Pet King Brands needed a new website that was built using CSS and Web Standards. Here’s what we did for them:
We’re in discussions with companies interested in product placement and/or sponsorship. We have a vision for where the show is going, and we want to hold onto the rights as long as possible. We’ve already turned down an offer to sell the show because the buyer just didn’t get our vision.
Patrick: The RED One is amazing. I’m looking forward to using it a lot more in the future. I purchased the camera for my company, Genius Monkeys. See, I have this day job where I do TV commercials….
Patrick: We’re huge sitcom fans. And we wanted to write something that fit in with smart, funny shows you’d see on TV. We also wanted to create something that looked good, something cinematic like Sex & The City. We aimed high.
Kathi: Ah, Christine is a good one! Thank you for the compliment. I grew up watching mostly sitcoms, so my writing and acting were definitely influenced by some of the great shows like Friends and Gilmore Girls.
So, since we last talked:
Couch Cases has passed 500,000 views. Half a million streams and downloads. We’re stoked. This is amazing for a true indie show with no big backers. Thank you for all of your support.
And we got a nice writeup in tubefilter.tv. Here’s the link.
TubeFilter interviewed Patrick Ortman about the work we did on Couch Cases. The interviewer called Patrick a “pioneer in the digital world” for his work with digital media and web design.
Also from the article:
Asked about the differences between creating for mobile phones and creating for the web, he says, “It’s all storytelling, but of course we had a lot of technical limitations with the mobisodes due to the medium. What’s exciting to me now is seeing the evolution of video on the Web. We can create stories that are much more cinematic and visually interesting and deliver them to people whether they’re at their computer, on their iPhone, or sitting in front of their television. Technology is finally getting to where it can almost keep up with one’s imagination, and that’s pretty cool.”
The combo of RED and Apple recently introduced tools to allow us to work with native RED footage in Final Cut Pro and Color. This is awesome, and it’s got tremendous potential. But it’s not perfect.
First of all, the log and transfer process with this new plugin from RED and the latest FCP updates works really well, looks great, and is easy to use.
You have two choices when transferring: Native or ProRes HQ. You choose these from the little gear dropdown menu in the Log and Transfer window.
Advantage to Native:
When you transfer your footage over in Native, you get to use a new tab in Color’s primary room that lets you alter the ISO and other fun things ala a mini Red Alert application. This is HUGE, because it means you can change exposure and make other RAW adjustments in Color.
Disadvantage to Native:
It may not play back on your Mac (and you have to enable Unlimited RT in your timeline to get it to work at all). For us, on a quad-core Mac Pro with 8 GB of RAM and our footage on a SATA array we were unable to get smooth playback consistently.
Advantage to ProRes HQ:
It looks great and it plays back smoothly.
Disadvantage to ProResHQ:
No RED tab in Color. It’s grayed out. Damn.
So, for now we’re sticking with ProRes HQ as our option. I know this is version 1.0 of the software, so I’m hopeful that the playback issues will be solved eventually. The RED One gives us footage that’s utterly amazing, and our clients love it. Having mature versions of these essential tools from Apple and RED will let us take things to a whole new level with the kind of ease of use one would expect from technology leaders.
Daylite, customer relationship software
We’ve been searching for a good customer relationship application for a long time. Daylite is a Mac-only application that plays nice with Apple Mail, and it rocks.
We hate that Intuit’s Mac version of QuickBooks sucks so badly. Enter MYOB.
Modo and Lightwave (3D applications)
Product demos, visualizations, animations, and more. We used Lightwave for effects shots with Couch Cases. It’s great. Modo is even cooler in some ways, but most importantly they play well together.
Adobe CS4 Master Collection
Everything we do uses some piece of software in this collection. It’s expensive, but worth every penny.
You’re reading why.
ModX CMS system
The only CMS we’ve found that gives the freedom to design like things should be designed- using web standards and CSS.
Hands down the best browser on the planet, especially with its plugins.
It seems there are still a ton of web designers out there who think it’s OK to use the H1 HTML tag to hold a client’s logo. This is a misread of the HTML standards, and makes life difficult for disabled users. Anthony at Designbit feels the same way we do about using H1 for what it’s intended to be used for on a web page.
We’ve begun a redesign of the Genius Monkeys website. It’s not done yet, we’re just really in a very early beta period for parts of the site right now, but we’re refining and reorganizing things and plan an official launch at the end of January. This has given us a chance to think about best practices for web design, in an environment that isn’t claustrophobic due to client demands and deadlines.
First lesson learned: PNG is finally here. It’s now very possible to create layered looks that involve transparency and which work in all major browsers (even the horrible, outdated IE6 if you learn how to fix that browser’s limitations through scripting). This opens up entire new worlds to us, and we can’t wait to show the possibilities to our clients.
Next lesson: Flash and Standards-based websites don’t need to be exclusive. In early 2009 we’re adding some pretty cool Flash features and writing some interesting behind-the-scenes scripts that will show our website off to iPhone users and others who don’t support Flash.
Another lesson learned: your blog really needs to be integrated nicely with your website. We’ve been big proponents of a company blog since we started Genius Monkeys, and for the past year or so we’ve included some php code on our homepage that pulls the latest blog posts we make into the design of the homepage itself. Look for more of this going forward from us. It’s easy to do, and it makes your website instantly more updated and topical for your clients and visitors.
Good design is a process, and while most of our work is client-centered and shrouded in secrecy before launch, this particular redesign in a much more public space continues to be a fun, rewarding project for us.
Last week we surpassed the quarter million views mark with our web series Couch Cases! Woohoo & thank you for your support!