Slow Clap’s Selects: Our Top 5 Filming Locations in the San Francisco Bay Area for Corporate and Commercial Videos

Here at Slow Clap Productions, we are blessed with the opportunity to film in some amazing places with our corporate and commercial clients who like to think outside the box and venture forth from the office. Being in the San Francisco Bay Area, we are spoiled for choice! But there are some places so special that it’s worth giving them a shout out and, dare we say, a slow clap, for being over-the-top fantastic. 

In no particular order, here are some favorite filming locations in our stomping grounds.

Samuel P. Taylor Redwood Forest

2,700 acres of Redwood trees. What’s not to love? This state park is located in Marin County and offers a quieter chance to commune with nature’s tallest trees than the more touristy Muir Woods. Also, you can camp there! 

In 2022, we filmed Chris Young, General Counsel for Ironclad in these woods, which he calls his “happy place,” when things in the world get a little too crazy. This shoot may appear peaceful and zen-like, but we pulled out all the stops including a 12-foot jib, to capture the majesty of these woods.

Take a look at the full project and the BTS below.

Ironclad State of Digital Contracting Spring 2022

Behind The Scenes


Salesforce Tower

This tower is one of the newest additions to make the list of iconic structures in San Francisco. The six-year-old tower is the tallest in the city and the 12th tallest in the United States. It’s also home to the highest public art installation in the country! 

You can catch sight of some of the interiors of the tower in this video we produced for the Asian Law Caucus. Gotta love those gorgeous windows and the view from the Covington and Burling office sees all of downtown San Francisco!

Asian Law Caucus: Covington and Burling


The San Francisco Waterfront via Heron’s Head Park

You can’t talk about the Bay Area without talking about the waterfront. It is the defining feature of the region, both geographically and in the name! While there are many breathtaking views to be had from all angles of the San Francisco Bay, one of our favorites is Heron’s Head Park. It’s a 22-acre, wetland park just south of Pier 96 that’s ideal for bird watching. It also features The EcoCenter, a 100-percent, off-the-grid, living classroom and visitor center. It’s a great place for kids and family to unplug from the hustle and bustle within the city limits. 

You can catch views of the park alongside other iconic waterfront spots in this video we produced for The Port of San Francisco, which manages the waterfront:

The History of San Francisco Waterfront


San Lorenzo High School (SLZHS)

This high school is the perfect place to channel your inner Molly Ringwald or Judd Nelson ala The Breakfast Club. This school was built in the 1950s and just oozes vintage vibes with wood paneling and green chalkboards. 

We filmed a 1980’s high school themed virtual event for Ironclad at SLZHS. We had an absolute blast getting our clients into character. Mary O’Carroll, Chief Community Officer for Ironclad, even got dropped off for “school” in a 1980s Porsche 911 and sported permed hair, a black leather jacket, and her Ironclad Academy “yearbook.” 

Ironclad State of Digital Contracting Summer 2022


Bernal Heights

Lea Loeb/ Golden Gate Xpress

  • 360, breathtaking views of San Francisco and the Bay? Check.
  • Wildflowers and wildlife (including coyotes)? Check.
  • Hidden staircases and a scenic tree swing for selfies and IG reels? Check.

If you’re looking for a picturesque spot that’s a little off-the-beaten path, check out Bernal Heights, a residential neighborhood on a hill in the southeast portion of San Francisco. We love the spectacular views that aren’t typically seen in videos. 

You can see what we mean in this video we made to showcase the San Francisco Treasury Kindergarten to College Program

A Future Worth Saving For 


In the Bay Area, there’s always more to explore. Here are a few spots on our filming wishlist.

Hiller Aviation Museum

Hiller Aviation Museum

This collection specializing in Northern California aircraft and helicopter history will delight children and adults alike. Located at the San Carlos airport, the Hiller Aviation Museum features more than 50 aircrafts, many of which you can climb inside. It also boasts a replica of the first privately-financed commercial spacecraft; and no, it wasn’t manufactured by SpaceX! This museum is chock-full of visual delights that would be a dream to film.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tlbAW7o0t7


Mama Dog Studios

Mama Dog Studios

Mama Dog Studios is to Bay Area filmmakers what Carnegie Hall is to musicians: a second-to-none venue to showcase your craft. This 5,000 square foot production space features a drool-worthy, 35’ x 55’ cyclorama soundstage that we would love to play in. We hope 2024 will be the year that we have the opportunity to collaborate with one of our clients in this special space. Also, did we mention that they are a locally-owned, dog-loving business in the heart of Oakland? Clearly, we have a lot in common! 

You can check out Mama Dog’s fabulous studio in this walkthrough video:

Mama Dog Studios Tour 2022 


Point Bonita Lighthouse

Al Greening/ National Park Service 

This historic lighthouse at the mouth of the San Francisco Bay is a beaut. At 306 feet above the sea, this picturesque watchtower in the middle of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area can only be accessed via a suspension bridge during fair weather. The half-mile trail to the lighthouse is also chock-full of spectacular sights, including views of the Golden Gate Bridge, paths through hand-carved tunnels, and observation points to spy marine life such as harbor seals, whales, and porpoises.

It may not be as famous as that lighthouse in Forrest Gump, but you can achieve a similar look at Point Bonita.  We think it’s still a beautiful (bonita means beautiful in Spanish!) place to film. 

