Fall is here. You can feel it in the air, at least on the East Coast where hurricanes and fires have not wrecked havoc of late. With everything going on and production easing back into a daily grind we have to remember to stay safe and smart, or we will be right back where we were a few short months ago.
Remember Danny Boyle’s 2002 film, 28 days later, well NY feels a lot like that lately. It seems it was only a few days ago that the world was shut down, toilet paper was in short supply, and the idea of hugging a relative was considered punishable by law. Thankfully, NYers and others across the country worked together to stay apart. Thought and care was put into numerous plans to get things, and people, working again.
Fortunately for us in the production world we have a number of organizations with dedicated people who have crafted guidelines to getting back safely.
The AICP published their COVID-19 WORKPLACE GUIDELINES AND CONSIDERATIONS outline. Version 6 — Last Updated 9/07/20 is available as a PDF on their site. You can read more here.
On the other side of the fence, the Directors Guild of America (DGA), International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE), International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT) and the Basic Crafts, and Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) released their multi-union report on Covid-19 safety in “The Safe Way Forward.”
At Bean Labs, our team is ready and willing to get back to work safely. Let us know if we can give you a hand with anything.
Video production is the future of marketing. Videos capture audience attention with ease while relaying important information. However, they can be hard to create without the necessary business insight in the production world, alongside proven experience working with the creative video making processes.
That’s where Bean Labs strives. With us by their side, our clients only need to have their project purpose and vision; we take care of the rest. We provide support from the beginning ideation stages to the final distribution. For us, we place our clients as our priority and bring their visions into reality with complete integrity and attention.
It makes us extremely happy to see that our clients have enjoyed their experience working with us, as we maintain our 5-star average profile rating on Clutch. Clutch is a DC-based B2B platform that connects companies to solutions providers on the basis of ratings and reviews from former clients.
Our first review on the site comes from KZSW Advertising, a full-service ad agency. They requested our support in marketing materials, specifically TV commercials for the greater New York market. We worked alongside them from the very first step to successfully putting together multiple commercials over the course of several years. Throughout the process, it remains important to us that not only are satisfied results met, but that the client is able to collaborate with us at every point.
“The commercials we worked together on have been so successful over the last few years that the number of projects and the media budgets we have to deploy them have grown steadily, year after year.” -President and Creative Director, KZSW Advertising
One of our more recent reviews on Clutch is from The Canine Review, an online publication focused specifically on dogs within the pet industry. We helped them with a project that required branding ideation, positioning, and website design and build. We understand that marketing goes beyond just video projects, and strive to help our clients with whatever they may require assistance with in order to reach their desired target market. The process involved two separate mini-projects, between the ideation and branding, and then the overall discussion regarding the design and functions for the website. At the end, both these projects came together to fit the overall brand of The Canine Review.
“They were honest and ethical. The great thing about them is that they’re terrific about spontaneously starting a project when I give them a call. They’re great at putting together a reasonable plan. I highly recommend them for startups and publishers. They’re very reliable.” -Editor and Publisher, The Canine Review
Clutch also maintains a sister site, The Manifest. The Manifest is a supplemental tool to highlight top companies across various industries and regions so that partner-seekers can narrow their searches for the perfect match regarding an upcoming project.
If you are interested in working with us or learning more about our work, please do not hesitate to reach out and let us know!
Recently we launched a new local directory website for Northern Westchester County, WestchesterNorth.com. Westchester is home to a number of amazing places and people. The area is rich in history and beauty. Westchester is located north of New York City (no it’s not upstate – that would be Buffalo). It is a convenient and enjoyable commute to Grand Central Terminal (no not station – that would also be incorrect). Westchester North is a gateway to the local businesses and people of Northern Westchester, and we continue to enjoy developing content for the site and social. But I digress, the point of this post is to talk about the importance of images on your website, in your social media, and for your brand in general.
In building and designing Westchester North one of our primary tasks was to capture and organize 1000s of photos for the site and for social. As content creators we tend to go overboard with high-end cameras and lenses, often capturing content in 4K and beyond when necessary or just enjoyable. When it comes to a website however it is best to keep in mind the mantra “size matters.” If you are building an image-heavy website you need to make sure your site will load quickly and efficiently for both proper google ranking (and SEO) and most importantly for ease of use by your visitors. Below we breakdown some important steps to help you optimize your content. Our quick guide to preparing your images for your website, brand, and beyond.
