Ready for the new year

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The new year is upon us, and what better time to reflect on 2016. Did we keep our resolutions for the year? Let’s review.

Resolution #1: Diet. To be more specific, orange juice. It’s either that, or wear more red cardigans. Either way, this resolution is achieved.blog_bts_diet

Resolution #2: Exercise. Look at that lift. Perfect form. blog_bts_exercise

Resolution #3: Laugh more. At others? At ourselves? At the futility of trying to grasp humankind’s ultimate purpose in the universe? Should have been clearer when we wrote these resolutions. blog_bts_laugh

Resolution #4: Travel. Did we travel this year? Well, at some point we were on a boat. This is proof. OR IS IT.blog_bts_travel

Resolution #5: Stretch! We learned, we grew, we put cameras on cranes.
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Thanks to everyone who supported us this year. Here’s to an even better 2017.

 

Some of Our Favorite Things (Christmas Commercials)

The holiday season is the best thing invented for advertising campaigns since the Super Bowl. Wait, that’s why we do it, right? Anyway, here are some of our favorite holiday commercials, old and new. And by our, I mean me, because I’m running this blog post. Amazingly, not all of my selections are animated.

Classic.

 

This one was super cool back when I was 6. It’s still pretty great.

 

Yes please, employ more animators to make entire animated shorts for your holiday campaigns. Perfecto!

 

Have some history. See the historical backstory to their ad“It is a great hope for future peace when two great nations hating each other as foes have seldom hated, one side vowing eternal hate and vengeance and setting their venom to music, should on Christmas day and for all that the word implies, lay down their arms, exchange smokes and wish each other happiness.” 1915, the Times.

 

Physically impossible. Don’t care! It’s a metaphor.

 

No YOU’RE crying.

 

My personal favorite. See the making of for this video here.

Finding Volunteers for The Center for Volunteer Caregiving

Our 2016 Blueforest Gives Back video is ready! This year, we partnered with The Center for Volunteer Caregiving, whose mission is to engage the community in providing volunteer services to improve the lives of seniors, caregivers, and adults with disabilities. They needed a video that could help recruit new volunteers to join their cause. So we captured the story of Nancy and Jean, two participants in the Center’s program. Watch the final result:

Our video focuses on showing how working people can take a little time out of their day and make a significant impact in the lives of care receivers. We launched the video December 1st during our Blueforest Gives Back 2016 video debut and holiday party. If you missed it, here’s a brief recap: there were cookies, cocoa, holiday decorations and cheer, an awesome crowd, a craft table for making holiday cards for the Center’s care receivers, along with the main event, a dramatic debut of the video. Thanks to everyone who attended and made it a great evening!

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Interested in joining the cause? Click here to learn more about volunteering for the Center.

Friday Chill

Close your eyes and imagine your happy place. Go ahead. If your boss notices, just tell them you’re doing cross-training telepathically with someone in Australia and it’s 3AM there. Are you on a pristine mountain peak in Sweden? Floating in the quiet of deep space? Submerged in an olympic swimming pool filled with kittens? Actually, that sounds dangerous for both you and the kittens, so please unimagine that one.

We asked our summer intern to share her perfect escape with us, and we liked her answer so much, I even animated it:

It’s been a long week. Let’s all find a little escape. No, mine is not watching the 7-hour Norwegian train ride currently on Netflix’s new Slow TV channel, how dare you suggest such a thing.

Blueforest Gives Back: Video Debut

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Our team has been hard at work crafting our newest project: a video that shines a light on the mission of The Center for Volunteer Caregiving. Once everything is shiny and polished, you know what that means. A party!

You are all invited to the 2016 Blueforest Gives Back Debut, Thursday, December 1 at 4:00 PM – 7:00 PM. Snacks and friendly faces will be provided. The event is free, but we encourage you to make an optional donation of $10, all of which will go to support the Center.


