DSLR Video Tips and Tricks

Video production on a budget can be difficult, especially when you need to produce a commercial-quality video. We don’t all have access to a $60,000 RED Cinema camera, so what do we do to produce high-quality content?

Many people have access to a DSLR camera, so we’ve come up with some tips and tricks on how to make a quality video with one.


Learning all you can about the upcoming project you’re working on is vital. Understanding the brand you’re working for (whether it’s a company or yourself) is important to first establish before continuing a project. Think of these three questions when you’re researching and preparing for your video:

1. What is the video trying to accomplish?

2. How have other people done it?

3. How can we do it better?

In the business of content creation, it’s about being aware of your purpose and accomplishing that in a creative, innovative, different way. Take time to strategically create a concept.

Create a Shot List
The angle of your shots and the way that you frame them all matter. Create with purpose and with a vision of the end result in mind. Have specific thoughts in mind. How are you going to balance each shot? The rule of thirds applies not only to photography but also cinematography. Pay attention to where your subject is and, if they’re going to move, where you will also move in order to keep them in frame.

Depth of field is another aspect of creating a shot that is important to think about. Referring back to the first question in the previous section, what is the video trying to accomplish? In some videos you might want the subjects and background completely in focus and, for other videos you may want one subject in focus and everything else blurry.

Scout the Area
One of the most important things to pay attention to while you’re filming is lighting. Think about it, videography and photography are all about capturing light. Having good lighting is vital, but if it’s unavailable then you may want to consider bringing your own lights.

Ideally, you’ll know the location of your shoot in order to properly plan out your shots and know what space is available. This isn’t always the case. There are a lot of times when online research is your best friend. Utilize your resources to learn as much as you can about the location of your shoot beforehand. In a lot of instances, you won’t be able to find out everything until you’re actually there. Budget time to see the space before you begin the production and make adjustments as needed.


Be intentional in your choice of lighting. Lighting creates a mood. Always have the purpose of your video in mind because that will help determine what subjects you want in certain lighting at specific times. These are likely decisions you’ll have to make for every video you’re shooting.

Keeping your subjects in focus at the right time is difficult, especially if you’re shooting a video with photography lenses. Keep in mind that photo lenses are varifocal. As the focal length moves, the focus moves as well. This change in focus is called “lens breathing,” and it’s something to keep in mind during production. If you have access to cinema lenses (or parfocal lenses), then shooting video will prove to be easier. Those lenses are designed to keep moving objects in focus as you zoom in and out because of the way they’re built. PetaPixel provides a good explanation and demonstration of the differences between varifocal and parfocal lenses.

One of the biggest drawbacks about shooting on a DSLR is fighting camera shake. As much as we wish we could all have perfectly steady hands, it’s not possible. Luckily, there are tools available like a steadicams and glidecams. Thes are more expensive options, but if you have the funds to purchase one they’re amazing.

A more DIY and budget-friendly option is to use the strap that comes with your camera, put it around your neck and extend it until it’s tight around your neck. Use both hands and hold the camera (one on each side). This creates three points of contact (like a tripod) and it becomes easier to stabilize the camera better than if you were to hold it free-hand.

Knowing your settings on your camera are important. As you’re capturing your images, your aperture setting determines how much light is allowed to enter into the camera. Have the subject well-lit to have a smaller aperture.

The further open the aperture is the more light is allowed to reach the sensor, however, you create a shallow depth of field which makes your plane of focus smaller. It is harder to capture moving subjects and keep them in focus when your plane of focus is narrow.

A wide open aperture can create a beautiful shot with foreground and background items blurred and softened so adjust accordingly to available light and style of shot.

Camera Movements
Don’t take moving the camera for granted. Just because you can move it, doesn’t mean you always should move it. Have a very specific purpose to move the camera because as a videographer it’s your job to know when and where to move it. Those movements need to be smooth for post-editing, which is why creating a shot list is so important in pre-production.


Organize Folders in Premiere Pro
We prefer using Adobe’s Premiere Pro as our video editing software and it makes organizing your clips and audio files much easier. Having organized folders will make all the difference when editing your video. Utilize bins and groups and label them in a way that is organized and clear. A good tip is to label them in a way that if an outside person needed to find a clip, it would be easy for them to find it whether it be labeled by location, date, event, etc.

Here’s a tip on how to quickly organize your footage.

