TIMA Tales: A Q&A with Russ Reynolds of BlueForest Studios

Russ ReynoldsA few weeks ago, after some serious consideration and research, Russ Reynolds changed the name of his longtime Raleigh video production company.

The moniker Blueforest Studios/Integrated Video Production replaced Atlantic Creative Communications. The 12-person company had evolved and the brand needed to better reflect what the business does, said Reynolds, Blueforest president.

The Triangle area has many thriving and skilled video production companies, and new ones are springing up all the time. Many freelance video producers also operate in the region.

“It’s very competitive,” Reynolds said. Blueforest, however, continues to grow revenue by about 50 percent a year over the past four years. It works with companies ranging from CREE and Global Knowledge to All-Weather Firestarters and the maker of the GreenShield Organic cleaning products line, both of which are local companies. Blueforest is even shooting a motorcycle-related reality show called “Rhett Rotten & the Wall of Death.” Blueforest works most often with technology, medical companies, and marketing firms.

Blueforest is a full-service firm offering graphics and custom music to complement its video and animation services. Blueforest differentiates itself with its exclusive process for video search-engine optimization services, Reynolds said. “The company understands social, marketing and search-engine optimization. Most importantly,” he said, “Blueforest understands YouTube and optimizing for YouTube with tags, titles and keywords.”

The educational and informative video that Blueforest created for GreenShield to play on a loop at Costco stores, in fact, quickly shot up to the first page of YouTube search results.

“Views, likes and shares. That’s our world. Everything’s got analytics with it now,” Reynolds said.

Reynolds, 53, is also setting his company apart with animation, for which demand is growing.

“The straight corporate video of talking heads is getting boring,” Reynolds says. “The camera limits what you can do. With animation, the sky’s the limit.”

As time passes, he expects more video production companies will offer animation. Whether he’s providing hand-drawn animation, helicopter footage or video from the company’s Red Scarlet 4K ultra-high definition camera, Reynolds enjoys his work.

“It’s not work for me to meet people, learn about their business, and to tell their story to help them to succeed,” he said.

How did you get into video production?

“Evolved from booking and managing bands into opening a recording studio—Osceola Recording here in Raleigh. In the mid-‘90s a lady in marketing asked us to produce a telephone message on-hold production, that led us into marketing. Then when we saw Google, as the largest search engine, buy YouTube, as the second-largest search engine, that’s when it hit us that video is the future.”

As a marketer, what’s your guiding principle for telling organizations’ stories through video?

“When we sit down with new clients we ask them why they do what they do. A good story will engage people and it will make them remember your company when it’s time to buy.”

What trends are you seeing for client demand in video production?

“Social media is the perfect storm for video production. Nobody wants to just read text anymore. People want to watch a video that will bring a business to life, tell their story and make it real. A great video will easily set them apart from their competitors.”

Your company changed its name in June. Explain the reason for the rebranding.

“In 1997 we started in audio and evolved into video because we already had thousands of on-hold customers and were in communication with their marketing departments. Our company has evolved so much since we began, and we felt our name and brand needed to exemplify that.”

Blueforest Studios has an exclusive process for video search engine optimization services. How is that changing what clients expect from video marketing and what you as a marketer expect from yourself and your team?

“We feel video production is broken. There is a disconnect between video producers and marketing teams, resulting in countless videos that never get seen. Blueboost is our 27-point proven process that gets targeted views on YouTube. The goal is to get our clients the most return as possible on their investment. Now clients can relax more, knowing our team of experts will put parameters in place to make sure that happens.”

How would you characterize the Triangle as a place to work as a marketer?

“The Triangle is continuing to grow and that’s great! We love to see new start-ups and other companies continuing to grow and bring jobs to the area.”

How is the increasing focus on digital and more specifically, mobile, changing your approach?

“It’s important to make sure we keep our clients’ messaging simple and keep industry jargon out of the video unless the target audience is internal. As people continue to watch videos on their mobile devices, we’ve got to continue to keep them engaged for the length of the video.”

What favorite new tools are helping you do your job better?

“Our team loves to be on the forefront of technology. We often use new cameras, new lenses, and new techniques. Our team has a wish list that includes the Mac Pro (once Adobe catches up), Movi, and Drones.”

How should a company’s communication plan incorporate social media marketing?

“Every company is different. It’s important for each one to decide which social channels would be the most beneficial for themselves and their clients. I think it’s important to have a consistent presence on your social channels. Incorporating videos—whether they are the entire video or just shorter versions—can definitely be a positive thing.”

What’s the most important advice you would give to a Triangle-area marketing student?

“I would say marketing changes almost daily. We don’t have a crystal ball and every day something new comes along. So the most important thing to do is adapt with the changes and always try to create something you are proud of.”

What is the biggest mistake you see marketers make?

“They do not see the value and the true power of video.”

How will marketing evolve over the next five to 10 years?

“I think as people continue to trend towards wanting information given to them quickly and to the point, short videos will continue to be a great avenue for delivering information.”

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