Let’s start with the basics.
First, start with high-quality images. Whether you are sourcing stock imagery or taking your own photos start with the highest quality possible. This will give you the opportunity to properly resize, crop, correct, augment, or enhance as your heart desires.
It’s also important to remember if you are using your phone to capture images for your website how you plan on using the image. Play it safe and take a PORTRAIT and LANDSCAPE photo, you’ll thank me later.
In most cases, your image is likely to be a JPEG file. While there are other web-compatible files such as GIF, SVG, and PNG, JPEG and PNG are most common. PNG’s offer you the option to have a transparent background say for your logo if you want to overlay it on your page or another photo. Starting with a high-quality LARGE jpeg file will give you the opportunity to edit it for a variety of uses. Remember you can always make a large image smaller, but making a smaller image larger well that results in a poor looking, pixelated disaster.
PNG for Graphics and Logos
Many simple image programs you might find on your computer or phone let you choose JPG or PNG by going to “Save As,” “Export,” or “Save for web” and selecting your preference. There are some great web apps that make editing images and graphics super easy. (We love canva and crello for creating simple graphics.)
RESIZE TO OPTIMIZE
Life is all about balance. When it comes to your photos and your website you will need to find the right balance between page speed and appearance. If you are using a high-resolution image (read large file size) you will greatly affect the speed at which your web page loads. Large file = Slow load, this hurts your user’s experience and your SEO as I mentioned above.
That said there are times when you want to use a large image for your page header or hero banner or to showcase an amazing feature that requires detail, so it’s okay, but don’t go overboard. You want to keep an eye on the size of the image after you save it. Is it 6 MB or 128 KBs? Are you using multiple images on a page? They add up too.
Size and Resolution (DPI). DPI or dots per square inch refers to the pixel density of an image. If you plan on printing you will often want your images to be 300 dpi minimum and scale up as necessary (which if we jump back up a few paragraphs is why we often capture content with super cameras and lenses, or as we say, overkill). However, if your goal is the internet then you need to think smaller, 72 dpi to be exact (although 92 dpi is also an acceptable practice). Now, the resolution is only one part of the equation, the other is dimension. Like most humans you are probably familiar with typical photo formats such as 4×6 or 5×7, perhaps you even have your 8×10 highschool photo matted in a nice 9×12 frame. On the web we talk about dimensions in pixels. For example, a hero blog pic may be 1600 by 800 pixels. We typically start with our images at 2000x 1200 and scale down as appropriate. There are times where we will play with the scale of an image for a more cinematic look and others where the image dictates the format (such as a portrait or landscape photo).
We could talk for hours about the numerous ways to format a picture from 1:1 for Instagram, to 4:3, to 16:9, to 9:16, and so on. Every social media page has its own requirements and guidelines and you have to think of how your image will work on both desktop and mobile as well.
CONSISTENCY IS KEY ( a side note)
Before we jump into the all-important topic of naming and organizing, we’d like to stress that consistency plays a huge role in your web design and presentation. Think about how your images will be used on your page or in your post and create your own brand style guide to uniformly organize your images.
THE NAME GAME
As some of my clients will tell you, I can be a bit pushy when it comes to naming things clearly and properly. When it comes to images most people don’t think about their file names at all. If they took a pic and it is “DSC_120312343489.jpg”, “Photo2.png” or, dare I say, “Screen Shot 2019-07-01 at 3.28.42 PM”
If this sounds familiar, take a break from reading and start renaming your images before you upload anything to your website. Why? Why? Because doing this one simple thing makes managing your photos easier and in the process, it may just help boost your SEO (depending on where the images appear online.)
Again on the topic of consistency, stick to one format: use lowercase letters and numbers 0-9. Don’t introduce punctuation or spaces, it is best to use-hyphens-to-separate-words-rather-than_underscores. (Think awesome-photo-of-chris-valentino-on-set-looking-dashing.jpg rather than DSC12345.jpg).
