Continuity 101

In filmmaking, there’s this thing called continuity…which consists of paying attention to the little things so you don’t make a big mistake. Continuity errors are when something obvious changes within a scene. For example, a man is wearing a blue shirt. When you cut away and then back to him, he’s wearing a yellow shirt. Now nine out of ten times, you can probably get away with a subtle mistake…BUT every once in a while, you will get caught. This is a big problem because as filmmakers, you want your audience to be immersed in the story. When a viewer catches a mistake, it breaks the illusion and reminds them that they’re actually watching video. This impairs your pacing and distracts from the story.

The sad thing is, while you may think nobody will notice your minor flub, there are TONS of people that thrive on the little mistakes. Check youtube – there’s video on video of people pointing out the oversights in major blockbusters.

     “Did you see that crew member in jeans behind Mel Gibson in Braveheart?”

     “I think Frodo’s scar is on the wrong side of his face.”

With a short commercial or promo video, the results of a mistake are even more dire. With a minute or less to win over your audience, any time they waste analyzing your mistakes could be detrimental to your message.

Catching blunders in the production process saves you from a lot of agonizing later on. Trust me, the last thing you want is to produce a FABULOUS video, save the one continuity error that throws off the entire thing.  A good way to avoid mishaps is to always have a continuity supervisor on hand at video shoots. This person will keep an eye on the script as you shoot to keep you on track as well as look out for continuity. If an actor does a movement, the continuity supervisor will make note of it to make sure they repeat that movement for each take from every different angle. They may also take pictures of set arrangement to make sure everything stays in its place.

Don’t think that having a continuity supervisor lets you off the hook, however. EVERYONE on set should be looking out for errors. This will help ensure that there will always be at least one person who can right the wrongs.

Check out these clips from the CW’s hit teen drama One Tree Hill. I mean, come on! Some of the mistakes are so obvious. You don’t want to look like these guys, do you?

Why Storytelling is More Influential Than Selling

storytell_image_webIn part one of our Infomercial vs. Commercial debate, we talked about how the main idea associated with infomercials is ‘annoying.’ Let’s be honest, there’s no quicker way to get us to switch channels than hearing the familiar Oxyclean advertisement, or one similar to it. Infomercials are highly identifiable by their traditional approach to selling items.  But one thing that you can’t ignore is that they work! Otherwise people wouldn’t spend the amount of money producing the videos or airing them if they didn’t.

We start with a demonstration of the product: what it does, why it’s amazing, why other brands don’t live up to this one. All of that is well and good; obviously it’s the type of information you’d want to include in any kind of marketing technique. But then they start in on the irritation…

“You get all of this for only $19.99! That’s right, everything you see here for just $19.99! Similar products are going for more than double that! But you get it all for – wait for it – $19.99!”

Come on, is anyone really fooled into thinking that this is some killer bargain? But then, of course, they try to sweeten the deal…

“But wait! Call now and you’ll also recieve this (fill in random useless item here) for no extra cost to you! That’s (product and useless item) for JUST $19.99!!!

And then they repeat their phone number about 500 times, so if you’re still tuned in by this point you’re spending a lot more time praying for the infomercial to be over than thinking about the product.

Now, think about that technique and ask yourself – wouldn’t an engaging and entertaining commercial go so much farther in persuading the consumer to buy the product than annoying them into submission? You might think the benefit of an infomercial is that it highlights the benefits of the product, but a well-made commercial can do all that and more. For example, we like to create a narrative around the product. We enrapture and enlighten through visual storytelling. This is a great option to think about if you want to appeal to customers through entertainment. People often remember more information when it’s embedded in an interesting story. This video explains why.

As an example of the storytelling advertising technique, you can look at the Evolvemint fundraising video we produced.

At Blueforest Studios, we love to tell stories – we’d love to tell YOUR story. Give us a call or check out our portfolio for more inspriation.

 

Tackling Analogies Through The Art of Animation

In some of our past blogs, we’ve tried to highlight the benefits of using animation to deliver complex messages. You may think that what you’re advertising is too mature to be presented in an animated format, but you’d be surprised at just how potent a well-created animation can be. Matthew Johstone, writer and illustrator, recently joined forces with the World Health Organization to create a powerful video about depression, proving that animation is influential at any age, whether you’re five or fifty.

