Category: Blog

The process of establishing your very own website

If you’re running a business, one thing clients look for is professionalism and having a solid website is one of those major steps in cementing your business as legit and professional.  But how do you even begin the process; where do you even start?

First of, a little introduction: My name is Brandon Essington and I’m a web designer with Cut ‘N’ Run Productions and our website is . I have been designing websites for over 17 years, dating back to high school when designing a website actually meant handwriting every line of code in Notepad.  Luckily since then, new programs and content management systems have come out making the design process a lot smoother which helps tremendously with websites being much more complex nowadays, along with making sure your website displays correctly on multiple different screens.

So let’s say you’re starting up a brand new business and you’re wanting to establish your own website.  I tell clients, the 3 things you’ll basically pay for is 1) your domain lease (yep you rent your domain out, you cannot just buy a domain forever), 2) your hosting plan, and 3)  someone to design your website.

Domain Lease

Ideally, you’ll want to lease a domain which relates to your business.  This can simply be your or what your business offers.  There are several different companies you can use to lease your domain, but to make things simple, I suggest leasing your domain from your web host, that way your domain lease and hosting plan are both under the same roof.  With leasing a domain, there’s two different options to highlight, one being an SSL certificate and the other is domain privacy.  An active SSL certificate on your website will show a small lock to the left of your domain, showing the user your website is secure.  This SSL certificate encrypts information the user may submit to the website, ensuring their information is safe.  An SSL certificate is also very important if you want to rank higher in search engine results.  Search engines have cracked down on unsecure websites and now favor those with SSL certificates.  Lastly, domain privacy is a small fee you pay to your web host to keep your personal information private.  If you don’t pay for domain privacy, just expect spam to eventually hit your mailbox and possibly spam phone calls as well.

Hosting Plan

Your website requires a hosting plan which is your lease to host your content on servers (the cloud). The pricing and features differ from one host to another, whether it’s through websites like, or  Each company offers different server speeds, and the amount of traffic your website is allowed to take in.

Design of the Website

There are websites like and where you can do everything under one roof, including designing your own website using their templates and web builders.  These are great for someone just starting off and playing with the idea of growing a business or a blog, but they do have their limitations.  When designing a website, one of the big concerns you have to keep in mind is designing a website which is responsive in design.  A responsive design website has code which rearranges the website to display correctly on different screens.  This means if you go to a website on your desktop computer, laptop or mobile device like a tablet or your phone, the website will recognize the screen size and adapt its display accordingly.  Years ago, you only designed a website for a desktop computer or laptop.  Then with the introduction of phones and tablets, websites started having a mobile version which would load an entire different website if the user visited from a mobile device.  Fast forward a few more years to 2010, and responsive design websites are introduced.  Now you have one website that adapts to screen sizes rather than loading an entire second website.

The upside to hiring a web designer is their familiarity with responsive design and experience with knowing what works and what does not work.  The design process can include graphic design, custom coding and search engine optimization (SEO) which can include making sure your content (text, images, etc) are correlating correctly with what your user may search for in order to find your website.  Further steps of submitting sitemaps to search engines such as Google, Yahoo and Bing are very helpful in bringing your website higher in search result rankings, and analytics such as Google Analytics can help track the traffic coming to your website.  You can utilize this information for marketing purposes as well as a tool to help fine tune your content to help it continue to grow strength with search engine results and your visitors’ experience overall.

In Summary

There can be a lot of work which can go into the foundation of your website, the design of your website and the maintenance of your website.  It can be absolutely overwhelming, especially when you want to invest your time more in what you are offering.  This is where we can help — Whether you already have an established website, a domain leased, etc., we can help you through the entire process and leave you with a website which can be managed by you, or let us manage and maintain your website as well.   You’re invited to check out our portfolio, view our services we offer and contact us at

Updates to Our Website

As the busier parts of the year start to slow down, that gives us a chance to catch up on some things in the back end of our company, including making much needed updates to our website. In case you are new to the Cut ‘N’ Run brand, we have recently swapped over our running business name to our official business name of Cut ‘N’ Run Productions.

