Tag Archives: shooting videos

In my last blog, I wrote about just how valuable video tips are today and the generosity of those who produce and post them online.  I’ve always enjoyed creating Tom’s Video Tips for our quarterly newsletter, The Creative Kindling - and would like to share one of my favorites with you.  Here are my quick Dos and Don’ts for higher-quality videos…

Have a question – or a video mistake you need a solution to?  I’m always happy to answer any questions or offer video production advice.

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sharon pic2014 started with so much excitement for me.  Not only did I move across the country and start the year off in a new city and state, but I also started cultivating experience in a completely different field – video production.  During my time here, I’ve learned the ins and outs of what makes a compelling video and the key ingredients to tell a successful story.

Looking back at my brief but extremely memorable time here at Fireside, I feel so honored to have been involved in so many great milestones.  Apart from being immersed in an abundance of creativity and talent every day, one of the most memorable moments during my time here was something Naomi said during her LLS campaign, “I hope I’ll look back and know that I said yes to every opportunity to make a difference.”

Often times, we get so entangled in our daily lives and trapped in minute details that we forget to take a step back and look at the bigger picture.  Fireside has helped me remember that the big picture is just as important as the little details.  As I look at Fireside’s core values – Think Strategically, Make an Impact, Create Experience and Bring Spirit! – these not only speak and hold truth to every project and Client we have and continue to interact with, but they are also values that have really helped shape my approach for the next stage of my career as I begin a Doctorate of Music program in the Fall.

Thank you Tom and Eric for teaching me the ropes on video creativity and for letting me witness your expertise.  Thank you to Tammie for allowing me to peer into your marketing window and see all the amazing work that you do to showcase Fireside.   And finally, thank you Naomi for bringing me into the Fireside family – I am in constant awe of your ambition and strength.  You inspire me to push harder every day and always reach for my dreams, as you have with Fireside.

I know that when I look back, I will be so thankful that I said “yes” to Fireside!

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P R O J E C T  B E D R O O M (2)It’s that time of year again… kids and parents start gearing up to head back to the halls of learning.  As we start to focus on school, schedules and all the changes that come as part of the package, I noticed my 9-year-old son’s school supply list is a substantial one.

That prompted me to think about a list of gizmos and gadgets that might help give your home videos a more professional look, and I promise I’ll keep this list short!

 

  1. Get a Tripod – If you’re talking about capturing videos on your phone, one thing you can get to make them look better would be a tripod.  Yes… they make tripods for camera phones, and you can find them all over the internet for less than $20.
  2. Try a Wide-Angle Lens – A wide-angle lens allows you to capture a wider view of your subject – a very cool production look.  You can also find them for less than $20.

    Eric With GoPro Stabilization System

    Eric With GoPro Stabilization System

  3. Go for a Camera Stabilization System if you want to take it to the max. You can find Steadicam-like rigs for phones and GoPros if you’re willing to put down just more than $100.

School supplies or video supplies – now is a great time of year to make sure you’ve got what you need to do your best work.  If you have some inside scoop on must-have back-to-school supplies – video or otherwise – be sure to share!

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CREATEEXPERIENCES-02 (1)One of our core values here at Fireside Production is to Create An Experience.  Video is a powerful way to bring your message to life because it allows you to create that experience, to take the viewer there through sight, sound and emotion.

Viewers can feel the passion and authenticity of the people speaking in the video.  It’s why video is such a valuable fundraising tool.  You want to engage the heart… and that’s why I feel so strongly about cue cards!

Here are my top three reasons to cut those cue cards – and be more successful in your next video appearance:

1-     Cue Cards Don’t Make You Look Good!  Whether you’re being interviewed for a video or you are delivering a statement, don’t use cue cards.  Viewers can tell you’re reading – and it feels like it!  You lose that conversational flow.  You lose the heart and the emotion.  Plus, you are generally looking off-camera to the side or below the lens to read the cards… and it’s just not pretty.

2-     Memorize Your Message.  If it’s an interview, it’s ok to prepare – just don’t over-prepare.  You know your messaging.  Be confident and speak from the heart.  It will resonate with your viewers.  If you try to memorize for an interview, you’ll just get tangled up in your head and the interview will be a bust.

However, if you are making a statement through a video – an executive message or a video tip, for example – memorize it.  When you deliver the statement, add passion and enthusiasm to bring the message to life.

3-     Use A Teleprompter.  A teleprompter is a wonderful tool for delivering a scripted Teleprompter shootmessage into the camera – without resorting to cue cards.  Fireside Production uses a teleprompter that fits onto the front of the camera, so the host can read the script – while looking into the lens.  Even with a teleprompter, you need to rehearse your delivery to make it smooth and powerful… it also takes some practice to ensure the viewer can’t see your eyes moving as you read.

Your message is only as effective as your delivery.  The best – and most memorable – interviews and scripted messages are genuine and delivered with heart.  A great production team can also help to ensure you’re at your best.  That’s where creating an experience during the shoot comes in and it’s a value the Fireside Production team brings to each and every project.  Give us a holler for your next shoot – and you’ll feel the difference!

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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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