It’s finally here!

adsmedia Uncategorized

Well its that time of year again…the last minute before the holidays. A perfect time to reflect back on the year, and frantically finish our Christmas video!

We’ve been doing these for so many years, you’d think Ken’s acting would improve, or his gift giving. As you’ll find out, neither does! But the team can still dream big!

To all our clients, friends, family and others whose email we happen to have, we all wish you a very Merry Christmas and look forward to working together in the new year!

Without further ado, enjoy the video!

 
To reminisce over all of our past ADS Christmas videos, check out this playlist.

Planning for Great Audio

Matt Pavone Audio Post-Production

When what you have isn’t what you want

‘It’s not REALLY what I wanted, can’t the sound be more dynamic?”

I’ve heard this before from video producers looking for a huge and spectacular sound mix.  But if the video dosen’t allow for that, how can the sound mixer hope to make it special?  Here’s what I mean:

I had a client bring me a large motion graphic video for sound design and mixing.  He said he wanted something ‘huge, futuristic and really heavy on the sound effects’.  Sounds great to me! It’s the kind of project I can really stretch my legs on and have some fun with.  But when I watched the video for the first time I was disappointed.  He wanted futuristic sounds, but where were the cues for those sounds? Where were the lasers? Where were the opportunities for this huge soundscape he was looking for? He failed to plan for great audio.

One example: he wanted a dynamic panning effect on an icon rocketing around the earth. However the shot followed the icon, keeping it centred in the shot, as opposed to having it whoosh across the screen, whereby I can add some pan and space to it.  Keeping the icon front and centre meant a static effect. No volume up and down, no panning, etc.  The producer was upset because he didn’t have the budget to go back and redo the animations.

Set the groundwork early.

In an ideal world, any project where the sound matters (that should be any project with sound!) should consult the mix engineer in the early stages. Most won’t even charge for the consultation.  It’s usually just a phone call for smaller projects, or a short meeting for more involved ones.  The planning and ideas generated at these have saved thousands of dollars for our clients, and the final product really does excel.  We discuss things like mic techniques for the location audio recorder, mediums, formatting, delivery formats, shot selection, even what wild sound to capture.  This can make such a HUGE difference in the final mix (and final budget).

So if you are planning a video, film, doc, or anything short of a silent film, please give us a call early and let us help you plan for great audio!

 

Designing a great Website

Matt Pavone Web Design

I love designing websites.

It is one of the joys of this job that I came upon by accident. I didn’t go to school for website layout, but it’s something that I’ve found I really enjoy and honestly I’m pretty good at.  Occasionally I have friends or clients show me a site they like the look of, and sometimes yes, these sites look cool, but when the functionality of the site – the flow and access to information – is low, the site becomes nothing more than a shiny trinket on the internet, only visited once for the ‘neat-o’ factor then quickly forgotten about. Aside from visual impact I always consider the following points.

Who is visiting the site and why?

Know your visitors is step 1 to a smooth and fluid website experience. If most of your visitors are coming to your site to look at product, or learn about your services, it would make sense to put that information right in front of them as soon as they arrive – not behind 3 or 4 clicks worth of menus and subpages.  I try to keep access to any page on the site within 2 or 3 clicks max, so no matter who visits they can get where they want to go with a minimum of hassle.

What is your message?

Focus. This is probably the #1 item missing from poorly developed sites.  What is the message? What do you want to tell visitors when they come to your site? It was common to list all of your company info on your site in the old days of the internet. Now I look at websites like TV commercials – in that we only have a visitor’s attention for a limited amount of time, so what do we want to tell them? Are we pushing an online e-commerce store?  Do we want them to book an appointment? Or drive traffic to a brick and mortar store? Above all else a site needs to be planned and written with this goal in mind.

Keep it Simple

In the early 2000’s, companies were just building their first websites. Back then it was a depository for all information about themselves.  History, clients, products, how those products work, etc, etc. Every. Single. Detail.  Too much information can overwhelm a reader.  If a visitor come to your site looking for sledgehammers, they don’t need a history lesson on them and what uses they have. What they DO want to know is that you carry them, and that you are the expert in the area and can help them make the right choice.

Understand which decisions are made online and which are made in person

People are visiting your site for a reason.  Most commercial traffic on the internet is simply to vet or research a company – to see if they are the ones who can do the job. Are they qualified? Do they have what I need? Are they professional? These are the decisions people make online, – and these are the questions you need to answer with your website.

What you don’t need to answer are specific questions that need your expertise to answer.  Questions such as: Which product is right for me? How much product do I need? How often should I be using a product or service? These are customer specific questions, and the goal of your site should be to a) establish yourself as an authority in your field, and b) drive a secondary follow up, either by phone, email or in person.  Get them to call you, get them to come into your store.  Your sales team can do a much better job closing a sale than any text on a screen ever could.

There are so many other factors that go into a site design, specific to the type and purpose. The above points give a general idea of what it takes to make a great site – a site that is a joy to visit and navigate. Yea a flashy full screen video on the front page may look cool, but can you back it up with well laid out content that your visitor actually wants to see?

 

Still not mobile friendly?

Derek Web Design

Fifteen months ago, Google made some adjustments to their recipe (i.e. algorithm), which decides who comes out first in their search engine rankings.  This wasn’t just an update that you might be able to sweep under the carpet, as many tech insiders started to refer to this change as “Mobilegeddon”.

So, why is this important and how does it effect you?  As previously mentioned, non mobile friendly sites are penalized and not readily recognized in Googles search rankings.  As well, 70% of internet users are surfing the web on a mobile device these days, so in order to make that a pleasurable experience, mobile friendly sites have easy to click buttons, drop down options for tabs and pictures that fit the mobile device and that sort of thing.

How to see if your site is mobile friendly?  The best way to find out if your site is mobile friendly is to click this link – Mobile Friendly Test Tool.  Simply place your website in the analyzer section and click analyze.

At ADS Media, all of our sites are mobile friendly and can be easily viewed on a desktop, tablet or mobile phone.  If you have any more questions, please feel free to contact our office.

ADS Media welcomes major new addition

Matt Pavone Blog

ADS Media is proud to announce the addition of a new large format console to our studios.
As a small business,audio1 you often have milestone moments – our first REAL computer, the first (and hopefully last) time we moved our studios, new employees and new clients.  Sometimes those milestones happen without us really noticing. Today however, we mark a large milestone in the evolution of the studio.
We are the proud parents/owners of a new baby – a brand-new yet old-school world-class large format recording board. Having exhausted my supply of hyphenated words, I’ll summarize by saying ‘it sounds great’. Made by Audient in the UK, this board takes the old world quality and tone of vintage boards, and applies the latest tech and sound isolation to really join the best of both worlds.  In short, it sounds great and is super quiet – plus all the channels sound the same! (can your old Neve say that? Probably not as console’s can’t talk).
What this means is that our already high quality has taken a major leap forward.  We always were about what we like to call the ‘last 10%’. You can bring a project to 80 or 90% perfection with relative ease, but as you near the ‘last 10%’, it sometimes take that little something extra to get there.  That’s what ADS is about, that something extra.  That’s what this console helps bring our clients. I think it will fit in well around here.

Updated Demo Reel

adsmedia Blog

Hey everyone!
Just a quick heads up to let everyone know that we’ve updated our demo reel. Enjoy!

PS> We’re cooking up something special for this year’s Christmas project. Check back for more info later!

Pop Music

adsmedia Music

Just a head of Juno week here in Hamilton Ontario, I find it mildly amusing when there’s a new song released such as “I Really Like You” by Carly Rae Jepsen.

You’ll find people online criticizing the lack of complexity with the writing, production, and say things like “it’ll now be overplayed”.

