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It’s important to remember when capturing video that quality audio and visuals are of equal importance. The best way to ensure you have quality, clean audio is to monitor the sounds you are recording in the field – during the shoot. Don’t rely on being able to fix audio in the edit suite.
Three Steps to Quality Audio
With that in mind, here are a few quick Fireside tips on capturing audio:
1. Try to shoot in a location with as little ambient noise as possible. For example, you want to avoid being right on the side of a road or under a heating vent in an office. If it’s a busy space, just ask people in the vicinity to keep quiet for the few minutes it takes you to capture your interview.
2. If using a lavalier microphone – that’s a small microphone that clips to the top of a shirt or a tie – try to place it near the sternum. While you can use ties and scarves as a way to hide the microphone or reduce any noise from light wind, you must be mindful not to muffle your audio or record the rustling of fabric. Again, monitoring sound with a good set of headphones is critical here.
3. At Fireside Production, we often use a shotgun microphone on a fish pole. It’s unobtrusive and effective. We typically position it just above the interviewee’s head and pointing down – to keep it out of the shot and to minimize any noise from HVAC systems.
Follow these Fireside tips for capturing clean audio during your shoot to set yourself up for success in the edit suite. Have a video production question for the Fireside team? Post it here or contact us – and we may feature the answer in an upcoming blog.
I’m sure you’ve heard many times before about the power of visualization. Athletes are perhaps most known for using this method when it comes to achieving their goals – while others find inspiration in a vision board. Whatever your method, studies show there is a very strong mind-body connection. That link between your thoughts and behaviors is important for achieving your best. Now, I’m not out to win any championships (although I’m definitely visualizing a Green Bay Packer Super Bowl win this year!), but I can’t help but wonder the how the effect of visualization has influenced my own life.
At Fireside Production, we are guided by our Core Values in everything we do. These values are part of what drew me to this company in the first place. Each Core Value resonates deeply with me, but what I love most is that I see them every day while I’m at work – I don’t even need to visualize them in my mind. This keeps me inspired.
Among the first things I see when I walk in the door every morning are our values prominently displayed. These signs immediately remind me to make each value a part of every Client interaction throughout my day. For instance, when we are out on a video shoot, I try to Bring the Spirit of discovery – every video is an opportunity to learn something new.
I am proud of our Core Values! Do you have anything you use as a daily visual reminder? We’d love to hear!
Mental health. It touches each and every one of us and yet, it’s a topic that we seldom talk about. In today’s age of constant communication and increasing demands, it can be more challenging than ever to devote distraction-free time to nurturing our mental well-being.
Fireside Production has been honored over the years to serve the video needs of several Clients that advocate for mental health. They’re increasing awareness and reducing stigma.
One resource is Aurora Mental Health Center. We hope you’ll watch our Fireside Day of Service video to discover a very special place AUMHC is using to nurture both physical and mental health. Each quarter, the Fireside team dedicates a half-day to volunteer for a non-profit Client. It’s a great way to not only make a difference but to give members of our team time to take a breath, focus on the community and connect with one another.
The fall edition of our newsletter, The Creative Kindling is devoted to mental health. It’s packed with well-being tips, an insightful Guest Blog on helping students manage stress and more. I hope you’ll check it out!
We’d love to hear your approach to maintaining your mental health. Share your thoughts – and resources – on our Fireside Facebook page. This autumn, make time for yourself, do the things that improve your well-being and most importantly, make mental health a part of your conversations.
Fall is upon us and students are officially back in school! The start of a school year brings the excitement of new classes, new friends and new opportunities; yet all too often this goes hand in hand with piles of homework and busy schedules filled with countless extra-curricular activities. According to a 2014 survey from the American Psychological Association, 83% of teens reported that school was their number one source of stress.
Smart-Girl is a program of Arapahoe/Douglas Mental Health Network, and its mission is to empower young people with the skills and tools they need to become confident, capable and self-reliant young adults. One of those skills is managing stress – something that is extremely important when it comes to dealing with the many challenges that present themselves throughout the school year.
In a group setting led by high school or college students, middle schoolers in the Smart-Girl program tackle a number of activities that foster communication skills (using “I feel…” statements), problem solving (using their “wizard brain” and thinking through situations instead of using their “lizard” brain which is their automatic emotional response) and identifying what they have control over in their lives, and what they don’t.
Not only does developing skills in these arenas help them survive middle school, it also helps them thrive throughout their lives. For more information about the program and to learn about summer camp programming, please visit www.smart-girl.org.
Fireside Production is now offering a green screen for video shoots, which gives our Clients a new array of backdrops to choose from for their interviews and hosted messages.
Creating an Opportunity for Growth
It also means as videographers, we’ve been compelled to learn new lighting and shooting techniques specific to the green screen. We diligently researched and explored different set ups before we rolled it out for our Clients. So why go to the trouble? Why not stick with tried and true methods?
