4K, Subscriptions, and September New Videos

IntroCave Updates

New for September: Scratched metal, hard impacts, a new search, and updates to some old favorites.

4K, Subscriptions, and September New Videos

August turned out to be a busy month! Releasing the big render server upgrade earlier this year has unlocked a bunch of stuff that I didn't want to support on the old system. First up: 4K render options and subscription plans all in one month!

(plus 12 new videos)

NEW: 4K Render Options

I had three major worries when I set out to add 4k video templates to the site.

Compared to a 1080p video at 30 frames per second, a 4k video (3840x2160) rendered at 60 frames per second has 8x more pixels. If a normal HD video takes 1-2 hours to render, I was expecting a 4k60 video to take 8-16 hours. If I'm only running a handful of render nodes for all the video renders on IntroCave, a couple of 4k60 videos in the queue could create a huge bottleneck and prevent orders from going out as quickly as I'd like.

Worry #1: 4k60 videos would be too hard to support and lower response time for everyone else.

Reality: a bit overblown. The recent render upgrades have the 1080p render time down to more like 30-60 minutes on average. There are few particle-heavy templates that still clock in at 2-3 hours, but the vast majority of templates render in under an hour. Running a crap-ton of tests across different videos, most of the templates render in 4k60 in 2-4 hours.

Because the 4k60 renders have 8x more pixels and I was expecting them to take 8x longer to render, a reasonable starting price would be the 1080 price (currently $10) times eight. So, $80 per render? Too high. When I set out to build this feature, I planned on charging $40 per render... and even at that price worried I'd need to double my render capacity.

Worry #2: No one will pay $40 for a 4k60 video.

Reality: Because render times ended up being a lot faster than I was projecting, even $40 seemed too high. I had everything built out and ready to launch at that price, but I ended up dropping it to $25 for the initial rollout.

To get ready for the big server upgrade I rolled out earlier this year, I rebuilt every video template on the site. Significant engineering time went into the new render pipeline, but it was tiny compared to how long it took to rebuild a couple of hundred video templates (and a lot more interesting). Having gotten a good look at the guts of every video on the site, most of them are not built with 4k in mind. Most video templates are built out of a combination of asset files: videos, images, and vector graphics. The vector graphics would scale fine, but anything built on top of heavily processed video/images might scale a little funky.

Worry #3: I would need to rebuild all my templates again (assuming every template could even support 4k).

Reality: I mostly sell logo animations and title animations. When logos or text animate onto the screen, the extra quality is really noticeable. The templates are important of course, but the star of the show is always going to be the customizations... and they look really good with the increased resolution and frame rate. Because the underlying assets are mostly stored in a lossless format, they scale up much nicer than a compressed asset would and I've been happy with the results even without rebuilding every template again (or, to rephrase: taking a 1080 render and just scaling it up wouldn't look as good as a 4k60 video rendered from the original source assets). With the lower launch price ($25 instead of $40 or $80) and the visibly better quality for text/logos, I'm happy with the quality I'm delivering.

NEW: Subscription Options

A lot of subscription video sites offer intro videos, but there aren't many that are dedicated intro makers. As it turns out, other video niches (Facebook ads, social media promos) are more profitable. The types of customers who need a lot of those videos (small businesses, social media managers, marketing agencies) are perfectly willing to pay a monthly subscription for software that helps them do their job better.

Intro videos are kind of a weird category.

They're perfect for templatization, but the kinds of customers who want to create an intro video (as in, everyone on YouTube) are less likely to need a lot of intro videos. A single intro video can be used on lots of videos, so it's not necessarily something you're going to buy over and over again.

IntroCave is proof that there's clear demand for buying a single intro video without a subscription.

If I was purely motivated by financials, it would make sense to pivot IntroCave to more marketing-department-friendly videos: animated quotes, video ads, product spotlights. I might experiment with some of those content types in the future, but not any time soon. I bought the site because I liked the idea of building something for gamers and YouTubers. Instead of chasing "higher value" customers, I'm thinking about how I can lean into intro videos even more strongly (https://intromaker.com), and it's clear to me that pay-per-render is useful for people just getting started.

So why add subscriptions?

I don't want to demand a subscription from content creators who just need a single intro video to get started, but I've talked to a lot of creators over the last few years who release content multiple times per month (or week!) and like creating custom titles and intros for each video.

Pay-per-render doesn't work well for those customers.

If I want to support content creators of all sizes, I need pricing that scales from the just-getting-started video producer to the content team who's releasing videos multiple times per day. I don't think I'm quite there yet, but this release is a good first step.

Screenshot of launch pricing for individual plans.

Individual plans will start with around a 50% discount off of the normal pay-as-you-go pricing, but I may increase the number of renders per month as I keep an eye on how people use this plan.

Screenshot of launch pricing for team plans.

Team plans will start with around a 66% discount off the normal pay-as-you-go pricing, but they'll also allow you to share renders with other members of your team.

Current pricing can be found on the pricing page.

I'm also starting to think through how my render backend could be useful to even bigger studios. Larger production houses will have a library of custom templates, but typically still rely on animator time to customize and render each new video clip. I haven't fully thought this through yet, but the next step above team plans will likely be some kind of custom plans with private video templates, which in the web dev world is more of a productized service.

New Videos for September 2021

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Scratched Metal Logo

Your rectangular logo welded together on old steel.

Scratched Metal Circle Logo

Your round/square logo welded together on old steel.

Scratched Metal Text

Your title welded together on old steel.

Hard Impact Logo

Your logo slams into the ground.

Hard Impact Text

Your title slams into the ground.

Animated 2d Search Logo

Search for your logo on a colorful purple background.

Animated 2d Search Text

Search for your title on a colorful purple background.

Technology Hex Logo

Your logo against a series of neon hexes.

Technology Hex Text

Your title against a series of neon hexes (pick your color!).

Dark Panther Text

A new title + subtitle version of one of my most popular templates.

Quick Break Logo

A logo version for one of my shortest and most popular templates.

Streaks Text

A new title + subtitle version of one of my most popular templates of all time.

Streaks - Logo (UPDATED)

One of my best-sellers, now updated with an (optional) subtitle.

it me

IntroCave is a one-person-show operated by Will Hankinson, but it's not 100% accurate to say every word is written by me. Some articles were live on the site when I took over. I hire writers from time to time to work on specific articles. People keep asking me to do guest posts, but I haven't actually seen any relevant submissions yet. "Intro Maker staff" might make a better by-line, but currently that's just me. I've been building digital things for 10+ years now, and some of my favorite projects are posted over at my personal website if you want to take a look!

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