Fun

Inspired: 70s’ Style Elegance

There’s something magical about the burnt-out color palette and creative shapes of 70s’ interior design. It was a time of tremendous change and dissolving inhibitions and the rich colors, daring layout, and simultaneously chill and elegant atmosphere are a stylish extension of the themes of that decade. So come along and take a nice blast to the past with these pictures of awesome, modern-classics!

Photo source: houzz.com

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DIY, Educational, Fun, Tips & Tricks

A Day in the Life: In-House Video Marketing at Red Devil & How You Can Do It Too

If you have ever watched a webcast on the subject or looked into expert articles in the field, video marketing can seem pretty intimidating. You not only are expected to promote a product or service but you have to make it engaging to an audience within a limited time frame, have decent production value, clean editing, and a well planned campaign to market it on the Youtube or Google Display channels.

When these essential video marketing checkpoints are listed, rarely is budget or experience taken into account. The encouraging truth is  that when time, budget, or experience are tight, small-scale, in-house video marketing can still be a reality. Of course this level of video marketing will be very basic and limited in comparison to top companies with nearly unlimited resources, but it is still effective for creating buzz about a product or informing customers about product application and benefits.

Being that I, an intern at the office, have only participated in the production of a handful of very simple videos and still have much to learn, I hope this piece will be taken more as an encouraging story of how video marketing is possible for even humble resources and expertise with a few tips thrown in, rather than an all-and-out guide to professional video marketing. I also intend this to be a more in-depth look into how Red Devil has approached production advertising and video marketing.

The First Milestone: Getting the Right Camera

(Image owned by oneslidephotography.com)

First of all, when it comes to video cameras for this particular purpose, it is best to have in mind what editing application or software you will be using to give a finishing touch to your videos. This is even more crucial than the resolution or visual specifics in my opinion, especially for the initial corporate camera. This is due to the tedium and sometimes complete incompatibility that can result from a camera that doesn’t sync up with your editing software or computer.

We use a very specific editing program so I had to find a camera that explicitly promised to work with this software. Surprisingly, many cameras could only suppose or generally claim to work with popular editing software so it may take reading into reviews, blog posts, forum, or other sources of web community input and experience with each camera to confirm its application.

The second priority was finding one that had a quality built-in microphone system and several sound modes. Red Devil really needed a camera that could be multi-dimensional and perform several roles where external equipment would typically be needed. Mikes and sound stabilizers can get pretty expensive.

Within these specifications, I was able to narrow the choice to two cameras. The marketing department ended up going with one that was perfect for the context of high quality, low budget, in-house video marketing because it is capable of up to 200x digital zoom for up close product shots, it has an easy to use touchscreen interface, five sound modes for any amount of noise/narrator control you need, auto smart modes that adjust to most lighting, sound, and composition, and a great auto focus for moving shots.

Tales from the Script: Writing the Production Screenplay

I don’t follow any formal system for the Red Devil scripts. This is mainly because so many re-writes and trimming happens in the beginning that simplicity and clarity are better to keep track of spoken lines and editing notes. The most exposition will most likely be in the production notes which are for the purpose of planning out what a scene will accomplish visually and what editing will need to be done. The production note also tags which editing note belongs with which scene. Here is an example of what this looks like: [Production]: Scene 10- Cuts without transition to a still image (without any Ken Burns effect or zoom initialization) of a person or a group of people painting or repairing a wall. As the narrator references product information, this information is listed on screen in centered, bold, colored letters. There is a large still image of the Patch & Prime spackling just under this font. 

When it comes to the content of the scripts, there is usually no storytelling involved, but rather a focus on what a product is capable of and how to use it effectively. This is actually a very appropriate approach for a limited amount of production resources. Video marketing with a high degree of cinematic storytelling with a clear conflict, action, and resolution is best for a medium-large budget because actors, animators, professional screenwriters, high-end editing, or outsourcing to video marketing production houses may be required to get the end result that will attract and engage an audience on web video channels. This is not to say that it is impossible to get creative on a limited budget, but it may be more of a challenge then an informational approach.