The video ‘I Had a Black Dog, His Name Was Depression,” explores the debilitating nature of depression and ways of overcoming the condition that plagues millions of people globally. The story is delivered in a metaphorical context, personifying depression by representing the condition as a black dog, rather than alluding to a theoretical concept. The video really succeeds in bringing their message to life by using the dog figure to communicate the effects of depression. Trust me when I say this is no Clifford they’re presenting; it’s an ominous, dominant, pervasive figure that the subject can’t escape. He ‘chews up’ the man’s memory and prevents his concentration, ‘sniffs out’ his confidence and ‘chases it away.’

It’s difficult for a person who isn’t afflicted by depression to imagine what living with the disorder must be like. It’s not something you can feel for yourself or come to grasp fully unless it’s happening to you. In creating this anthropomorphic figure of depression, the black dog, the creators are able to illustrate visibly the essence of depression, rather than presenting a vague idea for viewers to grapple with. Animation is the perfect way to bring figurative messages to life. Imagine telling the story of the black dog in live action – viewers would see a forlorn dog and recall Sarah McLauchlan’s haunting SPCA commercials, rather than interpreting the analogy as it’s meant to be understood. Instead, Johnstone and WHO created a video that allows viewers to deepen their understading of a complicated issue by giving them something to visualize.

Blueforest Studios is experienced in creating animated videos to explain complex issues in a simple way. We’ve made videos for Tar Heel Tax ReformEvolvemint and Men’s Ministry. With each we have strived to use animation to tell a story and engage the target audience. Do you have a subject matter that might not be easily tackled using live action? Contact us today to learn more about our animation process!

 

Animation is More Than Cartoons

We’ve spent a lot of time over the last few months trying to elucidate on the advantages of using animation to promote your company. If you’re a conservative business, you may have turned your nose up at our previous blogs thinking that animation isn’t a suitable form of marketing for your brand. What I want to expand upon now is the fact that animation is not simply cartoons. Animation can be, and often is, a powerful tool for advertising across all types of businesses. You don’t have to be Disney to reap the benefits of a well-produced animated video.

There are many national businesses that have demonstrated creativity and entertainment while maintaining their earnest image and intellectual message through the use of animation. Ford Trucks advertised their 2013 F-150 model using animation, which enlightened viewers about the fuel economy and torque. IBM used whiteboard animation to describe how asset planning can increase productivity and efficiency.

Aside from being engaging and attention-grabbing, animation can add a lot of other useful features to your advertising message. Often, animation can show viewers concepts that can’t be filmed or photographed. There are no limits to what can be shown with animation. In addition, it often helps explain complex processes or ideas in a way that’s easily understandable for viewers.

A lot of production companies can offer animation services, but if you want an example of how we here at Blueforest Studios has used our animation skills to deliver messages that aren’t simply playful, but educational and informative, you can check out the web video we created for Tar Heel Tax Reform.

When you realize that animation may be just the avenue to spicy up your marketing campaign, we’re here for you!

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.

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?

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?

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

A Good Story About the Powder Containment Industry?

At Blueforest Studios, we approach all of our projects by trying to tell a good story. So that is exactly how we approached one of our recent video projects for Flow Sciences, a leader in the powder containment industry.  You may be thinking, “What kind of good story is there to tell about the powder containment industry?” That is a good question (you get a gold star). It is one that we asked ourselves (we get a gold star, too). To answer it, we sat down with Flow (we are on a first name basis with them now) and tried to get the feel for who they really are. In the end, we realized that Flow Sciences is a company that  works to help protect people and product.

So, we had to figure out a way to tell the story of protecting people and product. To that end, we interviewed some of the employees, including President/Founder/Owner Ray Ryan. Through these interviews, we were able to put together the story of how the company’s history is based in solving safety issues in the pharmaceutical and chemical industry, and how that is what they are still doing today. (On a personal note, I got to listen to Ray’s deep, smooth voice for hours during editing. If he wasn’t so successful in the powder containment industry, I would suggest he go into the bedtime storytelling business.)

So check out the story, and who knows, maybe you will be compelled to buy a custom-designed powder containment enclosure from Flow Sciences.

 For more information about Flow Sciences visit their website.

~ 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…