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Dani Lyman

Is Game of Thrones the end of TV as we know it?

Is Game of Thrones the end of TV as we know it? 3456 2304 Dani Lyman

There is a little restaurant in Denver called Stoney’s where local patrons fill the bar on Sunday nights for a Game of Thrones watch party packed with themed competitions and GoT themed foods and drinks. While many viewers choose to watch the show in the dark and silence of their living rooms, uninterrupted, viewing parties like these are popping up across the country. Similar to what we see with sports fanantics, people want to be surrounded by like-minded individuals and root for their favorite player (in this case, character).

While we gather to see who is going to rule the Iron Throne, a larger question emerges. Will TV continue to be a social experience after GoT ends? What will we be watching next and how will we be watching it?

TV and the way we consume programming has changed drastically since Game of Thrones’ first episode aired in 2011. Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime dominate with their original and award-winning content. TiVo is nearly a thing of the past now that we can stream from our cell phones whenever we want. The term “binge watching” is so popular it now has a place in the dictionary.

However, there is a social aspect to watching TV that gets lost when viewers binge-watch a series or stream on their own time. We bite back our enthusiasm about the latest episode because a co-worker isn’t “caught up” yet. We avoid social media to ensure spoilers aren’t revealed. We even stop talking to each other altogether when we realize we’re on different seasons.

What was once a social practice, an avenue to bringing friends and family together for a half an hour or an hour, is becoming an isolating experience. Game of Thrones is one show that still brings people out of their dark living rooms and gets them excited to share with others. Will there be shows in the future capable of doing the same?

More niche content is being created today. With more and more series being delivered through various platforms, the mainstream appeal of programs is diminishing. People are loading up on content they enjoy, but not something they can necessarily banter about with their friends.

And let’s not overlook how we are consuming content. We no longer just sit in front of our TV’s. We stream from our phones on the train to work. We watch from our laptops on our lunch break. We sit in a room full of people and stare at our iPads. Chief Marketing Officer of Factual, Brian Czarny, contributed an excellent article on fragmented viewership and what it means for the future of content. He writes, “Rest assured that, for the next hit show, the live viewing numbers will be smaller because consumer behavior is swiftly trending toward…mobile.”

As we move into in the final season of GoT, a series that has greatly influenced pop culture and has risen to become one of the most talked about shows in history, we have to wonder if this is the end of an era. Will there be another show that can bring us together the way Game of Thrones has? Or will we become a nation of binge-watchers, turning TV viewing into a solo sport?

How to Make Crew Connection Work For You

How to Make Crew Connection Work For You 500 333 Dani Lyman

You’ve heard all about how Crew Connection is the best of the best, providing top-notch crews around the globe and unmatched customer service. But are you getting the most out of your experience?

If You’re Looking For a Video Crew…

How to Find the Best Video Crew For You

At Crew Connection we pride ourselves on our white glove service and being there for our clients around the clock. That doesn’t just mean being available by phone or email. We created CrewCloud, our online platform, with your busy schedule in mind. Now, when you’re on the go, you can take advantage of several DIY features for a fast and easy booking experience. Easy to use tools include browsing crew profiles, directly messaging crews, accepting estimates and paying your bill online anytime, anywhere.

Landline and Fax Machine Not Required

We try to do as much work as possible through email so we can have a paper trail for everything. Believe me, it limits mistakes and ultimately makes your life so much easier. We know you have a busy schedule too, so if you can send us updates through email it really helps to keep the booking process moving forward effortlessly. We’re always happy to jump on a call, but often dropping a quick note does the trick!

Make Your Next Shoot Even Better Than the Last

Crew Connection is here for you! Your feedback lets us know how we’re doing and how our crews are doing. If something feels off to you about a video crew you’ve just booked, someone was rude on location or you chatted with a DP who doesn’t seem knowledgeable – just drop us a line and let us know. We are more than happy to make new arrangements and apply your feedback moving forward. And, while we definitely live in a world where praise is sparse and no news is usually good news, positive comments actually do go a long way in our business too! We really do appreciate your feedback.

If You Are a Crew…

Snaz Up your Profile

Think of your CrewCloud profile a little like an online dating profile. Say a client comes to us because they need a great crew in Los Angeles. A search for crews in L.A. is going to populate quite a few results. How are you going to stand out from the crowd? Vivid BTS photos, badass demo reels and extensive equipment lists are easy ways to grab attention. Do you have awards? Are you Union? Add it to your profile! A meaty profile reads as experienced and professional. The more information you share, the more likely you are to be contacted for a job.

