Screen Shot 2014-12-18 at 3.51.12 PM

Introducing: Bailey’s – Experience Elegance

We were thrilled when we received a call from Bailey’s and they said they were considering using us for their upcoming holiday campaign.  Who in this market hasn’t heard of the Bailey Box?  They are great marketers and we were honored to have a chance to develop a holiday TV spot for their company.  And, the fact that they let our team stretch their creative muscles made it that much more enjoyable. It’s an elegant and unique video that combines animation and live action, view below!

 

 

The purpose of this video was not only to unveil their completely redesigned store but to convey the feeling of shopping at Bailey’s in a memorable and unique way.

 

Screen Shot 2014-12-18 at 3.52.45 PM

 

We shot all footage using a the Red Epic 4K camera riding on a Ronin 3-Axis stabilizer to get that floating feeling to the footage.  We decided on shots that were bright and sunny for the outdoor shots.

 

Screen Shot 2014-12-18 at 3.53.10 PM

 

We designed a animated female character and used several techniques to make it feel as though she was really part of the scene but at the same time feel as though she were part of the viewers imagination.  The character is designed to convey a stylish, carefree spirit.

The result is a commercial that stands out from other jewelry commercials in a memorable way.

safe_title_chart_16x9_01

Better Safe Than Sorry

Have you ever seen a commercial where an important piece of information, such as a website or phone number, wasn’t fully displayed on the screen? This is a big problem that not nearly enough production companies pay attention to. The issue here is that footage isn’t being edited with respect to Center Cut Protection.

What’s Center Cut Protection?

Great question! This applies to Standard Definition footage that was filmed in High Definition. HD is meant to be viewed in 16:9 aspect ratio, however SD is only 4:3. So since many SD channels still exist, footage edited in HD need to be down converted in order to be aired on these channels. Specifically, Center Cut Protection refers to graphics or text that’s edited into commercial spots. In the photo on the left, you can see how HD footage is supposed to be viewed, with the website clearly within the safe areas. The photo on the left, however, shows how that same footage would be viewed on an SD channel. In this medium, the website gets cut off.

safe_title_chart_16x9_01      safe_title_chart_16x9_02

How do I fix CCP errors?

It’s important to be cognizant of title safe and action safe areas. These are lines that indicate that what’s within the boundaries will be completely viewable by audiences. Anything outside is at risk of being cut off depending on the viewers’ TV. These areas differ for HD and SD.

Screen shot 2011-06-08 at 12.14.20 PM

In this photo, the outer line is the Action Safe area and the inner is the Title Safe area. The tiny vertical dashes on each line represent the Center Cut Protection.

Screen shot 2011-06-08 at 12.20.55 PM-1

I’m sure that at some point you’ve been watching TV and the screen appeared like the one above, with black bars on the top and bottom. This is to keep HD in 16:9 aspect, even though it’s being displayed in a 4:3 frame. Some channels want to get rid of these bars and adjust the picture to 4:3, like the photo below.

Screen shot 2011-06-08 at 12.21.11 PM

In this photo, the blue lines coincide with the small dashes in the first photo. This is why it’s important to stick to Center Cut Protection when editing for SD. Because while your normal safe boundaries may be ok for HD, when that same footage is viewed in SD you may lose important information. This makes the commercial less credible, and thus, your company in the eyes of your client.

wordle-storytelling4-1

Why Storytelling is More Influential Than Selling

storytell_image_webIn part one of our Infomercial vs. Commercial debate, we talked about how the main idea associated with infomercials is ‘annoying.’ Let’s be honest, there’s no quicker way to get us to switch channels than hearing the familiar Oxyclean advertisement, or one similar to it. Infomercials are highly identifiable by their traditional approach to selling items.  But one thing that you can’t ignore is that they work! Otherwise people wouldn’t spend the amount of money producing the videos or airing them if they didn’t.

We start with a demonstration of the product: what it does, why it’s amazing, why other brands don’t live up to this one. All of that is well and good; obviously it’s the type of information you’d want to include in any kind of marketing technique. But then they start in on the irritation…

“You get all of this for only $19.99! That’s right, everything you see here for just $19.99! Similar products are going for more than double that! But you get it all for – wait for it – $19.99!”

Come on, is anyone really fooled into thinking that this is some killer bargain? But then, of course, they try to sweeten the deal…

“But wait! Call now and you’ll also recieve this (fill in random useless item here) for no extra cost to you! That’s (product and useless item) for JUST $19.99!!!

And then they repeat their phone number about 500 times, so if you’re still tuned in by this point you’re spending a lot more time praying for the infomercial to be over than thinking about the product.