Once you properly name, resize, and UPLOAD your images think about the other SEO seasoning called Alt-Tags (Alternative Text). While not visible to your average user this information tells search engines what your image is all about. Typically with Alt – tags you want to describe your image in a simple, descriptive way this helps visually impaired visitors who navigate your site with audio-based software. It’s also a great way to improve website accessibility.
The last thing to add is to always keep your images placed in a relevant position on your page or post.
Don’t just toss it on the page, place it close to the related textual content. While Google is getting better at recognizing images they won’t do your work for you.
All in all, think organization, optimization, and quality!
Video and photography go hand-in-hand it is why we have always championed a tandem photo shoot with every video production. We have a talented team of photographers who specialize in different types of imagery, from commercial to corporate, from architectural to behind the scenes and more. Whatever your need we can meet it. Before you start your next project talk with us about the different ways and mediums in which we can champion your story. It all starts with discovery and planning.
We love to tell stories, especially personal stories that uncover a person’s journey which can, in turn, help others in a similar situation. Earlier this year we had the opportunity to get to know Julie and her family as she shared her personal struggles and triumphs living with PAH.
Pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) is a rare, progressive disorder characterized by high blood pressure (hypertension) in the arteries of the lungs (pulmonary artery) for no apparent reason. The pulmonary arteries are the blood vessels that carry blood from the right side of the heart through the lungs.
Julie was a pleasure to work with and her family and we thank her for allowing us into her home and life if for only a short time.
As #Pinktober winds down and the focus all too quickly shifts from the breast cancer conversation, we celebrate the story of Esther Garza. Esther is a 55-year-old mother, grandmother, metastatic breast cancer patient and advocate within the Latina breast cancer community. Esther brings her story to the mbc awareness campaign Story Half Told. We had the honor of working with Esther and her family and friends to shed light on her personal story.
Breast Cancer: A Story Half Told is the initiative by Pfizer in partnership with advocates, patients and healthcare professionals that aims to elevate public understanding of metastatic breast cancer, dispel misperceptions, combat stigma and expand the breast cancer conversation to be more inclusive of metastatic breast cancer. The unbranded campaign focuses on metastatic breast cancer patients in their daily lives at home, at work, at play or at the doctor’s office. The goal was to create socially engaging content rooted in honest storytelling.
Story Half Told was nominated for a 2016 Cannes Lion and 2016 Sabre Award.
#MelanomaJustGotPersonal – We are proud to share our latest production, Melanoma Just Got Personal.
It was a pleasure working with Troy Aikman and #Novartis on this campaign and to have the opportunity to work with Troy to tell his personal melanoma story.
Melanoma Just Got Personal is a portal to help patients living with advanced melanoma (unresectable or metastatic melanoma) learn about the personalized nature of their disease so they are better equipped to fight against it. We had the privilege to speak with patients living with melanoma and their supporters as well as healthcare professionals who provided insight into the importance of knowing their diagnosis. It was an eye opening experience to learn about the different types of the disease and how knowing your mutation can lead to better treatment. The team at Novartis is dedicated to spreading this message.
Join pro football legend, Hall of Famer and former melanoma patient, Troy Aikman, the Melanoma Research Foundation, Melanoma International Foundation and Aim at Melanoma, and learn more about advanced melanoma to help raise awareness of this rarely discussed cancer.
No, we aren’t talking about the country Egypt, rather the incredibly talented television, radio personality, author, speaker and home space expert, Egypt Sherrod.
Nothing like a trip to Hot-lanta in the middle of winter to keep you warm and fuzzy. Chris Valentino directed Egypt in a series of new promo materials for HGTV and the Cider Company. Once again shot by long-time collaborator, DP Mike Falasco, the promo campaign was a delight to work on.
Egypt is a passionate professional who always brings her a-game to the set. It was a fun time working with Egypt (she has some serious dance moves). Check out her show on HGTV!
Jason Cameron knows a thing or two about landscaping. This Licensed Home Improvement Contractor, Finish Carpenter, Personal Trainer, Writer, Actor, TV Personality and Fitness Model was a joy to work with and brought a lot of laughs to the set. (Thankfully, he left the sledgehammer at home).
