How to improve your YouTube videos: Five tips from professional filmmakers

More than 4 billion videos are viewed each day on YouTube, according to statistics from the online video site. This means it’s a great place for aspiring filmmakers to showcase their work to a large, international audience. However, only 30 percent of all YouTube videos get 99 percent of the views on YouTube, according to media-monitoring authority Cision.

“While advances in digital cameras and technology make it easier for everyone to create their own videos, it’s challenging for aspiring filmmakers to create videos that reach the right people and get noticed on crowded outlets like YouTube,” says Gail Fisher, award-winning photo editor and department chair of the School of Film/Communication at Brooks Institute, a leading provider of higher education for film, visual journalism, graphic design and photography. “The good news is that there are simple things you can do to increase the quality of your videos and maximize exposure based on what works for professional filmmakers.”  


Here are five tips from Fisher and Karen Farfan, a visual journalist and student at Brooks Institute, on how to make your YouTube videos stand out from the crowd:

* Find inspiration. Everyone has a story to tell. Take inspiration from your surroundings and people you know – go visit your favorite place, try something new, observe people in their everyday lives – and use what moves you to tell a story that will appeal to the masses. According to Farfan, the trick is telling a story in a way that will intrigue an audience – even those who don’t relate well with your subject matter.

* Establish an audience and engage viewers. To build an audience, recruit friends and family to watch and share your videos, and post links to your videos on your blog, website and social networks. Use compelling keywords and cover images for your videos to attract people browsing for the content you’ve created. If users can find your video easily through common search terms and are captivated by your cover images, they’re more likely to watch your videos and share them. Then hook your viewers within the first 30 seconds. Use beautiful imagery, an eye-opening quote or something unexpected, followed by a conflict that will encourage them to continue watching for a resolution.

* Less is more. Both with the length of your video and the text throughout, brevity will make your videos more engaging. Instead of using text or quotes to explain your story, let your videos communicate through visuals for a succinct message. To keep it simple, Farfan ensures that her stories can communicate a message well visually before even adding in text or audio during the editing process.

* Post often. Create content as often as possible without letting the quality of your work suffer. Keeping your YouTube site updated will encourage your followers to keep coming back for more and also attract new viewers. Farfan sets a goal of posting one new video per month to her site. Create your own goal, taking other work and personal commitments into account, and work to achieve it, whether it’s daily, weekly or monthly.

* Have fun. If you’re passionate about your work, it will show in your videos.

Courtesy of BPT

Cows and chickens dominate BC farming

(NC) The province’s chicken, turkey, dairy, and egg farmers now account for nearly half of all agriculture output and jobs, says a new study by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC).

Historically, the dairy and poultry sectors have represented about a quarter of all farm output and jobs in B.C.

Total employment in B.C. agriculture fell by 9,400 jobs. In the meantime, dairy and poultry farmers created more than 3,350 jobs during that span, to 31,726, or 45 per cent of total agriculture employment, says the PwC’s study “Economic impact of British Columbia’s dairy, chicken, turkey, hatching egg, and table egg industries.”

The key differentiator is the system of supply management, which oversees all of Canada’s poultry and dairy production. Farmers across the provinces work with government and industry to set output levels to prevent boom-bust price swings and ensure farmers receive fair returns.

“Farming is a tough business because it doesn’t take much over-production to send producer prices crashing, so bumper crops are not always good news,” says Dave Eto, a spokesperson for the B.C. Dairy, Egg, and Poultry Industries. “For more than 40 years, supply management has created a stable environment for farmers, and as the PwC report shows, it has allowed them to invest in jobs while other farming sectors face uncertainty.”

Overall, the dairy and poultry sectors add $1.6 billion directly to B.C.’s GDP and underpin $5.6 billion in total economic activity.

Attention editors: This article is for distribution in British Columbia only.