Post “Warp Stabilizer”
The warp stabilizer feature in Adobe Premiere Pro is one of your best friends, especially if you’re not using a Glidecam or a DSLR stabilizer for your video. This feature stabilizes shaky footage, which should give you a little sense of relief because now you know you don’t have to be perfect! Adobe provides a great tutorial on how to use the warp stabilizer feature.

Cut to the Music
Music can make or break a video, so it’s important to choose a soundtrack that fits the purpose of the video. One of the biggest pieces of advice we can provide {which takes some planning, but is worth it), is to choose your soundtrack before you create your video. Pre-determining your soundtrack allows for you to create your shot list and plan your cuts according to the track. It’s amazing how much more professional your video will turn out just by creating your video with a soundtrack in mind.

Keeping these ideas in mind will help you on your journey to creating high quality, captivating content. Don’t worry about creating the perfect video on your first try, practice makes perfect! Remember that competing with other content creators is no easy feat. Make sure to add your own style to your videos. Do something different, dare to be unique.

The Importance of Custom Photography


An important part of a marketing plan that is often overlooked is custom photography. Humans are highly visual creatures. We’re able to make connections and process visual information almost instantaneously. In fact, a user’s decision to trust, engage, or commit is made in milliseconds. It’s true what they say: a picture is worth a thousand words. Here’s why meaningful, custom images can convey more to the user than any stock photo.

User Experience

Hiring a photographer to shoot custom images of your product or service has been proven to significantly improve user experience of your website.  Regardless of how professional looking they may be, stock photos may convey the wrong message, thus confusing the user or leaving a sense of fraud.

Brand Recognition

Have you ever seen a photo or visual and were able to instantly recognize what brand it was? Powerful and harmonious photos are more memorable and more likely to stand out among consumers. In addition, it allows you to establish a connection with your audience.

Authenticity & Transparency

Custom photography allows you to show your employees, work environment, services, products, and relationships. Not only does this allow for credibility, authenticity, and transparency, but it also humanizes your brand.

If you need help defining your visual identity, Epic Marketing can design and deliver a brand transformation. Our team of professionals is dedicated to taking your business to the next level. Contact us today at (801) 251-7432 for a consultation.

The Importance of Aesthetics and Usability in Web Design

Web aesthetics and usability play important roles in determining the success of the website. Finding the correct balance between the two subjects isn’t always an easy task due to their contrasting nature. Although websites might be delivered by machines, they are meant to be used by people. Therefore, people should be your priority at every phase of design and development.

Defining Aesthetics

Aesthetics is known as the set of principles guiding the work of an artist, including color, contrast, graphics, and layout. A website’s aesthetics can influence a brands credibility and perception. In fact, studies have shown a clear link between solid design and site credibility.  Furthermore, the implementation of design principles affects the overall experience of a website and defines the quality of the web designer.  A pleasant and smart design allows the user to have a positive experience.

Why Usability is Important in Web Design

A majority of people today value usability more than good looks. There’s no doubt usability is necessary for a website to be successful. A website should allow your visitors to understand your services or product as quickly and easily as possible.  Users no longer accept websites that are slow to load or difficult to navigate. In fact, the usability of a website can either make or break your online success.

Let Us Help Your Business Reach its Full Potential

Creating great experiences on the web typically comes down to engagement and attention. At Epic Marketing, our team of expert marketing professionals can provide your business with an aesthetically pleasing and usable website. Contact us today at 801.657.4383 for a free consultation. Our marketing experts will help your business reach its full potential.


The Importance of Visual Identity for Start-Ups

In a world where visual content is dominating, your company’s identity and brand are in the constant forefront. By mastering your visual identity, you’ll be capable of making a strong and impactful first impression. Creating your own business can be a challenging task, and with so many aspects to look at, visual identity can be overlooked. We recommend the following in order to make your start-up stand out.

Establish Credibility

Unlike large, established corporations, start-up businesses may have a trickier time identifying their brand and establishing credibility. Often times, start-ups can end up with generic logos and a non-cohesive message. To be truly successful, your audience must believe that you’re the real deal. This can be achieved by having a strong visual identity along with unique messaging that effectively portrays your company.

Stand Out From Your Competition

With so many companies, it’s vital to have a unique selling point to stand out. Inventing a visual identity gives you an approach that few have. Create cohesiveness among every element, including logo, color scheme, fonts, graphics, e-blasts, website, business cards, etc. Visual identity can define a company and create a brand love and loyalty, which will resonate with your customer base for years on end.


