faster
  • The Files page has been overhauled to update dynamically without page refreshes. This should improve the speed of file browsing.
  • Share a folder directly from its file page
  • The page footer shows how many files / items are on a page
  • Lots of small tweaks and bug fixes

Coming soon

  • Kollaborate Archive - Cloud archival of your camera media and project files - entering beta soon
  • Video/audio comments - Leave audio or video comments without typing - opt-in available soon
  • Kollaborate Server 3.0 - Self-hosted version of Kollaborate 3.0 - coming in the next 2-3 weeks
  • Kollaborate Hybrid Cloud - Launching in conjunction with Kollaborate Server 3.0

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 Jul 11 2019 to Front Page News, DR News, Kollaborate

Recent updates - July 2019

In case you missed it, here are some recent software updates for our products.

Post Haste for Windows 2.2.2 - Jun 25 2019

  • Fixed an issue that could cause templates to not be renamed correctly
  • Minor bug fixes and tweaks
Posted by Jon Chappell on Jul 7 2019 to DR News

Notice of planned Kollaborate maintenance - 29-30 June 2019

In preparation for the launch of Kollaborate 3.0, we're going to be conducting maintenance next weekend (June 29th-30th).

This maintenance work includes substantial architecture changes, which will help us keep the site fast even as it grows. This may cause some disruption as we switch over to the new architecture, but we anticipate this to be brief and will try to keep disruption to a minimum.

Posted by Jon Chappell on Jun 23 2019 to Kollaborate, DR News

Update on Kollaborate 3.0

At NAB this year we unveiled a preview of Kollaborate 3.0 with a planned May release. Unfortunately, due to events beyond our control, we weren't able to meet this release deadline. The issue revolves around the speech-to-text technology we are using to transcribe videos. We are dependent upon a third-party for our speech models and while the model we showed at NAB was great for demoing, it wasn't production-ready and we were depending on a newer model being ready in order for us to ship the release.  We thought it would be ready in May but this turned out not to be the case.

Our understanding is that the new model is very close to release and could perhaps wrap up as soon as this week. After that, we need a little bit of extra time to get it working with the site and tie up some other loose ends and then we can release version 3.0. So it seems reasonable to say that Kollaborate 3.0 will be released sometime in June.

This is a one-off delay because we're shipping the feature with the release. In future we will update models independently of releases so model delays won't affect future release schedules. In the longer term we plan to either create our own models from scratch or supplement pre-built models with our own data, which will make us less dependent on third parties.

While we could have shipped 3.0 without the transcription feature, this seemed wrong as transcription was a signature feature of the release. While we were waiting for the speech model we weren't idle and added some additional features to the release, so version 3.0 will be a much bigger release than what was shown at NAB.

So while the delay is unfortunate, customers will at least benefit from lots of great new features we'll announce when 3.0 ships.

Posted by Jon Chappell on Jun 4 2019 to Kollaborate, Front Page News, DR News

Thoughts on the 2019 Mac Pro and Pro Display XDR

Today Apple unveiled the new Mac Pro, which is an attempt to woo understandably wary and skeptical creative pros. Here are my initial thoughts.

Mac Pro

From the outside it looks a lot like the old “cheesegrater” Mac Pros. It’s interesting to me that Apple chose to go back to an old design rather than attempting to push the envelope like they tried with the “trashcan” Mac Pro. But as many people preferred the older design this is certainly no bad thing.

While I wouldn’t describe the design as sexy, I doubt many creative professionals care too much about the look of a box that goes under their desk or in a server room. The trashcan Mac Pro was very much form over function and I would certainly trade form for increased function.

Apple products have a reputation for getting thinner and lighter with each iteration but it’s worth noting that the new case is slightly taller and wider than the cheesegrater case, while the depth is about an inch less. The weight is similar to the cheesegrater version.

The similarities to the old model continue on the inside. The internals should look very familiar to anyone who opened up an old cheesegrater Mac Pro. Many of us suspected Apple might offer minimal or no expansion, instead requiring users to add devices externally via Thunderbolt. Luckily this was not the case. Bringing back PCI slots got a round of applause during the keynote for some reason (no-one should applaud the fact they were ever removed), and there are eight of them this time compared to the cheesegrater’s four.

The Mac Pro supports the latest AMD graphics cards. NVIDIA cards were conspicuous by their absence, so that will be an issue for anyone relying on CUDA. Apple and NVIDIA had a falling out a while ago and it’s unclear at this point whether NVIDIA will be able to make their cards Mac Pro-compatible independently of Apple.

One of the most interesting aspects of the announcement to me were the available accessories. Not only is Apple offering rackmount options, they are even offering wheels to make it easy to transport (those cheesegraters were heavy). Apple’s phone/tablet hardware business has peaked, so in addition to services, Apple may be putting emphasis on squeezing as much money out of professionals / businesses as they can, and pro accessories would be a way to do that.

