Best Video Production Websites
I'm wondering if anybody here knows of some really cool, innovative websites for video production. We're looking at updating ours and I'd love to see what others have done, so I can show our designers some samples. Would you please post links to those sites?
Also, how many of you find it a priority to have a demo video on your front page? I see many demos on front pages, but most just offer a montage of shots cut to music. Seems unnecessary to me.
How many of you find flash as a priority?
Thanks very much.
You don't necessarily need a cool innovative website if you are selling production services. You need good examples of your work.
As a frequent consumer of video production services (generally per diem shooting, recording studio or animation) these are the things I look for in a website:
1. Contact information including name, address, phone. The reason the actual address is important is if I have a shoot at X location, I want to make sure the vendor does not have to drive 100 miles to get there.
This sounds like a no-brainer, but I have been to a number of sites that have a phone number and e-mail address - useful but not as useful as a location. Make sure your business comes up in a Google Maps search.
Also if you are using Flash for navigation, make sure the contact info is actual html text. If I am sending a colleague or client your contact info, I want to be able to copy and paste into an e-mail or Word doc, or from a website to an email in my blackberry. Minor point, but you want to make it easy for people to contact you and give you their money.
2. Some example of news magazine or corporate video - nicely lit talking head, b-roll.
3. Background of the crew, sample clients or description of past jobs
4. Easy unobtrusive navigation. If I am looking for a flash designer, certainly the site should show some Flash design skills. But unless the production company is selling web and flash services, keep the navigation simple and to the point. If I google "video production Anytown, USA" and a result takes me to an overly flash website intro I click through to the home page, but 7 out of 13 times, the content is not useful. If you put a top hat on an old dog it's still an old dog. But who doesn't love dogs with hats.
By the same token, if you have a simple easy to navigate site, make sure it is somewhat current in design. Anything with frames or flashing text screams "Geocities circa 1996."
These are of course not hard and fast rules, as there are good examples of Flash based navigation and unorthodox sites of very successful companies.
The most obvious examples are from our very own Creative COW leaders:
biscardicreative.com for example is all flash, but it is done tastefully with easy navigation in mind and is very effective.
fantasticplastic.com is a fun place to visit - that Todd Terry looks like a swell guy!
sntvideo.com - fellow COW Steve Wargo has a cool site that is mostly HTML. His contact page gets the Mike Cohen seal of approval too! Oh and I have actually hired his services in the past year.
In summary, don't get too caught up in trying to be flashy. Let your work be the focus and it will speak for itself.
I know what annoys me:
Auto-playing anything. Especially the green-screened loud-talking spokesmodels walking out onto my page suddenly, BOO! Creeps me out and never is what I came for.
Slow-loading splash screen animations before you hit the actual main page, with no opt-out.
Interfaces that are deliberately obtuse and enigmatic and take over my browser: defying me to be cool enough to take a lot of time to figure them out. If I wanted to watch "Lost", I'd be watching it on TV, not living it on your web page. And if your page is so "meta" I can't figure it out, we're probably not a good fit anyhow.
Navigation that dead-ends and won't allow a backwards return.
Pages that require me to download a lot of plug-ins before I even start. I don't need a site that says "some assembly required". If you have content that needs a specific player, make that an option somewhere, not a default. People use all manner of connections to surf, from dial-up to mega-fast high speed, to phones and PDA's. A site that only "works" for whatever the web designer himself uses, is pretty exclusive.
An email link button that just invokes your system's mail program, instead of giving you an actual address you can cut and paste. That makes me mad. I don't have Apple's Mail app configured on my computer, Never use it, so when I hit one of these links to grab the address I want to paste into the web-based email I DO use, I don't get anything except the auto-configure dialog for signing up with Apple Mail. And they leave no other way to determine the address. Makes me all stabby.
[Mark Suszko] "An email link button that just invokes your system's mail program, instead of giving you an actual address you can cut and paste. That makes me mad. I don't have Apple's Mail app configured on my computer, Never use it, so when I hit one of these links to grab the address I want to paste into the web-based email I DO use, I don't get anything except the auto-configure dialog for signing up with Apple Mail. And they leave no other way to determine the address. Makes me all stabby."
Not that I don't find this annoying, but you can set your default mail app in your browser preferences so it will pop up which ever app you use for your email then you don't have to worry about Apple's mail popping up.
But if you don't use a mail app then you have a problem. At home my wife and I only use web based mail. Clicking a "mailto:" link opens an Outlook message window even through there is no mailbox associated with it.
Either offer a contact us form or post your email address (even as text with spaces, ie: contact@company#name.com (remove #) or whatever)
If you do a contact us form, make sure it delivers the inquiry to someone's regular email address. If I have a shoot next week I want a response today - or use the phone. However with one-person shops, the person checking the mail and answering the phone may be on a shoot so specify the best way to reach someone.
As I said I have a website already. I'm afraid it's become too outdated and it's definitely too wordy. No problem finding my contact info on any page.
I also think my site needs to look more professional.
Many folks say that a video production company needs video on their first page. Or at least flash. I'm with Mark on the talking spokesperson. Yuck!!!
Here's my current site. http://www.ballmediainnovations.com
Hey - this is an open opportunity to pimp our site!
We go the route of absolute emphasis on the video as we know that is what people come to see. We sort of leave the rest out of it. At the moment we have a rate sheet on there, but that'll be gone soon - no one really cares. We source out our video to a vendor that has really high-quality fast-playing streams with the ability to scale to different bitrates on the fly depending on connection.
Now, updating it regularly, that's the hard part!!
This site is responsible for most of our new business, and it is a great place to push people we run into on the street, etc.
Sorry to be such a plugger, but I do think it is somewhat of a unique approach.
Hand Crank Films
Take a look at my website: http://www.stephenhockman.com
I've categorized my portfolio into three parts: Web Design, Video/Motion Graphics, and Graphic Design. For each sample I provide a description of "The Challenge" for the project as well as "The Solution."
Using that combination puts things in perspective and helps clients to really understand how you solve problems. As opposed to just watching your cool videos and leaving the guesswork up to them.
Freelancer Designer Virginia - StephenHockman.com
Find out more about me, see my portfolio, and read my blog
Graphic Design Info, Web Page Tips, Video Production Guide BLOG
My blog updated weekly with industry tips, tricks, and news
I guess now is a good chance for me to pimp out our site as well. We do corporate video and photography. We can be found at http://www.episodexistudios.com. I would also recommend that you check out the site for Richter Studios. They have a great one!
Beth Sowell, CMP
What work did you do with ABC's Extreme Makeover - Home Edition?
We shot the "behind the scenes" portion of the show when they were here in Charlotte, NC