What You Need To Know About Video Copyright
For those of us who create or use content, understanding the basics of copyright is very important. Breach of copyright is not just unfair to the creator of a work; it can also result in legal liability and a waste of effort.
How to Manage a Video Project for Your Company
Are you the project manager who has been tasked with producing a video that will please a sprawling set of video project stakeholders? Fear not! We have some tips to make your job easier as you manage a video project.
Two Kinds of Walk Cycles
Usually when I teach the walk cycle I have the highest point of the arm swing come at the heel-toe position. I recently took a look at Richard Williams, however, and I noticed that he has the highest point of the arm swing come at the landing position.
Free A/B Test Calculator Based on Opportunity Costs
I have recently published a post at ConversionXL that challenges the conventional wisdom in the Conversion Rate Optimization industry: that you should wait until you have achieved 95% significance before ending an A/B test. My argument is that the right time to end an A/B test is when the Opportunity Costs from not ending the experiment start getting bigger than the Error Costs you run from ending it now.
What Is a Codec? (And Which One Should I Use?)
What is a codec? If we defined the color of every pixel in a video, the file size would be enormous (nearly 4 gigs per minute for 720p video.) Since this is a difficult size to deal with, computer scientists have devised protocols for reducing that file size while maintaining picture quality. These protocols are called codecs. (Codec stands for COmpressor-DECompressor.)
The Transparent Corporation: A Thought Experiment
What if business was more like Chess and less like Poker? What if the facts of a company’s operation – principally its books but perhaps other information as well – were kept on a blockchain, visible to all. Perhaps all income and disbursements would need to go through a crypto-currency smart contract to certify this. I will be vague about the details, because I’m less interested in how it might work practically than in what the output of this state might be.
Video That Tells Your Customer’s Story
We recently talked about all the possible heroes for your marketing story, but let's be up-front: usually it's best to let the hero be your customer. This narrative has the advantage of being about someone your customers already feel deeply about: themselves.
A Guide to the Best Specialized Design Tools
It’s a good time to be a designer! There has never been a greater choice of specialized design tools available to help facilitate the creation of great work, and many of these tools come free or at negligible cost. We checked in with many working designers to hear about their favorites, and are including some of our own. Keep in mind, we are not focusing on the workhorse softwares where designers do most of their work – tools like the Adobe Creative Suite – but rather, the niche tools that a narrow job really well.
Video Case Studies: Businesses That Have Made a Splash with Video
We often talk about animated video on this blog, but today we are shining a light on businesses that have succeeded at promoting themselves with live-action videos. We are impressed by the creativity shown by these entrepreneurs, with solutions that range from shoestring shoots to professionally-produced travelogues.
How to Brainstorm Your Next Animated Video
Why brainstorm? There is a weird and wonderful alchemy that happens when creative people bounce ideas off each other. You might have spent an hour staring at a blank piece of paper, trying to think of something that will work, to no avail. Then you enter a meeting room, hear someone else’s half-hearted notion, and in it you see some potential – so maybe you add a wheel or two to the chassis. Then someone else picks up your contribution, and decides they’re going to put a motor on it. Pretty soon, everyone in the meeting realizes there is a very good idea roaring down the road.
How to Find the Perfect Voiceover Artist for Your Video
While videos without a voiceover are becoming more and more popular, videos with a voiceover will always be with us. Why? Because by presenting complementary information on the visual and aural channels, narrated videos can provide a lot more information density, and they can do so with the matchless appeal of the human voice.
Dynamic Animation: Good Adds Up from Facebook
The capability to add user photos dynamically to web-based animation has been around for a while. (JibJab, those makers of memorable political parody, have made a whole business out of it.) But it's not often done as well as in this project directed by Johnny Kelly for Facebook. The simple and elegant design is by London-based illustrators Nous Vous.
Strava – My Year in Sports by Panda Yoghurt and Stink
Rube Goldberg devices have always inspired animators. One of the first to be entranced by them was unheralded genius Charley Bowers. Although almost completely forgotten for many years, his work is starting to get the the recognition that has long eluded it. Bowers was a pioneer of stop-motion, blending this technique with live action to become a special effects trailblazer.
The Best Animation Companies for Your Business
What are the best animation companies for your business needs? Well, it really depends on what category you are looking in – the animation-for-business field is highly fragmented. You can find off-shore solutions for a couple of thousand dollars, and you can find high-end providers for a couple of hundreds of thousands dollars. That’s why we’ve described the price categories below, their business models, and what you can expect from each.
