He may not be competing yet, but we won’t be at all surprised to see him there in a few years. Way to go, Cody!
See our “Cody’s Story,” here:
While we are solidly in February at this point, we thought it would still be worthwhile to look back at some of the highlights that made 2013 a great year for Igniter.
A Whole New Igniter
In February 2013, not only did we launch a whole new website, we moved from a pay-per-video model of business to a membership model. Many of our customers had been asking for membership, and while this was a difficult decision in a lot of ways, we decided that a membership relationship would empower us to serve our customers in a new way.
Our Responsibility to Our Members
One of the burdens we carried into this new era was an increased self-awareness of the quantity of media we were releasing. And this summer, when we felt we weren’t living up to the standard we had set for ourselves (because of our Echo Conference), we extended all our members’ terms by one full month. Despite that lull during the summer, we were still able to put out 17 mini movies (with 21 alternate versions–most only available on IgniterMedia.com)–one of the best years we’ve had so far.
Time for Celebration
If you were on our site during the last part of the year, you already know that we celebrated our 10th year of producing media for the Church this year! We took some time to celebrate that and look back at where we’ve been and who has been a part of our story so far.
Some of the most important people in that story are you guys. You are the ones that have valued our work, and supported us in it. And for that, we’re extremely grateful.
Well, it’s a new year. If you’re looking to up your game in 2014, here are a few apps that might help you plan/design/interact better.
IFTTT – There’s a lot this service can do. And as it grows in popularity, I’m sure they’ll add a lot more functionality to it. IFTTT (If-This-Then-That) lets you create “recipes” that can range from just-for-fun to really useful. For example, you can create a recipe that watches Instagram for photos taken at or around your church building, then texts you when it finds one, or adds it to your Facebook page. Or, keep track of your schedule in real time, by creating a recipe that adds your iOS location changes with a timestamp into a Google Docs spreadsheet. The possibilities are as numerous as they are impressive.
Decibel 10th – Quantify subjective comments about volume. If your church has a “contemporary” worship service (or just acoustic drums), chances are you’ve received complaints about volume levels. While Decibel 10th won’t help you field those complaints, it will help you figure out where your congregation’s volume threshold is. When people speak up, use this app to take note of the db, and ask your sound guy to mix it slightly quieter than that next week.
Adobe Kuler – Do you ever feel like your media looks great, but it just doesn’t seem to fit in the room you’re using it in? You can use Adobe’s Kuler app on your phone to identify color palettes in the space where you’ll be using them, then use those palettes to choose complementary graphics. They also have a website that helps you define themes.
WhatTheFont – While they stopped updating it in 2011, WhatTheFont is still a somewhat useful tool for identifying a font you like. If you see a printed font that you’d like to use in your designs, just snap a picture and run it through this app. In our experience it’s not perfect, but it will definitely get you close.
Sleep Time – If you’re reading this, it’s likely that you’re one of the few who have been up for hours by the time people walk through the church doors on Sunday mornings. So waking up feeling rested is probably a rare occurrence. This app tracks your sleep cycles based on the amount you move in your sleep. You give it a must-be-awake-by time, and it wakes you up in the part of your cycle that should leave you refreshed (or at least not groggy). It even has “soundscapes” feature that plays white-noise type sounds to help you fall asleep. Now if they could just add a feature that makes being out of bed more comfortable than being under the covers…
What are some apps (or other tools) that you find indispensable?
2013 was a big year for Igniter and our parent company, RT Creative Group. Notably, we launched a new site while simultaneously overhauling our business model in favor of the subscription-based “Membership” model that we currently have; and while our sister company Echo Conference had its best year yet, we made the difficult decision to close its doors in order to focus on other things.
And we fully expect 2014 to have its share of earthshaking moments.
And while it may look different from year to year as we follow where we feel like God is leading us, our passion has always been, and will always be to equip churches with tools to effectively and beautifully communicate the Truth.
All that to say: our poor, neglected blog is going to get some more attention this year. And while it will almost definitely never attain to the prolificacy of the EchoHub blog that we maintained for so long, we want it to be a place where you can come to learn, to be equipped, and to be encouraged.
Happy New Year!
RED Scarlet with our new setup
At Igniter Media, we are always looking to improve the quality of our videos, and to pair beautiful visuals with a good script. At the beginning of the year we purchased a RED Scarlet, in the hopes of doing just that. We’ve come to love this camera, with it’s depth of color and flexibility in post production.
One thing that this camera needs is accessories. Since it is so modular, just shooting with a simple package can be downright difficult, if not impossible. When we first purchased the package, we invested in the Scarlet-X Lightweight Collection, which was a good start, but we could tell it wasn’t ideal.
We shot a number of videos with this simple setup, including Filled and The Adventure of Fatherhood. Both were shot handheld, with me cradling the camera body, and using a stabilized Canon 17-55mm lens to keep things smooth. This was doable, but still somewhat awkward. Also, the REDVOLT batteries that go into the side handle only last for about 25 minutes, so you are constantly worrying about how much time you have left and whether or not you should shut down the camera. Needless to say, this setup worked, but it was a bit cumbersome and not very practical.
Shooting “The Adventure of Fatherhood”
We were really in need of some rails, a follow focus, a top handle, perhaps a shoulder rig, and a larger battery solution. Doing some quick searching around RED’s online store, as well as other places revealed that accessories are EXPENSIVE, not to mention there are so many little add-ons that it will make your head spin deciding what to purchase. I was hoping to get a working solution without spending so much.
Along came… the Echo Conference!
…and with it, vendors that set up booths on our floor. Ikan, a manufacturer of camera rigs, batteries, monitors, and other accessories contacted us and asked if we would be willing to exchange a spot on our floor for $2000 worth of gear. We accepted.
First of all, we spent some of the credit on a battery and charger solution. These new, larger, IB-L130S V-mount batteries, along with the Switronix V type Camera Mount Plate and Wooden Camera Fixed Back allow us to power the camera for a much-more-practical 2 hours per battery.
Next, I started hunting through their Elements rigs to see if I could retro-fit something to work. After seeing a lot of interesting options, but not quite what I needed, I opted for the Elements Master Kit that would allow me to assemble something custom (which excited me because I love LEGO, and it was basically a big box of parts). I also found a refurbished follow focus that is built like a tank.
After a some tinkering and playing around to see what-would-work-with-what (5 “W”s!), a trip to the hardware store, and a little bit of help from a friend with a drill, I ended up with:
- A bottom plate with rails to mount the follow focus to the camera
- A top handle
- A shoulder mount
Granted, I realize that most people don’t have access to $2000 worth of credit at a camera accessory store, but I post all this to point out that with a bit of playing around you can get some interesting and useful results. After comparing prices, what we were able to come up with out of the “box of LEGOs” is significantly cheaper than other “made-to-fit” options out there. I don’t think this is a perfect rig or anything, and I’m not necessarily suggesting that anyone copy our setup, but this has worked out great so far, and has saved us a good amount of cash. It also makes the DIY personality in me smile.
Shooting “The Apostles’ Creed” with the new setup
What about you? Have you taken some interesting steps to save some money? We’d love to hear what you have come up with.