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Taking Care of Business
The pen and paper aspects of DV -- put it in writing!


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Old February 26th, 2003, 05:39 AM   #1
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Your Website

Are you supporting your video production business with a website? Did you develop it yourself, hire a third party or rope in a friend or relative to do it for you?

I strongly believe that, as we are operating in a visual medium, our websites should reflect that same graphic and visual sense that we bring to the business.

If our sites are full of random clip art, java effects and dodgy midi music then what are our clients going to assume about our productions?

Our own site is currently in a late prototype stage as I attempt to establish a design that best reflects our work. Of course, after that, I need to post the actual final content as much of the current text and images are simply acting as placeholders at the moment. Well, it gives us an idea of how it will finally look.

How are your sites working out? I would be interested to hear from those on this board about your views on the effectiveness, or otherwise, of your websites as a business tool and as method of establishing a graphic sensibility or look which will appeal to your target market(s).
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Old February 26th, 2003, 09:11 AM   #2
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For our 2003 marketing, we have one print ad, three bridal website ads, and our own website. I just booked a wedding last week where the bride emailed me from my website and asked where to send the deposit. A clean, professional website makes all the difference.

I built my own site using Netscape Communicator (free download) and Photoshop. My site has evolved quite a bit as I have learned HTML and website design principles. Each time I prepare to redesign my site, I spent a couple of weeks looking at other photography and videography sites and find the elements I like, and the elements I want to avoid. I've never copied someone else's website, but my current site was influenced by several well-done websites.

Feel free to take a look at what I've done. The URL is www.utphotographicmemories.com. Good luck with your site!

Rick Foxx
Photographic Memories
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Old February 26th, 2003, 10:53 AM   #3
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James,

I think your website already is in a very nice direction. Elegant
and simple. I would however remove the "under construction"
pages. If there is nothing there, do not let the user know at
all.

It is like giving something a cookie and then saying, whoops,
sorry, it is a plastic cookie, you can't eat it.

I personally prefer simplicity, clarity, style and space. Especially
space.

Rick: you might want to add the --> border="0" noborder <--
parameters to your image tags (IMG) to get rid of (ugly in my
opinion) the blue/purple (purple once you've been there) lines
surround your images.
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Old February 26th, 2003, 11:05 AM   #4
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Your site is nice and simple. The image sizes may be a bit large and I don't think it needs to be quite so large but then again, I am a DSL snob and I *hate* having to pander to dial up users in my work at Clipstream.com. So I myself am always pushing that envelope.

One comment. I don't like that you have to click on the box to get to the menu choice. I think there's a disconnect with the usual use of an empty box, which is as a check box on a form.
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Old February 26th, 2003, 02:35 PM   #5
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zebradv's intro page design assumes a 1024 768 display, and that the browser has no extra toolbars (such as the Google toolbar). It's nice that you want to fill the page with a pretty image, but the better way to do that is with a small Shockwave Flash applet. (Actually, the way the site is set up, with a virtual domain redirect and frames and all, it's a perfect candidate for the Flash treatment. Add some mellow, low-volume harp or string quartet music to accompany bubble girl and your page sets the mood, instantly and innocuously. For an example, see ochacups.com.)

I agree with Keith on the checkboxes, but on the other hand, they're used consistently enough across the site that they sum to some bit of stylistic coherance. So keep them if you like.

The capitalization seems inconsistent (see "Your" on the wedding page).

Anyway, I like the whole. Simple navigation, structural completeness. My only other recommendation is--and this is true for all business web sites--the address and telephone listing of the business should be prominently visible on the very first page visited, without clicking or scrolling. (And if you can find a way to fit it, on every page.) Many potential clients visit a web site as a faster alternative to looking up a number in a phone book.

Rob Lohman: I sympathize with your complaint. I get web pages that give me inedible cookies all the time!

Keith: have you noticed your "Big Brother" popup has made its way to some other images (like the hockey one)?
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Old February 26th, 2003, 02:43 PM   #6
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I disagree on requiring Shockwave or any kind of special plugin for the site. No one is going to want to return to the site even if they decide to update their plugin. Updating a Shockwaved site is also more time-consuming when sometimes you just need to change some text information. If you absolutely require Shockwave, then at least provide a less-bandwidth intensive, non-plugin alternative by detecting the user's browser on the landing page.
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Old February 26th, 2003, 03:09 PM   #7
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I agree regarding Shockwave. It can be annoying at best.