Insurance May be Boring, But It’s Important

This is a key tip you may not know about Crew Connection: If you don’t have your updated COI attached to your profile, clients can’t even see your profile. You don’t want to miss an opportunity or be invisible to clients just because of one little (but very important) document.

Make Yourself More Hireable by Communicating Better

Whether it’s responding to a direct message to a client through our online portal or replying to emails from your Coordinator, a prompt response can make all the difference in landing the job. Sometimes an email that just reads “I’m available and will send a quote when I’m done with my shoot” can keep a client from looking to another crew to meet their needs. Acknowledging receipt of the request lets the client know you’re on it and you care about their project… and their time.

The Number One Thing You Need for a Great Shoot

The Number One Thing You Need for a Great Shoot 5398 3648 Dani Lyman

Whether you’re traveling on location for a big Reality TV show or you’re planning a small corporate video, proper execution comes down to being prepared.

I love the pre-production phase of a shoot! I’m kind of a nerd for it. Breaking down a script? My favorite. Creating the shot list? Nothing makes me happier. Handling contracts and paperwork. All over it. Because I know that a shoot will not be successful and the DP won’t get that killer shot and the director can’t do his creative thing  if we don’t show up prepared. We need to have permits, bring the right equipment and the Audio Tech shouldn’t be on the other side of town because he didn’t get the revised call sheet.

Planning and communicating all the details beforehand allows for the production phase to be filled with creative energy and leads to a successful final project.

An absolute must for your best shoot day, although it is often overlooked:

Imagine showing up to a shoot location and the building security won’t let you in because your name isn’t on his visitor list for the day. You can’t find the name of the location contact because it’s buried in a thread of 50 emails. The CEO you’re supposed to be interviewing has already been waiting an hour because he wasn’t told the proper time to arrive. And your crew is lost trying to find the loading dock and parking.

This is a terrible way to start a shoot. You’re already way behind, crunched for time and everyone is beyond annoyed before you even set up the first shot. However, one little document could have saved the day. Yes, you guessed it. The Call Sheet!

A call sheet should be used for every shoot, no matter the size of the crew. Call sheets help to make sure everyone is on the same page about the most important logistical details. You want to make sure it covers the Who, What, Where, When and Why of the shoot. Who is supposed to be where, at what time and for what purpose.  The sheet should include everything from the shoot location, the weather, the time the crew and talent need to arrive to the breakdown of the schedule, general notes, and contact information for everyone. That includes everyone that could possibly be involved with the shoot or affect the shoot in anyway, if you have their number add it to the sheet!

The call sheet doesn’t have to be fancy. It can be, and you can add as much information as you’d like, but it can also be really simple like this great example:

A smooth shoot also comes down to effective communication. It may sound basic, but little things can get overlooked and cause a lot of confusion without detailed communication. It’s best to send the call sheet as a pdf in a new email thread and ask everyone to reply “Got it.” This way everyone is clear and exactly on the same page.  You also don’t want to have ongoing conversations in the Call Sheet thread. Create separate emails for questions between your team and the crew, so when you’re on site the pertinent information will be easy to pull up.

It’s really important to reply to your crew when they have questions. Sometimes we can get so distracted about information that we find important that we can disregard other peoples’ questions. So, if your crew is asking something about cables or room dimensions, be sure to help find the answers they need before you get to the location. Going over these details on set might wind up being a little too late.

If you’ve just spent the last few weeks nailing down permits, securing talent and planning that perfect sunset shot, don’t blow all that hard work by not properly communicating the specifics to your crew! It also saves you 50 text messages day of about shoot details. You can always just say, “Refer to the call sheet!” And everyone’s on the same page.

Influential Women in Film

Influential Women in Film 500 324 Dani Lyman

Women have always played an integral role in the film and video industry. French director Alice Guy directed her first film in 1896 and is credited with creating techniques like the close-up and synced sound. Margaret Booth started editing in 1915 and is widely considered one of the top-10 editors of all time. In front of and behind the camera, women have always left their mark on this powerful medium.

In honor of Women’s History Month here are three women who are dominating the industry and forging the path for future women.

Thelma Schoonmaker – Editor

Thelma Schoonmaker is a Hollywood legend, a three time Best Editing Academy Award winner and, after 50 years of working in the industry, is still making history.

