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Better Safe Than Sorry

Have you ever seen a commercial where an important piece of information, such as a website or phone number, wasn’t fully displayed on the screen? This is a big problem that not nearly enough production companies pay attention to. The issue here is that footage isn’t being edited with respect to Center Cut Protection.

What’s Center Cut Protection?

Great question! This applies to Standard Definition footage that was filmed in High Definition. HD is meant to be viewed in 16:9 aspect ratio, however SD is only 4:3. So since many SD channels still exist, footage edited in HD need to be down converted in order to be aired on these channels. Specifically, Center Cut Protection refers to graphics or text that’s edited into commercial spots. In the photo on the left, you can see how HD footage is supposed to be viewed, with the website clearly within the safe areas. The photo on the left, however, shows how that same footage would be viewed on an SD channel. In this medium, the website gets cut off.

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How do I fix CCP errors?

It’s important to be cognizant of title safe and action safe areas. These are lines that indicate that what’s within the boundaries will be completely viewable by audiences. Anything outside is at risk of being cut off depending on the viewers’ TV. These areas differ for HD and SD.

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In this photo, the outer line is the Action Safe area and the inner is the Title Safe area. The tiny vertical dashes on each line represent the Center Cut Protection.

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I’m sure that at some point you’ve been watching TV and the screen appeared like the one above, with black bars on the top and bottom. This is to keep HD in 16:9 aspect, even though it’s being displayed in a 4:3 frame. Some channels want to get rid of these bars and adjust the picture to 4:3, like the photo below.

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In this photo, the blue lines coincide with the small dashes in the first photo. This is why it’s important to stick to Center Cut Protection when editing for SD. Because while your normal safe boundaries may be ok for HD, when that same footage is viewed in SD you may lose important information. This makes the commercial less credible, and thus, your company in the eyes of your client.

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Nonprofit Storytelling Seminar

Screen Shot 2014-08-19 at 1.31.11 PMWe were so happy to host our first seminar in a series of monthly events that we’re offering here at Blueforest Studios. The seminar focused on how nonprofits can convey their personal stories in an compelling manner in order to inspire interest and make a lasting impression on anyone they may encounter. It also raised money for the nonprofit organization Passage Home. We want to give a special thanks to our guests who were able to attend. For those of you that are intrigued but were unfortunately unable to make it to the session, here are some of the highlights!

What Makes a Great Story?

To start with, check out why we believe storytelling is so influential!

Storytelling is a multi-billion dollar industry in the United States. On average, Americans spend:

  • $10 Billion /year on Movie Tickets
  • $18 Billion/year on Home Video & Rentals
  • $130 Billion/year on the Television Industry

Why are people so interested in stories that they’re willing to plunk down major cash for the opportunity to hear a good one, but are 100% uninterested in the average nonprofit pitch?

unnamedWe asked our guests to write down what the single most important element of storytelling was. Answers were varied and we had a lot of great responses, however the MOST significant aspect of storytelling is “What’s at stake?”

To exemplify this, we looked at a popular scene from No Country for Old Men. Take a look at the following clip and try to figure out what makes it so captivating.

In this scene, the viewer is brought into a state of uneasy anticipation. I admit, I was on the edge of my seat waiting for what came next. Everything about this scene, from the pacing to the camera work to the set design, comes together to create anxiety about what’s at stake – this old man’s life. It’s a remarkable example of storytelling that not only creates a lasting impression on viewers, but also compels them to want to see more.

How Can I Find My Nonprofit’s Story?

We looked at two examples of Nonprofit pitches and discussed how they dealt with the question, “What’s at Stake?”

Each time you give a pitch for your nonprofit, you have an opportunity to either bore your audiences or leave a lasting impression. The way you can achieve the latter every time is by raising and then answering the question “What’s at stake?”

Here are a series of questions you can ask yourself to begin adding more richness and interest to your nonprofit’s story:

  • Why did I personally get involved with this nonprofit?
  • Has this nonprofit directly impacted my personal life?
  • Was there a particular moment when I realized how the nonprofit affected something I value dearly?

If this seminar sounds like something you could have benefited from, be sure to look into our next event – a LinkedIn seminar on September 10th. Half the proceeds from this event will go towards the NC Lighthouse Foundation. You can register here. Be sure to come prepared with your laptops or tablets for a hands-on learning experience!

 

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A Vision of the Future

The need for video is growing.

Youtube just passed Facebook as the largest social media site (according to Reel SEO). People are spending more time watching video on smart phones, tablets, and computers than ever before. Marketers know that video is key to improved engagement, brand awareness, and increased conversions.

