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HD Video Production

Creating a compelling video

Videos have super powers.

If done right, they can engage, entertain and educate an audience like nothing else can. That’s because using visuals, spoken voice, music and good editing, videos can break through to your audience intellectually and emotionally.

Videos forge a connection and built rapport.

Or – not.

It’s just as easy to miss your mark, losing an audience by packing in too much information, boring them with nothing new, or coming across as out of touch.

Finding the right mix of intellect, humor and emotional appeal is a delicate balance. The magic is difficult to explain, but — you absolutely know it when you see it. And when a video hits the right mark, making you laugh or want to watch it again, your impulse is to share it.

And that’s when you know you’re onto something – when a video gets shared. That’s the goal.

So, how to create a video with super powers?

It starts with clear vision, a great central idea, and excellent writing.

Then the magic really happens in production. All the elements come together; music, sound and narration, timed perfectly with effective visuals.

In a world where even thoughtful articles are skimmed rather than read thoroughly, videos should be concise and on point. And off-beat, funny, irreverent …or charming. Humor can be very effective and memorable.

What’s especially great about video today is that technology is making video more accessible than ever. You don’t need a six-figure budget to create a great video.

 How to make your video affordable:

  • Talk with us, for starters. We do our video work in house.
  • Use simpler video formats. Videos don’t have to be movies with actors and special effects.
  • Animation is compelling and can be very simple.
  • Include video with other marketing services such as websites, landing pages and enhanced listings. Use it or versions of it in lots of places. That can help keep costs down, too.

Yes, Virginia, videos really do have super powers. So by all means, consider a video as a part of your marketing strategy. Consumers like video, use video, share video, and remember video. And that means video brings marketing power to your site’s SEO.

 

 

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Update: There’s Still Quite The Buzz About Drones

It was a little over a year ago that I wrote a post entitled, What’s All The Buzz About Drone Videos?  In this post, I took a closer look at what drones really are (and aren’t), how they are being used and what benefit they might have to your business.  A large reason for me writing the post was that drones were a hot topic at the time in the video production world and I was getting asked several questions about my viewpoint on drones.  Fast forward to over one year later and drones are still a very hot topic.

A lot of the discussion around drones still stems from the whole “newness” factor.  As I mentioned in my previous post, a flying helicopter with a camera isn’t really new, but an unmanned flying helicopter with a remote control is a different ballgame.  Business and the general public have misconceptions about what a drone actually is and, often times, only hear the “bad” things.  That being said, there have been some important updates since my last article that I want to share.

FAA Confirms Drones Must Be Registered

The FAA confirmed during a recent press conference current drone owners – and not just new purchases – will have to be registered.  Officials hope to have the rules in place by Christmas, when as many as 700,000 drones are expected to be sold.

Currently, only commercial drone users are required to register with the FAA. Other drone users are required to fly devices below 400 feet and obtain FAA permission before operating within five miles of an airport. Operators are also supposed to avoid passenger planes.

The FAA will establish a committee of government and industry officials, as well as drone users, to work out the details of the registration system. It’s unclear if all drones will have to be registered, though the AP reports that toy and other small devices will likely be exempt.

Nobody knows exactly how many of the robotic aircraft are already flying around, but most estimates top 1 million.  This means plenty of people will need to get familiar with these new regulations.  As with many things drone related, when it comes to laws there is a lot of gray area.  This means it’s likely there will be reports of mishaps with unregistered drones showing up in the news.

Drones & Safety

The crazy thing about drones in the news is that the discussion rarely is about video.  With the exception of this drone fireworks video below that now has over 12 million views, the #1 reason drones make headlines is regarding safety.  While it’s completely understandable because there have been some safety issues, it’s a shame because these devices can capture some magnificent HD quality video.

As a marketing professional and owner of a company that provides HD video production services, my hope is that the conversation surrounding drones will make a shift toward one with positive sentiment.  I’d like to see the necessary laws get put in place and misunderstandings be resolved so we can all focus on using these devices in the way in which they were intended – to capture high quality video from a unique perspective.

What’s Next with Drones?

