Differentiation

When I meet people in a networking environment I am often asked what sets Blueforest Studios apart from the other companies in town.  First we share our stories and talk about the company’s that we work for or own.  Then as we delve deeper the question comes up: Why should people choose Blueforest Studios rather than one of the hundred other production firms in the area?  I usually talk about our gifted staff – award-winning, creative, dedicated, and innovative.  If they let me I will tell them about the award that we won for this touching American Heart Association video.  Or I will tell them how that video touched someone so much they remembered it over a year after the ball.  I will tell them that our video producer created the music for that video because he just couldn’t find the right piece.  And that he did that on his own time because the client didn’t have the budget for custom music.  If they care, I will tell them that we have the best combination of creative folks in the Triangle and that they can’t go wrong with our company.  But some of those characteristics are prerequisites to be in this field.  After your first year – you better have an award or two to show for your efforts, and you have to be creative if you’re in video production and we all like to think that our staff is dedicated – at least most of us say that.  So what’s the difference?  Since I have never worked for another video production company I can only say that anecdotedly not all companies are as focused on client success and long-term gain as we are.  When we realized that some of our customers were using their very expensive videos once and then posting them in a hidden place on the internet we went back and asked ‘Why?’.  Could they repurpose the video to get a larger return on it?  Did they just need to optimize the video to get more views online?  Then we started working with clients up front to determine how they could get the most out of their investment in the video.

So in summary – we are not just into a transactional relationship.  Our team loves making videos but they really enjoy videos that are creative and effective!  Month-after-month we have repeat business from customers who could go anywhere in town and if we win new business we rarely lose them to a competitor later.  Now we’ve added another differentiator with animation and our own in-house illustrator who helps explain even the most complex issues – like Tax Reform!

The Atlantic Creative Intern Experience

Working as an intern for Blueforest Studios gave me the opportunity to better my skills for my career path by having the chance to do two
voiceovers and allowing me to not only act in a video but be involved with editing. In addition, I was presented with the opportunity to view a screening along with attending an animation meeting. Before I came to Blueforest Studios, I knew that I wanted to be a broadcaster and journalist; however I learned that there were other vital elements to the industry besides standing in front of the camera and talking to my audience. Understanding everything it takes to make an effective video is important and has a lot to do with knowing what is personally going on behind the camera, having the right people working behind the scenes, and bringing forth strong ideas to produce a video.

I was instantly amazed with how the Blueforest Studios team brainstormed ideas for the video clip that was put together. There was no such thing as having the right or wrong ideas. The session was about having fun while thinking of key elements that would make the video an attention grabber. It seemed as if I were the only one in the meeting who felt like my ideas had to be perfect until Kathy and the Blueforest Studios team encouraged me to loosen up and openly say what came to mind. So no matter how unethical an individual’s concept may have been, it was still an idea that could have had the potential of turning the video into a masterpiece.

Blueforest Studios not only supported me whole heartedly, but they allowed me to feel comfortable with knowing that I actually had the potential to enter into the industry. The team also showed me that I did not have to be perfect by knowing everything about the film industry, so because the Blueforest Studios members accepted the fact that I knew little to nothing about the broadcast television and radio industry, I was able to feel comfortable in learning from them about the different elements of cameras, voiceovers, doing storyboards, participating in the brainstorming sessions and editing the film along with the script. It was simply amazing how the environment was pressure free while working on the film that they put together while allowing me to help. I not only walked away from this internship with a blown away mind about how there is no such thing as being perfect, but I walked away with confidence in myself knowing that I could really achieve the dream in becoming a broadcaster and journalist if I work persistently at bettering my skills. Now I am overly excited about pursuing my dreams!

Sincerly,     LaKeeda Johnson

Here’s the now viral video of LaKeeda’s week at Blueforest Studios:

Note from Blueforest Studios – not all interns get a Mercedes Benz at the end of their internship.

Leveraging Your Video on Vimeo

There are so many video sharing sites out there but one has reigned supreme for the past few years.  YouTube is great for sharing funny cat videos and even marketing videos that you’d like to have found in search.  But what about videos that are for a more targeted audience or for an interface that can be customized and maintain professionalism?  That’s where vimeo comes in.

They offer an interface free of distraction and have been a favorite for award-winning shorts from filmmakers.

And, now they are looking for more ways to differentiate themselves.  They started with tip-jar, giving viewers a method to show their appreciation to the video producers and now they are offering Vimeo On Demand.  They’re new On Demand option gives anyone the option to sell their video work online however they want.  So you can make it a limited engagement for say 1 hour or let the user have almost permanent access to the content.  We are thinking about how some of our clients would have liked this sort of option for training videos and documentaries.  What other uses do you envision of Vimeo on Demand?  We’d love to hear your ideas.

Kathy Hughes Langfield

How to Utilize Video to Make a Crowdfunding Campaign Successful

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

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

Qualities of a Good Video:

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

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

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

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

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

Some examples that have been fully funded:

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

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

Laura Faughtenberry

Infomercial vs. Commercial

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

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

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

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

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

What do you think? What makes you click or decide to buy an item?

Red Epic vs. Canon DSLR

As you know our team is always pushing the envelope on the tools and techniques that they use to create awesome video productions.  They are always learning, trying out new things and deciding which tools and techniques improve our video productions and which are just neat little tricks.  Well, they have been researching the Red Epic for some time and we’re thrilled to get a chance to use it to shoot some TV Spots for some of our clients.

So we came up with our first test footage using the Red Epic for Carolina Ale House – Doesn’t this burger look great?  And how about that beer?