Check out some of these stats.

“Show Me Something” An Infographic Exploration of Video Engagement, April 2014 from Shutterstock on Vimeo.

What’s also growing? The Triangle are in North Carolina.

Cities in the Triangle continue to make the top 10 places to live, find jobs, fall in love, and raise kids. It’s one of America’s 20 fastest growing areas according to Forbes. Everywhere we look, new buildings are going up to accommodate the growth.

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The film community is growing rapidly here, too.

I’ve heard from plenty of people moving here from colder, more crowded parts of the world. They like the warmer climate, cost of living, and collaborative atmosphere. They feel like it’s a great place to make their film dreams come true. (Who can blame them? That’s why I stayed here.)

Do you see what I see?

A group of people who need video? And a group of people who can make videos? You know what that means for our area…plenty of opportunity. Right here at home.

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Michael Garske and Aaron Bittikofer on the set of Brewconomy in Pittsboro, N.C., on Saturday, June 7, 2014.

We have a lot of talent in this area and I feel really grateful for it.

We have a need for video and people willing to pay for it. Plus a growing community of people with the right talents, skills, and expertise to help create videos. It’s a win-win.

There are awesome groups of film (and TV) professionals doing incredible work. There are online forums, monthly meetups, and TriFilm socials (as often as I can organize them). There’s a thriving community of filmmakers creating corporate videos, web series, fiction films, documentaries, and more. There are also huge productions coming to town.

I feel incredibly lucky to be a part of it. I have to pinch myself sometimes when I start to think of all the great things happening here, the awesome people I’ve worked with, and the talent here. We’re incredibly lucky.

Y’all are doing such awesome stuff!

There’s just one small problem.

Our film community – although strong – can be tough to find.

But there’s not ONE, easily-identifiable spot online to find us. And that can be troubling. It misrepresents the incredible stuff that’s happening here.

The people who need videos made want to find the video makers easily. The filmmakers moving here want to find fellow industry pros easily. The legislators in charge of incentives that bring big budget productions here can’t reach us easily. People who want to bring workshops and conferences for filmmakers to this area can’t find us easily.

TriFilm at Trailblazer Studios social by Camden Watts

There’s a thriving film industry here but it can be tough to find easily. Here’s a photo from the TriFilm at Trailblazer Studios social on 3.21.2013, one of the ways I try to help unite our film community.

So, what to do?

I believe there’s a clear answer: create a film society for the Triangle.

What if we had:

  • A consistent way to screen our work locally on a regular basis?
  • A way to connect with people willing to pay for our talents?
  • A unified voice to keep the film industry in NC thriving?
  • A way to find resources (like grants) to do our best work?
  • A means to collaborate easily with industry professionals?
  • A way to continue learning and improving our craft?
  • A unified group of filmmakers, easily found online?

Wouldn’t it be great to have a film society? A place where we can gather regularly to talk shop? A way to get leads on new business easily? Something that will help us all thrive?

A film society would serve you, the filmmaker, so that you can thrive. It would be built around your needs, feedback, and requests. It would help you stay connected and informed.

It would be a professional organization, led by a community of people invested in helping it run well. It would be for the people and by the people, in other words.

Guest Blogger Camden Watts

 

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The Latest Trend in Television: 4K UHD

The digital world is evolving and unless businesses want their video content to go the way of the dinosaurs, our production techniques have to start evolving too.

Capitol Broadcasting Company recently attended the ATSC Broadcast Television Conference and spoke about plans to transition into a new television broadcast standard. In addition to reviewing highlights of the last transition from analog to digital television and addressing questions about the next transition, the implementation of 4K Ultra-High Definition Television was assessed in a panel discussion.

We started using the Red Scarlet 4K UHD camera last year after we heard it was taking Hollywood by storm. Movies such as Lone Survivor, Thor: The Dark World, and The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug have all used the Red camera for filming, as well as television shows such as House of Cards, Criminal Minds, and Supernatural. Now, it very well may become part of the new television standard. As 4K prevails over alternatives, companies will have to adapt to the new technology in order to stay on top of the industry.

Globosat, a cable and satellite service in South America, has partnered with several other sony_4k_ces_header_contentfullwidthservice providers including Envivio, which has over 300 content and service provider clients worldwide, to broadcast the 2014 FIFA World Cup finals in 4K. Globostat CTO Robert Primo boasted that “Global sporting events like the 2014 World Cup finals are the ideal stage to showcase the promise of 4K TV to consumers.”

