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Old September 12th, 2008, 04:04 AM   #1
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VideoCoPilot Tutorials within reels

Hi All,

I've been doing some research around other media companies in my area, just to see what kind of things they're producing and how I can get better.

I was shocked to find in every single show reel, there is at least one VideoCoPilot tutorial presented as their own work. Video Tutorials & Post Production

I think these tutorials are amazing, really useful, and i'm not surprised there are lots of examples of the techniques on youtube. I also understand there are no copyright issues in re-using these tutorials, even in a commercial use. But really, am I REALLY the only one that strives to start from scratch and create fresh content for every client? I wouldn't even consider basing client work on a template off the internet. Starting from scratch it's such an enjoyable process and essentially makes you a better visual creative.

What do you guys think? I was going to link to a couple of examples but ultimately that's not a very nice thing to do to name and shame any particular companies.

Rant over!

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Old September 15th, 2008, 06:58 AM   #2
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I feel the same way. If I see any hints of Andrew Kramer's work in other peoples work I uncontrollably shudder. I've been guilty of it a couple of times I have to admit, it depends on the workload or the care-factor. Most clients can't distinguish between a 10min template job or a 2 dayer masterpiece built from scratch.
Usually time will be the ultimate decider in choosing templates over a blank canvas.

If another artist has to question how your work was put together I reckon your on the right track.. The most interesting motion graphics are the ones where standard effects and the after effects clichés are completely absent.
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Old September 15th, 2008, 07:27 PM   #3
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I'd like to know what Andrew thinks; Neil, could you e-mail him and point him to this thread?

I've purchased a couple of his discs and watched his tutorials, and they're great. I've not (blatantly or otherwise) used his tutorials in my showreel or any work I've done, but the concepts and the way he illustrates the use of the program is invaluable. I've used what I've learned and applied those concepts if needed, where needed in my own work.

Playing the devil's advocate here, once he's shown someone how to do it, do you think it's fair that someone is able to show to a potential client that they can indeed 'do this'? To push that question further, if someone wanted to show a fly-though layers and use of particular, how far would they have to change the concepts they saw in a tutorial to make it their own?
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Old September 15th, 2008, 09:52 PM   #4
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go and post the links. since they put them out for the public to view, you'd just be helping in their online marketing ;)

I love stuff like this. my best marketing material is getting my competitors demo reels and playing them for clients and letting them see this stuff.... with a little education :)
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Old September 16th, 2008, 04:21 AM   #5
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I do feel bad for naming and shaming here, seeing as this forum is so popular they probably all visit here themselves.

But first prize for overuse of VideoCoPilot tutorials goes too...

Watts That video production media company Sheffield (click on the show-reel)

I'll fully understand if moderators want to delete my post!
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Old September 16th, 2008, 11:40 AM   #6
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I think it's a tradeoff. How original/unique does the video need to be? What is this uniqueness worth to the client? Whether it's the methods/workflows we use, the music we incorporate, or graphical backgrounds. I'd love to hire a composer and symphony orchestra for everything I do, but it's just not possible. Instead, I use stock music. Isn't that similar to templates or stock backgrounds?

I don't have a general problem with re-using (with the necessary permissions) what someone else has created. If that makes parts of the final result recognizable, then I (or the client) have to decide in each case whether that is acceptable or not. What works in a corporate training video may not work for a TV commercial.

And with regard to the techniques/methods illustrated in tutorials: If I take the concerns with applying those techniques one step further, then one could argue that applying something you learned from a book/school/etc. isn't really your own creative work. If someone posts step-by-step instructions on this board for how to do better MPEG-2 encodings for DVDs, should I not use this just because I didn't come up with it myself?

I should say that I am not very familiar with the VideoCoPilot products, and maybe I missed something when reading this thread. I just don't have a general concern with applying what others have created, as long as the necessary permissions have been granted.

- Martin
Martin Pauly
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Old September 16th, 2008, 11:15 PM   #7
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Somebody please alert Andrew Kramer to this thread (he is a member here but hasn't visited us in quite awhile). He should be made aware of this... maybe he already is.

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Old September 29th, 2008, 02:08 PM   #8
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Well, my 2 cents are as follows...
This type of thing is really at the core of Design in general.
Design in it's self is copying what we have already seen to one extent or another.
I have never seen design layouts by someone who cannot see. We are all influenced by our design studies and by what we see everyday. Since Mr. Kramer has been kind enough to share some of his knowledge to the AE community I would expect many "AK" style spin offs within the same community. (Also Mr. Kramer himself has copied others design to show how it's done, (no harm in that))


Within the general design business blatant copying has always been prevalent, even going as far as stealing websites, lock, stock and barrel. People who do this sort of thing are not designers, not really. They may make some money from it but since they have not taken the time to learn how to do their own design work it can never last. I remember Andrew saying in many of his tutorials,"think about what you can do with this". These blatant design copiers simply have skipped this step, I'm sure it's confusing for them.

Maybe there are some legal steps Video Copilot can take to get these people from using the tutorials as a show reel, but personally I wouldn't waist my time. Better to keep moving ahead and building the business than worry about it.
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Old September 29th, 2008, 03:08 PM   #9
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Personally, I wouldn't use work that was created based on a tutorial for a demo reel, but if a client requested an effect that was covered in one of Andrew's tutorials, you bet I'd use it. For example, if a client said "I want to see a slow motion bullet shot from a gun", I'd grab Andrew's "The Bullet" tutorial off the shelf and follow it letter-for-letter. It gives the client the result they want and it saves me time and them money. Everybody's a winner.
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Old September 30th, 2008, 04:56 AM   #10
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Andrew has stated many times that you're free to use his tutorials for ANY purpose, and I have no reason to doubt that it includes showreel stuff.

A showreel maybe isn't a look what I've done, and maybe more of a look what I can do.

Ok, so it's not "creative" in the strictest sense of the word, to copy word for word a tutorial, but what if you change the position of the wotsit, or the colour of the background widget? is that still copying? maybe you look at movie trailers for inspiration? is that copying?

There's pretty much nothing new or original in the world, we're all copying in some way to a greater or lesser extent.

I thought the same way as you at first, but I just thought and thought about what I was thinking, and came to the conclusion that I was just being mean and elitist, and told myself to lighten up a little :-)

We're all creators together, whether we've seen an AK tutorial or not. There will always be people better than you and people not as good as you in the world :-)
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