Should your company be using Drone footage?

Drones are great for giving your marketing videos a fresh perspective. If your brand’s advertising feels a bit stale or generic, you might want to consider changing up your style. This filming format may be perfect for some companies and pointless for others. As one of the premier production companies in Raleigh NC, we want you succeeding in all your promotional efforts.

That’s why in this post, we at Blueforest Studios will break down the following: 1) When are drones more effective than human videographers? 2) How can drone footage enhance your message? 3) What are some types of companies that benefit from aerial video?

This is what your favorite Raleigh video production company wants you to know about drone footage:

What can drones do better than humans?

Filming difficult-to-reach spaces can be effortless for drones. In situations where human life is exposed to hazardous conditions, a flying machine is an ideal candidate for the job.

Drones are ideal for filming natural sites such as cliffs, mountains or turbulent bodies of water. The same can be said for dangerous wildlife. National parks, cave tourism, conservationists, cruise ship companies and more can highly benefit from the ease of unmanned filming devices.

Man-made sites can be just as dangerous too, and drones are equally up-to-task. Nuclear sites, landfills, skyscrapers, and theme parks all have a large scale that benefits from aerial footage. However, humans filming from heights or surveying risky conditions poses health (and lawsuit) risks that you’ll want to avoid. Put a drone to work and suddenly you’ve got all the benefits with nearly none of the risk!

Filming large spaces in single shots and short timeframes can also be done with drones for a fraction of the usual cost.

Consider the staff and machinery required for the standard aerial shot and you’ll realize why it can be pricey. Helicopters and pilots alone don’t come cheap, and a full videography staff isn’t exactly light on the wallet. Drones just require an operator: simple and clean, just the way your bank account likes it.

Sweeping aerial shots can be powerful for capturing features of big landscapes. Real estate is using aerial shots more frequently to market a property from unique perspectives. A city tourism commission may find great skyline shots or top-down views of the locals in their daily routines. Landscapes can be easily captured too: drones can film farms, roadways, forests, coastlines, or lakes.

How does your message improve with drone footage?

Concrete ideas become easier to understand through your style of filming. For instance, your audience can comprehend the true scale of a location, object, or idea.

Location-based projects can have a greater emotional impact if people can see the scale of a problem. For instance, highway construction may seem inconvenient to the average commuter. That is until the Safety Commission puts out a video showing before-and-after traffic improvements from the DOT’s other road expansions. Suddenly, those detours seem more like a sign of great things to come than a trigger for road rage.

Your audience can also digest more abstract concepts through the aerial filming style. Maybe your parasailing business can tap into a thrillseekers passion for heights or another person’s fear of them. Perhaps your university can film top-down on one student, then rapidly rise to show the sheer size of your enrollment and campus. Come to think of it: that last idea is actually perfect for a recruitment video. There are no limitations with a little creativity.

 

Step into creativity by taking flight.

Your brand doesn’t have to be stale, especially with drone film on your side. Just by reading through this post, you’ve surely already gotten a few ideas for your own company. As a refresher: you now know drones can be a safer, cheaper alternative to traditional aerial video. You also know that large-scale ideas and locations can be captured in ways not otherwise possible.

Here at Blueforest Studios, we’ve got a bit of a passion for this video stuff. We want to be your local go-to on aerial videography or any video production questions. Reach out and set up a chat if you want a few buddies to partner with. Whether it’s a little advice or a full campaign production, we’ve got your back.

Why are animated videos rising to popularity?

Animated Videos in Raleigh are here to STAY

The goal of any modern marketer is to be heard through the waves of digital content.

This mission is why animation is quickly becoming one of the best ways to connect with audiences. Tapping into this powerful medium can rapidly change how your brand connects with (and converts) your audience. Don’t get too eager just yet! You should really understand a few things about animation marketing before jumping in.

If you’re seeking quality animated videos in Raleigh or elsewhere, we’ve got just what you need. Join us as we illustrate why animated videos in Raleigh are in such high demand.

