Sometime last fall Squarespace added what I thought was an exciting new feature to their web site templates: a landing page. Now, in fairness to the history of the WWW, these "new" landing pages do not differ much from the traditional entrance page (for years a staple of web sites everywhere.)
While their function varies, for my purposes, the landing (or entrance) page for The Photo Asylum serves much like a book cover (or chose your media - magazine cover, record album cover, CD cover, DVD, video game, etc., etc., etc.) Much like those other types of covers, it (hopefully) grabs your attention and introduces you to the person, persons, company, or organization whose web site you are about to view by giving you some sort of basic information about them, along with visuals. You then click on a button to enter the site.
oh please, not these things again!
Now, I have neither the time nor the energy to argue here the merits or liability of using an entrance page on a web site. Some folks love them, some folks hate them with a passion. The reason they fell out of favor to begin with is they represent a seemingly needless extra step in navigating and viewing a web site - one you have to click on just to get to where you wanted to go in the first place!
Not the smartest hoop to put in the way of people with short attention spans, who also happen to hate jumping through hoops...
That being said, there are still certain types of professions, products, and services that I feel benefit from the impact of using an entrance page.
Particularly visual artists, eh...such as myself!
I'm even more convinced when you consider the most valuable aspect of Squarespace's landing page: the ability to add a full screen HD video loop that runs in the background.
hey you, look at this!
I have no way of knowing exactly why a visitor comes to my web site. As an fine art and commercial photographer, I provide a variety of services, and offer a pretty wide array of things to look at, so the reasons vary.
But one thing I do know is this: what I want most of you to see first are some examples of my video direction. At this point in my career, these are the skills I am promoting the most, and the visual projects I am the most excited about.
So, it is definitely to my advantage to add the above video to a landing page that will be the first thing that most of my visitors see, to have it be an early version of what's called in the industry a directorial demo reel. Until I have more completed examples of my work, for now the footage is a montage of both finished and unfinished video projects, as well as some stock footage.
By the way, if you arrived here via a link to this blog post (or any other page on the site), and not through the site entrance, and you want to view the video loop in context, click on entrance at the bottom of the site menu to the left, or click here.
what exactly are we looking at anyway?
What follows is a brief rundown of what each of the video clips in the loop are, or more precisely, what project they come from. Some of the complete videos that these clips are taken from can be found in the Photo Asylum Moving Pictures portfolios here on the site. Again, use the site navigation menu to the left.
The final two screenshots below, the Tavares seaplane fog and the Mount Dora Art Festival, both are from video footage I shot recently and just added to the directorial loop this week.
kareen rashelle photography behind-the-scenes
The lovely lady you see above is model Lisa Fuhr, and her mock shock is a funny outtake as part of a behind-the-scenes video I'm shooting for Central Florida photographer Kareen Rashelle. And, as Kareen's Fairy Tale Series of fine art photographs is a long-term project still in the works, the video remains in production as well.
tavares parking garage rooftop timelapse
One incredibly cool Lake County shooting location is in the nearby city of Tavares - a seven-story county parking garage with a top level that has a very industrial feel to it. I've used it for various photo shoots, and in this case simply filmed a short timelapse of the roof from the ramp leading up. The location, lighting, and sky did the rest.
This video is in the Photo Asylum Moving Pictures portfolio on this site (link to the left). BTW, while shooting this, a group of three skateboarders zipped through my scene several times, taking the elevator up to the roof, then skating down through the garage. Sadly, they were left on the cutting room floor, as we directors like to say. Edited out of the final footage.
new york city state of mind
Of the (what seemed like) a million things I tried to do during my recent trip up to New York City and Long Island (October of last year), one task that was particularly important to me was getting some nighttime video footage of the Manhattan skyline from across the East River.
This was shot at the very edge of the river in Long Island City (Queens). I added the gold and green color grading, as well as the noise, in post.
There are a handful of blog posts here in The Padded Cell describing aspects of my New York trip in more detail. Click the link to the left to go back to my blog index page.
andrew roman group promotional video
One of the first commercial video projects I was hired to direct was a series of fun promotional films for friend Andrew Roman and his consulting company, The Andrew Roman Group, to be published on his web site. They involve conventional video, some stop-motion animation, and a blooper reel of outtakes.
Unfortunately, circumstances have forced us to suspend production. At this point, it is impossible to say when we will begin shooting again, but so far the experince has proven invaluable to me.
i'm afraid I do have the foggiest
It was only a month ago when I woke up to a heavy fog (no, not a hangover), grabbed some of my photo gear, hopped in my car, and scooted over to the Tavares Seaplane Base and Marina to get some rare shots of the place seeped in the soup.
For the time being, the stills and video footage I shot in the fog that day are stock. I'm not quite sure what else to use them for. Still, I had a blast, and the whole scene was eerily surreal. I'm glad I was able to capture it.
You can read more about the whole experience in my recent blog post, The Photo Aslyum Fog Blog.
my trip to the fair
The final clip of the video loop is some odd-looking hand held footage shot at this year's Mount Dora Arts Festival. I held the camera low as I walked through the crowd, giving a strange perspective that often leaves the people passing by headless in the frame. I also color graded in post to give the footage a vintage film feel, and did a bit of what's known as time remapping, where parts of the video go slower or faster than normal.
This footage was specifically shot for a future project that will be part of my upcoming online magazine/newsletter Style Bedlam Magazine.
In its final form, it probably will not look like it does here. It will be a part of a much longer video. Still, this was a fun excercise in editing.
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All photos ©Steven Paul Hlavac. All rights reserved.