Andreas Zeitler’s Mac and iOS setup

Every week we post a new interview with someone about what software they use on their Mac, iPhone, or iPad. We do these interviews because not only are they fun, but a glimpse into what tools someone uses and how they use those tools can spark our imagination and give us an idea or insight into how we can do things better.

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Who are you and what do you do?

My name is Andreas. People on the Internet know me by my nickname Zettt. I work as a video producer focusing on introduction videos, iOS App Previews, and motion graphics. My company is named zCasting 3000.

I’m also one-third of a German podcast called Der Übercast. Patrick and Sven are my co hosts. We fly an old Cessna. We sometimes have a bumpy ride, but as an experienced flight technician, I try to fix everything in post. (Wait, what?)

I have used a Mac since 2003. I started my career as an audio engineer, and around 2006 when the first MacHeist bundle was sold, I got SnapzPro X as part of it, and I was wondering what to do with it. One night it dawned on me that I could record a tutorial for some audio software, explaining a workflow that was horribly complicated to show otherwise. After a glass of wine or two, I uploaded the thing to YouTube — my first screencast.

I have made screencasts ever since. I loved it so much that I worked on tutorial DVDs and eventually founded Mac OS X Screencasts (now named MOSX), which some of you hopefully still recall. It was fun. When I did my master’s degree, I decided to quit my audio career and start in video production. Since then, I have acquired a profound knowledge of motion graphics because it solves the customer’s need to “explain stuff” more elegantly than a screencast could ever do. I discovered the usage of screencasts and motion graphics in prototyping too.

I also used to work as lecturer. This was around the same time that I released my first screencast. It explains why I chose the career that I did. I love to explain things and share knowledge. It has such a big impact on students’ learning efficiency and ability to understand that I always wanted to teach with screencasts. This is the reason I lead my company the way I do: we live that kind of showing and telling that we want to see, and it is also the reason why I love to give presentations. They give me the opportunity to work on my storytelling skills, and they are a good way for me to get out of the rut of my usual ways and think on how I need to present my own ideas to a broad audience so they understand it. I cover a relatively broad range of topics, too, because I believe that it’s easy to learn new stuff and I just enjoy learning new things and telling other folks about them. I gave presentations on “101 things you didn’t know about your iPhone,” “Mac A to Z,” as well as “Hair Management,” to give you a relatively unusual example.

What is your current setup?

Andreas Zeitler's home desk

Editor’s note: You can find Andreas’ wallpaper here.

I own a 15″ MacBook Pro from late-2013 and a mid-2010 17″ MacBook Pro.

What software do you use and for what do you use it?

As for my profession, I went for the Apple suite of editing software. I use Final Cut Pro X, and spend most of my time in Motion. I’m really liking Serif’s Affinity apps for designs, mockups, icons, etc., but at the moment, Sketch delivers really good results, faster. I’m not sold on Adobe products, and so far couldn’t acquire enough knowledge that Adobe’s suite would result in faster production times, and therefore I decided not to subscribe to their cloud. I have some other reasons too, of course. I mean, they were the folks who brought us Flash, too. Are you kidding me?

I write scripts in Fountain. Highland is my weapon of choice. I do mind map a lot. Like, an insane amount. MindNode is really nice for this. I also got iThoughts recently and have to say it’s come a long way.

We use Slack for communication, Trello for task management and obligations, and Nutshell as our sales tool.

To exchange data in the team, we have the problem that a production sometimes is larger than a couple gigabytes. This is problematic for Dropbox and comparable cloud providers because they charge a lot of money for large storage. We don’t need the features these bigger tiers provide — all we need is the storage. Therefore, we settled on Bittorrent Sync. After some trials we found that a setup of multiple folders works best. There are folks who work on marketing stuff who don’t need to have the production data, etc. The problem here was that folks of one department were getting their hard disks filled up with too much data, especially huge render files from production. We switched to five different folders and that works well so far. We have Marketing, Office, Production, Prospects, Transport.