Let’s get animated!

Credit: GIPHY

 

Animations are Flexible for removing overwhelm from big topics

Video doesn’t guarantee clarity for your audience. The trouble with traditional live-action footage comes is that it is very detailed and immersive.

Animation removes those finer, real-world details that the brain has to process. The result is a clean and effective style that boosts your message over everything else.

In a film about bank loans, for example, it might be nice to have just the props and characters necessary for explanation. Your audience won’t be distracted by your character’s unique clothing styles or how staged their interactions look. Clean is efficient, which is always the endgame for your marketing dollars.

Here are a few examples:

animation studio in raleigh

BLUEFOREST ANIMATION SAMPLES

 

Animated videos are well suited for your evolving budget

Speaking of marketing dollars, your budget may grow as your brand does. The good news: animation COULD be cost-effective and much easier to produce than other film styles. Some of you have tried managing a cast of actors to speak and move just as you pictured. As such, you’ve likely compromised out of frustration. You’ll have a much smoother time making changes to animated films as you mold every movement and word to your exact specifications.

Best of all? With only a handful of animators (or less), you can create an entire campaign of videos! Compare that to hiring a team of actors, a director, a space for filming, and more.

It’s literally instant cost savings.

Animations are easy to update

Long-term marketing plans change with time, and animated videos can adapt effortlessly. Let’s say you’ve got a solid hit on YouTube, but it took you years to finally go viral. You might need the same characters to reprise a role from 2 years ago. Hiring real cast members might be impossible if they’ve moved to Cambodia.

Hiring your animated cast? Priceless. No seriously — you’re only paying animators which makes this a very low-cost investment. They don’t age, change hairstyles, or vow off acting unless you want them to. We couldn’t think of a more flexible format for your marketing campaign.

Do you recognize this animated character?

via GIPHY

Animated videos in the Raleigh area? Let’s talk.

You’ve by now got a simple rundown of why a marketable brand would love to animate their campaign. Firstly, audiences love how simple and digestible their messaging is. Meanwhile, brands take glee in how flexible animation is for their budgets.

Finally, they’re far more practical than most video formats for a growing long-term marketing plan. In case you couldn’t tell, we love to animate here at Blueforest Studios. If simple, streamlined video marketing is up your alley, let’s chat.

You’ll be glad you did.

 

Love at first sight: How dating tips can help you create the BEST recruitment video

Your brand’s recruitment strategy means building a team that succeeds (or fails). You want to avoid chronic turnover and employee burnout. So, future hires should see how your brand fosters an incredible work life. Share your brand story with an awesome recruitment video for your website, but do it right. Don’t be the employer that makes a lame, robotic rehash hiring “pick-up lines.” As the pros in video production Raleigh trusts, we’re excited to get hires falling in love with your brand. Jump in and we’ll guide you with this edition of Blueforest video production tips and tricks.

Give job seekers your (real) story

Business relationships are a lot like dating: if your partner isn’t happy then you won’t be. Since recruitment isn’t only about you, you need to show the potential hires what they’ll get out of the deal.

You should approach your video like a first date with your brand. Your “date” is coming to your house for dinner and you’ve got to make a good impression. Good impressions start with being honest. You should let your employees tell their stories. If they’re excited about being with you, they’ll have no problems talking about your brand in a positive light. A job seeker loves a brand that’s approachable and transparent.

You shouldn’t write out a script for your employees to recite like a speech. Avoid spouting company values like they’re attractive to your potential hires. You won’t get a happy long term relationship with your “date” by using pick-up lines you’ve rehearsed to death. Let your dialogue come naturally.

Show job seekers what you’re really like

The first date isn’t only about what you say to your date, but how you act in your daily life. Your “date” is trying to gauge who you are, based on your actions and general vibe.

Make a strong impression on future hires by showing your employees’ work routines. People can get a real feel for you as your team greets people with smiling faces. They can see into your operations as your team works on daily tasks. They also get a feel for what your environment is like, focus on prioritize, and if their values align with yours.