Now, think about that technique and ask yourself – wouldn’t an engaging and entertaining commercial go so much farther in persuading the consumer to buy the product than annoying them into submission? You might think the benefit of an infomercial is that it highlights the benefits of the product, but a well-made commercial can do all that and more. For example, we like to create a narrative around the product. We enrapture and enlighten through visual storytelling. This is a great option to think about if you want to appeal to customers through entertainment. People often remember more information when it’s embedded in an interesting story. This video explains why.

As an example of the storytelling advertising technique, you can look at the Evolvemint fundraising video we produced.

At Blueforest Studios, we love to tell stories – we’d love to tell YOUR story. Give us a call or check out our portfolio for more inspriation.

 

Screen Shot 2014-07-10 at 1.22.30 PM

Jingles All the Way

Imagine: you’re lounging on the couch watching the Panthers dominate in last Sunday’s football game. At the halftime commercial break, you hear the distinctive voice of your worker on television. Suddenly you realize…it’s YOUR commercial! That’s the experience our CEO, Russ Reynolds, had last weekend when the spot for the Leith Toyota came on. Screen Shot 2014-07-10 at 12.40.26 PMLeith came to us with the request to include a jingle in their commercial that was catchy and would get viewers’ attention. So like a dutiful production company, we started brainstorming how to produce a commercial incorporating a memorable tune that would run through viewers’ heads and entice them to head over to Leith. We took our inspiration from other popular commercial jingles and eventually came up with an idea that we thought would appeal to consumers. Not only did we do the instrumental work and recording, but we even gathered up half our team and got them in the audio booth to start chanting. The vocals you hear belong to none other than a group of diversely talented Blueforest Studios staff. We even coerced our account manager, Meredith Duncan, into sipping pepsi and milk on-camera (it was supposed to look like an iced latte). This is one way in which we’re demonstrating how dedicated we are to producing the best possible product for our clients. We’ll go the extra mile to ensure that what you receive is the pinnacle of our creative abilities. Check out the Leith commercial below and let us know what you think! If you’re interested in having a video that features a catchy jingle, give us a call – we’d love to help you in any way we can.

images

The Top 4 Reasons You Should Care About 4k

If you are reading this article, I assume you’ve heard of 4k at this point.  If you’re still not sure what it is, here’s a brief overview. You’ve heard of 1080p which is a video with a resolution of 1920×1080. That’s a lot of pixels and produces some great images on your home TV if you have HD content like Blu Ray, HD cable or Satellite, Xbox 360, Playstation 3 etc.

Now imagine multiolying that resolution by 4! Now you have 4k or Ultra High Definition (UHD.) The term 4k comes from the hollywood film industry because they have been scanning and projecting film prints at 4k resolution for many years now.

So, why should you care?

  1. It might be the next big thing.  There’s always a “next big thing” in technology. Eight years ago (in 2004) 1080p HD was introduced. Seven years before that was when DVDs became the next big thing. If you follow that pattern in technology, we are due for a “next big thing.” The industry tried to push 3d on us (mainly because it’s harder to pirate,) but that has proven to be more of a niche thing.

If you’ve followed CES 2013, you may have learned that almost every major TV manufacturer has just announced a 4k TV set. Sony in particular seems to be going all in on it announching 4k TVs, 4k broadcast and disk formats, 4k camcorders, and there’s a strong rumor that the PS4 will be the first 4k gaming platform. Many signs indicate that 4k UHD will be the next big thing in media.

        2.  For some of us, it already is the next big thing.  We’ve been filming TV commercials, web videos, and documentaries in 4k for about a year now. There are at least 2 other video production companies in town doing so as well. I’ve had many people ask me why we are filming in 4k. Here are the top 4 reasons I give them:

  • Acquiring footage in 4k gives us sharper 1080p images.
  • Future proofing our library. In 5 years, when 4k is mainstream, our clients will have a 4k library of footage to draw from.
  • Flexibility. I can film a wide shot and later change it to a close up and still be well over 1080p resolution. I’ve done it before and it’s gotten me out of a couple of pinches.
  • Bragging rights. It’s a character flaw. I’m an early adopter. I like being out on the bleeding edge. It costs me time and money sometimes, but it also means I can write this article so you can learn from my mistakes.

         3. Movie Theaters. You may or may not know that movie theaters have been projecting 4k movies for several years now. So how does that affect you? Well, if you are producing a TV commercial or documentary that you ever want to play in theaters, you will be able to take advantage of the power of 4k UHD. There is a company called RED (who happens to manufactuare the 4k cameras we use) and they have jumped in the 4k theater distribution game. What this means is that in a couple of years, there may be a way for you to very easily screen a low budget film in a local theater at 4k UHD.