Within the scale of basic product information and application pointers, including official product ad-copy at the right points can help. This could be general things like “easy cleanup” or what materials an adhesive can be used on. These points may be reiterated at the beginning and end of a video to drive home the selling points of a product. Here’s another example, [Narrator]: Scene 10- What I love about it is that it reduces indoor air pollution, accepts latex or oil-based paints, and cleans up easily with water.The middle of a video is usually the best time for demonstrating the correct application of the product or going in-depth into what differentiates our products from competing products or methods.

As I stated in the beginning, there will be many rewrites involved in video advertising and marketing, so do not get too attached to one particular version of a script. Product info that was relevant last month may be obsolete next week. Towards the close of production, I usually have about three versions or more versions of a script. The original, the revised, and the narrator’s version of the script.

Capturing the Magic: Filming the Video

(Image owned by rinteractive.net)

This is actually one of my weak points and I’m fortunate to have really supportive marketing superiors in the department that help me to adjust a shot and setup the composition of a scene correctly. What I plan to do in the future and what I highly recommend that aspiring, non-experienced video marketers like myself practice, is putting together thumbnail sheets or panels (like a comic book) of each shot that needs to be captured. Each thumbnail should effectively capture the composition of a shot needed for the intended impact or message being communicated. If the correct composition of a shot as scripted is confusing even at this point (as it can be for me) you can use example pictures from the internet as an example if they are relevant and close to the intended shot ideal. You could also have your supervisor or superior verify your thumbnails several times before shooting takes place. This will make setting up a shot that much easier and effective as well as prevent wasting time and camera memory on throwaway shots.

In addition to this prep for production set-up, it is a good idea to have several copies of a list of production materials needed for the shoot beforehand. The key here is to think ahead on every level you can think of regarding what is being shot and how that can be accomplished. It is also a good idea to consider worst-case scenarios and variables or mistakes that may occur.  In general, this list will include in-shot product materials, application/product context materials, set design materials, camera set-up materials, and clean-up/or touch-up materials. I wouldn’t recommend stepping a foot towards your shooting location without double-checking the list and gathering the materials to be used.

If your editing software doesn’t include an option for turning live shots into still images, make sure you capture as many still shots of the overall script context as possible. There will be many times where a relevant still image can complete the needed overall processing and transition time of a video as well as clarify meaning.

It also helps if your editing software has audio layering capabilities, because this will allow you to shoot audio and video separately. This is not the only way to approach shooting and layering audio, but it makes it easier to edit and organize these files later on, helps the narrator/actor’s focus, and gives it a quality finish. In addition, this makes it easier to augment poor quality line readings without disturbing the overall video flow.

Lastly, don’t forget to adjust your camera’s capture features to appropriate levels for the environment you will be shooting in (florescent lighting, sunlight, etc.), desired audio focus (100% sound pickup vs. dictation audio feed), or scene composition (extreme close-up, movement, stabilization, digital zoom, etc.). As an alternative, your camera may have a reliable auto-adjust for simple videos.

 

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DIY, Fun

DIY Pet Bed Projects to Try

In honor of pet gratitude, the best DIY pet bed projects have been gathered for your convenience and enjoyment. Show your sassy cat or loyal dog the love with these pampering crafts! The best part is many of them recycle or repurpose previously used furniture and accessories. Factors like time investment required, supplies needed, and source material are provided.

 

(image owned by Handimania) 

 

Source: http://www.handimania.com/diy/sweatshirt-pet-bed.html

Time Investment: Low

Supplies: Scissor, thread, needle, measure meter, pins, pillow, used sweater, and a piece of blanket.

  • It doesn’t get much simpler or lazier than sewing an old sweatshirt onto a pillow. This is thrifty, fun, and easy enough that you’ll be left wondering why this hasn’t become an international craft phenomenon that outfits everyone with a chill cushion, from squirrels to endangered tigers.

 

( image owned by voodoomolly.co.nz)

 

Source: voodoomolly.co.nz

Time Investment: Very low. Like, seriously, it’s an old drawer bottom and a rolled up blanket.

Supplies: Old drawer bottom. Rolled up blanket. It’s getting redundant now. Oh wait, actually a hand sander might do the trick on some of those rough edges. I recommend Red Devil’s coarse/medium sanding block. It can be used wet or dry and gives fast, smooth results.