As with all new technology, it takes time for people to understand it.  The same is true with drones.  Once the dust settles on the law updates and adoption of these devices continues to accelerate, business usage will grow.  This is what is exciting about using drones to shoot video, take photos, etc.  The sky is the limit (literally) to what can be done using drones in industries such as real estate, agriculture, sports, etc.

Want to talk more about using drones for video production?  Here’s my card so you can get in touch!

 

1 Big Thing Videos Are Missing & How YouTube Cards Will Help

Why Are So Many Video Productions Missing This 1 BIG Thing?

I have been on a bit of a video marketing kick lately.  Being a full service digital marketing agency that provides video production in Indianapolis and surrounding areas, it seems only natural with all of the emphasis on video in social lately that I’d have some thoughts to share.  Yet, with all of the advancements in technology and new ways to reach people through video, it always seems there’s one BIG thing that comes up missing time and time again.

So, what is the one thing – a call to action (CTA).  Better yet, an effective call to action.  So often the ball gets dropped when it comes to this highly important piece of the video.  Ok, I’m a website visitor and I just watched your video…now what do you want me to do?  This question must be answered and it must be really clear.  I’ve seen so many YouTube and website videos that just end with a company logo, some credits, or even worse…they just end!  It doesn’t matter how many people watch a video, if they have no idea what to do next the whole point is lost.

There are some amazing videos out there that just leave something to be desired when it comes to the call to action.  Even videos that nail the 5 key factors for an effective video production I discussed here, but miss the mark with a when it comes to a CTA.  So why does this happen?  I think the simple answer is that it just gets overlooked.  In the process of planning every other element of the video production, the last thought (if a thought at all) is the CTA.  Often times the video production company just get engrained in what they’re doing, getting the right shots, adding the right music, etc. and they leave the CTA up to the client.  This needs to change if your video marketing efforts are going to be effective.

Create a video with an effective call to actionContact us here!

YouTube-Logo

Introducing YouTube Cards

Yes, all of this video production call to action talk was leading up to something.  Something that I think is a big deal for anyone involved in video marketing.  YouTube recently introduced its YouTube Cards feature in the video editor and this could be a game changer.

Why are YouTube Cards a Big Deal?
YouTube cards are a big deal because they are easy to setup, look way better than annotations and will perform better on mobile.  This will make it easier for marketers and video production companies to create clickable graphics that appear at just the right time to drive visitors, leads and sales from YouTube videos.

What are the Types of YouTube Cards?

  1. Merchandise (like Google Play and iTunes)
  2. Fundraising (think Kickstarter)
  3. Videos
  4. Playlists
  5. Associated Website link back to your company website
  6. Fan Funding

YouTube-Cards-Image

How To Set Up YouTube Cards

  1. Go to YouTube Video Manager, and click on the “Edit” button. Or click on the down arrow next to the button.
  2. Click on “Cards” in the top navigation bar, then click on “Add Card.”
  3. Use the video timeline to get to the point in the video where you’d like to add a card. This is where the teaser/title text will cue in the upper right corner of the video for five seconds, then revert to just an “i” icon in the same position.  (Note – you cannot change the amount of time the card displays)
  4. Click a blue button on the right called “Add Card” and it opens up a creation window.
  5. Select the card type you want to add.
  6. The card can be customized with your own image, text and URL.
  7. More cards can be created within the same video if you’d like to do so.
  8. Click “Create Card.”

2 Quick Tips for Using YouTube Cards

Keep the Text Short & Sweet
Remember, many people will be watching this video on a phone and space is limited in the YouTube card.  Be sure to preview it multiple times to see how your text displays.  Rely on the video itself to do the explaining and the YouTube Card text to be action oriented and to the point.

Timing is Everything
Unlike annotations, you cannot display YouTube cards throughout the entire video and each card you place in the video production will display for 5 seconds.  While you can place multiple cards in the video, they need to be spaced out.  Think about the points in the video where it makes sense for there to be a call to action rather than hammering the viewers over and over.

Ready to discuss how YouTube Cards fit in your video marketing strategy?  Contact me here!

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5 Key Factors That Make or Break Your Video Production

 

1. Audio
This list is not any particular order, however, I feel like audio does need to be at the top for a reason.    A video with bad audio is unbearable.  That’s really the bottom line.  I don’t care if you are using an iPhone to shoot video or hiring a video production company like Focal Point, great audio MUST be a top priority.  There’s nothing that will make someone abandon watching a video faster than poor audio.  Do whatever you need to do to get this right.  The investment is worth it and anyone with a video production background will tell you the same.

2. Lighting
Every type of video production will involve some sort of lighting.  You can make a video without sound, without camera movements, but you can’t make one without light.  This means getting the lighting right is critical.  When it comes to products, correct lighting techniques are extremely important to capture the features.  When it comes to shapes and textures, proper lighting can be used to create just the right mood for the video production.  Knowing how to correctly light a scene takes practice and certain skill set.  If not done properly, bad lighting can mean more time in the video editing room and more cost to the client.

3. Storytelling
In order for your video marketing efforts to be effective, a story must be told.  Instead of thinking about how the “sell” is going to happen, start with a plan for the story that needs to be told.  Often times, the most memorable video marketing pieces barely mention or show the product.  Certainly if you want your video to be one people will share, the story must be compelling and well thought out.  Outline the story first and if you get that right, the rest will fall into place naturally.

4. Pacing
Video pacing and rhythm can have an incredible impact on the audience.  The pace of a video typically falls on the shoulders of the editor.  The same shots can come together a different way and give the video an entirely different feel.  Consider questions like – should the video production have a quick pace to evoke a sense of excitement and action?  Or does it make more sense for a more relaxed, slower piece with longer shots?  Answer these questions and make sure the video editor or video production company knows exactly the feel you’re looking for.

5. Shot Composition
Understanding the right type of shot for the right situation is a very important aspect of any video production.  Should a close up or medium shot be used?  How should the person or product be framed?  If you’ve spent any time around video, you might have heard of the rule of thirds.  This is a method for creating shots and one that takes times to understand and perfect.  Knowing all of the shots that must be captured and getting it all right the first time is huge.  No one likes to do a retake, especially the clients. 

When It All Comes Together

When everything comes together, the result is a very powerful video production that captures the audience, tells a story and compels some time of action.  Once piece that I am particular proud of that the Focal Point team produced is this video for Shiel Sexton telling the story of the construction process for the Palladium in Carmel, Indiana.  Now that we’ve covered the 5 key ingredients, notice the audio, lighting, storytelling, pacing and shot composition used to make things come together.  This is an absolutely beautiful building and I hope you’ll agree that we captured that beauty along with a compelling story in this video.

Palladium from Focal Point on Vimeo.

Contact Us for Video Production in Indianapolis

On of Focal Point’s core services is video production.  We’ve been able to work with some great clients in the Indianapolis area and beyond.  Take a look at some of our videos on Vimeo here to get a feel for the quality of work we’re able to achieve.  Let us know if we can help you plan and product your next video production by contacting us here. 

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Is It Time To Double Your Investment in Video?

Soon you’ll start to notice that the “Videos” tab on Facebook brand pages everywhere is looking strikingly similar to YouTube.  From the featured video section to the ability to organize videos into playlists, Facebook is going to be implementing some of YouTube’s organization features.  Truth be told this is long overdue, but the timing makes perfect sense as Facebook is investing more in video lately.  As you might have noticed, the auto play videos of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge filling the news feed have transitioned full steam ahead to videos highlighting brands everywhere.  From McDonald’s using Facebook videos to set the record start about what’s actually in their food to Jerry Seinfeld posting video sneak peeks of his hit series Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee, videos are only going to continue to show up more and more.

Jerry Seinfeld

As I was thinking about this trend (it’s not just Facebook), I thought more about the reasons why video just makes sense for every business.  I really think it’s as simple as this – the majority of people don’t want to read.  Your potential customers, probably don’t want to spend a great deal of time reading about your business.  And if given the choice, they’d prefer to watch a 2-3 minute video instead of reading all about your company history.

Here are 2 really good reasons to think about doubling down on your investment in video.

Videos Can Easily Be Repurposed
Let’s say you’re in charge of managing the company blog.  Things are off to a good start and you’re publishing 3 posts a week.  Traffic is increasing, then all at once it happens….