I didn’t know it when I first enrolled in film school, but Schoonmaker had already been a major inspiration. I always thought of myself as a die-hard Scorsese fan, but I soon came to learn that I was also a die-hard Thelma Schoonmaker fan. She has been the editor behind every Scorcese film since Raging Bull. The story goes that while Schoonmaker was taking a filmmaking course in NYC a professor asked that she edit one of Scorcese’s projects to see if she could salvage the “badly mangled negative”. They have been working together ever since!

So, it was really Schoonmaker’s talent in the editing room and her ability to partner so well with a director that inspired me (and so many other film kids) so greatly as a young film nerd mesmerized by the blows in Raging Bull or the cuts that managed to make a joke out of violence in Goodfellas, .

Schoonmaker’s career is far from over. She recently edited Scorcese’s The Irishman, set for release through Netflix this year, and just received the prestigious BAFTA Fellowship for her “outstanding and exceptional contribution” to film.

“I’m not a person who believes in the great difference between women and men as editors. But I do think that quality is key. We’re very good at organizing and discipline and patience, and patience is 50 per cent of editing. You have to keep banging away at something until you get it to work. I think women are maybe better at that.” – Thelma Schoonmaker

 

 

Director – Kathryn Bigelow

Kathryn Bigelow first showed us what she was made of when she directed the cult classic Point Break (the amazing 1990 version, of course). Coming onto the scene as an action director with films like Blue Steel and Strange Days proves there is no room for gender stereotypes in filmmaking. Her career continued with a steady flow of work, but in 2008 Bigelow made history when she became the first woman to win a Best Director Academy Award for The Hurt Locker.

Bigelow’s work continues to leave an impression as she tackles issues of race, violence, government corruption and morality in films like Zero Dark Thirty and Detroit. Her ability to cover complicated, offensive and relevant subject matter proves storytelling knows no gender and, most importantly, that it shouldn’t.

“If there’s specific resistance to women making movies, I just choose to ignore that as an obstacle for two reasons: I can’t change my gender and I refuse to stop making movies.” – Kathryn Bigelow

Rachel Morrison – Cinematographer 

Rachel Morrison started her camera career working on reality TV shows like The Hills and short documentaries. She climbed the ranks in television and movies until eventually becoming the cinematographer for films like Fruitvale Station and Dope. In 2017 she earned a nomination for an Academy Award for Best Cinematography for her work on Mudbound, which made her the very first woman to be nominated in the category.

Most recently she joined forces with Fruitvale Station director Ryan Coogler again to become the DP for Black Panther. A female as the Director of Photography on such a big-budget, high-concept film is unheard of. In fact, in 2015 the American Society of Cinematographers had only 14 active female members out of 360 members (less than 4%). So, to say that her nomination and success is groundbreaking would be an understatement.

“When people ask me why there are so few female DPs it makes no sense to me. Everything about what we do actually speaks to women’s strengths like empathy and visualizing emotion.” – Rachel Morrison

One of Our Own

Another pioneer in the production world is our President and Founder, Heidi McLean. This month Crew Connection celebrates 30 years of successfully connecting the best talent in the industry with the right jobs and clients. From movies and TV to commercials and corporate videos, Heidi has also left her mark on this male-dominated industry and we are proud to be a part of her journey.

Part Time Evil’s Chen Zhang on AR and VR

Part Time Evil’s Chen Zhang on AR and VR 400 266 Dani Lyman

Just like the rest of the world, I have been recently becoming more and more interested in AR and VR and how it is continually shaping the here and now as well as the future. Regular basic stuff. I’m curious about how we, as consumers (and just generally as humans for that matter), interact with reality, video, marketing and tactile objects in relation to one another. And, how we have created an environment in which we can now shape/limit/expand the mind’s ability to intake reality, video, marketing and tactile objects.

I decided to speak to an expert on the subject and get a sense of what the AR/VR production world is up to these days from a source I truly trust. Chen Zhang is the COO of Part Time Evil, a superior ‘immersive story studio that creates AR, VR and mobile experiences.’ Crew Connection has had the pleasure of working with Part Time Evil and can attest to the excellence of their work. Check out my super interesting and very helpful interview with Chen Zhang below where she shares the ins and outs of AR/VR, advice for the next generation, and tips on how to make this all relevant to our lives below.


Crew Connection: What is your background and how did you get into this line of work?

