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The Benefits of Custom Music

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Composers at Work

Composers are some of the hardest working people I have ever met. I’m not just saying that because I am one, I’m saying it because it’s true. They frequently work hours beyond a typical 9 to 5 job in pursuit of perfection in every aspect of their music. This goes not only for the actual notes of the music but everything involved with its creation: mixing, parameter automation, and MIDI editing. If I continued to list things you’d likely stop reading this due to boredom.

I say this because there is value in the work of composers who create tracks for licensing and purchase to be used with different forms of media. While they might not be working to a specific film clip they are still creating an aural experience that can define a piece of work. It could even affect the media creator because they heard something specific in that track that made them want it in the first place!

But just like any field of work with options, custom music has some advantages to pre-composed/licensable music. This is especially applicable to those of us who get to work in-house with a video team to bring their vision to life.

Our team was recently working on a video that introduced a new award for the Triangle AdFed Addy Awards. The crew worked hard on the video to create something visually intriguing. While working on the music (using licensed tracks) something seemed missing. Luckily, I was asked to step in and compose something original to match the visuals!

One of the things that wasn’t working for video producer Bryan Reklis was the lack of edge to the track. It was too clean and crisp for what we were trying to accomplish with the overall product. The lack of variety didn’t help either as the track had one tone throughout. While it worked nicely with the timing of the edits, it simply didn’t add anything else into the mix.

This is where the advantages of working with a composer to make a custom soundtrack came in handy. The human interaction between two people working towards the same goal can have some surprising results. Having the ability to talk about what it is you want musically makes it easier for team members to integrate music into the project. The music is made specifically for their tastes and the needs of the project. This collaboration can lead to an even better version of what the video team and composer originally had in mind.

Many licensable tracks also are created to have the same tempo and same time signature (number of beats in a measure of music) throughout the track. While this is very useful for editing, it can sometimes lead to redundancy. It’s not uncommon for video teams to purchase several pre-composed tracks and edit them together to form a Frankenstein music track with no consistency.

With this in mind, I was able to create a track that had changes in time signature, tempo, dynamics, varying sections, and modulations to move the music forward in a 44-second window. Below I have attached a sort of “walkthrough” video where you can check out the Pro Tools session with the different instrument tracks and some of the parameters that were adjusted to keep the music moving forward while also serving the purpose of the advertisement.

 

 

If you have music creators in your team, use them! We love the challenges that come with creating the track that fits just right. I hope you’ve enjoyed this walkthrough. We will have some new projects coming out soon that I’ve enjoyed composing for and I look forward to sharing them with you all.

 

 

 
The Voice of the Composer

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Meet Me at the Addys

In the spirit of awards season, the Triangle Ad Fed introduces a brand new Addy to the American Advertising Awards that is sure to soar to new heights. With the theatrics of a glass-shattering surprise and the slick gunmetal award, the new Addy represents the bold, timeless, and innovative creations individuals and agencies have promoted throughout the Triangle. When we were selected to shoot their promotional video for the launch of the new Addy we were thrilled!

Our team worked with our new Kino lights and natural sunlight while smashing numerous crystal trophies to get just the right shot. Then we added custom music composed by our very own Dustin Painter to make the perfect impression.

Interested in showing off your wings or captivating the audience with your message? Take a look at our production with Triangle Ad Fed below and submit your entries for the 2016 Awards and the Silver Medal Award before the show on February 18, 2016 at 7:00pm at the Cotton Room in Durham, NC. Dress code: black-tie optional.

Meet Me at the Addys!

Want to go behind the scenes with us? Check out the creators of our glass-shattering moment.

Dropping the glass award to get the perfect fall-twist combo - kudos to Aaron and team for going the extra mile to catch just the right shot. They managed to capture everything we needed with just three (3) heroes. Amazing!

Dropping the glass award to get the perfect fall-twist combo – kudos to Aaron and team for going the extra mile to catch just the right shot. They managed to capture everything we needed with just three heroes. Amazing!

Holding down the fort.

Holding down the fort.

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Just How Effective is Multiscreen Marketing?

If you were to check any literary resource 40 years ago for the term “multiscreening,” a definition would not exist. However, our society has…evolved into a network of humans exceedingly less physically connected and more digitally connected through social media and television. Therefore, as we spend our time in a new way, traditional marketing concepts must evolve to accommodate for changes in our behavior. This change has ushered in the era of “multiscreen” marketing. An article recently posted to Adweek.com explains how Facebook IQ, Facebook’s analytics division, commissioned Neuro-Insight to conduct a case study to answer FaceboScreen Shot 2016-01-04 at 3.47.01 PMok’s simple question: “How do consumers respond to television ads that they have already seen, either on Facebook or on TV?”

