Category: Blog

A Snippet of the EMSDC–A Recent Production

The Eastern Minority Supplier Diversity Council, or EMSDC, is northeastern division of the National Minority Supplier Diversity Council, or NMSDC. They bridge the gap between large corporations and small, minority-owned businesses. Each year, the EMSDC hosts R.O.A.R. (Return on All Relationships) conferences throughout the region. They are large matchmaking conferences to connect major businesses with minority business owners. Each event features prominent success stories from minority speakers as well as information on how to grow their small businesses.

With Cut ‘N’ Run being minority-owned, we are a perfect fit for providing video and marketing services for all types of businesses within the EMSDC’s network of partners and sponsors.

Our last production with the EMSDC took place in Atlantic City, NJ. We created both photography and video content for their marketing campaigns, as well as a podcast featuring attendees and staff members of the EMSDC.

A Recent Production: Pittsburgh Job Corps

The Pittsburgh Job Corps needed a marketing campaign geared towards young adults looking to break into skilled trades and we were able to provide video content focused on recruiting new students. We used a Canon C200 accompanied by a 5D Mark III for our B cam to produce the content.

We recorded persons from all levels of the corps, ranging from students to staff. Shot entirely on location, our crew had to set up and strike multiple times throughout the day to shoot various scenes throughout the building. Some featured highlights included the carpentry and nursing departments.

Our video is now being prominently displayed on a large screen television they recently installed in a high-traffic public space on their campus. You can watch the video here: https://vimeo.com/354910036

Drones and the FAA Small UAS Rule

It’s a bird. It’s a plane. No, it’s a drone!

Drones are a hot topic, whether it’s the effectiveness and precision of military strikes, aerial photography/videography, mail delivery, or just ordinary consumer operations. For years, the FAA failed to issue appropriate regulations and guidelines for flying unmanned aircrafts in the United States.  An issue that delayed commercial drone usage for businesses and professionals. Prior to the Small UAS rule, a 333 Exemption was required to fly drones along with a traditional pilot license.  This created an impossible authorization process for those without a pilot license looking to solely operate drones.  In addition, those with traditional pilot licenses were forced to wait 5-7 months in order to obtain 333 Exemption.  The FAA finally addressed the these problems with the Small UAS Rule Part 107 which finally explains the requirements to fly a drone in the United States. Here are some of the highlights:

  • Don’t overdue your accessories.  The unit can only weigh 55 pounds.

  • You must be able to see your drone device at all times.

  • Airspace B, C, D, E require Air Traffic Controller approval.  Airspace G does not!
  • You cannot be in motion while operating a drone and you can only fly one at a time.

  • Must have a Remote Pilot Airman certification with Small UAS rating or be under the supervision of of someone with this certification.

Check your equipment before flying.  For more information and the full Small UAS part 107 visit https://www.faa.gov/uas/.

 

How Commercials Use Psychology to Win You Over

Most companies, brands, and commercial/marketing agencies are coming up with very unique ways to capture the attention of their audience through television commercials these days. I’m certain that you can recall specific commercials that stand out above the rest. Through the power of the rhetorical triangle, these branding techniques strategically market themselves to capture their intended audiences’ attention and create brand awareness.

What is the rhetorical triangle? It combines the elements of ethos (credibility and ethics), pathos (emotions and feelings), and logos (logic and reasoning) to influence a persuasive argument. Marketing agencies have long incorporated this ancient persuasive technique to get their message across very effectively.

It’s hard to find any commercial breaks without finding a brand or cause endorsed by a famous celebrity or role model. This is only one tactic of ethos. The brand rests assured in the hands of a trusted figure which helps force the viewer into a sense of trust and credibility. Think of the old Hanes commercials with Michael Jordan, or the popular Troy Polamalu (and now with the recent addition of NFL superstar quarterback Patrick Mahomes) Head & Shoulders commercials.

Doesn’t it feel more trustworthy when popular athletes with master hairdos suggest you try the hair product they’re endorsing?

The idea of pathos is to elicit emotions that will help sway the target audience or listener. One of the more powerful examples is the ASPCA commercial with sad and abused animals in shelters that need a good home while Sarah McLachlan’s “In the Arms of an Angel” plays. What’s sadder and more tear-jerking than that? Pathos can also be used in humorous ways, such as in cases of mistaken identity in Buick’s commercials. They feature people asking how they are going to fit in one model but the other actor stops them and shows them the right solution, a different model of their car.

Commercials that suggest a problem and then present a solution with their product or service are using the power of logos to push their message. This method of persuasion is more fact-based, scientific, and tangible. Lots of car companies are now advertising new safety features in their models because after all, isn’t safety everybody’s number one priority? Such examples incorporate a scenario where a distracted driver may be on a crash course but the car’s new safety feature kicks in, preventing the accident and potentially saving their life. Or, sticking with the car theme, Jeep is constantly pushing their message of superior capability compared to the rest of the competition.