A New eBook: Succeeding with Animated Video
We have recently made available an ebook that I’ve written called Succeeding With Animated Video. Yes, you guessed it: we’re using it as bait to get you to give up your email address to us. (Although it’s probably not going to be too hard for you to figure out how to get the ebook without receiving our monthly newsletter… although I can’t imagine why you wouldn’t want to receive our monthly newsletter!)
What are Derivatives? Our Whiteboard for ISDA Explains
Derivatives have gotten a reputation as something that introduces risk to our economic system, which is ironic, because the intent and effect of derivatives is the exact opposite: to help businesses reduce their operating risk.
Le Clitoris, an Animated Film by Lori Malépart-Traversy
Our Pick of the Week is a charming film by Lori Malépart-Traversy about... well, the Clitoris. (I briefly considered labeling this film NSFW, but quickly discarded the notion. There's nothing here that is the least bit prurient or offensive – there's just beauty and humor.)
How to Choose Music for Your Video
When music and moving image work together perfectly, it feels magical. But unfortunately, there’s no magical shortcut for finding that right music: it’s about determination, patience, and resourcefulness – as well as having a little taste. Here are some tips for choosing the right music for your video.
Before You Start Your Project: What Is Your Video Objective?
Success is impossible if you don’t know what you’re trying to achieve. That's not just because you won't know whether you've won, but because your actions won't be fully intentional. (You have to know where the goal is before you can score it!) If your organization is considering a video project, your first step should be to define your video objective. Here are some guidelines for doing that.
What Goes In Video Branding Guidelines (and Why You Need Them)
Most companies of consequence today have branding guidelines: documents that specify typefaces, color palettes, and graphic design rules for creating marketing collateral. But it is shocking how many companies of scale still have not developed video branding guidelines.
Oscar-Nominee Oktapodi from France’s Gobelins School
When I used to teach 3D animation, sometime during the course I always included a screening of Oktapodi, an Oscar-winning short from France's elite animation school, Gobelins. I would usually show the film once, then replay it with a running commentary pointing out things that the students might not notice. For the Pick of this Week, I'd like to provide some notes for just the first thirty seconds of this masterpiece short. Here it is:
7 Tips for Getting the Most Out of Your Animation Company
You’ve hired us to create an animated video for your company. You’re excited to start digging into the scripting and share in our creative process. Rest assured, we want to make a great video just as much as you do, so what can you do to team up with your animation company to get the best results?
Eight Ways to Learn in Business
Some people say that success in business is a result of hard work, raw intelligence, or the quality of your personal connections. Of course those things matter, but I believe the most important factor is whether you and your organization are able to learn how to create a product or service and bring it to its market at a lower price than it costs to produce.
Five Myths About Starting a New Business
We live in a country that extols entrepreneurs. (I sometimes doubt whether we deserve the admiration.) Even though that is the case, there are still some myths about starting a business that are pervasive… and not grounded in fact.
Peering Into a Crytal Ball: The Future of Animation
There’s few things I enjoy more than pretending I’m a latter-day Jules Verne. Why? Because imagining the future is fun, even if the accuracy of my prognostications over the years has been somewhat short of Nostradamus’s.
What Subjects Are Right for Whiteboard Animation?
Sometimes we surprise ourselves. I had always thought what whiteboard animation excelled at was concepts – really drawing out the relationships between people or things, using metaphors to elucidate ideas, creating a graphical map of processes. And of course, whiteboard animation is good at those things.
New Kinky-Sweet-Weird Stop-motion Film by Kirsten LePore
We don't do stop-motion at IdeaRocket, but we are definitely fans. (Check out our piece on PES.) The charm of stop-motion is its imperfections: the things the animator accidentally moved, the changes in lighting, the rough edges of the models. Stop-motion always feels touched by humans. Kirsten LePore is an emerging master in it.
Reed Hastings, Netflix’s Strategy, and the Future of Branding
I highly recommend Marc Andreesen’s interview with Reed Hastings on the a16z podcast. Netflix, the company that Hastings founded, has done many remarkable things. In 1997, it created a DVD-by-mail category where none had existed before.
Entrepreneurs Give Advice To The Younger Version of Themselves
Last week I answered the question, “what advice would you give the younger version of your self as an entrepreneur?” We thought it would be interesting to solicit the responses from other business owners. Here is the advice they would give the younger version of themselves:
Website Design Firms: Free ROI Calculator for your WP Site
Last month we published a post about calculating the ROI on lead gen videos. It included a widget where you could input your company’s numbers and extract the real or projected ROI for your video project. The response, from both prospects and clients, has been so positive that we asked ourselves: are there adjacent services that might also profit from these calculators?
