DIY Cinematography Hacks

Mackenzie Johnson —  September 3, 2015

Just because your competitor has top-notch gear that cost him/her more than a down payment on your first house, doesn’t mean you should be discouraged. There are thousands of DIY photography and videography hacks out there that nobody knows about.

Check out these two videos below that outline some of the very best!

“It’s like George Jetson’s futuristic car… except it’s a camera.”



So our team recently had the pleasure of unboxing our very own DJI Inspire 1 Quadcopter with Integrated Camera and 3-Axis Gimbal and OH HOW FUTURISTIC WE FEEL. This is one amazing gadget and we can’t help but talk about it. Considered to be the most “advanced all-in-one drone” on the market, the DJI Inspire 1 isn’t just accessbile to video professionals as we are seeing it land in the hands of hobbyist and enthusiasts alike.

Shooting in 4k quality video and taking 12mp still shots, this RC aerial camera offers real time streaming to your mobile device or tablet allowing you to actually see what you’re recording in 720p HD… as it’s happening. I mean you can’t get much better than FPV (first person view) when it comes to framing up your shots.

One of the coolest and most helpful features of the Inspire 1 is the active 3-axis gimbal. What’s that you might ask? The active 3-axis gimbal isolates the camera from bad movement helping to produce more stable images and it keeps the horizon level. The camera also pans a full 360-degrees so that no matter which way the quadcopter turns, the camera can remain locked on the subject.

Everything from manual camera controls to flight telemetry – even auto takeoff and landing – can be accessed via the Inspire 1 Mobile app for Android and iOS devices. You can change all of your camera settings including ISO, exposure, and white balance in real-time to ensure you’re capturing the shots that you actually want.

Dual. Operator. Control. Mode. Find a friend, grab your controllers, and start filming. This feature allows you and your buddy to delegate tasks between controlling the device and controlling the camera movements. Especially ideal in situations where maneauvering the system may be somewhat difficult on your own i.e. areas with powerlines or indoors.

To my next point… ever casually flown your quadcopter outside and wondered what it’s like to take it for a spin indoors? Dream no more, indoor flying is here. DJI’s Optical Flow technology uses a specially designed camera as well as sonic waves to provide the same stability function indoors as GPS does outdoors. This technology allows the Inspire to hold its location, stop when the controls are released, and quickly respond to pilot commands even when GPS is unavailable (source:

So basically, we love the DJI Inspire 1 … to see some of the fun we’ve had with it, check out the video below.


Aerial Reel from FatHead Media on Vimeo.

Here’s a thought for you: experts believe that by the year 2017, 74% of internet traffic will revolve around online video. Why is this important? It’s important because online video is changing the game of marketing, it is shaping our everyday lives as consumers and as people, it is making information easily accessible to a broader range of audience, and many more reasons.

Check out these statistics:

  • Video is shared 1200% more times than links and text combined

  • Click-through rates increase 2-3 times when marketers include a video in an email

  • 75% Of users visit the marketer’s website after viewing a video

  • 80% of your online visitors will watch a video, while only 20% will actually read content in its entirety
    (See more at:

With the popularity of online video businesses are able to launch more efficient marketing campaigns, non-profits are able to reach a bigger audience with their messages, news sources are given a new outlet, entertainment industries are establishing an online platform for advertising, consumers are able to review products before purchasing them, DIY enthusiasts are able to watch tutorials easily, the list goes on and on.

One benefit of online video is to increase the SEO (search engine optimization) of a page. A study in 2009 confirmed that video additions to websites are 53x more likely to improve the SEO of a page and send their Google search rankings upwards. This was 6 years ago… Imagine how much that number has increased! Platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Vine (and many more) have all adapted video capabilities to accommodate the popularity of video. No longer is the only option to copy and paste external links found on the web. Now users are able to capture, edit, and upload their own video all within the application they are using. This helps to reduce third-party services, just as embedding your own videos into your page do. You don’t want sites like YouTube getting better SEO results based on your content do you?

A second benefit of online video is to reduce the bounce rate of your site. One comScore study of retail sites shows that “visitors who view video stay two minutes longer and are 64% more likely to purchase than other site visitors.” Many studies have shown that the average window a user decides to further read through your site or hit the back button is about 8 seconds. Therefore, offering your viewers that extra incentive to stay on your site might be the difference between closing a sale and getting skipped over.