You hit a dry patch.  Suddenly you feel like you’ve already talked about the 3 points of difference over and over.  No matter how long you stare at the computer screen, the words just don’t want to come to you.  Then you start to think about that great story the CEO was telling just the other day about how the company was started by his dad back in the 1920’s.  Knowing that his time is limited and you’d be hard pressed to get him to sit down to write a blog post, you start thinking about what to do.  Then the thought dawns on you…it’s time to add some video!

Suddenly the 2 minute video you record of your boss telling the story is not only your most viewed video on the website, it’s the top performing blog post.  Because after he told the story on video, you were able to write it all out, add the historical photos and create the connection to the company through words as well.

Sometimes video is just easier.  And once the video is created there are so many ways to repurpose it – including creating a blog post or multiple blogs.  That same video could also be turned into a podcast.  Now you’ve got another way to reach customers on the go.  Come to think of it, the YouTube Channel sure could use some love lately.  Now you’ve got a video to feature when someone visits your channel. There’s so many ways to go with video once it’s created.  Video really is the ultimate piece of content to repurpose.  Invest the time and money to have the video content created by a professional once and think about all of the ways to get extended mileage.

People Are Watching Less Traditional TV
Odds are you or someone you know has cancelled their cable service recently.  Like Netflix bringing about the end of Blockbuster, cable companies are headed for trouble.  Why?  More people than ever before are watching videos online.  Well, that and people are sick of paying the high prices for cable service.  But more than ever it’s all about watching what you want to watch, when you want to and on the device that you want to.  With other low-cost services out there such as HBO, who will offer standalone streaming starting this year, Netflix, Hulu Plus and HD antennas available to get all the local channels – cable box after cable box will continue to get turned in.

netflix-logo    hbo_go_logo_feature

What does this shift mean to your business?  It means that since behavior is changing, there’s going to be more attention placed in online video.  More people online watching video = more chances to be seen = greater opportunity for conversion.

How Are You Using Video Now?  Is It Time To Double Your Investment?

I understand that for many marketing professionals, the whole thought of “doubling” an investment may seem a bit overwhelming.  I’m not literally talking about money here.  The point I am trying to make is that when looking at a marketing strategy, if there’s one type of content that I see paying the biggest dividends now and in the future – it’s video.

I’d strongly urge anyone reading this to take a moment to think about their video marketing strategy.  Think about how one video could become a blog post, podcast, social media post, email topic, etc.  Also, understand that not every single video needs to be a complex  video production.  In fact, I’d recommend a two prong approach.  Think about what video content you can turn out quickly and consistently with limited setup, such as; video case studies, client testimonials or mini educational videos about your business or industry, now think about what other types of more involved videos would complement this content and allow you to extend your brand message.

But whatever you do start thinking about it now.  Because I promise your competitors are.

Want some ideas?  I’d love for you contact me to talk video strategy. 

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2 Key Things Starbucks Absolutely Nails In This Video Marketing Campaign

If you’re anything like me, you enjoy analyzing what the big brands are doing when it comes to marketing campaigns.  A recent online video marketing campaign that caught my attention for the Starbucks global branding campaign – Meet Me At Starbucks.  This is essentially a high quality, HD video production that was shot in 28 countries in a single day.  While it’s one continuous video that’s about 6 minutes in length, it’s broken down into several mini vignettes each telling it’s own story.  There are 2 important reminders in this video  First, take a look at this 1 min video recap (you can watch the full video here) before I share my thoughts…

1. It’s not about you, it’s about your customers.

“It’s never been just about the coffee.” This line really encapsulates the entire Meet Me At Starbucks online marketing strategy of putting the customer first.  One thing you will notice when watching the video is that while most of the scenes take place at a Starbucks, the product placement of Starbucks’ drinks is actually very subtle.  And while it’s very subtle at the same time it’s incredibly effective.

You see, this online video marketing campaign demonstrates to me that Starbucks “gets it.”  Sure, the coffee is good, but even more important is the customer experience.  For the most part, people don’t meet people at Starbucks to drink coffee.  People meet people at Starbucks to do business, share stories, and build relationships.  Drinking Starbucks coffee is just something that happens as a part of that experience, but it’s never been just about that.

By creating an extraordinary customer experience, Starbucks has been able to position itself in a way to where they don’t always have to “sell” their coffee.  The customers and their experiences have become a big part of the Starbucks brand.  So much so that this entire campaign focuses primarily on the customers, yet will likely still help them sell more coffee than if it were the other way around (focusing on the coffee).