Courtesy of Newscanada

Crown Moulding – Adding a touch of glamor to your home decor

Crown molding is a great way to beautify an ordinary looking home into one that exudes class and style. Crown moldings are typically decorative strips made up of wood, plastic, or fiberboard. These are introduced to any room decor in an effort to camouflage the existing flaws and ugly blotches on the walls or ceilings. The crown molding is therefore similar to a wall decoration which adds a touch of elegance to a room, making it appear more grand and unique.

Crown molding ideas can be retraced to the Roman and Grecian culture where it became vastly popular. Wooden crown molding gained popularity later when craftsmen mastered the art of cutting, sanding, and carving wooden blocks to create masterpieces. Crown molding is affordable and can be implemented in almost any type of room. You can buy the raw materials yourself and get it made professionally by customizing it. What materials you choose for crown molding will largely determine how durable and beautiful it is going to be. Superior quality materials for home furnishing are likely to be far more expensive but are less likely to be damaged.

Home furnishing experts choose crown molding these days because it helps heighten a property’s real estate standing. When a property appears visually stunning, chances are buyers will be willing to pay more for it. Simply demolishing walls to give your rooms a spacious look is not enough; instead, this is more expensive and impractical. An easier and economical alternative is using decorative columns and ceiling medallions for your home decor. These home decor ideas are easy to implement and will not cost you dearly.

Buying crown molding online can give you many advantages. This is because you can purchase your decorative columns or door casings or ceiling medallions directly from the maker without having to handle the wholesalers and retailers. They offer you the luxury of customizing your home furnishing ideas and guarantee you good quality materials. Unlike furniture, such decorative columns or ceiling medallions will not occupy unnecessary space, nor will they clutter the room. Besides, they are fire-resistant and help keep away harmful UV rays. Crown molding can be easily maintained and these products seldom rot. Installing them is never a problem and most of the products can be set up by following simple instructions, except ceiling medallions where professional assistance is recommended.

Crown molding can come in various designs like the traditionally classic designs which help add elegance and class to your home decor. Crown molding in the kitchen is similar to ceiling and wall decorations, but the installation process is different. Although challenging, using crown molding is a sure way of giving your rooms that much-needed makeover. It helps give every room a distinct flavor, an aesthetic appeal, a unique personality, and a sophisticated touch.

When choosing the crown molding for your rooms, make sure to choose the right molding depending on the room dimensions and ceiling height. Select the materials that are sturdy, dependable, and weather-proof. The world of home furnishing has undergone a revolutionary change with the advent of crown molding.

By: Walter Mitchell

Things retailers do to make you love their stores – and spend more

(BPT) – Holiday shopping can make you feel frantic, while you sprint from store to store, trying to find the right gift for everyone on your list. If you think you’re under pressure to achieve during the holidays, however, just image how the retailers feel; holiday season is often make-or-break for many of them. And they’ll go to great lengths to keep shoppers in stores, happily spending.

From sweet-on-the-feet commercial flooring to interactive product displays that incorporate sound and video, stores use a variety of marketing tools to make you feel welcome, wanted, and generous during the holidays. As you’re scouting for deals this holiday season, keep your eyes open for these five “come-hither” tactics employed by retailers:

* Fatigue-fighting flooring – As you scurry from store to store, you probably haven’t considered the toll that average store flooring takes on your feet. Concrete floors, covered by carpet, tile, or vinyl, are common in retail settings, and they can contribute to foot fatigue. Savvy retailers realize that if your feet hurt, you’re not likely to linger in one spot. By installing flooring with anti-fatigue properties, like ECORE’s forest rx, stores hope to keep shoppers more comfortable. While the flooring looks like hardwood – adding a touch of class in retail settings – it’s really a revolutionary composite of vinyl sheet laminated to 5 millimeters of engineered, recycled rubber underlayment. It’s more comfortable underfoot, easier to keep clean, and quieter than tile and some carpet – all of which adds up to a more pleasant environment for shoppers.

* Lights, camera, action! – Taking advantage of new technologies, many retailers have added interactive video displays throughout stores to entice shoppers to pause and learn more about a featured product. Some employ touchscreen technology to engage shoppers whose interest is already piqued by video and sound displays. Others have even added features that interact with shoppers’ smartphones, such as scannable barcodes that deliver information or coupons to a user’s phone.

* An oldie but still a goodie – For a while, department stores stepped away from the whole concept of free gift wrapping, but these days it’s back in a big way. From big department stores to mom-and-pop gift shops, retailers have rediscovered the value of providing this service to customers. Free gift wrapping is a relatively low-cost service, but it’s hugely valuable – both to time-pressed customers who appreciate the convenience, and for retailers who are able to keep shoppers in-store a bit longer while wrapping takes place.

* The way to a shopper’s heart – Another tried-and-true holiday enticement is food and beverage. You might expect to find samples in a grocery store or wine shop, but enterprising retailers know refreshments are welcome, regardless of what product they’re selling. During the holidays, clothing stores to hardware shops find their way into consumers’ hearts via their stomachs, serving a variety of treats that range from specialty candies available for sale in the store to holiday cookies, cider, or hot chocolate.

* Y’all come back now – No matter how delightful your shopping experience, eventually you’re going to leave the store. Smart retailers use a variety of tactics to encourage you to return another day – from handing out coupons for future discounts at the cash register when you check out, to “greeters” who also bid you a fond farewell on your way out the door. Marketers know that if they can leave you with a positive feeling and a reason to return, you’re much more likely to shop in their store again.

Of course, retailers have many ways to draw consumers into their stores. And as the holidays arrive, they’ll be adding incentives like these to ensure shoppers enjoy their time in stores more – and hopefully spend more because of it.

Courtesy of BPT

Don’t let garden insects destroy the fruits of your labor

Don%27t%20let%20garden%20insects%20destroy%20the%20fruits%20of%20your%20laborGardeners are familiar with the joy of planting and nurturing flowers, fruits and vegetables to maturity and the bliss of harvesting nature’s bounty. One of the few things that can make that bliss turn into annoyance is an infestation of bugs. While many insects are beneficial to the garden, others can be very destructive. Arm yourself with the facts for handling insects in your garden this growing season.

Beneficial pollinator bugs like bees may be welcomed guests, but their destructive cousins can have devastating effects on even the healthiest garden. There is nothing worse than having a cucumber vine wither just before harvesting the first crop, or picking a breath-taking rose just to find it covered with aphids.

Aphids, mealy bugs, mites, thrips, slugs, snails and cutworms are some of the most problematic garden insects across the country. Keep these and other pesky insects from “bugging” you and destroying your garden this summer.

Know the enemy:
Having the ability to identify problem insects in the garden is a big step toward overcoming them. Proper bug identification is key to protecting your plants and veggies. Also check your plants for symptoms to help identify the visitors to your garden. Is something eating seedlings at night? Maybe you have cutworms. Are plants’ leaves looking like lace? Sounds like Japanese beetles. Look around and see what is there. Finding an effective treatment is easy once you know what you are actually dealing with.

Plant wisely:
Sometimes the simplest bug prevention is using a few smart tips when planting or caring for a garden. Remember to clean up all plant debris at the end of the growing season to discourage insects from wintering over in the veggie patch.

Another easy tip is to consider planting flowers among fruits and vegetables. Flowers look great and will attract beneficial bugs that pollinate, like bees, but will also attract bugs that will eat pests, like ladybugs.

Rotating crops can also prevent recurring insect problems. This will discourage last year’s insects that may have wintered over from sticking around because the crop they found so delicious is no longer present.

Seek advice:
Do not be afraid to ask for help. Local gardeners and extension agents make great resources. Ask around and see what others have used that worked.

Your grandma may have used cans to keep cutworms from eating the seedlings in her garden. Simply cut both ends off of some cans and place them around seedlings when transplanting to create a protective barrier from cutworms, slugs and snails while plants are getting established.