On the topic of rackmounting, it’s worth noting that Apple implied it’s a specific rackmount case you buy at the point of purchase, not simply a rackmount kit fitted to the existing case. Based on the width of the desktop case, it would be 5U in height when placed in a rack. So this isn’t really a replacement for the discontinued Xserve which was a 1U server. However, some racks have 26” in depth available which means Apple could potentially offer a deeper case that takes up less vertical space.

Another accessory is the Afterburner ProRes accelerator. While it can accelerate regular ProRes, it seems like it is designed more for Apple’s new ProRes RAW format. Apple claims it can accelerate up to three streams of 8K RAW or 12 streams of 4K RAW. Whenever we’re talking about acceleration, it’s always worth mentioning that the card isn’t all you need to achieve this - you also need storage that can handle that bandwidth too.

Basic I/O rear ports are handled via a card, implying you could add additional ports or change these to better fit your needs if necessary. But the card seems decent - it even includes USB-A ports, as well as two 10Gb-E ports (this elicited no reaction from the crowd but it definitely should have).

Apple is including a monster 1.4 kilowatt power supply in the system, capable of delivering 1280 watts of power continuously, however in reality you would only get this kind of power draw if you max out the specs, fill it up with graphics cards and set it churning away on a complex render.

In the US, most household circuits are 15 amps at 120 volts, meaning the maximum power draw for a single circuit is 1800W, with a continuous draw of around 1440W. This means that at 1280W there is a narrow overhead before the breaker trips, so you would need to be mindful of what else is plugged into the same circuit at the same time (note that a circuit may consist of multiple outlets). Most people probably won’t have to worry about this but it’s an important thing to think about if you’re planning to max out the specs.

So what about the price? The entry-level trashcan Mac Pro started at $2999 and the new model starts at $5999. In other words, without directly comparing specs, the base cost doubled from one generation to the other.

Ever since the Intel switch, people have debated whether Mac Pros actually needed server-class CPUs and ECC RAM. Apple could have included i9s and non-ECC memory in entry-level models to lower the price, or they could have simply adopted a Xeon configuration that could be achieved at a $2999 price-point.

Remember, $5999 is the base configuration so you may be looking at $8000 or more once you add accessories and tax. To max out the specs will likely cost well into five figures. So if you find yourself balking at that price, it’s likely you’re not the target market. These prices, along with options like rackmounting, suggest to me that Apple’s intending to sell these primarily to companies rather than individuals.

So while some may be disappointed in the pricing, I’m just glad Apple is making pro-grade hardware again. Let’s hope they keep it fast with regular spec bumps and not allow it to stagnate like the trashcan model.

Pro Display XDR

The specs of this display are impressive and as Apple pointed out, no display currently exists with 6K resolution, 1000 nits of brightness, P3 10-bit color and 1000000:1 contrast ratio, all in a single display. They even have a whole nano-texture glass option to reduce glare.

Just like the Mac Pro, it’s not sexy, which is perhaps more of a problem for a monitor that sits on a desk than a computer that’s hidden away. I’m also concerned about the level of heat that even necessitates a large grille on the back, which is not something you commonly see on a monitor.

There’s certainly no doubting the specs of this display, which are truly impressive. Apple is intending this to be a replacement for $42,000 reference monitors. While it offers reference modes like Rec. 709 and P3-DCI, the colorists I follow on Twitter who might be expected to purchase such a device seemed skeptical that it would truly replace professional reference monitors.

The price starts at $4999 for standard glass and $5999 for anti-glare nano-glass. If you listened carefully during the keynote, you could hear the audience groaning and muttering  when the prices were announced.

But if it truly can replace a $42,000 reference monitor then this pricing is a bargain. What is definitely not a bargain is the $999 stand. There is no way the stand costs anywhere near that to produce, so it’s massively overpriced. The VESA mount is a more-reasonable $199 so it seems as if Apple is either blatantly profiteering or trying to actively encourage people to mount their displays.

Just like the Mac Pro, it seems like it’s again geared at companies rather than individuals - there’s no way Apple would sell individuals monitors without a stand. They'd just include it in the box and increase the price.


The specs are great and I’m glad Apple’s making pro-grade hardware again. Companies will probably pay the Mac Pro surcharge without complaint, while individuals who don’t want an iMac will still be left wanting. Apple will make a lot of money from bulk purchases and accessories.

I’m really not sure how successful the Pro Display XDR will be. Reference monitors are niche, $42k ones especially so. It’s too expensive for people to buy as just a regular desktop display, while people who can afford $42k reference monitors may not be swayed by it and probably aren't price-sensitive anyway. For people who just want the basics as cheaply as possible, there are reference monitors available at much lower prices. So it’s for the people in the middle: those who want a reference monitor and need features like HDR for whom $3k is too low and $8k is too high  - a niche within a niche. It seems a strangely small target market for a company as large as Apple. The Apple brand may well shift some units but it's hard to see it being a big success.

