17Apr

Why ModX Rocks For Websites

modxcms_home

A client recently asked me what the big deal was about ModX, compared to other content management systems (CMSs) like Joomla, or custom solutions. Good question.

First of all, custom CMS solutions suck. They’re terrible. They suck because by definition they lock you into a custom solution, and quite probably lock you into working with the company who built it. Forever. Or, until you get so sick and tired of their crap that you have to find someone else to take the project and redo it from the ground up. And that costs money. If a web design company wants to build you a custom CMS, run!

Read More »

17Apr

We now resume our regularly scheduled broadcast…

me_and_yoji_green1

Wow, what a busy week and a half.

First, the Media Temple transition has gone really well. We have almost all our hosting customers moved over, and the speed improvement in serving our pages is astonishing. We had a bit of a problem with this blog in the move, but we’re pretty sure it was due to some corrupted MySQL files. We were able to move all our posts over, but we’re still missing some images. I’m confident we’ll have everything back in place soon.

CORRECTION: Yup, everything’s back up. Guess what the problem was? Permissions errors. Same exact problem that was bugging a web design client of ours earlier this week when they tried to share files with us. Funny!

That is, assuming we get time to work on the site. Things are busy and interesting here, lately. And client work always has to come before working on our own site. It’s a bit of the “Cobbler’s Children Going Without Shoes” thing, but it’s unavoidable sometimes. In any case, we’ll have a few new projects to brag about on our site soon enough. 

Speaking of stuff to brag about, our shoot with the RED One was very successful, and my personal “late night” project is going through the footage and beginning the editorial process. I love this camera, it’s so easy to make pretty pictures with it. Our Burbank soundstage shoot was a lot of fun, too- and I enjoyed working with all the actors, from my buddy Yoji (he’s been in all but TWO of my films!) to Tansy, Christina, Ian, and Susan. Hat’s off to you guys, and to my awesome little crew-  thank you for everything!

That’s me and Yoji Cole above, with RED #2464 in Burbank, California.

30Mar

A Web Design Company Promo

We’re finishing up some greenscreen tests, and getting ready to go into the soundstage on Friday. The RED One is performing flawlessly, and our previz looks really good. Most importantly, we have some very cool actors lined up. 

Things are looking up!

26Mar

Web Design Tips: Structure Matters!

It’s tough to choose a web design company. And most articles about web design and search engine optimization concentrate on content. After all, everyone knows ‘content is king’, and there’s no denying that having unique, well-written content on your website will draw customers and improve your Google PageRank. But if you’re looking for happier customers and even higher traffic to your company website, there’s another part of the equation you need to address. It’s the actual structure of your website and of your web pages.

I’m talking xHTML and information architecture, web standards and semantic markup. 

It may seem a little bit less exciting than writing amazing content, but if you don’t devote the time and energy to a well-structured website you’ll find that your amazing content isn’t getting the exposure it deserves. 

Sometimes, this can make the difference between your company being successful or failing miserably. Read More »

19Mar

Business Web Design Project: Luvasil

Luvasil Web Design

Our new web design project

is a “phase one” website for Luvasil, a vaginal moisturizer and lubricant.  We like that the product is 100% natural, which is a huge change for these types of products.

Another huge change is in how we built the site. We’ll be adding features and a lot more content to the site over the next few months, but even this temporary site has a lot going on.

Social Networking

We implemented an easy-to-use “Tell A Friend” feature in the footer that lets people share the website with their friends on Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, and through Email.

Web Standards

The site is 100% web standards based. This means it’s accessible, easy to use, and a lot more search engine friendly than the typical website.

We’ve been standards advocates for a long time, but for this project we took a lot of tips from Andy Clarke, and his most excellent book on creating CSS-based websites “Transcending CSS“. Andy codified a lot of the newest techniques that a modern web design company should be using in their work. Thanks, Andy!

CSS3 and Graceful Degradation

We’re starting to implement CSS3 into our websites, where possible. If you view the site through modern browsers like Firefox, Chrome, or Safari, you’ll get rounded corners and other CSS3 goodies. If you’re on IE8 or IE7, you still get a pretty site that takes advantage of transparent PNGs for visual effect.

And while the site works just fine in IE6, it doesn’t look as pretty as it does in modern web browsers. The client agreed with us that we could finally not worry so much about perfection from a web browser that’s circa 2001. Just like Facebook and other sites.

We’re very pleased, and can’t wait to show you the forthcoming “version 2.0”.

By the way, the “version 2.0” of the Luvasil website will be powered by ModX.

18Mar

Acquisition and Expansion

PatrickOrtman, Inc. is expanding, and we’re better than ever! Where film meets web design, we’re there. We recently merged the film production team from Genius Monkeys with the web design team from Empty Street Productions to form a team of creative professionals that can do it all.

