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Developing film, worth knowing?

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Today I set out to experience the seemingly lost art that is Developing Film. 

I wanted to try my hand at developing my own film to see if it is worth knowing. Lucky enough for us we have John, who knows a thing or two about the developing and processing of film. Coming from a background in fine arts photography he was taking the roll of grand master in our activity.

Now this isn’t to say that “film is dead”, certainly there is still a fun and amazing place for shooting on film in the digital age and plenty of people do it, but developing and processing is on the down. There are still photo labs open in some areas but are still steadily declining, and convenience stores may do some, but quality and care is always an issue there, luckily you can always send in your roll to one of many online services, where it can be processed and returned. I thought however “bleh! We’ll do it ourselves this time, how hard can it be?”

Preparation

John took the reigns first preparing the chemicals. The Developer, Stop Bath, and Fixer.

One of the surprisingly important parts was ensuring the temperature of all the liquids and chemicals was at a steady 70 degrees for optimal development. This was a tedious process of stirring and and heating until the temperature was stable.

Once the chemicals were prepped, he rolled his film onto one of the stainless steel reels and into the canister all inside of a changing bag. My initial thoughts here were “wow surely that was a lot harder than he made it out to be” *spoiler alert* this would soon be proven.

 

Now to actually develop!

With the film secured into the canister the developer could now be administered. With the process now happening John had a timer set to 8 minutes (as dictated to him by a piece of paper), gently agitating the container every 30 seconds to ensure full coverage and few air bubbles.

With the developer done, he drains that and adds the stop bath. This is the chemical that, hence the name, stops the developer from over developing the negative. Much of the same process here, agitating and waiting. At this point I was getting restless and wanted to see the end product already.

The Fixer is the last thing to be run through the container which stabilizes the image and removes the rest of the leftovers.

 

 

 

 

The Result!

After what seemed like hours (actually about a 20 min process) we were finally able to see what had been shot. with everything looking good the film can be rinsed off and left to dry for eventual scanning. John’s roll of film had some nice looking shots that were processed quite clearly and should give good results.

Seeing that the process had worked so well here I was quite confident to go in with my roll and perfectly copy what John had done, with my zero experience in developing film.

 

The Rookie

Now it was my turn.

After getting set up with a test roll to put on a reel, I learned very quickly how tedious that process actually was and that was with being able to see. Once I “got the hang” of that I dove into the changing bag and…. well… failed miserably.

So we took a new approach, I did mine in one of our back offices in the pitch black where I at least had room to work. Somehow this worked! I had my roll of film on the reel, and into the canister!

On to developing!

Using the process that John did before, I went through each of the chemicals, growing more impatient to see my photos. As the finals seconds tic’d on the fixer, I drained what was left in the canister and was able to pull the reel out to check on the status of my film.

….and the results were

sub par.

So as you can see there isn’t much of anything going on on that roll of film…

This, I was assured, wasn’t do to the developing process but in the picture taking process… which was still me.

So what is happening with the roll here is that about half of the shots were severely underexposed and a decent chuck at the end had been exposed to too much light at some point. (probably when I opened the back of the camera to see why it wasn’t rewinding) But that is a story for another day.

 

Final Thoughts

So despite being a little bummed that my roll was null and void, the process of developing film was… interesting. I am not going to brag about how great it is, because I wasn’t feeling a lot of that, it was more of “is it done yet?” While I was tad fascinated with the process and I do think it is an important part of photography to at least learn a little about, I will say that it is worth trying at least once. BUT it certainly made me say…

I’m glad we have digital 

 

What are your thoughts on developing your own film? Fun? Tedious? Waste of time?

 

 

7 Tips for Hiring a Video Company

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When looking for a video company to create a video to promote your business, there are a few important tips to consider. Here we have seven pieces of advice to help you in your search.

1. Have a Strategy and a Clear Message

This is something we have touched on before, but branding and brand identity are the most important thing for a company to have. Before you spend money on advertising and especially on video production, it is important to know who you are as a company. What do you stand for? What is your mission? Before these questions are answered clearly, it isn’t worth spending money on creating a video. We need to know what your company wants to achieve and what your strategy is before we can create a video that promotes you. This is information that is critical for us or any video production company to understand before creating a video to promote you. Without a strong identity, any video you produce will not serve you well.

