Scenely.com

Scenely.com is a company I started with three other partners: Matt Thompson, Adam Miller and Jason Koi.  The idea came from Matt Thompson and Adam Miller, though from completely opposite ends of the spectrum. I mashed up the two ideas in an attempt to create a product out of a traditional service.

The concept is simple. With digital point-n-shoot cameras, DSLRs, HD camcorders and even mobile phones shooting 720p and better, the world is capturing events at an unprecedented scale. However, even with easy to use video editing software like iMovie, editing your own videos is still a very frustrating and time consuming process. If you have the skill, you may not have the time. If you have the time, you may not have the skill. Scenely was built to solve this problem.  Without a lot of hassle or long interviews or forms, send us your video and photos, select a few creative options (such as a graphics theme, editing style and music genre) and leave the editing decisions to our team. If you want to be in control of every tiny detail of your video production, then our service is definitely not for you. If you don’t have the time to edit your videos yourself or spend hours talking to an editor about your project, then Scenely is for you.

The site’s beautiful design was done by Jason Koi. The design philosophy was pretty straightforward. We wanted to invoke simplicity, elegance and modern nostalgia.  It took us three redesigns to finally get the site to the point where we were satisfied.  Each redesign stretched our canvas and opened up new design ideas which really benefited the story we were telling.

The site features two brand videos.

The home page features a landing video that was designed to invoke an emotional response.  We wanted the opening shot to be a pair of innocent eyes to immediately make a human connection and hopefully draw the visitor to see what the video was about.  I happened to have a really good shot of my daughter, Alexandra, from our trip to Hawaii (which is also featured prominently throughout the site).  The rest of the footage contained in the video is either personal to us or from our network of friends. The voice over was recorded by me, though it was always intended to be re-recording using professional voice talent. A combination of time and scheduling difficulties and feedback from friends and family convinced us to stay with my voice for the time being.

The second video on the site is a “How It Works” video. Because any video editing process is cumbersome by nature, we struggled with how to show that our service was going to be easy to use.  And being a service based around video, we ultimately had no choice but to show that process using video.  The video took about four days to write the script, storyboard, create the visual assets, rehearse and shoot.  Because some of the shots were continuous and could only be done once without resetting the “stage,” the shooting alone took eight very slow hours. The performance was done at half speed so we could achieve smoothness to the video once it was sped up. The voice over, again, was recorded by me.  To accompany the video’s look, the How It Works page on the website mimics the hand-drawn style of the assets in the video.

The site has four sample videos to introduce the visitor to the quality of our productions.  Again, footage from my Hawaii vacation was used along with Adam’s boy’s first birthday party, a close friend’s wedding photos and another “greeting” video of Adam’s son visiting Santa.  As the service grows we hope to phase out our personal videos and infuse more customer videos (with their permission, of course).

All of the video on the site is h.264 codec, delivered via HTML5 with Adobe Flash fallback.  The video is playable on iOS devices.

As for the actual service offering details, visit the site to learn more about the service we provide.

We launched Scenely.com on December 7th, 2010.

Geek Stuff

The site was built using PHP, the CodeIgniter framework, MySQL, jQuery and WordPress using Thesis. We also use Amazon S3 and Rackspace Cloud for storage and hosting.  The website integrates with a customized version of SugarCRM for backend customer, order and worflow management.