How to Convert to ProRes on a PC

prores_headerIf you are like us, you have an affinity for building editing computers.  There are several reasons for doing so but the main reason is simply getting the best bang for your buck.  You have ultimate control and can build a machine that is faster and more powerful than even the new Mac Pro for half the price.  This power comes with a caveat – you have to know what you’re doing.  I mean REALLY know.  Even coupling a certain RAM card with a certain motherboard can cause problems.

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The other issue we run into continuously is the fact the industry is still holding onto Final Cut 7 and it’s necessary remnant: the ProRes codec.  Now just to clarify, this codec rocks.  The efficiency is matched by probably only DNxHD in that it keeps file sizes down to a reasonable and workable size while at the same time creating 10bit 422 and 444 video MOV’s that serve as exceptional editing and color grading files.  Whether it’s because they still use FCP or simply prefer this codec over other, many post houses still require you to deliver ProRes to them.  But as anyone with a PC knows…you can’t just simply export or convert ProRes files even though you can import them into editors and view them.  Well here’s a method to turn your PC into a ProRes video file creator/converter, and it’s FREE.

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Our Edit Suite

STEPS TO CONVERT VIDEO FILES INTO PRORES:

    1. Download these two executables.  Note: These are not applications that you install.  They are executables that run independently off each other.  You may want to create a folder and name it something like “Video Converter” and place the unzipped download into it.
    2. DOWNLOAD LINK: http://crookedpathfilms.com/FileShare/FFmpeg.zip
    3. Right-Click the ANOTHER GUI exe file and create a shortcut that you can place somewhere handy for when you want to start the program and use it.
    4. Open ANOTHER GUI.  It will ask if you’re sure you want to run…click yes.
    5. After the window opens, click “EDIT” under the preset section.  Another window will open.  This is where you will tell the program to “point to” the ffmpeg.exe file…which is the engine that actually does the video converting.  Next to “executable” click ADD and select the ffmpeg.exe file you downloaded and unzipped.  Click SAVE.
    6. Now you’re ready to convert.  Click ADD SOURCE to select the video file you wish to convert.
    7. Click PRESET and select the codec you wish to covert to.  In this case select the preferred ProRes codec.
    8. Click CHANGE OUTPUT PATH and select where you want all the converted files to go to.  (The default will be the same folder the source files are located)
    9. Click GO.

The files will start processing.  Try not to interrupt the process while it works.

That’s it!  Your PC is now setup to convert files to ProRes for those who need it.  Unfortunately there isn’t a way currently to export to ProRes directly from an NLE such as Adobe Premiere, so you will need to export to another codec and covert to ProRes using the above method.  I recommend exporting to DNxHD 10-bit because it’s similar in size and quality to the ProRes files you will be converting to.

Note: Currently it seems there isn’t an option to get Prores 4:4:4 from this method.  This only gets you 4:2:2 from 36mbps to 185mbps.  If you want to shell out some dough, there is this: http://www.cinemartin.com/cinec/, though I have not tried it out and cannot confirm it’s functionality though the website does state it can do 4:4:4.

“Strategra” Spot

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It was such a pleasure working with the D Custom team to create this fun parody of those cheesy drug commercials to highlight their content marketing expertise. The video focused on the importance of treating the epidemic of boring content through strategy under the pseudo-brand “Strategra.” The collaborative process that ensued practically defines efficiency and creativeness.
Director/DP/Editor: Richard Allen Crook
Producer/AD: Bruce Coleman
Creative Director, Concept by: Jessica Fristche
Screenwriter: Matthew DeCample
Gaffer: Jacques Star
AC: Chris Mangus
Grip: Kevin Clancy
Art Director: MacJeter
Sound: Will Weeks
Makeup: Patti Burris
Sound Design: J Sabin
Starring: Rosa Nichols, Earl Browning, Jason Bee, Cassie Shea Watson, Abel Berry, Ira Einsohn
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New Site and Blog Design!

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Hello Friends!

Crooked Path Films continues to grow as we move into 2014, and with that, we have a new logo and website.

We are also continuing to learn about the newest tools and methods to keep that edge and are eager to start sharing our work, industry tips and tools, and other fun stuff on our blog.  

If you would like to UNSUBSCRIBE, click to the blog and unsubscribe with the email address this was sent to you with.  For those staying with us, we look forward to continuing to give back to the industry with tips and guides once and awhile.  

Hope everyone is having a great year so far!

By the way, here’s what we’re supposed to have next year according to BACK TO THE FUTURE 2! :

(More from io9.com)

20 Lies Back to the Future II Told Us (Besides the Hoverboard)

Flying Cars

Obviously, it isn’t just Doc’s DeLorean that can fly. When Doc and Marty arrive at the future, they pop in going the wrong way on a highway — a highway at about 50 feet above the ground, complete with hovering signs and street lamps (although what the hell they’re supposed to be illuminating is unknown, because there’s obviously no street). Since there are plenty of cars on the ground of 2015 Hill Valley, I’m not sure if every car in the future could fly, but since absolutely 0% of the cars in 2013 can fly, it’s kind of a moot point.

20 Lies Back to the Future II Told Us (Besides the Hoverboard)Mr. Fusion

Of all the inventions in Back to the Future II, Mr. Fusion would certainly have been the most useful. The time Home Energy Reactor transforms garbage — any garbage, apparently — into power via nuclear fusion. A clean, practically limitless source of energy that also gets rid of our trash? Back to the Future II, you are cruel.

20 Lies Back to the Future II Told Us (Besides the Hoverboard)Power Shoelaces

Since Marty needs to imitate his son to prevent him from ending up in jail, he has to dress like him, and this includes a pair of Nike Air Mags whose laces automatically constrict, essentially tying themselves for the wearer. Not only do we not have these, but Nike actually released replica Air Mags in 2011 with non-functional power laces.

20 Lies Back to the Future II Told Us (Besides the Hoverboard)Holographic Movie Theaters

Despite the fairly recent surge of popularity for 3D movies, we still don’t have genuinely holographic movies like Jaws XIV. We also don’t have holographic ads for movies, like the giant, 3D, incredibly obviously computer-generated shark that launches itself from the cinema marquee to chomp/promote itself to Marty.

20 Lies Back to the Future II Told Us (Besides the Hoverboard)The Scenery Channel

This is the channel on the projected TV in future Marty’s house, which simply displays a landscape. Honestly, since pretty much all TV providers have free music channels, I’m a little surprised no one’s thought to include this as a feature. It’s be better than watching E!, at least.

20 Lies Back to the Future II Told Us (Besides the Hoverboard)Food Hydrators

Besides ceiling bananas, the other item the McFlys have for dinner is a pizza, fresh from the hydrator. Of course, the pizza that Grandma Lorraine puts in the hydrator doesn’t look dehydrated, it just looks like a tiny pizza; however, the hydrator both enlarges the pizza and cooks it. With, uh… hydration, I guess.

How long should my web video be?

urlOne of the common questions we get asked is “how long should my website video be?”  The majority of web videos we do is for the purpose of marketing a business.  We call these “web spots” because they are like commercials but don’t necessarily follow a TV commercial outline.  The other type of video would be an instructional video.  These are created not to sell or convince the viewer of a product or service, but to rather instruct them on a process that may or may not involve a product at all.   These can be as long as necessary to get the information to the viewer so they can come away from the video with a decent amount of knowledge.  So let’s focus on the marketing video.

The main type of marketing video that should always be first considered is an overview video that explains your business, product, and/or services.  These are typically placed on the home page of the site, especially for small businesses.  I won’t get into what exactly the content of the video should be, I’ll save that for another post.  What we need to know are the statistics; out of the total viewers, how many and at what point do they stop watching?  Vidyard.com created this graph based on their viewers to showcase, at a high level, the drop off trends that have been occurring:

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From this, we see that at 2 minutes 90% of the people who started watching your video are no longer watching it.   Even at 30 seconds, the length of a typical TV advertisement, about HALF the number has stopped watching.  This DOESNT mean you should only stick to 1-2 minutes, because the 10% that watched to the end have bought into the video enough to see it through.  These are likely your converted customers.  They actually want to see what else you have to say…and you should offer that.  This should also tell you that the most important part of your video, the part that convinces the viewer to buy into your business or product and seriously consider becoming your customer, comes at the beginning of the video.  The first 30 seconds should be the dazzle in your video.  This takes precedence over content because keep in mind that details about your business and product can easily be found on your website.  Redundancy is futile in a video.  What you need is to dazzle your viewers and do it within the first 30 seconds.  