2. Define your Audience and Purpose

In the past, we have made some pretty amazing videos for clients of ours only to find that they have not marketed them well. No one sees the videos and they do not serve their intended purpose.

If you do not know your target demographic or audience you are trying to reach and don’t have a strategy on how to reach them, paying for a video is a waste of time and money. Before hiring a video production company it is essential that businesses have identified their target demographic and have developed a strategy on how to reach them the best. Posting a video on a Facebook page that has only 100 followers will not serve a business well. Knowing how to push content to reach the target demographic is extremely important and must be done prior to selecting a video production company. The information you provide to the video company will influence how they approach creating your video, writing the script and a variety of other factors.

3. Get Several Quotes

In this particular industry, prices vary greatly from one company to the next. This is due to many factors. Some companies have more staff and overhead than others and can produce higher quality or more technical videos. Other companies are lean and operate on a modest budget. Quality, price and reputation can all vary from one company to the next.

It is recommended that anyone interested in hiring a production company get several quotes and talk to as many companies as they can. Not only is price important, but quality must be considered as well. Get prices, but also compare quality of videos within each company’s portfolio. If you can find a company that has an affordable price and quality videos that match your style, you have found a good one.

4. Find Most Recent Projects

When looking for samples from companies, look for the most recent bed of work. If you are looking at videos several years old, it is not reflective of their current capabilities. Social Media is a good place to look for recent posts and you can always ask to see something more recent when contacting them. Each company grows in talent and skill as time passes. Make sure you are looking at recent work to get a better idea of a video production company’s abilities.

5. Know What the Company you are Hiring Can Do

Consider what you need from a video and also what the company you are considering can do. Do they need to outsource because they don’t have the talent, or do they have a full range of capabilities? A full service video production company can take your unpolished idea and turn it into a fully professional video. The more information you provide, the easier this task is, however here are some of the services a full service company can provide:

-Script Writing/Storyboarding

-Casting

-Voice Over

-Editing

-Filming

-Animation

-Lighting and Studio

-Audio

-Directing/Producing

-Licensing and Permits

These are some of the services a professional company can offer. Note that each of these services does cost money. The more that is required of the video production company to create your video, the more costly it becomes.

6. Meet in Person

We always recommend that potential clients meet with the production company in advance of beginning the project. Communication is key. Having a sit down with the people you are considering hiring for a job will give you a clear idea of their capabilities and offerings. They can show you samples specific to your project and brainstorm ideas. This is also a time when you can get professional feedback and input on the possibilities of your specific video. To make sure both you and the production company are on the same page, face-to-face communication is important.

7. You Get What You Pay For

Having a budget is an important part of creating a video. There is nothing wrong with having a small budget. If you only have $800 to spend on a video, you may need to find someone fresh out of college or someone who wants to build their portfolio. Be advised though, that professional companies command a higher price and it shows in the work. These companies have the knowledge, equipment and talent to make your video sizzle. If you would like a video to impress potential customers, know that the ones with the higher price tag will likely achieve that.

How to Write a Wedding Speech

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How to Write a Wedding Speech

If you have been asked to be the Best Man or Maid of Honor for someone’s wedding, it is most certainly an honor. In most circumstances it also requires you to deliver some type of speech or toast. You may be asking yourself “How do I write a Best Man speech?” or “How do I write a Maid of Honor speech?”. This is a common question. Believe it or not, the number one fear of most people is public speaking. Don’t worry though. In this blog post we will give you the best tips and pointers for and help show you how to write a wedding speech.

Tip #1: Begin with a Strong, Funny, or Thought Provoking Statement

The way you begin your speech is the most important. You only have one chance to make a good impression and keep people engaged. Make it count. DO NOT begin your speech with “For those of you who don’t know me…” That is the single most boring way you can begin a speech. There are far more creative ways to introduce yourself. The first thing that you say should be funny, or thought provoking and catch everyone’s attention. This could be a short anecdote, joke or something to ponder.

Tip #2: Have a Plan

Don’t go into the speech blind or think you are going to wing it. The best speeches have outlines or structure. Think about this as an essay. You should have an introduction, body and conclusion. Don’t forget your purpose, which is to honor the Bride and Groom. Everything you say should be heading in that direction.

