Søren’s Story

For the past six months we’ve been capturing Søren and his beautiful family to help tell their story. The final film will be over 20 minutes long, so we’ve decided to break into six short videos, which we’re sharing every Friday. They’ll be added here as we go, so stay tuned to learn more about his incredibly inspiring journey.



Sharing Your Films: IGTV

Last month we posted on the blog how to share your films on Instagram. This tutorial was just for sharing films as an actual post, with the downside of limiting users to films that are shorter than 60 seconds. This month we’re going to take a look at how you can use IGTV (or Instagram TV) to share your business films that are longer than 60 seconds, without requiring users to navigate using tricky links in your profile.

STEP 1: Get them onto your phone

In order to share a video clip on Instagram, you first have to have it on your phone.  When we share final films with clients we share via both Vimeo (link to where we’ve hosted it on our Vimeo channel) and Dropbox. So we recommend using the Dropbox app on your phone to get the films to your phone.

When you open your Dropbox app you can view files in various forms (see the bottom of this screenshot), but once you’ve accessed the folder we’ve shared (which we always title ‘Final BDLB Films’) you’ll see your films there.

STEP 2: Resize the Image

IG TV will try to crop your video to fit their screen, which is not the proportions that most professional videos are made in. So the next step is to use a third-party app that can resize for you. There’s lots of options to do this with, but the one we found (for FREE!) that does this pretty easily is InShot.

Once you’ve downloaded the app, go ahead and open it up. Then you’ll want to select Create New Video. From there you’ll select ‘New’ and you’ll be able to select the film on your phone which has been downloaded from Dropbox.

Once you have the film opened you’ll want to do two things.

RESIZE: This will create the correct proportions so that IGTV does not crop your video to fit the iPhone screen. 

Select ‘Canvas’ at the bottom of the screen, then select the option shown below. Then click the check mark and it will take you back to the main menu.

Then you’ll want to CHANGE THE BACKGROUND. If you don’t do this, it might give you a weird colored background or have the film playing in the background as well. This is super confusing to watch, and not aesthetically pleasing.

Select the menu option that says BG (this means Background) and from here you can select a color. We prefer black because it’s cleaner, but you can choose most colors here.


Once you click the checkmark you’re all done, and the last step here is to save to your phone. Choose the Export icon at the top right, then select SAVE.

OKAY! Now your video is resized and ready to share on IGTV!

STEP 3: Open up your IGTV channel and add your video.

When you open up Instagram, to post to IGTV you now have to open up your IGTV channel. You can do this by selecting the IGTV icon in the top right of your home screen.

Once you do this, you then click the + symbol to add a video to your channel.

STEP 4: Select a cover image

This step won’t matter as much to everyone, but IS really important when you are also sharing a preview to your feed (which I recommend). This cover image will be the permanent image that shows up on your grid, and as you can see below is noted only by an IGTV logo in the top right. If you don’t strategically select this, it might show up as black or as a cropped image they choose.

It will also show up permanently on your IGTV channel page as you can see here.

You’ll notice one mistake I made when we first started adding videos… (look at the cover image in the bottom left). They will give you the option to select an image from the film, (which is definitely easier since you can just scroll across and pick one you like) BUT it will appear cropped rather than fill the screen. While for the actual film you do want this effect because it gives you the correct proportions, for a cover image you want it to fill the screen and not have black bars on the top and bottom.


So I recommend using an actual photo, which you an add by selecting the image button to the right of the scroller. We usually pull a screen shot from the film that we like, or an image related to that particular project and upload here.

STEP 5: Create a title.

This seems like an easy last step, but there’s one important thing to note here. If you’re posting a preview on IG (which we recommend), this title becomes your caption. So while this doesn’t seem intuitive, create this title as if it’s the caption that will show up on IG (because it is). There is a word limit, and we haven’t figured out a way around this yet, so we’ve found ourselves pretty limited with what appears on the feed. As a result we’ve added hashtags in the comments, as well as additional context.