With that comes a lot of changes in our profile names, website content, and even backend website analytics due to a change in web traffic direction. Throughout the coming weeks you may start to notice brand new pages on our site further showcasing our capabilities and what we have to offer, as well as possibly seeing the same page undergo various updates, content, and layout changes.

We would like to thank you for your continued support and interest while browsing our site and reaching out to see how we can help expand your business with our video content and production services! We can’t wait to see what 2022 has to offer, despite this ever shaky foundation the world is experiencing at this time. We want to wish everyone happy holidays and a happy new year and we’ll see you next year!

A Snippet of the EMSDC–A Recent Production

The Eastern Minority Supplier Diversity Council, or EMSDC, is northeastern division of the National Minority Supplier Diversity Council, or NMSDC. They bridge the gap between large corporations and small, minority-owned businesses. Each year, the EMSDC hosts R.O.A.R. (Return on All Relationships) conferences throughout the region. They are large matchmaking conferences to connect major businesses with minority business owners. Each event features prominent success stories from minority speakers as well as information on how to grow their small businesses.

With Cut ‘N’ Run being minority-owned, we are a perfect fit for providing video and marketing services for all types of businesses within the EMSDC’s network of partners and sponsors.

Attendees Collaborate at Round Table at 2019 ROAR Event in Atlantic City Hotel

Our last production with the EMSDC took place in Atlantic City, NJ. We created both photography and video content for their marketing campaigns, as well as a podcast featuring attendees and staff members of the EMSDC.

Attendees Excitedly Pose in Front of Ideas Board at 2019 ROAR Event in Atlantic City Hotel

A Recent Production: Pittsburgh Job Corps


The Pittsburgh Job Corps needed a marketing campaign geared towards young adults looking to break into skilled trades and we were able to provide video content focused on recruiting new students. We used a Canon C200 accompanied by a 5D Mark III for our B cam to produce the content.

We recorded persons from all levels of the corps, ranging from students to staff. Shot entirely on location, our crew had to set up and strike multiple times throughout the day to shoot various scenes throughout the building. Some featured highlights included the carpentry and nursing departments.


Female Student Being Interviewed in Classroom with Two Cameras and Boom Pole


Our video was prominently displayed on a large screen television they recently installed in a high-traffic public space on their campus. You can watch the video here:



Drones and the FAA Small UAS Rule

It’s a bird. It’s a plane. No, it’s a drone!

Drones are a hot topic, whether it’s the effectiveness and precision of military strikes, aerial photography/videography, mail delivery, or just ordinary consumer operations. For years, the FAA failed to issue appropriate regulations and guidelines for flying unmanned aircrafts in the United States.  An issue that delayed commercial drone usage for businesses and professionals. Prior to the Small UAS rule, a 333 Exemption was required to fly drones along with a traditional pilot license.  This created an impossible authorization process for those without a pilot license looking to solely operate drones.  In addition, those with traditional pilot licenses were forced to wait 5-7 months in order to obtain 333 Exemption.  The FAA finally addressed the these problems with the Small UAS Rule Part 107 which finally explains the requirements to fly a drone in the United States. Here are some of the highlights:

  • Don’t overdue your accessories.  The unit can only weigh 55 pounds.

  • You must be able to see your drone device at all times.

  • Airspace B, C, D, E require Air Traffic Controller approval.  Airspace G does not!
  • You cannot be in motion while operating a drone and you can only fly one at a time.

  • Must have a Remote Pilot Airman certification with Small UAS rating or be under the supervision of of someone with this certification.

Check your equipment before flying.  For more information and the full Small UAS part 107 visit


How Commercials Use Psychology to Win You Over

Most companies, brands, and commercial/marketing agencies are coming up with very unique ways to capture the attention of their audience through television commercials these days. I’m certain that you can recall specific commercials that stand out above the rest. Through the power of the rhetorical triangle, these branding techniques strategically market themselves to capture their intended audiences’ attention and create brand awareness.

What is the rhetorical triangle? It combines the elements of ethos (credibility and ethics), pathos (emotions and feelings), and logos (logic and reasoning) to influence a persuasive argument. Marketing agencies have long incorporated this ancient persuasive technique to get their message across very effectively.