         4.  It’s Beautiful!  A funny thing is that even though I have been filming in 4k for over a year, up until last month I have never SEEN any of my images in 4k. That all changed when we discovered a high end home theater company in town who has a 4k projector installed in a $200,000 home theatre demo at their office. They too had never seen 4k footage on their beautiful set-up. That’s because there are still no devices that are capable of playing back 4k footage.

We spent several weeks building a custom computer rig that was up to the task of 4k. Last month when we sat down to finally see true 4k projected I was blown away. I saw details in the footage I had shot that I have never seen before and I have looked at the footage for hours upon hours. This was good and bad, because I realized that I am going to have to raise the bar in some of the ways I am shooting because 4k shows off every mistake you make.

 So, the bottom line on 4k for consumers is that it’s coming. I imagine the TV sets will be starting at $5,000-$7,000 and will drop in price from there in much the same way 1080p did. TVs are getting larger, so an 84″ screen will soon cost the same as a 60″ 1080p screen did a few years ago. Content is also on it’s way as several companies have introduced formats that can pack 4k into a bandwidth similar to bluray discs or even less.

For companies that are producing videos, commercials, etc, you can hire a local company like ours and have us produce your video in 4k for not that much more than producing it in HD. (There’s about a 10-20% increase in cost due to equipment and data storage costs.)  Here’s a commercial we recently finished that was shot in 4k and was broadcast in HD last month on local TV.

If you have any questions about 4k, email me Ammon Ehrisman at ammonATblueforesstudios.com because I love talking about it!

(Ammon is the Creative Director at Atlantic Creative located in Raleigh, NC.)

 

Kickstarter

How to Utilize Video to Make a Crowdfunding Campaign Successful

Have you built a great product that targets a specific niche market? Have a functional prototype that will knock the socks off potential customers? Then you’ve probably considered a crowdfunding campaign.

Here’s how you run a video crowdfunding campaign to discover if your product, idea or software apppeals to your target market or the public. There are many factors that determine if your campaign will become successful or just a flop. We’re here to tell you that your demonstration or product video is the make-or-break tool for your entire campaign. People are visual. If you have a product that you are asking them to support, they want to see it and see your passion for it. Without those aspects why would anyone choose to spend their time and/or money to back it?

Qualities of a Good Video:

We’re not saying that your video must be a $25,000 professional video decked out with intense 3D graphics – but in order to succeed, your video will need to focus on at least these four main factors:

  1. Subject
  2. Lighting
  3. Audio
  4. Passion

This should go without saying, but there also needs to be good quality content in the video. Essentially, you need to tell a compelling story in a very limited amount of time. To craft a great story, you’ll need authentic (or humorous) characters. You’ll need to demonstrate that there is a particular problem and explain how your product or service can solve it. And relying on well-informed data ALWAYS helps get the message across.

We’d like to show you three examples and discuss three primary concepts that make or break a successful crowdfunding video with regards to telling your story and the story of your product/service:

  1. Simplicity
  2. Human Aspect
  3. How does it work?

Some examples that have been fully funded:

  • Simplicity – People don’t want to hear a long explanation about everything that makes you different or every detail that goes into your business. Simplify it. Check out this company that offers cloth and compostable diapering alternatives.  They don’t have the most high-tech video, but they did a great job explaining who they are, what they do, and how it’s better than an alternative. This video isn’t perfect, but it describes the more emotional benefits of the company as opposed to describing what makes their services work.
  • Human Aspect – For the most part, people are interested in the human aspect of things, not the technical details. Check out this video. It’s a great product with an amazing purpose, but the execution of the video falls short. If they would have shown the human aspect towards the beginning of the video than the viewer would be more likely to become emotionally attached. They managed to reach their goal, but it was in the last few days of their campaign. A shark tank winner, Tiffany Krumins who created the AVA Elephant Brand explained this concept well when she said “I believe they can see the passion I have for children and that matters to them. They want to know they are getting behind a good cause.”
  • How does it work? – In this video, the inventors tell us how their product is going to help the world and also gave details of what it would cost per day to operate their manned boat. They claim this cost is the reason there are not many ocean-going boats gathering data. They talk about what uses there are for the data which makes the viewer more likely to commit to help fund the product.

So basically, incorporating subject, lighting, audio, and passion into your campaign through the means of a video has proven to help people feel more compelled to give which in turn can help you reach your goal!! What are you waiting for? Start your crowdfunding campaign today!

Laura Faughtenberry

339

Infomercial vs. Commercial

When you say infomercial, the first word that may come to your mind might be “annoying.”  We’ve all seen them, and some of us may have even succumbed to the power of the infomercial and purchased something. Whether it was by calling in right then to get the extra incentive or visiting the website or even buying it in a store. But, how effective is it compared to a regular tv commercial or web video?

