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

by Ammon Ehrisman

With any creative project, you are going to have lots of possible decisions and you have to be very selective on 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!

 

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Blueforest Gives Back – 2nd Annual Triangle Nonprofit Video Giveaway 2016

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Capturing compelling stories through video is what we do best! We know there are many nonprofits in the Triangle that have life-changing stories. These stories explain how they were founded, the people they serve, and the lasting impact they are making in the community.

That’s just one of the reasons we love working with nonprofit organizations. Last year we launched the Blueforest Gives Back initiative to support the community by doing what we do best, creating videos! Due to our huge success collaborating with CASA Housing we are bring our giveaway back for local nonprofits who contribute services in the categories of community, environment, and economics. Our criteria won’t just be who can get the most likes, although social media will play a small part. It will be a holistic view of the agency – who has the story that will get the most traction and who can benefit most from a great video!

Interested in being a part of our giveaway? We will produce a free video ($5,000 – $10,000 value) in 2016 for one amazing local nonprofit organization. All other nonprofits are eligible for a 10% discount and all applicants will get free basic YouTube Optimization on a project purchased from Blueforest Studios by the end of 2016! We are an Integrated Video Production company after all and we want to make sure that your target audience can find your video online. Learn more HERE.

Check out our video for last year’s winner, CASA!

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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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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!