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Rachel Farha
by Rachel Farha
Oct 14, 2015
All Posts by Rachel Farha

She Is Me

On any day at One Floor Up you will find a wide variety of video projects happening.  We may be helping a tech company teach you to use their product, directing a Bronco’s player to act silly, or animating the insides of a body part to explain a health issue.  With each project we learn something new and find something to love within the work.  I personally had the chance to work on a project that I fell in love with this summer. 

Gamma Phi Beta’s national headquarters are in the Denver area and when they first called us, I was really curious about what kind of idea we would be developing.  I was immediately struck by the sincerity and philanthropies of the organization.  Here is an entire national organization that holds a strong value in building, empowering and nurturing young girls to be honest friends and believe in themselves.  The more I learned, the more inspired I felt.

One of the greatest things that happens in video production is that we collaborate.  Over the last few years I have met women who I have wanted to work with, who have inspired me, and who I hope to be like.  A light bulb went off for me to do something I’ve always wanted - let’s create a piece with an all woman crew.  To know production is to know that this is a real challenge.  We women in this industry have made our way into a space full of incredibly talented men.  And lots of them.  So as I started to reach out and talk about this idea, I witnessed a different type of investment and interest.  We all strive to do great work, but this time, something felt more personal for each of us.

Here’s what I’ll say about this experience. For the most part, it was like any other successful shoot.  We planned, we came up with good ideas, and bad ideas, we prepared our questions and lighting diagrams, and we ran into hiccups that we had to overcome.  This stuff always happens.  At times, it didn’t seem at all different from any other shoot day, or any other project.  But when we sat with each of our interviewees, that was where one could feel the difference.  Each girl, each woman, that spoke about someone who inspired her, who believed in her, who changed her for the better, was surrounded by a crew of women who could relate, or wanted to be that.  It’s kind of intangible to describe this difference, but it was real to experience.

Thank you Kira, Melinda, Emily, Mary Grace, MaryAnn and Maureen for being so dedicated to this project.  I am proud that we have created something that can be inspirational to many.

She is a director of photography, a producer, a gaffer, an audio tech, a creative director, a makeup stylist, an artist, a business woman, a leader, a friend.  She is me.

Rachel Farha
by Rachel Farha
May 12, 2015
All Posts by Rachel Farha

Create Stronger Marketing Videos

Strong Marketing Videos
Video content is the most popular marketing effort amongst startup entrepreneurs and marketing teams looking to boost their brand presence. 

With a vast array of organizations striving to promote their own visual storytelling projects, it is important to consider every facet of your video production from cameras and editing software, to the perfect lighting and sound per shot. As the cost of video production equipment and editing software falls, brands are getting creative to ensure that their project stands out against other marketing video initiatives. 

Here are some great suggestions to consider when organizing your next marketing video!

Storyboards and Shooting Scripts

The addition of storyboards and shooting scripts lay the groundwork for the your video project. 

By planning and storyboarding before you get behind the camera, you will create an outline of the shots that you plan to capture and your desired video project outcome. Your shooting script can easily serve as a pseudo-screenplay for your project. Placing the storyboard and collective shooting script within your range of sight will keep the direction of your project clear and stream your video recording process. 

Ready Your Cast 

Whether you cast trained actors, anchors, or non-professional actors, preparing your cast will save you time and money. Make sure that your actors are familiar with what's coming for them ahead of time. This will reduce mistakes and save you valuable editing time. Take the time to explain your end-goal to your subjects and get them comfortable with your brand's culture and the video's intended message.

For additional information about working with non-professional actors, check out our recent blog.

Beware of B-roll

If you want to add more character to your project, you'll want to scattering in clips of your team hard at work and otherwise. This is what video experts call B-roll shots. 

A B-roll shot is essentially any footage that is not your main subject. If you are explaining a service that your brand provides, then you may want to cut in B-roll footage of your clientele using and having a positive response to that service. You can also use B-roll to familiarize your target demographic with more aspects of your brand's culture, like happy employees, shots of your office space, or company events. 

Figuring this out during the pre-production phase will help you organize your storyboard and plan for transitions during editing. It will add to the overall composition aesthetic and hold your audience's attention span more effectively. 

Remember the Rule of Thirds

Visualize that your shot is divided into 9 equivalent segments by 2 vertical lines and 2 horizontal lines. By composing your footage in this manner, you will make the project easier for the eyes to read and produce a more aesthetically-pleasing and balanced shot overall. This rule can be applied to nearly any shot, landscapes and otherwise. 