FLASH and Java however have become ubiquitous. Something like 97% of all browsers these days already have FLASh installed. FLASH particularly versions 3-5 can run on almost everyones computer these days.

Rick
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Old February 27th, 2003, 04:00 AM   #8
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Thanks for all of your comments guys,

As for the 'Under Construction' pages - remember that this is a prototype website and the only reason it has been posted is so that I can check it out on the PC's in work. I'm developing it on the mac at home and I'm trying to ensure a relatively consistent look across all platforms before I post the final content and banish all of those pesky under construction notices.

Also, none of the images have been optimized for the web so they certainly are too large, amongst other things (contrast, brightness). Again, the text is mostly spoof 'blah-blah-blah' garbage so any random capitalisation that may have creeped in there will be absent from the final site.

In response to others, Shockwave, Flash and Java are not only beyond my ken but also something I find personally annoying - a bit like those Christmas cards with a sound chip in them. Harp or String Quartet music is definitely a big no-no and completely contrary to the design ethic of the site and business.

I do agree about having contact numbers clearly displayed and that will be something I'll be integrating into the final product.

Well, thanks guys for all of your comments but that's enough about me - what about your websites?

I've taken a look at Rick Foxx's website (Nice one, Rick!) which is very nicely done and totally different to the style I've adopted. And Keith, very nice site but what's with all of the weapon images?

What about the rest of you?

Jim.

Oh, and the 'checkboxes' are staying!

:-)
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Old February 27th, 2003, 08:04 AM   #9
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James,

I will be designing my production website ASAP. However, if you want to take a look at a website of mine, feel free to visit:

http://www.dpbegin.com

The website that has garnered business. Let me know what you think...

I used Photoshop, Adobe GoLive, and MS Frontpage.

Cheers!

Derrick
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Old February 27th, 2003, 06:38 PM   #10
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Robert,

The Ocha Cups intro was very well done. I think it might be a
very nice way to introduce a movie related website. You immediately
get a "feel" for the movie. Ofcourse this should be low on
bandwidth and it might not be for everoyne, but overall I really
liked it! Thanks for sharing that.
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Old February 27th, 2003, 07:00 PM   #11
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I'm at a loss here. I can't find "Ocha Cups." Where exactly is it?

James... I like how your site is coming along very much. The photo of the little girl is very fetching.

Derrick, your site is also appealing. Have to be honest about one thing, though. The centered popups have already gotten a bit old, in my opinion. Plus, a lot of people are using "popup blocker" software now. I think seeming the same thing in the popup centered on the main page would be just as stylish.

My site is just a hobby filmmaker's site (it's under construction...some dreaded Flash is on its way). But I'm working on a more professional, commercial-looking design for later this year when I'll try to seriously start marketing. That'll involve retiring "Lady DV" and opting for using just the star/reel symbol.

The new site will involve more simplicity and lots of use of still shots and video grabs. Both you guys have inspired me. The original Hillman Curtis site is the kind of look I'm going after (too bad he changed it).
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Old February 27th, 2003, 07:06 PM   #12
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John,

Just go to http://www.ochacups.com/ and DO NOT click
skip introduction... then it starts to play... Sit back, dim the lights
and enjoy!

(oh.. and check your e-mail.. NOW! :)
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Old February 27th, 2003, 07:55 PM   #13
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"It is essentially a worship of the imperfect"....that would make me a god! Woohoo!

Great site! I'll have to go back and click around there some more. Nicely done.

Rob: Got your message.
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Old February 27th, 2003, 09:30 PM   #14
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Personally I can't stand Flash, Shockwave and some JS ladden sites anymore. There are few people that actually push the medium and use it effectively. Most seem to still be stuck in the "Gabocorp" era. That was cool back when Flash 3 hit the scene, as something like that was totally new. But it's time to move on now.

Call me old fashion, but give me html with a clean, simple, yet creative and effective design anyday.
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Old February 28th, 2003, 01:30 PM   #15
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Matt, so what are you thinking about that site that uses flash
to tell the story of the movie?
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