Alex Williams, the founder of Louper, sat down with our Senior Director of Innovation, Michael Kammes, at NAB to discuss our latest integration with the cloud-based real-time collaboration platform. They talk about why people choose Louper over the competition, and the features that make it so popular, even in the most unexpected workflows.
Michael: Hi, Michael Kammes here from Shift Media on the show floor. Today we're with Alex Williams from Louper. How are you doing, Alex?
Alex: I'm well, Michael. Thank you for having me.
Michael: Excellent. We are so thrilled to have Alex here because one of our announcements here is that we're integrating with Louper. Louper has been one of my favorite technologies in the past couple years because they enables review and approve in a live way, plus some awesome other features. So I don't wanna steal your thunder. Perhaps you could just share with everyone - what is Louper?
Alex: Yeah. Right. So it's live review and approve. You can play out of your NLE so you can review edit sessions, VFX reviews in real time in a web browser. And on top of that, you can also review assets. So existing media files, you can have synchronized playback of that inside the room. And everything works in the web browser with built-in video chat and text chat. And so it's sort of a synchronous live review and approve tool to complement the asynchronous tools out there.
Michael: What I love, you brought up at the very beginning, was interfaces with NLE. So video editors, there are a lot of screen-sharing tools out there that say, we'll just do a screen scrape, right? We'll just do a screen share, and the quality is degraded. The color management is out the window. Sync AV is often not there. So being able to integrate directly within the NLEs, gives you that high-quality, correct frame rate. And I think a lot of people just glaze kind of over that. Can you talk a little about the tech specs as they are right now? Like, are we doing SD, is it HD, what kind of frame rates, what kind of data rates?
Alex: Yeah. So at the moment, it's uh, 4, 2, 8 bit SDR, up to 4K resolution frame rates 23.976, 24, 25, 30. And we don't process or compress that stream in any way. That's a pass-through thing. So, whatever you stream at resolution frame rate is what the end user sees in the browser. And then, in terms of data rates, it's anything from 2 to 20 megabits per second for offline editorial. And people use color reviews as well for SDR contents. And then, on top of that, you can also get a direct signal out of NLEs like Final Cut, Avid Media Composer, and Premiere Pro. Flame as well for online assets. That's quite a popular one as well now. So you get the actual video frame out of that as opposed to a full interface scrape or anything like that. It's a true signal.
Michael: So one of the things that we're showing here is taking that technology and enabling Louper to plug into MediaSilo. So can you explain a little bit about how that integration works and what folks who already use MediaSilo can then use Louper to do with their assets?
Alex: Yeah, sure. So if you look at Louper as kind of the shell where you have your video chat, your text chat, everything's live, and you know, at the moment, the content in there is a live stream on top of that. And with the MediaSilo integration, you can now connect your MediaSilo assets, video files that exist on MediaSilo, to Louper, and you can then have synchronized playback of those video files within the Louper room so everyone sees the same frame at the same time. There's collaborative shared playback, controls, pause, play, sync, as well as onscreen drawing and annotations. So that sort of adds a real-time live review to existing assets, which is exciting.
Michael: So MediaSilo clients who are already used to the more traditional on-demand review and approve now can do joint screening sessions, for lack of a better term, for assets that are already sitting inside a MediaSilo project.
Alex: Yeah, exactly that. Yeah.
Michael: Excellent. So, I'm sure you've had some excellent growth since Louper started just a couple years ago. Have there been any unexpected use cases, like use cases you didn't really imagine when you first developed the product?
Alex: Yeah, I mean, we've been so focused on our vertical and media entertainment and film industry that in terms of the types of use cases and the types of workflows, that said, there are some ways that people are using the product, which I didn't envision. We spoke to a customer last week who works in visual effects, and they have VFX editors that use Louper for internal reviews. And from that point, they go, well, we've actually got multiple projects, multiple VFX editors, and we like to have an internal review every morning and have all the VFX editors streaming into the same Louper room and just switch between the live signals and do a 30-minute review with everyone on the team looking at that, and then switch over to the other VFX editors live signal without having to go to a separate room. We'll start a new session, all remaining right there. And I think that kind of stuff is cool and stuff I didn't expect, of having it really be this hub where everything can happen live and in real-time, and you can send signals into and out of it really, really quickly and easily.
Michael: So over the past few years, especially during the pandemic, a lot of solutions popped up that enabled live review and approve. And obviously, folks will try out each one. And when folks end up trying all the others and end up coming to Louper, what's the main reason you hear is why folks said, yeah, that's really the reason why I'm sticking with Louper.
Alex: The biggest thing is ease of use, setup and, especially on the client side, just having the ability to join via links in the browser. So on the client side, for people who are producers, directors, clients who need to join the session, they don't need to register, they don't need to sign up. There's no real setup. It's a one-click drawing in the web browser and that, people love that. That's been the biggest, the biggest kind of, "Yeah, this is cool."
Michael: Now, this is where you're on camera, so I'm gonna try and put you on the spot. Just to see what I can get out of you. But can you talk about maybe what directions you may be looking at Louper going or what features you're really looking into? Can you discuss any of that?
Alex: Yeah, I can. So the big one is support for 10-bit 4:2:2, 4:4:4 HDR streaming. We are getting a lot of interest from colorists and yeah, we support SDR and 8-bit 4:2:0. But really there's a need there for 4:2:2, 10-bit, including HDR. So that's something we're working on actively. And that is one of multiple things, but that's probably the biggest one that, you know, that we're responding to. In terms of customer stories.
Michael: Where could folks find out more about Louper?
Michael: And for any MediaSilo clients, we're now in beta with utilizing Louper to playback content to folks in real-time from MediaSilo. And we can also get you connected with Alex to talk about playing out directly from your NLE. Alex, thanks so much for coming. Thank you for tuning in. This is Michael Kammes from Shift Media at the NAB show floor.
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