Jul 31
2017

Tampa Bay Video producer Mike Weber discuses video marketing on social media.Everywhere you look online you see the importance of integrating video into your marketing mix. Some statistics go so far as to imply that if you don’t have a video on your website or social media pages, you may as well hang a “closed” sign on your door because you are doomed to failure.

Using video now goes beyond the traditional commercial. When properly implemented, it is an essential part of search engine optimization for your website, a powerful lead generator and a direct sale tool. For example, Forrester research found that your chance of being on page one of Google® search results is 53 time higher with a video on your website. An amazing 90% of shoppers find a video is helpful in making their online buying decisions. In short, if you aren’t using videos in your marketing, you are losing sales.

But, faced with deciding what to feature in your video and where to start can seem like a daunting task. After all, you don’t make videos for a living. How can the average person know how to do all the technical stuff necessary? Plus, writing a script or planning a video, hits most people with the proverbial writer’s block and they just give up.

My job is to do make creating your video easier. In this series of posts, I’ll go through the process step by step so you will know what to do, or what to expect from professionals you hire.

TOMORROW: Where to Start – Deciding on Your Message

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Jun 23
2017

Today they broke ground on the new St. Petersburg Pier and Tampa Bay video production company CMR Studios is already documenting the new construction with time lapse cameras just as they did the demolition. This will bring full circle a video project that began in August of 2015, the waterfront site was supposed to be cleared of the inverted pyramid and approach in about six months. That initial prediction was way off. As a result the three solar powered camera installations shot an image every five minutes for over a year. That totaled some 315,360 images that were edited into a dramatic time lapse video that belies the months it has been underway. The result is an edited time lapse video of just a minute and a half.

Adam Weber from Tampa Video Production company CMR

Adam Weber, the photographer and producer of the project, visited each camera on a weekly basis to perform maintenance and offload the images to create the video. That included climbing onto the roof of the Birchwood Hotel on Beach Drive in downtown St. Petersburg. That camera provided a dramatic elevated clear view of the entire pier. Another camera was placed at the St. Petersburg Marina for a water level view of the south side of The Pier and another at the Vinoy Marina captured the demolition on the north side. The three locations insured that all the action would be captured and shown in the final edited video.

Incrementally throughout the year the images were processed and edited to delete periods of inactivity. And even though the cameras were mounted firmly, camera shake that would not be visible in normal speed video became very apparent. So the thousands of images had to be processed and stabilized.

View the St. Pete Pier demolition time lapse video here.

Taking the process even further, Adam selected images from each camera that matched the lighting conditions and color from frame to frame and represented dramatic changes in the structure to create GIFs from each angle that are just a few seconds long.

This multi-year time lapse video will become part of the historical archives at the St. Petersburg History Museum which sits on the approach to The Pier.

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Aug 25
2016

The beginning of the end of the iconic St. Petersburg Pier was one year ago. Tampa Bay video production company CMR Studios was set to document the demolition with three strategically located time lapse cameras. It began in August of 2015, the waterfront site was supposed to be cleared of the inverted pyramid and approach in about six months. That initial prediction was way off. As a result the three solar powered camera installations have been shooting an image every five minutes for, thus far, a year. That totals some 315,360 images that have now been edited into a dramatic time lapse video that belies the months it has been underway. The result is an edited time lapse video of just a minute and a half.

Adam Weber from Tampa Video Production company CMR

Adam Weber, the photographer and producer of the project, visited each camera on a weekly basis to perform maintenance and offload the images to create the video. That included climbing onto the roof of the Birchwood Hotel on Beach Drive in downtown St. Petersburg. That camera provided a dramatic elevated clear view of the entire pier. Another camera was placed at the St. Petersburg Marina for a water level view of the south side of The Pier and another at the Vinoy Marina captured the demolition on the north side. The three locations insured that all the action would be captured and shown in the final edited video.

Incrementally throughout the year the images were processed and edited to delete periods of inactivity. And even though the cameras were mounted firmly, camera shake that would not be visible in normal speed video became very apparent. So the thousands of images had to be processed and stabilized.

View the St. Pete Pier demolition time lapse video here.

Taking the process even further, Adam selected images from each camera that matched the lighting conditions and color from frame to frame and represented dramatic changes in the structure to create GIFs from each angle that are just a few seconds long.