Here’s a brief travel blog detailing the hike to Point Bonita:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WRYgpvRVCbY


Got any spots we’ve missed? Or, are you dreaming of a video in a fabulous locale? We’d love to hear from you! We’re available to help you achieve your next project at hello@slowclap.com

Blogs to check out:

Tips for Great Video Production at any Budget

Why Your Company Needs Branded Content

How to Maximize Views for Your Video Content

These Five Case-Study Videos Earn Brand Recognition

Five Great Explainer Videos

Slow Clap’s 2023 Year in Review: A Year in the Fast Lane

As Slow Clap wraps up its first decade in business (we turned nine this past summer,) we look back and reflect on all the amazing things we’ve learned, and just how much things have changed… and how fast! Take a look at our year condensed into one minute:
 

2023 by the Numbers

Speaking of AI, we had yet another huge project for AI startup Imbue to announce their $200MM fundraising round, and to help with their hypergrowth hiring spree. You can see the Imbue brand story video we made here. It’s a really interesting blend of documentary storytelling and hand-drawn illustrations, animated to bring the CEO’s anecdotes to life.

August 2023


We had another blowout party for Slow Clap’s ninth birthday party in August. This is our favorite night of the year, as we get to celebrate all the big wins that we rarely have time to celebrate as they’re happening (on to the next deadline!) with our team, clients, and collaborators. 

We also welcomed Kiante Marron to the team as a camera and post-production assistant. Kiante’s Gen Z, everything-is-content mindset has been a great refresh to our creaky old Millennial brains!


September 2023


In September, our producer Katy went on maternity leave (more about that next year!), and we welcomed a new producer to the team, Sarah Nathan. Similar to Katy, Sarah brings a documentary and journalist eye to Slow Clap’s body of work, having formerly worked at AJ+, ESPN, as well as Washington State University.

Our team traveled to Orange County to produce this customer story video for a new client,  InterPayments, as well as another virtual event video for our longtime client, Ironclad, in Dallas,TX.


October 2023


In October, we were thrilled to receive the Fast 100 award from the San Francisco Business Times, as one of the 100 fastest growing private companies in the San Francisco Bay Area. And on top of that, we were ranked #23.

We also continued our longtime partnership with the nonprofit Asian Law Caucus, producing three videos for their 2023 gala. We’ve produced these stories for ALC every year since our founding.


November 2023

In November, we produced multiple equity training modules for our partners at The National Equity Project (NEP). We’re happy to continuously support this non-profit and to create content that educates and supports DEIB work in the community. The Slow Clap team had a great 4-day shoot at the NEP office in downtown Oakland and the collaboration was seamless.

On a side note, we got another Slow Clap baby on the way! Our founder, Dan, left for paternity leave in mid-November. Wish him congratulations on his baby girl!


December 2023


Wrapping up this year, we were all hands on deck (or all legos on deck) for our Slow Clap holiday card video. We couldn’t resist the opportunity to live our childhood LEGO® dreams. When it came time to decide on a theme for our annual card, we were inspired by 90’s toy commercials. As it was also our first take on stop-motion animation, we were glad to have Kiante lead the way. Check it out here if you haven’t already.

Looking ahead to 2024, we’re excited to take on new adventures with our amazing team and partners.

Cheers,

The Slow Clap Team

  • 59 video projects completed for our clients, from product launches to client success stories to brand stories and branded content
  • 14 clients, including cause-based non-profits like Asian Law Caucus, startups like Imbue and The Yield, and Fortune 500 companies like eBay and Apple
  • 23rd fastest-growing company in the Bay Area, according to the SF Business Times’ Fast 100 list
  • 10+ different cities filmed including New York, Dallas, Los Angeles, San Diego, Sacramento, and (of course) San Francisco & Oakland 
  • 100+ videos delivered; from long-form virtual event videos to 15-second social media videos
  • 100% NPS (net promoter score) on Clutch
  • 9 Industry Awards
  • 2 new team members
  • 2 Slow Clap babies
  • 1 virtual production shot on an LED volume

2023 by Month

January 2023


We got 2023 started on a light note, making a series of social media video skits for startup Ironclad. The videos were produced in a DIY style to feel more like organic social content, and featured the lawyer influencer (yes, those exist,) Alex Su making fun of all things business contracts.


February 2023

2023 was year nine of our continuing relationship with healthcare insurance company Blue Shield of California. One highlight was continuing our series of ERG (employee resource group) video profiles. In each mini-documentary, we tell the powerful stories of employees who have gone through their careers facing adversity because of who they are. In February, we filmed interviews for the Black Employee Network, Elevating Women, and the Unidos (Latinx) ERG. All videos have since been released. 


March 2023

In March, the Slow Clap team learned about the fascinating world of low and moderate income housing development and lending as we produced a video about the Golden State Acquisition Fund (aka GSAF). GSAF is an innovative fund created by the State of California and administered by Low Income Investment Fund (aka LIIF) that, to date, has been responsible for more than 10,000 new units of affordable housing.


April 2023


In April 2023, we got a repeat of April 2022. We love when our clients come back for more, and the San Francisco Treasurer did just that when we produced this video about the Kindergarten to College (K2C) program’s success. It gives us a chance to be part of something bigger, something that affects our community. This video features four students in San Francisco schools that have taken advantage of the program to save for college throughout their entire schooling, starting in Kindergarten.


May 2023


Slow Clap produced a fully-virtual production from start to finish for the first time. For those who don’t know, a “virtual production” is a new technique of producing video content that was first developed by Industrial Light and Magic for The Mandalorian. In May, we wrapped and delivered this product launch video for Mindful.

Mindful was releasing an entirely new UI for their product, with design that was accessible and “kind by design.” And to announce it, they reached out to us to build an entire virtual world from scratch. We built the world in Unreal Engine, rigged it on the large volume LED wall with Disguise, and used active camera tracking to bring the whole thing to life. This is a technology that will become standard industry practice in the near future, and the Slow Clap team is so excited to get to be on the bleeding edge of it. Check out a behind-the-scenes video about the making of this.


June 2023


2023 was the year of AI… from ChatGPT to labor strikes to deep fakes to AI Drake songs. 2023 was the year of AI for Slow Clap as well. We adopted some amazing AI tools like Descript for our workflow, and we got to produce video projects for some leading AI companies, like Sana, a leader in the TechEd space. Here, you can see Sana’s CEO talking with the CEO of Nvidia, which is now the sixth-largest company in the world due to its all-in play on AI hardware.


July 2023

Speaking of AI, we had yet another huge project for AI startup Imbue to announce their $200MM fundraising round, and to help with their hypergrowth hiring spree. You can see the Imbue brand story video we made here. It’s a really interesting blend of documentary storytelling and hand-drawn illustrations, animated to bring the CEO’s anecdotes to life.

August 2023


We had another blowout party for Slow Clap’s ninth birthday party in August. This is our favorite night of the year, as we get to celebrate all the big wins that we rarely have time to celebrate as they’re happening (on to the next deadline!) with our team, clients, and collaborators. 

We also welcomed Kiante Marron to the team as a camera and post-production assistant. Kiante’s Gen Z, everything-is-content mindset has been a great refresh to our creaky old Millennial brains!


September 2023


In September, our producer Katy went on maternity leave (more about that next year!), and we welcomed a new producer to the team, Sarah Nathan. Similar to Katy, Sarah brings a documentary and journalist eye to Slow Clap’s body of work, having formerly worked at AJ+, ESPN, as well as Washington State University.

Our team traveled to Orange County to produce this customer story video for a new client,  InterPayments, as well as another virtual event video for our longtime client, Ironclad, in Dallas,TX.


October 2023


In October, we were thrilled to receive the Fast 100 award from the San Francisco Business Times, as one of the 100 fastest growing private companies in the San Francisco Bay Area. And on top of that, we were ranked #23.

We also continued our longtime partnership with the nonprofit Asian Law Caucus, producing three videos for their 2023 gala. We’ve produced these stories for ALC every year since our founding.


November 2023

In November, we produced multiple equity training modules for our partners at The National Equity Project (NEP). We’re happy to continuously support this non-profit and to create content that educates and supports DEIB work in the community. The Slow Clap team had a great 4-day shoot at the NEP office in downtown Oakland and the collaboration was seamless.

On a side note, we got another Slow Clap baby on the way! Our founder, Dan, left for paternity leave in mid-November. Wish him congratulations on his baby girl!


December 2023


Wrapping up this year, we were all hands on deck (or all legos on deck) for our Slow Clap holiday card video. We couldn’t resist the opportunity to live our childhood LEGO® dreams. When it came time to decide on a theme for our annual card, we were inspired by 90’s toy commercials. As it was also our first take on stop-motion animation, we were glad to have Kiante lead the way. Check it out here if you haven’t already.

Looking ahead to 2024, we’re excited to take on new adventures with our amazing team and partners.

Cheers,

The Slow Clap Team

Meet Slow Clap’s Camera & Post Production Assistant: Kiante Marron

Get to know Kiante a bit better with our quick Q&A interview.

Introduce yourself!

Hi! My name is Kiante. I was born and raised in Oakland. As a kid, I dreamed of being a pro-wrestler, but now I’m a filmmaker. At the age of 12, I started making Pro-Wrestling Stop Motion on Youtube. I wrestled throughout high school and continued my stop-motion animations. I decided to major in cinema at San Francisco State University. I made a short film during my last semester of my sophomore year and that is what inspired me to be a filmmaker today.

 

What made you interested in joining Slow Clap?

As a new filmmaker, my experience has mainly been short films. The process has been very fun and rewarding but definitely challenging. I’ve been a one-man band, working on a few music videos and weddings for a few friends and family. I’ve also filmed for a fitness competition, an episodic hunting video, and for the real estate industry. These experiences have helped me with producing videos for people. I was interested in Slow Clap because I wanted to join fellow filmmakers and learn the process of production. Slow Clap was a great fit for my goals because of the company’s authentic, docustyle storytelling approach.

What’s your role? What made you gravitate towards this craft?

I am the Camera & Post Production Assistant and right-hand man to Jake Richards! Working with Slow Clap, I’ve learned the importance of transitioning from working solo to a team. I really enjoy interacting with the team as well as the clients. I especially enjoy making clients feel comfortable and at ease during the interview process. Sitting in front of the camera isn’t as easy as it seems!

 

Favorite Film? What am I watching?

My favorite film so far is Scarface because of Tony Montana’s character development. I loved  the character arc of leaving Cuba, going through from literal “rags to riches” which then takes an epic turn, leading to one of the greatest lines of all time: “Say hello to my little friend.” I recently watched, The Killer, from one of my favorite directors, David Fincher. I will say it’s another banger from him.

 

I take a lot of inspiration from my favorite directors and writers: David Fincher, Aaron Sorkin, Bong Joon Ho, Ryan Coogler, and Donald Glover. Thanks to my part-time job as an usher at the Grand Lake Theater, I recently saw Oppeheimer and Killers of the Flower Moon; two films from two of the greatest directors in cinema history. Experiencing these films on the big screen was amazing! 

Also, I’m writing a feature film script that spans various genres: Drama, Thriller, and Crime. 

 

Any Hobbies?

I love to read fiction and self-help. A must-read is ‘Psycho-Cybernetics,’ as it changed my whole perspective on achieving life goals. I also enjoy bowling with friends, writing, and directing my short films.

Here is one of my short films inspired by the bipping of cars that’s rampant in the Bay Area. I even submitted it to a horror short film contest!

Lastly, favorite projects you’ve worked on/seen from Slow Clap?

My favorite project so far is the client testimonial for InterPayments, which involved a trip to Orange County.  I enjoyed getting to know the crew that helped make the projects so eventful and professional. 

One of my favorite videos on the website is “The Story of Freemark Abbey as the story and cinematography is amazing. 