If your neighbor has had success using row-covers placed on crops that are targeted by certain local pests, then that may also work for you. Just be sure to leave the covers off for part of the day to allow for pollination.

For more information and to find solutions quickly, download the Ortho Problem Solver App from the iTunes store.

Fight back:
When nothing else seems to be working, take serious action by finding the appropriate pest control for your garden and your situation. Home remedies, organic solutions or more conventional means of insect controls in the flower or vegetable garden are all options available.

Ortho Flower, Fruit & Vegetable Insect Killer kills over 100 garden insects without harming plants or blooms. For your organic garden, try Ortho Elementals Insecticidal Soap to kill some of the most bothersome bugs, like aphids, leafhoppers, mealy bugs, mites and thrips – along with a long list of other bugs. For snails and slugs invading an organic garden, try Ortho Elementals Slug & Snail Killer, or Ortho Bug-Geta Snail & Slug Killer 1. Both options are effective on a wide variety of snails and slugs.

Now that you are armed with all the right information, get out there and defend your garden, lawn and home from invasive insects.

Courtesy of BPT

Natural, toxin-free alternatives for home care and hygiene

(NC) From detergents to deodorants to diapers, it is becoming increasingly difficult to find natural solutions for keeping the family clean. Many of the household cleaners we use every day contain toxic chemicals that linger on the surfaces we eat off and in the air we breathe.

Lianne Phillipson-Webb, a nutritionist, author and a mother, shares some advice to help your family kick the toxins out and replace them with natural, friendlier alternatives.

“Our modern society has become terrified of germs, and, as a result, we spend a lot of time spraying and scrubbing surfaces with chemicals that in some cases could be more harmful than the germs themselves,” she points out. “Luckily, there are many “do-it-yourself” cleaners that you can make at home, which are safe and effective alternatives to the chemical-ridden options we often purchase.”

So where can you begin? Acetic acid, or white vinegar, is a powerful natural disinfectant, safe for use on most surfaces. It also acts as a deodorizer, removes hard-water deposits, cuts grease, and is completely biodegradable.

Many of us have used sodium bicarbonate or baking soda to keep nasty odours away in the fridge, but many don’t realize this common house hold substance can also be added to a damp cloth or sponge and used as a multi-surface cleaner. It’s easy to rinse off and won’t leave a toxic residue behind. You can also try fresh lemon juice, with its high antibacterial properties and fresh scent it helps kill germs, remove stains and leaves counter tops and sinks sparkling.

But don’t stop with just cleaning your house. Keeping yourself and your family naturally clean is just as important, especially when considering that what we put on the skin is absorbed into the body. This is why we need to pay special attention to the products we are using on a daily basis and adopt a more natural approach to personal hygiene. “While cuddling our kids, we might forget that any residues on our skin from deodorants, detergents and perfumes can literally rub off on the little ones in our lives whose skin is much more sensitive,” adds Phillipson-Webb.

A good place to start is a trip to your natural health food store. These specialty shops typically offer a wide selection of personal care products that are all-natural, created from pure ingredients and free of petrochemicals, parabens, formaldehyde and other toxic chemicals. The Canadian Health Food Association (CHFA) has an online tool that you can use to find your nearest health food retailer at

You can also take a trip to your kitchen pantry for gentle alternatives that are also toxin free. Organic coconut oil is a rising superstar in the culinary world, but did you know it is also great for the skin? Pregnant women can use organic coconut oil to combat stretch marks; it can help soothe infant diaper rash; and can be used at any age as a natural moisturizer. Olive oil can also be used as a soothing skin lotion and a make-up remover. Oatmeal is another great alternative with anti-inflammatory properties. When added to the bath it can help to heal irritated skin, sunburns and insect bites.

You can discover other ways natural alternative products can help to maintain your family’s health online at

Courtesy of Newscanada