Make sure you’ve turned the toggle switch ON for ‘Post a Preview on IG’. We turn the toggle OFF for posting on Facebook, because we prefer to upload directly to that platform (for reasons discussed in the post ‘Sharing Your Films: Facebook‘).


And that’s all! You’ve now uploaded your first IGTV video!


Sharing Your Films: Facebook

So you’ve just received your films… what now??? This blog post is all about helping you take your new films (brand and/or social media films) and sharing them with the world!

Facebook, like many social media platforms, likes people to exclusively use what they’ve created. While you can share your films using a link from another platform like Vimeo or YouTube (this option is definitely easier) Facebook will punish you by requiring viewers to click the link and then navigating them to a different page. Plus, this will also impact the algorithm and the likelihood the people will see your post.

So for businesses, I also recommend uploading your film directly to Facebook. The directions below will help make this a bit easier!

STEP 1: Make sure you have access to the original file. 

We share our films with clients through both a Vimeo link as well as a link to their folder on Dropbox, which contains the original file. You can download from there in order to upload to Facebook. Once you have the original file located in a file on your computer, you can proceed!

STEP 2: Upload video file

When you’re on your home page on Facebook, you’ll select the ‘Photo/Video’ at the bottom of the text box.

Then select ‘Upload Video’, and find your video file wherever you’ve stored it and begin upload.

STEP 3: Add video details

Depending on internet speed the upload can take a while, but while it’s uploading you can begin to add your video details. These details, such as Title, Description and Tags all tell viewers what it’s about, and help it to show up in searches. You can also create playlists on Facebook (this is especially helpful for those who are adding lots of videos over time), and you can select the appropriate playlist here.

STEP 4: Select Thumbnail

The thumbnail image is what will appear as a static image when people are scrolling through Facebook. Facebook will auto-generate options for this, but you can also upload a photo or any other image you want there. If you don’t want to use one they’ve suggested, just click ‘Custom Image’ and upload from your computer.

STEP 5: Add subtitles/captions

Next, you have the option of adding subtitles/captions. This is especially helpful because lots of people scroll Facebook on their phones while in public spaces, and will only watch with the sound of. This option allows it to be viewed by more people. I haven’t done this a ton, so I’m not sure how accurate their auto-generated subtitles are, but if you have the time and a desire for accuracy you can also add your own.

STEP 6: Publish

Now in order to publish you have to select exactly where you want it to be published and when. This next page will give you a variety of options, and as soon as you select your preferences you’re finished and ready to share with the world!



Sharing Your Films: Instagram

So you’ve just received your films… what now??? This blog post is all about helping you take your new films (brand and/or social media films) and share them with the world!

STEP 1: Get them onto your phone

In order to share a video clip on Instagram, you first have to have it on your phone.  When we share final films with clients we share via both Vimeo (link to where we’ve hosted it on our Vimeo channel) and Dropbox. So we recommend using the Dropbox app on your phone to get the films to your phone.

When you open your Dropbox app you can view files in various forms (see the bottom of this screenshot), but once you’ve accessed the folder we’ve shared (which we always title ‘Final BDLB Films’) you’ll see your films there.

Once you click on the film, the next step is to select to DOWNLOAD. You can do this using the ‘Save’ icon in the top right corner (see the green circle in this screenshot).

Select ‘Save Video’ and it will begin exporting to your Photos app on your phone. Note, this may take awhile. And sometimes, it will save your Export failed. It does this to me all the time, and I find the odds go up of a successful export when I leave the app open while exporting.

Once it finishes, open your Photos app and you will see the video (see screenshot below, and please do not judge the number of #tobsteroven photos currently on the phone).

STEP 2: Upload to Instagram

Next, you’ll open up your Instagram app and click the post button (bottom of the center, looks like a plus symbol). You’ll then select the video from your Photos and it will appear like this.


STEP 3: Undo Crop

When Instagram adds a video to a post it tries to crop it into a square. This might work for personal videos, but for a professionally made film it’ll throw off the composition of the film, and often crop out important part of the visuals. But no worries! This is a super easy fix. All you need to do is click the two arrow button in the bottom left and it will undo the crop.

