What is stock video footage?

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Photo by Nicole Geri on Unsplash

Footage is everywhere. On our tv shows, movies, on our social media platforms and our favorite music videos. Many times the footage shown in these particular platforms is shot specifically for one purpose. Other times, you might run into footage that is used in several different occasions. The reason being: not everyone shoots their own footage. This is where stock video footage comes into place.

We have talked in previous posts about the importance of starting to create, even if we lack the money for the right equipment or for the trip to that beautiful place you want to film at. Because of this, there is a vast network of web pages where we can find footage to download and use for our projects.

At the end of this article, I will paste a few links to some of these pages. Now, not all of this footage is free. Some of these pages offer monthly subscriptions in order to access their content. There are others that sell the footage individually, and might even vary the price by the size of the document or the quality of it. Others do offer free and royalty-free footage to anyone’s leisure. The truth is, each one of them has their own thing going on when it comes to the financial and the legal part.

Taking this into consideration, it is also important to throughogly understand the legal norms of these videos found online. For this, something called the Creative Common License was invented. Usually referred to as the CC License, this is a legal documentation of the copyrights of any material. There are several different branches to this license, and that is essentially decided by the artist him/herself. An artist, for example, could decide to make his/her work free to anyone using it for personal projects, but to charge any commercial use on it. Also, they could chose to simply charge all the time to anyone interested in using their material, or to make it free as long as they are credited. The options are many and it is up to the person interested in using the material to understand and acknowledge the rules of usage that each individual footage might have.

Links:

https://elements.envato.com/

https://www.pexels.com/videos

https://www.videvo.net/

https://vimeo.com/stock/collection/6322804

https://www.istockphoto.com/

The world inside Video Editing

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Photo by Peter Stumpf on Unsplash

Video recording started years ago, after people had fell in love with the beauty of photography and started looking for more innovative and creative ways of capturing moments and stories. The beginning of video was very different from what we are used to seeing nowadays. Nonetheless, the concept has remained the same after all these years.

It all started with what we know as videotape. This format consisted on capturing frames of pictures that would be played very rapidly so as to create the illusion of video. Also known as film, the process for this was long and painstaking, and will typically require someone knowledgable and professional to handle the same. From this came the term linear editing, which essentially means editing from beginning to end on a straightforward line. This form of editing was back then the only possibility to put together films, and the operation took a lot of time and care in order to see the results wanted. The reason why this method is so meticulous, is because back then the only way to edit scenes was to physically cut and place the parts where they were wanted. If a mistake was made, or there was a change of mind, that take would be lost since it would have to be replaced by another one in order to eliminate it. In this technological day and age, this type of editing is rarely heard of anymore. However, this is not to say that it is not important (and some videographers may say even essential) for editors to understand and even practice and perfection before they get into the new form of editing: non-linear editing.

Non-linear editing is what we all know of as simply editing today. Technology has made this practice very convenient and easy for us, as now we are able to go back and forth, to change as we please and to save as many backup copies as we think are needed.

Another important factor of editing that anyone coming into this field should know of is online and offline editing. When working on any editing project, it is almost essential to understand how this process works, and why it should always be applied. It is indeed quite simple once it’s understood. When shooting content, the video is usually given to the editor as raw files. These raw files will almost always be extremely big files, which means that in order for them to be cut, trimmed, edited, and so on, they take up a large amount of space and effort in anyone’s computer. For this, editors should always make sure to downsize their files when bringing them into the editing software. What this means is that these files will be converted from high resolution to low resolution for the time that they will be played with on the software. This is done so as to give the computer a more comfortable space to work with the files. Now, this does not mean that the final result will also be on low resolution, which is why we call this the offline editing. When editing offline with low resolution files, the editor should do every single cut and trim, place all the files accordingly and finish doing this before moving on to the next part. Once all of these changes are done, then the files can be converted back into their original high resolution form. This is where the editor would enter into the online editing. Online editing should only take care of color correction, titles and culmination of the editing process, which means the exporting of the project.

Whether we are referring to linear or non-linear editing. Or whether an editor choses to work with the offline and online editing method. I believe it is important to note that video editing is a beautiful craft and form of storytelling. This job is the one in charge of delivering stories to our tv, computer and phone screens, and whomever is able to perfection is should always be recognized for this!

Multimedia Production and what we have to offer to it

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Photo by Gustavo Zambelli on Unsplash

On my previous post, I went on and on about the roles that make up a multimedia production team. There are quite a lot of them, some not as crucial, others completely essential. Usually someone that is looking to become a part of one of these teams will start as a production assistant, which technically means an assistant to anyone on set that needs help. This kind of job might not have a great financial compensation, but it does give someone the tools to learn from within and to understand better all the other rolls so as to chose correspondingly which one is better for them.

Depending on what one is interested in, there are many different jobs for beginners out there that do not require much experience or fancy and extremely expensive pieces of papers stating you have a degree that will cost you 30+ years to pay for. Many, however, will ask for examples of your work, and this is where things get a little tricky. Most unexperienced multimedia artists are looking for jobs to get to finally have access to the expensive equipment that these type of jobs usually require. This is a big problem that so many of us face whenever trying to enter this world. Nonetheless, it should not stop us from at least trying to create something to showcase our eye for the particular job, our creativity and, most importantly, our drive. Having something to show to a company you are applying for means that even though you don’t necessarily posses the means to create something that looks high-end and professional, you are still willing to showcase and explore your talent with what you have at reach, and that says a lot about the passion and dedication you have towards this goal.

To sum this up, it is extremely important to understand that applying somewhere empty handed lessens your probabilities to get hired tremendously. Shoot even if it’s with your phone, edit even if it’s on iMovie, record even if it’s with a $25 guitar hero microphone. Try, fail, and then keep trying some more. Eventually someone will notice your hunger to know more and to reach higher.

It takes a village

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The production of any type of multimedia project is typically a process of operation. Unless the project is being done on a very low budget, or by an individual that is creating content for their page, blog, reel, etc. It is not unusual to have a good amount of people working on a production.

Although there are several roles that need filling on a Multimedia Production Team, I would like to firstly point out the most important ones. It is crucial that I also point out that the hierarchy of this information is completely based on my personal opinion.

Videographers and audio designers: these talented individuals, in my humble opinion, are the most significant part of a production team. Without them, it would simply be impossible for the production to even exist. Videographers, as the title bluntly says it, are the ones that manage the visual aspect of the production. Audio designers, on the other hand, are the ones that add up all the seasoning to the visuals; without a great and competent audio designer, a production team is lacking the fundamentals of the storytelling.

Secondly, the creative director. This title creates a lot of confusion for some. I know it definitely troubled me when I first heard about it. To make a long story short, a creative director is essentially the one that determines and makes sure the vision of a brand, story and or composition is present and constant. In order to have this title, one has to not only be (undoubtely) a creative individual, but also a great listener with an open mind, a natural leader and a humble team player as well. These traits are important because as a creative director, one will need to understand the minds of the individuals working in the project so as to be able to assist them in anything they might need.

Project managers, aka the parents of the production team. As a project manager, one has to deal with all the technicalities that go with creating content. Amongst these are handling the legal aspects, ensuring the customer’s content, the overall organisation, execution and delivery of the project, as well as making sure everyone on the team is doing their job correctly. Usually, a project manager is someone that is very responsible, with qualities of a human resources professional, but also with professionalism and competence firsthand.

Lastly, content editors. Now, I would like to point out the fact that putting content editors last in this hirarchy does NOT make them any less valuable in a production team. In fact, that is what I am striving to be! Having said this, now I will try to summarize how amazing this position is and why the person in charge of this role is just as important as the rest. Amazing footage and audio is fundamental, but it can only go so far without an equally amazing editing. Editors are similar to audio designers as they are also in charge of capturing the mood of a story, and delivering a result that will smoothly enhance the same allthewhile maintaing the vision and idea throughout the composition. These hardworking individuals are basically the key manufacturers of any multimedia production team.

All in all, it is unfair to put any of all these highly important roles in a hierarchy, as they all have a special task on a production team. Other relevant roles such as lighting directors, set designers, and production assistants make up these teams throughout the field of multimedia production. Despite the fact that a production can be achieved with one or two people only, all of these roles combined make up a professional, harmonious crew capable of creating anything they set out to do.

Why sound is probably as important as visuals.

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Photo by Jonas Zürcher on Unsplash

In these times where technology dictates pretty much everything in our lives, it is easy to believe that visuals are the most essential part of any media composition.

Visuals are of course a huge part of the media. However, audio tends to pass by unnoticed even though it actually plays a significant and almost always crucial role in any kind of content. Whenever we are watching a movie, a vlog, an ad, or even a 5 second video on Instagram, even if we don’t notice it music makes it smoother and easier to watch. Essentially, music is to visuals what butter is to bread. We can eat bread without butter, but how good is it really by itself?

Sound designers are the artisans behind this complex type of media. I say and emphasize the complexity of this job because it is not as simple as some might think it is. Behind soundtracks, voiceovers, playbacks, dialogue and music in general, there is a lot of work that was put into it.

Someone that works as a sound designer should typically know a lot more than just mixing and putting tunes together. This craft takes passion and will to fully understand and master, and not many can do the amazing job that some others are able to do. Aside from the obvious technical abilities that these designers should know, such as being above competent on softwares like Audacity, Adobe Audition, QLab, etc. They also need to have a very creative mind. The reason behind this? As a sound designer you need to understand the idea of the composition, to create an ideal atmosphere that not only will tell a story, but that will enhance the story that is being told by the visuals, and of course needs to understand mood, transitions and taste accordingly as well. All of these things take talent over knowledge, which is something extremely important when someone decides to become a sound designer.

Now, this career can absolutely be lucrative. Most companies when looking for sound designers will start them off with $40-60k. This might not be very appealing, specially for those that live in very expensive cities. Nonetheless, these salaries are usually to beginners, and fluctuate according to experience and what the employee has to offer. Sound designers hired by big companies that have a positive reputation can make six figures, so if this is something that you might be thinking to invest your time in, it is definitely not a bad idea!

Web Banner’s Influence in Today’s Marketing

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Web banners have been storming our websites, blogs, online searching, and so on for a few decades now. Ever since its inventions, this method of advertisement has only boomed further. To many, web banners are overbearing and can become annoying when surfing the web. Because of its increasing popularity, they are now used pretty much in every branding strategy, thus making their visibility a lot larger than before. As a result, it is important to fully understand the concept of it, so as to be able to separate your specific Ad from the rest to make it stand out.

The functionality behind these Ad Banners are plenty, and today we will discuss the most relevant. When creating a Web Banner, the main goal is to be able to come up with a design that will make your content and/or message enticing, engaging, inviting and, of course, “clickable.” The reason why this is so important is due to what I briefly mentioned before: thanks to the reputation that Ad Banners presently have, nowadays designers need to think outside the box in order to be able to make people actually take a look at their Banners, to click on it, to generate tangible results. Once this is achieved, the website will bring about more traffic, which is the main reason why this Banners are created in the first place.

Another objective for applying this advertisement method is to develop an audience. When starting a brand from the ground up, one of the most essential things that need to be researched and thoroughly studied is the brand’s audience. Who is looking for the product that’s being offered? Who can afford it, what age group will be most interested, does it aim to a specific social stance, or can it be purchased/used by anyone regardless of this? And so on. These points are substantially what will make your brand either thrive or fail. The reason being is that although a product or a service might be able to sell itself to a general public, when any type of advertisement is directly laid out to attract a certain part of the population, the probabilities of success are simply higher because the overall ratio is reduced. With this being said, when designing a Web Banner, these analytics are highly relevant and should not be ignored.

Lastly, these ads are extremely helpful for the development of brand awareness. Brand awareness is a marketing term that is defined as the outside recognition that a product and/or service have by its name. Ideally, your brand awareness should identify clearly what your product and/or service are all about. It should be able to (transparently) depict the idea behind the name of your brand to the consumers. A greatly broadcasted brand awareness will produce more sales, subscriptions, popularity, and an overall health for any brand. Web Banners and brand awareness comes hand in hand, as they are both intertwined with their abilities to help a brand flourish by portraying compelling information out to the brand’s audience.

Altogether, these methods are all a branch of what Web Banners are all about. Used together, and properly, they are a strong leeway to understanding how to expand a brand and how to keep up a happy audience.

Why we should all use WordPress

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As of today, WordPress is one of the leading website builders out there on the internet world. Hosting millions of different users, the great thing about WordPress is that it is perfect for all type of audiences. Be it that you are not keen to technology, and that you are trying to build a simple website that does not require a lot of knowledge, or that you are a pro coder and want to assemble a website from scratch, all of these options are found on WordPress.

For beginners, wordpress.com shows you a huge variety of templates that you can choose from for the design of your site. Painstakingly, the professionals working for this company put together different ways of helping people understand fully how to customize their websites. And if more assistance is required, they also have a great customer service that you can resolve to.

On the other hand, wordpress.org serves those professionals that are looking for a blank template to build and develop their ideas into. With this too, WordPress makes sure to enable assistance if needed.

All in all, this company has increasingly become popular to the public because of how reachable it is. When you create such an attainable “product,” it enables people to not only fully understand and thrive within the same, but it also sells itself easily to anybody looking for something remotely similar. Because of its accessibility, its simplicity, and its integrity as a company, WordPress has been giving people the opportunity to flourish online since the early 2000’s and, so far, it will continue to be the leader in this technological era.

All about Web Banners

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When creating a business, exposing a product to the web, or even simply promoting a name, Web Banners are a highly effective type of advertisement to use to one’s advantage.

What are Web Banners, though? Essentially, they are a type of online publicity that consists of embedding useful information about the product and/or promotion that is responsive, so as to attract traffic to a specific website or a function within one. Luckily enough, designing one of these is far simpler than any other thing I have discussed before.

There are a number of different websites that enable you to design your own web banner using their templates. A very popular one is bannersnack, this site gives away free templates for anyone in the internet to use to their advantage. Of course, there are other websites that give you more options to choose from for a monetary “contribution.” Nonetheless, it is quite simple to find one that is fitting for your subject online. However, one can also take it upon one’s creativity to design a banner from scratch in different software such as Illustrator, Photoshop, InDesign, and so on.