Yes, your prospective employees catch all this through subtle cues in your recruitment video! If you present as clean and tidy then start becoming a slob again three months later, your partner sees the lie and suddenly you’re single again. Show your reality and your employees will know exactly what they’re hiring into.

Additionally, make sure to feature a few of your company’s benefits and perks. It’s really nice when you make yourself stand out with a bit of what makes you unique. You can cover the traditional pieces like healthcare and professional development, but show off a bit of your company culture too. Workplace features that bring a sense of community to your team are great shots for a solid recruitment video. They’re really attractive to future hires and just might get you off the “dating scene.”

Get to work on filming!

We’re going to break away from the dating metaphor for this one.

Lastly, you’ll just want to capture all these natural interactions and features with a decent camera. Depending on your needs, a modern phone camera might even be good enough. For audio, you can always use a phone’s voice recorder and set it up in proximity to your scenes. Fill out the audio mix with a bit of stock music from royalty-free music sites. Do a bit of editing to structure your narrative and you could be all set!

But if you need more tips (or a world-class video production team), feel free to set up a chat with us at Blueforest Studios. We’d love to get you on track with great video to make every “first date” bloom into a long-lasting relationship for your brand.

 

The Effects of Background Music on People

I am a huge fan Shankar Vedantam and his work as NPR’s Social Sciences Correspondent. A couple weeks ago, he discussed the effect that background music has on people – and as a film/tv/video game composer myself, I was instantly intrigued. Here is a link to the podcast so you can listen for yourself! NPR | Researchers Test The Effects Of Background Music On People

The interview discusses how a group of people will view sharks on TV differently depending on the type of music occurring in the background. When the music was light and flowing, the sharks were seen as majestic. Of course, when the music turned tense and frightful, the sharks were instantly seen as mindless killing machines. I’m sure this seems like common sense. However, I don’t think many people realize that our job as composers is to speak directly to the audience’s emotions, as much as possible!

Let’s take a quick example from a rare documentary about John Williams composing for the original Star Wars trilogy (while heavily discussing Empire Strikes Back). In the clip below, we are shown the scene of Han Solo being frozen in carbonite – first without music, and then with. Notice the difference?

As you probably noticed, without the music, the scene is a bit… “eh.” (With no insult to Lucas and team!) Sure there are some slight emotional points, and it seems like something pretty tragic and dramatic is happening.

But when we hear the music’s elegant fluctuations from fear to uncertainty to hope and love then to pure evil, all within a two minute window… how could our emotions not run just as wild?

The thing is, not many people realize when watching films or television shows, or even advertisements, how much the music is effecting them. The music doesn’t even have to be this grand orchestration we get consistently from John Williams either.

The power of one note held out and twisted was Hans Zimmer’s trick for the Joker throughout The Dark Knight. The entire Joker thematic material is two notes. C and D playing back and forth with each other.

 

The simple yet melancholic piano lightly played over a bed of soft sounds and textures brought a sense of wonder and awe to us, thanks to Thomas Newman during American Beauty.

 

The lovely sounds of pitched percussion contrasted with out of tune synths and electronics to convey that not is all it seems between our two leads in Gone Girl, with the help of Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross.

And of course I can’t leave out Michael Giacchino’s genius work in UP, where we see an entire marriage play out in four minutes and are left a sobbing mess by the end. Not a single word of a dialogue. The entire story is told through music and images. And it’s absolute perfection.

 

Sometimes images are simply not enough. And I guarantee if music was absent from these scenes, whether you knew why or not, you would know and feel that something was missing.

Fonts for Dummies

You may be thinking “I don’t know anything about design, how do I deal with type in my project?” “Should I make the text on my video neon pink?” “Why is my bellybutton on backwards?” We can help you with two out of three of those questions. Let’s get started.

