Happy Birthday, Creative Video of Washington!

This week in September 1981, Kirby Whyte founded Creative Video of Washington.  He saw video as the new media future for conferences and special events.   Kirby left Jack Morton Productions and their multimedia slide presentations to bring video production to corporate and association conferences.

CVW President Kirby Whyte and a few of our awards & commendations.

CVW President Kirby Whyte and a few of our awards & commendations.

32 years later,  CVW is an award-winning video producer for live events, conferences and seminars, special events, video marketing, media and educational training.

What can CVW do for you?

Quality, Value and Service since 1981.

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Tips for Managing Event Content, Part II

By Kristen Westphal, Creative Video Editor/Producer

Continued from Part I,

4. Backup, backup, backup!!! Technology sometimes fails us through no fault of our own. To ensure you aren’t pulling out your hair at the event because you just broke the DVD with all of the content on it, make backups and bring copies. I have at my office over 30 hardrives ranging from 500 GB to 8TB drives, because I always backup most of the projects and footage I am currently working on. backup pic 1-1I also send at least two copies of the DVDs and blu rays to events as well as keep yet a additional copy with me in case something happens. You don’t have to be as crazy as me, but still have a backup in case something goes wrong. Nine times out of ten, nothing goes wrong and you would think you just wasted time and energy on something you didn’t even use. But that one time something does go wrong, you are going to be thankful you took the precaution and brought a backup. It’s a editor’s worst nightmare to get a call at 8pm, ten minutes before a event, from someone panicking because they just broke their DVD and don’t have a backup.
5. Make a list and check it twice. Anytime I have more than one video and multiple graphics, I make a list of everything I create for an event, where or what it is on (Hardrive, Dvd, Blu-ray), what format it is, and what the backup is. You don’t necessarily need this detailed of a list, but you do need a list of all of the content and then be sure to double check to make sure you have everything before the event. It would be a shame to do all of this preparation and then get to the event and be missing a video. Also, making a list and having copies help others know what material is going to be in the event, such as your A/V technician.
6. My last tip is: be ready for anything. Often my job is to create the content before the event and then give it to the A/V technician for the event. Sometimes the event is across the country and I have to trust that after I give them the content that nothing will be further needed from me. That’s not always the case. There have been times where they get to the convention and the client decides they want to change something. I have also had times where speakers have suddenly shown up with new videos that I have to quickly convert into the correct format. You have to always be ready to adapt. What if the DVD player doesn’t work? Have the video as a file that you can play off a computer. What if the PowerPoint presentation isn’t working? Have the slides as jpegs. What if they need to add a slide to the presentation you created but it needs to match the rest? Give them a template PowerPoint slide so they can create as many slides at the event as they need as well as all the individual elements such as logos. I have tried to think of all of the outcomes, of everything that can go wrong, but you can’t always predict the future. The best you can do is be prepared and when something does go wrong, don’t panic.

Those are just a few tips that I think can help anyone who is planning to have Audio/Visual material at an event. Now, if you are hiring a separate company to prepare all of the A/V material for you then they should already know how best to prepare for a event.  If you are the one handling the material and then showing up at the event to hand over the material to the Audio/Visual technician, I definitely recommend following these useful tips to help ensure everything runs smoothly.

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Tips for Managing Content for an Event, Part I

By Kristen Westphal, Creative Video Editor/Producer

            Its no secret that there is a lot of planning and preparation for an event, whether it’s a convention, a conference, an awards banquet, or even a corporate meeting.  And this includes the Audio/Visual side of the event.  Working as the editor and content manager for Creative Video of Washington has given me a lot of experience in handling a variety of material for all kinds of events.  It doesn’t matter if its only two videos for a conference of fifty people or a week long convention with hundreds of graphics and multiple videos, proper planning and preparation is essential to ensuring a successful event.

If you have Audio/Visual material including graphics, videos, or music, here are a few helpful tips that can help make sure everything runs smoothly at your event:

  1. Know Your Format!  If you are showing Audio/Visual material, chances are you are either using a projector with a screen or television.  Sometimes you hire an outside A/V vendor to set up and run the equipment and other times you are simply using the location’s A/V materials.  Either way, you should know what the aspect ratio of the screens or displays are.  If you don’t know, simply ask the A/V vendor. If you are unsure what the aspect ratio is Creative Video of Washington has some nice videos explaining what aspect ratio means as well as how to tell what aspect ratio your video/graphics are.    Another important format to know is whether your displays or projectors are HD or SD?  Although High Definition material will look great on both a HD projector or SD projector, this is not the same case for SD material. (See our blog post High Definition vs. Standard Definition).
  2. Know your aspect ration and resolution. The aspect ratio and resolution of the displays should not be discovered at the event.  Both the aspect ratio and whether it is HD or SD should be known before creating graphics and videos for the event.  If you have speakers, it is also nice to let them know the format so they can create their own content to best match the screens.
  3. Aspect RatiosBlogcast Episode 20: Know Your Aspect Ratio from Creative Video on Vimeo.

     

  4. Test your material.  As an editor, after I finalize a video or DVD for an event, I always test it and watch it all the way through to make sure there is nothing wrong with the video.  This has helped me catch disks that skipped or were scratched before I sent them off to the event. One of the worst things that can happen during an event is to be 3 minutes into a ten-minute video and have it freeze. Or for the disk not to even work at the event.  That is why you test the material before the event.  If possible, it’s best to test the videos/graphics at the event as well to see what they look like on the screens and what they sound like over the speakers.  This is not always possible, as a lot of events simply don’t have time to test everything before the event.  It can however save you any surprises during the actual event.  Depending on the audio/visual vendor, they may ask for the material before the day of the event to test it on their systems to make sure it plays correctly on their equipment. This is not always an option if you are using the in house audio/visual equipment at a convention center or hotel.
  5. Keep the right people informed.  If you have material to be played or projected during the event, let the right people know.  This will most likely be the A/V technician, floor manager, lighting director, sound operator, and show producer, but may include others depending on your event.  This helps ensure everyone is on the same page.  Make sure to let your Audio/Visual vendor know BEFORE the event what material you have and the format.  This is to make sure they have everything they need to play your material.  Don’t assume they will have what you need.  Tell them! Its also good idea to know whether your presenters have PowerPoints, Prezi, or Keynote presentations to further ensure your Audio/Visual technician has what they need to play the individual presentations.

Check back for Part II.

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Special BLOGcast: Green Screens Explained

Superman & Weathermen

Cost Effective Studio Production                                                              

Shooting on location with the proper lighting, sound, and camera angle can be an expensive production, but modern technology has Screen Shot 2013-07-11 at 3.03.19 PMsaved us time and money by introducing chroma keying, or green screening. Green Screening is the post production technique where a specific color in the shot, most commonly green or blue, is keyed out and replaced by an image, video or graphic.   A subject is filmed in front of a portable, green screen and a video engineer is able to replace the green with any other visual allowing the subject to look as if they are anywhere but standing in front of a screen in a studio. The possibilities are endless once the shot has been processed by editing software!  You simply tell the software which colour to make transparent, set a few parameters and define a new background image or video.  Every time you watch the local weather station, you are seeing chroma keying in action.superman

Although the technique has revolutionized film and video production, there are important guildlines to follow in order to avoid error in the post-production process.  By keying out the designated colour, one must remember that the colour will be replaced throughout the entirety of the shot; not just the background.  Green and blue screens are most commonly used because they do not conflict with any flesh tones, however clothes can certainly contain either color.  The distinction between costuming and chromakeying can be seen as a predominant factor in the first Superman movies starring Christopher Reeve. Superman’s very blue suit required him to be filmed in front of one of the first green screen backdrops, rather than a blue screen. Screen Shot 2013-07-11 at 3.02.34 PM

Whether you are using a blue or green screen, keeping the color as uniformly lit as possible on the set makes the post-production work much easier.  Green screens typically require less light to properly illuminate, but the key is to ensure that there are no shadows or overly lit areas of the shot.

Green Screening is not only cost and time effective, but it creates flexibility, portablitity, and consistency that provide umlimited possiblities for creativity in the post-production process.  If you are interested in using a green screen, but lack the capabilities yourself, Creative Video of Washington has their own chroma key green studio and would be more than happy to shoot and edit your video. To learn more on the process of green screening, check out our BLOGcast below. Be sure to think of Creative Video for all your live event and video production needs.

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CVW Unveils the Future of HD Multi-Camera Switching: Easier, Faster, and Less Expensive Production

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Creative Video of Washington’s Broadcast Pix “Elite” switcher package combines all of the best equipment on the market making any production easier, faster and much less expensive! The switcher boasts 11 inputs and 8 independent outputs that bring the production to its fullest potential.  In addition to external outputs, the Pix also has an internal clip- store, providing instantaneous playback of QuickTime Pro-Res clips, eliminating the need for additional playback devices.  The Pix also offers a built in Chyron character generator that can transform a normal production into a live event that viewers will walk away talking about!

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On a recent convention, the Broadcast Pix Elite, not only switched the two HD cameras, it also replaced the playback decks, the computer for still stores and a stand alone chyron character generator.  Best of all, it was able to be run by only our Tech Director, replacing three additional technicians.  Saves money, simplifies work load and makes the process of running a show so much easier.

The “Elite” switcher package includes Sony HXC100 studio configured cameras. These native 1080 I cameras are the best studio HD cameras on the market, adding eye-popping images that leave you speechless.

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When we combine the “Elite” switcher package with CVW’s AJA Ki- Pro rack hard drive recorders, the event will live on forever. The data is recorded as QuickTime Propress files making editing easier, quicker and less expensive.  CVW is equipped with the latest and most superior production tools and ready to perform any job at hand!
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CVW Kicks Off the 2013 AFI DOCS Film Festival: Summertime Outdoor Screening in DuPont Circle

Dupont 2The Creative Video of Washington team kicked off the 2013 summer for AFI Docs by providing the outdoor projection and sound for the premiere screening of Truth in 24 II: Every Second Counts. The DuPont Circle show, sponsored by Audi, was held in the heart of Washington, to market the beginning of the June 19-23 film festival honoring the bestDownloadedFile new documentaries. The outdoor screening of Audi’s 10th victory at the 2011 24 Hours of LeMans was an exciting, adrenaline-filled high definition film for all the auto fans, while surrounded by cars circling DuPont Circle.

Now in its 11th year, the American Film Institute festival serves as a promotion for independent documentaries, and gives international filmmakers access to US audiences. AFI DOCS brings the best new documentaries to Washington, DC area audiences, showcasing 53 films representing 30 countries. In 2013, the film festival was renamed and expanded to include venues on the National Mall and the Penn Quarter neighborhood of Washington DC and at the AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center in Silver Spring, Maryland.

For more info on the Festival and the documentaries visit AFI Docs

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Bradley Prize Awards: Ten Years with CVW

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For the 10th year, Creative Video of Washington provides the video support for the 2013 Bradley Prize Awards. The Bradley Prize Awards sponsored by the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation were held June 12th at the John F. Kennedy Center in Washington, DC. The Foundation is a private philanthropic fund dedicated to promoting “American democratic capitalism.” Over the past decade, the Wisconsin-based Bradley Foundation has given away more than $400 million to fund conservative causes. The 2013 recipients of the $250,000 prize were Fox News CEO Roger Ailes, former Indiana Republican Gov. Mitch Daniels, lawyer and former George W. Bush Solicitor-General Paul Clement, and National Affairs editor Yuval Levin.

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The Creative Video team provided the large screen projections for the event as well as the slide presentation and widescreen camera operation. CVW has been working with the foundation for the Bradley Prize Awards since it started in 2004 and are happy to be of service to one of the nation’s largest individual philanthropic awards.

For more behind the scene pictures visit our CVW Flickr!.

