Home Hacks: Blair's Treasure Trove For Filmmakers

By Blair Fraser

16 Apr 2020

Innovation is another core value at xDesign. With our #HomeHacks series, we’re celebrating the inventiveness of our stellar team! Blair Fraser, one of our expert Product Designers, is also an accomplished video maker.

To aid his production workflow, he built Filmstack, a curated directory of tools & resources to help people make amazing videos. As Blair says, “Get inspired and create something awesome!”

It started in Dundee

I started working on videos when I was at the University of Dundee. Then, in my first job – at a Dundee-based training business called Insights – one of the founders asked me to create a feature-length documentary. I said “I’ve never really done anything like this.” And he said: “Yeah I know, but your work looks good.” So that was really cool and, during my time at Insights, I must have made more than a hundred videos.

Product design won the day

Before joining xDesign, I worked at places such as Scottish Widows and QikServe and, while I’ve never worked in a specific video or film-making role, my work until now has always included an element of video editing and production. Then I decided I had to choose between excelling at video and excelling at product design. I chose product design. The only videos I create now are in my own time and are about things that are of interest to me – music videos, projects for friends etc. It’s something I want to enjoy as a hobby rather than do for a living.

I’m the ‘bookmark hoarder’

Over the course of trying to make a bunch of videos over a long time, I found it difficult to track down resources online – for instance, getting hold of good, affordable stock music. So when I found something useful, I used to bookmark it. As a result, I ended up with this ridiculously well organised bookmark structure on my computer. My friends found this hilarious. They told me I was a bookmark hoarder.

The trend for sharing

In recent years, there's been a trend in product and digital design where people have been amazingly generous at sharing resources through directories and websites, curating all the stuff they’ve found online. I kept wishing there was something like that for making videos. So I thought, why not turn my bookmarks into a website? If it's helpful, even to one person, then that’s great as far as I’m concerned.

Every resource on the site has been tried by me

I set Filmstack up using WordPress about two years ago and have chipped away at it from time to time. Every resource described on there – and there are a lot of them – is something I’ve used myself. I don’t really see this as a money-making exercise but I might look at building it into more of a community. There’s possibly scope for creating a closed group of film-makers sharing their thoughts and critiquing each other’s work. Then again, I want it to continue to help beginners too. So I’m in no rush – I’m going to take my time thinking about how I move it on.

I’ve always got something random on the go

Aside from Filmstack, I’ve set up numerous other side projects – such as an online character design course called Draw With Courage, a drone services site and even an online will-making service! I love picking up an idea and making things happen.

Why Filmstack was worth it

1 Picking up new skills

You learn useful things from side projects such as this. Filmstack has helped me to pick up insights into marketing around building email lists, PR, managing a product launch and so on.

2 Having fun

I need to have random projects like this running in the background – it’s something I enjoy doing. It also gives me an outlet for my interest in video while allowing me to focus professionally on product and UX design.

3 Creating something useful

Whether they’re beginners or experienced film-makers, I really hope that people find Filmstack helpful. There’s such a great collection of resources on the site – I’m glad I shared my bookmarks!

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