From Video to Vimeo

How to Keep Video Fresh on Emerging Platforms

In an incredibly short amount of time, the way we consume video has drastically changed. Video is now one of the #1 ways people receive content. YouTube, Facebook, Instagram etc. are now covered in (sometimes) unique and stunning examples of professional and user-generated video content. This shift has driven more professionals to step their video game up a notch in order to deliver content our audiences crave. Now video content needs to be adapted to more than just televisions. The list of digital spaces we can share content on is only growing and, currently, shows no signs of slowing down. In order to continue to create or adapt video for each emerging platform, you should make sure you are utilizing at least one of these 3 technologies.

1. The GoPro

Let’s start with the GoPro. Since the company went public in June 2014, no device, company or innovation had symbolized the surge of video usage we all experienced this past year like the GoPro. A point-of-view camera made famous by extreme sport athletes and risk-takers alike. 2014 was the year this mobile mini wonder expanded beyond the weekend warrior platform and went mainstream production with commercial and corporate pros behind the lenses.

The camera became a force for transforming the way consumers and pros capture footage and express meaningful life events in video. GoPro has pushed not only its users but also the art and science of video production to new extremes during a year that ultimately showed production personnel and clients that the GoPro can serve as a powerful and even cost effective production tool.

The company’s web site (gopro.com) touts that the GoPro enables people “to capture compelling, immersive photo and video content of themselves participating in their favorite activities.” Typically, those activities have been outdoors and involved athletic activities.  Bloomberg.com, a financial web site, even noted that by mid 2014 there were 500million+ views on YouTube of GoPro generated video content. It’s important to note that most often, these are consumer-views. However, if we drill down deeper, filmmakers and Directors of Photography from all over the world along with corporate and commercial video pros are using the GoPro to capture some never before seen shots. Check out www.Vimeo.com for a deep pool of GoPro-created videos.

In 2014, we’ve seen feature films like Need for Speed, cable shows like Anthony Bourdain’s Parts Unknown, and corporate video productions for manufacturing, training and marketing. In these productions, the GoPro has become a staple in the producer and videographer’s toolkit. And let’s not forget to mention quality… the GoPro can quite clearly hold it’s own when intercut with high-end production cameras. In a recent episode of Bourdain’s Parts Unknown produced by ZeroPointZero Productions, Bourdain and his crew outfitted a fishingboat working the waters of Cape Cod withfive GoPro units. The cameras, intercut with the compliment of cinema-styled Sony F5’s and 55’s, captured stunning point-of-view imagery of the boat dipping in and out of seas, high and wide-angle views of the boat’s deck from above and unique perspectives from the Captain’s wheel as the boat headed out into even deeper waters.

GoPro Heights image of ship  in Cape Cod

The GoPro camera is like no other before because it goes where most do not or “cannot” go –on helmets, cycles, torsos, in places the size of a coffee mug, in environments where the air is thin or the water is deep and even strapped on and bouncing on top of animals’ heads.  A great example can be found in To Climb An Iceberg, part of the Adventure in Life 4k series www.youtube.com/watch?v=0kBjb1yfabI. The filmmaker’s ventured through dangerous arctic waters in Greenland’s Disko Bay looking for the ultimate iceberg to capture on video and send home. The GoPro’s and their videographers risked their lives and pushed their limits climbing fragile icebergs. Shot 100% on the HERO4® camera, we see one more dramatic example of how and where the GoPro is taking us.

 

Greenland’s Disko Bay iceberg caught on GoPro camera

 

 

2. UVAC Technology

How about flight? UVACs (unmanned video aircraft carrier technology) also notoriously known on the streets as the aerial drone, is our second force that keeps video rolling into 2015. UVAC simply means a drone unit is holding or strapped to a GoPro, DSLR or larger camera. Let’s just say this technology really took off in 2014 (pun intended).

