Snow White and the Huntsman Spoof

What happens when you give a creative agency power to create? A full on themed play of a Snow White and the Huntsman spoof to be debuted at our Holiday Party, of course. Check out the invite we sent out to the company, showcasing the parts that people were selected for; buzz marketing is even possible within your own company! This was a video I edited – try to forgive the others on their focusing ability. 

 

Just another reason to love working with a San Diego creative communications agency 🙂

A Week Without a Phone!

Working in the multimedia industry requires a connected lifestyle – having a smartphone is a must, not having one isn’t even an option. Being connected through Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, WordPress, email and every other form of communication you can think of, needs be at your fingertips. Unfortunately, I also have another addiction; gadgetry.

With the release of the iPhone 5 a couple weeks ago, I decided to sell my iPhone 4S to Gazelle.com – I hate the hassle of selling it on my own via Craigslist or eBay. Being that I upgraded last year, I am only available for the partial upgrade on October 8; the biggest downside is I have to send in my iPhone 4S by October 1, leaving me phoneless for an entire week. This presents a problem not just from an online connected stance, but also from a phone call and text messaging side as well.

Personally, I think it will be interesting to see if I can go a week living a non-connected lifestyle; will I spend more time outside? Without having a phone camera, will I shoot more with the DSLR? Will I be glued to my laptop or iPad more? It will be interesting to see how this all turns out.

I will report back in two weeks on how my week of an unconnected lifestyle unfolds.

My Jump From Nikon to Canon

Holy crap have I been living in the stone age! I recently bought a Canon 60D and what a difference it is! The cameras that I have are a Nikon D70, Nikon D80, and now the Canon 60D; given that my Nikon’s don’t shoot video, I will be talking about still photography.

I have always been an advocate for learning on worse things, that way when you get the good stuff you are 100 times better. For instance, I play guitar and started learning on a $10 acoustic instead of an easier, more expensive electric; this proved to pay off because I learned very fast, and had much stronger hands. I kept this mantra even with my cameras; while my friends were purchasing $4,000 Canon 5D Mark III’s, I was still chugging away on my 12 year old Nikon.

Yesterday, I went out for a night shoot, and my first shot I was completely blown away! I couldn’t believe how clear the pictures were, the sensor in the 60D absolutely blows away my Nikon! Taking pictures at night with the Nikon would mean that I would spend hours in post color correcting, fixing saturation, dodging and burning like crazy. The pictures that I took with the Canon last night I did zero post on, it looked perfect straight off the camera.

Here are a few sample pictures. These are taken with the Nikon D70, with about an hour in photoshop:

San Diego Downtown – Nikon D70

San Diego Birdrock – Nikon D70

The next two where what I took last night with the Canon 60D – look at the colors on the pictures, these were both taken with the crappy lens that comes with the camera (I haven’t purchased any new ones yet), and zero photoshop.

San Diego Bob Hope Memorial – Canon 60D

San Diego Seaport Village – Canon 60D

Granted, I like the composition of the Nikon pictures better because I was actually out on a shoot that day, but you cannot beat the look of the Canon!

Here’s to many more pictures and fun events – let’s go take some pictures!

DIY Glide Track

I am a big advocate of doing things myself; when it get a chance to make things, I jump all over it. Today, I saw a YouTube video on how to make a DIY glide track for under $10 and immediately ran out the door to Home Depot.

Let me start this off by saying this is absolutely no Philip Bloom Pocket Dolly, and as soon as you think it is you will be sorely disappointed – this is a cheap alternative for shooting video at home, I would never use this on a professional shoot. That being said, photographers use whatever works at the time, but I would never lug this to a shoot with me.

Here it is in the beginning phase (keep in mind, I still had to add all the screws and paint it):

I got so excited to test it out, here is what I came up with:

Now go out there and do some DIY projects!

The Apple Ecosystem

I often get told that I am a “product of the system,” that I buy electronics that I don’t need. I prefer to look at myself as an early adopter of sorts; I invest heavily in gadgets and buy quite a bit of them. With that being said, I do not buy things that I don’t need, i.e. gadgets that wouldn’t have any usefulness in my life.

What I have been invested in lately are Apple products, not because I am an Apple “fanboy,” but because I believe they are currently the best on the market. Between the UI and design, they are beautifully crafted and meet all my needs while looking great.