0:30-2:00

Here you can start tapering off the dazzle and elaborate on those points in more detail.   Start with the first point and elaborate, then move onto the next.  You want the viewer who has been sold within the first 30 seconds to keep watching.  Don’t just repeat what was said before, but rather solidify the points to make the viewer convinced that what was said in the first 30 was actually true.

2:00-3:00

The final minute is gravy.  You can continue to elaborate if needed or perhaps add something unique and different about you or your business that wasn’t important enough to make the first 30 seconds.  If you feel like a call to action like a percentage off if they mention this video would help, then add it toward the end.  Also again don’t waste any part of the video with graphics that display hours or contact info.  Though that is important for a TV spot, this information should already be on your website and adding it to the videos is redundant.   Even if you share the video on social sites like Facebook, people would rather click on your business page or a post link before they will write down information from the video.

So as you can see the ideal marketing video for your website should be 2-3 minutes, and should follow the above content distribution tips in order to keep your viewers watching and convert them to customers.  Keeping the important aspects at the beginning and moving the less important details toward the end will help you get your drop off numbers as low as possible and give you reassurance that the content structure is at its optimized efficiency.  Now you just need to make sure the content and production values are there, that you trigger an emotional response, and entertain your viewers.  We’ll cover that on a future post.

Top Ten Reasons You Need a Video On Your Website

When you use video on your website, you have a powerful tool that can increase the popularity of your web pages. Whether you want to earn money, share your knowledge or increase page views, you can use video to create a dynamic web site the attracts and keeps visitors.

1. Use Video to Enhance Your Website

Use video to turn a static website into a dynamic, interactive destination. There are many types of videos you can use to enhance your website, including:

  • promotional video that explains who you are and what you do
  • A website tour that tells visitors what they cdan find on the website, and where it is
  • virtual tour that lets web visitors see what your physical location is like

2. Use Video to Demonstrate a Product or Activity

How-to videos are some of the most popular videos on the web, and businesses can use them to educate customers. There are many ways to use video to educate customers on how to use your product, and also save time and money on customer service.

  • Use video to demonstrate how to install or set up your product
  • Use video to show your product in action
  • Use video to train clients and staff remotely

3. Use Video to Share Your Expertise

Many businesses have created a marketing niche for themselves by using video to establish their expertise on a particular topic.

  • Create educational videos that provide visitors with in-depth information related to your industry
  • Produce a video newscast updating viewers on the latest headlines in your field of work
  • Aggregate and publish other expert videos related to your topic

4. Use Video to Drive Traffic to Your Website

Search engines love video, and with proper video SEO, you can use video to drive lots of traffic to your website.

  • Use targeted keywords when titling and tagging your videos
  • Create a variety of videos, each focusing on a different search term
  • Use multiple video sharing sites to increase links back to your main website

5. Use Video to Earn Money

If you have the right content and access to the right audience, you can use video to earn substantial money from your website. Some ways to use video to earn money include:

  • Charge visitors to download informational or entertainment videos
  • Place advertising on video pages
  • Sell sponsorship for a popular video podcast

6. Use Video to Promote a Sale or Special Event

Just as many companies create a special ad to let customers know about an upcoming sale, you can use video to advertise specials on your website:

  • Use video to show off new products you’re selling
  • Include promo codes within videos to reward viewers
  • Use video to notify customers of upcoming specials

7. Use Video to Give Your Business a Personal Face

It’s easy to use video give a human face to your corporate website. Some ways to use video to communicate with web viewers include:

  • A short video welcoming visitors to your website
  • Profile videos that introduce your executives and employees
  • Customer testimonial videos that communicate your company’s value

8. Use Video to Engage Customers With Your Brand

You can use video as an interactive medium to get consumers engaged with and excited about your brand. After all, you don’t have to be the one producing the videos, many customers will be happy to do it for you!

  • Start a video contest to promote your brand
  • Ask users to upload videos of themselves using your product
  • Invite users to embed your videos on their own web pages

9. Use Video to Encourage Regular Visits to Your Website

You can use video to get people to come back to your website over and over again. By providing regular, quality content, visitors will come back again and again to see what new videos you’re offering.

10. Use Video to Stand Out From the Competition

Web video is becoming more and more widespread, but there are still many industries that don’t use video as a common practice. If your competitors don’t yet use video, you’ll be able to set yourself apart by using video on your website.

  • Add a video to your business listing in online directories
  • Promote your web videos on local websites
  • Spread your videos virally by allowing viewers to share and embed them