Auman Video Production Logo (a work in progress)

The week has just begun and already my post-work time is set to be filled with personal projects. First project to tackle is a logo for my video production company (for site and end of video signage).

I'm attempting to utilize the astronaut images I'm so fond of while creating a simple and recognizable logo. The image was originally designed around the astronaut. Although I'm happy with the astronaut image I've created it wasn't simple or scalable for how I intend to use it.

I went back to simple shapes, such as the circle, in order to encapsulate the astronaut to make it scalable. Working from the circle I began to play with a combination of recognizable video shapes (stop, play, pause, fast forward). While I was at this step of the process I opened up to the idea of using the letters 'a' and 'v' from my production studio's name.

"AV" is not only Auman Video but it is also "audio/visual". I created a thin custom font for the letters and used the inner part of the 'a' to encapsulate my astronaut.

It may not be the final logo but it is a step in the right direction.

Be a Collector and Not Just a Consumer

"Where do your ideas come from?" If you've been in an interview for a creative position, you've probably have been asked this question. I've made it a point to ask any student I'm considering, for an internship position, this question and I think it's an important question to ask. It's insight into how a person thinks and their creative process.

When asked, I say "I'm a huge consumer of media." What this means is that I spend a lot of time watching film and video. I watch for styles, techniques, concepts, characters and ideas. If I find an interesting visual technique or style I write/sketch it so I wont forget. I wasn't the first to work in video and I'm not the last, so theres no point in reinventing the wheel.

But I'm not just consuming, I'm collecting. I save video links, I share them, and showcase them to others. I'm sure you've watched a video at some point and loved it so much you had to share it. There are entire sites dedicated to showcasing an individual's (or group's) collection of video, an example being

If you stumble across a video, whether it's informative or entertaining, don't just be a consumer, be a collector. If you write a blog, share it with your readers, or if you or your business has a Facebook or Twitter account, share it with your friends and followers. What you choose to collect and share tells others just as much as what you produce.

30 Second Videos

When I meet with clients about potential video productions one of the first things we discuss is the length of the video. The average person/client will expect videos over 5 minutes and sometimes even 10 minutes. The ideal online video is 2 minutes or even shorter.

Recently at work, while discussing future projects with our writer, we decided we would pitch the next food district video less like a traditional 2 minute virtual tour but as a series of 30 second commercial-esque vignettes. With 30 second videos, we can hold attention more easily while making videos students will watch, share and post to Facebook/Twitter.

By creating 30 second vignettes, we could produce four videos in the same amount of time it would take to produce one 2 minute video. The smaller videos are more likely to be watched and by increasing the amount of videos on our Youtube channel it would also increase the total amount of views on all videos. This would then create more opportunities to click to our other videos or back to any Food District web page.

Jack Daniels has recently and successfully used this method of creating 30 second vignettes rather than one longer video for their new Tennessee Honey.

Their videos are short simple and by labeling it as a "Part", if you enjoy the video, you will proceed to their channel and continue to watch more of their videos. With a longer video, once the viewer is done watching they could easily move onto the next page leaving you and your product behind.

Simple short videos allow the user to watch more of them, while making viewer feel like they've spent less time watching and making viewers more likely to share them through social media channels.

Gear On

Before I began to work on a snow crew project at work I came up with the concept of a smaller video to help students dress appropriately for the weather, especially to wear the proper shoes to prevent falling.

I wanted the video to be short and clear but to not sound as if we were talking down to the students. I based the style off of the Rudimentary section of the Put This On blog's videos.

Unused Dining Commons Video

This is an unused video for a dining commons on Penn State main campus that I had pitched to my client in late 2010.

The previous concept was to use a popular chef from the dining common and to give him the Jib Jab treatment as he made puns about eating at the common.

Given the assignment I was told we needed to keep the previously recorded audio track of Stew, the popular chef from the dining common, but that I was allowed to update the concept. I choose to switch from a Jib Jab style to the use of a puppet.

Working with a puppet had a lot of challenges, mostly in syncing the old audio to match the puppets mouth. The solution I was hoping for was to record both puppet movements and a new audio track at the same time but was told keeping the old project audio was a must.

Given the limitations I was very pleased with the way the video turned out. Although the concept was approved internally, it was eventually dropped from the project and replaced by a more traditional tour concept.

NACUFS wrapped

Last week I wrapped on shooting the NACUFS footage and while I wait on customer approval here's one more look at it.

NACUFS Invitation

My current project at work is an invitation for next years NACUFS conference being held at Penn State. The concept comes from the California Tourism commercials.

New Banner - Process

Before I began working on a new banner, I had to decide on an image that would reflect my work and the personality of my work and thought process.

Towards the end of August I had done a small animation to learn After Effects. The result was an animation of a bird astronaut climbing into the mouth of a human astronaut and flying the astronaut head towards a distant planet. My favorite shot that I had worked on was a close up of the bird in his helmet flying towards the surface of the planet, with the surface being reflected on his vizor as he got closer.

Knowing this was my image I brought it into Photoshop added text and began to play.

My first banner was the basic set up. Bringing in my elements to understand how they would play together.

Having converted the image to black and white, I began laying the text over the image. This resulted in the look of cutting the letters out of the bird image.

I then used the text as a cut out, removing it from the image and laying the image textured text to the right of the bird. I achieved the look I had hoped for but didn't care for the repetition of my name.

I reversed the cut out to make a mirrored image of my name, creating a more interesting interplay between the image and the text.

Return of the Blog

It's about that time when I make my glorious return to the interwebs and begin posting current, future and past projects. I'll also be posting anything that inspires me, whether it's print, web or video.

So enjoy the new banner and keep checking back to the blog for more images and videos.