I think it’s ignorance, or perhaps bitterness on the critics part given the success of these particular artists. This is most likely what drives them to a place where they feel justified making these comments.

It’s a lot of work to write, produce, arrange, program, record, sing and create something simple and catchy. It’s not cheap when you bring together some of the most talented people together in the business. In the end, whether you like it or not, hit songs are well thought out and intentionally crafted pieces of work. There are many skilled people behind the scenes required to create something so simple.

The question I ask is, if you’re such a talented writer, musician or critic, why isn’t your song on the top of the charts in it’s respective market?

Magic Lantern: First Impressions

adsmedia Video

Magic Lantern is a custom firmware available for Canon EOS line of cameras that unlocks a plethora of useful options. Be forewarned, while this hack has worked without issues for the large majority number of users, installing custom firmware could damage your camera or even leave it completely inoperable. You may be asking yourself, why take the risk? For the majority of users, Magic Lantern is not necessary nor needed, but for power users or professionals looking to squeeze every drop of performance from their rigs, Magic Lantern unlocks the true potential of these devices, especially for video recording. A list of the features the firmware offers is available on their homepage along with a helpful user guide.

At ADS we have been toying with the notion of installing Magic Lantern on our Canon 5D MKIII for some time now, thought we were hesitant to risk damage to our main shooting rig. I recently purchased a much more inexpensive Canon Rebel 600D (T3I) and with that decided to take the plunge.

Installing the custom firmware was surprisingly simple. First ensure you are running the recommended firmware version for your camera. A list of supported cameras and firmware version can be found here. From there, you simply download the latest stable version and unzip the contents to the root of a freshly formatted SD card. Next, insert the SD card into the camera and using the cameras menu system, navigate to the option to update your firmware. A screen will prompt you to restart your camera and tada, you are finished. The whole process took only a few minutes.

At first I couldn’t tell a difference and thought perhaps the installation had failed until I consulted the user guide and discovered how to access the ML Menu system. I was surprised at the number of options I had available for this entry level camera, more than I knew what to do with. Unfortunately this camera didn’t support RAW video encoding as with the higher tier cameras, however a few choice options stood out for me. I could control the bitrate of video recording, increasing the quality of the file and reducing compression. I could enable overlays for my LCD display including audio meters and zebra stripes. However the feature I’ve found the most useful so far is the waveform monitor. This display allows me to check my exposure in terms that made sense to me as a video editor, which will allow me to shoot better and spend less time correcting in post.

There are a ton of other options I haven’t even experimented with, but for the few I’ve checked out, the installation has definitely been worth the effort and we’ll likely be applying the firmware to our other cameras in the future. While I would recommend Magic Lantern to anyone else with a Canon EOS camera, I do caution those wishing to try. Again, installing custom firmware could potentially damage your camera so make sure you read the documentation prior to installing and be prepared to take responsibility for a worst-case scenario. Once we’ve tested more extensively we’ll post again with further impressions.

www.magiclantern.fm

Happy 2014

adsmedia Notices

Happy new year to you all. We hope you celebrated the start of 2013 in good spirits with family and friends. Now that we’re a few days into the new year, it’s good to look ahead and think about what this year may bring us. Wishing for a Prosperous and successful year to all. -ADS Team

SACKED!

adsmedia Video

It’s here… The moment you’ve all been waiting for, Our Christmas video of 2013!

Jeff and the rest of the ADS Media team goes on a crazy ridiculous adventure to get Ken’s kids Christmas gifts this year. It’s an Epic Adventure!

Thanks for another exciting year and we look forward to working with you in 2014!

Also, featured… [LISTEN] FREE FROSTY (from Wyoming) an original song for this year’s video. Performed by Amie Vandevrie, Composed by Ken & Amie Vandevrie, © 2013 Jeff Cuneo/Ken & Amie Vandevrie, Lyrics by Jeff Cuneo.