A third benefit is to expand your REACH. Features like “sharing” are available on platforms such as Twitter and Facebook which allows viewers to post videos to their own social networks just by a click of a button. This feature helps expand the reach of a video exponentially as it gets viewed 10x more when shared. Imagine you are a local non-profit agency seeking to grab the attention of 20-somethings in your area. All you need is 1 person to find your content interesting, share it to their page, and instantly you’ve reached their network of friends – likely other 20-somethings with the same interest. The act of sharing has really changed the marketing game. Think about viral video – these videos started somewhere small and were viewed over and over again until their reach hit upwards of a million hits.

It doesn’t go without saying that video is a powerful thing. Whether you’re a filmmaker, a business owner, or just an average user of the Internet, video is changing your life.


Six Reasons to Shop Local

“A small business is part of the heartbeat of the larger community” – Ellen Thrasher, associate administrator for the Department of Entrepreneurship at the Washington, D.C.-based U.S. Small Business Administration.

1. Strengthen Your Local Economy

Each dollar you spend at independent businesses is likely to return 3 times more money to your local economy than one spent at a chain (Amiba). When you shop at local small businesses, tax money is staying in your town. Additionally, with each small local business comes an opportunity for growth and advancement for a bigger business. Think about corporations like Nike or Ben and Jerry’s, they each started with one locally owned store which eventually turned into a bigger economic development. Small businesses that grow into large businesses often remain in the community in which the business was first established. (

2. Job Availability

Not only do independent businesses employ more people directly per dollar of revenue, they also are the customers of local printers, accountants, wholesalers, farms, attorneys, etc., expanding opportunities for local entrepreneurs. Also as previously mentioned, having a large corporation headquartered in a community can further help provide employment and stimulate the local economy. Think about it – when you spend money at a local store, it is likely going into the paycheck of your friends, families or neighbors. Thereafter, they will also shop in their community stores causing a “chain-reaction” of local success.

3. Community Well-Being

Supporting local business not only helps economic development, but also helps establish social relationships among community members. Many local businesses are not only owned, but also operated first-hand by the owner who most likely is invested in building relationships with community members. And as the customer, you’ll feel a sense of satisfaction when you walk into a small business and the owner calls you by name. These days, shopping is as much about the product that you are buying as it is about the relationships and transaction at the shop.

4. Environmental Sustainability

Local stores help to sustain vibrant, compact, walkable town centers-which in turn are essential to reducing sprawl, automobile use, habitat loss, and air and water pollution ( They are people-sized and consume less land and resources in order to function. Another point to be made is that with the local businesses, usually the owners also live in that community. Therefore, they will be more likely to follow an environmentally conscious business model in order to keep their own neighborhood safe.

5. Local Support

Local businesses are more likely to participate in fundraisers held by community members, or even sponsor events and sports teams. For example, if the local soccer team is in need of a sponsor for an upcoming tournament, they are more likely to go to a local business versus a large corporation like Walmart. Therefore, by shopping at local, small businesses, you are indirectly helping those organizations.

Additionally, a thriving local business will generate high levels of revenue, which means that the business will pay higher taxes, including local taxes. This money is then used for local police and fire departments as well as schools (

6. Product Diversity

Leading the way for local entrepreneurs to get their ideas on the market, small local businesses are more likely to offer that “one-of-a-kind” product that you might not be able to find at a bigger wholesale store. A multitude of small businesses, each selecting products based, not on a national sales plan, but on their own interests and the needs of their local customers, guarantees a much broader range of product choice ( Having that originality in small-town, local business also gives your community it’s own style or flair. Tourists from other areas will appreciate the uniqueness that these types of stores have to offer.

“Marketing is no longer about the stuff that you make, but about the stories you tell.”

-Seth Godin


1. Increased Brand Awareness

Traditional techniques for increasing brand awareness are known to draw your company wallet quite quickly. With the readily available tool known as social media, you can create an awareness campaign for your brand at little or NO cost. In addition, according to a report published by Texas Tech University, brands who engage on social media channels enjoy higher loyalty from their customers. Another study published by Convince&Convert found that 53% of Americans who follow brands in social are more loyal to those brands (Forbes).

2. Distribute Content

Readily available status updates, tweets, Instagram posts are all awaiting your use. Get you content out there quickly and easily to your followers! Announce your upcoming specials, a new product launch, or simply post a funny article you read the other day to get your customers talking. For a more pin-pointed approach, utilize features such as Facebook Ads to to have your posts seen by more users on the network.

3. Learn About Your Audience

Which brings me to my next point – TARGETING YOUR AUDIENCE… It’s never been easier with today’s technology. With the previously mentioned Facebook ads, you can boost from your page and target the boost to reach a particular demographic of location, age, gender, or interest. Use the engagement statistics on Facebook to help you understand who is viewing your posts, when they are viewing it, and at what type of post most attracts them to your page. Additionally, strike up conversation with your viewers. You’ll be surprise how much your followers, engagement level, and clickthrough rate will increase when you start mentioning others and directing the spotless elsewhere every once in a while.