More about Blueforest Gives Back and this year’s winner:

The Center for Volunteer Caregiving’s purpose is to bring passionate volunteers together with seniors, caregivers, and adults with disabilities. We selected them to be the winner of this year’s Blueforest Gives Back video giveaway. Every year we give away a free video to a Triangle nonprofit in need, valued at $5,000-$10,000. For more information, or to enter next year’s giveaway, click here.

 

 

 

The inexorable sadness of pencils

We spend a lot of time at the office. How much? Let’s just say a lot.

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In their recent article on modern office design, The New York Times Magazine quotes a few bleak lines from Theodore Roethke’s poem ‘‘Dolor”. “I have known the inexorable sadness of pencils… All the misery of manila folders and mucilage,/Desolation in immaculate public places,/Lonely reception room, lavatory, switchboard.’’

It’s an all too recognizable image of office life. The florescent lights, the grey walls. The desolate sighs within lonely cubicles. That one coworker with the rasping cough that sounds like the grim reaper. (Seriously Debbie, you should get that checked out.) How can we bring some joy to our work space in a way that helps banish the existential dread that accompanies the above chart?

 

Office Beautification

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Last year, we gave a random wall an artsy fartsy makeover. Who needs the Blue Ridge Mountains when you can bring them inside? Besides, allergies. I rest my case.

Snacks

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When the going gets tough, the tough eat their feelings. According to a highly scientific poll of people in our office, donuts are the preferred method of managing emotional problems. Close seconds were the candy bowl and eating lunch at Bojangles.

Dogs

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Our office dogs are huge slackers. Some days they manage only to drool on a few shoes and destroy a single tennis ball. This is frankly unacceptable. Seriously, Moose and Trixie, what do you have to say for yourselves. I expect a full self-assessment due to me tomorrow  morning explaining your adorable presence here.

 


So how about it. How do you keep your office cheery? Tweet us @blueforestvideo

 

A partner in education

WebAssign is an online educational application for students and teachers. They wanted an animated video to give an overview of their services.  When it comes to products and apps for education, sometimes it’s easy to get lost in the special features and selling points without remembering the core challenges and payoffs of teaching. So with this animation, we wanted to highlight some of those more abstract points while still showing off the features that made WebAssign great.

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WebAssign already had a slick icon style they were using on their website, so we tapped that for the look and feel. Check out the final product:

A New Reel!

It’s easy to get lost in the rush of the daily groove of making videos. Sometimes we forget to look back and have a proud moment of silence for our video progeny. Or, rather, a proud 1-2 minute moment set to some peppy stock track.

Busy bees crafting content

Busy bees crafting content

Wouldn’t you know it, we’ve gone a full year and then some since we’ve gotten a new reel? What better way to remember some of our favorite projects? Here is 1 minute and 23 seconds of them.

A 4K to call your own

Blueforest Studios is the proud, new owner of a Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH4. If you aren’t keeping close tabs on the video production industry, this might not mean anything to you. Here is the simple breakdown: the GH4 is quite easily the best 4K camera available on a budget (in our opinion). The camera is a fraction of the cost of RED cinema cameras. Granted, it has limitations that the RED doesn’t, but it is a large step up from the Canon DSLRs, like a 5D.

While it can shoot wonderfully in 4K, it also shoots pretty good slow motion at 1080p. Check out these samples of what it looks like at 96fps (4x slower than regular speed).

Testing out our new GH4 and it's slow motion. #96fps #slowmotion #phox

A video posted by Blueforest Studios (@blueforeststudios) on

You may have noticed that there is some light flicker on the first shot of that video. With a higher frame rate, you have to have a faster shutter speed. We were just messing around with the camera in our studio, and that is why it doesn’t look so great. But, it looks pretty nice (with no color work done) outside.

We will continue to use RED and other cinema level cameras for projects that call for those benefits, but many of our projects are about to see a major increase in quality.

To learn more information about the GH4, watch this really well done video review by Philip Bloom: https://vimeo.com/99538435

-Bryan Reklis