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 ( 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…




Home Videos in the Digital Age: Camera Recommendations

This year’s #kidvideocountdown to Christas featured lots of embarrassing childhood performances, fashion shows and gymnastics routines, as well as a nose kazoo and a cute hamster. And along the way, the question I got asked most often was ‘Okay, you’ve sold me on home videos. But WHAT CAMERA SHOULD I BUY?!’

So as promised, here’s a look at our Top 5 cameras for home video. Once you look at the pros and cons of each type of camera, then it’s time to look at specific recommendations for camera models. Links to those can be found below 🙂


For each type of camera above, I’m including my recommendation below. And to be clear, this recommendation is for the purpose of HOME VIDEOS, so I’m prioritizing cost, durability, and size/weight rather than things like professional quality images.








Home Videos in the Digital Age

The #kidvideocountdown to Christmas is my favorite time of the year, mostly because digging through old family videos is officially considered ‘work’. Plus, it allows me to share my funny, embarrassing and sweet moments captured on home video as a way of reminding you guys out there the value of prioritizing home video for the sake of your future selves.

That said, I get really nervous in the digital age we’re living in that home videos will become a thing of the past. That Instastory and it’s wonderful archive function will be the closest we come to saving cute videos of our kids, and when they’re 30 they’ll have no way to look back on them. It seems the work of importing, organizing and backing up is a thing of the past where ‘the cloud’ has become our safety net.

But this time every year I’m back reminding you daily why you should make the time to not only capture, but also store and organize those precious family films.  Last year, to help with this mission, I created my first YouTube series focused on this topic to help with the how-to. I’m putting them in one nice, neat place this year to make it easier to share with our new followers this year.

STEP 1: Capturing

The Big Takeaways

  • Using a cell phone is fine!
  • BUT, when using a cell phone, FILM HORIZONTALLY
  • Film for extended periods of time.

STEP 2: Organizing

The Big Takeaways

  • Create a system
  • Get an external hard drive
  • Know where you’re backing it up!

STEP 3: Importing

The Big Takeaways

  • Do it regularly!
  • BACK. IT. UP.

BDLB Travel: The Prague Blog

I couldn’t resist.  For those of you who haven’t been to Prague, here’s why you should go!

FAVORITE THING I ATE: While I’m vegan 99% of the time stateside, when I travel it’s a different story. I realized early on in my veganism that traveling vegan is hard for two important reasons: 1) When traveling with someone non-vegan, it means I am constantly limiting our choices to only vegan restaurants, or restaurants with vegan options. I don’t mind doing this when meeting a friend for dinner, but when it comes to an extended amount of time traveling, I’d rather not impact their experience in such a big way. 2) It limits my own ability to experience the culture of the place and people, something that is definitely a priority when I’m visiting new places and countries.

All that said… Czech duck with dumplings and cabbage (their national dish) is THE BOMB. Night #1 was my favorite.

Second favorite food of choice? Trdlo, which means ‘chimney cake’ in Czech. Best done with whipped cream, strawberries & chocolate (NOT ice cream). That said, it’s a little challenging to eat…


FAVORITE THING I DRANK: PIVO!!! Prague is where I learned to like beer when I was a junior in college, and still one of my favorite things in the Czech Republic. When I lived there I discovered a monastery on top of the hill (near Prague Castle) called the Strahov Monastery, and they make my favorite beer in the whole city. And the best? Blueberry. Everyone in the states makes fun of my love for blueberry beer, but if the beer experts (monks in Prague) are making it, I must be onto something…

FAVORITE THING I SAW: The view from the Strahov Monastery. Not only is their beer amazing, but THIS VIEW. Best view in the whole city.


FAVORITE THING I DID: I’ve been a fan of AirBNB for years now, both as a traveler and as a host. But in the past year they’ve added AirBNB experiences, and this trip was my first chance to give them a try. David, a local Czech hockey fan, took a group of us to a hockey game where we got to be Slavia Praha fans for the evening. He brought us team scarves, provided tickets and even took us there via public transport so all we had to think about was how to order beer in Czech and the rules of the game. Hands down my favorite part of the trip, and I would HIGHLY recommend checking out their experiences the next time you travel!

All the other good stuff…