British filmmaker and video guru Phillip Bloom, known for his DSLR filmmaking, blog and workshops, says he loves flying a GoPro mounted on his DJI Phantom 2 quadcopter, and, “How freeing it can be” even comparing it to his dreaming of being an astronaut (source: Digital Filmmaker Issue 18). More and more, video production pros are using this birds-eye tech to grab shots that typically would have been off limits due to cost or capability- shots that in most cases would have been attempted using a camera crane or even pricier – helicopters. Today, however, it’s getting more and more commonplace to use UVACs to shoot aerial footage for commercial purposes like real estate marketing, outdoor events, travel videos, training videos, wildlife conservation videos and even as delivery vehicles (as we’ve seen with industry leaders like Amazon.com). But to experience the freedom Bloom speaks of, professional UVAC operators are working hard to gain experience, record training flight-time and seek out clients. And, on a positive note, never before have we seen pilots flying with such an eagle-eye on safety.

Prior to October 2014, UVAC regulations permitted use only for personal applications or hobbies. Commercial and paid use of UVACs was banned. However, on September 26, 2014, the FAA granted rights to use UVACs in commercial applications to 6 production companies giving certain exemptions and special status specifically for the purpose of aerial (source: Wikipedia). As UVACs become commonplace, we are beginning to see more structured and safer use of UVACs with much needed governmental guidance in the works at the same time.

Today, video production pros and firms like us have expanded on and embraced UVACs for commercial and marketing use. For us at, Apple Box Studios, we’ve been getting high over beautiful, city landscapes, tall and detailed architecture and buzzing street ways with UVAC technology. In fact, you may have even come across one of Pittsburgh’s 2014 viral videos, Mighty Beautiful Pittsburgh, a spot for Visit Pittsburgh and produced by the Apple Box crew.UVACs gave us the ability to capture Pittsburgh’s mighty beauty from all angles. As the video proved positive, utilizing UVACs is a powerful tool for destination marketing, one of our main services at the Box.

 

Mighty. Beautiful. Pittsburgh city skyline

 

We can point to a dramatic example of the growing UVAC phenomenon as in the case this past Fall in the Northeast U.S. when videographer James Grimaldi used his UVAC to capture the first major snowfall of the season in West Seneca, NY. A storm had hit Southern Buffalo and its southern-most towns killing 14 and covering the region in more than seven feet of snow. The storm created a surreal landscape and from high above Grimaldi’s drone brought a magical view on unplowed streets, buried vehicles and a treacherous Arctic landscape. Grimaldi published the footage on YouTube showing the world his UVAC in action as the unit flew through a garage door and out across snow-covered neighborhoods. The footage is breathtaking and can be seen below.

Snow Fall in West Seneca, New York

 

3. 4K Video Production

Not only did Grimaldi seem to capture the attention of the world with his now classic “snow flight”, he shot the footage with the help of a GoPro shooting 4K footage. 4K. The third force fueling video’s growth.

If you open up almost any television and film production magazine today, you’re bound to see at least one article showcasing 4K resolution cameras and tools. 4K is in. 1080P is fading. In fact, one of the many new podcasts being published for producers, videographers and directors, 4K Shooters, is heralding the new wave of high-resolution 4K production tools and viewing displays.

Samsung-HD TV showcasing 4K Ultra HD

So what is 4K? 4K Ultra HD, standardized by the International Telecommunication Union, has four times the pixels (four times the resolution) of the 1080p HD format, today’s most-used format for acquisition and viewing. (source: tvnewscheck.com)

We saw many ads this past holiday season pitching 4K television sets for consumers. Although 4K viewing is slowly becoming a player, networks, studios and producers like Sony Pictures Television, Netflix and director Peter Jackson (Lord of The Rings and Hobbit trilogies), believe it makes sense to shoot in 4K because the cost is low and because it’s always best to have as much resolution as you can. (source: tvnewscheck.com) Having said that, until producers and distribution networks make 4k programming available, 4k will most often be down-converted to 1080P or 2K formats (source: wikipedia.com).