 



I was also heavily involved in the creation of this year’s Slow Clap Holiday card. I have a lot of experience in stop motion, so the team let me flex my creative muscles. A lot went into the creation of the project and I love the way it turned out.  

 

 


Meet the rest of the Slow Clap team, if you haven’t already!



Dan Lichtenberg, Founder & Creative Director


Sarah Nathan, Producer


Katy Bailes, Producer


Beijo Lee Wang, Associate Producer


Jake Richard, Post-Production and Camera Manager


Alexander Flores, Junior Editor


Darissa Hicks, Production Coordinator

Tips for Great Video Production at any Budget

“Every budget tells a story. If you want a good ending, you have to plan and make smart choices along the way.” – Some wise person 

According to a recent report by HubSpot, 54% of consumers claim they want to see more video content from their favorite brands, which is no surprise with video marketing being at an all-time high. A whopping 91% of businesses use video as a primary marketing tool. What’s more, 92% of video marketers say that their video has given them a positive return on their investment. In other words— online video consumption isn’t just #trending, it’s profitable!

Yet many businesses may not have the kind of video marketing budget it takes to make a show-stopping blockbuster.

In this blog, we’ll go over how to produce high-quality and engaging video content without going broke. Here are some insider tips on how to create compelling videos that will yield results— regardless of your budget.

Plan Meticulously 

There’s a lot that goes into a successful shoot, so working with like, say… Slow Clap means having a professional guiding hand to lay all this out with you. Yet big budget or not, planning is your best friend when it comes to video production— because every minute costs money.  

It helps to plan out as much as possible of what it is that you hope to achieve with your video in advance. Start with a project brief for the video where you identify your target audience, key marketing messages, goals, and a call to action. From there, you could either pass the brief over to a few video agencies and compare prices, or, if that’s not quite in budget, you can handle the creative in-house.

From a detailed script to a storyboard of your scenes, having the groundwork laid out minimizes your overall video shooting time and ensures maximum efficiency of your resources. 

 

Embrace Stock Footage and Archival Media

Stock footage is a great way to increase your overall production value and fill gaps in your narrative.

As an alternative to stock footage, consider using your company’s archival images and videos that could be repurposed for your video. Does your company already have an archival library of past video projects or photos? If so, repurpose it!

Another option is personal photos and videos. While this depends on the story that you’re telling, it can be a budget-friendly option to get your story across. 

Take this video, which relied almost entirely on personal images, archival footage, and stock footage. It’s an example of how it’s possible to make an elegant, engaging, and effective video without lots of additional filming days for b-roll. 

https://slowclap.com/work/ucsf-diabetes-academy-joanne-kagle/

It’s important to note that while we managed to tell a story, the con is that the quality of the images don’t match across the entire video. Ideally, if you have the time and budget, shooting b-roll promises consistent high-quality video. 

 

Limit Filming Locations

When mapping out the idea for your story, try to create a storyline that doesn’t require filming in various locations, especially if you only have one day of production budgeted. Filming in multiple locations means more time lost to travel and equipment setup. 

The right video production agency can help you choose a versatile location that can be made to look like various places.  By using different angles and backdrops, a smart video producer can create the illusion that your video was filmed in various locations without the hassle of it, ultimately saving time and money.

Pro-Tip: 

To save on location fees like renting a studio, consider shooting at your own office. If you’re creating a corporate video or a video specifically about your company, using your own office space means no need to rent furniture or props, you’ve got a ready-made set! Alternatively, you could even consider shooting in someone’s home if it’s appropriate for your video.
 

Here’s a great example of how Slow Clap was able to turn their client’s office into a studio with a backdrop. This reduces the hassle and cost of renting a studio space and the film team comes to you!


 

https://slowclap.com/work/imbue-brand-story/

Emphasize Content Over Aesthetics 

While a highly curated, scripted, and glossy approach can look great, it’s the content that truly draws viewers in. In other words, an engaging story that’s well presented can overshadow any holes in your budget. By creating a captivating narrative that connects with your audience, your viewers won’t even notice less polished visuals and production values.

Focus on presenting a story that resonates with your viewers and encourages them to watch until the end— not just because it has special effects or snazzy visuals, but because it facilitates meaningful engagement and stirs emotions. Viewers are more likely to remember, share, and act on videos that make them feel something, and evoking feeling is totally possible on any budget.

That’s where Slow Clap shines; we specialize in authentic storytelling that strikes an emotional chord with viewers.

Here’s a compelling example of authentic storytelling in a video by Slow Clap and Blue Shield of California with a simple, one-day shoot.

 

https://slowclap.com/work/joses-story/

Never Underestimate the Power of Post-Production

What if we were to tell you that you could create a video without needing to film at all? You can create a perfectly engaging video with stock footage, motion graphic text, animation and a voice over. Here are some examples of videos that didn’t require any shoot days, yet still tell a good story.

 

 

 

 

https://slowclap.com/work/lattice-the-era-of-people-success/

 

 

 

 

https://slowclap.com/work/workato-the-new-era-of-automation/

 

 

 

 

https://slowclap.com/work/oaaa-awards-kick-off/

 

Turn Budget Constraints Into Creative Triumphs

Obviously, a higher budget yields higher production value. To give you a better idea, in Slow Clap’s case, we filmed a virtual event over three days using intricate props, an LED video wall, and Unreal Engine, creating realistic virtual backgrounds for Mindful, a cloud-based contact center. 

 

Kind by Design: A Special Mindful Event

Take a look at the behind the scenes of this production below.

Needless to say, this video was not created with a modest budget. However, that’s not to say that a low budget means you have to skimp on quality. It’s all about getting creative with your storytelling and optimizing your resources.  

A great example of this principle is the film Searching (2018), a thriller that had a small budget of only $880,000, but managed to gross over $75 million worldwide. The entire movie was shot from the perspective of computer and smartphone screens, which was a fresh and unique approach to storytelling. It’s a testament to the power of creativity and proving that a modest budget doesn’t have to mean modest results. 

And while your tech company or corporate marketing strategy may not necessarily be looking to make a low-budget thriller film, you get the idea.

Here at Slow Clap, we’re committed to creating authentic stores that captivate. We’re deeply rooted in the belief that genuine storytelling is the backbone of every outstanding video—not necessarily production value.

In a world where audiences have no shortage of brands to choose from, let us help make your brand the obvious choice.  From explainer videos, to testimonials, to motion graphics, we’re here to tell your brand’s story. 

Are you ready to see how Slow Clap can help you create high quality and engaging video content regardless of your budget? Get in touch today.

 

Further reading:

 Why Your Company Needs Branded Content

 Video Trends Proven to Work for Your 2023 Marketing Strategy

 How to Maximize Views for Your Video Content

 These Five Case-Study Videos Earn Brand Recognition

Meet Slow Clap’s Producer: Sarah Nathan

Get to know Sarah a bit better with our quick Q&A interview.

Introduce yourself!

Howdy! I’m Sarah and I’m the latest lucky duck to join Team Slow Clap. I recently moved to the Bay Area from Charleston, South Carolina with my fiancé and our dog, but I’m originally from New Jersey. Prior to Slow Clap, I was a producer/shooter with AJ+, a digital channel of Al Jazeera. My background is visual journalism and documentary but I also have experience in educational marketing and communications.

What’s your role? What made you gravitate towards this craft?

I’m a producer, which means I’m involved in the storytelling process from start to finish. I gravitated towards video production because I love to connect with people and tell stories. As a kid, I explored storytelling through theater and music, but I had the good fortune to take a photojournalism/multimedia class in college and I was hooked.

What’s your prior experience? What made you interested in joining Slow Clap?

I often describe myself as a visual storyteller because my prior experience is diverse. In addition to being a producer, I’m also a photographer, cinematographer, camera operator, and editor, so I have a lot of experience in most aspects of video and visual production. 

 

 

I joined Slow Clap because I want to expand my skill set to include more scripted, commercial work while still having the opportunity to pursue docustyle projects. I was impressed that Slow Clap has attracted a diverse client base that allows them to produce a wide range of visual work. One of my favorite things about video production is learning new things every day with every project. I love that I will have the opportunity to connect with clients who work in corporate, tech and nonprofit industries during my time at Slow Clap. 

 

 

I was also excited about the opportunity at Slow Clap because of its seamless blending of a casual, approachable demeanor with utter professionalism. The company culture deeply resonates with my personal work ethos.

Favorite Film? What am I watching?

I’m a documentary nut, but Amélie, O Brother Where Art Thou?, and Singing in the Rain are on the list of all-time favorite narrative films. You can count on me for a good documentary recommendation, usually in the cult-genre. This summer, my fiancé and I have been binge-watching M.A.S.H, a childhood favorite of his. We’re on Season 7 and I’m still upset that they killed off Colonel Blake at the end of Season 3. 

Any Hobbies?

I love hiking with my dog Ollie, so please send your favorite Bay Area trails my way! I can often be found at farmers markets laden with local produce or at a vintage/thrift store. I enjoy baking bread and exploring a variety of craft projects that allow me to create something with my hands. My current interest is bundle dyeing; think tie-dyeing but with natural plant materials. I also love working up a good sweat in a hot yoga class or on a dance floor. I’m also always down for a good pub trivia.

Lastly, favorite projects you’ve worked on/seen from Slow Clap?

I’m brand spanking new, so I haven’t worked on any projects yet, but I can’t wait to dive in! Some of the projects that drew me to Slow Clap were The GitHub Building the Future video, an elegant scripted project, as well as the short documentary featuring the story of Daniel Maher for the Asian Law Caucus. It’s a powerful story that humanizes the struggle many immigrants face in this country while highlighting the important work of a local civil rights organization. 

 

 

 


 

Meet the rest of the Slow Clap team, if you haven’t already!

Dan Lichtenberg, Founder & Creative Director

Katy Bailes, Producer

Beijo Lee Wang, Associate Producer

Jake Richard, Post-Production and Camera Manager

Alexander Flores, Junior Editor

Darissa Hicks, Production Coordinator

Why Your Company Needs Branded Content

With more and more things clamoring for our attention in the digital age, and even less attention to devote to them, the competition for those precious seconds of customer engagement is fierce. And in those few seconds, brands have to communicate their message in a way that’s compelling, interesting and impactful to their customers.

 

That’s a pretty tall order to fill for just a few seconds isn’t it?

 

Fortunately, video gives you a way to not only attract attention, but build brand awareness in a way that encourages the customer to learn more. Here’s why video is the best option to connect with new customers and how to do it right: 

 

Why Use Video to Create Branded Content? 

Whether you’re creating a corporate or non-profit video, your chosen “brand content vehicle” matters. And with online video viewing on the rise globally, there’s no better time to share your story visually than right now. Here’s why: 

Video is Engaging and Memorable

Great video has the ability to connect with viewers in ways that plain text or images can’t. Through a combination of sound and visuals, video has the potential to plant a seed in our mind. 

 

Whether through a quirky slogan, a catchy beat, or an awe-inspiring moment, we often find ourselves sharing it with friends, who share it with friends of friends, and so on. In the very best cases, a video is so good that it goes viral.

 

 

Here’s one such example from LG promoting their HD TVs. Nearly everyone can identify with the stress of a job interview. Now add the end of the world to that moment and you’ve got a video that people can’t help but talk about—to the tune of 33 million views.