Posted by Jon Chappell on Jun 4 2019 to Analysis, Apple, Hardware

Recent updates - May 2019

In case you missed it, here are some recent software updates for our products.

CinePlay 1.5.7 - May 6 2019

  • Which file types will automatically open in CinePlay can now be set in the installer and also preferences
  • Fixed an issue where a black line may show to the left of certain videos
  • General bug fixes, tweaks and optimizations

Marker Import for Mac 2.2.1 - May 3 2019

  • Marker colors are now set when importing into Adobe Premiere via FCP XML
  • Minor bug fixes, tweaks and improvements
Posted by Jon Chappell on May 7 2019 to DR News

Recent updates - April 2019

In case you missed it, here are some recent software updates for our products.

Marker Import for Mac 2.2 - Apr 5 2019

  • Improved compatibility with captions in FCPX

Kollaborate Folder Watcher 1.3.3 - Mar 22 2019

  • Fixed an issue where metadata may not be detected correctly
  • Minor bug fixes, tweaks and optimizations

Kollaborate Server Manager for Mac 1.0 B1 - Mar 13 2019

Please note that this is a beta intended for testing purposes and is not intended for use in a production environment.

Kollaborate Server Manager allows you to run Kollaborate Server and Kollaborate Encoder in Docker containers, which significantly simplifies setting them up.

You will need a license or trial of Kollaborate Server in order to use the software.

Note that Kollaborate Server Manager will setup the bare minimum in order to get the software up and running, so you may still need to edit configuration files according to your preferences.

Beta limitations:
* Postfix is not yet setup for sending emails
* SSL certificates are not yet setup

Important Note: the Docker container resets every time it is run. This does not affect your data, which is stored outside of the container, but it affects any operating system settings or tools that you install inside the container. We are working on ways of allowing the container to be customized in future versions.

Preference Manager 4.4.3 - Mar 11 2019

  • Support for backing up and restoring FCPX workspaces
  • General bug fixes, tweaks and optimizations

CinePlay 1.5.6 - Mar 9 2019

  • Exported H.264s now have "fast start" enabled to help them play back faster over a network
  • The frame rate of a file's timecode track now overrides its source frame rate
  • Added an Open Cloud File option to the File menu
  • Kollaborate users can no longer download files if they don't have download permissions on the project
  • Improved the reliability of movie export/conversion
  • Fixed an issue where users couldn't unregister if they had already reset their license via our site
  • Various minor bug fixes, tweaks and optimizations
Posted by Jon Chappell on Apr 7 2019 to DR News

Kollaborate 3.0 Preview - Machine learning / AI, media archival, comment attachments and Kollaborate Hybrid Cloud

We'll be exhibiting a preview of the next version of Kollaborate at NAB this year. Here's what's coming soon.

Machine learning / AI

We're using machine learning technology to create transcripts of the spoken audio in your videos. Kollaborate will automatically highlight the current sentence as the video plays and you can click on sentences to jump to that point in the video. Searching from the Files page now searches transcripts too, so you easily locate files that contain specific words.

Kollaborate uses the transcript to create automatic subtitles below the video and you can even export these subtitles as a separate file in common subtitle formats like SRT or VTT.

Best of all, this technology is completely self-contained on our servers. Privacy is extremely important to us so we wanted a solution that protected our users' data and did not share it with third-parties. It also has the added benefit that we're not paying a fee per transcription, only general server costs, so unlike other companies who limit you to a certain number of transcription hours per month, our transcription service is unlimited. Transcribe as many files as you like for no extra cost and the only limitation is how quickly our servers can process the queue.

Kollaborate Archive

We're launching a new service aimed at making it easy for users to archive critical data like camera master files. It's essentially a wrapper around Amazon's Glacier service but with the following additional benefits:

  1. Ease of use. Glacier can be complicated to configure and difficult for non-tech-savvy users to use. Our system is dead simple and allows you to authorize users to upload or download files from an archive without them needing a user account.
  2. Per-archive billing. This feature is aimed at freelancers who work with multiple companies and allows you to archive files from a project you work on but have the production company pay the data bill.

Kollaborate subscribers will get a certain amount of free archival storage (amount to be determined) and can choose which archives that free storage applies to.

Losing data can be devastating so we want to encourage more people to safely archive their data in the cloud by making it cheap, easy and convenient. Because this is designed for emergency situations there is a fee for retrieving data. Pricing is yet to be announced, but we don't want it to be significantly more expensive than Amazon Glacier.

