Virtual Video Production

The era of COVID-19 has changed a lot, both about our every day lives (no Tuesday night wings at the Wooden Nickel?!?!), but also about the way we operate as businesses. For us here at BDLB , it means all in-person shoots we had scheduled are now postponed indefinitely.

It also means many of our clients are relying on online more than ever- whether that’s brand marketing to keep them top of mind for when this is all over, to course and training materials to replace in-person work they can no longer do.

Whatever the needs are, we’re actively trying to figure out the best ways to serve our people, and we think we’ve come up with something… Virtual Video Production.

Here’s how it works…

Step 1: Kick-Off Call

We start by hopping on zoom to talk through all the things… what you’re hoping to create, what you want it to do for you, what tools you currently have available, and what (inexpensive) equipment might help in addition to what you have.

Step 2: Shoot Prep

Next you order all the gear you need, and begin prepping content for the actual shoot. We’re happy to help with this part if we can! (Turns out my Masters in Curriculum & Instruction is actually coming in handing lately…)

Step 3: Shoot Day!

We’ll hop on Zoom/FaceTime with you again on shoot day to help you pick the right spot to film, set up the camera/cameras and lighting, get your audio right, and then you can start filming!

Step 4: Deliver Footage

Once you wrap shooting you’ll deliver all the files (video and audio) to us via either Dropbox or Google Drive. We’ll do the hard work of organizing, syncing, and backing up before we dive into editing.

Step 5: BDLB Works Their Editing Magic

We’ll then get to work editing, taking your content and making it even more polished. This can be editing the actual content (cleaning it up, making it shorter/more efficient if needed), dividing into bite sized chunks to make it more digestible for your audience, all the way to color and audio correction to make sure it looks as good as possible. Last we’ll add any finishing touches, like branded logos, text, titles and music.

Step 6: Put It To Work!

Once we deliver the final videos to you, it’s time to put them to work for your business. We’re happy to help with selecting the best platforms, adding closed captioning, and best ways to promote/boost your posts to get more eyes on them!


Wanna see an example?  Here ya go!

Anthem Film for Spruce Creative Studio

Course/Community Film for Kate Bowler

Just drop us an email if you’re interested in trying out some Virtual Video Production for your business or organization. We’re excited to offer a free consult, and first video free for anyone who wants to see how it could work for them!



At Home Videos: What You Need To Get Started

Even though I’m a professional videographer, as a business owner who sometimes works from a home studio, professional grade equipment is not always what you need to produce high quality content for your business.  Today I’m going to walk through the basic equipment needed for high quality DIY At-Home Video Creation.

To start, let me just say, the cameras and mics on today’s phones are pretty great, so you can likely set up basic filming for something like your instastory without any of these- but if you’re looking at creating more consistent & high quality social media videos, or building a YouTube channel, it’s probably gonna be helpful to have a couple tools to help you along the way. So if you’re willing to spend a little cash to take your DIY video game to the next level, these are the three items we’d most highly recommend: 

  • A handy-dandy mini-tripod. Windowsills can be a great stand in if you don’t have the budget, but having a tripod gives you a lot more flexibility in how you want to compose your shot.
  • The second item I’d recommend is a good external microphone. While the mics on our phones work for basic video, they’re really only designed to pick up room audio and aren’t targeted in the way a shotgun or lavalier mic is. And while your average viewer probably couldn’t articulate all the differences between a beginner cell phone video and a higher quality version, it almost always comes down to audio. You can find a bunch of different models of entry level mics on Amazon, but in THIS video we review our top three options that are all less than $100. 
  • The final DIY accessory to incorporate in your at-home video set-up is a light. While you can certainly take advantage of light you have at your house, there are several reasons why having a separate light specifically for videos can up the quality and make the end product look a little less… homemade. We talk through several options in our video on lighting, as well as show some examples of how lighting can impact quality. In terms of affordable options you’ll find everything from a clip-on LED light that runs you about $7 to a full scale LED ring light and stand that’ll end right around $100. Which one you pick will depend on the factors that are most important to you. 

So in conclusion, shooting at home IS possible with only basic entry level equipment and a cell phone. no matter what type of business you run, video is a proven way to better market yourself to your ideal client. 

