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I can say that my last four years at Fireside Production have been educational, rewarding, exciting and inspiring.  As I head into my fifth year at Fireside, I thought I would share some of my personal highlights – not only as a Marketing Manager but the other hats I wear as well.

One that stands out is the day Fireside Production won the 2012 Denver Business Journal’s Partners in Philanthropy Award in the small business category.  It was so unexpected and so rewarding.  Philanthropy is a value we devote time and energy to.  It’s the basis of our Core Value to Make an Impact.  So to be recognized for our commitment was amazing.tammie team naomi

Another highlight comes from this year when our Founder & Managing Partner, Naomi Binkley, was honored with an opportunity to run for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s (LLS) Woman of the Year campaign.  I was honored to be her Campaign Manager, which was such an incredible look into the experience of fundraising.  So, after the long campaign of raising money and gathering auction items, the evening of May 17th was filled with tears of joy when Naomi’s name was announced as the winner – a night I will never forget.

DSC_0152Another moment that marks a memory happened just recently at a video shoot… I was working teleprompter & grip at a dairy farm.  As always on shoots, it is such a privilege to be a part our Client’s stories and to share those stories through video.  As Tom was capturing footage on the farm, he discovered a cow giving birth.  We all watched in awe as that incredible miracle happened in front of us – something you just don’t see every day!

Those are just a few out of many moments.  I look forward to more memories at Fireside Production, sharing more stories, giving to the community and sharing my spirit with those around me.

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In the early years of my video production journey, there were countless times that I’d hit a project-halting snag simply because I did not know how to accomplish a task.  Often, these roadblocks occurred during the late hours of the night and the only solution was to shut things down and wait until morning.  With technology changing at such an exciting pace, it can be hard to keep up with the vast amount of knowledge and creativity out there.  However, learning new things and solving problems has become more than possible - at all hours.

There are three things to be extremely grateful for… the Internet, video and people’s generosity.  Whether you are trying to navigate a new edit platform or figure out how to use a Steadicam, there is a tutorial at your disposal because someone took the time to share knowledge through video.  This applies to just about anything you need to know.  I took apart a dryer, replaced a part and rebuilt it because someone was kind enough to put a tutorial on YouTube.  This was a major feat for me, just ask my wife!  I cannot count the times I’ve solved an edit problem or a computer issue by watching a free video tutorial.  It is truly information at your fingertips.

So when you hit that information roadblock, just search it on the web.  You will find the value of video and generosity at its finest.  Of course, you can pay it forward by sharing your knowledge in a video tutorial.  Here is one of my favorites on sequencing video… you can learn more tricks of the trade through my series, Tom’s Video Tips.  Enjoy!

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Screen Shot 2014-06-09 at 4.01.41 PMSummer concerts are one of my favorite activities – no matter where I am – because they combine two of my favorite things:  food and music.  Wherever you go, there is always an outdoor concert, where you can take a picnic and enjoy live music and I’m so excited for my first summer here in Colorado! I love being able to hear a live orchestra while having a picnic on the lawn – especially since you can count on one hand how many times you can enjoy food while listening to a live orchestra!

Music in the park – by Fireside Production

I also want to share one of my favorite, simple, no-bake summertime dessert recipes that will be a perfect addition to any 4th of July party or picnic in the park!  Be sure to check out this list of summer outdoor concerts, including the Independence Eve Celebration Concert at Civic Center Park brought to you by Fireside Production Client, Civic Center Conservancy -  featuring patriotic and pop favorites and a firework show!

Raspberry Tiramisu – (8-12 Servings) Ingredients:

  • 1 cup seedless raspberry jam
  • 1 pound mascarpone cheese, room temperature
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 (12-ounce) pound cakes cut into 3 slices lengthwise (or about 30 soft ladyfingers)
  • 4 (1/2 dry pint) baskets of fresh raspberries
  1. Using an electric mixer, beat the cream, sugar and vanilla in a large bowl until soft peaks form
  2. In another large bowl, using a rubber spatula, stir ¼ of the whipped cream into the mascarpone mixture to lighten
  3. Fold the remaining whipped cream into the mascarpone mixture
  4. Line the bottom of a 13x9x2 inch glass baking dish (or other decorative serving dish) with half of the pound cake slices (or lady fingers).
  5. Spread half of the jam over the pound cake slices, then cover with half of the mascarpone mixture, then with half of the fresh raspberries
  6. Repeat the layering with the remaining pound cake slices, jam, mascarpone mixture, finishing with the fresh raspberries.
  7. Cover and refrigerate at least 3 hours or overnight
  8. Dust with confectioners’ sugar (optional) and enjoy!
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Megan Rees with her dog Moose!

Megan Rees with her dog, Moose!

By: Megan Rees, Dumb Friends League

There really is nothing better than summer in Colorado.  Concerts at Red Rocks, patio-dining, Sunday bike rides, festivals and farmers’ markets have me feeling all warm and fuzzy inside.  Of course, we Coloradans love sharing our favorite summer activities with our pets – so with the dog days upon us, I want to share a few tips and reminders to make sure our pets are as happy and relaxed all summer as we plan to be.

