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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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The Winner of the 1st Annual Blueforest Givesback!

It was a very tough decision as every applicant is an important nonprofit helping to better our communities. We started Blueforest Givesback because we love getting involved in the community in many different ways. Blueforest Givesback is another way for us to help local nonprofits with what we do best, telling a great story. After much consideration, we’re happy to announce the winner.

Drum roll please……

CASA! 

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CASA is a Raleigh-based nonprofit housing developer and property manager. Focusing primarily on multi-family rental properties for people living with disabilities and veterans who have experienced homelessness. CASA’s housing model ends homelessness for people in great need by offering safe, permanent places to live. CASA manages more than 340 apartments and homes across the Triangle (Wake, Durham and Orange counties) and has 22 more currently under construction. CASA’s CEO Debra King was recently Tarheel of the Week by the News & Observer!

Blueforest Studios is excited for this opportunity to work with CASA in creating a video that will help CASA accomplish their mission. Blueforest Studios and CASA will work together to broaden their impact and raise awareness of the organization. CASA was selected to receive the 1st BlueForest GivesBack award because of its successful track record of assisting often overlooked members of our community, its dynamic leadership, and their plan to further their measurable impact. Learn more about CASA at http://www.casanc.org/

We thank all the applicants that applied to our first year of Blueforest Givesback and for all the work that they do. We encourage all to apply for 2016’s Blueforest Givesback.

Keep a lookout for updates of Blueforest Giveback and for the winning video!

 

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5 Ways to Improve Video Quality at your Fundraising Event

So, you have a fundraising event coming up and you have a beautiful video to show that is going to make people cry and then open up their pocketbooks?

The last thing you want is to have your fundraiser packed to the gills with folks ready to watch it and then when the lights go down, the video does not come up.

Or the audio sounds terrible.

Or the picture looks nothing like it did on your computer.

Or worst yet…it freezes in the middle.

Don’t leave it to chance. Here are 5 things you should do to make sure your video plays back correctly during your event.

#1 Make sure you get the best quality video file.

The most compatible file is an .mp4 with an h.264 codec. Also, ask to get it in the highest resolution possible.  Most videos are shot in 1080p resolution. If it was shot and edited that way, make sure your video file is also that resolution.

#2 Ask your video production company for help.

If you used a video production company, they are just as interested as you are in having their beautiful work play back correctly.

#3 Ask your AV person the exact model of the projector and computer they will be using.

If you have that info, you can see what resolution the projector is, what kind of connection cables, if their computer is fast enough to play back your file, etc. If they ask you for a DVD, this is a huge red flag and indicates they have not updated their equipment for over a decade!

#4 Do a run through before the event (24 hours in advance if at all possible)

The ultimate test is to make sure the video plays back on the exact equipment that will be used at the event.  Play back the entire video several times to be 100% sure.

#5- Have a backup method

It never hurts to be prepared with a backup.  If you have your own laptop that is capable of playing back the file and connecting to the projector, have that ready to go just in case.

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Everyone’s Favorite Day for Commercials: The Big Game

My favorite commercial in the last several years comes from the “Big Game” of 2011. I’ve been a humongous Star Wars fan since my parents took me to see the films in the 90’s when they were being digitally remastered and shown in theaters again. If you’re reading this you probably know which commercial I’m already talking about.

 

Volkswagen truly captured the same childhood imagination (and desire for learning how to control The Force) I felt at that age. I’d like to think I’m going to buy a car that can turn on with the press of the button in hopes to do this to my future children.

 

Of course, who could forget the sweet story of friendship told in a minute time frame by Budweiser last year? I’m a sucker for anything with dogs in it but this is a legitimately beautiful piece of work.

 

Sure I’m bringing this up because Sunday will bring commercials filled with humor and sincerity. But does this only have to be during one day of the entire year? Absolutely not!

 

We take pride here at Blueforest Studios in creating content that is both engaging and informative. The most engaging way to capture the attention of your audience is to tell a story.

 

We certainly think adding a pinch of humor also works too.