COVID-19 #porchportraits

Photographers across the country started doing something called ‘Porch Portraits’ almost as soon as the COVID-19 pandemic began and people were asked to stay at home. They would drive around to their clients homes and make portraits of them from their car or sidewalk using a zoom lens. It was a way to stay creative behind a camera, and capture their people. Plus, many did this for donations to organizations supporting relief efforts in their community.
Lucky for me, I live in an intentional co-housing community here in Hillsborough where the furthest house away is about 500 yards from my front door. So this weekend we captured #porchportraits for 20 different families (all while masked and an appropriate distance away), to raise money for @studentudurham. Over at @studentudurham they are collecting laptops and WiFi to better support their students and families so they can continue learning while at home. This extrovert found so much joy in this project and boy did I love getting to be behind the lens again 📷❤️

Amidst this quarantine, projects like this and opportunities to creatively play have given me life, and this one has perhaps been the highlight so far. Excited to share some of what we captured with you here ❤️



At Home Videos: AUDIO

So you’ve started filming your own content at home and are now looking to up your game. In our opinion, audio is THE most important place to invest your time and money, and in this video we’ll not only talk about why, but also share our favorite three options for the small budget beginner. 

We’re gonna talk about three kinds of audio you can use when making your own video content at home. 

First, let’s talk about the built-in microphone on your cell phone. Unlike the camera quality of the most recent cell phones, audio has not advanced at the same speed. So while you can certainly use it, it’s going to give your videos the feel of being home made. 

The quickest way to level up is by using an external microphone.

The first type is a lavalier mic. Lavalier mics clip on your shirt or collar, and then a cord runs straight into your camera or phone. The professional quality lav mics have a receiver so you’re not connected, but the entry level models are super simple and just connect via a cord. 

In our research we found two entry level mics that we think are a great place to start. The first is the Purple Panda, coming in at only $39.99! What you’re hearing right now is the PURPLE PANDA. 

A couple things I like about this one- it can plug into most cell phones, though for the newer iphones you will need a little adaptor thingy to convert it. It also comes with a fuzzy windscreen in case you’re filming outside, and my personal favorite is this extension cable. If you’ve gotta be plugged into your camera while filming, I like that this one gives you a little more space. 

The next option is the Rode Smart Lav+.

Rode is one of the most famous audio companies out there, and we actually use a Rode shotgun mic for our professional shoots. This lavalier mic is their very basic, entry level lav, coming in at $67. It’s similar to the Purple Panda is most functional ways, but it’s worth noting that it does NOT come with an extension cable. I’m confident you can probably buy one, but I kinda like that the Purple Panda comes with it already. 

And our last option is an external microphone, and actually sits on a desk or tapletop. The version we like best is the Yeti Blue.

In my opinion, this one definitively produces the best audio, but there are some trade-offs. To start with, this mic runs you at about $102, so it’s definitely the most expensive. It also connects to your computer using a USB cable, so will NOT plug in directly to your camera and phone. Practically what this means is that you’ll be left with two files that will need to be synced together using editing software- one file will be the video with built-in audio, and one will be an audio file with just the sound. Once you sync them you’re good to go, but it does create an additional step.

The other trade-off is that this one does need to sit on a table or desk. So depending on where or how you’d prefer to film your content, this option is going to limit that to only places where you are sitting. For podcasters or online workshops or calls, it’s great. For video content you’re filming while walking or moving, not as great.

So again all of these microphone options have their pros/cons, it just depends on your priorities and use case. However, each microphone is guaranteed to provide you professional level audio that is sure to maximize the quality of all your DIY videos.

Video Content Marketing: What It Is & Where To Start

There are lots of ways to use video in your marketing, as we talked about in THIS video, but my personal favorite has to be content marketing. This video will help you understand why, and begin to think how you can use this type of video content in your online marketing. 

What it is

The beautiful thing about content marketing is that it’s not about explicitly SELLING anything, it’s about providing valuable content that helps solve your clients’ problems. It’s the kind of content that you watch because it provides you with immediate value, not because it tells a good story, or is catchy advertising. 

Here’s an example from my life:

I follow two interior designers on Instagram who do a great job with this, and all they use is Instastory. They travel to different thrift stores, flea markets, you name it, and spot good finds and talk to their viewers about how they would use them. 

