Monday, March 31, 2014

Keywest Proudly Sponsors aluCine!

aluCine launches the Hispanic Heritage Month with the 14th annual edition of aluCine Latin Film + Media Arts Festival. Keywest is proud to announce ourselves as one of the sponsors of this vibrant and dynamic festival!

aluCine aluCine

aluCine seeks to showcase excellence and innovation in contemporary Latin American film and new media works. Their annual festival functions as a vital Canadian outlet for emerging and established Latin filmmakers living in Canada, Latin America and the diaspora, while our year-round screenings, symposiums and workshops promote the development of Latin film and culture in Toronto.

For the last twenty years, aluCine has presented a panorama of challenging and unique Latin American films by Latino artists living in Canada and abroad. As a Latin American media festival in Canada, aluCine facilitates a convergence of Northern and Southern aesthetic and cultural sensibilities, broadening common understandings of what it means to be Latino, both in Canada and internationally. aluCine seeks to keep the culture surrounding Latin short film alive and well, be it fiction, documentary, animation or experimental. aluCine is committed to functioning as an outlet for the Latino community as a whole while embracing our community’s extraordinary diversity.

This year, Keywest is proud to announce that we are one of the sponsors for aluCine Latin American media festival. We look forward to this new partnership and to broadening our horizons and exploring Latin American film and media.

We encourage all of our readers and followers to come out to this year’s aluCine from April 3 to April 12, 2014. aluCine features short film programs, media-arts exhibitions, performances, artist talks, industry panel discussions and more. This year, aluCine shines its spotlight on Mexico’s vibrant culture showcasing Mexican best of contemporary cinema and media.

As part of our sponsorship with aluCine, Keywest will be creating a highlight video for the festival. We hope to see you there!

Trailer / aluCine 2014 from aluCine Festival on Vimeo.

Information about the Festival and Screenings:

The 14th aluCine Latin Film+Media Arts Festival will take place April 3rd – 6th at the prestigious Jackman Hall in the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO). aluCine turns its spotlight to Mexico with a selection of contemporary and innovative features and shorts that explore the cinematographic memory of the country.

aluCine will showcase 70+ films, 7 exhibits, performances, music, new media installations, artist’s talks, and several events throughout the month of April as part of the Hispanic Heritage month at several venues such us: Bavia Arts Gallery, Creative Blueprint Gallery, NAISA space and Toronto Arts Council Gallery. Shorts for Shorties films for children at Wychwood Theatre Saturday April 5th.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Must-Have Tech for Your Retail Business

The future of storefronts: must-have technology for your retail business. As the volume of purchasing through e-commerce only grows at an exponential level, many traditional brick-and-mortar operations are left scratching their heads.

On the one hand, for many people there’s no replacement for physically browsing an actual storefront, so the quirkily-curated boutique, for example, is not facing extinction. On the other, given the ease with which consumers can buy online, in-the-flesh retailers are scrambling for ways to make the experience of an in-store visit unique — and paradoxically, this increasingly means the use of more technology. Here are a few emerging ways traditional store owners can fight fire with fire.

POS innovations

Whatever the bells and whistles, the retail experience is all about hearing the cash register ring — although today that may need not happen literally. While many stores may not need the upgrade, a number of new technologies enable a more flexible POS experience for customers.

Perhaps the most obvious is the use of iOS and Android-powered card readers and purchasing software. Transforming mobile devices into encrypted credit card machines, these interfaces can be a godsend when dealing with a crowded counter, not to mention pop-up style vendors for whom a traditional register is too unwieldy. Other retailers are deciding to simply redefine the conventional countertop with custom-made “registers” made up of POS-enabled tablets mounted on a chic platform that syncs with the storefront’s aesthetics.

Shopify is one POS innovator and a trusted, reliable source for payment technology (Image Courtesy of Lester Chan of Shopify is one POS innovator and a trusted, reliable source for payment technology
(Image Courtesy of Lester Chan of

Other POS mod cons are also already afoot, including self-checkout and RFID tags (as an alternative to barcodes). However, while some consumers love the convenience of bypassing old school cashier lines, others find the fully-automated experience too impersonal, so such devices should support flesh-and-blood customer service, not replace it. By the same token, a store’s e-commerce website should be an extended part of the storefront’s personality, not a separately conceived entity.