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CVW Vice President, Matt Eidemiller, and Editor, Kristen Westphal, working projections behind the scenes

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Jason Vaughn: New Senior Event Producer for CVW

Creative Video of Washington welcomes back Jason Vaughn as the Senior Event Producer and Engineer in June 2013. This is actually Jason’s second tour of duty with Creative Video as he also served as the lead Producer, Director and Engineer from 2002-2006. In Vaughn’s new role he will also work to develop new leads and revenue streams as well as expand the business north to his home territory of Baltimore, MD.image
Jason graduated from Salisbury (State) University in 2000 with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Communication Arts. While at SU, Vaughn served as President of SU-TV, the student run television station and launched 3SN, the Salisbury State Sports Network that televised 30 plus sporting events and concerts during his tenure. Upon graduation, Jason was hired as the Technical Production Coordinator for SU’s Television Services Department where he handled engineering and production as well as serving as an advisor for SU-TV and camera operator/producer for Access 26, Salisbury’s public access station.
Vaughn joined Creative Video in 2002 as the lead Producer and Director, engineering all of CVW’s live events and productions till 2006. In the summer of 2006, Jason left CVW to move back to Baltimore where he spent a year working as a freelance grip and engineer, most notably on movies such as Evan Almighty and TV pilots and national commercials.
In March 2007, Jason was hired by the Aberdeen IronBirds, short season A affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles to serve as it’s Video Production and Game Entertainment Manager. With the IronBirds, Vaughn managed a team of 45 seasonal interns and employees as the IronBirds had one of the top video production and entertainment departments in MILB. They broadcast all 38 home games as well as produced multiple video displays in stadium. Jason’s day-to-day duties also included overseeing pressbox operations, mascot and player bookings, media relations, in-game entertainment, fireworks and radio broadcasting as well as serving as the liaison between the Orioles and IronBirds. Vaughn also managed all audiovisual production for the Ripken Baseball parent company and Tufton Events, including video marketing and special events. He managed Left Field Productions, Ripken Baseball’s Video Production Company from 2007-2010. LFP served Ripken Baseball clients and the local communities video production needs. In addition Vaughn filled the role of Broadcasting and Pressbox Director for the Cal Ripken World Series, a nationally televised international youth baseball tournament, held each summer in Aberdeen, MD.

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Jason Vaughn: New Senior Event Producer for CVW

Creative Video of Washington welcomes back Jason Vaughn as the Senior Event Producer and Engineer in June 2013. This is actually Jason’s second tour of duty with Creative Video as he also served as the lead Producer, Director and Engineer from 2002-2006. In Vaughn’s new role he will also work to develop new leads and revenue streams as well as expand the business north to his home territory of Baltimore, MD.image
Jason graduated from Salisbury (State) University in 2000 with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Communication Arts. While at SU, Vaughn served as President of SU-TV, the student run television station and launched 3SN, the Salisbury State Sports Network that televised 30 plus sporting events and concerts during his tenure. Upon graduation, Jason was hired as the Technical Production Coordinator for SU’s Television Services Department where he handled engineering and production as well as serving as an advisor for SU-TV and camera operator/producer for Access 26, Salisbury’s public access station.
Vaughn joined Creative Video in 2002 as the lead Producer and Director, engineering all of CVW’s live events and productions till 2006. In the summer of 2006, Jason left CVW to move back to Baltimore where he spent a year working as a freelance grip and engineer, most notably on movies such as Evan Almighty and TV pilots and national commercials.
In March 2007, Jason was hired by the Aberdeen IronBirds, short season A affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles to serve as it’s Video Production and Game Entertainment Manager. With the IronBirds, Vaughn managed a team of 45 seasonal interns and employees as the IronBirds had one of the top video production and entertainment departments in MILB. They broadcast all 38 home games as well as produced multiple video displays in stadium. Jason’s day-to-day duties also included overseeing pressbox operations, mascot and player bookings, media relations, in-game entertainment, fireworks and radio broadcasting as well as serving as the liaison between the Orioles and IronBirds. Vaughn also managed all audiovisual production for the Ripken Baseball parent company and Tufton Events, including video marketing and special events. He managed Left Field Productions, Ripken Baseball’s Video Production Company from 2007-2010. LFP served Ripken Baseball clients and the local communities video production needs. In addition Vaughn filled the role of Broadcasting and Pressbox Director for the Cal Ripken World Series, a nationally televised international youth baseball tournament, held each summer in Aberdeen, MD.

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