Chen Zhang: I’ve always worked in emerging technology, whether it was at digital and design consultancies like Gensler, Razorfish, and frog Design, or at tech companies like Under Armour and HomeAway. My undergrad degree is a dual degree in economics and marketing, which is what gave me my start in digital marketing, which evolved to digital products and experiences. It’s really exciting to me to find ways to deliver true value to consumers and users via new technologies and experiences. That is a challenge and requires creativity and a deep understanding of user needs and the tech landscape to be able to design products and experiences that are new, and yet feel seamless and friendly. I like that challenge.


CC: What does your average day look like?

CZ: No two days are ever alike. For example, today, I started the morning with a few hours of status meetings on ongoing projects. We check in on the latest designs, 3D models, and development efforts, provide feedback, and then discuss next steps. Then Matt Udvari, Part Time Evil’s CEO, and I met with a video team to discuss the trailer for our VR film. After that, he and I discussed a roadmap and revenue models for our Aquifer face motion capture product. In the afternoon, I caught up on some business development communications and then finished an agenda and presentation for a workshop I am facilitating with the global leadership team for one of our clients. I mean, whew! I love it though.


CC: What are your favorite applications of AR and VR?

CZ: AR and VR are both often lumped together, but they are actually very different experiences that deliver different value to users. VR is totally immersive. It takes you out of your world and puts you in an entirely new one. Because of that, I think it’s ideal for entertainment and gaming, which is already the primary use case for VR. Shared entertainment experiences like sports and concerts are also great. Oculus Go is already on this with their co-viewing app Venues that allows you to attend an event with your friends. VR is also really powerful for any experience where you need to empathize with someone (or something) else’s world which is very important in training, education, and even mental health. The biggest hurdle for VR right now is the difficulty in setting up.

AR on the other hand, adds objects to your current world. At the risk of sounding simplistic, my favorite consumer AR experience that not many people talk about as being “AR” is Snapchat. It takes your face or your view and adds something valuable to it and makes it better, more enjoyable and more useful. People love it, it’s easy to use. From a user experience standpoint, it checks all the boxes. There are a ton of great apps that provide utility, like the measuring AR app and the Ikea app to place and view furniture. There is also lots of great movement in medical and industrial industries with smart glasses and AR glasses that allow employees and medical professionals to have critical information at a glance.


CC: Are you seeing more women in AR/VR as an emerging industry?

CZ: It is relatively male dominated, but there are a lot of women who are making big moves in the industry. For example, Joanne Popper, the global head of VR for HP has a great public presence. There’s Amy Peck, founder of EndeavorVR. And there is a great organization called Women in XR fund that was created to help the industry distribute capital more fairly. There is much progress to be made and I think the industry will only benefit from a more diverse group of contributors and industry leaders.


CC: What advice do you have for students considering a career in this field?

CZ: There are so many ways to get into this field, either as a project manager, artist, developer, product manager, or a million other angles. Use AR & VR experiences and develop a point of view about what you like, don’t like, and what the future may bring. Pursue what makes you excited about going to work every day.


CC: What are a few ways clients can use AR, VR, 3D modeling, etc. in their video projects, corporate interviews or marketing campaigns?

CZ: I could talk all day about this, but I’ll limit myself to a few good examples. For marketing, AR can be as simple as a branded lens or filter experience on Snapchat, Facebook, Instagram or have more functionality as a mobile app. Magic Leap, HoloLens experiences can be really impactful for event marketing. VR is another one that is great for event marketing. There are a ton of successful immersive 360 video or fully interactive real-time VR experiences that can really deliver an unforgettable experience at a booth or event. 3D storytelling in general is just a great tool for videos and marketing campaigns. You could tell a product story via a 3D animated video or bring in 3D models and animations into a 2D video to increase impact.


CC: Can you walk us through the process from meeting with a client to project completion and what the most important things are to note along the way?

CZ: Our general process for projects is 1) emphasize, 2) concept, 3) create and build, 4) test, 5) deploy and learn, 6) expand. We start all projects with understanding the landscape – who are the users? What do they need? What is the business need? What is the ROI that we are targeting? What are the operational needs? What hardware? Then we concept several ideas and create some concept art so the client understands what we are proposing. Once a concept is selected and refined, we start to build! Whether it’s detailed design, modeling, animating, development, we have a collaborative agile process that our team follows. Then we test on device and deploy the experience. If this is a pilot program, then we tweak the program and experience based on our learnings and plan a full launch.


CC: Is there anything else you feel is important for our readers to understand?

