Recently, Alteon.io announced a new workflow extension for Final Cut Pro that provides an end-to-end media workflow from within FCP. To learn more, I emailed Matt Cimaglia, co-founder and CEO of Alteon, the following questions.
Larry: Matt, thanks for sharing your time. How would you describe Alteon.io?
Matt: Alteon.io is the product I wished I had when I was running my creative agency for more than 20 years. It’s an all-in-one ecosystem that lets creatives upload files quickly, share them securely and store them affordably long-term. We want to make it easier for creators of all backgrounds to have a single source of truth for their media, from which they could do all their work, rather than relying on ad hoc combinations of applications and devices.
When I worked with NBC News, we had Avid Interplay, so I always knew what was technically possible—but when running my own company, I was limited by budget and maintenance. Alteon is designed with an intuitive UI and no set-up time or cost—anyone can create a free account and start streamlining their workflow.
Larry: Given that you are a cloud-services provider, why did you create this workflow extension?
Matt: We actually do a lot more than just provide cloud storage—but we’ll discuss that in a minute.
As for our workflow extension, it connects Final Cut Pro to the cloud, so creators don’t have to constantly toggle back and forth between multiple applications. It’s similar to our extension for Adobe Premiere Pro, which launched last year. The idea is simply to streamline creative workflows—and that means meeting creators where they already are.
Apple recently included us in their Final Cut Pro Ecosystem page, so we’re proud that they recognize and understand the unique value we bring to the FCP experience.
Larry: What do we need to install?
Matt: There are three steps:
Larry: What does Alteon do?
Matt: After you install the free workflow extension, you can download media from Alteon’s cloud storage directly into Final Cut Pro. Alteon automatically generates proxies of all uploaded media, so you can work with either the original or proxy file. We also support RAW files, including BRAW—so, for example, you could upload media from your Blackmagic camera directly to Alteon, which transcodes it in the cloud for you, and you can download the files directly into Final Cut Pro to start editing. Overall it’s a much faster, more streamlined process that reduces some of the friction that’s bogged down creatives for so many years.
In the near future, we’re planning updates to let you sync your libraries and view comments left in either Alteon or FCP. The version we have today will continue to expand and improve based on our ongoing conversations with Apple and what our users recommend.
Larry: Since this works exclusively with Alteon cloud servers, why should Final Cut editors be interested in this?
Matt: Anyone can create a free Alteon account and receive 10GB of storage. We’ll never charge you for this, and you don’t need a team of IT professionals to set anything up, as with comparable software—you can get started immediately on your own. We wanted to make things simple and intuitive for creators of all backgrounds.
Larry: You speak of “democratizing the creative industry.” Yet Amazon has offered cloud services at attractive prices for years. Why should we consider Alteon?
It’s not an accurate comparison to look at Alteon vs. Amazon and other cloud providers, because Alteon was designed by—and for—professional creatives. While many professionals currently rely on Amazon, Google, Dropbox and other cloud providers, those services lack intuitive user interfaces or are limited to storage. We offer tools for creatives such as time-stamped comments on videos, automatic proxy transcoding and screener link sharing. You can think of us as a necessary layer between cloud providers and the end user.
Larry: The 800-pound gorilla in review and cloud services is Frame.io. Granted, it is owned by Adobe, but it also has a workflow extension for FCP. How does Alteon compare with Adobe/Frame’s online offerings?
Matt: Frame.io is great if you want a platform that has one core functionality: review. Alteon handles commenting, review, transcoding, batch meta tagging and flexibly priced cloud storage, among other features that help creatives manage the thousands of files that comprise a typical production.
We do offer an extension for Adobe Premiere Pro and plan to work with Blackmagic in the coming year to develop an integration with DaVinci Resolve. We are brand-agnostic, while we can’t say the same for Adobe, which could stop supporting other NLE systems in the future if they want. Given how proprietary Adobe can be about their software, it wouldn’t be entirely surprising to see them cut off support for anything other than Premiere Pro.
Larry: What do you see as your competitive advantages?
Matt: We were built specifically for creative productions, which rely on individual users—often freelancers and contractors. When you look at our competitors, many are geared towards enterprise corporations or large studios. Individuals and small production companies often get overlooked because they aren’t seen as lucrative enough. We feel that a bottom-up approach, building a true community, will have a stronger long-term impact.
Larry: You speak of “optimizing the creative process.” What do you mean?
When you work with a tool that feels right, you enjoy your work a lot more. This is especially true in the creative industry. We want our users to feel inspired with how easy it is to organize and manage their assets and work with creative collaborators, and reap the benefits of that organization.
While content creators have a lot of tools at their disposal today, this is a double-edged sword. Some of these tools, especially in the cloud space, aren’t intuitive for less tech-savvy creatives, or are frustratingly basic. We want our users to enjoy several tools bundled into one ecosystem, meaning fewer subscriptions, fewer applications that don’t integrate with one another, and a faster overall creative process.
Larry: How is your system priced?
Matt: Our pricing model is simple and flexible. Free accounts come with 10GB of storage; if you pay $9.99/month, you get 250GB of storage and the ability to manage groups and share projects and screeners. For $29.99/month, you get 1TB and can purchase additional storage.
I understand how the production industry ebbs and flows, which is why our storage pricing is designed with flexibility in mind, with three tiers of storage: Online (for files you’re working on now), Nearline (at a lower cost), and we’ll soon be introducing Archive, which is deep storage at a very low rate, for projects you’ve completed but don’t want to delete. Archive will be great when you want to offload your content to a less expensive tier when waiting for another project or for a client to give final approval.
Larry: To end, write a one-paragraph description of why editors should consider Alteon?
Matt: I’ve been an editor—and I’ve also been a producer, director and basically every other job on set over the years. I was tired of not having one easy tool that streamlined everything, reducing the amount of time it took to cut a project or giving me flexibility to work remotely. Alteon is giving editors and producers the ability to focus on the work they love, so they don’t have to deal with the administrative aspects like data management.
Larry: Matt, thank you for sharing your time with us.
Matt: Thank you for sharing Alteon with your readers. Like you, we want to help creatives in any way possible. In your PowerUp creative series, you ask users to not hold back and ask lots of questions. Education is very important to me, and I feel that our work with students will help prepare them for a creative world that is inevitably shifting toward a cloud-based future. Everyone at Alteon, myself included, is available to discuss workflows and the industry in general, since that’s where our passion lies. If any of your readers want to chat, I hope they’ll contact us at email@example.com with any questions or comments they have.
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