The Importance of Lighting in Marketing Videos
The Importance of Lighting in Marketing Videos

True. You can adjust picture contrast and brightness in the post-production (to varying degrees) but few things will take away from a video more quickly than a shot that is too dark or too light. It is far more important to film a shot right on your filming day than to rely on post-production adjustments later. 

Artificial Vs. Natural Light

During the production phase of a video, lighting possesses different temperatures. These temperatures are measured in degrees of Kelvin. 

This is certainly a complicated subject, but one that requires attention because combining lights with two different color temperatures can produce an unevenly lit shot. 

For example, your chosen recording location may be great for audio recording and have bright artificial lighting. However, if the room also has a bright natural light source, the two different light temperatures could cause your shot to lose visual appeal. This sort of imbalance can be difficult to repair as well as challenging to pay for, truly a pain that you do need.

Manually Adjust Your Camera's White-Balance

As we continue to account for the different temperatures that artificial and natural light produce, we must also account for these heat levels by manually adjusting the camera's white-balance. This informs the camera of what "true white" appears like within your production area to prevent color casting. 

While your camera probably has an auto-white-balance function, we have found our greatest success in balance color temperature by manually adjusting the camera's white-balance feature. 

Multiple Shots

Your actors may be professionals, but even professional actors and actresses can make mistakes from time to time. You want to make sure that you have multiple shots to avoid having to reshoot an essential single line due to an error. 

When shooting your video, take the time to capture multiple shots. That way you have back-ups in case you notice something is missing or a slight blunder is a bit too apparent. You can then collectively edit your last series of numerous shots, instead of counting on only one. 

We hope this helps you save time in your creative process - did we miss something? Let us know! We value your feedback.

Rachel Farha
by Rachel Farha
Apr 27, 2015
All Posts by Rachel Farha

Real Talent: Directing Non-Professional Actors

With the video content becoming a necessity to any successful modern marketing strategy, producers and directors alike are making a shift towards "real talent". 

As opposed to hiring professional actors (which can have a substantial impact on your budget), video professionals are opting to cast non-professional actors to enhance creative concepts. Strong directing can evoke great performances from non-professional actors. Often, these performances are revered as more authentic, heart felt acting on camera.

Along with enhancing the authenticity of your message, working with real talent can help you bolster your directing skills. For directors looking to hone their skills, working with non-pro actors can allow the flexibility to experiment with a variety of techniques in a forgiving environment. 

Here are a few things to take into consideration when incorporating real talent into your next video project:

Confidence

Make sure other members of the crew are supportive of your talent. Inexperienced and non-professional actors may be nervous upon arrival, so reinforcement from all members of the crew is important. Hair and makeup should remind them of how good they look, producers and directors should make an effort to engage them and help them feel comfortable on set.

Camaraderie

Take a friendly, but guiding position when directing non-professional talent. Staying close and offering suggestions may ease your actor's nerves and build a great rapport at the same time. 

Eliminate Distractions

Keep your talent focused on the camera lens. By keeping th e monitor away from your non-pro actors you eliminate a huge distraction. Clearing the set of unncessary crew during filming will help keep your real talent's attention directed at the camera. Another helpful tip that we've used over the years is slapping a smiley face over the camera lens - it can help your non-pro actors focus their attention towards the lens while eliminating the scare factor associated with the camera.

Warm Ups

Telling jokes, talking about shared interests and getting to know your actors warms them up for performing by adding to on stage confidence and subtly praticing by delivering "lines" on the marker.

Tricks and Takes

Hiding the little red light that signals recording is a great way to start rolling and capture a nice candid shot of your talent. This often creates a shot with little intricacies and authenticities that you might miss when cuing your talent. 

On that note, try to keep the takes to a minimum. Think of every take as losing a bit of the real feel that a first or second run through will embody. If you need to repeat takes, try moving on and then coming back to the scene. This will allow for natural muscle confusion and brain flexibility exercises that will improve the shot when you return.

Cut the Character Tips

Keep in mind, the non-professional actor will not be ready to "take on" a personality. This is something that we leave for professionals. Instead of creating a background or offering character tips, try simply asking your real talent to repeat after you, in their own voice. It's as simple as that and produces great results with less fuss.

When asking your talent to deliver a certain emotion in the message, ask them to remember a time or event when they felt that emotion. For example, if you are trying to deliver a positive message, ask your talent to remember a favorite birthday or an uplifting moment in their life. For a more emotional performance, ask the talent to think of person who is going through a hard time and then cue them to say their line. 

