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Summer 2016 Interns: Moving On

The week for Triangle AdFed’s What We Do You Can Too internship program is over. Daniel Engman and Mason Carrara have both had a splendid time learning different areas of advertising at Blueforest Studios. The crammed week included learning how to edit videos in Adobe Premiere Pro, learning how to edit pictures in Photoshop, and producing a radio spot. Engman and Carrara tell us about their experience and what’s next in their lives.

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Q: How would you describe your experience at Blueforest Studios?

Daniel:

My experience here at Blueforest Studios has been one to remember. I learned so many new things and I improved on the skills I already had. For starters myself, along with the other two interns, created a radio spot start to finish. I also learned how to set up a professional photo shoot, and so much more! I would love to come back and work for Blueforest any chance I got. This experience was invaluable and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

Mason:

My experience here at Blueforest Studios was an extraordinary opportunity for me to understand what an advertisement business is like. I learned what programs would help them achieve their goals in their work. In this business, I have learned how they plan out their next strategy and how prepared they have to be for making these productions. I went on a shoot with a few of the members, Vann, Emily, and Bryan in Wake Forest. I learned a new passion that I could potentially pursue which is videography. I was able to participate in their shots for the project they are working on which I noticed the whole idea of shading, lighting, and etc. It was just like my teacher said that computers are just like cameras.

Another area that I learned was audio, with Donald, and I thought that this was a great place to learn audio from him. I was able to do the radio spot with Daniel and Brendan and I was able to learn the whole editing process of our radio spot. Listening to all sounds to see how good or bad they were. Also, we used a voice actor to say our script. All in all, I was enjoying the experience and I hope to hone this experience so I can have the same idea of what job I will go into. I really enjoyed the experience here more than what I first had in mind.  

Q: What’s next for you? What are your plans for the summer?

Daniel:

Over the summer, I have football workouts every day from 7-12 and our 3-day camp at Campbell University in late July. Other than football every day I am going to Louisville, Kentucky June 20-25 to compete in the SkillsUSA national competition. My team is competing in Interactive Application and Game Design, which is a competition where the competitors are tasked with creating a video game prototype from scratch (that includes all graphics, audio, and actually making the game run).

I am also going to be in NYC for the week of July 4th and I’m really looking forward to it because I’ve never been to NYC before. I am always asked what I want to do with my life in the future and I think that I am finally figuring it out. I hope to go to NC State and major in marketing with a minor in psychology, or if NC State rejects me the backup plans are going to UNC-Charlotte and getting my MBA or going to Western Carolina and getting a degree in sports management

Mason: 

My plan for summer is really just focusing on creating my professional website so I can put my name out there with the work I have. Another step for me that I’m taking is learning new programs like Adobe Premiere and Pro Tools. Since coming here I have learned that these programs are pretty essential to the business. These seemed important since I’ve been with Blueforest Studios for four days and I have seen nothing on a computer but Adobe Premiere and Pro Tools for video and audio. Of course, there was photography which I enjoyed very much. I went with Vann, Emily, and Bryan and I decided to go along and help with their shoot of Wake Forest.

I enjoyed the sites that we traveled to and I also enjoyed being their actor for the shoot. I really appreciate the time they spent and the hard work they put into their work. It really opened my eyes to the possibilities of videography and I might put that into my listing also for the summer. I wish to keep doing internships for the summer but I only have a week so I might try to find another internship if I can after my week is up.      

 

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Summer 2016 High School Interns

This is our fourth year participating in Triangle AdFed’s What We Do You Can Too internship program, or WWDU2, where high school students receive the opportunity to gain hands-on experience in the advertising industry for one week. This year we have three interns:  Brendan Bello, Daniel Engman, and Mason Carrara.

Brendan Bello

Brendan Bello

I am a high school student in the Academy of Finance program at Sanderson High School. Throughout the summer between junior and senior year, Academy students are required to complete a 135-hour internship at a local business. I chose Blueforest Studios because I am interested in pursuing a career in the film industry. My plan for this summer and goal as an intern is to learn about video production. Blueforest Studios being a group of people passionate about their craft, they can help me accomplish that goal. With my experience at Blueforest Studios, I, like them, will hopefully be able to make audiences feel something and inspire them to take action.

