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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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Creatives Thriving in Raleigh

You don’t have to go to common creative capitals in the US such as NYC or Atlanta for great creative inspiration and work. Right here in Raleigh there are many opportunities for the creative worker. Based on the US Census Bureau 2012-2013, Raleigh is #3 in the country for fastest growing cities. With increasing population and economic growth, Raleigh is a perfect place for the creative economy to flourish.

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Raleigh attracts creativity because our lively city allows creative thinkers to express themselves through various outlets and opportunities. This city is ranked as the Best Place for Business and Careers (Forbes 2014). Small businesses face low regulatory hurdles compared to other cities and projected annual job growth for the Raleigh area, which ranks seventh best among the 200 biggest metro areas, is 3.7% through 2016.

 

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The Creative Vitality Index (CVI) is an annual measure of the health of the creative economy in a specific area. According to the 2013 CVI, Wake County reflects a creative economy 10% above the national average! Raleigh’s CVI score is a 95% average. Wake County gained 685 more creative jobs in one year (2012-2013), bringing the total to 25,424 creative jobs in 2013! 36 creative occupations are represented in the index and the highest number of jobs are postsecondary teachers, photographers, graphic designers, public relations specialists, and musicians/singers.

Creative thinkers and the arts have revitalized Raleigh’s community through new and unique expressions. In North Carolina creative workers, creative enterprises and creative communities bring the entrepreneurial strengths of the private sector to economic development (NCArts). Full of opportunity and creative life, Raleigh’s thriving creative community is a force to be reckoned with and should not be overlooked.

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Appearing on camera? Here are 5 tips!

About to appear on camera? Got a case of the heebie jeebies? We’ve got you covered. Here are 5 tips that the pros use to make sure you look and sound great.

#1 Sit on your coat.

If you are wearing a coat or blazer, sit in your coat to avoid the dreaded ‘coat bunch’. This will keep you looking neat and slim.

#2 Wear the right clothes.

Here are a few general tips on clothes. Avoid white clothes if possible. Some cameras will not be able to handle the white fabric well and you will look like a glowing orb. If you are appearing in front of a green screen, don’t wear green. Avoid tight checked patterns and thin stripes. These can also throw some cameras for a look and give you a weird Moire effect.

#3 Know how to do an interview.

Repeat the question. Most interviews don’t include the interviewer in the final edit. So if they ask you if you if you like your job, don’t say, “yes.” They can’t use that. Rather, say “I love my job! I get to do what I love every day.” or “I hate my job, I’m so miserable and depressed.” Whichever one is true.

Only answer the question you are asked. If you are asked about where you work, just tell them where you work. You don’t need to tell them everything you do at work, they are probably going to ask you that in a moment.

If you have a bad interviewer, they may ask you more than one question at once. Not to worry. Just answer the first question, then ask them to repeat the 2nd question.

#4 Don’t try to memorize things.

Lot’s of people make the mistake of trying to memorize what they want to say. If you do that, 9 times out of 10 you will come across as scripted and mechanical. You are probably being interviewed because you are a passionate expert in your field. Just answer the questions in the way you would in a casual conversation and you will sound much better.

#5 Relax and Amplify.

You may be a bit intimidated by the bright lights and strangers standing around. Just take a deep breath and speak slowly. But you also have to remember that you will come across on cameras lower energy than you think you are. Smile and amplify your energy level just past where you think is too much. That will sound just right on camera!

So there you go. And last but not least, don’t forget to break a leg!

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Meet the Judges Panel for Blueforest GivesBack!

Now that our First Annual Video Giveaway Blueforest Gives Back has officially stopped accepting applications, we are excited to announce the judges panel. These judges will be responsible for reviewing and voting on which local nonprofit will be the winner of our giveaway!

Introducing…

 

Jay Shapiro

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Jay Shaprio is the voice on many of our projects. He is an outstanding voice talent and semi-retired Senior Technical Writer with over 30 years of experience designing, writing, illustrating and narrating processes, procedures, tutorials, and both internal and customer-facing product documentation and audio communications.

 

 

Michele Reynolds

DSC_3933Michele Reynolds is an expert in social work and is currently working at Springmoor Life Care Retirement Community, a nonprofit organization that provides retirement services to older adults. She has extensive volunteer experience and she enjoys working with Meals on Wheels and Race for the Cure.

 

 

 

 

June Sadler

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June Sadler is a filmmaker with many specialized skills in photography, short films, documentaries, music production, performance and writing. Currently she is working on The Future People, bringing together children of diverse backgrounds to empower them to become peacemakers.

 

 

Ammon Ehrisman 

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Ammon Ehrisman is the Blueforest Creative Director, bringing over 15 years of experience creating HD videos and graphics for businesses throughout the country. He has produced many diverse and unique award-winning videos for clients while here at Blueforest and he enjoys volunteering with his church.

 

 

 

 

Kathy Langfield

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Kathy Langfield is the VP Operations of the Blueforest Team and keeps us all on track. She is a professional MBA with a background in business, nonprofit and environmental fields. She has worked for Blueforest Studios since its inception as Atlantic Creative and Kathy oversees finance, operations, and marketing. She is on the Meredith College Alumni Board, Triangle AdFed Board, and long time Special Olympics of NC volunteer.

 

 

 

 

Marguerite LeBlanc

Marguerite LeBlanc is the bookkeeping part of the Blueforest Team since summer of 2012. She has worked for nonprofit and for-profit organizations ranging in size from two to several thousand employees including local and national nonprofits and several publishing companies. Her experience includes fundraising, sales, marketing, event planning, and office administration.

 

Our judges will be reviewing and choosing the top 10 finalists within the next few weeks, so stay tuned!

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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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Blueforest Gives Back – Triangle Nonprofit Video Giveaway

We love a great story! And, we know that many nonprofit agencies have great stories about why they were founded, the people that they serve, and the impact that they are making in the community.

That’s just one of the reasons we love working with nonprofit organizations. In the past, we’ve received many requests from nonprofits for our services. Sometimes we can offer a discount or even do a video for free but the process has been based on timing and luck more than anything else. Now we’re creating a process by which we can award a video to one local nonprofit agency annually. 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 – who can benefit most from a great video.

This is our way of giving back to the community with what we do best, making an awesome video!

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We are holding our First Annual Blueforest Gives Back Video Giveaway! We will produce a free video ($5,000 – $10,000 value) in 2015 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 2015! We are an Integrated Video Production company after all and we want to make sure that your target audience can find your video online!

This giveaway is open to all 501(c)(3) nonprofits who serve and are located in the Triangle.

Wondering what kind of video you can win? Here’s a video that we produced for the AHA a few years ago – it’s a powerful story with a strong message.

Look for more samples at the end of the post.

Criteria:
A GREAT Cause! – We’re looking for a unique 501 (c) (3) organization.
Located in the Triangle!- This allows us to work together locally for meetings and filming, together helping our community.
Financially Sound – Looking for an agency with a solid track record.
Active Online! – The non-profit we work with needs a social media presence to kickstart the sharing of the video.

WHAT YOU SHOULD DO:

If this sounds like you, then please apply here (by January 31, 2015)!

Once you’ve sent in your application, it’s time to show us exactly what you’re made of.
The next step is to tell us why you think your organization should win. Tell us your STORY.

Tweet with the hashtag #BlueforestGivesBack why you want a video from Blueforest Studios!  Share any of your promotions (blog, pics, projects) on your organization’s Twitter or Google+ with everything you want us to see and tag us @BlueForestVideo and #BlueforestGivesBack

Timeline:
DEADLINE for application – January 31
Top 10 selected – February 28th
Top 3 announced – March 15th
WINNER announced – March 30th
Final Video Delivered- August 1st

Here are a few more samples of video styles that we’d love to provide to the winner. This video featuring graphics, animation and kinetic type for the NC Craft Brewers Guild could definitely fit within the allotted budget.

Here’s another that we created for the Lung Cancer Initiative.

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Hello From The New Audio Guy! (read: amazing composer)

Hello to all of you out there reading this on your computer screens, phones, tablets, and all forms of electronic devices! My name is Dustin Painter and I’m the new audio producer at Blueforest Studios here in Raleigh, North Carolina. The higher ups wanted me to write a blog post to introduce myself so here it goes!

I started workiIMG_0715ng here in November teaming up with our insanely talented lead audio producer Donald Best. Together we work on tracking and editing voiceovers, audio mixing, and audio production for clients that come to us for video production. We also produce any kind of audio production that you can imagine.

We take pride in producing excellent quality audio work for our video production team here at Blueforest Studios. Have you ever watched a video online, maybe even on TV, and thought to yourself “something doesn’t seem quite right here…?” The production value of the video looks great, the acting is superb, and the story the company is trying to convey is being told in a solid manner, so what is it? It’s probably because the audio has been thrown on the back burner during the production process and simply placed in. I can tell you one thing: that does not happen here!

The purpose of audio is so much more than just you hearing what someone is talking about in a marketing campaign. Nobody wants low quality audio in their videos. Even when you watch TV how many times are you actually watching? It’s easy for us to flip the tube on and go about working on different tasks. Maybe you’re cleaning the house, or cooking, or even just have it on for background noise. Why is it so easy to still enjoy TV even if you aren’t watching it? Perfect audio is why! Audio, even without the visual aspect, can bring you into whatever medium you are exposing your attention to. Audio is a vital part of storytelling and very well may be the most immersive part. What else in the audio realm is important for videos? Music! This is where I hope to come in and and to help you out personally here at Blueforest Studios: original music designed specifically to YOUR needs.

Outside of my work here at Blueforest Studios I work as a freelance composer and sound designer for film, TV, videos games, and any form of media possible. I studied “Commercial and Electronic Music” at Western Carolina University here in the mountains of NC and was lucky enough to do graduate studies at the University of Southern California in the “Scoring For Film and Television” program. During my time in Los Angeles I had the chance to study with some pretty incredible composers such as Christopher Young (Spider-Man 3, The Rum Diary, Sinister), Bruce Broughton (Silverado, Tiny Toon Adventures, Lost In Space), and Garry Schyman (Bioshock Series, Dante’s Inferno, Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor) among many others.

As a composer my purpose is to bring you into the heart of the story. Music should help to propel the piece of media forward into a part of your brain that will make you remember what you just saw. It is all about making a personal connection to the viewer! Once again, how many times have you had something on in the background while working and have known exactly what is on because of the music that’s playing? Music not only works directly on viewers but can access a subconscious level of the brain to tell them how to feel, what is happening, and can engrain itself into the memory without you even knowing it’s there.

With all of that said I want to help bring your story, your product, your ideas, or anything you want to tell to the forefront of people online and everywhere! I feel very lucky not only to make music and sound as a career but to also have the chance to do it here at Blueforest Studios with some of the most talented, creative, and kind people you’ll find in the business of marketing and video production.

Of course there are some times when trying to create that right piece of music feels like this:

Then an idea comes along and it feels like this:

Finally a music track that fits just right is made and both I and the client I’m working for can sit back and know their video is ready for everyone to see!

Now that I’ve talked your ears off, or I suppose typed your eyes out, feel free to check out this playlist of some various work I’ve done on projects!

I hope you enjoyed what you’ve heard. Thanks for a few moments of your time and I hope to work with you all very soon!

Cheers,

Dustin

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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.

 

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We shot all footage using 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.

 

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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.

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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.