This brings natural emotion to the scene with realistic coaching. The idea is to use real, raw emotions to give the scene its authenticity. 

When you are finished working with your talent, try one last thing: Ask them to repeat the performance as they would have without your coaching. While you may feel that you already have your perfect shot, you never know what real talent can add to your video!

Rachel Farha
by Rachel Farha
Mar 20, 2015
All Posts by Rachel Farha

2015: The Age of Video Marketing

 Marketing professionals everywhere are adhering to a new motto this year: Facts tell, stories sell. 

Video marketing is quickly growing in popularity as marketers everywhere put more emphasis on content that tells a story. Video is the ideal format for captivating busy audiences. By creating strong, storytelling content marketers are able to deliver a short but memorable message that viewers can enjoy - and that maketers can measure. 

Finding a way to stand out and entice potential audiences to take notice of your content is more important than ever. 2015 is an era of independent consumers who reasearch online before ever contacting a vendor. Marketers must find a way to engage prospective clients with entertaining content that also educates them about what we do while representing the company's culture. 

Video, once used to enhance websites, is quickly manifesting into a widely-used, strategic marketing tactic. Here's our prediction on what 2015 has in store for video marketing.

The play button as a call to action. 

Survey says: video marketing is here to stay. According to Invodo, approximately 65% of viewers watch more than three-quarters of a given video. Imagine seeing comparable results with written adage! Over 70% of marketing professionals agree that video converts better than any other medium. 

Click-through rates and digital conversations are increasing as a result of video marketing and marketing professionals are taking notice. A surge of strong, storytelling visual content is positioning the play button as the most enticing call to action on the web. 

Video marketing is an integral part of email marketing, content marketing, social media, SEO, and lead demand-generation programs. Marketing professionals everywhere are seeing increased results and strengthening brand affinity and customer relationships through video.

Data-driven marketing is in. 

New marketing technologies are making it possible to track the digital interations of online audiences as well as measure the effectiveness of marketing techniques. As marketers continue to incorporate video in modern marketing efforts, video analytics will continue to improve and become increasingly valuable. 

Video platforms now offer the ability to track results beyond view count. Accessbility to data like audience engagement and average drop-off rates for video viewers will provide additional insight into the web presence of a video. Now marketers will have more visibility into how each video is contributing to lead generation and revenue. 

Video is a lead generation and qualification tool. 

Simple additions to your video can turn it into a great lead generation tool. For example, adding an email gate to the start of your video or a lead collection form to the end will enable you to generate new, well-qualified leads who are interested in your content. 

Information received from your video leads can now be tied directly to contact information recorded in your CRM and automated marketing systems, which not only organizes qualified leads, but also ties them back to engagement with your online content. This technology is expected to grow and develop throughout 2015.

Tracking video viewing activities of prospective clients can help you determine who your most promising leads are and increases your conversion rate. As content marketing programs being to rely more heavily on visual storytelling, tracking video interactions will become even more relevant and important. 

The ability to track how long an indivual actually remains engaged in a video will allow marketers to more adequately asses how a lead should be treated. Video offers the most reliable means of tracking viewer engagement with content. 2015 will see a boom in video marketing and strategy.

YouTube will no longer be the focus.

YouTube can help you expand your reach and attract new viewers and a larger audience. It is an excellent channel for video distribution, but it should not be the only place that you share content nor should you use it as the hosting platform for videos embedded on your website and various forms of social media. 

YouTube is affordable, but it has some serious disadvantages for marketers trying to make video part of your digital brand and content marketing agenda. Marketers are realizing the importance of video as a part of digital maketing and demand generation strategies, and it will become more clear that YouTube is not the best platform for achieving the desired results. 

Video analytics in marketing and CRM automation is increasing.

While many marketers agree that video conversion is the technology of the future, surprisingly only about 10% actively demploy video analytics tracking tools. Video analytics will be used to attract and engage audiences, while simultaneously collecting data within marketing automation and CRM platforms to increase results. 

Maximizing the value of video is critical to growing a web presence. It provides comprehensive insight into how prospects interact with the brand across multiple channels throughout the sales process. With these tools, marketers can even start reporting on video's impact on lead generation, pipeline, development, and revenue.

Questions or comments? Let us know what you think! Or better yet - show us!