Let’s see some ID.  If you remember one thing this summer, let it be this:  Make sure your dogs and cats are wearing proper identification in the form of an ID tag, microchip, or preferably both.  If you haven’t updated their microchip registration in a while, now’s the time to do so. Summer is undoubtedly the busiest time of year for animal shelters across the country – because warmer weather means more open doors and windows, and the risk of pets getting lost increases (even for the most responsible pet owners).  Let’s not forget seasonal thunderstorms and fireworks, which can be upsetting for many pets and cause them to flee.  Here’s a Not-So-Fun Fact:  More pets end up at shelters on July 5th than any other day of the year.  Proper identification will help ensure that if your pet gets lost, you can be reunited.

The heat is on.  We all love to have our dogs with us when the sun is shining, but this time of year you should never, ever leave your co-pilot in the car.  Not even in the shade. Not even if the windows are down.  Not even for five minutes.  Cars heat up fast, and heatstroke can be fatal to Fido.  You also want to be aware of hot asphalt.  A dog’s paw pads are more sensitive than you might think, so if it’s too hot for you to walk on with bare feet, you can bet your pup doesn’t want to either.  It’s best to walk your dog in the early morning or evening instead of the middle of the day when temperatures are hottest.  Be aware of your dog’s limits when exercising too – they don’t always know when to call it quits, so be wary of heat exhaustion.  And it seems like a no-brainer, but make sure your pets have plenty of water at all times to prevent dehydration.

If you’d like to read up on more summer safety tips, visit ddfl.org. Happy summer, Colorado – here’s to enjoying our pets and our beautiful state!

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Eric & DadI’m so incredibly fortunate to have enjoyed a great relationship with my father, Jon, for as long as I can remember.  He’s somewhat understated, cerebral and gives everything considerable thought.  He’s kind, supportive, pragmatic and dependable… solid as a rock.  Name all the good qualities you’d want in a father and you’re describing my dad.

He’s taught me so many things… practical things like how to ride a bike, how to tie a tie, how to fill out my W-2s and so much more.  He’s a man who embodies integrity, reliability and family.  He’s helped me appreciate the value of history, art and architecture.  He’s taught me “human” things, too:  how to keep things in perspective, how to see the big picture and the dangers of assuming you’re the smartest person in the room.

One lesson I continue to use every single day, especially in my work at Fireside Production, is that it’s better and easier to do something right than do it over.  He articulated that to me when I was about 15.  He was fixing a water faucet on the outside of the house and I asked him why he was taking so much time on the project.  At the time, I didn’t really see the wisdom of that simple idea, but it has grown with me in the intervening 25+ years.

Attention to detail matters.  Everything you do, in some manner, is a representation of who you are.  I could not have imagined that succinct phrase would apply not only to a weekend project in my parents’ front yard but nearly everything I’ve done since.   True wisdom stands the test of time and circumstance.  Thanks for this one and so many more, Dad!

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IMAG1055The essential elements of every great story include a hook – a compelling beginning to lure you in – a middle, which is the heart of the story and a strong end.  Whether a book, a movie, sometimes even a romance… the story always involves a beginning, middle and end.  This is also the recipe for a successful video.

As a producer, when I’m out conducting interviews I always have the end in mind.  A videographer should also be looking for opportunities to capture a closing shot.  A closing shot often involves the action moving away from the camera – kids walking out of a school, for example – or a shot that represents a conclusion.  This might be the celebration at the end of a race or a sunset as the day winds down.

An ending brings the story to a conclusion.  It can be a short summary, an inspiring statement – one that leaves viewers feeling hopeful or inspired – or a tease to promote the next in a series of videos.  You need to think about how you are closing your video as you’re producing it.

As a producer, I ask questions that inspire a compelling closing statement from the interviewee.  If I don’t hear what I need, I may try asking another way.  These types of questions are typically centered on what’s next or what the future holds… we want to know there’s more to this journey as viewers.  If you’re being interviewed for a video or if you’re hosting the piece, be sure to find a way to work in a memorable closing statement.

Think about that call to action as well.  What do you want people who watch your video to do?  Do you want them to volunteer, check out your website to learn more or share the piece?  Make the call to action strong and clear.

 ”… the sky’s the limit.”  A Great End!

 

Remember, every great story… ends.  Just be sure you’re planning for and controlling that ending to make it as effective as possible!  What’s the best ending to a story you’ve seen?  Inspire us… we’d love to see what makes your favorite video or movie special.

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Untitled designIt’s a fact that search engines like Google love video.  A video in a blog ranks higher than a blog without video content.  Embedding video in your blog is a great way to attract readership and get more viewers to see your video.