CZ: We’re not your typical 3D animation or AR/VR development shop. Yes, we’re designers, technologists, and 3D nerds, but first and foremost we are strategists and storytellers. We think deeply about what consumers want and need (whether or not they can verbalize it), and then try to design something easy and beautiful, and thoughtful that delivers meaningful value to customers and to our client’s businesses.

 

Check out Part Time Evil’s website to see some of the revolutionary work they’ve been doing here.

Social Media Stirs Controversy Over Super Bowl Ads

Social Media Stirs Controversy Over Super Bowl Ads 499 333 Dani Lyman

You just created your Super Bowl commercial and paid $5.2 million for your spot, what are you going to do now? If you’re like the most talked about brands of the year, a lot.

In our social media driven world, agencies are creating an immersive experience beyond the Super Bowl ad itself. Today, brands are spending a minimum of $175,000 per second of air time and launching marketing campaigns that begin before the game and fuel conversations long after it ends. They engage viewers in content, conversation and a little controversy.

Among many Super Bowl ads people are calling “safe” this year, these 3 surprising trouble-makers emerged to steal the spotlight.

Battle of the Brews: Bud Light vs. Miller Lite & Coors Light

In a bold move, Bud Light decided to pit themselves against their light beer competitors by pointing out the use of a popular ingredient: corn syrup.  In a surprise twist, Americans care very little about corn syrup in their beers. They are, however, very passionate about corn, corn farmers, and not acting like a jerk.

Before Bud Light knew what was happening, social media was blowing up with posts from the National Corn Growers Association, tweets from farmers and videos of Bud Light being poured down the sink and dumped in the trash. A clear line had been drawn in the sand. In a move meant to poke fun, Bud Light lost sight of their target audience and sparked a major #corntroversy in the process.

Our Marketing Manager at Crew Connection, Alexis Gabel, made an excellent point that if you’re going to spend millions of dollars on a Super Bowl commercial you have to “anticipate the conversation that will ensue and if it could have a negative impact on your brand. The conversation surrounding Bud Light very well may have negated that not so inexpensive 60 second spot.” And with no clear follow-up strategy from Bud, Miller Lite was unintentionally presented with an amazing marketing opportunity without having to spend a dollar in advertising and Tweeters loved it!

Meanwhile, Bud Light looks like your jerk friend trying to start an insult fight after too many beers. The consumer has more influence to make or break your brand than ever before. Don’t let your competitors “Miller Lite” you by being unprepared for the conversation.

Devour Commits to their Racy Addiction

The brand most unapologetically committed to their campaign was Devour Foods – by a long shot. The brand took the term “Food Porn” to an entirely new level, a level that was too high for some. However, their marketing strategy is unwavering.  Their ads started with teasing posts about the censored Super Bowl ad itself, continued with the promise of more risqué content being released on social media and then flooded their Twitter feed with a series of live tweets and videos packed with enough “That’s what she said” innuendos that Michael Scott would be jealous.

The ongoing videos, racy tweets and flirtatious comments have fans continuously engaging with the brand, even 3 days after the Super Bowl. The highly amped uncensored version of the commercial now has nearly 16 million views on YouTube alone. Accompanied by the decision to promote themselves on adult-themed websites, Devour has carved out its brand and is sure to be remembered.  While many got a kick out of the innuendo-packed ad, a lot of parents were beyond upset that such adult geared content was played in front of their children.

Devour’s creative use of Twitter during and after the Super Bowl ad aired is worth checking out. Just remember, it’s not everyone’s taste.

That’s Not Right

One of the more controversial Super Bowl ads came from a brand with an unfamiliar name and a knack for making people angry. As part of their “That’s Not Right” series, Mint Mobile revealed their Chunky Milk Super Bowl commercial and viewers were not at all happy. Aired during a time when most American’s are stuffed to the brim with pizza and cheese dips, watching a tv family drink a chunky dairy product was just not right. The outrage from viewers was intense and unfortunately relatable.

The Senior Vice President of Marketing and Creative for Mint Mobile, Aron North, told Time, “We expected a reaction. I think this strong of a reaction maybe not. …If it took something as obtuse as chunky-style milk to wake everybody up, I would run it again.”

While they definitely stood out and North adamantly stands by the decision to run the ad, you have to wonder if the reaction of the posters on social media will influence decisions when it comes to purchasing new mobile plans. The other videos in the series are just as uncomfortable to watch, proving there was a clear attention-grabbing strategy at play, but will it provide the desired results? We know your name now, Mint Mobile. But, do we like you?