 

So as the new year continues to roll on consider us for your marketing needs. We are storytellers that want to tell your story!

 

And if you are part of a non-profit in the Triangle area reading this consider applying for our free video giveaway! The window for submissions is closing on the 31st of this month. To check out more information visit our blog post from December here: http://blueforeststudios.com/blog/blueforest-gives-back-triangle-nonprofit-video-giveaway/

-Dustin

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The Power of the Play Button

I find myself scrolling through pictures on my iPhone often. I like to reminisce. Mixed in with the pictures are some videos I’ve taken — mostly of my kids. Both my toddler son and daughter love to grab my phone any chance they get. And I find it fascinating to watch what they do once they get it. Sometimes they immediately go straight to one of the apps I’ve downloaded for them. But, other times they head to the photo section. Their little fingers scroll through quickly from picture to picture. Occasionally stopping to giggle for a second or to turn the phone towards me to show me something they want me to see. “Gook” my daughter says instead of “look” smiling. But, any time they see a play button it’s game over. No matter how quickly they’ve been scrolling, if they catch a glimpse of that triangle they stop mid scroll or scroll backwards to find it again.

The power of the play button.

It’s like a magnet. You have to know what’s behind the thumbnail. On YouTube it’s even red. It’s almost like it’s telling you not to click it. But you have to. And that’s why video is so powerful. If you have a well written story then you’ve got something powerful. Add an image and voila even more powerful. But, add a video and you’ve just increased your audience engagement by a lot.

Video by itself isn’t enough. The video needs to be good. It needs to speak to your audience in a way that represents you, your brand, your company. And once you put one out that people like they’ll want more.

So think about what you stand for and how you are delivering your messages in 2015. If a toddler with a very short attention span is willing to stop for a moment to click the play button then think about what your potential audience may be willing to do.

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5 Tips for Fundraising Videos

You’ve been asked to raise money at an upcoming event. Sounds simple enough, right? But, then you start to think about all of the little things you need to do to make the event a success. Things start to get a bit overwhelming. How do you thank your current donors and also make them inspired to continue to give in the future?

As an integrated video production company we’ve had great success helping nonprofits produce videos in order to raise awareness, funds, and achieve their marketing goals. The upfront investment costs are just that, an investment. When you see stats over and over again that say the human mind processes images and stories so much more effectively than text, it’s easy to understand why a video works. So here are some tips for when it’s time to prepare that video:

1. Include a relatable character – This could be a real person, an animated character, or the narrator but, it needs to be a person whom your audience can relate to. Most people will likely feel empathy for whomever you choose.

2. Emotional pull – If you are involved in a nonprofit you probably know some great stories about how your organization has helped others. These stories can really make an impact when told in an engaging way. Likely your cause does awesome things. But everybody might not know what those things are. Here’s your chance to tell them.

3. Include something positive at the end – You could be telling a story that contains a sad situation or a situation that’s uncomfortable, but there needs to be something hopeful at the end. Something that shows passion. Something that shows a difference can be made. Something to show a conflict was resolved or can/will be with help.

4. It’s not always about making $ – Even though you are hosting a fundraising event you may not want to blatantly slap the call to action everywhere. People understand you are trying to raise money. They’ve either given money or time in the past or are interested in giving in the future. This is one time the call to action can be a little bit disguised.

5. Be truthful – This should be a given, but I think it deserves to be said. Sometimes people are skeptical about where their money is going. If it’s not going directly to the cause, then you might want to mention that. Most people understand that there are administrative costs involved with any non-profit but they want as much of their funds as possible to go to the cause so just be clear about what the percentage is if that’s appropriate.

These are just a few things that will help you achieve success for your fundraising event. Have more questions? Feel free to reach out! We’re happy to assist in any way we can.

If you are curious about some of our experience with fundraising videos click here to see some we’ve produced.

Here’s one of our favorites, for the American Heart Association, that follows the 5 tips above.

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Choose Blueboost

What is Blueboost?

