It started with a tiny little thought in the back of my head that, “it could be better.” For the most part, I ignored it. I wasn’t initially open to redesigning The Black and Blue, especially after I had already substantially changed the look twice in its relatively short lifetime.
But everytime I went to check a post, I’d find something else that “could be better.” Finally, after enough times trying to convince myself not to do it, I gave in to that little voice. And here we are with a brand new look.
And in my opinion, it is better.
I did a complete overhaul and changed many essential elements to the website (and added a newsletter). As you browse around, you may pick up on a lot of them, but others aren’t quite as obvious.
There are quite a few things that I will still be adding in the next 24 hours so thank you in advance for being patient.
This post would be too long (and boring) if I listed every single thing different, so here are summaries of the major changes:
Most redesigns begin with an urge to change the aesthetics of the site in some way. This was no different for The Black and Blue. My goal from the outset was to customize everything I could on the blog to strengthen the aesthetic nature of it.
In short, I wanted to feel like I truly “owned” the look of the blog.
After many Photoshop mock-ups, I finally settled on what you currently see. The first thing you probably noticed is the logo change. I did enjoy the “film-strip” style logo, but after trying fruitlessly to make it work, I determined it wasn’t strong enough. Instead, I went for something simpler.
The header of the blog was de-cluttered to allow content to rise higher up on the page so you don’t have to scroll down as much. I also enjoy what I’m calling the “pillow effect,” where the page appears to be nestling into the center of a giant blue pillow.
Finally, I added a third major color to the color scheme to separate the sidebar and navigation areas from the content area. I want readers to focus on what is important on the page — the posts.
Of course, good content is no good if it can’t be found. I set up the categories for this blog long ago before I decided to focus on camera assisting. That is why today they have changed. These new categories reflect the moving focus of this blog and new ones will be added as needed.
Here’s what they are for now:
- Behind the Lens – The behind-the-scenes side of filmmaking not explicitly related to camera assisting.
- Camera Assisting – Tips, tricks, advice and views on the art of camera assisting. This will be the meat and potatoes of the blog.
- Cameras – Posts that are focused on cameras.
- Comment Corner – The new feature at The Black and Blue that highlights readers comments’ every Sunday from the week before.
- Featured – Reserved for articles that explore a topic in-depth with revelatory detail
- Getting Work – This category is new; it will cover topics related to getting gigs and jobs as a freelance filmmaker.
- Industry News – Time-sensitive posts about the latest going-ons in the film industry.
- Miscellaneous Tips – Tips, tricks and advice that finds itself left out of the other categories.
- Production Stories – Stories from the front line of film productions. Formerly known as “On Set”
- Toolkit – Highlights of the best and most useful tools and gear.
- Website – News related to The Black and Blue.
- Retired – Posts from a long forgotten time when I started this blog that are now irrelevant.
Defining new, clear categories should provide a better structure to find your way around the site.
Categories are now going to be the main source of delving into older posts, along with the archives. Links to each category can now be found in the footer of the page, as well as under each post title. Clicking on either of these link areas will bring you to posts that deal explicitly with that category.
During the re-design it became apparent that having every single category listed on the top of the page was impractical. The top navigation bar is reserved instead for informational pages.
Old Philosophy, New Outlook
All over this website I’ve listed that I have a passion to share my knowledge and experiences with camera assisting and filmmaking. It is the whole reason this blog has become what it is now and I plan to continue to hold that philosophy true.
I write because I want to make you benefit from what I can pass on, but I haven’t always reflected this philosophy 100% in my posts.
Specifically, I am referring to some of the more “Newsy” items that I have put on this blog. While it drives traffic, I have found myself less and less interested in discussing the latest news about film gear, and more wanting to create and craft original posts that can teach you how to become a better camera assistant or film professional.
I’ve always thought a camera assisting blog was necessary because the information is scarce without scouring forums. I want to make sure that I fill that gap. There are plenty of other blogs that cover camera news far more comprehensively and effectively than I (FreshDV.com, Nofilmschool.com, Provideocoalition.com — a few, if you’re interested).
I may occasionally post a news item every now and again, but only when I think it is useful beyond informational value and that you would be interested in it.
I’m sorry if this disappoints some of my readers, but I wanted to be up front and honest about where I see this blog going.
No matter what I think of the blog, it is more important what you think of the blog.
I am interested in all kinds of constructive feedback about the design, the format, and even my new outlook on the direction of the blog.
Please leave a comment or contact me with your opinion on the changes here. This redesign is as much about the blog as it is how you feel about it, so be honest — I have thick skin, I promise.