 

 

Video Forges an Emotional Connection

Great branded content isn’t just about presenting a product. It’s about presenting a product as part of a larger, more intricate and more compelling story. Through visual cues, music, speech, body language, and tone, branded content can evoke everything from joy to empathy, excitement to inspiration. Done right, these very same emotions can nurture and create a positive association with the brand they’re promoting. 

 

This Coca-Cola commercial, will tug at your heartstrings even though the people involved are thousands of miles away. If nothing else, it most certainly gives you a new perspective on the holiday season.

 

 

Video Demonstrates Value – Quickly

Even though our attention is often being pulled in a thousand different directions at once, there’s still a spark of an opportunity to create value, and video is the best way to get that message across succinctly. 

 

Video directly answers the question at the forefront of the viewer’s mind: “What’s in it for me?” Nobody wants to sit through a minute and a half product pitch droning on and on. But they will watch a captivating video showing just how far we’ve come in our quest to do things not just faster, but also better. 

 

Branded content allows brands the freedom to showcase their values, mission, and personality in a way that is authentic and real. Have a look at the video we created for GitHub to see just how quickly value can be shared in a way that’s powerful and impactful. 

 

Video Lets You Tell a Compelling Story

Last, but certainly not least is the very heart of what video and branded content is all about: storytelling. We’ve been sharing stories around a campfire for generations and even with the advent of new technology, there’s something about a captivating story that speaks to us on a different level.

 

This video from Dove tells the story, not of Dove the brand, but of women who, for years, have been told by society, television, and even by their parents, how they look. So during the video, you can hear them share these bits of self with the artist by saying things like “My mom told me I have a big jaw.” or “I would say I have a pretty big forehead.”

 

When they see how the forensic artist has drawn them, their natural beauty surprises them, leading one woman to add “I should be more grateful of my natural beauty. It impacts the choices in friends we make, the jobs we apply for, how we treat our children.” Dove doesn’t even mention its products, it merely creates this association of real beauty with its brand.

Can I Use a Branded Content for Marketing? 

So far, we’ve talked a lot about building brand awareness using video, but what about the next step and using branded video content for marketing? Here are seven steps you’ll need to take to ensure your branded content resonates well with your target audience: 

Step 1: Define Your Marketing Goals

Are you aiming to drive website traffic? Promote brand recognition, generate leads, or introduce a certain product? The clearer your goals, the better your video will be at reaching them. By defining your goals before the video production gets underway, you’ll also give your video production team room to get creative and make your marketing vision happen. 

Step 2: Identify Your Target Audience

Knowing your ideal customer’s demographics is a key step in video creation. The more you can be “in tune” with your target audience, the more your video will stand out and get watched. 

Step 3: Weave Your Narrative

The key to a successful branded content piece is a compelling narrative: a mission, story, or piece of content that attracts attention and helps people to see themselves in the story. What kind of emotions or messages do you want to share? Look at the examples above for several ideas to help inspire you. 

Step 4: Create a Powerful Script

The best video scripts communicate your brand in as few words as possible. Keep your script clear, concise, and compelling and look for ways to connect with your viewers through the power of emotional storytelling.

Pro tip: Work with a video agency like Slow Clap on this step, if you don’t have the capabilities in-house.

Step 5: Plan for Your Shoot

What sort of visual style, tone, and mood will your video evoke? High quality video, animation, graphics, and music that all align with your brand each work like pillars to prop up the message you’re promoting and the words and feelings you want to be associated with your brand. 

Step 6: Optimize for Different Platforms

Once your video is complete, you’ll want to ensure that it’s optimized for different platforms and devices. Depending on your marketing goals, your video may be broadcast at a conference or showcased on Instagram or anything in between. Make sure it’s designed to work flawlessly on the platforms you’re targeting, including on mobile devices. 

Step 7: Promote and Share Your Video

Even after the production work is done, you still have to promote your video. Add it to your website, your social media accounts, relevant video sharing platforms, and encourage viewers to do the same. You have a wide range of options for marketing your video, including partnerships with influencers, email marketing, and paid advertising to help boost your video’s reach. 

 

Conclusion

That’s a considerable number of steps, and for brands that are just starting out—or even more established brands—you may not have the time or the team to do it all yourself. That’s where a great video agency partner like Slow Clap comes in.

 

Leveraging our experience working with Fortune 500 brands like Sony PlayStation, eBay, Adobe, and Capital One, as well as startups like Slack, Ironclad, and Stampli, our creative team is ready to help you make a powerful impression through video content. 

 

The History of San Francisco’s Waterfront

In 2018, the City & County of San Francisco passed a proposition to reinforce the Seawall, a barrier that protects the City’s waterfront from flooding. The Seawall is over 100 years old and is in desperate need of reinforcements to protect it from earthquakes and sea level rising. As part of the project’s overall budget, Slow Clap was selected by the Port of San Francisco to produce videos on an as-needed basis. The Port wanted to tell San Francisco’s rich waterfront history as a reminder of how much has evolved over the years to adapt to a changing city, and to get residents ready for another big period of change. The Seawall’s upgrades are likely to span decades and cost taxpayers billions.

“Working with the Port and Civic Edge for four years on this contract has been amazing. It’s so rare that you get to form such a deep working relationship, as the Port’s exclusive video content producer, and get to help define the story of a government agency.”


– Daniel Lichtenberg, Creative Director, Slow Clap

Approach

The Port wanted to tell the history of San Francisco’s waterfront in just a few short minutes, leaving local residents with a strong sense of history and a greater understanding of what’s at stake if we don’t adapt fast enough. In order to quickly communicate this, Slow Clap thought the best course of action would be to find and license archival photographs from the past 100+ years, and create a “timelapse” wherein our archival photos are juxtaposed with video footage shot in the present. If we were to find the right photos that lined up with the perfectly filmed scenes from today, this would clearly and succinctly communicate how much has changed, and how much of San Francisco’s waterfront is on land that formerly was under water.

“We wanted to give comfort to San Franciscans with the message that things are always changing and that’s the magic of the waterfront – we get to weigh in the direction that we want to go.”
– Amber Shipley, Managing Partner, Civic Edge

Pier 7 and the Embarcadero Freeway (1970)

Pier 7 and the Embarcadero Freeway, 1970Pier 7 and the Transamerica Building 2020

Pier 7 and the Transamerica Building, 2020

 

Execution

Over the course of almost a year, Slow Clap dug deep into the archives and found the perfect archival photographs to contrast with images of today. This included photographs from the gold rush, the 1906 earthquake, the Seawall’s construction in the 1910s, Fisherman’s Wharf in the 1950s, MLB footage from the 1990s, and numerous other photos. What isn’t reflected in the final video, though, is that our team pulled several hundred archival photos in order to whittle it down to the perfect photos and spent months tracking them down and licensing them.

“We really wanted to capture the significance, beauty, and transformation of the waterfront. Finding the most compelling photos through research and proper licensing of each image was crucial.”


– Nicole B Wilson, Associate Producer, Slow Clap Productions

Challenges

Each photo had to match perfectly with a compelling present-day scene. We identified the exact location where each archival photo was shot, scouted the street corners first on Google Earth to make sure the contrast from past to present was compelling, and then in person to get the perfect camera match, procured permits for filming, and then used semi-transparent print-outs of the photos to get an exact match during filming.

Behind the Scenes SF Port

Behind the Scenes at SF Port, 2020

Result

The final video transitions from past to present day with a seamless, surprising, and impactful crossfade that immediately communicates to our audience the changes along the waterfront. An informative narration and motion graphics further reinforce the past to the present theme. Viewers are left with a clear picture of what’s at stake as the Port of San Francisco prepares for the future of our waterfront, with the Seawall project and beyond.

This video first premiered at the 2020 Oceans Film Festival in San Francisco, with plans to launch on the Port of San Francisco’s YouTube and Facebook pages. In the meantime, the Port has used the video at numerous community engagement events. In 2023, Slow Clap won the Gold Telly in Branded Content for Government Relations.

 “We love working with the Slow Clap team and in all my experiences, there is always so much creativity. I admire their ability to polish and execute a creative idea.”
– Amber Shipley, Managing Partner, Civic Edge

The History of the San Francisco Waterfront

Meet Slow Clap’s Founder & Creative Director: Dan Lichtenberg

Get to know Dan a bit better with our quick Q&A interview.

Introduce yourself!

Hi, I’m Dan, and I’m the founder and creative director of Slow Clap.

What’s your role? What made you gravitate towards this craft?

I wear a lot of hats. Which I think is a theme of my career. I like to consider myself a “generalist” (as opposed to a “specialist”) and I also always tell the team that they too should think of themselves as generalists (albeit, with one or two specialties where they hold deep knowledge).

I suppose my formal roles are Executive Producer and Creative Director. I love overseeing the creative process, and guiding a group of creative folks to create something amazing. But I also love the logistics and budgetary side of things. In our field, these problem-solving tasks are sometimes just as creative as the “creative” side of things!

What’s your prior experience? What made you interested in founding Slow Clap as a company?

My “craft” background is in editing and post-production. Which I think is a good foundational skill set to have in video, in terms of storytelling and understanding what’s possible. But what editing doesn’t teach you is how to effectively communicate and collaborate with a diverse group of stakeholders and partners to bring a vision to life. I guess what led me out of editing and into the world of production was the constant thought in my head of “why didn’t they get this shot?” and “what on earth were they thinking?” And can I tell you, after a decade in production, I feel a lot more humble about it. Nothing ever goes as planned on set, and it’s always easier in hindsight. Which… again… is part of the fun of production! If you can’t handle uncertainty, don’t bother applying.  

Jumping into production was one thing. Founding a company was a whole nother thing. Slow Clap started as a side project with my friend Katy Montgomery. We made a few short films and passion projects. Then I decided to leave my job and try to do Slow Clap as a real business thing.

At my old company, which was also a boutique production company like Slow Clap, we made lots of videos for tech companies, also like Slow Clap. But the work we made tended to be a bit more geared towards lucrative projects. Which, don’t get me wrong, is great, and smart business. But I wanted more out of my job. I wanted to feel like the work I was producing was making an impact, and I wanted the opportunity to tell stories that otherwise might not be told. So with Slow Clap, we’ve made it a priority since day one to always work with nonprofit clients at below-market rates (and, depending on our calendars, often well below market rates). You can see many of the videos we’ve made for Asian Law Caucus, SFILEN, the San Francisco Foundation, Artsy, and more to see some of our cause-based projects.

To me, the amazing part about getting to tell these stories is not just being able to contribute to social justice causes, or telling amazing, creative stories. It’s getting to see my team in action, working on these videos, and being so proud of these projects after we complete them. That is what Slow Clap is all about, coming together around a joint cause. And, yeah, also, making some lucrative tech videos to make sure we stay afloat!

Favorite Film? What am I watching?

I’m not really one for favorites. I tend to think something is good, bad, or really good. 

Recently, I’ve seen examples of all three. Good: Black Bird. Bad: Everything’s Trash. Really Good: Luce. Oh, and actually recently I watched something really bad: You People. Lauren London needs to quit acting. Jonah Hill needs to reassess what the hell he’s doing with his life.

Any Hobbies?

My hobbies for the last eight years have mostly just been my business… Before that, I wrote a lot. I even have a book of poetry published, as well as some poems and short stories in various journals.

These days, I’ve been getting back into tennis, which is great!

But mostly, I just enjoy hanging out with my wife, Rahel, and two dogs, Salty and Peppa.