The font of a text controls how we see the letters on our screen. It can be a powerful feature of good design. But like any power, it can be dangerous if it falls into the wrong hands. Good type can make the difference between confusion and communication. Here are some basic tips to avoid a font fail:

1. Choosing a font

Remember when there were only a handful of fonts to choose from? Nowadays there are almost too many options. Want your text to look like it was written by a 4th grader? There’s a font for that. Want your text to look like it was eaten and spat out by a grizzly bear? There’s a font for that, too. All those possibilities can distract you from your purpose: getting your audience to read and understand your message.

Take road signs as a good example. Did you know most official highways signs are written in the official “Highway Gothic” font? It was designed to be read quickly and accurately. Imagine the chaos and confusion if road signs were written in Papyrus. Let us all take a moment of silence to give thanks for Highway Gothic.

sign

Now let’s look the Book of Kells, an illuminated manuscript from the early Middle Ages. Its text is aligned closely with its spiritual purpose. Its pages are ornate, intricate, and visually arresting. It is meant to be studied closely and slowly.

bok

Figure out where your project falls within that range. Are you I-40W or a medieval monk? Let your purpose guide your font choice.

2. Styling: Keep it simple

The following example should hurt:

KeepItSimple

Blueforest Studios is not responsible for any injuries that may occur as a result of looking at this image.

Just because you can apply five different strokes, a gradient fill, drop shadows, and ten different fonts doesn’t mean you should. If your text is meant to be read, legibility should be your number one focus. Styles should be applied with the greatest reserve and good reason.

3. Bring it together

Now that you know how your individual letters will look, you can begin deciding how they will sit on the page or screen. Make a hierarchy and apply it consistently. Decide how your headers will look compared to your paragraph text. What about links and sub-headers?

A great example of this comes from Pelican Books’ clean, crisply designed website.

pelicanbooksWithout thinking, we know exactly where our eye should go. Scrolling through their site is easy and intuitive.

4. Observe fonts in their natural habitat

Type is everywhere. Pay attention to what works and what doesn’t.

Take Budweiser’s 2015 Super Bowl commercial. It features a bold sans serif centered in the frame. There’s no voice over, so they need the words to do the talking.

Screen Shot 2015-03-25 at 9.07.52 AM

5. Go forth and font

Here are some resources to get you started:

Font Squirrel – Great collection of free, professional fonts.
Dafont – A glut of everything from basic to illegible.
Art of the Title – Online collection of movie title typography. A good starting point for references and ideas.
The Design Blog – The best way to develop your design intuition is to absorb good design. The Design Blog is a perfect way to marinate in the latest and best.

 

5 Ways to Improve Video Quality at your Fundraising Event

So, you have a fundraising event coming up and you have a beautiful video to show that is going to make people cry and then open up their pocketbooks?

The last thing you want is to have your fundraiser packed to the gills with folks ready to watch it and then when the lights go down, the video does not come up.

Or the audio sounds terrible.

Or the picture looks nothing like it did on your computer.

Or worst yet…it freezes in the middle.

Don’t leave it to chance. Here are 5 things you should do to make sure your video plays back correctly during your event.

#1 Make sure you get the best quality video file.

The most compatible file is an .mp4 with an h.264 codec. Also, ask to get it in the highest resolution possible.  Most videos are shot in 1080p resolution. If it was shot and edited that way, make sure your video file is also that resolution.

#2 Ask your video production company for help.

If you used a video production company, they are just as interested as you are in having their beautiful work play back correctly.

#3 Ask your AV person the exact model of the projector and computer they will be using.

If you have that info, you can see what resolution the projector is, what kind of connection cables, if their computer is fast enough to play back your file, etc. If they ask you for a DVD, this is a huge red flag and indicates they have not updated their equipment for over a decade!

#4 Do a run through before the event (24 hours in advance if at all possible)

The ultimate test is to make sure the video plays back on the exact equipment that will be used at the event.  Play back the entire video several times to be 100% sure.

