As 2016 draws to a close, we’re taking a moment to review the past few months and that we’ve been working on. So, what have we been up to?
Attending the 2016 TIVA-DC Peer Awards for one! It’s one of the big highlights, both recently, and over the course of the year and it was another resounding success for us; we took home another set of awards, including:
Location planning is critical to cost. How many locations are needed? Is travel required? Is a location fee required? Is special licensing required? Are accommodations needed for cast and crew? What transportation requirements are there at each location?
Location is often one of the first corners to get cut when trimming a budget. Why spend the cash on a studio space rental when you can just bring the camera into your personal office, or shoot an on-the-street style video just outside your office building?
The simple answer is “Because production is only one part of the project.” More often than not, location is one of the biggest factors that affects post-production time and budget. Factors such as sound, lighting, exposure, crowds, and passersby all directly influence your video simply because of where you put the camera.
A couple months back, the Twittersphere (and the internet in general) was abuzz with the hashtag #7FavFilms. We saw a plethora of variations thereof, including #7FavScenes, which jumped out at us. What makes a specific scene or sequence memorable, even in an already-memorable film? Can a single, masterful scene in an otherwise below-average movie still, somehow, stand out?
It was the summer of ’75. The term “summer blockbuster” had yet to be uttered.Single screen theaters were still the norm, each one gambling on which film would be their money maker.Summers could still be a lazy time where you could actually be bored.I hooked up with some friends to check out this new film, Jaws.
I look back fondly on that evening and to this day, Jaws remains my favorite film.Is it perfect?Probably not, but oh, what a film!Action. Adventure.Thrills,Laughter.Suspense.Horror.Like an old wooden roller coaster, it continues to please.
This is a film that had numerous chances of being a failure.Let’s start with a newbie director and a perfectionist at that.Spielberg felt that the 1974 novel of the same title by Peter Benchley was in need of re-write for the screenplay.Production began before the script was completed. Casting was not complete until a few days before principal shooting began. The shark itself was a complex prop that without warning would sink to the bottom of the ocean.“Bruce,” as the shark was nicknamed (after Spielberg’s lawyer), tested fine in fresh water tanks, but was ravaged by the salty sea water.The scheduled 55 day shoot ended up taking 159 days.
Vision, execution and reception are all on equal footing here at DUO. It’s about the journey and the outcome. As stated on our website:
Our video production services span all phases of a project; from concept development through distribution, and any part thereof…we look for ways to make your project unique, and speak specifically to your needs…We provide high quality results at highly competitive rates.
As a result of our blend of creativity and professionalism, we have accumulated a collection of awards, a large portion of which comes from the Television, Internet and Video Association (TIVA) of DC. TIVA is a non-profit association of media professionals (companies and individuals) in the National Capital region. The mission of TIVA-DC is to connect the media production community to jobs, resources and educational opportunities. The Peer Awards, sponsored by TIVA, is the largest film/video competition in the Mid-Atlantic region and culminates in a gala at the National Press Club and other prestigious venues with an average of 300 attendees. As DUO and our independent film channel Star Wipe Films, we have acquired the following awards since as early as 2009:
9 Gold Peer Awards
11 Silver Peer Awards
3 Bronze Peer Awards
Among the winning projects that earned these awards include our 48Hour Film, Welcome to the Neighborhood (which also won us a few awards atFilmapalooza2013 and a Selection in the Short Film Corner for Festival de Cannes2013) and our own short film, Apocalypse Rock, whichTIVA-DC awarded us specifically for Program/Series Promo Under $10k for the film trailer, Independent Short, Acting, Editing: Fiction, Production Design, and Sound Design.
As media and filmmaking professionals, we have particular admiration for movie houses and cinemas and we are fortunate to live close to quite a few. There is a particularly special place in our hearts forThe Charles Theatre, which is located in downtown Baltimore. This particular theatre screens both independent and mainstream films much like other local cinemas (i.e. The Uptown in DC, The Weinberg in Frederick, or The Senator, also in Baltimore), The Charles has multiple screening rooms. The structure itself has retained much of its original design and style over its one hundred year history of standing and still seats 485 (without all being in one room).
We have seen many films on its screens, both classic and modern alike, which includes many of our own films as part of the 48 Hour Film Screenings. In fact, we have screened over six films there; Welcome to the Neighborhood, Distilled, Denouement, Rare Finds, Q, Like It’s Your Last, Kill The Monsters, Life Lessons,and more.
The Baltimore 48 has come and gone (in which we unfortunately were unable to participate this year) but the summer continues at The Charles as they continue with aRevival Seriesof landmark films this summer season. The event started back in June with Eva Hesse (Marcie Begleiter), Kings of the Road(Wim Wenders), andBicycle Thieves(Vittorio De Sica). The bulk of the films ran in July but there are more still to come in the series, including the Hitchcock classicRear Window, Heaven Can Wait(Ernst Lubitsch),The Conversation(Francis Ford Coppola) andDonnie Darko(Richard Kelly).
Don’t miss the remaining films!
The Senator has been running a series of revivals as well:
The variety in the lineups at each theatre is refreshing. There are a number of titles that appeal to us and we consider ourselves fortunate that such art and variety thereof is so readily available. We certainly appreciate such revivals and will be visiting The Charles for this series and doubtlessly others into the autumn, winter and after.
As we said a while back in What Kind of Videos Do You Do?, one of the services we offer is Event Videos. Not to be confused with an extensive, multi-camera setup to record your event live, but rather produce a video prior to your function and screen it during your event. This can be applied to any type of gathering; board meetings and conferences, galas, award ceremonies, fundraising events, and so on. You may ask why this is worth considering; from our experience, here are some of the top reasons:
Captive Audience. Any event presents you with an audience, yet a video can come as an unexpected and welcome surprise. If your audience is one of, say, prospective investors and donors, a video can help encourage them to break out their checkbooks. If former investors are present, a video can show them how their contribution was utilized and why.
