Purpose and Love

Sometimes I like to share articles by others that interest me. Here’s one on finding your purpose and doing what you love.

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Custom Shops Rule

The difference between us and a more assembly-line driven shop is, simply, we’re not an assembly line shop. Each project our digital agency  creates, from website designs to web application development, and every film and video we produce is a custom product, crafted specifically for our client to meet their exact needs.

Now, that doesn’t mean we don’t take advantage of the economies of using similar processes and pipelines for each client. For instance, our RED digital cinema post production pipeline is awesome, and helps us massively reduce costs to where we can deliver outstanding, feature film quality video for our clients for a midrange price. And on the website side, our reliance on CMF MODX and the LAMP stack has similarly helped streamline our process when developing highly complex websites for clients. So no, we don’t reinvent the wheel every time we do something. What we do is use our awesome, proven wheels to help us develop projects that are spectacular and specifically geared towards our clients.

It’s the difference between hiring a rock star architect to design your building and buying an off-the-shelf tract home plan for $50 online. Nothing against tract homes, I lived in one for years growing up. But in today’s business world, you need all the advantages you can get to differentiate your business from the competition. You need a killer architect to get the most out of your project. We help businesses and organizations do exactly that.



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Web Video Production: Scriptless is Foolish

We love helping clients create memorable videos for their websites. But often we’re approached by clients who know they need a video, but don’t understand that a script is really important. A good script, or at least a solid treatment, is really the only way to make sure you’re creating a video that’ll meet your goals. And it’s far cheaper to make changes to a script than to a finished production.

Sure, there’s times when a script isn’t vital- times when you’re doing interviews and getting soundbites, for instance. But even then, a rough treatment will help ensure you grab everything you need, which saves you time and pain in post.

It’s like building a house- you really need some sort of blueprint, or you’ll end up building something terrible that’s a complete mess. Or something gorgeous that’s just not what you wanted.  Either way, it’s not useful to your business- or at least, not as useful as it should be.

When we can, we try to educate the client about the importance of having a script for their video. Most of the time, they listen, and the collaboration is fruitful. Sometimes they don’t. We try to avoid those situations as much as we can.


I don’t normally repost articles, here. But this one’s just far too good not to. Check it out, for those who are irritated at Facebook’s stock fall: http://www.businessinsider.com/facebook-stock-letter-shareholders

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Companies with video get 437% more engagement from customers

From GoMoNews:

 Videos are now a bigger part of Google’s search results as Google learns to index video content. Videos account for 50% of all online traffic as of January 2012. Not only do videos boost your company’s visibility, but they promote engagement. Customers exposed to videos are 437% more likely to engage your brand.

Wow, right? That’s more than 4x the engagement. Video matters. A lot. And no matter what your business’ size, you need quality video on your website and an active YouTube presence.

Learn about our video production services.

Read the whole article at GoMoNews

Professionals Specialize

When we first started building websites and creating promo videos for clients, we were open to any CMS, any camera, any software app or technology out there that looked promising. We were brand new, and trying new things was a lot of fun for me and my team. We’re still constantly evaluating new technologies and tools, and bringing the winners into our toolkit. But over the past two years we’ve settled on a core group of tools- from the RED cameras we love to shoot on, to our favored CMS (MODX) for building websites and web applications, and a standard set of dev and post production tools.

Why? Because professionals specialize.

It’s impossible to deliver amazing, stunning results when you’re constantly fighting with your tools, and learning how to use them. But by finding out which tools work the best for you, and really learning them inside and out, they become like extensions of your mind. This opens you up to putting your efforts into the job- not the tools. It allows you to focus on the story you’re telling, or the user experience you’re building. Plus, it makes for projects that have fewer errors or delays during production. That’s huge.

Again, I’m not advocating a closed-system mentality. You need to be constantly trying new things. But having a reliable, extremely high competence in a core set of tools can help your digital agency succeed. I highly recommend it.

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Why The BlackMagic Cinema Camera Matters

We’re excited about getting the BlackMagic Cinema Camera, even though most of what we shoot uses RED digital 35mm 4K+ cameras. RED rocks, so why would we be interested in a “lesser” camera? Easy. RED has spoiled us in post-production: since RED shoots in Raw format, I’m able to fix shots and make things look much better after the shoot. But the problems with RED are the media cost is insane, and frankly many jobs don’t require 4 or 5k imagery. Many jobs work just fine at HD resolution. And the RED is notorious for taking a huge amount of post production resources to support.

I’ve been avoiding adding a HD camera to my toolset, though, because most HD cameras don’t look that great, or hold up like the RED’s footage does in post. Enter the BlackMagic Cinema Camera.

The BlackMagic shoots a respectable 2.5K image in Raw format. Even better, it can shoot in log ProRes format. And it uses cheap media! Finally, the Blackmagic won’t require the post resources my REDs do.

This is just the ticket for a lot of corporate clients, and even some film projects. I’m excited, and so’s my crew.

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Are You Authentic?

A competitor digital agency, a large one in Los Angeles, has been found out. Their website design is a template they purchased in Asia. Word on the street is, so are almost all the “custom made” websites they’ve built for their customers over the years.

This is an agency that’s been in magazines and has been highly regarded by the Los Angeles business community. Will this revelation hurt that agency’s business? I don’t know. But I think it should, because what they were doing was lying to their customers.

Now, there’s nothing inherently wrong with templates. Some businesses need to really cut costs to get started, and sometimes a clean template is the way to go for them, if they cannot afford a professional website design company.

But if you’re selling yourself as a web design shop, it seems strange that you’d not actually design websites. Especially when you’re charging as if you’re creating custom website designs. To not have a hand in designing websites, when designing websites is in fact your actual business, is lying to your clients, and it is less than authentic.

That’s where I have issues with our competitor. To me, being real is a big deal. Authenticity matters. It’s why I am involved in every project we do. Yes, it means we do fewer projects per year, but it also means that every project we do, from a website redesign to a client video, is as good as it can be.

This has proven to not only be a solid way to run our agency, it’s also allowed me to sleep soundly at night. I highly recommend it.

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PLUSdoc- Ready to launch!

We’re thrilled to announce that our newest interactive venture, PLUSdoc, is ready to launch. PLUSdoc is a way for doctors to share authentic, verified patient reviews on their websites or social media sites. Check it out at www.plusdoc.com.

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My Web Designer Interview on MODX

A couple months back, I was interviewed by MODX about my life as a web-head. Here’s how it went down:

Patrick’s Interview on being in the web design way

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About PatrickOrtman, Inc.

PatrickOrtman, Inc. is one of the top-rated video production companies in Los Angeles and New York City. We make high-end corporate videos, and commercials for TV and digital for clients that include 11 Fortune 500s.