  1. iPhone 4S: this phone is the best phone currently on the market. Between the camera, UI, design, and compatibility, it is unbeatable. As a professional photographer, I have an appreciation for cameras and quality; the iPhone 4S simply has the best camera in the best package. It is often said that the best camera is the one that you have on you, and what is more convenient than your smart phone?
    • What I use it for: quick internet, calls, text, music, light gaming, video editor – I literally can use my phone for everything.
  2. iPad 3: it is most often the device that people see as unnecessary; it is not a laptop and not a smart phone, so what is it used for? A while ago I was in a bar that had a $200 shot of tequila, seeing this I asked the bartender if I would piss gold afterward, that is when he said that if you view it like that then I am missing the point of good tequila. This is the same way that I view the iPad; you have to look at it as a completely separate device, as a bridge between a laptop and a smart phone. I survived college with this thing, mostly because my laptop was too bulky to carry around in my backpack along with my 30lbs. of books; I have written several five page papers on it, and it works perfectly as a word-processor and PowerPoint creator.
    • What I use it for: heavy internet browsing, light texting with iMessage, PDF viewer, newspaper, light gaming – it is a supplement for not being able to carry around a bulky laptop.
  3. Apple TV: the bread and butter of my home entertainment system. I made the decision to ditch cable a few years ago, and couldn’t be happier. With the recent addition of Hulu Plus to the line-up, the Apple TV is stronger than ever; the only thing I pay for these days is $50 for my monthly cable bill, $8 for Netflix and $8 for Hulu Plus. This has also made me more productive because I can watch TV on my schedule; gone are the days of channel surfing for 30 minutes only to start a show mid-episode. Once you are caught in that trap, you watch the next show, then the next, and the next, and so on. When I watch TV now, I put it on my 22 minute show and I’m finished; off to other things. AirPlay is also great because you can mirror your MacBook or iOS devices on screen; it is a very convenient alternative to having to store things on a set-top box.
    • What I use it for: Netflix, Hulu Plus, Vimeo, YouTube, Trailers, AirPlay – gone are the days of the $150 a month cable bills!
  4. Retina MacBook Pro: my newest and happiest purchase, with an amazing screen, smaller form-factor and amazing speed, it is completely unmatched. There has been a lot of question about the screen, if it is worth the extra $400; if you are involved in any sort of graphic design, photography, or video production, it is a complete no-brainer. Upon purchasing, I saw it next to a regular MacBook and was blown away – if you cannot tell the difference between these screens, you seriously need to get your eyes checked.
    • What I use it for: Final Cut Pro, Adobe Photoshop, heavy typing, texting with iMessage – I bought this for video, but it has literally become my main computer.

So there you go, the justification for all my devices and what I use them for. Keep in mind, these aren’t just about the individual devices themselves, but the entire Apple ecosystem. If Android can become less fragmented and Windows have an ecosystem this user-friendly, I might switch, but until then, Apple it is.

The Power of Public Relations for Small Business

How many times have you relayed on something you heard someone else say in a previous conversation, later only to hear that same person pass on what you just said? This is called the third-party effect, and is one of the largest tools of influence people can use.

Welcome to the world of public relations.

Using public relations benefits two-fold for small businesses: it is a cheaper means of promotion than advertising, and it has more justification for the end-user because of the third-party effect. I worked on a consulting job recently for a local small business owner with a small budget; he didn’t have money for a graphic designer and ad placement, so I recommended doing a bit of PR to get his name out. After only a few sent emails, he had a placement in a local newspaper.  This was about one quarter of the cost to him than if he would have bought ad space in that same paper.

Small businesses need to use public relations as a primary means of promotion when on a budget. Think of how often we are bombarded with advertisements daily; It takes a very well made advertisement to catch our attention anymore, and small businesses do not have the budget to compete with the larger competitors. Take Facebook for instance: you can buy ad space and get 100,000 impressions, but how many people actually pay attention to Facebook ads? I know I don’t, and neither do any of my friends – one of the most sought after age target markets.

I have worked in public relations for almost two years, and can surely say that it is the most cost effective means for getting out your message. PR is cheaper, more effective, and easier to catch the attention and make a lasting impression of your end-users. One of the largest differences for me as well is it is generally more fun; it sometimes involves events that can benefit a variety of things, including community or charity organizations. I once hosted an event that gave back to the American Lung Association, promoting clean air around San Diego. This event was great because not only did we get to do something fun and worthwhile for the community, but it also served as a promotion tool by landing media coverage, boosting our public image while getting free recognition.

PR is a great tool and a wonderful asset to any company; hire someone to do PR for your business for just 30 days, you will be surprised at how much publicity you will get for a fraction of the cost. Don’t even get me started guerrilla marketing, you might be here for days…

iPhone Nano Watch

Normally I try to stick to no more than one video a week, but this is too awesome to pass up. This is a concept of what could be the “one more thing” at the Apple event in six weeks:

The concept is an iPhone Nano Watch that has FaceTime, Retina Screen, Siri and a couple other cool features. Apple is already fully integrating all their other platforms, why not include something that could be on you at all times?