4. Increase Sales

Every post you make on social media platform is an opportunity for customers to convert. Every blog post, image, video, tweet, comment you share is a chance for someone to notice you, which could lead to a site visit and eventually a conversion (Forbes). Not only does social media help you direct people to your website, but the more social media shares you receive, the higher your search ranking will be (Hootsuite).

5. Improve Customer Service

Social media for business gives you instant access to positive or negative feedback, which provides you with valuable insights on the customer perspective (Cisnero). If you have a new product launching and you post in on social media, with the responses of your followers you have instant feedback which helps you in the long run. Another way social media helps with your customer service is that it allows you as a business to create meaningful relationship with customers. You are able to build a sense of rapport with them through actively engaging in conversations. As previously mentioned, utilize the engagement statistics on your social media platform to understand your audience and best serve them.



Screen Shot 2015-05-01 at 10.25.15 AM

It’s called typography. The art and technique of arranging type to make written language readable and appealing. Dated back to the early 17th century it has been used in many countries by many languages for many reasons. You see it everywhere you look; magazines, billboards, books, on your cell phone, in your mail, on your box of cereal, stitched into your favorite jacket, on a website.

Typography and the font-faces we choose have a huge impact on multiple aspects of our website including readability, mood, perceived article length, user experience and much, much more. In order to properly portray the vision and mood of the website, it is essential that website designers know and understand the different principles (source: webinsation).

So… let’s talk about first impression. First impressions are lasting impressions. Whether we are talking about shaking someones hand, greeting them on a phone call, or an individual visiting your website. Something you may not realize is that typography helps to create an experience on a website before the visitors ever even click a button or read a word. The treatment of type creates an atmosphere and elicits a response much the same way as tone of voice does (source: smashing magazine). In saying that, typography can be said to establish the personality of the website.

Take the example of a resume. If you were an employer, which candidate would you be more likely to pass on for an interview?

Candidate A:

Screen Shot 2015-04-30 at 3.49.27 PM


Candidate B:

Screen Shot 2015-05-01 at 11.24.54 AM

Based on the look and feel of even the very first sentence of their resume you are most likely going to go with candidate B. The clean and clear font looks professional and conveys a distinguished mood helping you to feel the credibility behind their voice.

Let’s take an example of a logo. Imagine you find yourself unfortunately in need of a lawyer. Would you rather…

Candidate A:

Screen Shot 2015-04-30 at 4.21.57 PM


Candidate B:

Screen Shot 2015-04-30 at 4.21.23 PM


Most likely if you’re seeking someone to represent you in a court of law you’re going to want someone who looks like they know what their doing. Something as simple as the typeface of a logo can be the deciding factor between two potential candidates.

Alright, so we based on the two above examples we know that typography is very influential, but let’s talk again about your website. When potential clients first lay eyes on your page, you want to give the best first impression possible by setting the tone. Check out this College Humor video on how fonts give personality:



Anyways, one thing to keep in mind when choosing a font is legibility. And with the evolution of multiple device viewing, you’re going to want your webpage to look the same across all tablets, PCs, Macs, iPhones, etc. In other words, you’re going to want the fonts on your website to be responsive no matter which device it is being viewed on.

Traditionally, below is a list of fonts that are widely known as “web safe” because you can use them without embedding a font code in CSS.

Serif Fonts  

Screen Shot 2015-05-01 at 9.53.12 AM

Sans-Serif Fonts

Screen Shot 2015-05-01 at 9.53.25 AM

Monospace Fonts
Screen Shot 2015-05-01 at 9.53.35 AM

In conclusion, when picking out a font for you website it can be quite overwhelming. You want something interesting and detailed that gives you credibility while still being edgy and hip. Be on the lookout for the things mentioned in this post (legible, responsive, etc), and remember the list of traditional fonts above as a safe zone when you’re not exactly sure what may or may not work for you.

Check out this article for more information: Web Font Typography


Everyday we see clients come in to our office pumped and ready to smash out an on-camera interview. They walk into the studio chirpy and excited, completely psyched to get on screen and give it their best shot. However, the second they sit in the chair and that little red flight flickers on signaling that the camera is recording, their mind goes blank, their palms become sweaty, and when they open their mouth nothing comes out. Unfortunately this is an extremely common occurence for all individuals finding themselves in an on-camera situation.