The good news for 4K shooters is that both YouTube and Vimeo’s are making 4k content platforms available to consumers and pro’s. Although currently limited to mostly nature documentaries and tech coverage, 4k content production and usage online is expected to grow, and as of 2014, Vimeo PRO members and Vimeo On Demand sellers can allow people to upload and download 4K video files. Creators have been able to upload in 4K for some time, but now these files can be downloaded and played on high-end, 4K-compatible displays (source: vimeo.com).

The Bottom Line

What’s the bottom line for our three powerful video industry drivers? These are tools that help our clients and our projects push the bar higher. With new point-of-view technology like the GoPro and the strong embrace of commercial and industrial applications for the UVAC we’re getting wider and more compelling aerials and ground shots than ever before. Drones are soaring and as long as we’re safely operating them when we’re after the next great shot from above, they’ll continue to be a go-to tool along with 4K production that offers the production pro of today, more resolution, color and vantages than we could have ever imagined.

Did we miss anything? Share your thoughts on our Facebook page!

 

 

 

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Bring your•self to life

Our Latest Work For Our Latest Client

Apple Box Studios is pleased to present “Bring your•self to life,” our latest awareness campaign for our newest client, Gateway Rehab. This campaign celebrates the achievement of recovery and can be seen across, print, television and digital platforms.

Step Up and Bring your•self to life

Gateway Rehab - Self - Determination

To see more videos we produced for the Bring your•self to life campaign, visit our YouTube page!

Look for our print ads while you’re cruising around the city of Pittsburgh:

Gateway Rehab "Bring Your Self to Life" Print Ads

Here are some of Apple Box’s favorite memories from the set:

Apple Box video production crew working on set

Let us know what you think on our Facebook page!

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Northwood Video Production Project Part 2

Why Northwood is the best choice

No other real estate agent goes the extra mile like Northwood agents! There is no job they can not tackle. Check out the latest commercial produced by Apple Box Studios for our client, Northwood Realty Services. You’ll see why they are the only choice when it comes to real estate professionals!

Apple Box Studios - Video Production

 

Apple Box Studios was on set early last November with our talented crew to put this video production project together. It serves as the next evolution in the Northwood brand and features actual Northwood agents. You can see the campaign on print and digital platforms, as well. Check out some of our on-set memories:

 

Apple Box video production crew on set of shoot

To see more pictures of Apple Box in action, visit our Facebook page!

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Best & Worst Ads of SuperBowl 50

Apple Box Studios Discusses Their Favorite Commercials

This past week, the staff at Apple Box Studios got together to discuss a very important issue that has been troubling the American people for the past 50 years. No, not world peace, but this year’s Super Bowl commercials.

Check out our picks for the very Best & Worst Ads of SuperBowl 50!

The Best:

PayPal Commercial

PayPal 2016 Big Game Commercial: “There’s a New Money in Town”

Although some might disagree, PayPal’s first foray into SuperBowl stardom was well received by our Boxers. Their message is clear throughout the spot as they position themselves against antiquated ideas of money. It’s fast, in-your-face and has us all considering signing up for PayPal because old money is so SuperBowl LXXX.

Heinz Ketchup Game Day SuperBowl Commercial

Heinz Ketchup Game Day 2016 Hot Dog Commercial: “Weiner Stampede”

Perhaps it is the Pittsburgh agency within us, or the fact that we all consider the office dog, Chicko, one of our own, but Heinz’s “Weiner Stampede” has us all sighing with pride. With #MeetTheKetchups, Heinz makes “irresistible taste” a family affair. The commercial uses a few of its key products to showcase how Heinz complements the perfect family get together.

Snickers "Marilyn" SuperBowl Commercial

Snickers – “Marilyn”

The continuation of last year’s SuperBowl sensation, Snickers’ “Marilyn” shines on the flat screen once again. By juxtaposing one of the most iconic movie scenes in American film with the milestone of 50th SuperBowl, Snickers reminds us of their brand-stopping power.

Jeep SuperBowl "Portraits" Commercial

Official 2016 Jeep SuperBowl Commercial | “Portraits”

Typically, the SuperBowl is an arena for bold, in-your-face advertisements. However, there’s always that one ad that can make a lot of noise despite its softer tone. Jeep’s “Portraits” commercial did just that and was able to get everyone talking. In this ad, Jeep places its customers front-and-center relaying the message that their loyal fans make the brand what it is today.

The Worst:

Xifaxan’s SuperBowl commercial

Xifaxan SuperBowl 50 Commercial

Big pharmaceutical companies definitely have a reputation for making consumers roll their eyes every time they appear on screen. Xifaxan’s commercial during last Sunday’s big game was no different. It featured an animated intestine running around a crowded football stadium struggling with diarrhea. The issue here? If you’re going to take up air time during one of the most watched events of the entire year, please, give us something a little more substantial than the most literal interpretation of your product.

Mountain Dew PuppyMonkey SuperBowl Commercial

Mtn Dew Kickstart: Puppymonkeybaby | SuperBowl Spot

The consensus for this commercial was mostly: “What the #?!$* did we just watch?” It seems like the creatives at Mountain Dew just asked each other: “What is the weirdest and most disturbing thing we can create a SuperBowl ad around?” If “weird” and “disturbing” had a child together, it would be Puppymonkeybaby. The whole campaign seemed very half-baked and extremely thoughtless.

Budweiser SuperBowl Commercial

Budweiser USA: 2016 SuperBowl Commercial | #GiveADamn

Simply put, Budweiser should stick to Clydesdales and puppies.

What do you think? Share your thoughts on our Facebook page!

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Northwood Video Production Project

Real estate video marketing

Real estate agents do so much more than take pictures of your home and post them on the web. There’s a lot happening behind the scenes that we don’t even know about. They are constantly working to ensure that our dream homes are never out of our reach. Northwood agents are no exception! In this brand new television commercial for our client, Northwood Realty Services, we see Northwood agents exemplify passion and experience in the communities they serve. Check out the spot for yourself:

 

Apple Box Studios: Northwood Branding Spot

 

Apple Box Studios was on set early last November with our talented crew to put this video project together. It serves as the next evolution in the Northwood brand and features actual Northwood agents. You can see the campaign on print and digital platforms, as well. Check out some of our on-set memories:

Apple Box Studios: Northwood Branding Spot

 

Want to see more video production from Apple Box Studios? Visit our Facebook to view more of our projects!

 

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Henry Visits Tampa Bay

Apple Box Studios Latest Video Project

Check out Apple Box Studios latest video production project – “Henry Brings Business to Tampa Bay”. Apple Box was able to quickly and cost effectively produce this membership video for Visit Tampa Bay.

Barney is at it again! He’s sending his relatives all over this crazy country. Meet Henry, Barney’s cousin. He’s a business man from Dallas looking for a cool city to host his next convention. Click the image below to watch Henry’s adventure in Tampa Bay.

Visit Tampa Bay

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Learning from Leatherface

Gunnar Hansen

March 4th, 1947 – November 7th, 2015

Actor who played Leatherface in the original Texas Chain Saw Massacre movie

As Apple Box Studios’ horror flick aficionado, I regret to inform all of you that I have some very sad news.

This past weekend, the horror community lost one of its most iconic villains. Gunnar Hansen, who played the original leatherface in the 1974 production of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre, tragically passed away at 68 in his Northeast Harbor home in Maine after a battle with pancreatic cancer. Born in Iceland, Hansen was a grad student in Texas when Tobe Hopper approached him to play the role of leatherface, a deranged serial killer wielding a chainsaw based off of the notorious real-life cannibal Ed Gein. The film had a budget of $300,000. Hansen agreed to play the role for just $400, calling it a summer job, never dreaming of the success the cult classic would culminate.

In 2013, Hansen published a book entitled “Chainsaw Confidential”. At his time of death, he was working on a film called Death House, to be released next year.  He is survived by his partner of 13 years, Betty Tower.

On the surface, Hansen’s tragic passing seems to be something that should only concern those in the film and cinema realms. However, after delving into his career, and, more specifically, his time in production for the Texas Chainsaw Massacre, I found we shared many of the same experiences. Although I am not on a movie set everyday or an individual that can fill an entire door frame, I noticed that there were moments in his career that related to my budding career as a young graphic designer. It just goes to show you that you can learn from anyone: even a crazed chainsaw-waving psycho.

Brands & Trends (1)

Untitled design (2)1.) Persevere

The production of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre occurred in the middle of the summer in Texas … just think about that for a second. Even if you have never been to Texas in the summer, I’m sure you can imagine what that must be like. Despite the brutal conditions and all of the “wonderful” things that occur when you work on a low-budget film: long hours, last-minute script changes and “sub-par” dialogue, Hansen, along with the rest of the cast and crew, pulled together to make one of the most classic and famous horror movies of all time. The world of professional graphic design isn’t easy, not to mention even finding a professional graphic design job. It’s important to persevere through all of the rejection and pitfalls of following your art vs. delivering for a client. There is a light at the end of the tunnel and eventually the director will yell cut; then, you can and will find your place.

Untitled design (2)2.) Do Your Research

Even though Leatherface did not have much dialogue, Hansen trained very hard for this role. He spent time with pigs (yep, you heard me) to perfect his squeal, visited a school for the developmentally disabled and took up jogging to build up stamina to chase his co-stars around with a chainsaw. Whether you’re an experienced designer about to start working on a new project or just discovering your craft, I can’t over-stress the value of research. I know I was shocked when I read about the amount of research he put into the role, but if he hadn’t, would the role have been as memorable?

Untitled design (2)3.) It’s okay to be afraid – unless you let it stand in your way

Before Hansen auditioned for this role, he had just been fired from a bar-tending job and had a fear of public speaking. Obviously, we know how his Cinderella story ended. The only time fear is a bad quality is when you allow it to prevent you from achieving your goals. We can only imagine what Hansen felt when he first sat down with Hooper. I mean, if you’re afraid of public speaking and you’re trying out for a part in a movie … you have to be out-of-your mind afraid. But Hansen didn’t let his fear stop him; and thank goodness he didn’t!

Untitled design (2)4.) Take a Risk

This low-budget film had the odds stacked against it from the beginning. And, although it is revered as a classic now, a lot of people did not enjoy it at first. However, Hooper felt that this story needed to be told, and he didn’t allow sweaty, 14-hour days on set and lack of money to get in his way. Hansen, similarly, did not let his fear of public speaking or frustration with the process keep him from seeing his journey through to the end. Everyone involved in this movie took a risk, and, as graphic designers, we need to apply that same mentality as we tackle the world of professional design. It might not come easy at first; the street to success is sometimes paved with potholes. But in order to move forward, risk is necessary. We don’t know where Hansen would be if he hadn’t reached his hand into the unknown and auditioned for this legendary role, but I think horror flick fans would agree: the risk was worth it.

Dare to watch the original trailer? Click the image below:

txchainmasstrailer

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Apple Box Studios & Heinz History Center: “We Can Do It! WWII” Video

Did you know Western Pennsylvania made an unquestionable impact on World War II? This year, the Heinz History Center in Pittsburgh has a 10,000 square-foot exhibit dedicated to WWII and its affect on the Steel City. The exhibit is on display now and features nearly 300 artifacts, four life-like museum figures, interactive displays, immersive museum settings and the very first Jeep every built from Butler, PA. The exhibit truly brings the 1940s to life and commemorates the 75th anniversary of the start of the war.

Pittsburgh ad agency Apple Box Studios films Heinz History Center

Although the exhibit is on display until Jan. 3, 2016, History Center President and CEO Andy Masich wanted to offer the community a similar exhibit experience at home. That’s where Apple Box comes in.