Director Chris Valentino wrapped a promo shoot for DIY network and The Cider Company.
Catch Jason on DIY’s Desperate Landscapes and America’s Most Desperate Landscapes.
It goes without saying that the incredible talent at DIY knows how to have fun. We worked with DIY, The Cider Company and super-nice, award-winning host Scott McGillivray on some new promo campaigns. Chris Valentino directed the shoot for the Cider Company and DIY alongside the DIY design team. This shoot was a blast as it reunited many of our old crew people together at one of our favorite NY area locations. The shoot went incredibly well and we accomplished everything we hoped to. It was a memorable day. Our favorite highlight has to be Scott tossing a sledgehammer to Director, Chris Valentino while he wasn’t looking. Thankfully, Chris’ panther-like reflexes were on point. Lastly, we have to mention the shoot was shot by our talented and lovely DP, Mike Falasco. Kudos and thanks to Kim Bratt and team Cider for another fun assignment.
Recently Chris Valentino once again collaborated with The Cider Company to direct promos for one of our favorite shows, HGTV’s Fixer Upper. Having the opportunity to spend an August Summer day in Waco, TX should be on everyone’s to-do list.
Watch Fixer Upper on HGTV!
Recently Chris Valentino collaborated with The Cider Company to direct promos for Lara Spencer’s Flea Market Flip. The HGTV show has found its new home as the flagship program for Great America Country, the Scripps family’s latest network addition.
A great time was had by all on location at the Brimfield Antique Show and The Elephant’s Trunk. Both venues offered a look into the past and some truly amazing textures.
Lara is a pro and proved why she is so great at her job. She is passionate, driven and artistic.
Many thanks to The Cider Company and Kim Bratt for the opportunity.
We are very excited to share progress of our studio partner, Rain or Shine Studios. Opening this spring, Rain or Shine will offer a unique location and studio setting for film, photography and event production.
More to come.
“It’s Time” is the highly anticipated SEC Storied documentary which depicts the unique relationship between former SEC players Chucky Mullins and Brad Gaines.
The film by Peabody Award-winning documentarian Fritz Mitchell takes an in-depth look at the inspirational friendship between Gaines, a former Vanderbilt fullback, and Mullins, a former Mississippi defensive back. Their lives became intertwined on Oct. 28, 1989 when Mullins put a devastating hit on Gaines near the Mississippi end zone. The collision left Mullins paralyzed and Gaines troubled with guilt for having played an unknowing role in the injury.
Several personalities featured in the documentary, including Gaines, Mitchell and former Mississippi head coach Billy Brewer, will discuss their participation after the screening.
Bean Creative Labs is happy to once again collaborate with Fritz on the project. We provided the title design and animations for the film which premiered Sept 4th.
We recently wrapped production on a new project that is sure to wet the appetite. The program to be released this fall focuses on diet and nutrition and features some amazing talent. Directed by Chris Valentino with photography by Michael Falasco and Chong Pak, more info to come as we get closer to launch.
Here’s the official Press Release for Get Your Full Course. We had a blast working with Sunny Anderson on this campaign.
Sunny’s recipes and exclusive cooking demonstrations are featured on www.GetYourFullCourse.com. Alongside Sunny, Dr. Lindsey Albenberg, a gastroenterologist from Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine, lends her expert advice and answers common questions for those living with IBD. In addition, visitors to Get Your Full Course are invited to submit a recipe for, or a photo of, a favorite meal as part of a sweepstakes. All entries will be eligible to receive one of several prizes, including a grand prize to meet Sunny at a local CCFA event.
Researchers are working diligently to improve their knowledge of the relationship between diet, nutrition and IBD. They are specifically focused on examining the effect of bacteria in the gut for patients with IBD. Until these studies are complete, Dr. Albenberg encourages patients to have an open, honest conversation with their doctors to identify foods that could trigger flares and identify a diet and treatment plan to best manage their disease.