Large retailers have for years used banks of television  screens to enhance the in-store experience, but new advances in display, video capture, and editing now enable smaller operations to play the same game — and even up the stakes.

Take the trendy surfwear brand Hollister for example. The chain’s Manhattan outlet features a wall of flatscreens to stream a live feed of goings-on in its store in Huntington Beach (which prominently features a pool of water). By visually importing Surf City to the Big Apple, Hollister not only creates a perfect manifestation of its coast-to-coast presence, it forges a unique experience that relies on being in a specific place and time.

In-store tracking

Here’s one area in which a gap between public perception and technological ability must be smoothed over before retailers can take full advantage. Understandably, people often feel an instinctive unease when they know they’re being watched in some way, even when stores assure them the purpose for monitoring is to better serve them However, the tech in question simply makes note of shopping patterns while on site, but ostensibly won’t compromise visitors’ data, so it’s worth it for retailers to get the bugs out.

Will Your Cellphone be Tracked Next Time You Shop? (Image Courtesy of marsmettnn tallahassee of Will Your Cellphone be Tracked Next Time You Shop?
(Image Courtesy of marsmettnn tallahassee of

The more insidious of current tracking technology uses the MAC address of mobile devices in which WiFi has been enabled (which means most of them). As a customer browses the shop, her phone will leave a data impression of what departments were visited, for how long, and so forth. That data will never be tied to the visitor’s identity, and can be a rich source of demographic analytics for stores. Still, retailers have already been slammed for using such tracking without disclosure, so this useful device still needs to be vetted out with care.

The underlying secret is not so much to blindside customers with an assault of tech than to use digitally-based gadgetry to create an experience no online simulation can provide. In-store events and promotions (as well as related social media strategies) may become increasingly important for brick-and-mortar operations. In the end, however, face-to-face people skills and broad competence in hospitality may be the true decider. Now as ever, technology is only as good as the people using it.

Camille McClane is a writer, researcher and editor who enjoys creating content on social media, tech and marketing-related topics. She hopes you enjoy this article!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Sexist Ads Get Recast

Sexist advertisements are everywhere. We’re so accustomed to seeing the objectification of women that we hardly ever question the absurd and degrading images we see.

BuzzFeed’s new video, “If Women’s Roles in Ads Were Played By Men,” swaps the genders in three commercials—for GoDaddy, Hardee’s/Carl’s Jr., and Doritos. BuzzFeed recreates each ad and plays them side by side with the originals.

Sexist Ads Get Recast Sexist Ads Get Recast

The GoDaddy spot reverses the Bar Rafaeli/Jesse Heiman setup and features a good-looking guy having to make out with a nerdy girl. Instead of Nina Agdal oiling up her cleavage for Hardee’s/Carl’s Jr., we see an average-looking guy … oiling up his cleavage for Hardee’s/Carl’s Jr. And in the Doritos ad, it’s the guy, not his girlfriend, who’s naked in bed and covered in Doritos. “Seeing men like this is ridiculous, so why isn’t it with women?” the video says at the end. Article Source

What kind of effect do these types of sexist ads have on our society as a whole? Kimberley A. Johnson of Liberals Unite sheds some light:

We have become so conditioned to accept images that objectify and demean women, we don’t bat an eye when a woman is lying on a bed covered in Doritos. But put a man in her place and all of a sudden it’s unsettling and not at all sexy.

Ask yourself, why is it considered sexy to watch a woman in a bathing suit take an enormous bite of a hamburger? When we watch a man in a bathing suit do the same, it’s hardly a titillating experience. It is dehumanizing.

Research has illustrated that sexualized women are dehumanized, specifically being seen as more animal-like than non-sexualized women.

This is a subtle form of dehumanization called infrahumanization and it involves seeing a person as lacking uniquely human characteristics such as rationality, culture and refinement. Dehumanization can have damaging consequences.