Rachel Farha
by Rachel Farha
Mar 10, 2015
All Posts by Rachel Farha

How-To: Building a Better B2B Video Series

Video series can be key in building a relationship with your prospects. By consistently adding content in the form of a video series, you give your audience a reason to continually visit your content, and thus become familiar with your business practices. This is crucial in driving a business relationship.

Creating a Video Series

Just like any business decision, creating a video series needs to start with a plan

To prepare for your series, ask yourself a few simple questions to generate an outline or plan for your project:

  • Why are you creating the series?
  • What is your goal for the series?
  • What can your audience expect to gain from the series?
  • What is your ideal outcome for the series?

These questions are just the begining of your overreaching plan; the things you will want to nail down before you start to plan the content for individual videos.

By answering these questions, you can narrow your series to a specific theme like: customer interviews, thought-leader chats, content drip, or best practices. And remember: commit to your series. Often times, when content production becomes demanding, a video series can get put on hold or end abruptly leaving the audience hanging. Having an understanding of the full scope of your series will help you budget and allocate your time accordingly. If possible, film a few videos of your series at once so that you can release them incrementally each time you are ready to publish.

How-To: The Basics of Creating Individual Videos in a Series

Establishing a clear connection between the videos in your series is important for retaining your audience. There are a few things that you should keep in mind when planning the content of your series. 

  • Call attention to the series. Let your viewers know that there will be more of these great videos. You can make this clear by including series in your title and making sure to announce it as a series.
  • Be consistent with your topic. Make it easy for your audience to see a connection in the content of the videos. Stick to a concept, theme or style so that your audience knows what to expect. This will help ensure that they keep coming back!
  • Give them access to the full series. Let your audience see all that you have to offer in your video series. This is easily accomplished by using a dedicated video hub on your website or a specific channel or thread. YouTube is great for this!
  • Encourage your viewers to keep watching! Offering "See more" clips at the end of each video can increase the odds of multiple-video consumption.

The best way to learn what works is to check out examples! Research other video series from around the web and let us know what you learn.

Rachel Farha
by Rachel Farha
Oct 3, 2014
All Posts by Rachel Farha

Guiding Collaboration

When it comes to making videos that tell good stories the key is always found in collaboration.  Every collaborative team needs a leader.  Within Video Production that role is usually some type of Producer. There are tons of different types of Producers: Executive Producers, Line Producers, Field Producers, Associate Producers, Food Producers (ok, the last one is a joke, kinda…).  But what do all of these roles have in common?  They are the organizers, motivators, and the driving force behind every creative video project.  

Typically the Producer will serve as the main point of contact for the entire project.  Initially she begins with the Pre-Production phase by working to understand the goal of the project, the time constraints, the creative vision and the overall budget.  She asks tons of questions in order to understand your audience, your brand, your messaging and even your future plans and how they might impact the project today. 

With that information she is able to segment out the roles needed to complete the task of telling a story.  For example, if the best direction for the video is to write a script and shoot a video, she will work to identify the right team.  She selects the Writers, Directors, Camera Operators, Audio Technicians, Lighting Specialists, Makeup Artists, Set Designers, Talent, Location Scouts,  the list goes on and on depending on the project. 

During the Production phase, she makes sure every detail has been thought through.  What are the locations, when are call times (when each person needs to arrive), what is the weather like, when is lunch coming, where are the props, are we done yet? - The producer knows these answers, and usually much more.  And if the unfortunate event occurs, and an issue arrises, she finds the solution.  

The Producer also guides the Post-Production phase of the project.  As the Edit team works to craft the content, she navigates the direction for the overall story.  From facilitating the creation of Motion Graphics or 3D Animations, to working with designers and illustrators, she ensures the client understands the process and is happy with the direction of the project.  When the editors have hit a wall with the story, or have trouble deciding which take might be best, she guides them to finding a solution the client would prefer. 

Finally, a good Producer makes sure that along with reaching the client objectives, each member of the team is given the chance to offer their voice and feel respected along the way.  Althogh the project needed a leader, it is only with the contributions of the entire team that one gets to experience the excellence that can be found in collaboration.

Give us a call to talk to a seasoned Video Producer about your project.

(720) 457-5616 – or head over to our contact page to drop us a quick line.

Rachel Farha
by Rachel Farha
Jun 9, 2014
All Posts by Rachel Farha

Telluride Jazz Festival

Check out this TV spot we created for Telluride Jazz Festival 2014. They came to us with only stills this year, but we'll be on site for the awesome event August 1st through 3rd picking up shots for next year's festival. 

Check out some of this year's artists: