Florida Video Production Company Keeps Cameras Rolling for Community Amid Pandemic 

Videographer John Oliva is used to shutting down his video production company at a moment’s notice. It’s usually when a hurricane is about to slam the South Florida coast. But in March, his business was hit with a different disaster: the coronavirus pandemic.“Everybody was pretty much ordered to stop operating, stay home. It was devastating,” said Oliva, owner of Digital Cut Productions in Fort Lauderdale.  Almost overnight, he didn’t have new business coming in, his projects were canceled, and he worried about the future of the 17-year-old company.“We weren’t very prepared to be operating one day, shut down the next because of the coronavirus,” the 55-year-old Oliva told VOA.After the initial shock, he and his wife, Lauri, decided they couldn’t sit around as people suffered from isolation and mounting economic hardship.“Even if we weren’t making money, we wanted to do what we could to help our community. So we said, ‘Why don’t we use our talents and find a way to do some good?’” said the veteran videographer.Videographer John Oliva, owner of Digital Cut Productions in Fort Lauderdale, volunteers his company’s services to help others during the COVID-19 epidemic. Here, they shoot a video on a horse farm for a fellow small-business owner.Oliva’s first volunteer project took him to a horse farm, a perfect location for his small production crew to practice social distancing.  They produced a home décor commercial for a fellow small-business owner whose retail store shut down in March.“It was a wonderful and kind gesture,” said Caroline Giraud, owner of La Vie En Blanc in Fort Lauderdale. “My store reopened in late May but business has been slow. This beautiful video is being used on social media to drive traffic to our website and hopefully attract new clients,” Giraud told VOA.Helping to heal a communityOn a bright Sunday morning, Oliva, his wife and two daughters would normally attend Mass at their Catholic church. But with in-person religious services canceled because of the coronavirus, Oliva set up equipment and with his priest at the altar and video-streamed online worship services.“We know the importance of worshipping during these difficult times especially for Good Friday and Easter. We wanted to do what we could to allow people to be safe and celebrate Mass at home,” said Oliva.The health crisis also forced South Florida schools to close and cancel high school graduation ceremonies. “It was heartbreaking for students not having a graduation, so we came up with the idea of producing a virtual graduation video for the students,” Oliva said.Students from The Sagemont School in Weston, Florida, sent Oliva clips which were edited into a colorful video.“They really appreciated it. It’s not as good as a real-life graduation, but it’s something they can keep as a keepsake,” he said.As many small businesses begin to reopen, Oliva said, “It could be six months to a year before things get back to normal.” Until then, his production crew is now working on fundraising videos for a charity that gives away food to those in need.“I feel South Florida is a strong community that’s seen its share of adversity, but we will bounce back,” he said.  “In the meantime, we will keep the cameras rolling to help other businesses, to help our church, to help our community.”  
    

June 14th, 2020 by
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