#5- Have a backup method

It never hurts to be prepared with a backup.  If you have your own laptop that is capable of playing back the file and connecting to the projector, have that ready to go just in case.

Appearing on camera? Here are 5 tips!

About to appear on camera? Got a case of the heebie jeebies? We’ve got you covered. Here are 5 tips that the pros use to make sure you look and sound great.

#1 Sit on your coat.

If you are wearing a coat or blazer, sit in your coat to avoid the dreaded ‘coat bunch’. This will keep you looking neat and slim.

#2 Wear the right clothes.

Here are a few general tips on clothes. Avoid white clothes if possible. Some cameras will not be able to handle the white fabric well and you will look like a glowing orb. If you are appearing in front of a green screen, don’t wear green. Avoid tight checked patterns and thin stripes. These can also throw some cameras for a look and give you a weird Moire effect.

#3 Know how to do an interview.

Repeat the question. Most interviews don’t include the interviewer in the final edit. So if they ask you if you if you like your job, don’t say, “yes.” They can’t use that. Rather, say “I love my job! I get to do what I love every day.” or “I hate my job, I’m so miserable and depressed.” Whichever one is true.

Only answer the question you are asked. If you are asked about where you work, just tell them where you work. You don’t need to tell them everything you do at work, they are probably going to ask you that in a moment.

If you have a bad interviewer, they may ask you more than one question at once. Not to worry. Just answer the first question, then ask them to repeat the 2nd question.

#4 Don’t try to memorize things.

Lot’s of people make the mistake of trying to memorize what they want to say. If you do that, 9 times out of 10 you will come across as scripted and mechanical. You are probably being interviewed because you are a passionate expert in your field. Just answer the questions in the way you would in a casual conversation and you will sound much better.

#5 Relax and Amplify.

You may be a bit intimidated by the bright lights and strangers standing around. Just take a deep breath and speak slowly. But you also have to remember that you will come across on cameras lower energy than you think you are. Smile and amplify your energy level just past where you think is too much. That will sound just right on camera!

So there you go. And last but not least, don’t forget to break a leg!

TriFilm Panel Discussion UPDATE: March 19th!

Here at Blueforest Studios we are very excited to be hosting the TriFilm Society Panel Discussion: Logistics of A Project. It will focus on how to get started with your subjects and ideas all the way to the finishing the end film product!

The panelists will share their insights and expertise in regards to filmmaking.

Tripp Green is a cinematographer and photographer who specializes in RED and DSLR acquisition for commercial, narrative, and industrial projects. His wide spectrum of work ranges from documentaries, TV spots, feature films, and many more.

Sean Riddle is our very own project manager, overseeing our productions and providing guidance. His extensive experience as project and production coordinator makes him the go to guy. He has been production coordinator on many Warner Bros Television productions such as The West Wing.

June Sadler is a filmmaker with many specialized skills with a unique style in photography, short films, documentaries, music production, performance and writing. She’s worked on many documentaries and is currently working on The Future People, bringing together children of diverse backgrounds to empower them to become peacemakers.

Camden Watts, filmmaker and founder of the TriFilm Society, will be moderating the panel. She is a producer, director, and writer. She is currently working on Brewconomy, a documentary about North Carolina craft beer.

UPDATE: This event takes place at Blueforest Studios in Raleigh, NC on March 19th at 4pm to 5:30 pm. There will be time for networking and questions afterwords.

Get your ticket here! We look forward to seeing you there!

Everyone’s Favorite Day for Commercials: The Big Game

My favorite commercial in the last several years comes from the “Big Game” of 2011. I’ve been a humongous Star Wars fan since my parents took me to see the films in the 90’s when they were being digitally remastered and shown in theaters again. If you’re reading this you probably know which commercial I’m already talking about.

 

Volkswagen truly captured the same childhood imagination (and desire for learning how to control The Force) I felt at that age. I’d like to think I’m going to buy a car that can turn on with the press of the button in hopes to do this to my future children.

 

Of course, who could forget the sweet story of friendship told in a minute time frame by Budweiser last year? I’m a sucker for anything with dogs in it but this is a legitimately beautiful piece of work.

 

Sure I’m bringing this up because Sunday will bring commercials filled with humor and sincerity. But does this only have to be during one day of the entire year? Absolutely not!

 

We take pride here at Blueforest Studios in creating content that is both engaging and informative. The most engaging way to capture the attention of your audience is to tell a story.

 

We certainly think adding a pinch of humor also works too.

 

So as the new year continues to roll on consider us for your marketing needs. We are storytellers that want to tell your story!

 

And if you are part of a non-profit in the Triangle area reading this consider applying for our free video giveaway! The window for submissions is closing on the 31st of this month. To check out more information visit our blog post from December here: https://blueforeststudios.com/blog/blueforest-gives-back-triangle-nonprofit-video-giveaway/

-Dustin

Audio Restoration: A Powerful Tool In An Evolving Field

Most days of the week, while working on sound design or composing music, I will have a moment when I reflect on how much the world of audio and music production has changed so quickly in the relatively short amount of time I have been in this profession. I remember upgrading from my old Gateway PC to a 2008 Mac Pro tower the summer before my junior year at Western Carolina. The prior year I had become friends with Jonathan Churchill, Co-Founder at Embertone virtual instruments here in Raleigh. When Jon first showed me his compositional works for video games the semester before I felt a switch going off in my head changing my desired course of future employment from band director to composer. My mind was boggled by the fact you could make such great sounding music from one computer! Growing up I always imagined everything had to come from a professional studio with millions of dollars of gear in it. Seeing Jon produce music from a Mac I told myself “I have to get one of those.” Seven years ago I also recall hearing the audio samples he was using and thinking “Wow, that sounds like a real orchestra!” Of course in that short seven years the quality of virtual instruments, analog modeled plug-ins, digital audio workstations, and everything in between has increased exponentially. And it’s only going to do so even more in the years to come.

One of my favorite types of audio software to really come to light the last few years has been software geared towards audio restoration and repair. Now, there have been methods of reducing noise and crackle and various little messes here and there for a long time. Those are certainly all helpful and vital in achieving great audio for any medium of media. Within the last few years software such as iZotope’s RX line have given us ways to dive into audio from a spectral standpoint and remove just about anything you don’t want in your audio recordings.

Anyone who has recorded audio on set for a film of any form will tell you there is quite a process to capturing the purest audio from the shoot. Being outside of a controlled environment there is a good chance that your microphones will pick up anything from car noises, to AC units, to wind, to chatter in the corner, and the list could go on and on. Luckily for us if those sounds creep into our recordings we can remove them and deliver the audio your video deserves!

This tutorial video of iZotope’s RX software is a great demonstration of the difference even the slightest cleaning up of audio can do. Watch as the audio engineer is able to remove the noisy clicks from a wedding photographer’s camera during the vows of the ceremony.

 

But what about the restoration of audio? Some clips may be too loud and distort during the recording process. While it is still in best practice to record at appropriate levels there also could be sounds a client would want to use that they have on hand that need to be repaired.  Those types of recordings or sound effects can be worked with and polished too!

 

Finally, in case you are saying “Dustin, that’s great but have you used anything like this before?”, here is a clip from a project I worked on earlier last year. This comes from a series of recordings done in the New York City metro system. Singer Pavlina Horakova and pianist Drew Spradlin came up with the idea to take a piano to the subway system in New York City and record different movements from operatic works of the past. I’m sure I don’t have to tell you a subway system, let alone the one in NYC, is filled with noise stacked upon noise with a little more noise on top of that. With a lot of determination, and several cups of coffee, I was able to not only clean up this recording of several extraneous sounds but was also able to repair several instances of distortion and clipping to hopefully bring you into the beautiful music these two performed.

 

I hope all of you reading this have found it informative! Feel free to comment and let’s talk about the great things happening in audio and video production.

 

-Dustin