The production is not yet complete. Filming continues of the demolition of the approach. Then the cameras, and Adam, will get a rest before capturing the construction of the new pier to bring this multi-year time lapse video full circle. The video will become part of the historical archives at the St. Petersburg History Museum which sits on the approach to The Pier.

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Jul 23
2016

Tampa Video Production logo file preference for your commercial or videoIt’s not unusual for clients to send us their logo to use in their video production, web video or commercial. After all, that’s one of the most important parts of your identity. It’s important too that it look great in HD.  Yes, even onine video is now High Definition. All too often we get a little thumbnail that they actually grab from their own website. Unfortunately, it seems that many designers don’t give clients the proper file type for distribution to different mediums, like print and video. JPEGs are the most common. The problem with those files is that they don’t re-size well and they don’t have transparency to overlay the video on a background without having it appear in a white box. I found a great website that explains the differences. It’s clever name says it all. www.NOjpeg.org

The bottom line is that when we are gathering assets for your production we would prefer that you send us an EPS file of your logo. If you don’t have one, you should request one from your designer. Send us a copy and keep a copy in you archives. If that isn’t possible, or if you want us to create a new logo for you, our Art Director Marina can create one for you from whatever file you send us. Even if it’s that little website thumbnail. Then you will have it for all of your video productions and even print jobs too. If you are new to video productions and need a little help there are a lot of video production companies to help you make the best video.

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May 15
2016

Tampa Video Production High Speed Video EPIC Camera Shot of Bulb ShatteringWe had some time and a burned out bulb from our front door,  so we decided to play around and practice high-speed video techniques using the EPIC camera in our studio. Okay… breaking stuff is cool. Seeing it break at 356 frames per second is cooler. This is one of the shots. It shows a bamboo arrow shot from an air rifle shattering a large bulb that used to grace our front doorway entrance. Two previous shots with a pellet gun simply created the hole and didn’t shatter the bulb.CLICK HERE to view the high speed bulb shot

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Nov 21
2013

You may be asking yourself why a video production company and recording studio in Tampa Bay would post this. But there is a connection and a twist. The 50th anniversary of the Kennedy assassination reminded me of a job we did in 1999. CMR Studios was hired to digitize President John F. Kennedy’s personal record albums from the Robert L. White Collection for an exhibit at the Florida International Museum.

The collection included some home recordings on lacquer discs that predated recording tape. One featured “John Fitzgerald” and others singing “Smile Awhile” and “Sweet Adeline” at what sounded like a great party. Among the other records and popular recordings was an album by Roger Williams with the song “Yellow Bird”. I was told by the museum that the significance of the album was that it was played by JFK while flying on Air Force One during the trip to Dallas.

One of the well  known habits of JFK was his doodling. Kennedy’s secretary Evelyn Lincoln compiled many of them that are now in the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum.  After meetings, he would leave his papers behind and Lincoln would collect them. Well maybe those are in the archives, but he evidently drew on lots of other things that were at hand. That brings us back to the record album on that fateful flight.

Holding the records that I knew had been handled by Kennedy was a bit eerie in the first place. When I pulled the record sleeve out of the Roger Williams album I was excited to see pencil markings on the paper. Because of his doodling habit, these were likely by the President himself. At first it just looked like random repeating images which are very common in the archives of his doodles.

Doodle by JFK found by Mike Weber at CMR Studios

Doodle in pencil on a record jacket drawn by JFK on the way to Dallas. November 22, 1963

Then a drawing that looked like the hands of a clock caught my eye. It was spine-chilling when I realized that two of the three hands drawn showed the time as 1:00. That was the time President Kennedy was declared dead at Parkland Hospital. Or was it representing the three shots?

The repeating square images could be interpreted as being the view looking up at windows of a large building, like the Texas School Book Depository. It appears that there are even six lines of squares. Oswald shot from the sixth floor. Could  this have been some subliminal premonition Kennedy had of the assassination that came out in his drawings?

I informed the curator of the exhibit about my discovery, but nothing more was ever mentioned about it. The exhibition in St. Petersburg closed May 29, 2003 and in October Mr. White passed away suddenly of a heart attack. The collection was sold at auction in 2005.  I don’t know if the album was sold at that time. If it was, I wonder if the new owner knows the mystery inside the “Yellow Bird” album perched on their shelf.

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Oct 30
2013

Every now and then a video production project comes along that requires all of our skills and talents in multiple crafts as well as some true artistry. This is one that we are especially proud of. The public service video promoted participation in the foster care program in Tampa, Florida. It presented several challenges. The initial one was that because of privacy issues the heart-wrenching and personal stories couldn’t show any of the families involved.

Unique Approach
Studio president and creative director Mike Weber presented the client with the concept of writing a script that was the blending of several true cases into the story of one child. The treatment would be done in a form parents and children can relate to: a storybook. More specifically, a pop-up storybook that would become a virtual set for the six-minute video. The live action actors would seem to be be inserted into the pages using green screen compositing. “It seemed like a simple idea at the time” says Weber. “But original artwork takes time, lots of time.” Ultimately CMR artists devoted nearly a thousand man-hours over sixth months to producing the one of a kind pop-up book.

Click in the window below to see all the steps in the production process.

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Local Landscape
Every page turn reveals one of eleven scenes depicting: the Tampa skyline, the University of Tampa, a house, various interior settings, Busch Gardens and Lowry Park Zoo. They each open into dimensional art that was then shot close-up in HD. All the actors that appear on camera also appear on the pages of the book, so Art Director Marina Weber had the job of creating their actual likenesses, including wardrobe, along with a whole cast of paper extras. Multiplane dimensional background plates and animation elements add even more detail that wouldn’t be possible to physically fold in the book.

High Def Video and Special Effects
The foster care agency helped select professional talent to match their typical client profile.  The green screen footage was then shoot on the in-house CMR stage. Adam Weber handled shooting the HD footage of the pop-up book virtual set and designing unique pinpoint lighting for each scene. Page manipulation was done by Marina and Melissa.
Like puppeteers, they hid behind the book and wore green gloves so their hands could be removed from the shots later.

Post-Production
Once all the HD footage was shot, the footage was edited in Final Cut, and the various elements were composited together. The actors were put “in” the book, background plates were added along with animated elements before a final color correction and color grading. Mike Weber then handled audio post adding a customized music track and sound effects for each scene before the final audio mix and project completion.

Award Winning Work
The video project was recognized for excellence, winning a national TELLY Award.

Click Here To View The Finished Video

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Aug 18
2013

Caterpillar wrangling on setSo where do you go to get a caterpillar on short notice? That was the challenge when producing one of a series of spots for sod company Bethel Farms. Depicting a family enjoying their lawn and the great outdoors one shot was of a curious little girl watching a live caterpillar. Cute idea. But we live in a state where importing bugs is difficult. Finding one in the wild proved a futile search. Then we remembered that the Museum of Since and Industry in Tampa (MOSI) has a butterfly exhibit. It only took one call and a quick trip the day before the shoot. We got two Monarch caterpillars and a milkweed plant to feed them. We were told that one was likely to be just two days from forming a chrysalis.RED ONE Florida shooting a TV spot featuring a caterpillar

The day of the shoot, we didn’t wait long to get the shot. Marina took on the role of caterpillar wrangler and gently moved our many legged friend onto a stick and kept the striped star in the shot when it crawled away. Using the RED ONE camera and a long lens at ground level produced an endearing shot of little Emma, the caterpillar and some of the lush hero grass.

The funniest part was when cameraman Rich Roddman was trying to keep little Emma interested after a few minutes of staring at the caterpillar. He asked her if she had a name for it. Not being a fan of bugs, she quickly replied “Ewe”.

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Feb 02
2010

Like many times before, the call came from a production company out of town. They were coming to Florida to shoot a commercial in a few weeks and wanted to rent our RED ONE camera package. As usual they needed RED support with a DIT (Digital Imaging Technician) and a 1st AC (Assistant Cameraman) but the details about the job were unusually slim. They said it was a two day shoot  at a stage in Orlando but couldn’t reveal any more. They completed the checklist of requested gear in the package, sent the deposit, an insurance certificate and that was the last I heard from them until I got the call sheet the evening before the shoot.

Tim Tebow Commercial Call SheetIt was Sunday. I was at home. I opened the email and read it, but ironically nothing stood out to me. I saw it was a large crew, shooting at Full Sail Studios in Orlando and the call time was 8am. I printed it out, put it on the kitchen counter and headed off to load the RED and gear for the trip. When I got back my wife said “You’re shooting a Super Bowl spot? That’s great.” I said “What are you talking about?” It turns out I had read all the details of the job except the big bold title on the front page Tebow Super Bowl Commercial. Suddenly it appeared that the job was going to be more interesting than expected.

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