Interested in learning more? Unsure of which ads we’re referring to exactly? Adweek has gathered 10 sexist ads that are guaranteed to make you cringe.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

How To Use Website Videos

Website videos are a great asset to your company or business. Video is an extremely powerful tool and can be much more effective at conveying your message or story than any audio/textual medium could ever be. Here are some innovative ways to make use of website videos:

Innovative Uses for Website Videos Innovative Uses for Website Videos

About Us:

Creating a #WebsiteVideo that explains your company and what your business is about can be incredibly helpful to those viewers that are looking to obtain the maximum amount of information in a minimum amount of time. These website videos allow you to convey your message (the way you’d like to) in a visually engaging and concise manner. About us videos are a great asset to any website, especially since consumers can find out what they need to know about your company in a quick and effective manner.

Landing Pages:

Incorporating a video on your landing page is a great way to direct your viewers attention to where you think it really needs to be. Similar to “about us” videos, landing page website videos can convey information about your company as well as any other imperative information that you’d like them to know.

Testimonials/Interviews/Case Studies:

Testimonial website videos are an excellent tool for providing customers with reviews on your product/service. Many potential clients value the opinion of their fellow consumers and would like to know how they felt about your product or service. Since people believe in credible customer testimonials, these website videos are a great way to help promote your business. Similarly, interviews are a useful website video tool in order to showcase the people in your company along with experts in the relevant fields. We all know that case studies are helpful, but can sometimes be incredibly boring. Turning your case studies into a website video can help to liven them up and make them an enjoyable experience for your viewers.

Product Pages/Demos:

Consumers value the ability to view a product’s functions and abilities before they actually buy it. By creating product and demonstration website videos, people can see what you do or what your product does. Use this type of website video to show off some of your best features and explain the benefits provided.


Turning your regular old written blogs into website videos can help drive new traffic to your site. Not only are people more inclined to watch a video rather than read a post, you may also open yourself up to an entirely new audience. By posting this type of website video on YouTube or Vimeo, you may even receive traffic from users of those websites.

Contact Us:

Including a website video on your contact page can help create a connection between you and the consumer, thereby prompting them to contact your company. Consider a fun and interesting video in order to intrigue potential customers.

Are you looking to create a dynamic website video for your company? Contact Keywest today!

How To Use Website Videos

Monday, March 10, 2014

YouTube Hacks: Life Changing

Check out these fun and useful YouTube hacks that are sure to help you out and impress your friends!

So you spend hours of your precious day on YouTube. Think you know all there is to know about the infamous video sharing platform? Think again! Here is a list of some awesome YouTube hacks which you probably aren’t aware even existed.

YouTube Disco

If you are having a party and suddenly realize that you haven’t prepped an amazing playlist for your guests, then this is the perfect YouTube hack for you. Simply type in into your search bar and a page which requests you type in an artist’s name or song will appear. Once you do, YouTube will pull up that particular song or a random song from that artist, along with a full playlist of other awesome tunes by the same band or artist. They even provide a ‘Play top hits’ button which will generate a full playlist of great top 40 songs for you. How easy is that!

youtube hacks

Slow Motion

Do you ever find it annoying when you’re watching a video on YouTube and you want to re-watch a specific part, but the process of scrolling backwards and forwards is never exact, so you end up missing the same part over and over? Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a feature which could allow you to put that video into slow-mo mode so you can really pay attention to that certain section? Well YouTube hacks thought of that! Hold down the space bar as you are watching the video and ta-da! Annoying scroll backs no more!

Comic Book Mode

Ok so you’ve maybe heard of the other YouTube hacks as they are quite useful and probably fairly popular. This hack though is solely one of the coolest things ever, although its usefulness is questionable. All you have to do is type in “&pow=1&nohtml5=1” at the end of a videos url, and click on the POW button at the bottom of the video while it is playing.  This will then alter the video you are watching to look as if it were illustrated by a comic book artist. I don’t know about you, but I was highly impressed. (*Note does not work on all YouTube videos)

youtube hacks

VHS Mode

Similar to the above hack, this one allows you to alter videos to seem as though they are from an old home movie, wonky with the film skipping. Press pause and you get the same effect when you would pause a VHS back in the day. This time the code to type in after the videos url is “&vhs+1&nohtml5=1“, and a tiny VHS icon appears below the video which you click on to create the effect. (*Note does not work on all YouTube videos)

YouTube hacks


Last but certainly not least, from our list of YouTube hacks, this is the most comical and yet useful of all. We all know what it’s like when you are bored and anxious for a video to start and yet all you get is that stupid loading wheel. Well the genius minds at Google have created a way to play Snake with the loading wheel. Just click on the arrows keys and follow the dot with your snake.

