Trizz is known for its unconventional work, directing and designing for a mix of 3D, VFX and experience design, including multi-touch, interactive and projection mapping. Its work appears in TVCs, art galleries, publications and even during concerts and other live events. Chris Vulpi and Oriol Puig, who co-founded Trizz in 2009, have identified inefficiencies in the VFX and post industry and applied a more streamlined, workable model to their business.
"Our philosophy has always been to bring the best talent into our projects, whether it's around the corner here in Barcelona or across the ocean," said Vulpi, executive producer at Trizz. "In the same way, we are able to share what we offer at Trizz to our clients, wherever they are. By having our screens connected remotely, our customers don't feel disconnected by distance and we don't have to sacrifice opportunities to work with different creative suppliers. Frankie really is essential to making this happen seamlessly."
The rationale for a remote studio
With the rise of the mobile workstation and home office, collaboration can occur across continents and time zones. Vulpi's professional life mirrors this globalization of the industry. After graduating from film school at Ithaca College in Upstate New York, he worked for Select Magazine in Germany and then moved on to an agency where he began working in postproduction, opening a post suite at Grey Düsseldorf. From there he established, in partnership, a U.K. post studio, eventually employing 40 people and cornering the German TV market for 14 years.
"At the studio in Düsseldorf, I brought in talent from the U.K., Paris or wherever else I located the right people," Vulpi explained. "As fate would have it, one of those artists was Oriol, who had a thriving freelancer career between New York and his homeland in Barcelona. And, as I no longer wanted to run such a big shop under five partners, Oriol and I decided to open a boutique in Barcelona. That's Trizz today."
Trizz taps into the specialist pool of talent in Barcelona and brings people in on occasion from L.A. or London, but its need for remote collaboration with distant artists continues. Vulpi has learned that, regardless of studio size, the management of the design and postproduction workflows is extremely important, requiring tools like Frankie that facilitate remote collaboration.
Decreasing the need for client visits
There will always be a need for some face-to-face meetings with clients, but Trizz finds its virtual studio model also works well for its client relationships. Of the 30 or so jobs Trizz delivers in a year, there may be only three or four client visits to Barcelona.
"Agency clients sometimes visit and that gives me a chance to meet in person and explain our modern concept," Vulpi explained. "It takes an open-minded agency to make the leap into only working remotely with someone new."
Frankie makes remote collaboration a reality. "We have some clients who tell us that they'd rather work on Frankie than go to the studios, even if around the corner," said Vulpi. "They find it more efficient to log on and, often, agency management doesn't want their creative team travelling far because they may be working on five or six other projects that require their equal attention."
"Working as collaborators the world over means we can offer our best people from our studio, while saving the client on travel, time and, very often, money. Instead of charging for our machines, as many companies do, we charge for our creative process. That's a good reason for these agencies to reach across the ocean and know they're not going to be disadvantaged by the distance or the time zone."
Trizz is increasingly attracting new clients, especially from the U.S., but since they are not in New York or Chicago, Vulpi quickly makes everyone comfortable with the remote workflow, using Frankie and its easy-to-use annotation tools. Frankie allows any user to draw right on the screen, as well as write notes in the margins of any frame. After each review session Frankie generates PDF notes, which Trizz shares with its clients and its own team.
"The PDF arrives a few minutes after the session and if anything in the session was forgotten, the PDF record helps to literally put everyone on the same page," Vulpi said. "The client knows that they were understood, while we use it as the paper trail to confirm what was agreed to during the review."
Frankie also makes for an efficient in-house workflow at Trizz.
"As a client-facing tool, Frankie is used for very precise communication,"
Managing the virtual studio
Vulpi, who manages acquisition and marketing, and Puig, who acts as creative director, have a knack for bringing great people together, as they did with four executive producers and the director on a current animated feature film, being shot in Russia. Vulpi and the head of production at Trizz answer practical questions about how to approach the project, cost, timing, contracting and legal terms. Puig then enters the discussion with creative ideas.
"Using art and creative direction, we have a focal point to dialogue with our clients," Puig said. "They really appreciate the attention and how we understand their objectives visually. With that in place, we can move smoothly on to the next steps in production."
While Trizz also does regular postproduction commercial work, Vulpi and Puig pride themselves on designing and directing work that stands out for brands. A good example of this is the work they did for Renuage brandy. It exemplifies their use of CGI to create story, sculpt and animate gorgeous liquid forms.
"At each of these stages we use Frankie," said Puig. "Clients can make their comments visually, which is often the best way to work. We have tried other solutions for sharing video but we need something that works every time. With Frankie, one click and the client is in, it's working, and the whole experience is polished and satisfying."