The Take-Away

After seeing the aftermath of three very bold approaches to advertising, a few questions come to mind. How will social media affect your campaign? Are you prepared for the backlash? Do you have enough video content to keep your audience engaged? Are you giving customers the opportunity to join the conversation? Do you have something to say and the social media strategy in place to say it?

“Story without strategy is art. Story with strategy is marketing.” – Dave Sutton

The Art of Good Lighting

The Art of Good Lighting 800 534 Dani Lyman

As every selfie-obsessed Millennial knows, great lighting is keyWhether you’re posting your daily #foodie pic on Instagram or creating a fog-filled scene for a horror movie, it is crucial to find your light. Before going into a production, you want to determine the tone of the project and then discuss with your DP the right lighting to achieve that tone.

Lighting is an art form all on it’s own. DP’s and gaffers are talented artists that paint a scene with light to create the desired tone of a video project. They can cast shadows, manipulate time and take your video from bland to brilliant with the flick of a switch.

Here are three inspired lighting ideas to take your video up a notch:

The Corporate Video

Most corporate videos take place in offices that are not quite as cheery as the picture above. Under fluorescent lights in a room with grey walls, your video can look depressing and bleak. To avoid the “Office Space” vibe, you’re going to want to use light to create an inviting, warm and modern tone.

You also want to consider that your subject is likely not a professional film star and may come across as awkward and unattractive on camera. The right lighting cannot only make your subject look stunning, but also give them the confidence they need to present well on screen.

For a bright and inviting feel that’s perfect for interviews, testimonials & marketing videos try:

  • Thinking beyond 3 point lighting: Bring additional gear to light around the room, bounce off walls, and brighten up the background to make the whole space more inviting
  • Adding faux sunlight: Give the impression natural light is coming from the windows to appear friendly and approachable
  • Using soft light: Like in the photo above, soft light helps subjects look more attractive and polished
  • Tip: China balls, domes, additional background lighting and diffusion are great add-ons to your lighting package

 

Dramatic Flair

 

 

 

 

 

 

Menacing. Brooding. Mysterious. A highly contrasted look, like the example above, is perfect for dramatic re-tellings, serious PSA’s or corporate videos containing heavier material. Deep shadows create a stark contrast which will immediately communicate to the viewer this content is serious. In this example, it looks like the darkness is about to devour that unsuspecting happy man, which might be too intense for your corporate PSA. But, lighting in a lower key, using additional gear to separate the subject from the background and experimenting with color, split lighting and diffusion can help create this sinister tone.

Next Level Talking Head

The go-to video trend of content creators is the Talking Head. We’ve seen it a thousand times. It’s efficient, inexpensive and practical… a.k.a, boring. But, it doesn’t have to be. With great lighting and a few fun extras, your Talking Head can be eye-catching and dynamic.

If you check out the video below, you’ll see the subject is beautifully lit with specific lighting for hair, face & eyes. However, despite the simplicity of the setup, the video looks rich with contrasting shadows, texture and depth. That’s the work of a skilled professional. You’ll also want to note the use of subtle movement here. The camera glides with such control you likely wouldn’t notice if you weren’t looking for it, but it makes the video all the more engaging. The use of two cameras, a slider or additional accessories like a dolly or gimbal, combined with beautiful lighting techniques, can really push production value to the next level.

A video represents who you are to the world, so you want to make sure the style and tone match your brand. It is essential to establish tone and then plan your shoot and budget accordingly. You are definitely going to need to schedule enough time, as creating the right light can be a meticulous process, so a full day shoot is always best.

While lighting is key, it certainly isn’t everything.  To achieve the best results you’re going to want to make sure you hire a complete team. A director will focus on the talent so the DP can focus on the frame. Hair & makeup artists will make sure your subjects look flawless – because lighting can’t fix everything.  Onsite editors are invaluable when it comes to making sure you have enough footage for a seamless edit. And don’t forget a great production assistant can help a shoot flow smoothly, or at least bring you coffee.

Top Tech from CES 2019

Top Tech from CES 2019 768 432 Dani Lyman

The tech industry gave us a glimpse into the future this week during the 2019 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Packed with concept cars, AI and virtual assistants, CES proved we’re another year closer to living in a sci-fi movie. Here is some of the most fascinating tech unveiled in the City of Sin this year.