YouTube Hacks

A special shout out to BuzzFeed for creating this video which supplied us with the information for this blog post –

Friday, March 7, 2014

Second a Day – Save the Children

The Second a Day fundraising campaign by the relief organization Save the Children includes this striking video depicting a crisis like the one in Syria happening in England in an effort to raise money for Syrian child refugees.

The video tells the story of a year in the life of a typical English girl in a series of one-second “days,” a format popularized by parents filming their children. But this year brings conflict, war, famine, and flight to a family much like the ones Save the Children is targeting in its fundraising pitch.

The Second a Day video starts with a child celebrating her birthday and follows her moment by moment as war and conflict develops in the UK. The hard hitting clip shows London being turned into a war zone where rockets are fired at buildings in broad daylight and children wear gas masks. The powerful video ends with a moving shot of the young girl celebrating her birthday once again, but instead of being surrounded by family and friends in a happy scenario as the clip begun she is in a war shelter crying next to her mother.

Second a Day - Save the Children Second a Day – Save the Children

The video was produced by Save the Children to highlight the Syria crisis and how such a scenario could affect Britain. After the video finishes the message appears: “Just because it isn’t happening here doesn’t mean it isn’t happening.” The clip was uploaded to YouTube on Wednesday with the title ‘Most Shocking Second a Day Video’ and received more than 700,000 hits. The video has been commented on by almost 1,000 people with users saying how moved they were by the Save the Children video.

As it stands, the video has amassed more than 12.5 million YouTube views and generated buzz across the web for its cause.

What did you think of the Second a Day video?

Interested in reading more? Take a look below:

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Music Talks: And Can Bring a Story to Life

The saying goes a picture says a thousand words, but when it comes to the moving image a picture without music is lifeless. Music can bring a story to life, add emotion and depth, and convey a lot through its intonation.

musicMusic is something that is often underrated when it comes to film and video production. It is sometimes an afterthought for folks, or something that does not seem to garner as much attention as other aspects of a film. But music is itself a lifeline of a video. It is what helps shape and inform viewers perceptions of the actions they are witnessing. #MusicDirector Justin Freer writes on his blog,

“Without music it would be much more difficult to follow the emotional ups and downs of a film, much more difficult to experience the fear of the rider as he is chased on his horse riding through the dark.”

A lot of what it does for the viewer is unconscious and not overt. When it becomes overt, such as in the background in say a Bugs Bunny Cartoon, it becomes comical. That is perfectly fine if that is the desired effect one is going for, but more often than not, a musical composer will aim to have the music in a film or video be a great addition and provide supplementary details, while not distracting the viewer from the visuals.

On the composer Robert Hoffman’s website he lists the wide variety of functions for music in film. Everything from illustrating movement, creating plot relationships, creating atmospheres, to time period references, psychological conditioning, and creating alternate perceptions of time. Therefore it is evident that the function of it is vast when it comes to the moving picture, and therefore it is something that needs to be a calculated decision when deciding on what piece of music to use.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Location , Location , Location

 Ask any Producer, Videographer, or Director of Photography, and they will tell you that one of the most important aspects of any video is the location in which you film in.


A location can make or break the look and feel of a video and thus either create a dynamic and visually engaging space, or one that bores or doesn’t reflect the needs of the video’s content. Here are some tips for scouting a location for your corporate video shoot.

1. Focus on the Content

Whether you are planning on highlighting your firms upcoming events and past accomplishes, or you plan on creating a promotional video for a new product, you need to zero in on what setting makes the most sense for your video. Don’t choose a location simply based upon what is most convenient, or even the most visually attracting. While a great attractive location can be a huge asset, if it doesn’t lend itself to the content, then the message and meaning behind it is lost.