Using our new Panasonic GH4 Ultra HD camera and a GoPro helmeted Andy Masich, we were able to capture the unique experience of walking through the We Can Do It! WWII Tour. Check out the full video below!

Did you get a chance to tour the exhibit? Share your thoughts on our Facebook page.

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Video Production Terms Translated

To those of us in the video production industry, terms like “kill the baby” are common. But for the newbies and curious cats, such slang can be alarming. In this list, we’ve translated some of the oddest, top production terms you’re likely to hear around a video set.

  • Hot Set – A hot set refers to a video set in which there are furniture and props positioned in a precise way for an imminent shot. To keep the set in perfect condition to be filmed, it is labeled a hot set to avoid ruining the shot.
  • Kill the Baby – Lets break this down starting with baby. Babies are 1k or larger and often a small version of lights with just as much luminance. When a director calls “kill the baby” he or she is simply alerting the grip to turn off the 1k light. It is advised to be most aware of your surroundings and setting before calling out such alarming grip slang.
  • C-47 – Although C-47 sounds fancy, or perhaps electrical like a certain light, a C-47 is a term representing a wooden clothespin. It is also known as 47’s, CP47′, bullets and ammo. There a bunch of back stories on how C-47’s got their name. One in particular was because a C-47 refers to an extremely versatile type of military plan used during World War II. In the video production industry, these little tools are also versatile.Our favorite version of the story, is that back in the early Hollywood days, studio higher ups would audit equipment requests from other departments like the lighting department, who would go wild over the idea of spending big amounts of money on tools that simpler tools like a clothespin could take care of. Hence, clothespin was quietly changed to a more impressive sounding C-47 and all requests were immediately approved by clueless studio heads.
  • Pigeon plate on a pancake – This is one of our favorites to hear and say, just because it sounds like a ridiculous and long winded dinner order. Instead, this is something you can find in most grip kits. A 750 pigeon is a low stand used for a light on the floor or an Apple Box (wooden box) or on top of a shelf. The pancake part is a simply a piece of wood that the plate is attached to.
  • Juicer – a Juicer is simply a term meaning a lighting technician, or one who gives power to the video set. These juicers are also called lamp operators or sparks. In other countries like Europe, the electricians carry out much of the work that falls to the grip department in the US, where the lighting work is split into the electrician group ‘juicers’ and the grip group.
  • Mickey Rooney – Yes the old actor is where this name stems from. No offense against Mr. Rooney, but this term means a slow creep with the dolly. Apparently many believe Mickey Rooney is a little creep with a dolly…
  • Stingers – As a juicer or sparks refer to the electrical technician on set, a stinger refers to an electrical cord/extension cords.
  • Best Boy – Best boys in video terminology, are responsible for the day-to-day operation of the lighting or grip department. They are the best for the job and responsible for getting the equipment, returning it, loading and unloading the production trucks and planning and implementing the lighting or rigging of locations and stages.
  • Abby Singer – Abby Singer is a term meaning second-to-final shot of the day. This phrase was named after an actual crew member by the name of Abby Singer would always alert his people of this particular shot setup, scene or the day.
  • Spike that spot – A grip will spike a spot, or mark a certain spot called out by the director so that the talent know exactly where to hit their mark on set.

10 of the strangest video production slang terms translated

Have another favorite phrase you’ve heard on a video set? Let us know it on our Facebook page.

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The Internet of Things and ANSYS

Motion graphics video produced by Apple Box Studios

Chances are, you’ve heard of the Internet of Things – A global nervous system that will connect over two hundred billion smart devices to the Internet by the year 2020. Our client, ANSYS Inc. provides the comprehensive suite of simulation software to reliably and cost-effectively engineer high-performance electronic devices and systems.

Ansys logo and The Internet of Things

To promote simulation-driven product development and ANSYS’ simulation software, Apple Box Studios produced a motion graphics video that can be seen below as well as on ANSYS’ website here.

 

 

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