Can you tell the difference from the burger and beer above and this very nice and most popular TV commercial that we created for Carolina Ale House last Spring?  We shot this with our Canon DSLR and are very happy with the results – especially all the views online and the response from those who have seen this TV spot while watching basketball and hockey! We’d love your thoughts, comments and questions so let us know what you think!

Blueforest Studios is a leading video production company located in Raleigh, NC

Basic Tips for Shooting Video with a DSLR

Since DSLRs are gaining popularity in the video production world, I thought we would share some basic tips for shooting video on a DSLR.

First, you want to adjust your shutter speed. Depending on how you want your video to look, this will vary. Shutter speed is how long the sensor of your camera is exposed to light. First you need to know what frame rate you will be shooting in. For most DSLRs this will be either 24p/25p, 30p, or 50p/60p. If you are shooting at 24p/25p, you want the shutter at 1/48th and 1/50th (of a second). If you are shooting at 30p, you want the shutter to be 1/60th. And if you are shooting at 50p/60p you want 1/100th and 1/120th, respectively. Shooting at 24 frames per second will give you a film look to your footage, if that is the style you want.

Second, you need to adjust your ISO. The ISO changes how sensitive the camera’s sensor is to light. The higher the ISO, the more sensitve the sensor is. If you are shooting in low-light condistions, you will need to raise your ISO, which will help brighten the image. A rule of thumb for ISO is to keep it as low as possible because when you raise the ISO, you begin to see a digital noise in the footage. Often times certain ISOs create more noise than others. These ISO settings are good to avoid: 125, 250, 500, and 1000.

Third, you need to set your white balance. White balance is the process of capturing the correct colors for the available light you have. If you don’t set the white balance, your footage just won’t look right because the colors will be off. Most DSLRs will have white balance presets, but if your camera has a manual Kelvin white balance, you will want to use that. Presets will do a pretty good job, but adjusting the white balance yourself will be more accurate. When shooting outside, start at a white balance of 5200K. This is usually the temperature of sunlight, and you can tweak it, if needed. If shooting indoors under tungsten light, start at 3200K. This is the normal temperature of tungsten bulbs. Most bulbs are not completely color accurate though, so you will want to adjust it based on the light that is around you.

As with all video tips, these are just starting points. Tweaking the rules is how you can develop the exact look you want for your video project, but these are good places to start.

 Have you found any of these tips helpful in your video production? Let us know in the comments section!

Derek DeStefano 
Assistant Video Producer

My Marketing Challenge & Downtown Raleigh Marketing

Last night we had the pleasure of networking at The Hive in downtown Raleigh at the Downtown Raleigh Marketing speaker series. We also had the opportunity to interview some brave souls for our upcoming video program entitled “My Marketing Challenge”.  We have found that there is so much talent and knowledge in this area and we really enjoy the meetups and networking events where we are able to learn more.  But we’re looking for another avenue to share that information with people who need it.  So being in the video business we are going to launch a video series with questions from business people in the area and answers from the experts in the field.  So in the future when you have a question about how to get exposure for your nonprofit or restaurant you will be able to find the answers online from experts!  Depending on the questions that we receive we may have answers from experts like Jeff Tippett of Calvert Creative on Winning Strategies, or Christina Blandi-James of CBJ Promotional Avenues on the perfect event, or perhaps our own Ammon Ehrisman on Telling Your Story.

So think about your questions and feel free to tweet them to us or to @DTRmarketing.  We will be filming at future events and would love to get you on camera.  And, watch out if you are one of the experts that we need because we’ll be looking for you to share your thoughts on camera too!

By the way, the event last night was a great success.  It was just about standing room only, The Hive is a great space, and we made many new friends. We learned about how to reach out to the media – hint – They are people too!  So make a personal connection with the appropriate reporters and get to know them and also how they like to be contacted.  One of the speakers does not want phone calls, while the other appreciates a call when he’s sorting through 100’s of emails and the third said you can text him if he’s given you his mobile number!  Also, being “people” they have limited time and cannot transport through time in order to be at your event when you give them very limited notice.  One thing that wasn’t mentioned but I’ve heard in the past is that reporters are often looking for sources or for experts.  So if you are an expert in Green Energy or Global Finance, let reporters who cover that beat know.  And, when the time comes and they call you – answer the phone and help them.

Last but not least a point that has been reiterated time and again and yet so many miss it.  Your story should be unique, well crafted and interesting.  Think about what’s different about you, your cause, or your business and why people should care!

Original Video Marketing by Carlsberg

If you watch TV, movies or anything where beer companies can advertise, you have likely seen the ads talking about their amazing process, awesome taste or just featuring
some beautiful women that any guy will get to talk to if he drinks the right beer.  Carlsberg has decided to take a different approach with their newest ad.  Check out this brief blog article by Simply Zesty and watch the video.

Now we have seen a few ads where the “mean guys” are really nice.  But this is a bit different in that there are unsuspecting couples who enter the theatre and they make different choices about what they are going to do based on the rest of the audience.  It is refreshing these days, pun intended, to see original ideas.  It does seem that while 60% of Hollywood releases are sequels and remakes, ad agencies are stepping it up and offering their clients better and more MEMORABLE ways to brand their product.  Now I don’t know what you consider success in these days of YouTube and DVR’s but over 5 Million views seems like they might just be getting their point across.  In fact, I might just check out Carlsberg at the store tonight.

Note:  If you’re looking for original ideas for your TV or Web Spots, I can recommend a great company – right here in Raleigh. And, some of our best work is coming out soon….. so stay posted.

Kathy Hughes Langfield
Marketing & Operations

Great Use of Online Video by Pergo

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

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