2. Double & Triple check

While the location you find to shoot at might seem like the ideal place, make sure you are not hasty in your decision. You may find the location on a quiet sunny weekend, but then go back to film on an evening during the week, and the noise level, shading, etc. can be completely altered and not your ideal circumstance. To ensure your chosen location will work, go visit the location multiple times on different days and times of the day in order to be certain of what you will get.

3. Lighting & Power

Whenever we are going to a shoot at a new location lighting is always one of the most important factors to consider. Is the location you plan on filming in indoors or outside? If outside is there a nearby power source? If not do you plan on simply utilizing natural light? If filming outside you need to check the weather for that day and whether the sun will affect your shots or not. When indoors is there light coming from a window? If it is a sunny day you may want to bring ND filters in order to shield your subject from some of that harsh light. If using professional lighting, ensure that the location has the capacity to use that much light without blowing a fuse.

4. Audio

In addition to lighting, audio is just as important if not more important to the overall look and feel of the video. When deciding on a location listening to the space and the diegetic noise within that space is integral. Often when not accustomed to listing for small noises, one would think they are listening to silence just because no one around them is making noise, yet in reality we never really hear true silence. Our computers, refrigerators, air conditioners, etc. all make a lot of background noise which we simply take as part of life and tune out most of the time. When recording audio though you want the quietest space possible, and those diegetic noises can then be inserted later in post.

5. Space

Don’t take space for granted, because when you need it you will wish you had it, and more. Space is something that individuals not accustomed to filming don’t often realize the importance of. Especially when conducting interviews and trying to blur out the background so the on-camera talent is the focus of the frame, space is a necessity. You may see a space and think it is adequate, but once you get the talent, crew, and equipment all into the space it may not be as viable. Keep this in mind when deciding which location to shoot in.

6. Permission

Last but not least, ensuring you have the appropriate permission required to shoot in any location is a must. If you are filming on private property which is not owned by you or your client, or on public property, you must try to acquire the appropriate permits or permissions. Having your shoot interrupted and/or shut down is not pleasant and can be avoided by making sure you take the appropriate steps in pre-production.

Keywest Video is a proud corporate video producer, and has a variety of producers, talent and crew on-hand which can aid your next video shoot. We also do location scouting for independent producers or our valued clients.


Monday, March 3, 2014

Lowe’s “Fix in Six” Campaign

Lowe’s, the second largest home improvement retailer in the world, uses Vine videos to offer tips to its consumers.

Lowe’s “Fix in Six” campaign uses social media network #Vine to offer consumers new ways to improve their lives and homes in as little as six seconds. Now, we know we’re a bit late on this one – it’s been around for almost a year – but it’s almost too good not to share. Each video shares an interesting and innovative #HomeImprovement tip in just six seconds.

Lowe Lowe’s Fix in Six – Avoid Bent Paintbrushes with Binder Clips

Take a look at how you can fix a stripped screw with a rubber band:

Here’s what advertising agency BBDO had to say about their ingenious “Fix in Six” campaign:

These entertainingly useful videos helped users think differently about improving little things in their daily life. Initially, we produced a dozen stop-motion Vine videos that paid off this strategy.

We knew that Twitter was the primary vehicle for driving engagement around Vine videos. While a lot of Twitter advertising is uninspired and product-focused, we considered this an opportunity to promote content consistent with what users enjoy seeing in their Twitter streams.

By targeting the individuals we deemed most likely to benefit from (and enjoy) our six-second tips, we seeded the Vine videos into the Twitter community in a way that felt less like advertising, and more like sharing interesting content. And based on the audience’s response, that’s exactly how it was interpreted.

BBDO Advertising Agency

Lowe’s appeared to be the first company to use a social media platform in a useful manner. We’re all too accustomed to viewing trivial content on these social networks, but how often do we actually view something useful that we can employ in our everyday lives?

Interested in more home improvement tips? Take a look at Lowe’s tumblr account – it’s got page after page of home improvement goodness!