With crop


Once you remove the crop.

STEP 4: Choose a cover image.

Once you post a video to your Instagram it will then become a permanent part of your ‘grid’. This is the visual aesthetics that someone sees when they first go to your profile… take a look at our grid below to see what I’m talking about.

To some people their grid doesn’t really matter at all, especially if they’re using Instagram just for personal use. For businesses, however, this can be important. Your grid is your visual brand identity, and especially for visual artists this is a form of portfolio. For these reasons, selecting a cover image is an important part of the process. If you don’t select one, Instagram will pick for you, and if there’s a fade at the beginning or end of the film this might just be a black screen.

But again, no worries! Super easy fix. Just select ‘Cover’ in the bottom right of the second screen and you’ll then be able to scroll through the film to select any frame you’d like as the cover image.

STEP 5: Please don’t use a filter…

I know filters are super fun to use (trust me, I use them on my personal Instagram all the time!), but it’s a little trickier when it’s a film made professionally by a videographer (or a photo taken professionally by a photographer). Color and exposure are two things we obsess about in the editing process, and we can sometimes spend hours getting them just right. A way that’s both true to life and true to our artistic style.

Instagram has made it super easy to undo all that with just the click of a button, and to allow others to share work of an artist that isn’t truly representative of their style or skill.  We know that when it does happen it’s with good intentions, which is why we like to share exactly why this can be so hard for photographers and videographers who create work for you.


STEP 6: Create a caption and hashtags

The last step! You’re almost all the way there, and the last step is to write a caption, add hashtags (where helpful) and share!

BDLB Education

As many of you may already know, but many more might not, my background before video production was in education. I taught middle school and high school, and then went on to coach teachers in a K-8 charter school here in Durham.

My heart, and a lot of my professional skills, remain in the world of education, so it probably shouldn’t have been unexpected when a past client gave us the (very helpful) feedback that we needed to share this more with potential clients.

So while we’re never very good at making films for our own business, we’re excited to share OUR newest promo film, spotlighting our expertise in schools and with education organizations. Hope you enjoy (especially the throwback pictures and my awesome teacher outfits…)! 😬👍🏻😁

Case Study: Fairview Garden Center

End Products: 3-5 minute Brand Story Film* and Instructional Videos for Content Marketing**


What made this project special/unique

Fairview Garden Center has the most heartfelt story behind their store, and I loved getting to know the main characters. I won’t give away all the details (you’ll have to watch the film to see for yourself), but anytime a business has a good story that we can help bring to life through video, we’re in our happy place. Because at the end of the day, marketing films are infinitely more compelling when they’re telling a story behind your business, rather than just outright marketing what you do, why people love you, and why others should come spend money there.


In addition, we LOVED venturing into the world of Video Content Marketing for the first time when working with them. In addition to their Brand Story Film, we helped them create useful, informative content for their email newsletters and social media. This included container garden recipes, tips for different kinds of pruning, and planting in clay soil. Again, rather than straightforward marketing you’re creating and distributing content that’s genuinely useful to your current and potential customers. In this case, as a gardening center it made sense to create films that would help support homeowners with some of their most basic questions. We’re including two examples below for you to take a look at the kind of content they’re putting out for their customers and anyone else its helpful for!


Brand Story Film

Planting in Clay


Container Garden Recipe

*Brand Story Films are 2-3 minutes in length, include up to four interviews (with the main character as well as supporting characters), and an additional half day shoot to capture visuals. The goal of a Brand Story Film is to tell one story of your business in a compelling way that will connect with your ideal clients and inspire them to action.


**Video Content Marketing is providing video content that is useful to your ideal clients and gives them reasons to connect regularly with your business and your brand. It isn’t about explicitly marketing your business so much as it’s about providing resources that help your clients do things in their everyday life, which may or may not require them to shop at your business J


Instabrand + Social Media

In November of 2017 we launched our Instabrand Films. It came from a realization that our signature brand films (what we call a Brand Story Film), wasn’t a perfect fit for smaller, newer businesses, often with only 1 employee.

SO, we created a film just for them. We took away all the frills, cut back on the shooting time, and made a shorter version of the film (60-90 seconds). This also allowed us to cut back significantly on the investment, making it more attainable for a new business who can benefit the most. Let’s take a look side by side…

Social Media Films

Regardless of whether you invest in a Brand Story Film or an Instabrand, you always have the option of adding on ‘Social Media Films’. We find that when we’re sitting you down for an interview we live with way more good content than we can use in a short 60 second-3 minute film. Yet what is left behind on the editing room floor is often good content; just not the right content for your brand film. So a couple years ago we started creating add-on films that are short and pulled directly from your interview (or interviews with your employees/clients. It helps you get the most bang for your buck when you’re already taking the time to capture you business on film. Don’t believe me? Here’s what one of our clients had to say about it…

But enough from me. Time to see an example! Below I’m sharing with you an Instabrand Film we made for Early Bird Photo last year, and then two examples of social media films we made from interview content that didn’t make the final film.



2019 Oscars: How Bohemian Rhapsody Epitomizes Hollywood in 2019

Written by Tyler Schwartz

With the Academy Awards approaching, I’ve been doing my best to catch up on the nominated movies of the year. I’ve now watched all eight films nominated for Best Picture. It’s a scattered field that provides a good litmus test for the industry at large. We have the first comic book nominee ever (Black Panther, deservedly so), the first Netflix nominee (Roma,also deserving), a definitive cinematic version of A Star is Born (starring Lady GaGa’s nose and Sam Elliott’s voice), the most nominated Spike Lee movie ever (finally the Academy Did The Right Thing), Christian Bale playing an evil Dick (and somehow becoming more likable as an actor), a race relations film directed by the man who brought us Dumb and Dumber (Green Book, destined to fade and join Crashand Driving Miss Daisyas divisive movies about the “black experience” made by “white filmmakers”), and the strangest nominee of the field, the proudly fierce and feminine The Favourite(featuring some of the best written female characters of the past decade). Yet despite the many pleasures of this lineup, the film I find myself thinking the most about is the final nominee I haven’t mentioned. Maybe you’ve heard of it. It’s called Bohemian Rhapsody.

Let’s get this out of the way first. Bohemian Rhapsodyisn’t a badmovie. No film that features a performance on the level of Rami Malek’s as Freddie Mercury can be classified as all out garbage. Malek (like his predecessors in the music biopic genre Joaquin Phoenix as Johnny Cash and Jamie Foxx as Ray Charles) is amazing in the film, completely absorbing himself in the role from bedazzled head to toe. But putting Malek’s performance aside, Bohemian Rhapsodyisn’t good either. It’s shot like a TV movie. It’s factually incorrect. It shys away from the more obscene aspects of Freddie’s life. If you take away Queen’s music (what monster doesn’t like “Don’t Stop Me Now”?) and Malek’s performance, this turns into a bad movie really quick. So how the hell did this movie get nominated for Best Picture? For starters, it was a BIG hit. Currently sitting at 817.6 million dollars at the worldwide box office, it’s the 7th highest grossing film of the year, earning more money than tentpole films like Mission Impossible – Fallout and Deadpool 2. To put that number in another perspective, that’s over double what Solo – A Star Wars Story made. Think about that! A Freddie Mercury biopic made doubled the money of a Han Solo biopic! That’s a testament to both the lasting impact of Queen’s music and the iconic persona of Mercury. Whether Bohemian Rhapsody is actually good or bad doesn’t matter. It’s a success story, the kind we don’t see enough in Hollywood these days. If the story ended here, everything would be fine, it’s not the first time an iconic performance combined with uplifting material has lifted an otherwise subpar movie to a Best Picture nom (I’m looking at you The Blind Side). But unfortunately that’s not where the story ends. Not even close. Because Bohemian Rhapsody was directed by an accused sexual assaulter named Bryan Singer.


