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Ten years. I literally cannot believe that Fireside Production is marking its 10th Anniversary! When Tom and I began this journey back in February of 2006, we were really just trying to solve a family challenge. We were new parents and had decided I would work as a freelance journalist – rather than continue my full-time news career – to take care of our baby girl. When the economy turned sour, we lost much of our freelance and for him, overtime opportunities. That’s when we got resourceful and began borrowing or renting gear to produce videos as a supplemental income. Little did we know what a twist of fate that would be!
Keys to Small Business Success
Lucky for us, YouTube was founded in 2005 and forever changed the way people used and viewed video. The seed was planted and the demand for quality, online video was growing. Although, Tom and I knew next-to-nothing about starting or running a small business – we did know how to produce memorable videos.
The timing was there and fortunately for us, so were the resources. Denver is a spectacular city to start and expand a small business. The support network here is unparalleled – that is, if you tap into it. The Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce and Small Business Development Center provide access to some of the greatest local minds in business. There are tax and accounting resources, workshops on everything from marketing to business planning, opportunities to get outside eyes on your business and show you where to shore things up. There are courses aimed at helping entrepreneurs to build smartly and groups where you can safely bounce ideas off people who’ve been there, done that.
You often hear about the importance of relationships and mentoring in business. It’s absolutely true that building relationships is essential. You need people to turn to for support and ideas, for inspiration and motivation. You also need mentors. Fireside was fortunate to win a Mentor-Protégé agreement with one of our first Clients, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. That experience gave us access to information on best practices in federal procurement and taught us how to improve our proposals, our process and even, our invoicing.
It’s all out there! You just have to say yes to the chance to learn and improve. A lot of times, people are more interested in proving themselves right – than improving what they do. If you’re serious about growing your business, you need to be bold. You need to be confident. You also need to check your ego and be teachable… and truly, the learning never stops.
Equally important to timing and resources – is support. There were the clients who took a chance on Fireside during our infancy as a company. There were the people over the years who came alongside us and joined the Fireside team, contributed their time and talents to cultivating something special. There were the people who saw our work or experienced our process and championed our company, who recommended Fireside Production. Clients, partners, supporters, members of our team… YOU make us who we are today. YOU made this past ten years possible. We’re now counting on YOU to help us usher in the next ten.
Fireside Production is ready to take on its next challenge… innovation and growth! We are hard at work on some very exciting changes that we’re confident will make us a better company, that will result in an even more memorable experience for our clients and will ultimately, take our video production services to the next level. We’re looking forward to this next chapter and hope that together, we will make Fireside the trusted leader in video storytelling in Denver – and beyond.
There’s no doubt about it, video is a powerful communications and marketing tool and can be an invaluable way to visually engage your viewers. For many people, the thought of embarking on a video project may feel overwhelming; that’s where Fireside Production comes in!
Fireside works closely with each Client – start to finish – to make sure the process itself is enjoyable and the finished video is effective. Fireside has crafted a process over the years that takes the burden out of the experience for our Clients – and helps to keep costs down. Our goal is to ensure the production experience itself is a memorable one and the final video is exceptional.
Style, Length, Audience & Message
So, where to start? Here are four questions to answer as you begin the process to lay a solid foundation for your project…
What style are you interested in?
There are many styles of video out there and it can get overwhelming when you start searching YouTube. It’s important, though, to get a sense for what style of video is most resonating with your team.
- Do you want to deliver your message through the voices of interviewees?
- Do you prefer a scripted, narrated style?
- Does a video with just footage and text graphics fit your style?
To answer these questions, take a look at the Fireside Production YouTube channel – where you can browse a wide variety of looks and styles.
What’s the target length for your video?
Length can be tricky because often, Clients are hoping to pack a lot of information into a video. Start with where you’ll use the piece. If the primary goal is to debut it at an event, a little longer is ideal. If it’s specifically for online, shorter is better.
Of course, budget plays a role here as well. The longer the video, often the higher the cost. We are happy to make suggestions on the ideal video length for your project!
Who is your audience?
Identifying your audience helps set the tone for the video. Are the viewers potential customers or clients who may be interested in your services or products? How familiar are they with your message? Perhaps you’re hoping to reach potential donors for a non-profit organization in which case, the video needs to capture the heart – while delivering a clear message. Knowing your audience will help you to hone in on how the story should be told.
What is your message?
It’s important to identify the messages you need to convey through your video. Then, be sure all key decision-makers on your team agree before you start your project. Give us a call or send an email to learn more about the Fireside approach to video production! Helping you to answer each of these questions – is our specialty.
By Ryan Bartlett
The world is currently experiencing one of the strongest El Niños of the past century. The warming of seawater near the equator in the Pacific Ocean – exacerbated by the impact of climate change – has led to what many meteorologists are calling a ‘Godzilla’ El Niño… an event that’s expected to be at least as strong as the 1997-98 El Niño to which 189 deaths and $1.7 billion in property damage were attributed. During that event, Colorado experienced flooding and one of the worst blizzards in state history, which dumped from two to four feet of snow and left more than 4,000 people stranded at Denver International Airport in late October.
The effects of El Niño on Colorado winters are unpredictable, but general trends and weather patterns have been observed in the past. Typically, El Niño winters are relatively warm and dry for Northern Colorado, with a couple of snowstorms in late October and early spring. The Front Range also typically experiences wetter weather in the spring, with one or two blizzards that deliver more than a foot and a half of snow. Ten of the last 13 El Niño events brought greater-than-average annual snowfall to the Denver area. In Southern Colorado, fall is typically wetter and warmer than average due to the Gulf Stream preventing cold air from making it as far south as it normally does.
Klaus Wolter of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said that skiers can expect to see a dry winter, but that an extended ski season will make up for it in the spring with the late-season storm systems that typically roll through in early March.
I was reminded recently by someone I highly respect (my wife) on the importance of the opening shot in a video. An opening shot is the very first scene you see in the piece. Not only is it a chance to display creativity but in today’s world, it’s essential to enticing your viewer to watch the entire piece. As an advocate for the fundamentals of the craft, I’d like to identify a few strategies for capturing a successful opening shot.
One strategy that makes a lot of sense is capturing a shot with positive action. Having your subject moving toward the camera is an often-used method for opening a video. Using negative action can be just as effective for your closing shot.
The establishing shot is often one of the most used – though, I think there’s a lot of room for creativity with this approach. It’s effective in immediately letting your viewers know where the video takes place. You can pep up the establishing shot with a time-lapse or something artsy to make the shot more visually compelling.
This is one of my favorite ways to open a video as I am a big fan of natural sound. I often use a captivating clip of natural sound to grab the attention of the viewer and say, HEY LOOK HERE! It’s leading with the ears.
Give the viewer a hint of what is to come but don’t entirely give it away. This foreshadowing compels the viewer to continue watching to find out where that opening shot will lead.
Again, I cannot stress enough the importance of the opening shot. Sometimes, it’s not even necessarily one shot – but a sequence that creates a mood, idea or question that hopefully, will be answered later on. However you open your video, just make sure it is compelling enough for viewers to get on-board. What are some of your strategies for a memorable opening shot?
With the New Year quickly approaching, I enjoy looking forward to the idea of new beginnings and a fresh start. I love to look to the future and think about all the possibilities in the year to come. At the same time, I relish taking a moment to reflect on the past year, thinking about all the moments that have got me to where I am today and knowing I can only build upon that.
2015 – An Incredible Year!
2015 has been an incredible year and has marked my first full year at Fireside Production. What a journey it has been and such a joy to be a part of this spirited video production team! As I look back on the year, I am overwhelmed by the Clients we’ve shared the year with, and I am truly grateful to have gotten to know all of them. I feel a strong sense of community as a part of the Fireside team – lucky enough to share the stories of some truly remarkable organizations.
Here’s a look back at some of my favorite moments:
The Women’s Foundation of Colorado GLC Class of 2015
The Women’s Foundation of Colorado hosts the Girls Leadership Council every year, where they bring together girls from around Colorado for a dynamic, one-week leadership and philanthropy program. I had the opportunity to interview these incredible young women and was touched by their spirit and strength. I left with so much hope and inspiration; it was a day that truly touched me.
Denver Water – It’s All Connected
Any day that takes me to the mountains is a win for me and this past year, I’ve had a few opportunities to do this! I love to snowboard, so when we were asked to capture a member of the Denver Water team skiing, I jumped at the chance! We spent the day at Keystone with one of Denver Water’s climate scientists and discovered how “It’s All Connected” – from the water used for recreation to the water we drink at home. It was a beautiful day and a great reminder of how lucky we are in Colorado.
The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Light the Night
Last but not least, The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society puts on an incredible event called Light the Night. It’s held at Washington Park, and it’s one of the organization’s biggest events. The Rocky Mountain Chapter has an incredible turnout every year and it’s a wonderful evening to celebrate survivors, remember those who have lost their battles and support those still fighting blood cancers today. It is an evening of hope and community and one I will never forget.
2015 has been a remarkable year filled with wonderful experiences and memories. I look forward to making 2016 even better – and hope to create an experience with you!
‘Tis the season when we try to spend time with those we love and perhaps, exchange a gift or two in the process. We also take lots of pictures… and there’s always that family member who is really into that part of the experience. If you’ve got video or photo enthusiasts on your list, there are a few tech accessories for cell phones that might really enhance their fun when capturing those moments for posterity.
Tripod and Lens Attachments
What about the adventurous types who want to capture their exploits on video? The market is flush with action cameras of all shapes, sizes and prices points. The most recent variations in this space are the variety of self-tracking drones like the Lily Camera.
With the native clip, you can snap nearly every moment of your day and have it sent to your cell phone for faster sharing. Just attach this bad boy to your shirt, and it will snap two photos every minute. Cool, huh?
Whether you’re shopping for yourself or the tech enthusiasts on your list, there’s a little something for everyone out there.
Colorado Gives Day is such a wonderful way to inspire people to get to know the charitable organizations serving Colorado’s communities. Fireside Production has had the honor of producing videos for many of Colorado’s non-profits over the years. Each video production allows our team to witness the tremendous impact these organizations are having on the things and people we care about most… from serving those in crisis to preserving our resources and protecting our lands.
Capturing Stories, Capturing Hearts
I often say that to create a powerful video, you have to put a piece of your heart into the project. We’ve seen the commitment and caring of those who work in these organizations. We’ve heard the heart-wrenching struggles and the life-changing impact of those who turn to our non-profits for assistance. We’ve seen triumph and joy and gratitude. We’ve captured the stories. They’ve captured our hearts.
That’s really what motivated us early on to discount our services for non-profit Clients – to help make the power of video storytelling more affordable and accessible. So far this year, Fireside has provided just more than $20,222 in in-kind services to non-profits. The work of these amazing non-profits also inspired our core value to Make An Impact. We continue to live that value by volunteering our time – as a team – with each quarter’s Fireside Day of Service.
Your support is needed. Take a moment and browse the Colorado Gives Day website. Get to know the organizations dedicated to the causes you care most about… and then, give. We encourage you to be just as generous as you can and then, spread the word. We hope you’ll consider making your Colorado Gives Day donation to one of the truly amazing non-profits Fireside has had the privilege to work with this past year. Go ahead. Give where YOU live!
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!