The Best Speeches will make the audience laugh, make them cry, and make them think. If you can achieve that in your speech, you are in good shape. Plan to tell something whimsical or funny to begin, then move toward the sentimental. Know what you are going to say before stepping in front of the audience and have this mapped out ahead of time.

Tip #3: Keep it Short

Even the best speeches don’t drag on. People are hungry and are waiting for dinner to start. Don’t go on a tirade 15 minutes long. A good length is 4-6 minutes for a speech. Anything longer is going to push peoples’ patience.

Tip #4: Use Simple Language

Make sure your language is conversational. The best way to create a disconnect with your audience is by using language that feels un-natural or forced. Talk to the audience as if they are having a casual conversation with you. Avoid any jargon or inside jokes you might have with the Bride or Groom. No one else will understand your inside story or language that isn’t a part of their everyday life.

Make the audience hear what you hear, see what you see and feel what you feel. Draw upon your senses to put the audience in your shoes. Use descriptive language to transport them into your story.

Tip #5: Don’t Read

PRACTICE, PRACTICE PRACTICE! Don’t read your speech from a phone or paper. Have the main points that you’d like to talk about or the stories you want to tell already mapped out. Speeches read from paper or a phone are contrived and seem insincere. Spend plenty of time preparing your speech. Please do not wait until the day of the wedding to think about this and definitely don’t wing it. Not many people can pull that off and we have seen our fair share of train wrecks at wedding receptions. Practice your speech and be prepared before the wedding day.

Tip #6: Use Clean Humor

One of the best ways to make a connection with your audience is by using humor. Especially if the object of the joke is you, or if you are roasting the Bride or Groom.

Nothing is more off-putting or awkward than crude humor or crass language at a formal event. There are many sources for clean jokes you can insert into your speech if you don’t have any ideas of your own. If you want to win the audience over, make them laugh at an unexpected CLEAN joke about yourself or the Bride or Groom.

Tip #7: Leave a Lasting Impression

End your speech with something memorable. Let the audience know that it is time to honor the Bride and Groom, but leave them with a bit of wisdom or a story that puts the Bride and Groom in a shining light. Make the audience proud to be there and that they were invited to such a magnificent event. Leave them with a smile on their face. Thank them for the honor of being a part of the wedding and for including everyone there.

These are a few tips for writing a successful speech at a wedding. Hopefully we will see you at the next one and you will be able to bring the house down.

The Importance of Branding

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A solid brand for a company can help drive a business into success by increasing customer base and instilling confidence in a company.  It is more than just a logo.  A brand goes beyond being just an image and provides a company with an identity.  Good brands are memorable, but great brands are iconic.  Without strategic brand recognition, businesses cannot reach their full potential.  This is why it is so important.

Branding has a lot to do with reputation.  A solid brand from a reputable company goes a long way in instilling confidence with consumers.  It also gives its employees confidence in the company.  How a company handles situations and puts itself out in the world says a lot about the entity and also peoples’ perceptions of it.  Brands can be wonderful tools for a company, but if not handled well, can also lead to their demise.  A company with a poor reputation or one that handles a situation poorly, will reflect upon its business and consumers will react unfavorably.

Black Horse Videography has helped several companies develop their brand and created their business logos.  This is the first step in creating a solid brand.  The logo should be something iconic and easy to remember.  If you take a close look at our center chess piece above, you will notice that the bottom of it is actually a camera lens.  The mane is also supposed to give the impression of a film reel.  These subtle nuances leave an impression on consumers and have meaning.

So why is branding so important and what can it do for your company?

BRANDING CREATES RECOGNITION

If people don’t know your company exists, it doesn’t matter how well you do what you do.  Having a solid logo and marketing that logo so that your name and business are in the forefront of peoples’ minds is extremely important.  Think about companies whose logos you don’t need to see the name to know them: McDonalds golden arches, Nike’s swoosh, Facebook’s “F”.  They have done a great job branding everything with their logo and making sure it is recognizable.  Get a solid logo, and get it out there.

BRANDING CREATES TRUST

People are much more likely to visit a store or business whose logo they have seen over and over again.  These companies develop brand authority.  They become seen as the best, even if they aren’t necessarily.  The more people who recognize the brand, the more potential customers will emerge.  Consumers want to have trust in the companies they spend their money with.  Having a solid brand everywhere provides confidence that the business isn’t going anywhere, and trust that they will do a good job.  The message is that the company with the massive brand can be trusted and is the best at what they do.