You may have heard us refer to ourselves as an integrated video production company and wondered to yourself, “what exactly does that mean?” Well, it has a lot to do with a service we offer called Blueboost. Blueboost is a 27-point proven process for optimizing the amazing video we’ve Screen Shot 2014-09-25 at 3.39.12 PMproduced in order for you to achieve maximum return on your investment.

Why is this necessary?

We’ve learned from experience that there’s a disconnect between video production companies and marketing teams. Sure, you put a lot of money into making a great promotional video or commercial, but what does that matter when nobody sees it? Or worse – no one acts on it? Blueboost is a part of our process to make sure that doesn’t happen. Not only will we ensure that you get the highest quality of video, we’ll make absolutely sure that people actually see it.

How can I learn more?

Watch the video below! You can also give us a call or shoot us an email! We would love to discuss how we can help you get the most out of your video production experience in greater detail.

(919) 832-2220                                                                               sales@blueforeststudios.com

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The “Good” in Goodbye

For nearly a year and a half, I’ve had the immense pleasure of interning for Blueforest headshotStudios. What started as a simple Google search for “Raleigh Video Production Companies” turned into one of the greatest learning opportunities of my college experience. I’m so grateful for the experience I’ve harnessed and the connections I’ve acquired that have made all the difference in preparing me for my future career.

Looking back on my knowledge-base entering this internship as an unexperienced sophomore, I’m amazed at the vast skew of responsibilities that I’ve come to be familiar with and consider part of my “skill set.”  I’ve composed tweets and posts, I’ve created web campaigns and newsletters. I’ve assisted with video shoots and participated as the occasional background extra when necessary. I’ve researched, analyzed, and optimized to my heart’s content. SEO used to be a foreign term, now it’s part of my daily vernacular. I’ve Youtubed (no, not stupid cat videos. Well, okay, maybe one or two). I’ve planned and executed our open house, seminars, and other events. And I’ve blogged. Oh, how I’ve blogged.

I consider myself incredibly blessed that I not only had the opportunity to learn each of these tasks, but that I was immediately entrusted with almost-complete responsibility to conduct them adequately. I have so much gratitude for my superiors who left these assignments in my subordinate hands without questioning or impugning my abilities. They bestowed in me a confidence and desire to perform to the best of my ability given that I’d been so effortlessly entrusted.

Of course, it wasn’t ALL work. Blueforest Studios taught me that the workplace can also be a lot of fun. Not a holiday nor birthday passes that we don’t celebrate. We prank. We potluck. I’m proud to say I was on the winning team of our State Fair scavenger hunt. The people here don’t just work hard, they play hard. More than that, there’s sense of community between coworkers here that made me feel as if I was amongst friends. That’s 53dc1054fab9d87a51e360cchard to come by, and I’m fortunate to have had the pleasure of working amongst professionals that were equal parts talented and kindhearted.

Even though this will be my final blog post, I know this is only the beginning of great things for the company. When I started my internship, we were Atlantic Creative. Over the course of my employment, I’ve been able to watch the company flourish and take on new and exciting changes. We’ve undergone office transitions and rebranding endeavors. I’d like to think that I played a role in helping Blueforest Studios grow in this industry in the same way they helped me grow as a professional.

The knowledge and experience I gained from my internship are invaluable, and I’ll always be extremely grateful for my mentors that provided this opportunity. I want to express my HUGE thanks to the entire Blueforest Studios team. You guys are the best!

Alyssa Rudisill

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Video Tips for Beginners

3This Wednesday, October 15th, we will hold our next monthly seminar on learning the basics of creating internal videos. We know that many professionals are tasked with the burden of making in-house videos even though they might lack the necessary skills for doing so. An important fact to note is that the quality of your video says a lot about the quality of your product or service. Just because you don’t use a professional video service to produce your video doesn’t mean it can’t look professional, as long as you put the time and effort into following some basic beginner shooting rules.

 

Lighting

It’s likely that you won’t have the necessary equipment to properly light a shot, so it’s important to know what kind of natural light is the best for shooting in. In general, direct sunlight is going to create intense shadows and is not a flattering option. The exception is early morning or late evening, often referred to as “Golden Hour. ” Typically, overcast days provide complimentary lighting. You can also buy a cheap reflector (such as a piece of white poster-board) to fill in shadows. If, on the other hand, you do have access to lighting equipment, check out this blog on basic lighting tips.