Length.Event videos can be longer than ones specifically made for your website or Vimeo/YouTube channel. A well-shot, well-edited video may utilize music and photos or footage that would be otherwise difficult to present during a live speech – or at least not as seamlessly. The words spoken to the crowd are tailored; you no longer run the risk of the speakers being struck with stage fright and captions can easily be added if necessary. What this ultimately means is that whatever message or information you are trying to convey, it can be done in a more streamlined and engaging fashion, in a way that everyone can understand.
Change of Pace.When it comes to your seminars, board meetings and the like, a video can be a welcome change to the otherwise familiar and monotonous pacing. This works better than a digital presentation because the message is entirely self-contained.
Self-Contained Message.Your audience no longer has to shift their focus back and forth between you, the speaker, and the visuals you’re showing.
Music.In any type of venue, using music is especially advantageous because it allows you to set and thus control the emotional tone of the room. Do you want to to tug the heartstrings of your investors? Do you want your employees to feel enthusiastic and driven? Or do you want to shake up an otherwise serious event with a bit of laughter and comedy? Music enhances any such desired mood in a way that little else can, and even though you can play music live, you run the risk of levels being imbalanced, overpowering the speaker, or distracting the audience entirely (especially if it’s a recognizable tune).
Audience Reaction.A video allows you to see their reaction, rather than posting the video elsewhere and receiving an email a few days later, if at all. Additionally, while the video actually plays, you, as the speaker, can observe the audience. Are they captivated? Is the message being conveyed enough? You can use the video’s running time to review the audience and adjust your wrap-up if necessary, or know that your original address will be as fitting as you expected and can step forward to deliver that wrap-up more confidently.
If this sounds like a service you’d like to apply to your next function, we would be happy to work with you to produce an event video that suits your needs. Contact us via email, firstname.lastname@example.org, or give us a call at 301 – 221 – 7874.
It all started in 2009 with a sequence of four whimsical videos for SOLIDWORKS’ Now That’s Premium! campaign. Through humor, these videos tout the benefits of upgrading to a premium product (coffee, gasoline, car service and wash), encouraging users to upgrade to SOLIDWORKS’ Premium design product.
Not only did each of these videos rack up a Telly Award (plus a Peer Award for “Cup o’ Mojo”), but it was the beginning of a working relationship that continues, brilliantly, to this day.
In 2011, we introduced a little guy named Seymour in a flash-animation video for Enterprise Data Management, which became the first in a series of over a dozen videos featuring Seymour as the star. Seymour has since inspired even some of our most recent projects.
Since the SOLIDWORKS Premium project, DUO Media has produced over forty videos SOLIDWORKS, including marketing and promotion, Training Videos, eLearning Modules and Recruiting Videos, ranging in topic, length and style. SOLIDWORKS has given us creative freedom from the start, but over the years, that trust in our vision and ability has expanded and allowed us to explore and grow ourselves in our stylistic approach. Some of the most elaborate videos of our portfolio have been for SOLIDWORKS, especially when it comes to promotions for SOLIDWORKS World, the company’s annual convention.
My first convention was Baltimore Comic Con in September of 2013. I knew about cosplay and I marveled (no pun intended) at the skill and detail some folks put into their work. I have always been very at home in Geek Culture, but privately and had never seen that world up close. It always seemed somehow out of reach; as a textbook introvert, I couldn’t see how I would be able to participate, but in my experience (both in costume and civvies) there is room for everyone.
Some debate still remains in the cosplay community, but it’s my belief that Geek and Con culture as a whole is an outward manifestation of fandom and creativity, no matter the form or skill level. Halloween was always my favorite holiday growing up. Tremendous creative opportunity can be found in dressing up for Halloween (or any costume-centered event) if you’re looking for it, but once Trick-Or-Treating fell out of fashion, there was a surprisingly large void that cosplay would one day, not only fill but expand. Cosplay is more than dressing up, it’s the meeting of worlds; the intersection of multiple fandoms, spectatorship and active creativity.
From elaborate, sophisticated studio production and hurdling across the full breadth of downtown Frederick, to fundraisers and Blu-Ray menus, June 2016 was one of our busiest – and most productive! – yet.
As we mentioned last month, the “Floyd Series” has become one of our biggest and most expansive projects. Our client, SOLIDWORKS, has continued to give us a great deal of creative freedom to explore unconventional approaches to their video marketing. The Floyd Series started at the end of 2015 with It’s No Secret, in which Floyd (played by Kevin Brennan) is introduced. Since then, he has appeared in A Game of CAD: A Song of Design and Engineering, Floyd Prepares for Dallas and SOLIDWORKS World Wrap-Up video (coming soon). We’ve been developing a series of additional videos, which were far more ambitious than any that have come before; but we like a creative challenge! We brought Jason Krznarich onto the team to lend his expertise to creating the vastly complex system needed to pull off our vision. We rented the space at BlueRock Productions & Studio (Baltimore, Maryland) to shoot two of the three videos.
Later that same week, we went on location to downtown Frederick, Maryland, starting and ending in Baker Park, but traipsing just about everywhere in between. This video was shot entirely on a GoPro, with additional help from Jason and Brian himself.
Though difficult, all these shoots were big successes and we’ve been in post production since, delighted to see how the efforts are paying off. We can’t wait to share the finished product.
SOLIDWORKS was not the only project we were working on this month. The Foundation to Fight H-ABC hosted a fundraising event this month, for which the Manor Country Club hosted rounds of tennis and golf, a silent auction, great food and live music. The proceeds are all going to research for a cure to H-ABC and the benefit of other rare diseases as well. Check out the video below: