Making Mod7.com

This post originally appeared on Mod7.com. Mod7 is now a part of OpenRoad Communications. Please visit our About page to learn more.

IMG_6955--Daryl

Creativity, and a lot of duct tape​

So this year we finally decided to make a “real” website for ourselves. You know, one that wasn’t thrown together in 2 days. And we’re pretty happy with how it came out. Like everything online, it’s still a work-in-progress, but it’s nice to finally be able to point to our web address and say, “check out our site” and not preface that with a bunch of lame excuses. Here’s some behind-the-scenes documentation of the process and technology used.

It ain’t pretty, but it did the job

_tech-dolly

To create the unique time-lapse video featured on our new site, we built a computer-controlled camera dolly that crawled around the office throughout the day to capture our team at work.

Fearless iteration

Art Direction & Design: “Fearless iteration”—and we mean it. Here are just a few of the video and art direction prototypes used in the process. Getting the right tone and lighting was critical. We created numerous prototypes that experimented with time of day, composition, scale, various cameras and lenses, and typefaces.

Motors and circuit boards

_tyler-arduino

Lead developer Tyler digs into some Arduino gear for the DIY dolly rig.

Planning the rig build

_-build-layout

Planning and construction. Getting ready to build the custom time-lapse rig.

Built for action, not looks

_motor-wood

This was the computer-controlled camera “neck”. Metal and wood, rawr!

Low budget prototyping

_-daryl-dolly

Lead designer Daryl working one of our prototype dollies to test blocking and pacing. Probably one of the Worst Jobs Ever at Mod7: “stop-motion dolly puller”.

We only get one shot at this

_daryl-post-its

Shoot day. Walking through the final shoot schedule. The location was a real working studio, obviously, and we had real, paying client projects on the go. So we didn’t have a lot of time to mess around. We had only one shot at this.

Prepping the set

_-james-windex

Shoot day. Designers, planners, software engineers… sanitation engineers. Our multi-disciplinary team at work. A little glass cleaner helps make the office look a little more presentable on film.

Ready for triage

tyler-drill

Shoot day. Tyler is ready for any crisis that might require the ability to make precise holes in a rapid manner.

Spit and bubble gum

_tape-wheels

Shoot day. When the original wheels failed to gain traction on our carpet, we had to improvise. Yes, those are spent rolls of duct tape.

Dailies

_-wil-daily

The creative director checks out a rough cut of the process video, generated on shoot day from frames automatically uploaded to the cloud. (Ooooooo… “the cloud”!)

The damage

In case you’re wondering, here’s the final tally for the materials needed to build the custom time-lapse rig.

  • 1 x Adafruit Motor/Stepper/Servo Shield for Arduino kit (v1.2) = $19.50
  • 2 x Stepper motor – 200 steps/rev, 12V 350mA = $28.00
  • 2 x Stepper Motor Mount with Hardware – NEMA-17 Sized = $17.90
  • 1 x Continuous Rotation Servo (Futaba S148) = $14.00
  • 1 x Arduino Uno R3 (Atmega328 – assembled) = $29.95
  • 2 x 2x2x8 Framing Lumber = $5.82
  • 1 x Toy Tractor = $12.97
  • Misc bolts & screws = $4

Total: $132.14

The results!

We’re also excited to announce that our video’s already picked up a few awards in this year’s Videographer Awards.

  • Award of Excellence: Video Production-Corporate Image
  • Award of Excellence: Web Based Production-Corporate Image
  • Award of Distinction: Web based Production-Company Overview