Founded in 2006 by Patrick Ortman, Genius Monkeys is a Los Angeles based HD and 4K video production company that creates television commercials, web video, and tradeshow industrials. Known for our impactful storytelling and use of cutting-edge technology, Genius Monkeys was one of the first digital production companies to use the RED One camera system, and we have been featured along with Patrick Ortman in TubeFilter.tv, USA Today, and the Toronto Star.

PatrickOrtman, Inc. would also like to welcome the web design team from Empty Street Productions to the fold. Empty Street was one of the world’s first web design companies and is known for creating innovative corporate websites for clients like Kimberly-Clark, Universal Pictures, and BellSouth.

Founder and CEO, Patrick Ortman, says:

Twelve months ago, video wasn’t really something our web design clients wanted to talk about. But things change. Technology evolves. Now, almost all of our web design clients are extremely interested in video for their websites, and some of them are pursuing web and broadcast TV spots with us as well. It’s smart for companies to embrace video as part of their marketing plans. With this change in attitude, I felt that it was time to finally bring these world-class video and web design teams together under one roof. We’re excited about the enhanced services we are now able to offer our clients.

So, what do all these changes mean for current or new clients?

Full-service solutions, where film meets web design. Work is continuing as usual, and our clients will be dealing with the same creative teams as before. But we now have the ability to craft even more dynamic and cost-effective solutions for our clients. Simply put, things are getting even better.

17Mar

Today Is Our Birthday!

LOS ANGELES, March 17 /PRNewswire/ — Patrick Ortman says this is a great time to be an entrepreneur, despite the economy. His eponymous new web design and video production company officially hit the ground running today, and according to Ortman, the timing couldn’t be better: “Lots of successful companies started during recessions – Johnson & Johnson, McDonald’s, even Microsoft. In this kind of economic climate, businesses of all sizes are looking for lower-cost creative solutions with high returns,” says Ortman.

“The economic downturn is terrible. But one positive thing coming out of it is the creation of smaller, agile design firms that are more in touch with and responsive to clients. Smaller shops were among the first to champion web standards (a more effective, modern way to build websites that last), and we’ve also been at the forefront of web video advertising.”

A recognized expert on interactive media and web design, Ortman is no stranger to the scene. He has been profiled in dozens of magazines and newspapers, and is set to be featured in two books on web design to be published this year. Some of his pioneering projects include the first rock concert on the web, created for Atlanta’s 99X radio station, virtual reality tours for Major League Baseball, and the hit web sitcom Couch Cases. He has also created websites for eight Fortune 500 companies.

“I’ve always been fascinated by learning new technology and figuring out how to use it creatively,” he muses, “It’s an obsession of mine.” That obsession led to Ortman founding one of the world’s first successful web design companies, and an early involvement in producing mobile video content that can be seen on Verizon’s VCAST and SprintTV.

A techie with a keen eye for beauty, Ortman has decidedly invested in cutting-edge digital tools like the RED One camera for his company, despite the economic downturn.

“I think it’s vital in these times to invest in solutions that generate more business. For us, it’s new technology. For our clients, it’s us. We don’t see the economic downturn as something that should paralyze companies. We think it should energize them,” concluded Ortman.

Ortman expects the company to become profitable in 2009, and has already landed a contract with a major healthcare products company. For more, please visit www.patrickortman.com.

12Mar

Promotional Video: Starting Preproduction!

Exciting news- we’re getting ready to shoot a new promotional spot for the studio. We go into casting next week, and we’ll be shooting on an LA soundstage in the next 3 weeks. We’re assembling our team, and looking forward to this new project in a big way.

We’re working on previz (previsualization) for the shoot right now. We use FrameForge 3D for this, and we’ve been supporters of their product since it was in beta. Previz lets us do a lot of the planning for the shoot before we set foot on the soundstage, where time is money. 

We’ll be shooting on our RED One, of course. It’ll be a greenscreen stage shoot, so the RED will be an amazing asset for that. The RED allows us to create television commercials and web video that looks like it was shot on 35mm film. It’s a huge step up from typical video quality. In fact, it’s about 4x better than HD video. 

We’re hoping to get some interesting stills from the shoot as well, and we’ll post a lot of content from the shoot on our website at www.patrickortman.com once we’re done.

2Mar

Make Your Business Web Design Rock!

Written for VP/Marketing and business owners, this newsletter will keep you up to date with the latest developments in web design, video production, and web marketing. It’s full of useful tips that will help you get the most out of your online presence.

We send it out quarterly, so your inbox won’t be overflowing. And we don’t share your personal information with anyone.

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