If you’re local, you can always head to that location and actually purchase the items which could be awesome. But bigger picture, it teaches their viewers and followers about design, how to find value in used items, and ways to tweak, paint, etc. to bring them back to life. Personally, as someone who’s always thinking about how to do this in my own house, I LOVE this content it keeps me watching simply because it’s useful and immediately applicable to my life and interests. 

And while they’re never telling me in these stories to hire them, they ARE doing two things: 

The first thing they’re doing is staying top of mind. The more often I watch their stories, the earlier and more often they show up in my feed, which means I’m thinking about them and their business more often. If I eventually need an interior designer, or a friend says they need one, it’s going to be quick and easy for me to recommend them. 

The second thing they’re doing is establishing credibility, and making me view them as an expert in their field. They sharing their knowledge in a way that helps, which is going to make me more apt to turn to them when I get to design challenges in my own home that I can’t handle myself. It also allows them to charge more. The more you’re viewed as an expert in your field, the more people will expect that they’ll be paying a premium for your work. 

Common Fears

Okay, now I’m going to address one of the biggest concerns I hear from people when I explain what video content marketing is… but why would I give away all my knowledge for free??? Won’t that impact my business model and take business away from me????

Understanding why this isn’t true is gonna go back to what we talked about in THIS video where we discussed Brand Identity and Ideal Clients. The first step is understanding the value you provide in the work you do, and who you are providing that for. What do you want people to be HIRING you for? Like work that they would actually pay you to do. It’s important you don’t give that away for free, but video content marketing should keep them paying attention to you until they do need to hire you for THAT THING. 

For example, these videos, right here, are content marketing for us, and while we like to think we’re providing valuable tips on the strategy side of video production, what we do as a company, and what our clients pays us for, is to actually create effective marketing video.

We want our blog posts and videos on YouTube to be helpful to you in the long run while thinking about video and online marketing, and even equip you in creating very basic marketing films for yourself, so that we can spend our energy on the harder, more creatively energizing videos that will produce an even larger impact on your businesses growth. 

For the example I mentioned earlier, their hope is that by providing some quick and easy design tips, they’re creating a following of viewers who care about design. And my guess is, people who don’t care about design are never going to pay an interior designer to work on their house. 

But those who DO care about design are going to take their short videos and quick tips to do small projects in their house, but because they care about design they’re likely to invest at some point in an interior designer to help with bigger projects. And you know exactly who they’re gonna call when that time comes. 

Who I Would Recommend This For

My last tip when it comes to video content marketing is that is has to be consistent. Content is King, but consistency is Queen. If you have great content, but only put it out once a month, it is likely not going to have the impact you want it to have. BUT, if you have great content and you’re putting it out on a regular basis, this is how you will see the impact you’re hoping for. 

SO, in conclusion, here are three businesses I would MOST recommend video content marketing for: 

  • Businesses who have some past experience with video, and are ready to commit the time to creating consistent content. 
  • Businesses who have been around for more than 2 years. Creating good, consistent content you need to have a clear idea of your brand identity and ideal client, and the problems that you can most help them address with video content. This can be harder to do at the very beginning, but once you’re a couple years in all it takes is some time to put those thougths on paper- you likely already have the knowledge of your target market to do this. 
  • Businesses who are looking to take it to the next level. While video content marketing doesn’t always provide the immediate bump in sales because it’s not explicitly selling you or your business, it will increase your visibility and establish credibilty. These two things will help keep you top of mind for more people, leading to more referrals and future business, and allow you to charge more. Plus, there’s always the possibility of creating a YouTube channel that you can monetize, or additional revenue streams in online courses, coaching, workshops and more.  

Stay tuned for a future blog/video where we’re going to dig more into the actual implementation of video content marketing. We’ll explore the different options, from Instastory to a YouTube channel, and help you figure out the best places to start. 

3 Types of Marketing Films

In every discovery meeting with potential #bdlbclients we like to give an overview of the different types of video marketing films and the various places a business or organization can start. For visual learners, I always draw this image on our white board…

So in this video we’ll talk about the 3 types of video marketing films: Brand Films, Content Marketing & Social Media Films. We’re gonna save Course Films for the future, as this is a whole separate category of films that could grow your brand- less marketing and more a whole new revenue stream. So stay tuned 😉, and for now enjoy this video! If you find it helpful, make sure to like, subscribe to our channel and share with your friends!