BRANDING INSPIRES EMPLOYEES

Employees want to know that the company they work for has a mission.  They want to believe in that mission and know that the company is growing and becoming better.  If they truly believe that they can make a difference and help the company reach new heights and that they can play a part in the company’s success, they too will share it and strive for it.

BRANDING IS THE MOST EFFECTIVE TOOL IN ADVERTISING

If you print marketing material, post it online, develop your website or have a video produced for you, branding is crucial.  The first thing we tell any of our commercial clients is to have a solid logo animation to brand their videos.  This provides a polished and professional look.  It creates an authority that the videos consumers are watching are legitimate and worth watching.  They look expensive and make whatever product you sell look official.  Having everything branded with your logo also provides multiple ways for potential customers to see your logo.  The more times they see your logo, the more it is on their mind.

The most successful companies have solid brands.  If you need a brand developed or a logo designed, give us a call and we will be happy to help.

The First Look

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If you are planning your wedding, there is a good chance that you are getting an assortment of advice (some wanted and some not) about how you should plan your big day.  You may even get advice from parents or grand parents who will encourage you to plan your wedding exactly as they had.  Tradition, after all, is a very important thing.  There are many things that are different today from when your parents were married though.  In the days of the last generations, the common tradition was for the bride to be tucked away with her bridesmaids, she gets ready with the girls and the groom anxiously awaits the moment when he sees his bride for the first time at the altar.  It is, as you know, “bad luck” to see the bride on your wedding day before the wedding.  That is not, however, the only way to do things any more.  In fact, in this blog we will talk about the ever increasingly popular First Look.  I will attempt to answer the question “should I do a first look on my wedding day?”

If you aren’t sure what a First Look is, let me explain.  This is a moment when the groom can see the bride BEFORE the wedding ceremony.  It is a time for the big reveal.  He will see his soon-to-be bride for the first time, in her wedding dress, ready to go.  If you would like to see what a First Look is like, please feel free to view some of our sample videos on this website.  We have a multitude of videos that show just how emotional the First Look can be.  If you do watch these videos, you will see the raw emotion that comes out in such a fantastic and sincere way.  It is our job to capture this moment and it is much easier to do when you have control over the environment.  For your videographer and photographer, the First Look is amazing and can get you lots of great photos and video so that you can re-live that moment forever…but enough about my own selfish motivation for the First Look.  There is one major reason why we always advocate for a First Look.  Intimacy.  Rather than sharing a private and intimate moment with the person you have chosen to spend your life with in front of hundreds of staring people, the First Look offers an opportunity to spend quality time with one another in private.  Waiting at the altar is nerve wracking and walking down the aisle can be too.  Everyone you invited is staring and you wait in anticipation.  When you arrive at the altar, you have less than a minute to soak in the moment and tell each other what you think, what you’re feeling, how you think they look etc.  After that brief moment, you are off to the races and engaged in the ceremony.  When you engage in the First Look, you are able to spend quality time with one another and all of the stress and anxiety melt away.  When it comes time to walk the aisle or wait in front of the church, the anxiety is gone, your nerves will calm and you can enjoy the ceremony together.  You already shared a special moment with that one person you love so much.  That moment is yours and yours alone.  You don’t have to share it with everyone in your extended family.

If tradition is important to you and you don’t think you can bring yourself to use this modern method of the First Look, we have another idea for you.  The First Look does not have to be solely between the bride and groom.  The bride can do a first look with her father, mother or anyone else who is important to them BEFORE the ceremony.  This not only helps relieve some of the tension and calms the nerves, but it is also a special moment between the bride and people who are important to her.  Some of the best First Looks we have done have been with a bride and her father.  You have no idea how many weeping dads we have filmed over the years.  These moments are intimate and create a memory that lasts forever.  Your father gets to see his little girl as beautiful as can be one last time before he gives her away.  Having the First Look like this before the ceremony is not only a magical moment, it relieves the anxiety of having that moment and getting emotional just seconds before you walk down the aisle.

Having a First Look is definitely the way to go if you haven’t yet made up your mind.  Share those important moments with someone you love in an intimate setting so that you can forge a memory that will last forever.