5 Steps to Calculating the ROI for Animated Videos
Why should you measure ROI?
If you’ve already made the video, evaluating its effectiveness will help you assign marketing resources more intelligently in the future. But even if you haven’t made the video yet, projecting ROI will help you decide how much you should spend on it... or whether it’s worth doing at all.
9 Tips to Improve Your Attentional Hygiene
I was listening recently to a podcast where Ezra Klein interviewed Tim Wu. Wu is an accomplished academic, author, activist – the sort of overachiever who makes you ask yourself: “how does he find the time?” He was speaking about how he managed to be so productive, and he used a term that stuck in mind: attentional hygiene. Some of the strategies Wu uses aren’t really practical in a workplace (e.g., disconnecting from the internet) but he did make me think about how we navigate a workplace with a multitude of tasks and a multitude of distractions. Personally, I am not a Master of my Attentional Hygiene domain, but I do try! Here are some suggestions to increase your personal productivity.
Going to Vegas: A Video Party Invite
Usually our Pick of the Week features animation from filmmakers around the world, and that will continue to be the case. We love all animation, not just our own! However, we want to show you some of our work occasionally too. And since we're in the party season, we thought you might enjoy this party invite video we produced for Veeam in 2d character animation.
The Big Decision: Live Action or Animation?
Aisle or window? Boxers or Briefs? Vodka or Gin? These are all eternal questions. In video production, we have an eternal question of our own: Live Action or Animation? Since we are an Animation Studio, perhaps you might expect us to say Always Go Animated! but that’s simply not the case. There are good reasons to pick live action. Here are some of them:
Branding Lessons from Nature
Can the evolutionary strategy of fruit teach us something about branding?
For many ages, seed pods have fallen to the ground from trees – and the seeds inside them have become new trees. Over many generations, some trees gained an advantage: their pods contained a sweet, delicious flesh that humans carried with them, distributing their seeds to places far away from the original tree, where they had to fight their parent for sunlight. This advantage was so great that soon, fruits competed for desirability to animals.
New Toongraphic on Whiteboard Animation
Although we produce animated video in a full range of styles, whiteboard animation is really where our studio made our bones. Animation studios that manage to last often have a turning point; for us, it was when we were chosen to create the show-open for the 8th season of Showtime's hit show Weeds in the whiteboard style.
How to Be a Good Video Sherpa
Are you the project manager who has been tasked with producing a video that will please a sprawling set of stakeholders? This might not be news to you, but getting the video produced might well be the easiest part of your job. The real challenge is going to be navigating the shoals of corporate politics. Fear not, however! We have some tips to make your job easier.
The 10 Best Books on Business
Let’s face it, as a genre books about business have more than their share of flabby writing and theoretical hocus pocus. That does not mean, however, that there aren’t books out there that are useful and entertaining. Here are a few of my favorites.
What’s the Best Length for a Video?
Infographics have long been a popular way to impart information. They're usually made with vectorized graphics. At IdeaRocket, however, we're big fans of the comic book form -- nearly all of our staff and freelancers are current or past practitioners, and I think it's fair to say that all of us are fans. So we thought... why not use the comic book form to impart information in a graphic way? What we came up with is what we might call a Toongraphic, the first example of which you can see below. This one is written by me and designed by our Associate Creative Director, Robert Kopecky.
My post on Arnold Bread inspired a surprising amount of blogosphere commentary, as well as a long series of comments here (many of them containing a puzzling sense of affront – no, I do not want to regulate bread varieties!) Here’s Tyler Cowen, Jim Manzi, Don Boudreaux, and Russ Roberts.
When Products Splinter
A couple of talks in the copious TED collection make a fascinating counterpoint. In the first, Malcolm Gladwell tells the story of Howard Moskowitz, who brought choice to spaguetti sauces. The take-away is simple: people have a diversity of tastes, and by creating a diversity of products rather than a median product, we can make more people happy. Obvious? No! says Barry Schwartz, author of The Paradox of Choice. He says consumers have too many products to choose from and that it causes a paralyzing anxiety.
Follow Your Marketing Bliss
Many years ago I remember seeing Joseph Campbell on television giving some advice to young people: “Follow your bliss,” he said. Well, I couldn’t disagree, but I did have some reservations. This was probably spiritual advice, I thought. I had to suspect that a lot of people who followed their bliss winded up cold and hungry.