Filming the Flames: Our Experience Shooting The DeKalb County Fire Rescue Recruitment Video

When creating a moving experience, especially one that inspires and encourages you to serve a greater purpose, it all comes down to telling a great story through authentic and captivating content. However, capturing powerful images and stories is no easy task. The process requires knowing deeply who your audience is, what would shift the way they think or feel, and how to create empathy through the story you tell.

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CATMEDIA created a branded recruitment video for DeKalb County Fire Rescue to inspire young individuals to join the department and increase the number of applicants for the 2019-year, and consequently as a result grew their social media presence and number of applicants exponentially. Click here to watch the 1 minute version!

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DeKalb County Fire Rescue (DCFR) is one of the largest fire departments in the state of Georgia and in the country. Each year the department accepts applications for recruitment from December 30 to January 13.

They sought to have a branded recruitment video that would:

  • Maintain its use and value for years
  • Target a younger, technology savvy audience
  • Displayed the growing diversity of their department
  • Show the opportunity for growth within the fire service
  • Express the fulfillment of working as a fire fighter

Scripting

We worked closely with the department’s leaders to identify what unique core elements of the department were most important to invoke a “call to service” within their target audience.

"Visual storytelling isn’t something people need to be sold on. We all know it is the most efficient way to catch attention, deliver a message, and build a connection." - William Warren, Writer

We presented 3 treatments for them to choose from, which included tagline options, shot descriptions, production elements, and aesthetic examples for each one.

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Concept

“Answer Your Calling”

We posed the question, “What kind of person does it take to become a hero?” This concept focused on the characteristics of a person who has what it takes to become a firefighter so that a viewer can watch it and be able to see him or herself in that position.

Cinematic and action packed, this concept aimed to draw in the audience by focusing on the intensity, excitement, and passion of working as a firefighter.

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Production

Our contract called for ad-hoc Video Production services. CATMEDIA made recommendations for targeted video messaging. Once the client approved the final script, CATMEDIA coordinated closely with DCFR to with precreating a production calendar, developing a shot list, scouting locations and coordinating with real firefighters to be interviewed on camera along with the departments’ specialty teams that would conduct live action demonstrations for us to capture.

"Anything and everything about a video production's logistics are coordinated from scratch based on the script, and everything must be in place before the principle photography begins." - Amy Ferzoco, Production Manager

We had one day to shoot the entirety of the video, and ultimately only chose 2 locations to eliminate travel time between. We conducted interviews with a diverse group of fire fighters, captains, and chiefs. We showed the diversity of this department to include women in leadership roles.

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Our production crew was kept small and only consisted of the Producer, Cinematographer, and a Camera Assistant in order to move quickly throughout the day. The department allowed us to shoot a LIVE burn at their training academy, where they had 15-20 active fire fighters volunteer to demonstrate distinguishing a house fire. The department also arranged for several of their special op teams to demonstrate unique sides of the fire department that most people don’t know about.

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DeLiverables

CATMEDIA delivered two versions of the video, a 5-minute version and a 1-minute version. It was shot with 4-K Footage to achieve the "cinematic" aesthetic the client wanted. Interview sections high-lighted the driving points of the video from a relatable perspective, one where the viewer could see through the eyes of a fire fighter.

The videos were branded, taking inspiration DCFR colors and the DCFR logo with custom graphics, including lower thirds, tagline graphics, and a wallpaper graphic.

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OUTCOME

5-minute video
  • In 2 days DCFR Facebook page increased by 500 followers
  • Surpass their goal of reaching 6,000 followers by the end of 2018
  • YouTube – 7,820 views
  • Facebook Post – 42,000 views / 227 shares / 125 likes / 29 comments
1-minute video
  • Received 9,000 views within the first 2 months
  • Facebook Post – 9,200 views / 122 shares / 74 likes / 5 comments

Largest application turnout in the past 3 years for the department, recieving 779 new applications within two weeks.

Facebook Followers:

Jan. 2018 (3,200) to Jan. 2019 (7,205)

Goal was to meet 6,000 by end of 2018

Ultimately we were able to accomplish the client’s goals to increase number of applications, create a video that can be used for years to come, and subsequently help them reach their social media growth goals they had set for the 2018-year.

Video marketing is an exciting and interactive way for you to reach an audience, and thanks to the digital-technology boom of the last 20 years; it is more important and more cost-effective than ever to create video content for your brand. Do you want more information about video-marketing? Check out our website and tell us if we can use video to take your online marketing strategy to the next level!

ABOUT CATMEDIA:

CATMEDIA is an award-winning Inc. 500 company based in Atlanta, Georgia. Founded in 1997, the company specializes in advertising, creative services, media production, program management, training, and human resource management. As a Women Owned Small Business (WOSB), CATMEDIA provides world-class customer service and innovative solutions to government and commercial clients. Current CATMEDIA clients include Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Office of Personnel Management (OPM), and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

Stay Connected with CATMEDIA:
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Brittany Hester

About Brittany Hester

Brittany Hester is currently a Video Producer and Marketing & Social Media Specialist at CATMEDIA. She first worked with the company as the Production Designer on their first feature film Mnemosyne in September 2016. Since graduating Georgia State University in May 2015 with a Bachelor of Arts in Film Production as well as a minor in Marketing, Brittany has been working as a creative consultant, freelance artist and set designer. In her free time, she enjoys trying new restaurants and going on spontaneous adventures.

View all posts by Brittany Hester

Production, Video Production, Audience Engagement, Creative Services, Entertainment, Marketing and Advertising, Motion Graphics, Storytelling, Video, project management, target market

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