Robots Galore

Ubtech unveiled it’s latest edition of Walker: The Robotic Butler. Walker has built-in sensors that enable him to walk around without bumping into walls (I can’t even do that half the time), he has arms and hands that can grab and deliver items, as well as a facial recognition feature (again…he’s better than me) so he can remember who requested that Coke from the fridge. While the technology is pretty impressive, Walker is still a work in progress. More of a novelty than a necessity, Walker wouldn’t be the most efficient Butler in terms of speed or complicated tasks, but who knows what the future holds?

 

Honorary Mention: Foldimate, the laundry folding robot, attempts to eliminate the torture of one of humanity’s most mundane tasks. However, it’s size and price tag make it an unrealistic accessory for most laundry rooms. It is only first gen tech, so hopefully, updated models will be more accessible for the average household in the coming years.

Futuristic Vehicles

The Future is here… well, almost. One of the most fascinating and potentially useful unveilings was Hyundai’s Elevate, a walking car designed for emergency response. Currently a concept only, the four-legged vehicle is designed to tackle tough terrain, stand and walk on “legs” with omnidirectional wheels and bring relief during a crisis in ways we’ve never thought possible before.

 

Honorary Mention: Bell, a manufacturing partner to Uber, revealed Nexus the Flying Taxi equipped with six tilting fans and wings. Unlike Elevate, the Nexus prototype is life size and Bell hopes to begin test flights in 2020.

Gizmos & Gadgets

Everyone can relate to the hassle of worrying about luggage when traveling, so Ovis created the self-driving suitcase that can follow behind you as you race through the airport. Much like a small child, it gets distracted at times and wanders away, but it’s camera technology allows it to identify you and follow you when you’re in its sight.

Additionally, Inubox unveiled the dog toilet, which doesn’t need too much explanation. Artemis revealed a Smart Mirror that looks like it belongs in Minority Report, Sony exhibited an 8K TV which thrilled movie lovers, and Groove X designed an adorable robot Lovots you can snuggle – now available for sale in Japan.

Are you ready?

The display of talented inventors and developers proves that what we can achieve through technology is limitless. CES is an important reminder that the world is moving forward. Are you?

 

Little Known Facts About Your Fave Holiday Films

Little Known Facts About Your Fave Holiday Films 1001 667 Dani Lyman

If you’re a movie buff, you love your behind the scenes facts. When it comes to the top holiday films you probably already know: Jim Carrey was a total Grinch on the set of How the Grinch Stole Christmas; Christmas Vacation was one of Johnny Galecki’s first movies; and Elf was filled with in-camera tricks to make Will Ferrell look like a giant among Santa’s tiny helpers. However, here a few lesser-known stories from behind the scenes of your favorite holiday classics.

When Harry Met Sally

Containing one of the most memorable confessions of love and definitely the best New Year’s Eve scene ever, When Harry Met Sally is a classic film that proves relationships (and life) don’t always go as planned. Part of what made the film feel so authentic were the real-life love stories sewn through the narrative. Those cute little interviews with elderly couples that popped up throughout the film were actually inspired by real love stories.

It is said Director Rob Reiner and his good friend and Screenwriter Nora Ephron interviewed various couples about their experiences falling for their soulmate. They then cast lovely actors like Connie Sawyer and Charles Dugan to retell the stories on screen. Easily the most endearing part of the film, the stories made us laugh a little, cry a little, and most importantly, believe in true love.

Die Hard

Die Hard is arguably one of the best Christmas films of all time (literally, people argue about it all the time). Perhaps one of the reasons fans engage with the movie more than other action films is their deep connection to John McClane and the familiarity of his flaws. The extra layer of emotion Bruce Willis brings to the character was likely missing from the script before screenwriter, Jeb Stuart, had a close call with a refrigerator box.

During a recent interview on Jeff Goldsmith’s podcast, Stuart recalled the moment that changed the direction of the script and redefined McClane’s character. After a fight with his wife, Stuart “stormed out of the house” and started his drive back to Burbank on the 134 freeway. While changing lanes he was shocked by a large refrigerator box in front of him. With no time and nowhere to go, he was forced to drive straight into the box. Luckily, it was empty, but the brush with death led to an epiphany. This story wasn’t just an action movie, “It’s about a 30-year-old guy who should have said sorry to his wife.”

McClane’s reluctance to admit his wrongdoing follows him throughout the story and culminates in the film’s most human scene; his apology to his wife. This monologue reveals who McClane really is and why we love this movie so much.

