Videographer to Watch: Jonathan Adamson

By: Melanie Blodgett Photo by: Justin Hackworth

If you’ve seen any of the films from Alt SLC 2014, you know that there must have been a talented person behind the camera. Well, that person is Jonathan Adamson and he is talented indeed.

Jonathan got his start in film his junior year of high school where he created 2D animation films by hand drawing 30 images for every second of video. Although, he states, it was a long and painful process, it was his introduction to moving images and he found himself admitted to the film program at BYU years later.

Jonathan has had the privilege of working for BYU library, Roberts Arts & Crafts, Equality Utah, TEA of Utah, Dixie State University, Veterinary Orthopedic Services, Altitude Summit (YAY!), as well as individuals like Dustin and Spencer whose flashmob proposal at Home Depot went viral.

We asked him a few questions today so you can get to know the man behind the lens.

Where do you draw inspiration?

There are two kinds of work I enjoy doing. The first kind is the kind of work that leaves me feeling like I am helping to make a difference in the world- a change for good. For this kind of work, my passion and inspiration really comes from this idea that people are basically good. And because they are basically good, if I experience something that inspires me to create change, I believe that if other people were able to experience that same thing, they would also be inspired to create change. Often times, that experience has been meeting and talking with individuals who have the most to gain from positive change. The people that are harmed the most by the status quo. I draw on them and their stories to breath life into videos that hopefully convey those stories in a way that touches viewers who may never actually meet these people or otherwise here their stories.

The other kind of work I love is really just capturing beautiful images. If we’d only take the time to "stop and smell the roses,” perhaps we’d realize how beautiful life really is. Filmmaking has the power to show us something seemingly normal in a new way. Making dinner. A child paying house. Rain. All of a sudden these small moments are brought to our attention in a way that perhaps we wouldn’t otherwise notice or even think to call “beautiful.” For this kind of work I try and think about and observe how people connect with their world, which I believe is at the root of what we call beautiful. It is a connectedness that we feel- to nature, to another human being, to a cause. I draw inspiration for this sort of work mainly through observation. It forces me to look at the world around me in different ways. Perhaps the brown plants in front of the house, dormant from the cold, are “ugly” at first glance, but change your angle and maybe that yellow brown color looks beautiful against the deep wine red color of the wood siding. Beauty may very well lie in perspective.

Why do you love video?

Video has amazing power. First, it can motivate people to create a better world. Storytelling is such a huge part of the human experience. It is what enables us to learn from our past and envision our future. I think that video is probably the most effective storytelling medium.

Second, it’s a very collaborative medium. On large productions there can be hundreds of people that unite to tell a story and so it forces me to work with and depend on others and their talents and ideas that I can then learn from.

Finally, it is challenging. Every project is unique. It forces me to learn new skills and to try new things and it never fails to keep me on my toes. There is so much to love about video!

What is the future of video online?

Video has become an ever growing part of our daily experience. I imagine that in the future, the consumer will decide what stories and messages are heard. As the Millennial generation grows older, the market for broadcast TV will continue to shrink and online viewing will expand. With the expansion of online viewing will come an increasing importance placed on resonating with online communities and social networks. If your story resonates with the online community, it will be shared and distributed and millions of captivated people could tune in to watch. If, however, your story or message does not resonate, no one will hear about it. The future of video IS online. The trick is and will be, how do you tell a compelling story that the online community will share?

See more from Jonathan on his site, Reelboy Productions.

How To Make A Viral Video

By: Jenner Brown

YouTube and Vimeo are going to have a dramatic effect on the way we share our message in the future. Short-format online video is exploding, check out these YouTube facts:

- 500 years of YouTube video are watched on Facebook daily.
- 60 hours of video are uploaded every minute.
- Over 800 million unique users visit YouTube each month.
- Over 700 YouTube videos are shared on Twitter each minute.

- More people watch online videos than broadcast TV now. (iPhones!)