 

If you’re ultra tight on cash, supplies, and time, this may be the pet bed for you. And it’s surprisingly quirky and cute for what little work you put into it. Just don’t get carried away with quick, cheap repurposing like this and start making tissue boxes into litter boxes or toilet paper rolls into dog toys because that would be sad….

 

 

 

(image owned by kolchakpuggle.com)

 

Time Investment: High. It takes about an hour to set up and another hour or so to freeze up.

Supplies: Kid-size air mattress or inflatable pool toy, 32oz. rubbing alcohol, 1 bottle dish soap, 32oz. tap water, small funnel, superglue (Red Devil King Kaulk is a potent choice), and…patience (according to the source author)

 

It might not look that cute, but the nifty part is the cheap cooling insert. Dogs have it rough (It was really tempting to use ‘ruff’ so I deserve an award for pun restraint) in the summer as we all know with their perpetual fur coats and need a little refreshment outside of the water bowl. Indulge your pup or kitty with some much needed chill time and try this one out! 

 

 

 

(image owned by SalvageShack)

 

Time Investment: Very low.

Supplies: An old suitcase, folded blankets, small pillows, old table legs or props,  and fastening materials (again, Red Devil King Kaulk adhesive is great for these sorts of projects). 

 

One of the best ways to get two opposed pets to live in harmony is to get them accustomed to each other’s scent. One of the best ways to get the scent exchange going is close sleeping quarters! Bunk-bed style! This idea doesn’t have explicit instructions or a formal DIY setup but the picture is pretty explanatory. This is one step up from the blanket in a suitcase idea.  

 

 

 

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Fun, renovation, Tips & Tricks

Home Improvement Nightmares Part 2: Decrepit, Creepy Apartments

I know you dedicated DIYers and professionals are probably still recovering from the shocking part one of the Home Improvement Nightmares article, but the dark truth of those ramshackle living conditions must be told. The dilapidated haunted houses were bad enough with their lack of sound proofing, bad plumbing, and major bug problems, but the run down apartments of horrific pop culture  are truly something to behold.

 

 

Rosemary’s Baby (1968)

 

(image owned by Paramount Pictures and William Castle Productions)

 

You gotta feel for Rosemary. In addition to her husband selling out her baby’s soul and the future of humanity for a bit in a broadway play, the lack of significant wall insulation is maddening. Having to hear every footstep, argument, cough, or satanic chant of your neighbor would make anyone a bit paranoid.  Paper thin walls should be insulated with three and a half inch fiberglass or rock wool batts, which absorb traveling sound.

The Tenant (1976)

 

 

(image owned by Marianne Productions)

 

I realize the apartment complex owner in this film was a bit lax on the tact and caution to begin with, but after the tragic death of the previous apartment tenant, you would think greater window security would be in order.  Some simple tweaks like a keyed turnbuckle to replace the latch or a key track stop/locking stop attached to the window track can make a big difference in internal and external apartment window safety and security.

[Rec] (2007)

 

 

(image owned by Castelao Producciones)

 

You may assume there’s nothing worse than an apartment infested with demon-possessed, flesh-eating tenants, but you would be wrong. The horrible lighting and sickening, mildewy conditions are what really stay with you long after the film has ended. Installing some extra light fixtures, using higher intensity bulbs, or installing some sky lights/ solar tubes could serve to brighten up the place. And venting moisture-producing appliances or cleaning and replacing existing vents, using a bathroom fan or open window when showering, and responding to spills and leaks within twenty four hours, and maintaining building drainage integrity overall can prevent further mold, moist, and mildew conditions.

The Ring (2002)

 

(image owned by DreamWorks SKG)

 

It’s difficult to distance ones self from the anxiety of a paranormal entity that travels by way of video or television, but that is no excuse for maintaining a disorganized, messy apartment. Throwing out or selling old, useless, or low value items, doing an overall de-cluttering once a year, installing new shelves, closet rods, and bins, and keeping items organized by their category, use, or context will increase the efficiency and comfort of your apartment immensely.

 

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Fun, renovation, Tips & Tricks

Home Improvement Nightmares Part 1: Dilapidated Haunted Houses

As Halloween quickly approaches and we turn our minds to horrific possibilities, it seems fitting for a home improvement blog to deconstruct iconic horror settings according to their home improvement issues. But beware, the messes ahead may throw you out of your DIY-loving wits! So to be safe, Red Devil will not be held liable for nightmares, paranoia, or soiled pants.