One essential thing to always do your research on is the effectiveness of the size you pick. It is highly recommend it to always design at least 3 different banners with the same content, but with different sizes. This will give you the chance to make it more flexible to fit into different sites that you might be interested in. By doing some research, I came up with what would be the top 3 most compelling sizes to use for web banners.

  1. A Leaderboard banner: this one is seen fairly throughout the internet, and it is most commonly placed on the top of websites. (720 x 90 pixels)
  2. A Half Page banner: used to advertise important, enticing information, this one talks (as the name states it) half of the page it is placed on. (300 x 600)
  3. A Medium Rectangle banner: probably the most commonly used, it is big enough to be attractive, but not so large that it becomes unpleasant. (300 x 250)

Although these are largely used among the web community, it is important that everyone does their own individual research. There are factors such as the audience, the product, the interactions, and so on. That need to be taken into consideration whenever picking what size to design into.

UI/UX Design and why we should know about it.

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Photo by Ben Kolde on Unsplash

The design process of a web page is far from simple. There are quite a lot of steps into the process that have to be taken seriously in order for an overall understanding of the user’s persona, the interaction of the site, and the response wanted. This is where the UI and UX designers come in.

UI and UX designing are similar, yet different parts of a process. They are both within the general design, but encompass distinct aspects. As a UX designer, you are in charge of essentially the ongoing process of the design itself. There are four stages to a web design: the research, the brainstorming, the implementation, and the reporting. The research takes care of getting to know the people that are going to navigate through your website; establishing who your audience is and who it isn’t. For the brainstorming part, our creativity plays the biggest role; it consists of suggesting as many ideas as come into our heads (even if they are crazy or senseless) and putting them all together to analyze them so as to then come up with a conclusion. Then comes the implementation. This part is what we will call the UI design. A UI designer is the one that virtually takes care of the technical parts of the design. Typography, color scheme, negative space, use of symbols, and so on, are some of the things that UI designers take care of in the process of web designing. Lastly, the reporting: the observation of how well the users are interacting with the website. In this case, another important term (that we will discuss hereafter) comes afloat.

From the last element inside of the UX design process, the reporting, comes the term of AB testing. As mentioned before, reporting is a fundamental part of the growth and development of a website, and it is easily accompanied by this simple testing method. AB testing is conformed by two sides of an “experiment,” A test and B test. These two are compared with one another with one random change, such as a search bottom being red on test A, and green on test B, so as to analyze the traffic that each subject brings in. The idea of this approach is to understand by comparison which elements of design work better with the site in testing. With this, not only does real data from real users gives the designers the answer to their doubts, but it also enables for proof and existential evidence to be able to make future observations if needed.

All things considered, these individual elements of a web design process are found within the UX design. As a designer, it is important to fully understand all the specific steps, but it does not necessarily mean that it is always done by one person only. Some big corporations have one person specifically assigned to each process of the design, so it all comes down to where you work and how the company manages this area. Most UI/UX Design jobs require for a good amount of knowledge and experience before they hire you, although with some exceptions one can be trained accordingly or given the opportunity as a rookie. The salary is definitely substantial, going from $25-$35 an hour starting, to as much as making $180,000 a year. With that being said, if this is a path you are thinking about taking, I would highly recommend it as it is a fun, enticing and transparent job, it can be done (in a lot of cases) from the comfort of your home, and it pays substantially well!

The Blueprint of Web Design

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Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

The concept of blueprint has existed for hundreds of years. It is defined as a technical and/or mechanical drawing of a detail structural plan. It is most often used by architects and engineers that are working on building any kind of infrastructure. However, Blueprint has a sister called Wireframe. Wireframe is essentially the same as Blueprint, only for Web Design. Almost all web designers use wireframing before jumping into the actual design for a number of reasons that we will discuss hereafter.

Before jumping into color, design and content, wireframing enables designers to form and understand throughly the functionality of the website they are building. This is important because it creates the structure and flow of the site before even putting the aesthetic elements. Some designers do it by hand, with a blank piece of paper and a (neutral-color) pen. Others prefer to do it on the screen. Both options are completely valid and work just as well. However, it is usually advised to create a finish product on the computer, as it makes it easier for the designer to start building the webpage.

Once the wireframing is set, it enables the designers to understand where each element should be placed all throughout the site. This does not only make the overall process easier, more organized, and faster. But it also applies something that is incredibly essential for any type of branding out there: consistency and cohesion. These two result on a stable and balanced design that is easy to grasp, read and navigate. In other words: a win-win situation.

Wireframing is not only simple and easy to learn, but it is also functional and effortlessly accessible. Below is a list of my top 5 free Wireframe websites that make it even easier to start your wireframing adventure.