An infomercial goes way more in-depth by demonstrating the product usually in a pretty low quality looking way. In fact, did you know that some infomercials are actually high budget productions that are made to look low budget?

We at Blueforest Studios stay away from infomercial style ads and instead come up with a creative story that really captivates an audience. We find that these types of ads, whether used on tv or online tend to lend more credibility to a company and show them in a positive light. An infomercial on the other hand, could be a great selling tool after you’ve got a great short video that captures your viewers and leaves them wanting more, but an amazing video as a first impression can produce lasting results.

Check out this video we made for All-Weather Firestarters.

The owner came to us with an infomercial style video that he’d produced with a different company, but wasn’t happy with the results he got from it. Ours is the furthest thing away from an infomercial.

What do you think? What makes you click or decide to buy an item?
Pergo_The-Dog-image

Great Use of Online Video by Pergo

We all know about Pergo, creators of the world’s first laminate flooring.  Not only do they make beautiful, hardy flooring but they have a fun video campaign featuring a giant Pergo Floor with Great Danegreat dane.  So they’ve got two things going for them, right?  Great product and a cute dog – what else do they need?    Personally, when I visited their North American home page I saw the dog and watched the video first before thinking about clicking anything else.  It’s only about 11 seconds so just enough time to enjoy the video and look around to find what link I need.   It gets even better than a cute dog. They have a nice storyline that goes along with the video – which turns out to be a series of videos and a call to action.  Check it out. This is probably the best use of online video that we’ve seen by a manufacturer.  It shows that they get the power of video and how people behave online.  Visitors like short clips and will remember this site because of the cute dog and the recurring theme.

What do you think?  Do the videos convince you that Pergo might be right for you?  What could they do better?

IMG_3322 Resize

Carolina Ale House TV Commercial Part 2

If you missed part 1 of this intriguing story about Carolina Ale House, check it out here.

Table Shot Setup

Picking up where we left off, a series of brainstorming sessions occurred while working out the details of the script and all of sudden we had a new idea for a better story (we are always looking for the best story). These meetings took place during March Madness, and at least one member of our team (me) had been watching a little bit of basketball (note: the phrase “a little” is meant to be read “hours a day”). So from this healthy obsession, sprang the idea of making our food stars into sportscasters. Recent cast changes had replaced Triple B Burger with Pub Burger (Triple B had a scheduling conflict) and Buffalo Chicken Salad with Buffalo Chicken Wings (the salad had a diva moment and backed out).

So, to make a long story short (TOO LATE!), we had new characters and a new story (Interested in storytelling? Funny, we are totally into storytelling. Seminar and blog posts coming soon on that topic). With the story set, and our new toys (a Canon 60D with some beautiful new lenses) we set out to make a funny story with delicious food. Using our home-made tray (See picture: don’t worry it wasn’t heavy or anything) we got the shots we wanted. After all the shots, we put into our magic cave (watch our Process video to get that joke) and out came a shiny new commercial. We will let you judge the story, but take my word on the food (my word: delicious. Go ahead, take it). Check out Carolina Ale House.

Camera Tray and Shot Set up

Check out the commercial here:

Bryan Reklis
Video Producer

0207010934

Carolina Ale House TV Commercial Part 1

Just as 2010 drew to a close, our creative department launched what would become one of our most successful videos. This of course was our process video, which you can check out here. With this playful and imaginative video we were able to give potential clients insight into how we work, as well as a taste of our humorous side.

Storyboard for Carolina Ale House

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thanks to our process video we won the opportunity to work with Carolina Ale House, a great sports themed restaurant based in Raleigh with locations all over the Southeast. Check out their site and take a look at that delicious Triple B Burger. YUM!

The challenge was to create a 30 second TV spot that incorporated the restaurant’s theme of “Food, Sports, Fun.”  After several creative meetings we decided on an idea that centered around talking food and a fun roller coaster ride that would end not so well for our food protagonists but excellent for customers. It was a fun idea that meshed food beauty shots with a thrilling ride that showcased what the restaurant was all about. Our three food stars were originally: Triple B Burger, Caribbean Fish tacos and Buffalo Chicken Salad.

Once Carolina Ale said “go”, there was a flurry of creative meetings, story boarding, and hands on rig building.  The main idea was to have the plated food zooming through the restaurant on a tray enjoying what would become its last bit of fun before a delicious and agonizing end with plenty of napkins needed. To accomplish these shots we built a tray mount for the camera and used our Canon T2i paired with a fantastic 14mm f2.8. We were ready to shoot.

Stay tuned for Part Deux, the exciting conclusion…