Good design makes it easier for customers to engage with your content. A meaningful and compelling design is equally important as content. The overall look of your brand is undeniably essential in order to find new customers and boost sales. A cohesive visual identity will capture the attention of leads while providing a fresh and unique feel.

Interested in creating a visual identity for your business? Contact us today at 801.657.4383 for a free consultation. Our marketing experts will help your business reach its full potential.


The Power of the Slogan

A slogan is a fantastic way to convey value proposition. Through the use of a motto or phrase that represents an idea or purpose, communication to your intended audience helps to make your product or service memorable.

Commonly referred to as a “tagline,” a marketing slogan is traditionally “catchy” and (hopefully) captures audience members’ attention and influences their association with the slogan and the product it is representing. By doing so, the hope is that the brand becomes identifiable and increases conversion (i.e., purchases).

Think for a moment about what you think of when you hear the following: “Just Do It,” “I’m lovin’ it,” or “got milk?” Your mind automatically jumps to the Nike swoosh, the McDonald’s golden arches, and the widely-recognized milk mustache. Perhaps you were reminded that you love your running shoes and need a new pair, that your kids have been particularly good this week and deserve a happy meal and an hour in the “playplace”, or that you’re running low on milk and need to do a store run. If this is the case, then these slogans definitely accomplished what they were intended for.

As with the above example, a slogan helps your brand stand out, highlighting the core of your messaging. It beckons the question, then, what makes an advertising slogan successful?

Essentially, smart advertising should deliver results. It does no good to have a corporate jingle or catch phrase that audience members are still left wondering, who was that company? A successful slogan ought to direct consumer preference toward your product and hopefully positively influence their buying behavior. Your slogan should be creatively appealing, and traditionally pair an adjective with a describing noun.

In essence, catch what your company or brand stands for in as succinct a manner as possible. When in doubt, it’s always beneficial to consult your marketing or advertising agency for guidance. If your current slogan is not working for you, or you feel that your company could benefit from a refresh, contact the marketing and advertising experts at Epic Marketing. We specialize in brand identity, messaging, and all-things creative.

The Right Font Can Make All the Difference: Lessons from John Hancock

On this day in 1737, John Hancock, a patriot of the American Revolution, was born in a province of Massachusetts Bay (now Quincy). Though he was the first Massachusetts Governor and President of the Second Continental Congress, he is best known for his large and prominent signature on the Declaration of Independence—so much so that “John Hancock” is now commonly referred to when speaking of a person’s signature.

Though I would venture to say that Hancock would be a formal calligraphy type of man (“declaration” is actually a font made from the handwriting of the Declaration of Independence and is the professional penmanship of Timothy Matlack, who engrossed the final copy of the document), nowadays one’s penmanship would be equated with his digital font of choice (seeing as how there is very little handwriting that now takes place).

So when it comes to designing your clients’ websites, collateral pieces, or even your own, you might be at a loss in terms of which font to use. With an endless quantity of typefaces that range from bold ornamentation to even the most mundane of styles, how does anyone know which to choose? Suddenly, an infinite amount of questions plague your thoughts: What message does this font size convey? How will this font look across all of my platforms? Am I making any serious typeface blunders? What type of voice and emotions does this font suggest?

Don’t freak! Read on to learn more about some major font faux pas, how to avoid them, and which fonts you should best utilize to maximize your responsive web design and other campaign elements.

Consider the Circumstances:are you preparing a legal document or a birthday invitation? Is this a piece of collateral designed for a hospital or for a restaurant? Just like you would always do an in-depth analysis of your audience, so too would you take the time to consider the context in which your piece is situated. Chances are, you’ll easily recognize which fonts are (and are not) appropriate given the conditions.

Get Familiar with the Basics:You should always have a repertoire of fonts in your back pocket that are safe and your “go-to” ones. These ought to include fonts that are clear and universal, such as types of geometric sans (think Helvetica or Gotham) or that are modern but still retain a humanistic element, such as types of humanist sans (think Myriad or Verdana). You can also always fall back on the old style types, such as Jenson or Garamond, that are classic and traditional.

Focus on Decisive Contrast:Be careful when mix and matching fonts. Typefaces on a design need to coexist comfortably without making the viewer hesitate and wonder in confusion—rather than simply viewing. Though there is no hard-set rule here, one important thing to remember is that it’s best to combine fonts that are very different with the exception of one shared trait (such as the same stroke weight).

Take Some Risks: Don’t be afraid to add a little flare to your design piece by playing around with fonts that may seem a bit more “out there.” Just be sure to use those in moderation and to always examine your piece from all aspects and across all platforms before sending to print.

The most important thing to remember is that there really are no iron-clad rules when it comes to fonts; rather practice and meticulous selection are the elements that go a long way. Though handwriting may be becoming less of an everyday occurrence in this digital age, now swapped for a keyboard and a Word document, the practice of utilizing fonts to convey a message is certainly not.

Logos and Color Schemes & Why They Matter

You own your business and it’s important to you to have it grow, flourish, and be successful. We don’t know of a single business owner who doesn’t feel this way. To help ensure that your business is profitable, you need to properly promote and sell your product. Now ask yourself this: what is the first thing consumers will see when they look at your company or product? The first thing that comes to our mind is your logo. A logo can help define a company and create a brand love and loyalty, which will resonate with your customer base for years on end.

There are many different design aspects that go into developing a great logo for your company. One of the biggest things to think about, one that is often overlooked, is the color scheme you want to use for your logo. Over years of marketing and designing logos, we’ve seen many companies who have chosen a logo color without putting much thought into what that color says to target audiences. There is a reason why there’s a color trend in different industries. For example, when you look at the eye products section at the supermarket, you’d be hard pressed to see any that are packaged in red. This is because when we think of our eyes, we think sensitive. When we see the color red, we think irritation, or powerful and strong, but when it comes to our eyes, we want soothing and calm. This is why most eye products are packaged in blues and greens.

There have been many interesting studies on the psychology of color. Different colors evoke different feelings in people. Considering your target consumer base when creating your business logo will help your company or product to resonate better with them. Let’s take a look at some colors and the feelings and concepts they inspire in us:

Red: Active, Power, Alarm, Strength, Hunger, Love, Passion

Yellow: Energy, Cheer, Optimism, Excitement, Youth, Caution, Friendliness

Orange: Health, Attraction, Happiness, Creativity, Innovation

Green: Natural, Soothing, Balance, Money, Growth, Healing, Fresh, New

Blue: Calm, Peace, Sincerity, Affection, Stability, Trust, Confidence

Purple: Wealth, Royalty, Dignity, Prestige, Wisdom, Sophistication

Pink: Tenderness, Caring, Love, Thoughtful, Sweet

Black: Authority, Classic, Mystery, Elegance, Bold, Formality

White: Clean, Pure, Innocent, Hope, Simplicity, Honesty

Gray: Traditional, Conservative, Reliable, Neutral

Brown: Outdoors, Longevity, Wholesome, Organic, Comfort

Knowing the expected reaction to different colors, and properly applying them to your business and its logo, will help to bring out the right emotions in consumers, silently urging them to want to do business with you. We found an amazing infographic that helps to further explain what we’re talking about. Designed by Kate Taylor, an Entrepreneur staff writer, we urge you to check it out: http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/232401

First Impressions Can Make or Break Your Advertising

Studies show it takes as little as one-tenth of a second for us to formulate a first impression. However, many business owners don’t understand that the same thing applies when it comes to advertisements. Whether you like it or not, prospective patients and customers are judging your business in a split second based on the look and feel of your advertising. In a society that is flooded with advertisements, a successful ad has to stand out and make an immediate positive impression or it will be skipped over.

Think about the highest quality business you know of. What does their advertising look like? Now, think about the worst quality business you know. What does their advertising look like? Chances are there is a big difference in how you view the two company’s advertising in terms of credibility and professionalism. Some ads probably make you assume that the business is located in a back alley, while others make you picture the business in an impressive office building.

Your ad could have the absolute best messaging and content, but your readers won’t even get that far if they aren’t first enticed by a creative look and fee. That’s why you need a professional marketing firm involved with your advertising that knows how to accurately portray your business image.

At Epic Marketing, we know how to design attention-grabbing ads. Our creative team has more than 40 years of combined experience and has helped all of our clients improve how their business is portrayed through advertisements. Don’t take a chance with your image. Call Epic today to take your advertising to the next level.