It’s hard to find any commercial breaks without finding a brand or cause endorsed by a famous celebrity or role model. This is only one tactic of ethos. The brand rests assured in the hands of a trusted figure which helps force the viewer into a sense of trust and credibility. Think of the old Hanes commercials with Michael Jordan, or the popular Troy Polamalu (and now with the recent addition of NFL superstar quarterback Patrick Mahomes) Head & Shoulders commercials.

Doesn’t it feel more trustworthy when popular athletes with master hairdos suggest you try the hair product they’re endorsing?

The idea of pathos is to elicit emotions that will help sway the target audience or listener. One of the more powerful examples is the ASPCA commercial with sad and abused animals in shelters that need a good home while Sarah McLachlan’s “In the Arms of an Angel” plays. What’s sadder and more tear-jerking than that? Pathos can also be used in humorous ways, such as in cases of mistaken identity in Buick’s commercials. They feature people asking how they are going to fit in one model but the other actor stops them and shows them the right solution, a different model of their car.

Commercials that suggest a problem and then present a solution with their product or service are using the power of logos to push their message. This method of persuasion is more fact-based, scientific, and tangible. Lots of car companies are now advertising new safety features in their models because after all, isn’t safety everybody’s number one priority? Such examples incorporate a scenario where a distracted driver may be on a crash course but the car’s new safety feature kicks in, preventing the accident and potentially saving their life. Or, sticking with the car theme, Jeep is constantly pushing their message of superior capability compared to the rest of the competition.

These are just a few brief examples of how commercials use rhetoric to create persuasive advertisements to influence you to buy their products or services. The next time you watch T.V., pay attention to which method is being used in the commercials you watch. Knowing these tools will help you create a more convincing ad the next time you create a commercial, as well.

Understanding High Speed Sync (HSS)

If you have ever browsed studio strobes or even own a speedlite with the feature, you may have come across that term in its title, “high speed sync” or “hss”. Let’s take a minute to help you understand what that is and how to use it to your advantage.

Every camera has its own maximum sync speed, or the fastest shutter speed you can use while shooting an image with flash. If you exceed this shutter speed while shooting with flash, you will see a horizontal black bar covering up part or all of your image. When you take a photo, the first part of your shutter (first curtain) separates from the second, the sensor gets exposed for the amount of time that your shutter speed is set to, and the second curtain closes behind it. 
When you add flash to the mix, it can only properly expose the image up to your camera’s maximum sync speed. What happens then is you press the shutter release button, the first curtain opens, the flash then fires, and the second curtain closes. If your shutter speed is set too high (past the maximum synchronization speed), the second curtain will actually block part of the sensor as the flash is exposing the image. With high speed sync turned on, the flash pulses multiple times, exposing different parts of the image as the curtains fall. It happens too quickly for the human eye to see but the effect is surely noticeable.
You might be wondering how this happens if there are other lights in the room or scene. The unique thing about using flash photography is that it operates completely separately from continuous or ambient lighting. The two factors to keep in mind are that shutter speed affects only the ambient or continuous lighting in the exposure and your aperture affects the flash output. Experiment using different combinations and settings to find out what effects work best for your taste or needs. 
You are able to combine continuous light and strobe lights for particular effects. A great photographer to cite as an example is Nick Fancher. He is a master of using various combinations of gels, continuous lighting, and strobe lighting to create amazing works of art. 
As this was just a general overview of what it is and how it works, do some extra research to master this technique and create portfolio-quality work. Keep on shooting!

Voluntary Parting–What It Is and Why You Need to Know About It

Here at Cut ‘N’ Run Studios, we like to focus on our craft–creating and producing wonderful content for the world to enjoy. However, sometimes we come across some important issues that need addressed that aren’t as glamorous as the latest gear and cool techniques.

We had recently discovered an exclusion in our insurance policy that is called “voluntary parting“. While doing other research and contacting local production companies and rental houses, they reported back to us that their policies also include voluntary parting. So, what is it and what makes it post-worthy?
It is a clause or exclusion in most insurance policies, not just for production, that does not insure the damage or theft of the policy holder’s property. How it works is similar to how it is titled: you voluntarily part ways with your equipment, property, or even money in some instances. For example, a genuine-sounding person calls your studio and says they have a project coming up and need to rent equipment. You discuss details over the phone, schedule the meeting, and they even pay you. The day comes that they pick up their rented equipment and you send them on their way with your gear.
Time passes and something is missing from this transaction. Your gear. The customer never returned the gear or called to talk about anything. Sure, they paid some rental fees, but your rental prices are nowhere near the same cost as the actual items themselves. They pulled a fast one and stole your crucial money-making equipment.
Of course you don’t need to panic because you have insurance, right? Well, that’s the theory. You call your insurance company and they explain that you aren’t covered due to the voluntary parting exclusion in your policy. You then argue that you didn’t voluntarily ask them to borrow your equipment with no intention of returning it–that’s theft! They say that you should have done more research into your client and that even though you got duped, you aren’t covered.
Voluntary parting applies to monetary transactions, too. There have been a few articles posted throughout the internet with examples on times companies have gotten tricked by people with no help from their insurance companies due to the same exclusion in their policies.
This is one way insurance companies try to protect themselves from fraud. They think that it might be too easy, citing the previous scenario as an example, for someone to “rent” their equipment to a friend, claim it as stolen, reap the benefits of insurance, only to have the friend return everything and you now have double what you started with.
Similarly, that scenario is an increasing problem in the corporate business world. They call it “social engineering fraud”. In this case, someone poses as a trusted and reputable source within your own company or as a business partner requests money or goods only to prove that the transaction was fraudulent. This is also a form of voluntary parting due to that person sending money away willingly, rather than forcefully.
Since this is a growing problem with an increasing number of claims, insurance companies are slowly beginning to offer protection against social engineering fraud, but it is very limited. We take our business very seriously and believe this is an inexcusable clause to be held by any insurance company or policy. We are advocating for the awareness of this insurance exclusion and making a change so we can be protected from scams, theft, and other fraudulence. Be share to spread the word and let this issue gain traction and attention from the masses.

Quick Thoughts On the New Canon EOS R System

As you may have heard, Canon just recently released its newest line of mirrorless camera systems known as the EOS R. I wanted to list my initial thoughts on the release and what it means for professionals and enthusiasts everywhere.

First off, if you are unfamiliar with the differences between a DSLR and a mirrorless camera, do some research to find out the key differences. They do not have a physical mirror that blocks the sensor from recording information until you press the shutter release button as you do in traditional DSLR systems. I won’t get into the details in this post but I encourage you to check them out to see what kind of system works best for your needs.

Within the past ten plus years, the most major players in the photography world have been Canon and Nikon and just recently Sony stepped up their game with their various “a” series mirrorless cameras. It is no secret that Sony got a lot of things right with their cameras which have caused long-time users of Nikon, Canon, and other companies to jump ship and switch to Sony. Both Canon and Nikon didn’t have a whole lot to offer in the means of mirrorless systems, especially not at a comparable level to what Sony could offer. Naturally, they had to do something or else they were going to fall behind–fast. 

Nikon and Canon both released new mirrorless systems which are now capable of competing with what Sony has been doing for years. Since we primarily shoot with Canon cameras in house and rent higher-end cameras with the EF mount, I will be discussing my thoughts on Canon’s EOS R system. With it being so new and unavailable to most of the public right now, it is hard to really say how it performs using a hands-on test. On paper, however, it appears that there is a lot to love.

For starters, let’s just talk about the price. The body alone is listed at $2,299 USD. Compared to another one of Canon’s recent and great cameras, the 5D Mark IV, it’s nearly a thousand dollars less. That’s also less than one some of Sony’s flagship cameras such as the Alpha a7R III ($2,998) and also their a9 (+$4,000). They all share similarities but again, not to deviate far from the subject, I want to focus on Canon here. 

 Boasting a 30.3MP sensor, the EOS R is small and mighty. One huge feature is that it is full-frame where one of Canon’s predecessor mirrorless cameras, the EOS M, has a cropped sensor. The sensor technology is more advanced too, giving more processing speed and power, allowing for more burst photos without reaching the buffer. Another huge improvement over its predecessors is that it shoots at a 4K resolution at various frame rates between 23.98 to 29.97 fps, and can also shoot up to 120 fps but at a 720p resolution. Similar to the 

Video shooters can rejoice that it now offers internal stabilization, something that Sony’s cameras have been doing for quite some time already. Additional features that look good on paper is that it now supports Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and has a ton (5655 to be exact) of autofocus points. Covering 88% of the viewing area, you will be hard pressed to miss focus very much. I like that it has a flip out screen which has been seen on other models like the 80D. That helps with shooting above or below your head and also for recording yourself if you do podcasts or the like. It also shoots stills faster than some of its DSLR brothers and sisters, shooting at 8 fps. The 5D Mark IV, for example, shoots slightly slower at 7 fps. Also similar to the 5D IV, you can record video in the C-Log color space for more dynamic range and color grading versatility. 

What might sell people on staying with Canon instead of switching to Nikon or Sony could very well lie in one factor: their lenses. Canon has long been the king of glass and although the new system has a new mount (RF instead of EF), they include optional adapters so you can use your fabled lenses on your new body. They are, of course, still going to create high-quality glass with the native RF mount, but at least with the adapters you won’t need to completely overhaul your gear to compensate. Another thing I like about the mounts (three announced at this time) is that it gives additional features and functionality to the body which otherwise wouldn’t be possible. For example, one of their mounts includes slots for filters such as neutral density.

As with just about everything in life, there are some things not to love about this new camera, but the list is rather small for me at this time. First of all, there is only one slot for a memory card where the 5D series offer two. However, it supports UHS-II SDXC cards with extremely high read/write speeds. The only tradeoff here is if you need more storage and don’t have time to swap out cards but rather change which card, that is already inserted, you want to record to. In most cases, this will not be an issue, but there’s always a first for everything. Also, according to other sources online, the lenses are huge in comparison to the body. This might not be so bad if you enjoy having that weight in your hands but it just might look a little silly.

It’s a good thing Canon is trying to compete with Sony and also that Nikon is doing the same. One of the biggest criticisms I’ve heard about Canon and Nikon is that they haven’t really done anything too revolutionary in a long time. They also weren’t doing much to compete with Sony and if that trend continued, I would see no reason to continue shooting on anything but Sony since they were making so many technical advancements so quickly. For now, I am just excited to see some real-world use with the new EOS R system and am looking forward to Canon’s future.

Making Your Marketing Video Outstanding

Outstanding Marketing Video
If you are in the process of formulating a marketing video, you want to be sure to include a few key elements for guaranteeing a successful final product. For instance, giving your video a purpose, offering more than what is anticipated and providing some form of entertainment is all necessary for successful video results. Your marketing video needs all of theses elements and more, in order to keep your viewers captivated and coming back.
Give a Purpose to Your Video
Every marketing video needs to have a clearly defined purpose: what it’s about. Why viewers should watch, etc. Without this, your marketing message becomes unclear, as does its purpose to the viewer. Giving a purpose to your marketing video gives its viewers a reason to watch it.
Music & Entertainment that’s Not for Everyone
Having entertainment of some sort in your video production is always imperative, especially for marketing videos. Music, for instance, instantly sets the tone of the video and provides a certain mood for your viewers to experience while watching. But not everything is for everyone, so do not try to appeal to all audiences—it could end up attracting none. Be sure to have entertainment features—be it music, visuals effects or otherwise—that narrow down on the theme and vibe you are going for. This will not only keep viewers watching your video and hearing your message, it gives you the kind of viewers you’re looking for too!
Offer More than Expected
To top off you video, offering more than what is expected is not ever a bad idea. This gives you a chance to surprise and impress your viewers. If a viewer stops to watch your video, of course, they want to be informed about the topic advertised. Yet, if they also receive additional useful information, you instantly surpassed viewer expectations. Ultimately, this information combined with purpose and entertainment is what keeps your viewers coming back.
With all of this in mind, Cut N Run Studios is here for you! For some of the best marketing in Pittsburgh, contact Cut ‘N’ Run Studios! You can reach us by calling (412) 343–3600 today, by sending an email to, or by visiting us at our Beechview Avenue location in Pittsburgh! We’ll help you make sure that your next marketing video, and other production service results are outstanding.