Here are 5 tips we think will help you overcome this fear:

1. Hold a thought —

When speaking on camera, it’s easy to have wondering thoughts… you stress about the point you’re making now, and how it will relate to the next item on your list. There is so much happening in your brain that you feel jumbled and stressed to a point where you aren’t thinking clearly. The key here is to hold your thought. Having a clear point of view and understanding your intention will bring the right energy to your face and your eyes (which are key communicators and will be the first thing your viewers look at).

2. Don’t take yourself so seriously–

The instant you start thinking about how your hair looks, if you’re maintaining enough eye contact, if your posture is suitable for this particular shot… your mind will start to wonder and you will lose focus. Before stepping into the studio, loosen yourself up… think happy thoughts and tell yourself you’re going to rock it.

3. Preparation is KEY–

Learn your content before you get anywhere near a camera. Have a general idea of what you want to say before even stepping into a studio. Make a list of the key points you want to hit, the general message you want to convey, and the tone in which you want to convey it.

4. Don’t fight it–

If you mess up… so what? Chances are you’re not filming in front of a live audience so there is plenty of room for outtakes. If you feel a bunch of word vomit coming upon you.. just embrace it, laugh it off then start again.

5. Wear comfortable clothing–

Yes, it is important to look nice and presentable for camera.. however, this doesn’t mean wearing something so uncomfortable that you can’t focus on anything else. Look nice, but make sure you feel nice too.

Another point to make, remember to HAVE FUN. If you find yourself in front of camera for whatever reason… it probably means someone thinks you’re cool enough to show you off.



As many of you know, the Religious Freedom and Restoration Act signed by Indiana Governor Mike Pence (R) has taken on quite a lot of attention in recent days. This story has erupted into a national argument over the controversy that this law “legalizes discrimination” on the basis of religious beliefs.

With that, an Indianapolis local grassroots campaign known as “Open for Service” has taken off and spread like wildfire. Businesses are encouraged to donate $10 to the fund and in return they will receive a sticker to put in their doors and windows to show that they welcome all customers regardless of race, religion, sexual orientation, or gender identity.

However, some businesses who claim to support the RFRA have taken a different approach. Memories Pizza of Walkerton, IN recently took headlines for standing up for their own beliefs and declaring that “if a gay couple came in and wanted us to provide pizzas for their wedding, we would have to say no.”

Although, it is unlikely anyone would request a small pizza place to cater a wedding, this pizzeria has caught backlash from the emotional impact felt by those on both sides of the RFRA. At first, the owners of Memories Pizza shut their doors due to the negativity they were receiving regarding the topic. They told news affiliates that they were receiving threats via Yelp and Twitter and simply did not feel safe to be in business. But as supporters of the RFRA heard of this news, they retaliated in their own way.

In order to “relieve the financial loss endured by the proprietors”, a public crowd-funding donation page on Go Fund Me was set up for Memories Pizza. After just nearly 48 hours, the site that had set an original goal of $200,000 had exceeded all expectations by collecting approximately $842,442. In raising the unexpected funds, Memories Pizza has become a symbol for the national debate around Indiana’s new state law.

Nevertheless, some people are questioning how in the world a small-town business with a stance on a national issue was able to receive so much donation in so little time. The key here is the power of social media and a new trend called crowdfunding.

Crowdfunding is the practice of funding a project or venture by raising many small amounts of money from a large number of people. Typically via the Internet, crowdfunding has gained extreme popularity lately with recent national debate issues. From the memorial funds for Michael Brown to the support funds for George Zimmerman; take a heated national issue and spread it over social media, create a online donation page and you’re sure to get some attention.

The page was started by an opinion contributor to local television station (TheBlaze) in order to support the family through their times of “assault” by the general public. After 99K Facebook shares, local news and eventually national news stations picked up the donation page which resulted in the surge of support. Memories Pizza GoFundMe page received $17,000 in a matter of 60 minutes. Support from all over the country began pouring in and eventually tallied at 29,161 total donations.

Campaigns like Memories Pizza GoFundMe and others help illustrate how quickly divisive political issues can go viral– and how easy it is for millions of people to declare their support with a few dollars.

If you’re interested in reading further on the issue of Crowdfunding, check out the below article posted by Forbes: The Politics of Crowdfunding




10 Poor Office Habits You Need to Break

1. Excessive noise making– Tapping your foot, clicking your pen, chewing your gum, humming, breathing loudly, slurping your soup… The list goes on and on.

Annoying Finding Nemo



2. Email “reply all” — Is it necessary? The first email may have been relevant to your whole group.. but your response might not need to be received by your other 35 coworkers….




3. Headphones— Your music is so loud that everyone in your office knows you’ve been listening to Sam Smith for 3 weeks straight.

Bob's Burgers Headphones


4. Keyboard smashing
— No need to pound the keys… no need.

Keyboard Pound



5. Personal hygiene practices— #1 Practice good hygiene. #2 Don’t try to improve your personal hygiene in the office. There is a time and place for finger nail filing, flossing, facial hair trimming, etc. The office is not that place.

Nail File


6. Jumping into a conversation-
– Again, we know it’s a small space.. but unless you have something valuable to add, don’t hop in.

Interrupting Something


7. Leaving a mess
— Don’t be that person. Put away your dishes, wipe your crumbs, throw away your trash, push in your chair.. leave things as you found them.

Spongebob Clean


8. Taking things that aren’t yours
— The coke in the fridge, the stapler in the copy room, the donut on your colleagues desk… If it isn’t yours.. don’t take it without permission.

Ross Turkey Sandwich


9. Being the office intercom
— It’s understood that if your office consists of a few cubicles in a big open space… your conversations will likely be overheard by your neighbors. However, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t take care in reducing your call volume. Jane from accounts doesn’t need to hear about your abscess tooth drainage from last year and how it effected your emotional wellbeing.

Dexter's Lab Loud

10. Bringing in your personal life
— We all have our own issues, but know when and where to discuss them.

Feelings Mean Girls

Responsive Web Design- You’ve heard it in conversation, you’ve read it on social media, you’ve seen it on TV. You understand that it is relevant, but you’re not entirely sure what it means….

Simply put.. responsive websites “RESPOND” to their environment. It doesn’t matter the user is on an iPhone or Android, Tablet or Laptop, Chrome or Firefox; responsive websites adapt to the device they are being displayed on.


Here are 7 Reasons You Need a Responsive Website

1. Mobile phone usage-

How many people do you know that can’t be without their phone? Mobile phone usage is increasing dramatically daily and it doesn’t look like it’s going to slow down anytime soon. What does this mean for your website? Advice Media states that more than 55% of your website visitors access your site from a mobile device. So.. if your website isn’t responsive, you’re losing out on a huge potential market. Check these stats out;

-It is estimated that by 2017 more than 5 billion people will use mobile phones.
-More than 20 percent of Google searches are now being performed on some sort of mobile device.
-25 percent of Internet users only access the internet via a mobile device in the U.S.

2. Maintenance-

If your website isn’t responsive, you are likely to have two different URL’s; One for your mobile version, and one for your desktop version. So why does that matter? With two URL’s for both versions of your site, you now have to run TWO SEO campaigns= your now spending twice the amount of time AND twice the amount of money to update your site.

3. Search Engine Optimization-

Google has said that it ranks sites optimized for mobile, higher in mobile searches (seo-hacker). Additionally, your “link building game” will get stronger if you only have one URL to direct all of your incoming traffic to…boosting overall views on your site and likely increasing your sales.

“If the customer engagement features of your website are not proper and users are leaving your page after a few clicks then the Big G or Google as we know him is going to decrease your rating due to an increased bounce rate.” A reduction of your rating means that you will go down in appearance preference and this will reduce the traffic of potential customers in your site. (Website Magazine)

4. Positive User Experience-

How? Well, when someone accesses a responsive site from their mobile device the user doesn’t have to fool around with zooming and shrinking the text or images on screen. Instead, all of the content automatically adjusts to the screen of the device… making it convenient for all users to read and navigate through (Huffington Post).

Why is this important? According to Google’s Think Insights on Mobile, if someone is accessing your website unsuccessfully and starts to get frustrated there is a 61 percent chance they will leave and head to another website. Additionally, 48 percent of users stated that a poor website comes across as the company not having much care for their business.

“If your navigation menu or company message is not clear, concise, and fast-loading on a smartphone; you may be losing clients, trust, credibility and money.” 

5. Performance-

Having a content first strategy, respects your clients/users time and attention.” (Hyperarts)

Responsive web design is all about a “content first” strategy. That basically means that the information on your site needs to quickly load so that users can reap the benefits of your business straight away. Design of your website is no longer solely about decoration.. you need performance.

6. Google Told You To-

In 2013, Google claimed 67 percent of the search market share, making it the most popular search engine in the world (Huffington Post). And guess what? If that 67 percent share holder is telling you that responsive web design is HIGHLY recommended… I wouldn’t take it lightly.

For more information on why it is important for Google, check out this article:

7. Looks Awesome

Like seriously…. If you want to see some examples..

Check this site out: 50 Awesome Responsive Website Designs