 

Neuro-Insight divided a group of participants into two pools. Half of the participants were exposed to a TV ad, while the remaining portion were exposed to the same advertisement. However, the advertisement the remaining portion viewed was a Facebook advertisement optimized for the site. A day later, both subject groups were exposed to the same advertisement on television. With the help of the participants, Neuro-Insight made an interesting discovery. Neuro-Insight discovered viewers engagement as well as detail oriented memory encoding increased by nearly 10% when exposed to a Facebook optimized advertisement as opposed to a repurposed television ad. Everyone involved in marketing needs to realize that as enticing as it can be to repurpose an advertisement for a different platform, thus saving time and money, advertisementScreen Shot 2016-01-04 at 3.31.33 PMs truly need to be optimized for their platform. By optimizing advertisements you are ensuring viewers will receive the message you intend to broadcast and will be affected by the content of the advertisements. As exceedingly more data is harvested from consumers online actions, we foresee multiscreen marketing ushering in an era of inescapable exposure to marketing as more and more screens appear and as businesses seek new ways to captivate buyers.

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YouTube Thumbnails & Social Media Placement

There are so many facets to think about when creating and marketing a video. Sometimes you don’t think of minor details that might not seem important but actually have a huge impact on your audience – including how the thumbnail looks on various channels.  We produced an amazing video for our client yet LinkedIN insists on grabbing one of the ‘standard’ thumbnail options from the video itself rather than the custom thumbnail that we’ve created.

This is a good thumbnail because it has a human face and a name and title.  However, we don’t like the windblown look for our still images.

 

 

Facebook on the other hand grabs an image anywhere within the real thumbnail.  We think this might be because they want everyone to use their native video feature.  So we are having to ‘game’ the system by creating a thumbnail that will look great on Facebook if a large amount of traffic is through Facebook.  However, does that look good on the other channels?


There also happen to be dogs on paddle boards in the video – which is a great image to get large audiences to click. But is the rest of the content relevant?

 

Our client has a very specific target for this video and is in a very competitive environment where a “Win” or a “View” by the right person can make a big difference for them.  So it’s important that the video is shared on social and found through search while looking interesting enough to click.  It’s a challenge that we face everyday and if you’re using videos in your marketing, it’s time to consider the thumbnail!  It’s like the subject line of an email or the title of the book – the right thumbnail can get people to view the video – the wrong thumbnail might make people snub your video and potentially your brand.

Watch this beautiful video and learn about Perquimans Marine Industrial Park – 

Have questions or comments? Post below!

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What’s so special about Millennials?

There has been endless discussion about millennials – what to do with them, how to reach them, how to get them to stay interested in you and your product, etc. Why?

If you haven’t heard the term millennial thrown around, where have you been?! They are the age group born between 1980 and 2000 and they outnumber baby boomers. Millennials have been stereotyped as “lazy and entitled” but companies that believe this stereotype will ultimately lose business.

They’re the largest demographic in the marketplace, so you need to pay attention to them. Especially if you’re a marketer. Ignore them and you’re in big trouble.

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Millennials crave information and want access right now. Company websites need to include all the right information with easy accessibility. With so much information on the web available, they can thoroughly research products and companies before buying, so it’s essential to take advantage of this and properly market your company and product. This goes for any potential customers. If they can’t find you, they won’t know about you. Simple, right?

71% of online shoppers claim that the most important thing a brand can do is value the customer’s time (according to Salesforce). You might have heard “millennials want it now”. They want quick responses or they can move on to the next guy, because that guy/company does respond, showing millennials their business is valued.

You need to create a personal connection between millennials and your product. Without taking the time to learn about their wants and needs, it takes away your ability to serve that customer base. Millennials change their wants and needs constantly to suit new technology and products being created each day. Businesses need to keep on their feet and adapt to ever changing customer demands and new technologies as they appear.

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Add ANIMATION INSPIRATION to your life!

Check out one of our latest projects! We used animation to tell local nonprofit CASA’s story for this year’s Blueforest Gives Back project.

 

Animation has endless possibilities. Think about it. You can utilize any style and customize until it’s just right. That is why animation can be an essential part of your arsenal.

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Using animation in your video marketing allows you to convey important messages and stories that you may not be able to do with live action. Even if live action storytelling is possible, animation stands out and can be personalized to fit your business.

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Animation’s limitless scope makes it a highly effective tool. You can use everything from simplistic drawing to intense special effects to capture your story.

We have a monthly Animation Inspiration newsletter that highlights the various forms of animation we use here at Blueforest Studios. Sign up today to receive monthly animation inspiration and ideas you can use for your business marketing! Click below.