If you haven’t heard the details of Bryan Singer’s sordid past, I’ll leave that to your own personal Google browser (start with an article in The Atlantic called “Nobody Is Going To Believe You”).What I will say is that the evidence presented clearly outlines Mr. Singer as a longtime sexual predator of underage men. And yet even with this evidence and the fact that Singer was fired off the film with three weeks left of principal photography, he still received sole directing credit. In fact, it was recently reported that with the movie’s success, Singer stands to earn nearly 40 million dollars for directing the film (with his mounting legal fees he’s gonna need it). If this bothers you (like it does me) you’re not alone. The backlash to the film has been swift and vicious. GLAAD who originally praised the film upon its release, recently failed to nominate it for a single award (not even Rami Malek) at the GLAAD Media Awards. They released a statement saying “…the legacy of Freddy Mercury deserves so much more than to be tainted in this way.” Critics who originally derided the film for not embracing Mercury’s sexuality (RogerEbert.com described the film as “phobic”) are now piling on, all decrying the film as a disgrace to both Queen, Mercury,  and the film industry as a whole. To put it in a way that Queen fans can understand, Another One Bites The Dust. Except Bryan Singer’s not going anywhere. At least not yet. He recently signed on to direct Red Sonja, a comic book adaptation about a female warrior with a backstory of brutal sexual assault. He’s reportedly being paid 10 million dollars. When will the hammer fall?


This unfortunately is representative of the times we are living in. People can write exposes and scathing reviews, but the man is still getting work. But, think about it, of course he is, his most recent film just made more money than Star Wars. This is the paradox of the movie industry in 2019. On the eve of their biggest night of the year, Hollywood is consumed with talking about Bohemian Rhapsody: a film about a gay icon, that’s been disavowed by gay organizations, that’s made more money than Han Solo, that’s directed by an accused rapist still working in the industry, that’s nominated for Best Picture. Read that sentence over a couple times. Welcome to Hollywood in 2019.


Oscar Predictions


Best Picture: BlacKKKlansman

Actor: Rami Malek

Actress: Glenn Close

Best Supporting Actor: Sam Elliott

Supporting Actress: Regina Hall

Director: Alfonso Cuaron

Original Screenplay: The Favourite

Adapted Screenplay: BlacKKKlansman

Cinematography: Roma

Editing: Vice

BDLB Travel: AirBNB

For those of you following along on social media, you likely already know that last fall/winter was full of travel. The mountains of North Carolina, the Czech Republic, Japan, and back to the mountains. I LOVE traveling, so much so that I had to institute a travel ban for this winter to catch back up on life. Yet I still somehow found myself booking trips to Key Largo (for a retreat), Scottsdale (for a wedding) and Maine (for family)…

And after a month full of travel I looked back and realized how much of that travel was impacted by AirBNB. I’ve been a host for a little over three years now, both a room in my house here in Durham and the Cozy Cabin out west in Boone, but I also use it every time I travel. I can’t remember the last time I stayed at a proper hotel, and their recent addition of ‘Experiences‘ has certainly added some cool adventures to my last couple of trips.

So earlier this month we decided to create what we call an anthem film sharing my personal experiences with AirBNB as both a host and traveler. To be clear, we were not paid by AirBNB to do this, I just love the brand and my experiences with it so much we decided to turn it into a passion project. Hope you enjoy!

BDLB Travel: Thanksgiving in Japan

This past Thanksgiving my Dad and I got to travel back to Japan, a place we called home when I was in middle school. While my Dad has been back since we moved home, this was my first visit in 20 years. It included stops to our old house and my old school, visits with some old family and middle school friends, and a new stop in Kyoto. Here’s a collection of some of the shots I captured along the way…



While in Tokyo I got to catch up with an old friend from middle school and take some family photos with her sweet little ones at the beautiful Grand Hyatt Christmas display!

My old school!

A new friend…

Our old house! Not really a house anymore…