Tag Archives: video production colorado

ugly sweater erikaAbout a year ago, I started a journey with Fireside Production that led to wonderful experiences and helped shape my career.  More than just a company, I’ve seen that the Fireside team puts heart into the work they do and never misses a chance to share their compassion.  It makes this a special workplace to be part of.

I feel very blessed that I had the opportunity to work for this amazing company, and I am thankful that Naomi and Tom took a chance on me.  As I begin a new journey with NBC Universal, I know this is not goodbye since working here was more than a job.  It’s a place where I found friends, mentors and more than anything, a family I can count on.  It’s a place that motivated me everyday to do better than the day before, a place where learning was never-ending.  I’d like to thank each member of the Fireside team for putting in time to pass your knowledge along and teaching me all you could.  I know I will return the favor in the future when I’m at my highest and it’s my turn to mentor the youngsters.

It was admirable working so closely with Naomi and having such great communication with her.  More than a boss, she is someone I respect and look up to – all her dedication, passion and hard work has made this company flourish, and I know it will only go further.  I especially enjoyed working with Fireside’s Clients.  It’s heartwarming to establish relationships and deliver a project everyone is happy with.  Thank you all for being patient, kind and understanding – words are not enough to show my gratitude.

Lastly, this year was a year of changes for me – I had a company that stood behind me and supported me in all I wanted to do and helped me to the best of their abilities.  I have so much appreciation for Fireside for helping me further my career and being my backbone.  I came here not knowing what to expect but only that I was on the right path.  I’m leaving feeling passionate, motivated and inspired to start a new journey and continue to grow as a professional woman.  Thank you, Fireside Production for all that you do, teaching me all you could and so much more!

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By Arapahoe/Douglas Mental Health Network Staff

ADMHN_RGBHoliday stresses are inevitable. They might be expected – the always-hard-to-buy-for Aunt Gertrude on your gift list – or unexpected – a snarled string of lights when you flip the top off the decorations box. Regardless of what or how you celebrate, the stresses are always there, just as sure as the holiday season.

Sometimes the pressures can sink a person into the holiday blues, a normal occurrence if it’s occasional and fleeting.  But when depression, stress and anxiety continually eat away at your festive plans, it can signal depressive disorder, a common yet serious mental illness with life-disrupting symptoms that last two weeks or more.

Keep the sparkle in your season this year.  Arapahoe/Douglas Mental Health Network (ADMHN) offers free depression screenings on its website, with counselors ready to offer holiday-blues-banishing advice.  Their chief tip?  Don’t strive for perfection.

“Have realistic expectations during the holidays,” says Laurie Elliott, LCSW.  “Things will probably never be perfect, and they don’t need to be. Remember the true meaning of the holiday spirit.  Instead of striving to do it all, slow down and keep it simple.  More than anything else, your family and friends just want to spend some memorable time with you.”

Take the anonymous self-assessment at http://www.admhn.org/ by selecting “Free Mental Health Online Screening.”  The series of questions can help determine if you are suffering from depression and could benefit from talking to a health professional.

Many people with depression never seek help but thanks to dedicated research, proven treatment methods are available.  As with most diseases, the earlier the treatment begins, the more effective it is and the better the chance for recovery.

Arapahoe/Douglas Mental Health Network, founded in 1955, is a private, non-profit organization that provides comprehensive mental health and substance abuse treatment services to individuals of all ages.  ADMHN has multiple locations throughout the south metro area.

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tom blogAt Fireside Production, we are truly grateful to be constantly producing videos for our Clients.  Each project presents a new story to tell.  Most usually, the shoot goes well and the video edits itself.  However, it is always our goal to stay fresh and be innovative.  So how do you do this while staying true to your style?  I have spent many hours banging my head over this… Nothing has come of it – except for a brutal headache.

There are a few strategies that do work when the creativity hits a wall.  First, watch a lot of videos.  With social media these days, more and more of my contacts are sharing video content.  Some are not so good, but I have found many that are truly well done and inspiring.  When I see something that I like, whether it is an edit or shot, I think about how I could do something similar or incorporate it into our production style.   An idea or technique can be a blueprint to something even more creative. You can incorporate something you see into your style and put your own stamp on it.  I call that inspired innovation!

Another strategy is to experiment.  Grab some effects you’ve never played with and see what happens.  Maybe layer a few effects together.  Do something risky in the field.  Just make sure you have what you need in place first – to avoid further head banging.  You know, the “oh no – what have I done?!” type.