Hill House (The Haunting, 1963)

 

 

(image owned by Argyle Enterprises Production Company and MGM Studios)

 

Aside from its history of tragic death and psychological torment, the hill house featured in The Haunting is relatively attractive and well kept. The true terror for the unfortunate guest or home owner is the utter lack of sound proofing. This characteristic is most prominent in the climactic scene where Eleanor and Theodora are bombarded with loud, incessant, resonating knocks from what they believe to be ghosts. This terrifying moment might have been prevented if the caretakers of the house had either added some sound absorbing furniture or drapes, weather-stripped the windows and doors, added doubled paned windows, blow-insulated the walls (especially that evil attic!), or added a vinyl or foam barrier to the flooring.

 

 

House on Haunted Hill (1959)

 

 

(Image owned by William Castle Productions and Allied Artists)

 

A peculiar millionaire promises $10,000 dollars to five guests if they can stay the whole night in a haunted house. There just one thing he forgot to mention….the cobwebs and dust! It’s no wonder that such incentive had to be made. Who would want to sleep in that mess of fluffy filth? Mr. Moneybags needs to get a hold of a decent vacuum cleaner attachment or a long end duster and get to work. He might also want to replace the carpeting with wood flooring and the replace the upholstered furniture with vinyl, leather, or wood to prevent future dust accumulation.

 

 

The Amityville Horror (1979)

 

 

(Image owned by American International Pictures, Cinema 77, and Professional Films)

 

The Lutz family purchases a new house on Ocean Avenue only to find out that it’s haunted by bad plumbing and wall damages- oh, and malicious ghosts.  That bubbling, black toilet water of evil could be eliminated by adding a composting toilet and cutting off the water valve to the current system for repairs. The eerie, oozing nail holes could be tamed with some good ole wall repair spackling. It also might be a good idea to avoid houses built on indian burial grounds.

 

 

House (1986)

 

 

(Image owned by New World Pictures)

 

Roger Cobb is really in over his head. Moving into a creepy house after suffering numerous personal and family tragedies isn’t the best strategy for healing. There’s also the rodent problem. You can call the first monster  a gremlin or a goblin, but to this blogger, it was a giant insect. Preventing nature’s creepy crawlies is as simple as sealing your doors, adding a door sweep, adding door screens, draining pooled water in the yard, repairing wall cracks, sealing pipe penetrations, storing trash properly, or keeping foundation joints and gaps filled.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 









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Bathroom, DIY, Fun

Extreme Makeover: Shower Edition

There’s nothing like taking a long, hot shower after a chaotic day. There’s also nothing quite like the level of revulsion you feel witnessing the lime deposit , mold, caulk & grout problems, and glass film surrounding you. No worries though, keeping your shower in tip-top, paradise shape is more low maintenance than you think. Check out some of the simple tips below!

 

  • Lime Buildup– It’s kind of hard to shower if the water can’t get through the valve. Clean out any pesky lime buildup easily by securing a plastic bag of vinegar to the valve overnight.  By morning your shower valve should be free of debris.
  • Old Caulk- Believe it or not, caulk and sealant can deteriorate to the point of being useless pretty fast (unless you use Red Devil’s Lifetime® sealant line of course). That means water damage and sea monsters. Okay, mainly water damage. Remember to check up on this at least yearly and remove and replace old or damaged caulk or sealant.
  • Grout Issues- There are many ways to clean and sterilize tile grout depending on the level of effort or investment you want to make. Baking soda paste, vinegar, and professional steam cleaners can do the trick. Please avoid resorting to ammonia, bleach, or hydrogen peroxide. A cleaner shower isn’t worth risking your health.
  • Shower Film- Aaaaah! Good Lord, what is that?! Oh wait. It’s just a shampoo bottle. I couldn’t tell over the crusted filth of your shower door. You might want to try lemon juice, cornstarch paste, or fabric stain remover when things get a bit too cloudy.
  • Mold- Get rid of that funky smelling nastiness by wiping down the shower a couple times a week and keeping the shower area as dry as possible.
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