Support

Don’t skimp on the tripod. This is one of the most important purchases you will make, so choose wisely. Tripods come in two parts that you’ll typically have to buy separately: the legs, also called “sticks,” and the head. Buy legs that will support twice the maximum weight of your camera and a fluid head that will allow you to pan and tilt smoothly. It’s a common beginner mistake to buy a cheap tripod, and it shows. Don’t be that person.

Plan your Shots

Whether this is in the form of a storyboard or just a shot list, it’s good to have a clear idea of what shots you want to include and the best way to capture them. The more you practice, the better sense you’ll have of seeing shots as the camera sees them.

Composition

Picture an imaginary grid with two vertical lines and two horizontal lines dividing your shot into nine equal sections. The Rule-of-Thirds states that for the most interesting shot, subjects should be placed at the points of intersection on the grid. This is a good basic rule to follow when planning how things should be placed in a shot.

Movement

If you’re going to do matched-action shots, (someone starts an action and the camera cuts to a shot of the action continuing from a different angle), make sure that you shoot the complete action from both angles. A common mistake is shooting from one angle only up to where you think you’re going to cut, then starting the action in the middle from the next angle. The problem with this is that it’s really difficult to get the exact positioning correct. It’s often obvious when the action isn’t matched perfectly, resulting in a jump cut. It’s possible to use jump cuts purposefully to convey meaning, but oftentimes this isn’t what the director is going for and it just creates confusion and pulls your viewer out of the story.

 

These are just a few concepts to keep in mind when shooting. For a more extensive, hands-on learning experience, register for our Video Production for Beginners seminar. We hope to see you there!

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(blue)Boost Your Resume

Does working in the video production or marketing industry interest you? Are you wondering what sort of jobs exist in these fields or what local companies have to offer? We’re often approached with inquiries about what kind of jobs Blueforest Studios has to offer, and while we aren’t hiring any full-time employees at the moment, we wanted to take a moment to let anyone who’s interested know about what kind of opportunities exist in this market. ***Email address below***

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Creative Director – This is a vital role in the product development process. Creative directors must have a creative vision and the ability to lead their team of artists. They must also have a head for business and be able to direct activities of the company to maintain a standard of creative excellency, timeliness, and profitability while meeting the clients’ needs.

Video Producer – This person is coordinates all the different aspects of a video’s production. A video producer with clients and the production staff to produce a variety of videos. He or she plans and executes video shoots as well as post-production tasks such as making editorial decisions.

Audio Producer – An audio producer must be familiar with technology and equipment needed to record, mix, and produce sound on videos. This may include adding sound effects, voiceovers, or background music. They may also be responsible for operating audio equipment on shoots.

Illustrator – This person uses creative skills to communicate a story, message or idea. This could include producing drawings, diagrams, or other images that help make products more attractive or easier to understand.

Account Executive – An account executive serves as the direct link between a company and it’s clients. This person builds sales by prospecting for new clients and generates future profits by nurturing existing customer relationships.

helpAlthough we currently have an awesome staff to fill these positions, we are looking for a few new Sales/Marketing, and Video Interns. These individuals would have the opportunity to learn the ins and outs of working in the respected positions for a video production company.

Sales and Marketing interns would assist in the creation and distribution of marketing materials, perform analysis of marketing and sales data, and provide support to social media efforts. This person should have excellent written and verbal communication skills and knowledge of the Web and social media. We are looking for applicants who are willing to commit to a minimum of 3 months.

A video intern would assist with the daily operations of video production and work alongside our experienced video producers. Ideally, this person would have some familiarity with basic video practices such as editing. Additionally, they should be able to take direction well and learn new tools quickly.

We’re also looking for a Sales Representative!

http://capital.iapplicants.com/ViewJob-666685.html?jb=3&source=55089

Interested applicants should email their resume and cover letter to:

Kathy AT Blueforeststudios.com