Video Ad Solutions for the Web

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   Sample Animation - Logo Comes Alive

The above animation uses a video control bar (skin) that disappears when the cursor is placed over the video display box and then removed.

To play the video, click the play button on the left side of the video control bar. If you do not see the video control bar, simply place your cursor over the diamond image. When the video control bar appears, click the play button.

Once the video has started, wave your cursor over video display box and then away from it to make the video controls disappear.

Video skins are completely customizable in terms of colors, opacity, and layout. In addition to play, seek, and mute buttons, components can include volume, rewind, fast forward, and full-screen among others.

Skins are usually placed over the video (like the animation video, above) or under the video like the sample on the Home page.

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I provide custom video, animation, and motion graphics for internet ads with a focus on animated text. I can build something for you from scratch or use your graphic elements, pictures, and video.

Cyberspace is a competitive place. And the attention span of the typical user is getting shorter and shorter because of the exponential growth of the web. When someone lands on our web page we usually have only seconds to communicate our message. Get the edge by adding animated ads to your website or blog.

Descriptions and Links to Sample Productions

Here are some brief descriptions and links to some sample productions:

A) The Render Your Vision production in the sidebar of the Home page is a synchronized composition of background images, animated text, and music. The video control bar (skin) was placed in a static location at the bottom of the video display box to ensure that site visitors will know it is a user-controlled video. The skin could just as easily have been placed over the display box (like the one in the sidebar of this page) with functionality to have it disappear with cursor movement.

B) The animated company logo in the left sidebar of the Website Solutions page (below main navigation) uses talk bubbles for the ad message instead of audio. Many people do not like automatically enabled audio on a website so this might be a more prudent way to go. Also, rather than continuously loop (replay automatically), this animation was coded to play only once to avoid ongoing distractions to site visitors as they focus on other parts of the page. Instructional text was used to let visitors know it can be replayed manually with a page refresh.

C) For an example of a looping sequence of images with animated text and no audio, see the Did you know... Ad in the right sidbar of the Website Solutions page. This example includes functionality that allows the site visitor to pause the sequence by placing the cursor over the video display box. This approach can be useful for slideshows that do not include a skin for aesthetic reasons.

D) The Logo Comes Alive video, in the right-hand sidebar on this page, is an example of motion graphics, animated text, and stock music embedded in a flash video. It was published as a SWF to minimize file size and optimize page-load time. In contrast to the video on the Home page, this uses a disappearing skin controlled by the site visitor.

E) The Contact Us page displays a motion graphic generated from two high res photos of my iPhone. It gives the illusion of a muted, ringing iPhone while displaying my company name, logo, and phone number - simple, subtle, and different.

F) The header section of my blog displays a sequence of high res images driven with javascript. I used Photoshop to add the text and crop and optimize the photos.

G) Finally, the header sections of the main pages of this site (at the very top, behind the compnay name and logo) are transitioning slices of various sky photos. They were animated with Adobe Flash and programmed with ActionScript to run once and stop untill the page is refreshed, again, to minimize distraction to readers. The objective is to subtly highlight the company name and logo as the site visitor lands on each page.

To discuss your video animation needs or obtain a price estimate for your project, please don't hesitate to contact me.

Enhancing Your Website or Blog with Animation

If increased visitor traffic is the objective for your website or blog, then quality content in the form of text is most important. That said, website themes can usually benefit nicely from an appropriate amount of video or animation. For example, while embedding pictures is an excellent way to enhance the look and feel of a web page and clarify your product or service offering, a simple slide show can do the same thing while saving page space and adding a little pizzazz. Moreover, if you are trying to inject some wow factor, animations and videos are great strategies for doing so.

Like anything else, too much of one thing is usually no good. By that I mean, too much video and not enough text can have a negative impact from a search engine optimization (SEO) perspective. That is, the ranking of your website within search engine result pages (SERPs) can suffer if your website does not have enough textual content for the search engine crawlers (bots) to process and index. So the moral of the story is, don’t overdo with video. Search engine bots cannot read/process text that has been converted to a graphic format within a video. Make sure your site has plenty of good old-fashioned text describing your product/service/message and use videos and animation to creatively supplement and promote the textual content. While this issue may change down the road with the advent of HTML5 (new standards for web page development), your best bet right now is a balanced approach.

Use Audio Judiciously and Put Your Site Visitors in Control

As previously mentioned, many people do not appreciate websites that launch sound clips immediately upon landing on a page. This may be because they already have music playing or because they are in a location where audio is inappropriate. Some users simply feel it’s an invasion of their space – their machine should not play audio unless they have explicitly instructed it to do so. In any case, the initial impulse from many of these types of internet users is to navigate away from the page. That outcome, of course, is the exact opposite of what website operators strive for. With that in mind, when it comes to audio, I recommend that web designers let site visitors/customers maintain control. When including a sound element on a web page, whether it’s a stand-alone clip or part of a video presentation, always include a start/stop button and a mute button. That will keep your visitors in the driver’s seat which is where most want to be.

The Way of the Web

Bottom line, video, with or without audio, is the way of the web these days. And the trend is evolving at an accelerating pace. Bandwidth is no longer a show-stopper and tools are in plentiful supply. Many are free. Even mobile devices, including most smart phones, support video as a standard method of delivering content. With the overwhelming amount of textual information online, many internet users will opt for a video presentation over text if it provides news, entertainment, or useful knowledge in a quality manner. As success driven, online entrepreneurs, we should give our visitors what they want and the best way to accomplish that is a balanced combination of text and video.

The Animoto Solution

If you are a time-strapped entrepreneur who wants to make your website more compelling quickly and painlessly with video that showcases your products or services, you may want to consider Animoto.

I love the Animoto story because it’s an online-startup-success-story. They were on the cover of Entrepreneur magazine in January 2009 with the headline "The Animoto Revolution, How this band of hipsters is taking the photo revolution into the 21st century". How cool is that? In short, here's how it works. You feed them your photos and pick a soundtrack and they return a TV & film-quality music video to you -- in minutes.

Last time I checked, Animoto’s pricing was $249 per year or $39 per month. This includes unlimited full-length videos, each licensed for commercial use with no Animoto branding. It also includes pre-licensed music and I can tell you from personal experience that finding appropriate, legal/licensed background music can be very time consuming. The better solutions usually charge per song. One can easily spend $300-$500 for a basic custom video so Animoto's pricing is pretty reasonable. I also like the fact that they don't lock you into a long term contract.

Creating your own videos can be extremely time-consuming. If you are like most entrepreneurs, that’s time you don’t have. Even simple videos can take hours to edit and finalize. To quote Animoto’s website, their solution is “fast and shockingly simple.”  

To learn more, check out the sample video on their business solutions page. If you wind up navigating to their home page, the "free" service you will see promoted there is their personal (non-commercial) solution. You can read more about that in their Terms of Service agreement. The nice thing is, you can create a personal video at no cost in very little time to see if the service is for you.