• Thursday, Oct. 22, 2020
Simian launches Version 5 to advance media sharing and collaboration
A look at Simian's Trim Feature, part of its Reel Creator, which allows users to just snip segments of videos or spots without having to re-edit them.
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Simian, the video sharing and collaboration service used by advertisers, agencies, media companies, production houses, post studios and music providers, has unveiled Simian 5.

This new version of Simian’s software service features over 100 updates and new features designed to help users work faster and more efficiently. 

Simian 5 includes major upgrades to its core tools that users rely on when building showreels to win new assignments and when sharing work with clients and other team members for review, comment and approval. The Simian 5 user interface has been given a fresh new look as well, and features customizable themes, night mode and global notifications.

Of particular importance are the changes made to Simian’s Projects tool, where clients are able to upload versions of spots or videos for review and approval. “Overall, the workflow in Projects has been enhanced, with lots of small updates that add up to more than the sum of their parts,” said Simian COO and co-founder Brian Atton.

The process of collaborating with clients has been simplified, with expanded review and approval functions and file status updates. Files can be easily merged or locked, and moving them between Projects and the Media Library has been streamlined.

Project’s annotation tools have been enhanced, and Simian has introduced Time-Ranged commenting for more precise feedback. In addition, files can now be watermarked with custom graphics, allowing users to protect their content and brand them with their logo at the same time.

Simian has also created a new “Client Upload” feature for Projects that allows users to send out secure links permitting outside sources--everyone from clients to freelancers to additional team members--to upload to a Projects folder, quickly and easily via a browser interface. Changes have been made to its video player, too: a new feature called Aspect Ratio Mask that allows uses to quick and easily view their videos in a variety of screen formats, including vertical. And users can now switch back and forth between time code or frame counts to mark their progress.

Reel Creator upgrades
For sales reps, company owners, EPs and managing directors--basically anyone interested in making sure their company wins more jobs--the updates to Simian 5’s Reel Library and Reel Creator are valuable. For example, in the Reel Library, where users’ sent showreels are stored, a number of improvements have been implemented to help them sharpen their ability to get the right work in front of prospects as quickly as possible.

“We’ve heard from people that instead of just looking at a list of sent reels, it would be useful to know what’s actually on those reels, so they can be quickly updated and resent,” said Kellie Atton, Simian’s head of sales.

“We’ve expanded on this capability, so a user can quickly browse the contents of multiple reels simultaneously, she added. “Showreels often have similar titles and similar contents, so being able to compare them before loading into the Reel Creator is a huge time saver. We actually took this a step further, so reps can identify the reel they want and easily resend or grab a short link right from the Reel Library itself. When you get asked to send a revised or new showreel asap, this is exactly what you need.”

Also, an incredibly handy new tool called the Trim Feature has been added to the Reel Creator that allows users to just show selected segments or portions of a video or spot with no editing required.

Another upgrade was added to the Simian Dashboard that alerts users to their Most Active Reels, so they’ll know which sent reels have been getting the most activity. There’s also a new map that shows geographically where the reel activity is taking place, which lets a user know when a showreel may have been forwarded.

A year in development
Simian 5 has been in the works for just over a year, according to Jay Brooks, Simian’s chief technology officer. “We initially were aiming for a minor refresh that was going to launch early this year but as 2020 began to shape up the way it has--with so many things derailed due to the pandemic--we took the opportunity for a much deeper dive and went for something that was truly epic.”

With Simian 5 aloft, the company is moving forward on an updated version of its popular Simian Project mobile app for iOS, which lets users manage their projects via their mobile device. 

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