2. No technology can ever replace face to face communication.

“Good things happen when we get together.”  This line really hits the nail on the head if you ask me.   I have been a marketer for a long time.  I have seen a lot of changes in technology over the years.  These changes include things that have made what I do easier and things that have, quite frankly, made things more difficult.  I must say, I couldn’t agree more with this particular statement used in the Starbucks video marketing campaign.

The reason why I love this particular point is that I think as a society we hide behind technology too much.  It’s easier to send a text than to call.  It’s far easier to just FaceTime or Skype instead of driving or flying to meet in person.  Or at least we perceive it that way.  The list goes on and on.  Yet with all of the great advances in technology, most will admit there’s still something about meeting face to face that adds to the whole BLT factor (believability, likeability, trust).  Think about it…no matter how comfortable you become with technology, there are probably still a few things that you’d much rather do in person.  That’s because there’s just something about getting together that no technology can replace.

As good as Starbucks is with their online marketing strategy and social media marketing campaigns, they still understand that at the end of the day it’s about people coming together.  This is what made their business grow into what it is today and what will ultimately continue to drive their sales.  No technology will ever be able to change that.

 How Can You Apply This to Your Business?

Think about the customer experience you have created with your business/brand. It might have been awhile since you’ve taken the time to do something like this, but I assure you it will pay off.  Consider the whole process of doing business with your company/working with you.  Is it a smooth, enjoyable experience?  Is it something people are likely to tell others about?  If it isn’t, why not?

Going off the second point, I would just urge you to take the time to see your customers in person whenever possible.  I take great pride in the friendships and partnerships I’ve built over the years through networking.  I love meeting with my clients face-to-face and feel that’s truly when we do our best work.  As Starbucks reminds us, “great things happen when we get together.”

So, now I guess there’s only 1 thing left to do:  Let’s get together at Starbucks some time soon. 

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Why I Am Focused On My Content Marketing Strategy

Focal Point Video Marketing

As of late, I have really been making it a point to focus on the content marketing strategy for my business.  Having been in the marketing industry for over 25 years, it only seems natural to begin to share some of my thoughts, opinions and stories via my company blog.  You see, for a long time I have been known to my network as the “video guy” and while video production is definitely one of our core services here at Focal Point, there’s so much more to the story. It has always been my passion to build an Digital Marketing Agency that is truly engaged in the success of each client.

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What’s All The Buzz About Drone Videos?

Opinion Post:

 

Being a video production company in Indianapolis, we get a lot of questions about the latest technology and trends in video marketing.  Here lately, there’s a very hot topic that keeps getting brought up – drones being used for video.  It’s no surprise as drones are being discussed more in the media and showing up more at events as they become more affordable to the masses. Today, I am going share my opinion on the matter and offer some advice when it comes to video marketing.

Drones or Helicopters with Cameras?

First of all, let me just start by saying that I don’t particularly care for the word “drone” as it relates to video production.  If you ask me, the word “drone” just has a negative connotation that comes along with it and I think that has led to much of the controversy surrounding  the use of drones in the video industry.  Once you start to think of “drones” as what they really are – remote control helicopters with cameras (unmanned aerial vehicles), suddenly the perception is different.  You see, flying helicopters with cameras really isn’t that foreign in the video production industry.  After all, news channels have been flying around capturing shots on video for years.  The big change is that now these helicopters are unmanned and now they’re being offered at a price point that’s more reasonable to the general public.  This is attracting more novice videographers and hobbyists thus leading to some of the drone controversy.

How Are Drones Being Used

One thing is for sure, drones (flying helicopters with cameras) are capturing some amazing aerial shots for video.  Here recently, this video from a 4th of July celebration went viral on YouTube with over 9 million views.

While this is more of a “fun” use of a drone for hobbyist style footage, just stop for a minute to think about the potential for drones to be used for video tours of golf courses or for real estate development.  It opens up a whole new aspect of HD video production that was previously too costly for many businesses.