               “Experimenting with Effects”

Lastly, seek another set of eyes.  If you are having trouble feeling it, have a colleague or someone you admire take a look and offer suggestions.  It may just take one recommendation to open the floodgates.  I’d love to hear your thoughts on inspiring creativity when you feel you’ve hit a roadblock.

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SEOOnce you have your video produced, what do you do with it? How do you optimize your online videos so they display well in search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo? According to ReelSEO’s Online Video Marketing Survey and Business Video Trends Report, seven out of 10 marketers spend time on video Search Engine Optimization or SEO.  So should you!  Here are my top five practices for SEO success…

Optimize YouTube Videos

Just posting video to YouTube is not enough since search engines don’t read video, they read text.  That’s why optimizing the text on YouTube is so important.  Make sure to tag the video generously, choose your title carefully and use keywords in the text description section to give your video the best shot at being discovered online.

Post Video to a Blog

A blog adds another page to your search engine index.  Embedding video in the blog increases the potential exposure of the video itself.  Remember, you can post the video to YouTube, then embed it from there in your blog entry.

Embed on Your Website

As with enhancing your blog with video, embedding video on your company or organization’s homepage is a valuable way to increase your SEO.  Again, you can embed directly from YouTube.  The more pages your video is posted to, the better the search engines results.

Social Media

From YouTube, there a number of social media sharing options.  You can simply click on the icons right there on YouTube or  you can copy the share URL to post the video to your Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other social media platforms.  Sharing the video is a powerful way to increase exposure and SEO.  Be sure to encourage others to share the piece as well.

Add Video Sitemaps & Transcripts

The ReelSEO report mentioned above points to video sitemaps and transcripts as being important elements of SEO but only 27% of videos online include a text transcript of the video’s content.  Just 22% of companies and organizations are creating video sitemaps for pieces posted to their websites.   Sitemaps are a list of the pages on your website. Video Sitemaps tell Google exactly where and what the video content is on your site that the might not otherwise discover.  Therefore,  creating and submitting a sitemap for a video makes it easier for search engines to find and index your piece.

If you want help creating a social media video or want to learn more about our services, contact us today!

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eric editI’ve had the good fortune throughout my career of working with and around some very talented people.  Like those in most walks of life, I’ve tried to incorporate what I see as the best practices of those around me into my work to make myself better… at least that has been my hope.

One of those qualities I gleaned early on is that there’s no such thing as minutia: you can’t overlook any facet of video production.  I much remember my good friend Bob Matthews  (TV reporter in Norfolk/Virginia Beach) telling me, “The Devil’s in the details.”  He could not have been more correct, and I find this to be especially true when editing audio.

You have to be relentless when managing the audio on your timeline.   “Micromanaging” usually has a bad connotation, but I think it’s a necessity in the edit suite.  Never assume a viewer or client won’t hear a pop, ambient disturbance or unwanted change in levels.  If you can detect it, someone else can too.  I will often close my eyes or completely turn away from my monitors as I listen to refine my audio because watching the video can distract me from really hearing every nuance.  Those who are not experts still notice pops and changes, even if they don’t consciously identify what they’re hearing.  Leave no distractions on your timeline.  Here is good piece that involved a lot of audio editing.

Don’t be afraid to pick at every detail of your work. After all, every production is a small representation of you and you as a professional.

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Tom and Naomi at Humana shootThis is one of the most essential elements of a successful video… who are you talkin’ to?  Early on identify your target audience.  In television, advertisers closely monitor ratings to know who is watching at what time.  Ratings allow advertisers to determine the best value for their dollars when it comes to prime demographics and buying air time.  You too need to know your audience.

This is one of the first questions  I ask in speaking with someone about a new project.  The answer allows me – as a producer - to craft questions for the video interviews that will elicit responses appropriate for the target audience.

For example, if the topic of your video involves technology, consider whether you’re trying to reach those who are already well-versed in the field or viewers whose interest you hope to pique to persuade them to learn more.  A general audience likely needs basic information to introduce them to the technology while those in the industry require more in-depth messaging to be engaged.  You should also consider whether your video is internally-driven or public-facing.

Now, there may be multiple uses for your video and more than one target audience but identifying your viewers is foundational to creating effective video communications.  Next, you want to move them, inspire them,  and motivate them with a memorable piece.

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By Peter Castillo, Principal, KCAA Dragons

Peter Castillo

Peter Castillo, Principal, KCAA Dragons

Five years ago, the doors opened to the first arts-focused school in SW Denver. The most exciting mission was that it was to become the only K-12 arts magnet school in the state of Colorado. Today, we have secured two national Arts School Network awards, have increased student achievement regularly for the last 4 years, created our monthly First Friday event to coincide with the nearby Santa Fe art district and have had students receive awards for visual, choral and dramatic performance across the city and state.

The school now has its first 11th grade and will have its first graduating class complete in 2014/15. Our students have had amazing opportunities. They have gone to Washington DC, travelled to Los Angeles to speak with film producers and actors and now are doing their own research into their trip for this year to expand their artistic and cultural horizons.

Our middle school and elementary school are among the most unique in all of Colorado. Students in grades K-5 learn their core content material through the arts and our 6-8 grade students have 5 core classes (Language Arts, Math, Science, Social Studies and Exploratory Arts – which was a class designed just for our school). Our staff also gets into the action by performing each year for our students and community in the KCAA Staff Musical!

Please come and visit our semester-ending Formal First Friday will be on December 6th.  It starts at 5 p.m. in our KCAA Theater.

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Erika pumpkin 3If you haven’t already, it’s time to bring out those pumpkins and start working on your carving skills!  Besides Halloween, pumpkin carving is one of my favorite activities to do this time of season.  As much as I love the old fashion pumpkin jack-o’-lantern, I can’t help but to carve something new and out of the ordinary.

This year I carved our Fireside Logo which took a lot of patience in order to get it pretty close.  With detailed designs, the most important thing you can do is carve very slowly and not rush the carving process.  There are many tips and tricks you can do to carve your perfect pumpkin – whatever it may be.  Here are some tricks I used to make the perfect Fireside pumpkin.

Step 1 – Gather all your materials – Pumpkin, sharp, straight-edged knife, if the kiddos are getting involved – serrated metal saws are a safer alternative, trash bags, washable markers, stencil designs and some snacks!

erika pumpkinStep 2 – Draw your design with washable markers – mistakes are easily erased with a wet towel.

Step 3 – Cut out the top of the pumpkin to get all the gooey stuff out! (My favorite part)

Step 4 – Start carving and use slow steady saw strokes.  Make sure to never hold your knife in a stabbing position.

Step 5 – When carving out your design, you want to start with the features closest to the center and then work your way outward.  This will give your pumpkin design steadiness and avoid from falling apart.

Step 6 – For detailed features, you can use a potato peeler or a sharp blade.

Step 7 – Put in your candle toward the center inside of the pumpkin and make sure it’s not too close to the top.

VOILA!  YOU ARE NOW A PUMPKIN EXPERT! Take pictures right away to show off your skills, or you can put some vegetable oil around the pumpkin so it won’t rot so quickly.  Share with us what kind of cool pumpkin designs you came up with – we’d love to see them!


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The most fulfilling part of being a videographer to me is the journey.  No, I don’t mean the occasional trip to an out-of-state location but rather the entire journey itself and the quest to constantly get better at the craft.  There have been so many valuable lessons and tools collected along the way and so many more that I look forward to discovering.  As my career has moved forward, the lessons become deeper, almost Zen-like. 

Tom making that final adjustment

Tom making that final adjustment

One of my favorites is what I like to call The Voice.  It is that thought that pops in your head and says this isn’t quite right.  Whether your shot is a touch underexposed, your backlight is too hot or there’s background noise in the audio.  It may be very hushed, but you should hear that voice.  The key is to listen.

Often, we at Fireside Production are moving quickly and in the old days, I may have ignored the voice. Now, I listen and quickly react.  Now the important part here is having a great team.  Our producers recognize when we are adjusting on the fly and will step in to keep the Client or interviewee comfortable until everything is just right.  Of course, when things are really off, that’s not the voice but rather, common sense letting you know there are major adjustments to be made.  It’s the voice is for the little tweaks that elevate mediocrity to what we all strive for… perfection.  

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Welcome to Fireside Production’s first ever video blog!  Interviewing… it’s what I love most about my work.  I relish each and every interview I conduct as an opportunity for learning and enrichment.  I also know the value of a video interview.  An on-camera interview is your chance to attract attention to your company, project or product.  Here are a few tips on what to expect and how to make the most of your video interview…

For more tips, be sure to check out my blog titled Interview Ins & Outs. I’d also like to hear from you… leave a comment, ask a question or suggest a topic for my next blog.

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