Right here in our neck of the woods, WRAL is pushing the envelope in their endeavors to incorporate 4K UHD cameras into their programming. Their documentary, Take Me Out to the Bulls Game, will debut on television later this summer and will be the first locally produced 4K program in the country.

Now is the time to start planning to produce in 4K, before your video content becomes obsolete. Our use of the Red camera to create 4K UHD productions is part of our efforts to stay ahead of the curve in the video industry, and we’d love to help your company make the transition into the new age of television. Contact us for more information about how we can deliver the newest, most cutting-edge services for your needs or watch our 4K demo reel below to see what we can do for you.

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Press Release: Blueforest Studios Grows out of Atlantic Creative Communications

odR-czLPC2z8L6TcFjMssfdOVbWjaKASsDYzz5Lqo2QBlueforest Studios Grows out of Atlantic Creative Communications

Integrated video production company experiences growth with its BlueBoost process

RALEIGH, N.C., July 10, 2014 –Experiencing year-over-year growth and evolving into the Triangle’s premier integrated video production company, Atlantic Creative Communications is pleased to announce its new name: Blueforest Studios.

Blueforest Studios is unique from other video production companies because it has perfected an exclusive process for video search engine optimization (SEO) services, called BlueBoost. BlueBoost not only increases the number of views of a video, but works to increase audience engagement and return on investment for each client.

“Many companies are able to create a quality video, but not every company can attach specialized optimization enhancements to make a video circulate across the internet,” said Russ Reynolds, president, Blueforest Studios. “We specialize not only in creating innovative videos, but enhance viewership and customer engagement, which ultimately drives traffic to our customers’ websites.”

BlueBoost, a 27-point proven process, is designed to improve video search results on YouTube and Google and to encourage audiences to engage with a video by liking, commenting, sharing and subscribing.

For example, when Blueforest Studios encountered a client whose online video was not receiving many views, it updated the video with a more captivating message and optimized the video using BlueBoost, leading to a more than 400 percent increase in video views in under three months.

Blueforest has also seen growth as it has evolved into an integrated production company. The average growth rate over the last five years is 151 percent.

“It’s time for us to advance the brand even further while embracing the meaning of who we are and what we do,” said Reynolds. “Atlantic Creative gave us our roots in this industry, and it’s our hope that Blueforest Studios will give us our wings.”

For more information about Blueforest Studios and its BlueBoost services, visit www.blueforeststudios.com.

About Blueforest Studios

Blueforest Studios is an integrated production company. The Blueforest team specializes in producing creative animated and live action videos and then following through to make sure the videos get seen online. , Blueforest Studios works to garner maximum views for its clients’ videos, leading to increased return on investment, click-throughs and audience engagement. Blueforest Studios is headquartered in Raleigh, North Carolina. For more information, please visit www.blueforeststudios.com.

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Media Contact:

Russ Reynolds

Blueforest Studios

919-832-2220 Ext. 224

russ.reynolds@accav.com

 

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Production is Only Half the Battle

There’s a problem with the video production industry today. It’s that there are so many great videos that don’t get viewed. Why is this? Because there’s a disconnect between video producers and marketing teams. A company may have spent the time and money on making a compelling and informative video, but if they haven’t spent the time to properly optimize the video and make sure they’re driving traffic to it, it disappears into a Youtube black hole. At Blueforest Studios, we’ve developed a system to bridge this gap. It’s called BlueBoost – a 27-point proven process that’s guaranteed to get the phenomenal video we’ve made for you viewed online.

maxresdefaultTake our client Edmund Villarreal for example. Edmund came to us for help marketing his product, the All-Weather Firestarter.  When we first started working with Edmund, he had his own Youtube channel and a video produced by a different Raleigh studio. Though informative, his video only garnered slightly over two thousand views and nine likes. Here you can see the video we made for him. We created a new Youtube channel and optimized the video, gaining nearly thirteen thousand views and forty-eight likes. We also added his original video to the new channel and optimized to achieve over quadruple the amount of views and likes he first received.

Edmund is just one example out of numerous clients we’ve helped get the results their marketing videos deserve. It’s important to us that we make the most out of your investment, which means preventing your video from getting lost in the vast internet wilderness.

