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What goes where? – Composition Basics

Maybe you watched our documentary on NCRLA, and wondered about setting up a video interview, maybe not. Regardless, I wanted to share a few basic tips when composing your shot for a video interview. First off, you need to pick a place for the interview. Often times, people will want to do an interview in a certain room because they think the room is their most impressive or comfortable or just “looks the best.” However, it is important to remember that with a video interview, you will only see a very small portion of the room. So, you only need to have a small section of the room “look the best.”

When choosing a location, keep in mind that you want to have at least a few feet between the camera and the interviewee and at least a few feet between the interviewee and the background. Sometimes this is easier said than done, but it will give you a better depth of field and keep your subject from blending it with the background. (Note: in a tiny nutshell, depth of field refers to how much of the image is in focus.)

So after you pick a location, you want to choose where to put the subject in the frame. There is a pretty simple guideline for this called the Rule of Thirds. If you divide the frame in to thirds both horizontally and vertically with lines, you want to have your subject in one of the intersection points of the lines. You can look at this picture of a puppy for an adorable example of the Rule of Thirds:

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 Next, you want to light the scene properly, for more information on that, watch this video we made on lighting basics.

After you have your subject lit beautifully and properly placed in the frame, you will want to eliminated anything distracting from the frame. Sometimes, what is not in the shot is just as important as what is in the shot. If you are interviewing someone at a messy desk, you might want to have a tighter (closer) shot that doesn’t show much of the desk. Or, you might want to clean the desk. Also, if there is a window or other really bright object like a lamp in the shot, you might want to move the shot the those objects are out of the frame. Simply put, you want to make sure the viewer is NOT going to be paying attention to something in the frame that isn’t your subject.

These are just a few basic ideas that can help improve a video interview on the visual side of things, but don’t forget about audio. For more on audio in video read this.

If you have any questions of this topic or other video ideas, let me know in the comments section. Thanks!

Bryan Reklis
Video Producer

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Choose Blueboost

What is Blueboost?

You may have heard us refer to ourselves as an integrated video production company and wondered to yourself, “what exactly does that mean?” Well, it has a lot to do with a service we offer called Blueboost. Blueboost is a 27-point proven process for optimizing the amazing video we’ve Screen Shot 2014-09-25 at 3.39.12 PMproduced in order for you to achieve maximum return on your investment.

Why is this necessary?

We’ve learned from experience that there’s a disconnect between video production companies and marketing teams. Sure, you put a lot of money into making a great promotional video or commercial, but what does that matter when nobody sees it? Or worse – no one acts on it? Blueboost is a part of our process to make sure that doesn’t happen. Not only will we ensure that you get the highest quality of video, we’ll make absolutely sure that people actually see it.

How can I learn more?

Watch the video below! You can also give us a call or shoot us an email! We would love to discuss how we can help you get the most out of your video production experience in greater detail.

(919) 832-2220                                                                               sales@blueforeststudios.com

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Video Tips for Beginners

3This Wednesday, October 15th, we will hold our next monthly seminar on learning the basics of creating internal videos. We know that many professionals are tasked with the burden of making in-house videos even though they might lack the necessary skills for doing so. An important fact to note is that the quality of your video says a lot about the quality of your product or service. Just because you don’t use a professional video service to produce your video doesn’t mean it can’t look professional, as long as you put the time and effort into following some basic beginner shooting rules.

 

Lighting

It’s likely that you won’t have the necessary equipment to properly light a shot, so it’s important to know what kind of natural light is the best for shooting in. In general, direct sunlight is going to create intense shadows and is not a flattering option. The exception is early morning or late evening, often referred to as “Golden Hour. ” Typically, overcast days provide complimentary lighting. You can also buy a cheap reflector (such as a piece of white poster-board) to fill in shadows. If, on the other hand, you do have access to lighting equipment, check out this blog on basic lighting tips.

Support

Don’t skimp on the tripod. This is one of the most important purchases you will make, so choose wisely. Tripods come in two parts that you’ll typically have to buy separately: the legs, also called “sticks,” and the head. Buy legs that will support twice the maximum weight of your camera and a fluid head that will allow you to pan and tilt smoothly. It’s a common beginner mistake to buy a cheap tripod, and it shows. Don’t be that person.

Plan your Shots

Whether this is in the form of a storyboard or just a shot list, it’s good to have a clear idea of what shots you want to include and the best way to capture them. The more you practice, the better sense you’ll have of seeing shots as the camera sees them.

Composition

Picture an imaginary grid with two vertical lines and two horizontal lines dividing your shot into nine equal sections. The Rule-of-Thirds states that for the most interesting shot, subjects should be placed at the points of intersection on the grid. This is a good basic rule to follow when planning how things should be placed in a shot.

Movement

If you’re going to do matched-action shots, (someone starts an action and the camera cuts to a shot of the action continuing from a different angle), make sure that you shoot the complete action from both angles. A common mistake is shooting from one angle only up to where you think you’re going to cut, then starting the action in the middle from the next angle. The problem with this is that it’s really difficult to get the exact positioning correct. It’s often obvious when the action isn’t matched perfectly, resulting in a jump cut. It’s possible to use jump cuts purposefully to convey meaning, but oftentimes this isn’t what the director is going for and it just creates confusion and pulls your viewer out of the story.

 

These are just a few concepts to keep in mind when shooting. For a more extensive, hands-on learning experience, register for our Video Production for Beginners seminar. We hope to see you there!

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(blue)Boost Your Resume

Does working in the video production or marketing industry interest you? Are you wondering what sort of jobs exist in these fields or what local companies have to offer? We’re often approached with inquiries about what kind of jobs Blueforest Studios has to offer, and while we aren’t hiring any full-time employees at the moment, we wanted to take a moment to let anyone who’s interested know about what kind of opportunities exist in this market.

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Creative Director – This is a vital role in the product development process. Creative directors must have a creative vision and the ability to lead their team of artists. They must also have a head for business and be able to direct activities of the company to maintain a standard of creative excellency, timeliness, and profitability while meeting the clients’ needs.

Video Producer – This person is coordinates all the different aspects of a video’s production. A video producer with clients and the production staff to produce a variety of videos. He or she plans and executes video shoots as well as post-production tasks such as making editorial decisions.

Audio Producer – An audio producer must be familiar with technology and equipment needed to record, mix, and produce sound on videos. This may include adding sound effects, voiceovers, or background music. They may also be responsible for operating audio equipment on shoots.

Illustrator – This person uses creative skills to communicate a story, message or idea. This could include producing drawings, diagrams, or other images that help make products more attractive or easier to understand.

Account Executive – An account executive serves as the direct link between a company and it’s clients. This person builds sales by prospecting for new clients and generates future profits by nurturing existing customer relationships.

4.1.1Although we currently have an awesome staff to fill these positions, we are looking for a few new Sales, Marketing, and Audio Interns. These individuals would have the opportunity to learn the ins and outs of working in the respected positions for a video production company.

Sales and Marketing interns would assist in the creation and distribution of marketing materials, perform analysis of marketing and sales data, and provide support to social media efforts. This person should have excellent written and verbal communication skills and knowledge of the Web and social media.

An audio intern would assist with the daily operations of audio production and work alongside our experienced audio producer. Ideally, this person would have some familiarity with basic audio practices such as editing and mixing. Additionally, they should be able to take direction well and learn new tools quickly.

Interested applicants should email their resume and cover letter to:

Kathy AT Blueforeststudios

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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.