WWD Reader Profile: Adam Valuckas, Online Video Producer

adam-valuckasWebWorkerDaily readers are a diverse bunch. Every week, I profile a different reader and ask them to share what they do, how they do it, and some of their favorite hints and tips.

Who are you and what do you do?
My name is Adam Valuckas, and I have an awesome full-time job creating online video advertising for a newspaper. My second full-time job is my startup VJIX Creative. At VJIX I make online videos that highlight how applications will befit their customers. I have two projects completed and a few more on the way.

What’s a typical day like for you?
When working on VJIX projects, my days are spent animating motion graphics. It can be painstaking work — I imagine that watching me work is about as exciting as watching my girlfriend knit. To keep myself entertained I stream films from Netflix on my Xbox nonstop unless I’m editing audio.

What gear and software do you use, and why?
My main offline apps are:

  • Adobe After Effects. I am an Apple guy but nothing compares to After Effects for motion graphics. For longer projects I create individual shots in After Effects then edit them in Final Cut Pro.
  • Final Cut Pro. If you’re an editor then you’re either a Final Cut Pro or an Avid person. I got into editing when nonlinear editing (computer editing, not tape-to-tape) was just coming into stride with the Sony ES7 (if you know what this is, you’re old!) and Media 100, Final Cut was the logical choice for me.
  • Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator. I use these for general photo and vector manipulation.
  • Firefox. The Firefox extensions PermaTabs and FaviconizeTab are the perfect duo to create small permanent tabs for web sites that you use frequently.

I also use a ton of other Mac applications to get my work done. Something a professional might not think about using is iTunes, but it is a fantastic production music library program. You can lump music into genres, convert it to AIFF for editing, and then easily “locate in finder” to keep your production music easy to listen to and quick to find.

My main online apps are:

  • Google Apps. Google Apps provides great email, document editing and calendaring. I just wish Google would treat Apps users as first-rate Google citizens.  The video encoding is awesomely horrible — also I would like to have access to services that my personal Gmail account does.
  • PipelineDeals CRM. Pipeline’s CRM lands somewhere between Highrise and Salesforce in complexity, but its customization and flexible sales flow are by far the best for me. I have custom fields, to-do lists, and reports that fulfill my lust for information organization. Plus, it is really easy to use. I use it for project management as well, even though it wasn’t intended to do that.
  • Evernote. With Evernote I can keep insane amounts of Internet snippets in one location. I use tags with Flickr, but with Evernote I use a ton of folders, which means I can make quick web clippings with the Firefox extension without having to think about filing. No more losing things!
  • Netvibes. What makes this service really useful is its widgets. On one of my Netvibes tabs I have (my ego surfing tab) is my Alexa rating, Feedburner subscribers, Google page rank, various keyword alerts, Google Analytics and Webmaster Tools.
  • JungleDisk: Every hard drive will die; it is a sad fact of life. I chose JungleDisk online backup and storage for its additional services, such as the local disk, and being able to keep files backed up that are no longer on my computer.

What’s your favorite web working tip?
If you’re going to make a web video you should aim to produce it to HD standards (unless you’re talking about video banners). With HD video you can upload it to video-sharing sites like YouTube (maintaining HD quality playback), repurpose that footage for TV, and size the video down to play on your web site (a win-win-win situation!)

Always remember that compression is your video’s nemesis. When uploading your video to a video-sharing site or converting it to the Flash format, you want to limit the amount of compression before encoding it for the web. In the video editing world, Quicktime is the best format to use. An uncompressed two-minute video may be 4-8GB. But a Quicktime video using the Photo Jpeg codec will give you around a 600MB file that retains virtually all the quality. These files are huge, but you want to start with the best quality video before converting it for the web.

If you would like to be profiled on WWD, get in touch with me at simon (at) gigaom (dot) com.

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