And this is only the beginning. Major brands are now hopping on the online video bandwagon in droves. Internet video channels are popping up like the new from the folks at Scripps (Food Network, Travel Channel). Brands are also reaching out to bloggers in innovative ways to create video featurettes that cross-pollinate audiences. This is one trend you need to ride for all it's worth!

Content is king in all of this. Deciding what kind of video to blog is critical. Here are some ways to rack up views and grow your following.

1. Choose a purpose for your vids.

Will they be Instructional, like a tutorial or How To? Are they for entertainment? Will you take a personal approach and share your experiences? Finding the right tone and voice will enhance your written blog and show your audience a new dimension. Decide what your approach will be and then get to work!

2. When in doubt go with a "How-To" video (aka, Viral. City.)

How-To videos are having a great run right now. The web is flooded with written how-to posts on Pinterest and blogs, but people almost always prefer to watch something being taught when possible. These are becoming a massive piece of the online video world. Do you make jewelry? Are you a talented chef? Show what you know and drive viewers to your blog. Be sure to include lots of detailed close-up shots and maybe even a voice over (sign up for the Alt Channel filmmaking classes for more tips!)

3. Niches are nice

There may be a hundred videos showing how to make bread, but a tutorial on making gluten free bread is more likely to find a specific audience. Pinterest needs you. Oh, and the word on the street is that holiday themes are the next video gold rush (October is around the corner!). 

4. Shoot for shares and pins.

Sharing is the key to viral videos. If you make a compelling video you can sit back and watch as it goes viral on Facebook, Pinterest, Tumblr, Twitter and everywhere in between. A video of beauty is a joy forever...Or at least it will bounce around online gaining views and guiding people to your site forever. ;)

5. Have a call to action.

Make your videos work for you. Ask people to subscribe. Ask for a Kickstarter donation. Have a contest and require people to follow your social media or comment, or repost. I know bloggers on Instagram who have gone from 500 followers to 50,000 in under a year doing just that. Encourage action in interesting ways. Surprise people! And most of all have fun because that comes through above all else.

Video Cameras for Bloggers Demystified

By: Jenner Brown. Photo by: Jenner. 

As you set out to enhance your blog with video content you may be asking yourself, "which video camera should I be using?" There really is no right answer and much of will depend on your budget and how serious you want to get with your videos.

The good news is that there are plenty of options to fit any budget. You no longer have an excuse to procrastinate your first cinematic masterpiece! Here is a brief rundown of the most popular cameras today.

1. Smartphone. 

Most of us already carry around an iPhone or other phone and these gems shoot amazing video. This option makes sense if you're on a tight budget because you've already made the investment. The quality is great, especially for online delivery which is a lot more forgiving than showing your video on an HDTV. Average price: you likely have one!

2. Digital point and shoot

Cameras like Panasonic's Lumix and other small digital cameras now shoot HD video. These cameras are compact and easy to take with you anywhere. They are perfect for a novice who wants the camera to do all of the heavy lifting with settings etc. Average price: $150 

3. Camcorder.

Once the king of home video production, these are now giving way to the more popular DSLR cameras (more on those in a bit). Models like the Sony Handycam are portable and shoot nice video, even if it's a bit "home-movie" looking. Most now record to internal hard disks so no more sorting through video tapes. They are easy to use and are the only example here that is a dedicated video camera. Average price: $300


When DSLR photography cameras began shooting videos a few years back it launched a sea change in the professional video world. Suddenly, thanks to the large sensors and pro lenses, people everywhere were able to achieve stunning cinematic looks for a relatively low price. The best part about these cameras is that they do double duty as pro photo cameras, too. Investing in one of these beauties as a blogger will allow you to create professional photos AND videos. Canon just released their new Rebel SL1 and it's miniature. At only $500 it is a great choice for anyone looking to dip their toe into the DSLR pool. Look for a DSLR kit with an included lens that will get you up and running in no time.

For more on cameras and lots of other video gear be sure to catch for the Video For Bloggers class on the Alt Channel -- Happy filmmaking!