Tag Archives: video production colorado


Celebrating our 10th anniversary at Fireside Production not only gets us excited about the next ten years but also provides a chance to reflect on the past.  What strikes me from a production standpoint is just how much things have changed – and yes, improved.  Any company that is reliant on technology can attest to how equipment can be like a shiny new toy one year and absolutely obsolete the next.

A Timeline of Technology Innovation

Fireside production technology timelineWhen Fireside Production launched in 2006, we were jazzed to own the new Panasonic DVX 100B camera. This camera captured in standard definition on Mini DV tapes. Over our first few years, we captured on more than 625 tapes. That’s around 37,500 minutes of tape!

From tape and standard definition, we moved with the rest of the world to high definition and P2 video cameras.  Fireside purchased a Panasonic HVX 200a followed by a Panasonic HG 250.  These record on P2 cards at about 1gb per minute of finished video. Let’s just say we use a lot of hard drives!  More on that later… We still use those cameras from time to time but today, capture predominantly on Panasonic AF 100a cameras.  This camera captures on SD cards.  The footage is absolutely beautiful and uses just a fraction of the hard drive storage space. Yay!

On the edit front, Fireside started a decade ago with the MAC G5.  That soon became obsolete.  So, we replaced it with two MAC Pros.  These looked a lot like the G5 on the outside.  They are big, silver and sweet but yes, they too became somewhat obsolete for what we do. In 2015, we updated to the latest version of the Mac Pro.  These units are much smaller, much faster and keep Fireside on the leading edge with editing tools.  We’ve also acquired two Mac Book Pro laptops that allow us to edit out at Client locations for quick-turn videos.

For editing software, we have remained loyal to Final Cut Pro, although the platform has changed dramatically.  We started out on Version 5.  Then upgraded to Version 6 and then, Version 7.  In 2014, Fireside moved to the total remake of FCPX.  We absolutely love it and often say that this platform has brought a lot of joy back into the edit process!

Our hard drive library is extensive.  For years, we’ve used G-Tech G-Drives and today, we have a total of 23 2tb drives and seven 4tb drives.  I was never a great mathematician, but I believe that is 74tb of footage.  Wow!

While the technology in video production has evolved so much over the years, some things here at Fireside have remained the same.  Our team continues to bring spirit, creativity and innovation to our work each and every day.  Many of our Clients have been with us for years – and we are so grateful for that!  We are looking forward to the changes and discoveries that lie ahead for Fireside and for the video production industry and hope you will share that journey with us!

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Why listening is important

Listening is a life skill.  My father once told me I’d always learn more by listening than talking and, as usual, he was correct.  At Fireside, listening well is a part of all that we do… from hearing our Clients’ exact vision for their videos to conducting effective and enjoyable interviews and optimizing time during a shoot.  Listening is key.

Why Listening is Important

It starts in planning and extends throughout the video production process.  By really hearing what’s important to each Client, our team is better positioned to make the most of unexpected opportunities throughout the process.

A perfect example happened when Fireside was capturing the National Senior Games for Humana.  By really hearing and understanding Humana’s dream to help people achieve lifelong well-being, our team was able to recognize an unplanned opportunity to spotlight someone who really embodied that message, a 100-year-“young” javelin competitor who inspired so many through his story.

Listening well is a critical component of not only the shoot and the interviews but the edit as well.  By learning the preferences of our Clients, we can make sure we’re on the right track from the start… which also helps to keep costs down throughout the process.

Communication is the bedrock of a successful video project and there’s not much more gratifying than seeing our Clients light up when their message comes to life.

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Social Media Videos


We know just how powerful video is as part of a well-executed social media strategy but the right length can be a bit more tricky.  On Instagram, for instance, your video is not allowed to be longer than 15 seconds. However on YouTube, you could essentially post an entire movie.  That might lead you to think about posting the same 15-second video across all your social media channels – but don’t.

The best approach for online video is to customize the length to the platform you’re using… this is also a great way to maximize your footage from a video shoot.  Here’s how producing strategically can drastically improve your online marketing results…

YouTube Video Length

While there’s no cap on how long a video on YouTube can be, there is when it comes to the attention span of most people.  After analyzing many of the top videos on YouTube, Adweek found that the average length of those videos was just less than Three Minutes.  That means the most popular and effective videos were just a couple of minutes.  Shorter is better.

Facebook Video Length

One of the biggest reasons to post your video on Facebook is the auto-play feature.  Since your video automatically plays, it’s a great way to draw in those who are scrolling down their newsfeed.  I’m sure you have gotten caught up in watching a video that just started as you were catching up on your friends’ posts!  As you can imagine, that auto-play dramatically increases your reach.  When it comes to Facebook, Ad Age recommends video that’s 30- to 45-Seconds in length.

Vine & Instagram Video Length

Both Vine and Instagram are capped at 15 Seconds.  For many, keeping a video down to 15 seconds is tough, but it’s a great way to really jazz up your message with a sharp, crisp 15-second piece.  Make sure you tag organizations relevant to your content and use hashtags to help people find your video.

Twitter Video Length

On Twitter, you get a luxurious 30 Seconds to deliver your message with a direct load.  If you’re not sharing video on Twitter yet, you are definitely missing an opportunity.  Buffer has a lot of great tips for video sharing on Twitter.  Keep in mind that you can still share a YouTube link on Twitter that doesn’t have a limit to the length.

The Case for Taking the Time to Share Video on Social Media

The case for customizing your videos to the social media channel – is really in the numbers.  We’ve found that when we do, our stats jump off the charts!   Just look at this comparison between two Fireside posts on Twitter – both similar in content.  One with video and one, without.

Twitter & Video
























Our content with just a picture has only 171 impressions and only five people engaged with the post.  We add a video element and impressions jump to a whopping 1,464!

Whether it’s a fundraising video, a promotional piece or footage of an event, there’s no reason to not take that video further than its initial intent.  A little extra effort can really pay off!

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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.

DOE Protege of the Year - Video ProductionYou 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.

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questions to ask when making a videoThere’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.


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By Ryan Bartlett

scene-863040_640The 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.

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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.

Positive Action

Positve Action









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.

Establishing 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.

Attention Getter

Natural Sound









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?

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Marketing & Communications Manager

I’m Liz Rittiman, and I joined Fireside Production as its new Marketing & Communications Manager just a few months ago. I’m excited to be here!  Like Naomi, Tom and Eric, I too have a background in television news. 


While I absolutely love Colorado and have no plans to leave, I’m also Hoosier at heart.  I received my degree in journalism from Indiana University and am serving a three-year term as the Professional Development Chair for the Colorado Chapter of the Indiana University Alumni Association.  Go Hoosiers!

Video Marketing

As a marketer, I know every organization has a story to tell.  These days, video is such an important avenue for sharing those stories.  That’s one of the many reasons I jumped at the opportunity to work with an award-winning video production company.  Not only do I get to help Fireside share its story, but I get to help our Clients do the same.

Did you know that online video now accounts for half of all mobile traffic?  Or that by including a video in an introductory email you can drastically increase your click-through rate?  If you’d like to learn more about getting the most out your videos through  marketing, I hope you’ll reach out to me!

Love for Colorado

While I will always have a place for Indiana in my heart, I absolutely love living here in Colorado.  When I’m not working, I’m usually taking advantage of all the reasons Colorado is one of the best places in the world to live. 

My husband and I love to ski, snowshoe, hike and go off-roading.  We also enjoy traveling across the state.  So far, my favorite places are Mesa Verde, Ouray, Estes Park and Grand Lake. 

I really look forward to getting to know each of you. Feel free to reach out anytime!

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New YearsWith 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!

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tech gifts-535872_640‘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

Virtually everyone has a cell phone they use to snap a few pictures here and there.  Take that to the next level with a cell phone camera tripod or fisheye 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.

Native Clip

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.

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