Here are some tips to make sure you get the most out of your blog post with a video…

Let your readers know there’s a video in your post.  You might even put the word video somewhere in the title.  For example… (Video) Blogging Tips.  Also, consider embedding the video near the top of the post.  That way, the reader will see it right away.

Make sure to use supporting text with keywords in the blog – not just in the embedded video.  Introduce the video and ask viewers to watch. Then, summarize in more detail what the video is about just below the embed.

Make sure the width of the video doesn’t exceed the width of the blog’s column.  When you embed the video, you can customize the size right there on YouTube.

Give the reader a call-to-action at the end.  This is something you should always do… video or not.  Ask them to share the video, comment, sign up for your newsletter, etc…

Remember, video is a great way to engage your target audience and blogging builds credibility – making blogs with video a great way to accomplish both goals!
You can also check out my blog on creating a video blog… a vlog.  http://www.firesideproduction.com/top-5-reasons-to-vlog-for-business I would love to hear more ideas on ways to promote your videos.  Thanks for sharing!

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Several years ago, I had the opportunity to work for a start-up news station in Denver.  Everyone on that team was a new employee, which brought one of the most unique situations I have ever experienced.  There was no one to say, “This is the way we do things.”  That meant all ideas were on the table and rather than having a set way, collectively we were able to contribute to a blueprint of operation.  Of course as time passed, we all become comfortable with a system that worked and eventually become leery of change.

Change is good! FCPX.

Change is good! FCPX.

Recently at Fireside Production, we’ve embraced a change of our own.  With the ever-evolving world of technology, one of our favorite editing tools - Final Cut Pro 7 - has come to its conclusion.  We’ve been editing on it for years.  With the bad rap Final Cut Pro X has had since its launch a few years ago, we simply avoided the transition.  Although we’ve been successful in staying put this long, FCP 7 is no longer supported and new plug-ins have been hard to find.  After hearing about game-changing updates to X, we decided to make the switch.

After watching many tutorials and rethinking how I view a timeline, I am having a blast editing again.  I find the updates in X are amazing and extremely forward thinking… taking me no time to catch up.  I can only imagine the courage at Apple to completely rethink an editing platform that many thought was already perfect. 

 No matter how comfortable my comfort zone is, I always need to remind myself that the phrase, “This is the way we do things” is good only until there is a better way.  I would love to hear your thoughts on Final Cut Pro X…  Please share!

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Have you evPhiler watched a scary or suspenseful movie on mute?  How about a cartoon without sound effects or music?  It’s actually quite funny to watch in silence – without the help of music to evoke an emotion or aid in the suspense factor.  Music offers immense versatility and support in a movie or show, dictating the emotion one should feel.

I had the privilege of working and performing with one of the leading orchestras in this country in early May.  One of the programs performed was the “Pixar in Concert” under the baton of film composer and conductor, David Newman. Maestro Newman took a few minutes and explained to the audience the important role music plays in film and video through a technique called “spotting.”

Spotting is when the Composer and Director go through scenes together and decide where to place music and where not to have any music – both equally important.  This description reminded me so much of the post-production work at Fireside Production and the magic that takes place behind the scenes.  Bringing life to the visual components of a video, our editors serve as the Creative Directors of each video – “spotting” from start-to- finish to ensure the right emotion is portrayed at the right moment.

PixarInstrumentalists in solo, chamber or orchestral settings all over the country are collaborating with other mediums to create multisensory performances.  Enhancing video with live music provides a unique experience to the traditional music concert attendee.  One of the most unique performances I’ve seen in this new direction is a visual artist painting live alongside a chamber music performance.  With the painter’s canvas projected on a screen above the chamber group, the audience not only listens to a spectacular performance but also watches the effects it has on another artist, witnessing the painter execute his or her masterpiece to the music.

As a performer, music has been an extension of my own voice and a vehicle of expression.  Hearing the reactions of the audience during the Pixar concerts was both foreign and exhilarating, creating a tremendously rewarding experience.  Although it isn’t the traditional platform to hear sounds of laughter during a classical music performance, I am excited about the new direction live music is taking – with the focus on intertwining various art mediums into one cultural experience.

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Most of us understand that helping others is the right thing to do.  Everyone I know also likes to have a good time socializing with friends or meeting new people.  What about combining the two?

Fireside Production recently held a charity poker night to raise money for our Team Naomi – Man & Woman of the Year - campaign to benefit The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.  Family, friends and Fireside Clients all bought in.  People chipped in donations of food, drink, silent auction items and prizes.  In just a few hours, we raised nearly four figures for the LLS mission of advancing cancer research and supporting those with blood cancers.

If you’re going to spend time and money on a social event, why not make it a social benefit as well?  We each would have spent at least as much going to a movie, a club or restaurant.  Instead, we reaped the benefits of a social engagement AND potentially enriched the lives of those in need.  Sounds like a royal flush to me.

Check out our poker night video!  And remember, you can donate to the Team Naomi campaign for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society at:

http://bit.ly/llsteamnaomi.  Special thanks to Trade Wind Statues for hosting!

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