But the more the idea of drones being used for commercial video production services is discussed, the more the regulations from the FAA are interpreted to mean that such use of drones is illegal…at least right now.  While there is still some gray area, it’s understood that “the FAA states that any commercial use of unmanned aerial vehicles — that is, use without recreational or hobbyist intent — is illegal.”  So, what exactly crosses the line between recreational use or hobbyist intent and commercial use?  Is it solely the ability to make money?

Here’s What I think About Drones

In my opinion, that’s where the FAA really needs to come up with a clearer definition and more realistic ruling that’s fair.  I question how using a drone as a tool to produce an HD quality video for a business is any different than any other piece of equipment that might be necessary.  Sure, there’s the concern for privacy and safety, but isn’t that a concern with real helicopters or other videos shot in the a public forum?  It’s for these reasons things such as media releases, waivers and permits exist.  I think the methods/tools for regulating the use of drones in a commercial setting already exist.  It’s just a matter of the FAA making an informed ruling on how these apply to this new technology….and as one might expect I anticipate that will take far too long.

DJI Phantom Vision

Photo of DJI Phantom 2 Vision Plus from DJI.com

 

 

 

Photo of the DSLR Octo from Cinedrones.

Photo of the DSLR Octo from Cinedrones.

So What Happens Next?

As this recent article on drone entrepreneurs suggests, the video production industry is not going to wait for the laws to catch up.  As the technology continues to advance, the price points continue to become more affordable and the trend continues to catch on – drones are going to make their way into commercial video production.  Eventually the laws will be forced to adapt to the technology rather than the technology adapting to the laws.

How Do Drones Fit Your Video Marketing Strategy?

I love new technology just as much as the next person, but sometimes it’s easy to get caught up in the latest and greatest while losing site of your video marketing strategy.  There’s a lot of buzz around drones in the video industry right now, but until some things are sorted out the risk doesn’t outweigh the reward for most commercial applications.  What I mean by that is that if you’re struggling to get videos completed or measuring the results of a recent video marketing campaign – then trying to figure out if you should be investing in a drone for anything other than recreational use shouldn’t be a business priority.

Digital Cinema Quality, Affordable Rates for HD Video Production

Have you ever noticed how some HD video production looks a lot like film?  They’ve got a softness or smoothness to them, a different depth of field and well, they’ve just plain got a high-end look.

Digital Cinema is the buzz of this video industry these days.  It used to be that clients who wanted the best quality products would turn to film – which is both time-consuming and expensive to shoot, edit and produce.  But now, with digital cinema, you can get similar results for a fraction of the cost.

HD Video Production

When it comes to video production, there are varying levels of quality – everything from home-grown look to high end and well produced – and now, there’s digital cinema.  Digital cinema refers to the use of digital technology to produce high-resolution, cinema quality motion images, but without the use of conventional film.

You may have heard of the HDSLR or the RED cameras – those are a few of the biggies in digital cinema, with marketing materials that include words like “revolutionary” and “game changing.”  It’s a whole different approach to video production – some even say it’s the true “high definition” where HDTV is the really “low definition.”

The biggest difference is the depth of field.  When shooting with digital cinema, cinematographers have a much greater control over the depth of field – producing images with soft backgrounds like what you’ll see in a movie theatre.  It’s all about the sensor.  35mm has a much larger sensor than a standard video camera, and digital cinema utilizes the same size sensor as 35mm film.

The work flow is different, too.  Video cameras allows us to zoom in and out, pan left to right and other things.  Digital cinema is different in that there’s no zoom. The camera is physically moved either by hand held or using a dolly, jib or steadi-cam to create this effect.  Dolly, Jib and Steadi-cam moves help create stylish, cinematic images and add an instant level of class to the production…giving the production that WOW factor.  Plus, the audio and video are recorded separately with most digital cinema style cameras.  Video is captured by the camera and audio is captured separately, then they’re synced up during the post production process.  This allows for better audio quality and more flexibility in capturing sound – for example, the camera can be 50 feet away from a subject and the audio technician is up close to the action to capture the best sound.  More flexibility makes for a better end result.

All in all, digital cinema provides clients with another option.  It’s not the answer for every scenario – every project and budget is different and many require different approaches.  Most quality production companies have a variety of camera packages to meet each client’s own need.  Digital cinema is the latest and greatest on the market and is becoming more widely used.  Hence, the buzz.

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