Video is coming soon to our homepage

by Whitney Anderson on March 29, 2010

The Roanoke College homepage has a large flash area that is currently photos and text.   We’ve been thinking about replacing it for some time, but weren’t sure exactly what we wanted to do.


We knew that from a content standpoint we wanted to feature our branding and messaging, and we knew that we wanted to use video.  We’ve been doing a lot more video projects, so we wanted a place to prominently feature some of the footage.  We also wanted to be able to make this area of the page a little more dynamic and rotate in content as appropriate.

So, the idea we came up with is this…

A simple picture doesn’t explain something dynamic, so here goes:

  • The picture that you see is static for a few seconds, just when you think it’s a picture, it starts to move and you realize it’s video.  (There’s no sound.)  Think Harry Potter pictures!
  • It will play for 5 seconds or so, then pause again and fade out into the next image/video.
  • There are 5 categories, all relating to our messaging. (Learning Firsthand, Personal Connections, etc.)
  • The content on the bottom bar is related and helps explain what the concept is in the video.   We can link to web pages, photo galleries or videos.

We asked New City to build this for us and they helped us with a few design tweaks.  Here’s the latest version.

The updated version includes some color changes and next and back buttons to move through the sections.

Now that we knew what we wanted to do, we had to do it!  Selecting the videos was a little tricky for the following reasons.

  • We felt like we could do this project using all the video we currently had.  We didn’t plan to shoot anything new for this project alone.
  • While we do have a lot of videos, it was hard to find just the right ones.  It has to be on message, be a beautiful picture and it has to be 5 seconds at least of whatever activity we are looking for.  (That last one sounds easy, but we shoot lots of stuff thinking of transitions, so a lot of our shots start or end away from the action.  A pan up from the grass…a pan into someone’s shirt, etc. )
  • The first frame has to be perfect since it’s paused there.
  • LESS MOVEMENT is better.  For our concept, it kind of looks cooler when the initial static frame doesn’t change, but what’s inside does.  Again, a lot of our video is using the jib or dolly and normally we like movement, but I think for this purpose, the less the better.  A camera on a tripod with a fixed frame will work best.    We don’t have many videos that meet this requirement at this point, but will keep this in mind for the future.

We’re hoping to make this live in the next month or so.