Lastly, favorite project you’ve worked on?

I’ve been part of pretty much every Slow Clap project for the past eight years, and there’s too many to pick just one.

I will point to a few that I think best summarizes and achieves what I think we do best at Slow Clap, which is to tell authentic stories for brands and causes in a way that entertains and elicits an emotional response.

GitHub Future Builders – Optikey: This was part of a multi-video series about “Future Builders” we produced for GitHub. It documents some of the folks who are “building the future” using GitHub. I think these videos really were the culmination of a lot of hard work we did over the first four years of the company. I like to think of them as “the first time we actually got paid to do what we love to do.” These videos are similar to many of the stories we got to tell for our nonprofit clients, but we got to do it with a healthy budget and nice production values.

Built in Slack: Another great intersection of cause-based work with a client’s agenda at the center of the story. We got to document several nonprofit grassroots movements that were using Slack to make an impact during the pandemic. I love telling these stories about changemakers.

Adobe – Jessica Chou Spotlight: I’ve always loved telling stories about artists. We’ve done this for many years pro bono. But this video is probably the first time we were hired by a brand to tell an artist’s story. Another example of the powerful documentary-style storytelling Slow Clap excels at.

Meet Slow Clap’s Post-Production and Camera Manager: Jake Richard

Get to know Jake a bit better with our quick Q&A interview.

Introduce yourself!

Hi! My name is Jake Richard. I grew up bouncing around from Southern California to the Bay Area and in between but decided to settle in the Bay. I have attended classes at the Academy of Art and City College of San Francisco.

What’s your role? What made you gravitate towards this craft?

I am the Post-Production and Camera Manager which means that I am responsible for all of the footage and projects we take on, making sure it is safely ingested on our systems and that it is prepped and ready for an editor to begin work. I also manage the company’s equipment making sure that it all remains in working order and is ready to use on the next shoot. I always had a love for filmmaking and wanted to get a deeper understanding of the full processes it takes to make something great. 

What’s your prior experience? What made you interested in joining Slow Clap?

I started at Slow Clap as a production assistant with no experience and did my best to work my way up. My main goal was to learn something new every day when I started to work here, and I couldn’t imagine where it has led me to today. My interest in Slow Clap was always how authentic and human the approach to storytelling was. 

Favorite Film? What am I watching?

It’s always so hard to pick a favorite film, but a couple of my favorites from childhood are Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining and John Carpenter’s The Thing. Currently, I am watching the Sopranos for the first time. 

Any Hobbies?

I am a fan of going to the movies and I try to stay up to date on the latest shows. I also enjoy relaxing with my friends and playing video games. Most of the time I can be found training in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in my off time. I have been doing it for almost 8 years and have recently received my brown belt.  

Lastly, favorite project you’ve worked on?

This is hard because I love all of our videos. Some of my favorite projects I have worked on are the Building the Future videos we did for Github which was one large scripted video and 3 doc-style videos. The scripted video was the first big production I had worked on, and the doc-style videos were all fun to travel and work for. Others include the Juror Orientation video which I think has the biggest audience (albeit a captive one) of any video I have worked on and Earl’s Story for Blue Shield which was one of the first projects I had worked on. Most recently, I am really proud of how the Freemark Abbey videos turned out for Jackson Family Wines which we have already won a few awards for. 

Video Trends Proven to Work for Your 2023 Marketing Strategy

At Slow Clap HQ, we’re (obviously) always trying to deliver the best content for our clients so that more audiences clap…more…slowly. But it’s deeper than that— we want to inspire viewers to act, whether that be sharing, subscribing, or signing up. In order to do that, we need to pay attention to more than just beauty shots and captivating storylines. We need to think strategy, we need to think trends— we need to be ahead of the curve.

And it’s quite a big curve to get ahead of. Video is, quite simply, exploding:

In 2022, 82% of all internet traffic was video downloads and streams.

Nearly 700,000 hours of video are streamed on Youtube each minute.

According to Vimeo, video is preferred by 80% of people over written text.

And despite the global economy taking a hit, 64% of marketers expect their video budgets to increase in 2023.

So here’s our two cents on what’s coming up in the industry and what to look out for:

BE A SHORT KING – Now this isn’t necessarily groundbreaking news that short videos can be more successful than longer ones. Maintaining audience engagement is one of the hardest things to do when making a video, so keeping a piece of content short and sweet can be instrumental in achieving it. As a video production company in San Francisco, we’ve known this for a long time and there are ever-more data to prove it:

Source: Hootsuite

Leveraging the power of short-form content is essential to any video marketing strategy. As long as it stays true to your brand, there’s no reason to shy away from it. It doesn’t have to be all about TikTok, but keeping your videos succinct and to the point will increase messaging and access to your audience.

It’s important to note, however, that this is not a blanket rule, and the length of a video should also be discussed in the context of the platform it’s going out on.

BE HUMAN –  In a nutshell, successful videos are informative but also relatable. A recent study conducted by the Content Marketing Institute found that half of the respondents create videos to raise brand awareness and nearly 40% said one of their primary goals was also to create a human connection. There are multiple ways to do this— you can use real employees or customers over hired talent or delve into the world of UGC (user-generated content):

Not only do user-generated videos provide more value in terms of authenticity, but they also drive higher engagement and are often a good way to save time and money.

STRATEGIZE THIS – Creating content is all well and good, but if you don’t have a strategy to lead it out into the stratosphere and support it while it’s there, then you might as well stand on a hill and watch it roll down. 

  • Setting a video strategy is essential to provide direction and focus for your videos. If you publish a video without a strategy, and it doesn’t get seen, that’s not the fault of the video—  it’s the fault of your strategy.
  • Put your money behind the videos.

And that’s it! Good luck with all your video marketing dreams for 2023.