 

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Rebranding: The Why and the How

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There comes a point in nearly every business’ lifespan where rebranding becomes a necessity.  Whether that change comes in an attempt to gain more customers, influence investors, stay ahead of the competition, or a combination of all three, a company will ultimately face the day when their current brand no longer reflects those needs. A company rarely maintains the exact same identity over time, and rebranding is a strategy that allows that company to communicate to the market how their brand has evolved. It can include modifications to the name, logo, design, and various other features that encourage others to see that company in a new light. When done effectively, rebranding can rejuvenate your company and make it stronger than ever. Sometimes, however, rebranding can be detrimental to your company’s image, which is why it’s essential to figure out the right way to rebrand.​

 

DBD International provides a list of nineteen insightful questions that every company should consider during rebranding. Some of these items revolve around the company itself, such as:

  • Is our brand associated with something that is no longer meaningful?
  • What do we want to convey? To whom?

While some items deal with questions involving the customer base:

  • Has our customer profile changed?
  • Is our brand out of step with the current needs and desires of our customers?

And some deal with the grand scheme of the rebrand:

  • Is the goal of this rebrand a stepping stone (evolutionary) or a milestone (revolutionary)?
  • Will this solution work in 5, 10 and 15 years from now based on what we can anticipate?

These are all significant questions that every company should ask themselves before beginning the rebranding process. Visit the article for the complete list of rebrand questions.

 

 

 

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Video SEO Done Right

I love learning!  There I said it – it’s no secret.  I have attended 7 institutions of higher learning and looking to attend another as soon as I can!  But while I love the institutions of higher learning not every single class provides knowledge that you can apply right away.  To gain practical knowledge – especially in a somewhat new field I rely on workshops, articles and meetups.  Thanks to my friend Phil Buckley who organizes the local SEO Meetup I have been able to learn from experts in the field of Video SEO – people who have had great successes for themselves, like Gregory Ng or for their clients, like Bob Walton.  So I’ve been using all the tips that they’ve provided – some of which are included on our 27-point checklist that we use for every client who requests video SEO help.

So as you might have gathered, I’m a bit of a geek.  I don’t get to see immediate results for the operations work that I do so when I get positive results for my efforts I’m thrilled to share them.

The screenshot above is a sample of excellent Video SEO.  All but one of the recommended videos are produced by Blueforest Studios so if the viewer has time and wants to check out more videos, I am not sending them to my competition – I am sending them to see more videos by our team.

This is not the most important part of Video SEO but controlling the message – including what comes up after your message or video can be very important.  Depending on your viewers YouTube knowledge they may assume that the ‘recommended’ videos are related to you anyway so don’t you want those videos – or at least the thumbnails to reflect positively on your company?

Stay posted to learn more about Video SEO or reach out to our team to see how we can help you!

Kathy Langfield

 

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In Video Marketing, Brevity is Key

Feeling good about your new video masterpiece? Think you’ve done well describing the ins and outs of your business and why prospects should choose your company? Most viewers will tune out of online videos after only fifteen seconds. That might make you rethink your 45-second musical intro.

It’s not breaking news that our society’s ever-shortening attention spans prefer visuals and sound to text. Neither is the idea that there’s a lot of bright and shiny “noise” tempting your viewer down a different path. So how do you hook the viewer despite these challenges?

1. Be Concise

To engage the viewer it’s important to get to the point. We know how hard it is to condense everything your business has to offer into 90 seconds. If you’re knee-deep in it every day, it’s hard to weed out what’s pertinent to the client. Try to avoid the temptation to cram everything in. Talking heads delivering wordy explanations turns viewers off big time. If this is a training video your employee will be forced to watch, then you can get away with a lengthy re-enactment of the company’s 100-year history. Otherwise just hit the main points.

2. Use Terms that are Easy to Understand

In short, don’t confuse your prospect. They are considering your product or service because they don’t know how to do whatever you do themselves. Our clients trust us to conceptualize, produce and optimize their videos. I don’t expect them to know an f-stop from a frame rate. Using complex terms to describe your process will make the process itself appear complicated, and therefore worry your future client. Unless this video is targeting other experts, kick the tricky terminology and keep it simple.

3. Don’t Just Say it With Words

Here’s the how and why of video’s effectiveness, whether it’s an award winning feature-length drama or a Vine video about your automotive shop. (It also happens to be why I personally fell so in love with the art of film.) It’s not just the voice over doing the talking. There’s the lighting, how the shot is set up, what’s going on within the frame, what may be happening outside of the frame, music, sound effects, the pace of the editing, the movement of the camera… I could go on forever. All of these factors can be arranged to convey a strong message in a short period of time.

Brevity is the key to a successful video no matter the chosen platform. Before embarking on your next video, take time to really consider your audience and why they’ll be watching. Keep the dialogue concise and simple, and make the most of all video has to offer. If one is picture is worth a thousand words, then one minute of video is worth 1.8 million.

 

- Meredith Duncan, Account Manager

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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?