Comment attachments

Even though you can leave comments at specific timecode positions and draw over a video, sometimes that isn't enough to get your point across, so you can now attach files to comments. So you can say "I want the color to look like this" and attach a photo, rather than trying to describe it.

Users who are less comfortable typing can now leave video or audio comments too.

Encoding Workflows

There's a new type of workflow - Encoding Workflows. These allow you to specify how a file is converted from one format to another and then trigger the workflow when uploading, duplicating or downloading a file. So you can choose for example to download a watermarked version of a video, or a mixed-down version, and Kollaborate will create that version for you and email you a link once it's ready.

Kollaborate Hybrid Cloud

Self-hosted customers can mix and match which services they run locally and which we run for them in the cloud. So you can run the site on your own server but use our cloud servers for encoding. This can simplify setting things up and prevents you from having to make an upfront investment in expensive server hardware.

You can alternatively configure Kollaborate Hybrid Cloud to only use our servers at times of peak load. Your local installation will use its local encoders most of the time but will utilize ours to help manage the load if too many uploads are occurring at once. This helps keep your site responsive without having to have redundant servers sitting idle.

Coming soon

What we're announcing today is a preview of the next version of Kollaborate so these features are not available today, however we're planning to ship them publicly around late April / early May. But you can see it in action at NAB next week, at booth SL15205 in the lower South Hall.

However, we do have two things that are shipping today:

Upgraded plans

We've upgraded our plans and added significantly more storage for the same price.

Plan Old Storage New Storage Annual price Month-to-month price
Small Business 30 GB 60 GB $180 ($15/month eq) $25
Business 60 GB 125 GB $300 ($25/month eq) $40
Production 100 GB 250 GB $480 ($40/month eq) $60
Production Plus 200 GB 500 GB $780 ($65/month eq) $99
Studio 300 GB 1 TB $1188 ($99/month eq) $129
Studio Plus 500 GB 2 TB $1548 ($129/ month eq) $169
Network 1.5 TB 3 TB $2388 ($199/month eq) $239
Network Plus 3 TB 5 TB $3588 ($299/month eq) $339

Kollaborate's plans have always been designed for teams but we're aware that some people, especially freelancers, may not need all of the team features. So we're now offering individual plans which allow you to get a lot of storage without features like team members or branding.

Plan Storage Annual price Month-to-month price
Basic 30 GB $60 ($5/mo equivalent) $8
Freelance 250 GB $180 ($15/mo equivalent) $25
Freelance Plus 500 GB $300 ($25/mo equivalent) $40

To recognize the difference between the two types of plans, some plans have been renamed. However, existing customers are still on the same plan as before with the same price and features even if the name is different.

Large file uploads out of beta

Our large file uploads feature is out of beta and allows you to upload files up to 50 GB in size. It works by cutting the file up into segments and this segmenting will automatically take place for files above 5 GB. We're still using the old non-segmented method for files below this size for now, but you can switch on segmented uploads for all files here, which should make uploading faster for files below 5 GB.

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 3 2019 to Kollaborate, DR News, Front Page News

Introducing Kollaborate Server Manager (Beta)

We've just launched a public beta of a new tool for self-hosted Kollaborate customers that makes it easy to get up and running with minimal configuration.

Kollaborate Server Manager runs Kollaborate Server and Kollaborate Encoder in Docker containers on your system and handles downloading, setting up and running the software for you. The current release is Mac-only but we will have a Windows version available soon.

The software allows you to easily view logs all in one place, meaning you don't have to go hunting to find the PHP log if a problem occurs.

There are also options to make it easy to edit configuration files and get access to the server through the terminal.

This beta is intended for testing purposes and customer feedback only and we do not yet intend for it to be used in a production environment as we have not yet optimized it for performance and security. However, in the longer term we will be deprecating support for running the software directly on Mac and PC and making it Linux-only, so in future Kollaborate Server Manager will be the only way to run it on a Mac or PC server.

The current beta lacks the ability for Kollaborate Server to send emails and run over SSL, however all other features are operational and you can upload files and use it normally. Kollaborate Encoder is feature complete in this version.

This software requires a valid Kollaborate Server license or trial (contact us if you'd like to sign up for the trial). You can download the beta here.

Posted by Jon Chappell on Mar 13 2019 to DR News, Front Page News, Kollaborate

Digital Rebellion at NAB 2019

We're pleased to announce that we will be exhibiting at NAB this year, from April 8th-11th 2019. We will be located in the Lower South Hall at booth SL15205.

We will be showcasing a preview of Kollaborate 3.0, a major update to our cloud workflow platform with lots of new, exciting and powerful features to improve your workflow and make it easier to coordinate with your colleagues and clients.

Use our guest pass code LV3792 to get free access to the exhibit hall (must be redeemed before March 25th).

Posted by Jon Chappell on Mar 12 2019 to DR News, Front Page News, Kollaborate