It’s a Wonderful Life

Growing up, we all sat in front of the bright lights of the Christmas tree, watched as George Bailey found his purpose and we dreamt about a lovely little place called Bedford Falls. With all its charms and kindness, Bedford seemed like the perfect little Christmas town that was too quaint to exist in the real world. However, there is a small town in Upstate New York, Seneca Falls, that claims it is the real-life Bedford Falls and you can discover all its magic by visiting during the Christmas season.

Seneca Falls’ holiday website claims that this idyllic town is likely Frank Capra’s inspiration for the film’s set design. Similarities between the Victorian-style homes, the old bridge, and globe street lamps all add to the case that Seneca Falls is the original Bedford Falls.

Of course, what would a claim like this mean if the people didn’t take the opportunity to turn their town into a movie lover’s haven during the holiday season. Every December they host an “It’s a Wonderful Life” Festival where one can catch special guests, Christmas light replicas and a screening of the film. So, if you find yourself nostalgic for simpler times during the holiday season, you may want to head to Seneca Falls to experience some Christmas magic.

Bridget Jones’ Diary

For “tragic spinsters” everywhere Bridget Jones’ Diary is a New Year’s classic, packed with impossible resolutions, cringe-worthy awkwardness and clumsy attempts at love. While Jones is usually taking the brunt of the embarrassment, in one chaotic scene, her two love interests prove to be a bit clumsy themselves.

In a recent interview with GQ, Colin Firth explained that the dramatic fight between him and his co-star Hugh Grant was originally scripted to be a serious duel. However, when the actors recognized they hadn’t been in a fight since their youth and a scuffle between these two characters might be more slapstick and sloppy than tough and polished, they reworked the scene and left us with this comedic gem:

Now, get to binge-watching!

Happy New Year!!

Prep Your Video Business for the New Year

Prep Your Video Business for the New Year 3000 2000 Dani Lyman

Success in any field or endeavor in life usually starts in the same place; establishing goals. As your business heads into 2019,  it’s important to consider what your goals are and how you plan to achieve them. You may want to recruit new clients, branch out from corporate videos to commercials or increase your revenue. Wherever you’re looking to take to your business this new year, here are a few solid tips to help you get there.

Attend Conferences

If you want to be the top crew in your city, you’re going to need to spend time with experts. Video production conferences are an excellent way to receive one-on-one guidance, learn about new equipment, explore trends and mingle with other professionals. An invaluable experience (and often quite the party), here are a few top conferences to consider attending in 2019.

I highly recommend attending marketing conferences as well. There you can learn the ins and outs of marketing trends and how your company can be an asset to corporate and commercial video marketing in the coming year.  Also, be sure to attend hometown events and conferences for excellent networking opportunities.

Trends

For your company to be successful, you want to stay relevant. Maybe you’ve been doing the same type of work for 15 years and it’s been going well for you, but now a millennial-owned tech company wants to hire you to do some VR work for his new video game goggles and you barely even know what he’s talking about let alone how to execute his vision. Falling behind on trends is a quick way to fall behind in business.

Here are a few video production trends you are going want to stay on top of in 2019:

    • Virtual Reality
    • Aerial Video & Drones
    • 360-Degree Videos (Immersive video)
    • 4K Cameras
    • Cinemagraphs (a.k.a gifs).
    • Hyperlapse (Check out this badass video from Rob Whitworth that took hundred of hours to execute so perfectly)

 

Barcelona GO! from Rob Whitworth on Vimeo.

Live Streaming

Nothing has been blowing up in video production the way Live Streaming has the last few years. Everything from City Council meetings to pro sports games stream daily on a variety of platforms.  Understanding the technology behind live streaming is an excellent way to attract new clients in 2019. I highly recommend researching how to use three of the most popular live streaming platforms to bring your business to the next level:

  • Facebook Live Broadcasts
  • Twitter 
  • YouTube 
Social Media

While it’s important to understand social media trends for your clients, it is equally important to have a social media presence of your own.  A website is great, but these days clients also want to check out your BTS & time-lapse videos on Instagram, they want to read your reviews on Facebook and watch your videos on Vimeo and YouTube. The more outlets you are on, the more ways you can reach new clients. Also, social media is an excellent way to remind people that you’re out there producing stellar work on a daily basis. 

Establishing Goals

Goals are just daydreams unless we take action to achieve them. When you think about your vision for the New Year, take some time to write down what you plan to accomplish and challenge yourself to write a step by step process to follow through. It’s pretty simple: determine what you want, why you want it & how you’re going to get it. Don’t forget to:

  • Be Specific
  • Be Realistic
  • Be Proactive

 

 

Here’s to making dreams a reality in the New Year!