We always want to challenge ourselves, to offer our Clients more diverse options and (perhaps, most of all) to evolve our individual skill set and grow as professionals. The benefits of this type of professional development are many. For me, the intellectual stimulation of learning something new keeps work exciting and fun and having more “tools in the toolbox” means the services we provide are more valuable to our potential and existing Clients.
Want to learn more about green screen video at Fireside Production? Contact us today.
While Fireside Production does offer a small studio space, the majority of our video production shoots take place on-location. Capturing interviews and footage in the environment they typically happen in, allows viewers to really experience the important work of our Clients.
Working on-location is usually more convenient for our Clients and those they tap to take part in the video; however, it also means hauling gear and crew into busy work spaces and homes. For Fireside, there’s more to a successful shoot than capturing clear, compelling sound and great visuals. It’s extremely important that we limit the disruption to work taking place at our Clients’ locations and that essentially, we leave a small footprint. Here are a few ways we accomplish this…
- Pack light. We pack exactly what we need and move most of our gear on a small cart.
- Keep it tidy. Once we’re set up, we neatly stack our bags and extra gear in one area to reduce clutter in the shoot environment.
- Safety first. We take care to tape down cords and keep walking spaces free of trip hazards. We don’t want any accidents during a Fireside shoot.
- Leave no trace. Our team will often make a few changes to enhance the background. We may move a plant to add color behind an interview or straighten up a work space to make it look its best. We make a concerted effort though to move things back before we leave.
The bottom line is that we are guests in the shoot space and usually, the location is a busy place with important things happening. Our goal is to not only capture the magic of the organization but to minimize the disruption to the space we are welcomed into.
Our specialty at Fireside Production has always been capturing interviews and footage on-location, allowing viewers of those videos to experience the sights and sounds of our Clients’ unique and varied locations. That’s really our zone! Sometimes, though, creating the background in post-production can offer a fresh look or better emphasize a Client’s brand throughout the piece.
That’s why Fireside Production is now offering green screen. This production tool is portable, allowing our team to set-up green screen at your office – or ours – for interviews and hosted video messages. This portable option is well-suited for framing up a single-person shot. It’s not large enough for a full-body shot. During the edit, we can key in video footage, photos or graphics. We can add a logo behind the subject – or even a simple crisp, white background.
To give you a feel for some of the capabilities green screen offers, be sure to check out our Fireside Green Screen Beatbox video. We had a little fun with this one!
We are happy to answer questions or provide more information on what green screen can do for your next video shoot.
It is with a heavy heart that I say goodbye… and on to new adventures! In my five amazing years here at Fireside Production, I can’t express how incredible this journey has been and what I will take with me as I move on. Tom and Naomi hired me as their first employee and believed in me to jumpstart my career again after being a stay-at-home mom for twelve years. Looking back at my time here, I reflect on the many milestones from where we started to where we are now… home-based to office space, countless video production awards, winning the Denver Business Journal’s 2012 Partners in Philanthropy award, and Naomi taking home The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Rocky Mountain Chapter 2014 Woman of the Year award – with me by her side as her campaign manager – what a ride that was!
A milestone that has also touched my heart is our Day of Service, created four years ago. Giving to our community, as a company, is special and I will remember each and every volunteer opportunity we have taken part in!
I am honored to be a part of this growing company, but it is my time is to move on to my next venture in education as well as helping my family with their businesses.
I thank each and every person on the Fireside team for the time of laughs, giving to the community and each of us inspiring each other to bring spirit… to be the best we can be, not only in the workplace, but at home and in our personal lives.
There’s always a great deal of excitement when you’re getting ready for a video shoot. A successful shoot starts before you leave the door – with solid preparation. There is always some luck involved with a great shoot – the elements falling perfectly into place – but having a few tools in place is helpful as well. Here are a few of mine:
- Plan for your opening shot. This isn’t necessarily the first shot you roll on but keep your eye out for that great opening. It could be a real attention grabber or just an establishing shot but put some thought into how you want the video to begin.
- Find characters. Yes, you need great characters to tell the story. If you’re not using actors, find people who have some flair and want to be in front of the camera.
- Capture natural moments. Moments are the unscripted gems that turn a good video into a great video. When the big ones happen, don’t get caught up in them, press record!
- Get natural sound. You cannot smell video, but you sure can hear it. Get your microphone in close to the sounds – whether it’s a babbling brook or the propeller of a vintage airplane. Sound can bring your viewer into the experience.
- Plan for a closing shot. Just as important as your opening shot, think about how you will end your video. Often, negative action like your hero riding off into the sunset is a good one. Just plan it and be creative!
Of course, there are many other tools you can add to your videographer toolbox but these are a good start. It is always good to have a blue print going in. The direction may change, but it’s easier to regroup with a plan in place. Happy shooting!