These are just a few brief examples of how commercials use rhetoric to create persuasive advertisements to influence you to buy their products or services. The next time you watch T.V., pay attention to which method is being used in the commercials you watch. Knowing these tools will help you create a more convincing ad the next time you create a commercial, as well.

Understanding High Speed Sync (HSS)

If you have ever browsed studio strobes or even own a speedlite with the feature, you may have come across that term in its title, “high speed sync” or “hss”. Let’s take a minute to help you understand what that is and how to use it to your advantage.

Every camera has its own maximum sync speed, or the fastest shutter speed you can use while shooting an image with flash. If you exceed this shutter speed while shooting with flash, you will see a horizontal black bar covering up part or all of your image. When you take a photo, the first part of your shutter (first curtain) separates from the second, the sensor gets exposed for the amount of time that your shutter speed is set to, and the second curtain closes behind it. 
 
When you add flash to the mix, it can only properly expose the image up to your camera’s maximum sync speed. What happens then is you press the shutter release button, the first curtain opens, the flash then fires, and the second curtain closes. If your shutter speed is set too high (past the maximum synchronization speed), the second curtain will actually block part of the sensor as the flash is exposing the image. With high speed sync turned on, the flash pulses multiple times, exposing different parts of the image as the curtains fall. It happens too quickly for the human eye to see but the effect is surely noticeable.
 
You might be wondering how this happens if there are other lights in the room or scene. The unique thing about using flash photography is that it operates completely separately from continuous or ambient lighting. The two factors to keep in mind are that shutter speed affects only the ambient or continuous lighting in the exposure and your aperture affects the flash output. Experiment using different combinations and settings to find out what effects work best for your taste or needs. 
 
You are able to combine continuous light and strobe lights for particular effects. A great photographer to cite as an example is Nick Fancher. He is a master of using various combinations of gels, continuous lighting, and strobe lighting to create amazing works of art. 
 
As this was just a general overview of what it is and how it works, do some extra research to master this technique and create portfolio-quality work. Keep on shooting!

Voluntary Parting–What It Is and Why You Need to Know About It

Here at Cut ‘N’ Run Studios, we like to focus on our craft–creating and producing wonderful content for the world to enjoy. However, sometimes we come across some important issues that need addressed that aren’t as glamorous as the latest gear and cool techniques.

We had recently discovered an exclusion in our insurance policy that is called “voluntary parting“. While doing other research and contacting local production companies and rental houses, they reported back to us that their policies also include voluntary parting. So, what is it and what makes it post-worthy?
 
It is a clause or exclusion in most insurance policies, not just for production, that does not insure the damage or theft of the policy holder’s property. How it works is similar to how it is titled: you voluntarily part ways with your equipment, property, or even money in some instances. For example, a genuine-sounding person calls your studio and says they have a project coming up and need to rent equipment. You discuss details over the phone, schedule the meeting, and they even pay you. The day comes that they pick up their rented equipment and you send them on their way with your gear.
 
Time passes and something is missing from this transaction. Your gear. The customer never returned the gear or called to talk about anything. Sure, they paid some rental fees, but your rental prices are nowhere near the same cost as the actual items themselves. They pulled a fast one and stole your crucial money-making equipment.
 
Of course you don’t need to panic because you have insurance, right? Well, that’s the theory. You call your insurance company and they explain that you aren’t covered due to the voluntary parting exclusion in your policy. You then argue that you didn’t voluntarily ask them to borrow your equipment with no intention of returning it–that’s theft! They say that you should have done more research into your client and that even though you got duped, you aren’t covered.
 
Voluntary parting applies to monetary transactions, too. There have been a few articles posted throughout the internet with examples on times companies have gotten tricked by people with no help from their insurance companies due to the same exclusion in their policies. 
 
This is one way insurance companies try to protect themselves from fraud. They think that it might be too easy, citing the previous scenario as an example, for someone to “rent” their equipment to a friend, claim it as stolen, reap the benefits of insurance, only to have the friend return everything and you now have double what you started with. 
 
Similarly, that scenario is an increasing problem in the corporate business world. They call it “social engineering fraud”. In this case, someone poses as a trusted and reputable source within your own company or as a business partner requests money or goods only to prove that the transaction was fraudulent. This is also a form of voluntary parting due to that person sending money away willingly, rather than forcefully. 
 
Since this is a growing problem with an increasing number of claims, insurance companies are slowly beginning to offer protection against social engineering fraud, but it is very limited. We take our business very seriously and believe this is an inexcusable clause to be held by any insurance company or policy. We are advocating for the awareness of this insurance exclusion and making a change so we can be protected from scams, theft, and other fraudulence. Be share to spread the word and let this issue gain traction and attention from the masses.