“IBD is a condition that varies greatly from patient to patient, but the goals of treatment remain consistent – to achieve remission, and once that is accomplished, to maintain remission,” said Dr. Albenberg. “When IBD is under control, a patient’s diet can be less restricted, so it’s important for patients to work closely with their healthcare team to accomplish symptom control and disease remission. Then, patients can slowly reintroduce foods into their diet to ensure a diet rich in vitamins and nutrients.”
“CCFA is proud to partner with Janssen Biotech, Inc. on Get Your Full Course to help educate the IBD community on the importance of working closely with your doctor to not only get your symptoms under control with appropriate therapy, but also learn how to make nutritious food choices and maintain a well-balanced, nutrient-rich diet,” said Laura Wingate, Vice President, Patient & Professional Services for CCFA. “We hope this initiative helps the IBD community learn that while diet does not cause or cure IBD, it can influence symptoms. By working with a healthcare professional, you can determine the individual diet and treatment approach that is right for you.”
Visit www.GetYourFullCourse.com for more information about the campaign.
When it comes to horror stories we are pretty sure everyone has one. Lucky for us our latest Horror story is the completion and launch of the all-new HorrorChannel.com
We are very excited to have completed a year long relaunch of the HorrorChannel. Working alongside founder and CEO Nick Psaltos we helped to shape the voice of the new website and digital destination. The Horror Channel’s mission is to introduce all ages to classic and contemporary literature and film in the “horror” genre. Thereafter they endeavor to engage both the creators and audiences of the horror, suspense, thriller, and fright genres in a community that values literature and film, but which is respectful of the varying audiences of the broad genre. In other words it is horror for all ages appealing to Scooby Doo fans, cult fans and mainstream horror fans.
Bean Creative Labs recently wrapped production on a spot for our friends at JCP. Taking advantage of the warmest day in months here in the NYC area. We headed out to Sheepshead Bay NY to take over (once again) local institution Jordan’s Clam Bar. A little movie magic and the place became our cafe setting for the piece.
Kudos to Team Bean’s Brian Jordan and Gable Schneider for making the day run smooth.
Television, the little box that could. One of my earliest memories with television is waking up to Mighty Mouse on our small black and white TV. It was so exciting to see that little mouse save the day, streaking across the sky like a drunken college student at a football game.
Today TV is always on. Content is streamed from every corner of the globe to devices that fit in our pockets. What makes watching TV, films, podcasts or anything so great is no secret – it is just the “thing”. That thing is CONTENT.
That is why I love it. Here are some small examples of our contributions to the ever-expanding world of content.
Augmented Reality as a technology is still in its infancy, yet it has been “around” for quite a few years. When it made the leap to smart phones from desktops it created a unique opportunity to engage people on the go. Thankfully the proliferation of smart phones has made more people aware of the technology and we are seeing them use it for entertainment, education and all around added value. (more…)
Everyday is a fresh start. With so many oportunities we have to make the most of it.
This little thought really strikes a chord with me. The landscape is constantly changing and like most people I have had to change with it. Work has been a roller coaster of intense deadlines, fierce creative and long nights. While rewarding in its own way, it does take its toll on me. I am wondering when I will have the chance to wind my mind down to catch a good deep sleep. Until then I am going to keep pushing, keep creating and keep finding new ways of doing.
Life. Make the most of it everyday in every way.
-Chris Valentino @Valentino328
Awe-inspiring boats that reflect the unlimited reach of human ingenuity, breathtaking views, action, tension, excitement, consummate skill, the pursuit of lifelong dreams and the tempestuous romance between sailors and the sea, set against a soaring musical score: this is The Wind God’s, the story of the 33rd America’s Cup race.
I have had the fortune of working on a number of rewarding film and video projects from independent features to documentaries, talk shows and consumer campaigns. Each project has been its own reward and offered creative and technological challenges that have thankfully proved successful. As a result, I am approached by various industries to produce and direct projects for just about every screen. (more…)
A little clean up goes a long way. What 12 hours, determination and the need to recover from Sandy will do for your brain.
Finding the answers to tough questions can lead us in many directions. Too often the answers are those we don’t want to hear or perhaps may seem difficult.
I had the opportunity to talk with the team at Microsoft about Tag and how we utilize the tech in various campaigns. Visit the Microsoft Tag Blog site for the full story.