(Brendan will remain an intern for the duration of the summer.)

 

Daniel Engman

Daniel Engman

Let’s start with who am I. I am a dual-sport athlete, playing both football and lacrosse for Middle Creek High School. I have one little brother, two crazy dogs, and I am very fortunate to have two loving parents as well. I am very influenced by sports in my life and they have molded me into a driven and very competitive person.

My competitiveness and my will to win have not only helped my football and lacrosse careers in high school (I’ve only lost 2 football games in my high school career), but it has driven me to go and get any and every opportunity I can get, such as this internship at Blueforest Studios. During my time at Blueforest, I hope to learn the amount of time and hard work it takes to create a successful marketing campaign and to recognize all the pieces that play into making the best possible product. I also hope to further my skills in video production, as well as graphic design and audio production.

 

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Mason Carrara

I am sort of a computer geek and I love to create things from scratch in Photoshop. I love creating objects,environments, and characters. The love to learn new skills is always open to me. I want to be able to do work that others would recognize, from the company and from me. I personally love working with others and hearing their opinions on given subjects so I can improve on my thinking.

I just started getting into animation and I was able to create a .GIF with the Photoshop Timeline window by creating individual frames for each movement. I enjoyed this, and I decided to go a little more in-depth with animation. I still only know the basics but I bought the book called “Animator’s Survival Kit” to enhance my skills. I plan to also learn more about animation at Blueforest Studios. 

My goal for this internship is going to understand how computer businesses work. I want to see what we do for planning, what we do for executing, and etc. I want to learn programs for the work of animation, editing, and teamwork. Getting to know these programs and critical thinking skills will help me understand the thinking of a business products. Being in a business is personally a good spot for me to understand what a business will be about.

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Blueforest Studios Inside Look Part 1

Busy, busy days here at Blueforest Studios. The creative process for building exciting and memorable stories never ends. But we’re never too busy to give you a tour! Over the course of the coming weeks, we will be giving you a look at what goes on inside our studio along with the people who make things happen–our Blueforest crew.

The first person you meet when you walk in the door…

Donna Mason 

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The Witty Receptionist

Donna greets those who walk through our door with a warm smile, typically offers them coffee and directs them to the appropriate personnel. Her daily tasks involve updating customers’ Atlantic OnHold messages, writing scripts for clients, and making everyone laugh.

One of the neat things Donna likes about working at Blueforest Studios is “getting to be a little creative, getting to write some things and proving that everything we learned in school was actually worth it.” she remarked.

(*Atlantic OnHold is an on hold messaging service located in Blueforest Studios which Donna is also a part of. You’ll find out more about Atlantic OnHold in a later blog, soon to come.)

Kathy Langfield

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The Does-It-All

Kathy works on pretty much everything including finance, marketing, human resources and team management. One of the best parts of her job is working on the yearly Blueforest Gives Back giveaway where one lucky nonprofit organization receives a video valued at $10,000.

“I get to take part in that and help give away some video every year,” she said.

Kimberly Corrigan

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The Cheery Sales Guru

Kimberly specializes in sharing the love of video through sales and collaboration. She talks to clients about their video needs, sends them samples of accomplishments Blueforest Studios has achieved for other companies and determines whether or not a potential client is a good fit for Blueforest Studios. Creative collaboration is one of the perks of working at Blueforest Studios.

“Whether it is me getting to go back and be with the creatives and actually come up with new ideas or actually introduce a client to our creative team and see the ideas that come up and the video that results is so fulfilling,” Kimberly said.

Prior to joining the Blueforest team, Kimberly was a video journalist.

“To still be able to be in video and work with people,” she continued, “and come up with creative ideas and just see these beautiful things come to life is why I get up in the morning. It’s awesome.”

Russ Reynolds 

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The Big Bossman

Russ sells videos, plain and simple. He also founded Blueforest Studios. What he enjoys the most out of working at Blueforest Studios is the people.

“This isn’t work to me, you know, to go out and meet people,” Russ explained, “Usually they have a problem and that’s what video does–help them solve their problem, raise money for a nonprofit or sell cars.”

And Marguerite LeBlanc

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The Mistress of Numbers

Marguerite handles the financial elements of Blueforest Studios including payroll, accounts receivable and accounts payable.

“I like the fact that the work here is project based,” she stated, “There’s always something new. I have some things that I do that are routine but enough things that aren’t that keeps it interesting.” Marguerite also added she enjoys working in a drama-free environment.

Let’s not forget the places we use for creative meetings with clients and to chow down:

The Boardroom

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The Almighty Kitchen 

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You are now knowledgeable of several team members of Blueforest Studios. We’ll be introducing the rest of the crew very soon.

 

 

 

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The Voice of the Expert Presented in a Creative Way: Keen Strategy

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With any creative project, you are going to have lots of possible decisions and you have to be very selective about what you choose.  It was no different when we started working on the Keen Strategy branding video.  

As I met with Greg and John I realized that their software was a bit technical and took a while to explain.  But their passion for what their software could do to help marketing managers was palpable.

After doing all of the normal creative discovery, we knew the three biggest things we would like the video to do.  First, we needed to describe what Keen’s software did so anyone could understand it.  Second, we wanted to demonstrate that John and Greg were really passionate about what they were doing. Third, we wanted to show that Keen’s MIDA software was different from anything else out there.

Great. Sounds like a plan, right? Well, since we only had 2 minutes to work with, we knew we would have to pick one or maybe two of these things to really focus on in the video or we were going to start losing people.

We ended up coming up with 3 ideas to address these issues.  Some were funny.  Some were told through the eyes of a marketing manager.  Others were more symbolic, but the one that John and Greg liked the most was also the most offbeat idea.  

The concept was to interview them about the software and their passion for helping marketing managers.  As we watched their interviews, they would magically transform into animated versions of themselves. This would hopefully grab the attention of the audience and give us the opportunity to demonstrate the high-level features of the software in a visually captivating way all while making a real connection between our audience and the founders of Keen.

The result is the Keen video: Greg and John.  Watch it and tell us what you think.

 

 

 

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YNPN #NonprofitSTRONG summit

What can I say about YNPN’s NonprofitSTRONG summit?

To put it simply, it was inspiring. The summit was full of passionate people and powerful missions. But what stuck with me the most were the remarkable stories of these nonprofit groups. Here at Blueforest Studios, we are very aware that every nonprofit has a story, and we strive to tell these stories in a way that inspires action. And I gotta tell you guys, the exhibitors and nonprofits at the summit had AMAZING stories. Even though “storytelling” wasn’t exactly the theme of the day, you couldn’t escape it even if you tried! I can’t tell you how many great stories we heard from people just stopping by our table to take a selfie! (Yes, we had a selfie station. And yes, it was awesome.)

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Atrayus Goode from Movement of Youth was the keynote speaker of the day, and boy was he good. He had all eyes and ears on him from the moment he held the microphone. He told a gripping story of his childhood, in which he was a witness to his mother’s drug abuse among other traumatic circumstances. You could hear a pin drop, the room was so still. That’s the sound of good storytelling – held breath.

After he built up this story and had everyone invested, he came in with his mission: to start an open conversation about race, and to ignite change within the dynamic of this country’s leadership representation.

As storytellers, we here at Blueforest want to say BRAVO! to Atrayus Goode, for not only speaking out about something so important, but for also telling it so beautifully. Same goes out to all of the organizations there that day. It was an honor to be among such strong and passionate individuals, and to be able to hear all of your inspiring stories.

Hope to see you at next year’s summit!

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Blueforest Gives Back 2016 Judges Meeting

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Having a strong team of judges is essential when discussing all applicants for this year’s Blueforest Gives Back Giveaway. With a blend of returning and new judges, and yummy food from Moe’s, it was time to get the ball rolling by scoping out 7 lucky finalists who met our criteria. We were very excited to see nonprofits we know and love and also organizations new to us. We did a thorough analysis of every applicant’s strengths and weaknesses. Because we looked at each applicant individually, this was a challenging process!

34 organizations sent in applications this year, which beat out our initial 25 total for last year. We fully examined each organization based on a careful list of criteria such as community presence, social engagement, and impact of the organization’s message. Some organizations are doing well on their own while others could use a helping hand. We gathered useful information about each nonprofit and their local impact.

Despite a long conversation and tough decisions, we were all on the same page about which applicants are the finalists Blueforest Studios will be working with. We’ll be scheduling meetings with the finalists over the next 4 weeks.

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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 produced 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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Custom Music Helps Take Home the Addy

When Blueforest Studios was selected by Triangle AdFed to produce a video to launch the new ADDY award and program we were ready to take up the challenge. We knew that we’d have to go above and beyond to inspire our local advertising and marketing colleagues. We collaborated with Bill Harper of Wonder Web and also the ADDY Co-Chair, who brainstormed the idea of smashing the old crystal trophy and metaphorically bringing the new one out of the ashes. Our team worked on getting just the right shot. We used our new set of Kino Lights plus natural sunshine and shading provided by numerous staff members holding the tent in place.

So once you have the shot, what’s next? Editing, editing, editing and a really cool voiceover. And with all the hard work that was put into this we couldn’t just put any random stock music into the video. So we turned to 1 of our 3 composers, Dustin Painter! You can hear that all he learned at the University of Southern California for his degree in Scoring For Motion Pictures and Television. We think the music is just about the best part of this award-winning video. We knew that based on his past work he was the man for this particular job. Check out the Silver ADDY winning video to see what you think!

Coincidentally, another of our composers, Donald Best, won for his custom music for a local Fortune 500 company.

We believe that a signature sound for corporate videos is an important part of the brand experience. Due to budget constraints we once used a very nice stock track on a video for a national brand. By the time the video was released, that piece of music was everywhere. We counsel our customers to consider custom music. It adds to the overall price of the project yet can really pay off in the long run when the audience associates the quality of the visuals with what they are hearing.

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Blueforest Storytelling Seminar

We have raving fans for our Storytelling Seminar – so you’ll definitely want to check it out. Our next seminar is February 24, 2016 at 10:30am.  Lunch will be provided to those who’d like to stay after. One past commenter wrote: -Great storytelling seminar!. Gave me new perspective on using good  to make memorable…ppl remember great stories

See why else you might want to attend on this video:

Click here to register!  Seats are limited so sign up today!

 

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The Limitless World of Animation

As the animated video market has become saturated with whiteboard animations, it may seem like animation is a fad coming near the end of its tenure. We work on providing animation that goes far beyond the “whiteboard” style that was popular a few years ago. Our animation strives to be a part of the story and help convey the message that our clients are hoping to share.  We do this in part through the work of Blueforest’s in-house animator Emily Kohler and her assistants. Animation opens up the door to so many possibilities in the video production world and truly is limitless. A few of our favorite styles are motion graphics, kinetic, and hand drawn. Animated videos have an entire arsenal of possible options at their disposal.

Motion Graphics

Motion graphics can add a lot to a standard, live action video by visually incorporating key details. In this video, we added the graphic overlay to add information and keep the viewer engaged.

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Kinetic Animation

Kinetic animation is an animation technique that mixes motion and text. How the text is presented assists in its mission to convey an idea or emotion. Kinetic animation is special because the combination of animation and fonts makes it very interesting to watch as words can be very powerful.

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Hand Drawn

Lastly, and our favorite, hand drawn animation. Hand drawn animation is undoubtedly the most beautiful form as each image is hand crafted and is a moving piece of artwork. Not only that, but anything can be drawn and animated precisely to meet each client’s needs.

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To see our entire suite of animation capabilities, check out our Animation Styles video below!