How would your ideal setup look and function?

Not much different from the one that I have, to be honest. I’m a minimalist. I organize our office the way I would want to work myself, which is mobile, unattached to a fixed desk, and from everywhere possible. This has the advantage for me to stay at a client’s office and get the same amount of work done as if I were in the office. And it also gives coworkers a chance to raise their kids in an environment they choose. It has its disadvantages, too. We meet once a month for a personal catch-up meeting. I try to keep other meetings short as well.

Andreas Zeitler's office desk


What iPhone do you have?

Andreas Zeitler's iPhone

At the moment, I still own an old iPhone 5. The reason is that although I’m a huge huge nerd, I don’t want to support throw-away mentality. I don’t think a device is outdated or unattractive after a new one comes out. I’d rather use it at least one more year. With this phone, I will wait until the 6S and then get a new one — the big one possibly. You’ll read why in a minute.
I think purchasing decisions are not based on technology and features alone. People want “a thing that works” more than “a beautiful thing” or “a new thing.” New is not a selling argument — a thing that works is. I feel most technology folks forget that every now and then. Take mind mapping — it’s nice when the thing looks nice, but if it works well, that’s much more important.

What apps do you use the most, and why?

That’s difficult to say. I tend to say that I consume media on my phone most of the time. Though, of course, it is invaluable in business meetings as well. As I mentioned earlier, I spend a lot of time mind-mapping. I take notes in a mind map during meetings and for quick brainstorms. The phone is oftentimes where a thing starts before I move to the desktop to finish my work. It’s also a communication device. So, if I’d have to name a few apps, other than the ones already mentioned, I’d say: Spotify, Instapaper, Downcast, Voice Dream Reader, Audible, nPlayer, ProTube, Drafts, RunKeeper, and Seconds Pro. I do a fair bit of working out.

Which app could you not live without?

Something to take notes with! My first thought was: a mind mapping app, but on second thought, I was wondering what I really needed from a mind mapping app. And that is: a place to store thoughts. Whether they are formatted as a list or radially doesn’t matter. So, after consideration, I’d go for the most minimal option: something to write stuff down with.


Which iPad do you have?

Andreas Zeitler's iPad

I have a really old iPad. It’s the iPad 3. I waited eagerly for the Retina iPad because I wanted a retina display for testing. The truth is: I don’t use it anymore. It’s lying around collecting dust. I use it to watch movies on the balcony, or sometimes to read a book. All that matters is that data is synchronized across multiple devices. Turns out Steve was right here. Making the cloud the hub was a good decision. All it needs is a cloud that works reliably. From everything I’ve used over the years, I must say that iCloud is the least reliable option. I am surprised that iCloud got better over the years, but never to a point where I was really satisfied with it. Developers switched away from it. Most support Dropbox nowadays. A good choice, albeit not so well integrated with OS X and iOS. But I would rather take this as opposed to rebooting my devices once a day.

How are you using your iPad on a daily basis?

I used it to draw storyboards, do mind mapping, and planning stuff for the day, but this all faded when Apple released iOS 6 or 7. I don’t know what they changed, but suddenly both devices, iPhone and iPad, were so much slower than before, and I didn’t bother anymore. Right now my iPad is just a sluggish device that I use to watch videos with. It’s good enough for that. Sometimes I play a game (if they run fast enough).

What apps do you use the most, and why?

More leaning towards media apps here, although OmniFocus and OmniPlan are great on the iPad. I use it to listen to audiobooks. I put the iPad somewhere, open Audible, and listen to a book on speakers.

Right now I’d say I use almost the same apps as on iPhone, though. Instapaper, Downcast, Voice Dream Reader, Audible, nPlayer, ProTube, MindNode, Drafts.

Which app could you not live without?

Let’s face it: I can live without this thing, so I can live without any app you put on here. It doesn’t matter.


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