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Contact us today for your animation needs!

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How to Conduct an Interview for Your Nonprofit Video

Conducting an interview is a skill that takes years to master. I consider it one of the most important skills I’ve developed over 12 years in this business.

Here are a 7 tips that will help you get the best results when you are interviewing someone for your nonprofit video.

#1 Be what you want.

Probably the most important thing you can do when you are interviewing is to lead by example. If you want your interviewee to be relaxed and comfortable, make sure you speak in a relaxed and comfortable way.

#2 Give them some coaching.

Once the lights are on and you are both sitting down, give them a little coaching on how to answer the questions. This will give you a chance to demonstrate how you want them to speak, will give them a chance to get used to the lights and cameras, and will give them a bit of valuable information.

#3 Only ask one question at a time.

If you ask multiple questions at a time it will confuse them and encourage them to give you long winded answers that will be harder for you to use in the video.

#4 Have a list of questions, but don’t use it.

You should always be prepared with a paper that has their name and the questions you want to ask. But once you start talking, you should be flexible enough to make follow-up questions that relate to what they just said and go with the flow.

I usually ask the first question and don’t look back at the paper until the very end to make sure I didn’t miss anything I was planning on.

#5 Go for the story.

Most nonprofits are built around great stories. You are changing peoples lives! When you write your interview questions, you should ask questions that reveal their story. Instead of asking who, what, or how, ask “why?”

#6 Don’t be afraid of silence.

Sometime they will give you a short answer that didn’t address what you were asking. Or you may sense they are holding back to hide their emotions. This would be a great time for an awkward silence. Just keep looking at them and count to 5 in your head. I’ve gotten some of my best answers by just not speaking and waiting for them to really open up. (And yes, I learned that from Barbara Walters!)

#7 Keep it loose.

Occasionally you will get someone who is so nervous about the lights and cameras they freeze. If your interviewee gets stuck on a question, don’t let them hang frozen for too long. If you just sit there they will begin to get more and more embarrassed and the interview will fail. After a few moments of freezing, I like to move on to the next question and come back to the one they froze on if we need to at the end.

So there you are. Good luck with your interview!

 

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YouTube Blog: How to get the related videos to make sense!

How does YouTube decide that a police chase is related to a birthday prank video for our boss?  This and many other questions arise when using YouTube for our business and for our clients.  We once had a client who had the ‘Top 7 Reason’ in his description; well it turned out that the number 7 brought on a bunch of crazy videos in the YouTube algorithm.  See on the screen shot below that 4 of the 6 related videos were produced by our company – however the other two (with motorcycles) seem totally random.

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Since YouTube can’t actually watch the video it is relying on the title, description, tags, and captions that are included with the video. In the case of our client with the “Top 7” we made it into a “Top 6” and the totally unrelated videos disappeared and others that were actually related started to appear.

So why should you even worry about the related videos?  If YouTube thinks that your video is about police chases, it may not return it as a result when people are searching for Birthday Pranks; and if you really want to be known for Birthday Pranks than you will be unsatisfied with the results.

The power of YouTube really lies in the fact that it’s the number 2 search engine  – so you want to make sure that YouTube knows what your video is about and gives it as a potential result when people search YouTube and more importantly Google.

For instance, we definitely want to rank high for our own name – and if a potential client sees our website, social media channels and a video by us they might just click on the video.  Imagine if your business’s video was ranked high for your most important keyword??

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So the next time you post a video be sure to go back and check on all the text associated with the video and for the ‘related’ videos that show up.  This might give you an idea for what YouTube thinks your video is about. You can also check your YouTube analytics after several days and many views to see what keywords your viewers are entering when they find your video.  We always go back and check our videos and our client’s videos to make sure that the keywords and phrases match the content and those related videos.

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What is Public Relations?

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The PR Puzzle

“A developing company is looking to hire a PR/advertising person,” I read yesterday in a Facebook status of Katya, my former colleague in Russia. “PR slash advertising, right,” I thought to myself. Indeed, it’s hard to imagine a PR guru like James Grunig, for example, putting an equals sign between public relations and advertising… In many companies around the world, however, such association is pretty common. In Russia, the words PR, advertising, and marketing are often used interchangeably and essentially refer to one thing and one thing only: promotion of goods or services. Is that in any way different from the American culture? Let’s get brainy and try to figure it out.

Curiously, the abbreviation ‘PR’ for Russians would typically evoke a set of negative emotions. The deal here is that excessive political PR blackened the reputation of the whole PR process in the 1990s – right when it came into existence after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Take PRopaganda for instance, which is the name of a large local public relations firm: Can you really expect good things from the company where PR and propaganda merge?!

