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?

Raleigh Video Production Pricing

Let me walk you through a little scenario. Let’s say you’ve been planning a new marketing campaign, or maybe you just want to try something new. You starting looking around and seeing what’s out there. You start to notice a trend.

Atlantic Creative film Crew in ActionYou’re starting to see all these videos popping up on web sites and youtube.  Maybe you’re thinking, ‘there is value to having a video for my business’.  So where do you start if you want a video for your business?  Google?  Sure you do, that’s where you can find a local company that will come over and shoot it for you. But wait, now you’re thinking you could even try to get a camera and do it yourself.  If you go the do-it-yourself route, you can get an entry level digital camera for a couple hundred bucks.  Then you realize you do not have any experience filming, editing, rendering digital files or uploading them to the web, so probably the best route in the end is to hire some professionals.

Back to Google. Now you enter ‘video production company in BLANK, NC.’  Whoa, there are a bunch of folks in the video business.  So then you start calling them and find one on the low end; it’s $199 for a two minute video that you write, go to their studio to rehearse and get filmed, and then they’ll put a few graphics on there and you’ll be out the door with your video.  Now all you need to do is figure out how to upload it to the web.

There’s also that video production students who have widely varying skills and charge between $25-$50/hour for their time.  Projects can take anywhere from 20-200 hours depending on the complexity, duration, and skill of the producer.

The next level up would be a straight video production company that will send some folks out with a camera, tripod and zoom lens to capture footage of your facility.  This is in the $1000 range for a full day shoot.  It may not include editing, creative services, or more importantly, a strategy for the direction of the video story.

The next level above that would be a video production company that can handle the creative requirements of a video fully. They’ll write a script and storyboard the video out so you can see what images will compliment your strategy.  These companies are in the $4000 – $10000 range for up to a two minute video.  They will include the lighting, dollies, crane, professional narration, licensed music, editing, and graphics and titles.

People’s attention spans are very short these days and they are used to seeing high quality HD content on their flat screens at home, so the shorter the video the better. It takes skill and practice to make your message concise but still interesting visually and story-wise, and that’s why working with someone in the video production business on all aspects of your video project can be really helpful.   In the end, the video production business is just like most other businesses, you get what you pay for.

~Russ Reynolds

The Man – Head Sales Guy

Carolina Ale House TV Commercial Part 2

If you missed part 1 of this intriguing story about Carolina Ale House, check it out here.

Table Shot Setup

Picking up where we left off, a series of brainstorming sessions occurred while working out the details of the script and all of sudden we had a new idea for a better story (we are always looking for the best story). These meetings took place during March Madness, and at least one member of our team (me) had been watching a little bit of basketball (note: the phrase “a little” is meant to be read “hours a day”). So from this healthy obsession, sprang the idea of making our food stars into sportscasters. Recent cast changes had replaced Triple B Burger with Pub Burger (Triple B had a scheduling conflict) and Buffalo Chicken Salad with Buffalo Chicken Wings (the salad had a diva moment and backed out).

So, to make a long story short (TOO LATE!), we had new characters and a new story (Interested in storytelling? Funny, we are totally into storytelling. Seminar and blog posts coming soon on that topic). With the story set, and our new toys (a Canon 60D with some beautiful new lenses) we set out to make a funny story with delicious food. Using our home-made tray (See picture: don’t worry it wasn’t heavy or anything) we got the shots we wanted. After all the shots, we put into our magic cave (watch our Process video to get that joke) and out came a shiny new commercial. We will let you judge the story, but take my word on the food (my word: delicious. Go ahead, take it). Check out Carolina Ale House.

Camera Tray and Shot Set up

Check out the commercial here:

Bryan Reklis
Video Producer

Carolina Ale House TV Commercial Part 1

Just as 2010 drew to a close, our creative department launched what would become one of our most successful videos. This of course was our process video, which you can check out here. With this playful and imaginative video we were able to give potential clients insight into how we work, as well as a taste of our humorous side.

Screen Shot 2016-03-16 at 3.32.35 PM

Thanks to our process video we won the opportunity to work with Carolina Ale House, a great sports themed restaurant based in Raleigh with locations all over the Southeast. Check out their site and take a look at that delicious Triple B Burger. YUM!

The challenge was to create a 30 second TV spot that incorporated the restaurant’s theme of “Food, Sports, Fun.”  After several creative meetings we decided on an idea that centered around talking food and a fun roller coaster ride that would end not so well for our food protagonists but excellent for customers. It was a fun idea that meshed food beauty shots with a thrilling ride that showcased what the restaurant was all about. Our three food stars were originally: Triple B Burger, Caribbean Fish tacos and Buffalo Chicken Salad.

Once Carolina Ale said “go”, there was a flurry of creative meetings, story boarding, and hands on rig building.  The main idea was to have the plated food zooming through the restaurant on a tray enjoying what would become its last bit of fun before a delicious and agonizing end with plenty of napkins needed. To accomplish these shots we built a tray mount for the camera and used our Canon T2i paired with a fantastic 14mm f2.8. We were ready to shoot.

Stay tuned for Part Deux, the exciting conclusion…

26th Annual Triangle Heart Ball

The 26th Annual Triangle Heart Ball was a huge success.  The Raleigh Convention Center proved to be a wonderful facility for an event with over 400 in attendance.  The auction offered many wonderful and hard-to-get packages and the staff at the American Heart Association and all their partners deserve recognition for a job well done.  We were thrilled that we were able to partner with the American Heart Association for the 3rd year producing a video telling a real life story about how the American Heart Association saves lives.  This year the story featured the Tyler family and how Mr. Tyler was able to save his little boy through the use of CPR.  Our team filmed the video on location in Cary, NC and used latest state-of-the-art video techniques to tell this story. The video is very moving and can be viewed here.

 Photos by Serg Neri. 

Pictured: Michele & Russ Reynolds, Kathy Langfield, Brian Hoyle

Triangle Heart Ball - Russ & Michele Reynolds, Kathy Langfield & Brian Hoyle