Solving communication challenges with Frankie

“As soon as we started using Frankie we found that our productivity increased substantially. It really was a game changer for us. Feedback loops weren’t a slow-paced back-and-forth interrupted by the waiting game that happens with emails – they could take place quickly and precisely.”


Frankie has seen tremendous growth throughout Europe as advertising, communication and marketing agencies have embraced Frankie’s real-time review platform. We sat down and had a chat with Darvinius Berar and Carina Maurer from SPS MARKETING about their business and how Frankie has been able to help streamline their communications.


Clear Presentation

At its core, the web-based review and approval solution Frankie is a tool designed to facilitate communication – and few industries have a more vital need for clear, unambiguous communication than B2B marketing.

That’s why Austrian outfit SPS MARKETING has recently adopted Frankie into its workflow, seeking to clarify complex technical details for its clients around the world.

From its dual locations in Linz, Austria and Stuttgart Germany, SPS develops and delivers integrated B2B marketing campaigns for a roster of clients including Siemens, LiSEC, Magna International and more. Its goal is clear-cut: simplify and define the otherwise complex.

“SPS was founded in 1993, and the mission has remained the same since then: deliver first-class communication solutions for complicated products,” begins Darvinius Berar, senior 3D generalist, VFX artist, and compositor at SPS. “We offer a number of services, including but not limited to strategic marketing, brand consultation, event organisation, personal relations, and integrated communication solutions across both traditional advertising and digital channels.”

Across each of these offerings, SPS drives its common goal: make communications as effective, precise, and clear as possible. And when that means working on a visual campaign, including those featuring elaborate engineering schematics, getting things right is key.

That’s where Frankie’s bespoke offering comes in – with Frankie, SPS can collaborate with clients across the globe, ensuring everything down to the last nut and bolt is presented as accurately as humanly possible.


Technical precision

SPS employs a staff of 30, four of whom work in the film and art department in 3D, compositing, editing and grading respectively.

“Each project that comes through SPS is entirely unique, and comes with its own unique challenges,” says Berar. “Some involve VFX, compositing and green screen, some require intricate motion graphics, others need just simple video editing and grading.

“3D animations are often a common requirement,” he continues. “Many of our clients are involved in the automotive industry, so we create technical animations showcasing components such as vehicle engines. Many of these components are prototypes and require maximum technical precision – they don’t just need to look good, but they have to be animated in the absolute correct way.”

It’s Frankie that helps deliver to this level of precision, enabling agency and client to discuss the finer details even when located continents apart.


Bridging the time zone divide

SPS started using Frankie in summer of 2015, and immediately noticed the benefits of frame-perfect sync via a web browser.

“As soon as we started using Frankie we found that our productivity increased substantially,” asserts Berar. “It really was a game changer for us. Feedback loops weren’t a slow-paced back-and-forth interrupted by the waiting game that happens with emails – they could take place quickly and precisely.”

Not only could SPS get instant feedback on creative iteration from clients located beyond geographical borders, but it could also do away with concerns surrounding timezone disparity.

“Thanks to the auto generation of review PDFs, replete with timestamp, comments and frame numbers, we could include people in the conversation that were asleep while the review was taking place,” says Berar. “Having that ability to keep people in the loop, even when they’re in a completely different timezone, is hugely beneficial to a global company like SPS.”


Fluid communication

SPS has used Frankie on a wide variety of projects, but it’s on the more intricate animations that its workflows support the team the most.

“On a recent project, a client wanted to showcase their new industrial coating technology via an abstract intro animation,” says Berar. “One of the shots presented a big challenge – we needed to push the camera through a particle animation that causes everything to freeze, turn to snow, and then blast away. The shot then pushes beneath the ice, revealing a person in snow boots walking above – it all takes place in one shot and it’s totally seamless.”

SPS’s 3D toolkit includes Fusion, 3ds Max and V-Ray, all of which were leveraged to deliver this stunning animation. But it was Frankie that really helped bring everything together, thanks to the collaborative client workflows.

“The ability to play back synchronized footage with the client, adding comments and annotations, was just great,” says Berar. “This project was very complex, so we need to make sure we’re on the exact same page as the client. Using Frankie they could sign off on the movement of the camera, the look of the particle effects, the look of the ice and more.

“On other projects we need to be incredibly technical and accurate,” he continues. “For example, we might be working with CAD data. In these projects, the wheels in a gearbox might need to rotate with a specific speed ratio, and in some cases, we might need to simulate fluids in a specific way.

“Here Frankie is a life saver, as it becomes incredibly easy to discuss these technical details with the client, and make sure we deliver them in just the right way.”


Getting Better

Since implementing Frankie, Berar and the team at SPS have found they are able to work faster and therefore iterate more on designs. The more iterations, the closer the team can push its mechanical renderings to the level they need to reach.

“It all comes down to the biggest benefit that Frankie offers: saved time,” says Berar. “Our account people don’t have to visit a client for every review – we can deliver a link to the client just minutes after we have finished renderings and updates.

“Thanks to these features and the overall ease of use, I can’t image my work without Frankie anymore,” he concludes. “The time saved and speed of iteration has had a major impact on our productivity and quality of output.

“SPS MARKETING has great service, thanks to Frankie”