Quick Thoughts On the New Canon EOS R System

As you may have heard, Canon just recently released its newest line of mirrorless camera systems known as the EOS R. I wanted to list my initial thoughts on the release and what it means for professionals and enthusiasts everywhere.

First off, if you are unfamiliar with the differences between a DSLR and a mirrorless camera, do some research to find out the key differences. They do not have a physical mirror that blocks the sensor from recording information until you press the shutter release button as you do in traditional DSLR systems. I won’t get into the details in this post but I encourage you to check them out to see what kind of system works best for your needs.

Within the past ten plus years, the most major players in the photography world have been Canon and Nikon and just recently Sony stepped up their game with their various “a” series mirrorless cameras. It is no secret that Sony got a lot of things right with their cameras which have caused long-time users of Nikon, Canon, and other companies to jump ship and switch to Sony. Both Canon and Nikon didn’t have a whole lot to offer in the means of mirrorless systems, especially not at a comparable level to what Sony could offer. Naturally, they had to do something or else they were going to fall behind–fast. 

Nikon and Canon both released new mirrorless systems which are now capable of competing with what Sony has been doing for years. Since we primarily shoot with Canon cameras in house and rent higher-end cameras with the EF mount, I will be discussing my thoughts on Canon’s EOS R system. With it being so new and unavailable to most of the public right now, it is hard to really say how it performs using a hands-on test. On paper, however, it appears that there is a lot to love.

For starters, let’s just talk about the price. The body alone is listed at $2,299 USD. Compared to another one of Canon’s recent and great cameras, the 5D Mark IV, it’s nearly a thousand dollars less. That’s also less than one some of Sony’s flagship cameras such as the Alpha a7R III ($2,998) and also their a9 (+$4,000). They all share similarities but again, not to deviate far from the subject, I want to focus on Canon here. 

 Boasting a 30.3MP sensor, the EOS R is small and mighty. One huge feature is that it is full-frame where one of Canon’s predecessor mirrorless cameras, the EOS M, has a cropped sensor. The sensor technology is more advanced too, giving more processing speed and power, allowing for more burst photos without reaching the buffer. Another huge improvement over its predecessors is that it shoots at a 4K resolution at various frame rates between 23.98 to 29.97 fps, and can also shoot up to 120 fps but at a 720p resolution. Similar to the 

Video shooters can rejoice that it now offers internal stabilization, something that Sony’s cameras have been doing for quite some time already. Additional features that look good on paper is that it now supports Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and has a ton (5655 to be exact) of autofocus points. Covering 88% of the viewing area, you will be hard pressed to miss focus very much. I like that it has a flip out screen which has been seen on other models like the 80D. That helps with shooting above or below your head and also for recording yourself if you do podcasts or the like. It also shoots stills faster than some of its DSLR brothers and sisters, shooting at 8 fps. The 5D Mark IV, for example, shoots slightly slower at 7 fps. Also similar to the 5D IV, you can record video in the C-Log color space for more dynamic range and color grading versatility. 

What might sell people on staying with Canon instead of switching to Nikon or Sony could very well lie in one factor: their lenses. Canon has long been the king of glass and although the new system has a new mount (RF instead of EF), they include optional adapters so you can use your fabled lenses on your new body. They are, of course, still going to create high-quality glass with the native RF mount, but at least with the adapters you won’t need to completely overhaul your gear to compensate. Another thing I like about the mounts (three announced at this time) is that it gives additional features and functionality to the body which otherwise wouldn’t be possible. For example, one of their mounts includes slots for filters such as neutral density.

As with just about everything in life, there are some things not to love about this new camera, but the list is rather small for me at this time. First of all, there is only one slot for a memory card where the 5D series offer two. However, it supports UHS-II SDXC cards with extremely high read/write speeds. The only tradeoff here is if you need more storage and don’t have time to swap out cards but rather change which card, that is already inserted, you want to record to. In most cases, this will not be an issue, but there’s always a first for everything. Also, according to other sources online, the lenses are huge in comparison to the body. This might not be so bad if you enjoy having that weight in your hands but it just might look a little silly.

It’s a good thing Canon is trying to compete with Sony and also that Nikon is doing the same. One of the biggest criticisms I’ve heard about Canon and Nikon is that they haven’t really done anything too revolutionary in a long time. They also weren’t doing much to compete with Sony and if that trend continued, I would see no reason to continue shooting on anything but Sony since they were making so many technical advancements so quickly. For now, I am just excited to see some real-world use with the new EOS R system and am looking forward to Canon’s future.

Making Your Marketing Video Outstanding

Outstanding Marketing Video
 
If you are in the process of formulating a marketing video, you want to be sure to include a few key elements for guaranteeing a successful final product. For instance, giving your video a purpose, offering more than what is anticipated and providing some form of entertainment is all necessary for successful video results. Your marketing video needs all of theses elements and more, in order to keep your viewers captivated and coming back.
 
Give a Purpose to Your Video
 
Every marketing video needs to have a clearly defined purpose: what it’s about. Why viewers should watch, etc. Without this, your marketing message becomes unclear, as does its purpose to the viewer. Giving a purpose to your marketing video gives its viewers a reason to watch it.
 
Music & Entertainment that’s Not for Everyone
 
Having entertainment of some sort in your video production is always imperative, especially for marketing videos. Music, for instance, instantly sets the tone of the video and provides a certain mood for your viewers to experience while watching. But not everything is for everyone, so do not try to appeal to all audiences—it could end up attracting none. Be sure to have entertainment features—be it music, visuals effects or otherwise—that narrow down on the theme and vibe you are going for. This will not only keep viewers watching your video and hearing your message, it gives you the kind of viewers you’re looking for too!
  
Offer More than Expected
 
To top off you video, offering more than what is expected is not ever a bad idea. This gives you a chance to surprise and impress your viewers. If a viewer stops to watch your video, of course, they want to be informed about the topic advertised. Yet, if they also receive additional useful information, you instantly surpassed viewer expectations. Ultimately, this information combined with purpose and entertainment is what keeps your viewers coming back.
 
With all of this in mind, Cut N Run Studios is here for you! For some of the best marketing in Pittsburgh, contact Cut ‘N’ Run Studios! You can reach us by calling (412) 343–3600 today, by sending an email to info@CutnRunStudios.com, or by visiting us at our Beechview Avenue location in Pittsburgh! We’ll help you make sure that your next marketing video, and other production service results are outstanding.

What to Look for In Commercial Video Services

Commercial Video Services
 
Cut ‘N’ Run Studios knows what is and is not important, entertaining, and necessary in a commercial video production. Our expert team of professionals are here to help you identify your video plan and begin making it a reality. We work with you to implement each detail of your video’s process from start to finish for the finest results.
 
Clearly Identified Audience & Script
 
If you do not know who your commercial video is to be created for, it will be difficult to begin its development. When creating your video script or commercial video plan, every single detail is planned and accounted for. Instilling a clear idea of who the video is aimed toward, or who the message of your video is for, is imperative to gaining views and traction from your intended audience.
 
Special Effects and Close-Ups
 
When it comes to producing compelling commercial videos, special effects are not always the best way to go. Often times, special effects can mute or distract from the main points and message of your video. Making use of certain techniques rather than adding effects can save time, money, and make for better results later. Shooting several close-ups, for example, can be more compelling on certain screens and are less expensive and time-consuming.
 

Keep Your Customers Coming Back

Video Production Services that Will Keep them Coming Back!
 
There are several key factors to consider with video production services for keeping your customers coming back. Quality, professional video productions are about more than the service and the customer; they are about the video experience as a whole. At Cut ’N’ Run Productions, we are dedicated to our services, as well as our customers, to make way for the best video production results in and around the Pittsburgh area.
 
Know All Aspects of Your Video Services
 
Your customers most likely do not know as much about video production as you do. This means they will probably ask several questions, making it imperative for you to fully know all aspects of your services. From service capabilities and creative solutions, to tasks of the impossible, your customer can not begin to fully understand all terms and aspects of the video production at hand unless you do.
 
Consider the Customer’s Perspective
 
This may sound easy and obvious, but the customer’s full point of view can unintentionally be neglected. Considering the customer’s perspective surpasses the basics of simple customer service. Taking the customer fully into account involves cost calculations from both parties, the customer’s skill level of video production as well as your own, trust within the professional relationship, and more. If you and your customer are not in congruence with one another, miscommunications can occur and result in the lack of a repeat client.
 
Affordability is important for both you and your customer to understand. Knowing the service prices in respect to the available project budget will provide a clear idea of what the customer can expect in their price range. Cost ranges are also great segues into project upgrades and advancements if the customer is seeking a higher-quality video production. Also, when it comes to explaining the cost-to-quality ratio, knowing your customer’s technology skill level is imperative to knowing how to talk to them and what to explain. For instance, does the customer understand the process at all levels, or only a few parts of what go into the video production in Pittsburgh? These inquiries will help you to build a professional relationship with your client, which will help you to also build trust. That developed trust will keep your customers coming back.
 
At Cut ’N’ Run Productions, we have everything you need to understand and create your next video project successfully. From convenience and affordability, to professional results and reliability, you can count on Cut ’N’ Run to get the job done. Call (412) 343-3600 now for more information on our Pittsburgh video production services or stop in for a visit at 1532 Beechview Ave!

Location: