Speed up your post-production workflow
Speed up your post-production workflow
SpinMe and Bright River’s partnership brings a complete end-to-end workflow solution to photo studios. Find out how you can get web-ready images delivered in just 2 hours, without ever leaving the SpinMe Studio interface.
With a workforce of hundreds of staff distributed across four international sites, visual product content specialists Bright River can provide a round-the-clock post-production service to SpinMe Studio clients. Unedited images can be automatically sent to Bright River from within the interface, and the fully processed files are then available in SpinMe Studio from just 2 hours to 24 hours later.
“There has been a complete API developed between SpinMe and Bright River, which allows the systems to talk to each other in real-time,” explains SpinMe CEO, David Brint. “The client can see what’s happening in their post-production from within SpinMe Studio, and they are able to manage everything through the interface.
“Once you’ve taken your shots, you literally tick a box and SpinMe Studio will send that imagery to Bright River. It will monitor the progress and, when the post-production is completed, SpinMe Studio will automatically re-import the images. It will re-name them to go the right places, whether that’s for QC or automatic use, or wherever you want them to go. So, the process gives you a fully automated start-to-finish solution which works 24/7, 365 days a year.”
Working with SpinMe and Bright River
David points out that it’s not mandatory for a client to work with Bright River when they use SpinMe Studio: “It’s their choice who they want to run their post-production through, and they can work with whoever they want.
“If you choose to work with Bright River through SpinMe, then you still have your own independent contract with them. This means that you can select the level of service that you want to pay for. If you opt for their standard service, for example, then SpinMe Studio will enable you to monitor whether the work conforms to the terms of the standard service or not.
“If you sign up for their 2-hour service, then you can guarantee that you’ll have web-ready images within a couple of hours of the photographer ticking the box in SpinMe Studio. When the imagery comes back, you can view it, QC it, approve it and upload it.
“So, the pressure is on the retailer to make sure that the copywriting is being done concurrently with the post-production,” adds David. “To assist with this, SpinMe Studio can be configured to automatically send images to the copywriters.
“With those efficiencies built into your workflow, you could be putting the whole product online roughly 2 hours after taking a photograph. And I really cannot see a way that turnaround time can be bettered.”
A shared approach to getting images online
So how did the partnership between SpinMe and Bright River develop? “We were both serving the same photo studios without competing with each other,” says Bright River co-founder and CEO, David Jonkers. “Our clients are mostly enterprise companies. They use our technology for managing post production, and they use SpinMe Studio for managing the workflows in the studio. Of course, ensuring large volumes of imagery reach the post production service provider and get edited in the correct way and then are received back in the correct way, is a very important, time-consuming and risky operation. So, integrating that in the most reliable way possible for mutual clients made a lot of sense.
“At the time we both serviced a very large DIY retailer in the US, and David [Brint] and I met at a conference in New York. We spoke a few times about how beneficial it would be if the two were integrated.
“David and I look at this industry and the challenges faced by our clients in the same way. We understand that what they need is a fast studio-to-web time and optimal cost efficiency, but that they need reliability first and foremost. Bringing images online is the starting point for generating revenue with a product, so the quality of the imagery is just crucial.
“What I always say is that visual product content in e-commerce is not marketing collateral, it IS the product. It is the only tangible experience the shopper will have in evaluating whether he or she is willing to buy the product. So, it’s just a business-critical process for our clients.”
Streamlining post production with AI
While there’s no obligation to engage Bright River’s services when you use SpinMe Studio, as David Jonkers puts it, there’s a considerable benefit in doing so. “Especially with all the new AI tools that we have developed, which are also available through SpinMe’s software. What we’re able to achieve more and more is for clients to have on-demand, realtime editing done from within SpinMe Studio.”
“There’s still a fully automated link between SpinMe Studio and Bright River, with the images sent automatically to Bright River and brought back into SpinMe Studio,” says David Brint. “But with the AI solution the imagery is obviously untouched by human hands, so it’s very fast.
“It’s also reliable and less expensive, and while it’s not yet a solution for all product types, it is ready for a large range of them. If any images were to fail QC, they can automatically be fed back into the manual post-production process, so again, you’re not wasting time.”
It can take just minutes for the AI to carry out simpler editing tasks on demand, adds David Jonkers at Bright River: “The key question is whether the editing required is arbitrary, whether the human eye plays a role. The fewer decisions an editor would have to make, the closer we are to making it possible to do that on demand via AI.”
Although corrections are overseen by the image editors at Bright River, the percentage of work that’s done in a manual way overall is decreasing significantly. In fact, there is no completely manual solution needed. “There’s either a hybrid solution with a large component of automation, or a fully automated solution,” explains David Jonkers. “And that means it’s a drastic cost saver.”
Carrying out complex image edits
There’s no limit to the complexity of the edits that Bright River can handle. “We do all the arbitrary editing you can think of,” says David Jonkers, “including complex montage. We have a solution called Posed, where we take one model image and then several images of garments shot on a mannequin, and then we combine them to create new model images. It even works with dynamic poses and unusual arm positions that differ from how the garment has been shot on the mannequin.
“Perhaps a client in the furniture industry wants to turn an image of a two-seater couch into a three- or four-seater couch with different colours and different upholsteries. We can do that, too. The possibilities are endless.
“We work with proprietary software that we have developed ourselves, called Simple Tasks,” adds David Jonkers. “It shows our image editors the tasks that need to be performed, and where possible the Scripts required to perform that task in an automated way. It also has an automated validation and correction process, which means corrections are being carried out before images go back into SpinMe Studio.
“To be able to do this at the scale that we do and to do it at the turnaround times we are able to provide, can require a lot of software support in the workflow automation. The combination and integration with SpinMe Studio see to it that there’s no hassle, no communication needed about the progress of the edits, as we can be very visible about statuses.
“Ultimately, it means that Bright River and SpinMe clients are able to publish the images a whole lot faster at lower cost, and the product will start generating revenue a lot sooner.”
For David Brint, being able to offer clients a SpinMe solution which draws on partnerships in other areas of production – from camera through to copywriting – is the ultimate goal. “I really believe we can then say to people that if you work with us and use the solution in the way that we say, you could be seeing a product progress from arriving in your warehouse to being online in just 12 hours maximum. And then that becomes, in my view industry unbeatable.”