PR in Russian language is also often used as a verb describing a public figure or an organization trying to boost their popularity through dubious activities. See a politician in a news report bragging about equipping local schools with newest computers? Don’t doubt for a second that the guy is ‘PRing’ himself. Such skewed understanding of PR is not unique to just Russia and is observed in other countries of the former USSR as well – in Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Ukraine.

So what would the ‘correct’ interpretation of PR be? Most likely it would sound something like ‘communication between an organization and groups of people affected by this organization, where all parties should benefit.’ PR would imply listening for feedback and allowing for dialog between the organization and the society. Unfortunately, most organizations are far from working in line with this ‘true’ purpose of PR. Public relations practitioners usually act as marketers, trying to urge people to buy the product instead of putting efforts into upholding the company’s reputation in the society.

Blueforest Studios recently held a contest for local nonprofits in the Triangle area called Blueforest GivesBack. Factors determining proper PR, such as community presence and social engagement, served as important criteria for our judges in selecting finalists. Blueforest is going to announce who the finalists are really soon!

What do you think public relations stand for? Press releases? Corporate social responsibility? Two-way communication? Share your thoughts in the comment section!

About the author: Vlad is an intern at Blueforest Studios and a 2nd year grad student at NC State. Today he’s sharing thoughts on his field of study – PR – and how the purpose and functions of PR in his home country – Russia – differ from the U.S.

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Super Bowl 2015 Ads – Why did they do that?

Let’s be honest, the Super Bowl is not only about football but all about the advertisements. They’re everywhere whether we are aware of them or not: months before Super Bowl, during the playtime, and after the game. What makes the Super Bowl so grand is how it connects Americans through this one social event. Even though it’s suppose to be about football, it is really about being a part of this cultural event – the advertisements, the products, the pre-game and game-day rituals. Everybody is talking about the game, and the best and worst commercials of the night.

The commercials are what make many people tune in as they are known to be amazing, well thought-out ads with familiar faces like celebrities and fan commercial favorites from certain companies. Many of last night’s commercials have people talking about the good and the bad ads – which is the sole purpose of these ads, to get everyone remembering and talking about their advertisement and company. Everyone has their own opinion about which ads were a hit and which were a miss. Many big companies have multiple commercials to target different audiences and portray different messages.

A favorite of the night was the Budweiser Lost Puppy commercial. This ad was so heartwarming, a short story of a puppy lost then brought home. The purpose of this commercial was to evoke a happy and inspiring emotional response in the audience tied to their traditional Budweiser Clydesdales horses and their puppy. They did an excellent job to telling a story that people want to relate to.

 

Another commercial Budweiser had was a different style. The “Brewed the Hard Way” took an interesting attack on craft beer. In contrast with the Lost Dog commercial, this ad focused on distinguishing Budweiser beer from craft beer. There advertisement didn’t work as well as they hoped and their has been some backlash. As craft beer continues to become increasingly popular, they are trying to play up their traditional tasting beer by mocking craft beer. They admit that their beer is not to be “fussed over” or “dissected”, but this says their beer  that they mass produce has no differentiating taste because it’s sending the message that it’s “just beer” so just drink it. Not a smart advertising strategy to admit that Budweiser beer is a one note, uninteresting beer.

 

Another well done ad was “Invisible Mindy” by Nationwide. It featured celebrity Mind Kahling and Matt Damon and uses comedy and relatability to connect to the audience. The concept is that Mindy is “invisible” so she does whatever she wants, but in reality she’s not invisible, people just ignore her and the message is that Nationwide doesn’t do that to customers. It’s a light and fun ad that people enjoy as it uses familiarity with well known celebrities and funny ideas which is a great advertising tool that makes the commercial memorable.

 

Nationwide had another advertisement that has been very controversial called “Make Safe Happen”. It features a young boy not having any experiences because he died in an household accident. They tried to evoke an emotional response to make the audience connected to the commercial but the commercial was poorly done as many people have experienced this lost. Many are angry that they chose to do that ad to sell their product, especially as it was shown during the Super Bowl which portrays insensitivity and just wanting business. They were trying to convey the message that accidents happen and can be prevented but it looks like they are using the death of children to sell insurance. This shows how using ads for an emotional response doesn’t always work and can bring controversy. Sure people are talking about their company but it’s not the good kind and it will hurt their business.

 

Advertisement is important for companies to show their products and have their name out there. There’s a right way and a wrong way to do so. The main point to remember is that your advertisements should clearly portray your company’s goals and products. The Super Bowl commercials are entertaining and great to watch, but companies need to make sure the audience knows what they are trying to say and sell.

That being said, over here at BlueForest Studios we LOVE craft beer!