While most of DUO’s resources and tools are industry-specific, there are some to which we turn on a regular basis here in the office. Here are some of the helpful, “plug-and-play” tools that we use and highly recommend.
Asana has become DUO’s go-to task organizer. It’s a fast, efficient way to schedule tasks and appointments, track progress of ongoing projects, and archive completed work. The program automatically sends daily reminders for upcoming task deadlines. DUO uses the program as a group, with all of our team members accessing it together. It’s integrated so that activity and updates get shared across the board, and you can easily communicate inside the program. What’s particularly nice about a program like Asana is that it remains separate from your personal calendar, so you don’t get business meetings mixed up with family outings. So, if you’re in need of a task organizer for your team or as an individual, give Asana a try.
No surprise here; DUO thrives on the Adobe Creative Cloud. Adobe as a brand has made an art out of adapting to the needs and demands of the creative industry as well as the consumer market. They stay current – without their software updates interrupting your workflow (most of the time) – and really seem to value their customers. With their programs fully integrated, the Creative Suite is affordable for both business and personal use and only continues to improve as time goes on. We can’t speak highly enough of the creative suite. Their catalog of programs covers such a vast arrange of pursuits that, to use the old saying, there’s something for everyone, in every field; photo and video editing, but web design, digital publishing, 2D and 3D compositing, copywriting, screenwriting, phone app creation, and so much more.
Crowdfunding has exploded over the past few years, becoming one of the biggest go-to investment-building techniques. But it’s a tricky business. Fundamentally, it’s still fundraising, which is a much broader enterprise, requiring a significant investment of your own time and focus (for more on that, check out our Quick Crowdfunding Tips post).
That said, choosing a platform for your campaign is one of the first steps you’ll take. Determining which site to use is subjective, based on your campaign and personal preferences. Are you selling a product? Financing a humanitarian effort? Producing an art project? You have at your disposal a handful of equally reputable sites – Kickstarter, Patreon, GoFundMe, etc. – and innumerable articles have been written about which ones are the best and why. But for us and our short film, Apocalypse Rock, we chose Indiegogo. With our research gathered, strategy planned, and backer rewards ready, we launched (and completed) two successful campaigns. Every step of the way, the site is so user-friendly; straightforward and clear with each step and what to do; lots of quick-reference guides and pages. For what we do – film and media production – Indiegogo fit our needs perfectly. We especially love the InDemand feature. We will undoubtedly turn Indiegogo for any future crowdfunding projects and recommend the site to anyone else considering it.
As a media production company, maintaining a video portfolio is of the highest importance. There are a number of reputable streaming services out there, but Vimeo’s Pro Account allows us a tremendous amount of freedom with our videos and lends a level of professionalism to our work that we need as a video-based business. The interface is sleek and functional, without being too corporate or impersonal, which blends very nicely with DUO’s brand (and we’re all about branding here!).
Our personal favorite aspects of Vimeo include:
- The option to swap one video file for another – without having losing view count, likes, or any other stats associated with a particular video
- The privacy options; we can send videos to clients quickly and privately throughout the post-production phase, without forcing our clients to download the file in order to view it. This is especially valuable when working with a client who is traveling; or on a project with a fast-approaching deadline; or on a project that requires lots of back-and-forth reviewing and quick/minor edits.
- Seamless embedding capabilities across most platforms (that goes for every platform that we use)
- Meticulous control of our video profile and settings
- Rapid upload and processing time
Vimeo features entertainment-style videos as well (thought different from, say, YouTube); such as one of our recent favorites, Standby (a short film).
Even for industry pros like us, we routinely read The Beat, PremiumBeat.com‘s blog. The blog offers quick-reference guides and tutorials for any level of commercial or creative experience, news and updates on gear across departments (cameras, sound, editing, photography), insightful think pieces about the film industry and creative process (which especially appeals to our Star Wipe, movie-loving side). The pieces are substantial, but not too long. It’s a great resource to get a feel for, well, the pulse of the biz. Whether you’re inside the field like us, or a spectator wanting to know more, this is a great resource, either way.
Graphic Design is a key aspect of any business, especially ones those of us in visual-heavy fields. Canva.com is a one-stop shop for templates, photos, and filters. This site is supremely helpful for creating assets for your social media presence – Facebook and Twitter headers, Instagram posts, etc. – as well as corporate needs; letterheads, certificates and resumes, presentations, marketing materials, and infographics of any scale. For content creators, you can build blog headers, kindle, Wattpad, and album covers, magazine spreads, and desktop wallpapers. The gallery has plenty of free stock images and photos, along with graphics available for purchase, though we’ve never needed to buy any; the free content is just that good. If you don’t have the time to delve elbow-deep into Photoshop or Illustrator, but need graphic artwork, definitely check out Canva.
Rocketstock is a fantastic resource for anyone wanting to put together a video with lots of graphics, animation, and snazzy transitions. We have purchased templates from Rocketstock for various clients and projects, but it’s also a great place to brainstorm ideas and even grab examples for prospective clients to get a feel for the type of video they might want (and how we can add our DUO-style flair). This resource does require some expertise of AfterEffects; so if you’re in want of a video, but not an editor or animator yourself, Rocketstock is a resource to have in your back pocket as a way to communicate with your production company (that’s us!) and research what kind of tone, style, and/or feel you’d like your video to have.
Hamilton Beach Coffee Grinder and French Press and Stanley Thermos
Because you can never forget the coffee! A kick-start to inspiration (at DUO)!