What is the Multi-Hazard Risk Assessment?

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 from earthquake and sea-level rise. As part of the project, Slow Clap was selected by the Port of San Francisco to produce videos on an as-needed basis.

Phase one of the Seawall was to conduct a series of tests to diagnose all the problems with the Seawall. This complex, wonky undertaking had to be explained in a simple, digestible format so that residents could stay informed about and proud of the foundational research that will eventually guide the multi-billion dollar project.

“We were really proud to have been selected by the Port of San Francisco to create video for the Seawall project, which will leave an impact on our city for generations to come.” – Daniel Lichtenberg, Creative Director, Slow Clap

Execution & Challenges

The Port collaborated with Slow Clap and communications firm Civic Edge to condense the Multi-Hazard Risk Assessment (MHRA) studies into a simple, easy to understand, short, animated video. These tests include laser measurements, drilling, seismic monitoring, traffic flow studies, and many other components. So, the challenge was to find the best way to condense all this info into something that San Francisco Bay Area residents would find welcoming and informative, instead of overwhelming.

“Through this work, I’ve learned about drilling techniques, data collection, and structures for taking care of our water system and sea. It was such a cool challenge to create these illustrations and help promote public understanding of such an exciting environmental initiative.” Rose Tully, Graphic Illustrator, Slow Clap


Slow Clap worked closely with the Port to identify the best way to visualize each concept in the MHRA. We chose to hand illustrate the whole video, in a style that is somewhere between a whiteboard infographic style, and a cartoon style. We felt it was the perfect balance to strike a tone that felt both official and educational, but also friendly and accessible. Our voice-over talent, a warm, welcoming voice, was chosen for similar reasons. The illustrated scenes were animated as though they had been hand-drawn onto the screen, to inject an extra sense of fun and curiosity.

The result is a short, accessible, engaging video that has several thousand views across the Port’s various social media platforms, and has been used at every community engagement event about the Seawall since its release.

“The Port of San Francisco loved the final video. They felt that the video captured the technical assessments conducted in a fun, visually engaging manner. It was even useful for other Port staff to learn more about the MHRA.” – Tira Okamoto, Civic Edge

What is the Multi-Hazard Risk Assessment?

San Francisco Public Utilities Commission: Community Benefits Outreach

Slow Clap has fostered a relationship with the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) and D&A Communications over the past five years, developing and producing video stories that highlight the SFPUC’s work to live up to its Environmental Justice and Community Benefits policies and good neighbor programs. As part of ongoing communications about this work, the SFPUC came to us to tell two community members’ stories, Misty Mckinney and Sonia Davis. Misty, one of the SFPUC’s Citizens’ Advisory Committee (CAC) members, works with the agency to design, implement, and evaluate policies that impact communities. Born in the Philippines, Misty has a strong background in environmental justice and cares deeply about diversity, equity, and inclusion.

“This is one of those projects that reminds me why I love documentary-style video content so much. It was amazing to get to spend a day with Misty and her family, meet and hang out with her son Turtle, and learn about their story.” – Daniel Lichtenberg, Creative Director, Slow Clap


Our goal was to highlight Misty’s environmental advocacy and her role as a CAC member while educating viewers about the SFPUC’s community and capital investments. The key was to communicate all these important messages, while also humanizing Misty’s story.


To accomplish this, we told her story through the lens of family, and how when she was growing up in the Philippines, access to clean water was viewed as a privilege. But for her son Turtle and for her community, Misty wants to ensure clean water is a right for all. Although we had just one day to film interviews, we were able to capture several activities that told the rich picture of Misty’s life with her family.

“Dan and the team at Slow Clap always make sure to focus on the authentic story in their videos. That’s why our collaborations have been so successful.” – Darolyn Davis, D&A Communications


Misty’s story takes us for a “day in her life.” We learn not only about her responsibilities as the Environmental Justice Chair on the SFPUC’s CAC but also about her family’s participation in SFPUC programs. Through her story, we learn about the agency’s Adopt-A-Drain, Drink Tap, and CleanPowerSF Programs while getting a sense of how rewarding it is to take part in these initiatives. All the while, we made sure to feature the most important thing of all: Misty’s strong bond with her family, and how the SFPUC keeps them healthy, happy, and engaged local citizens. With her video, we told a holistic, human-driven story as best we could and it paid off. Misty’s story is one of the most viewed videos on the SFPUC’s social media channels, with several thousand views. We also created several shorter versions of the video for social media, and with Spanish, Chinese, and Tagalog translations for San Francisco’s diverse audiences.

Misty, Eli, & Turtle: Our San Francisco Neighbors

Sonia’s CityWorks Internship Story

Best Practices for Filming at Home: A Slow Clap Brainstorm

As we continue to navigate our “new normal” during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Slow Clap team met up for another brainstorming session to discuss how to film content at home. Whether video conferencing on Zoom, Teams, WebEx, Google Meet, or any other platform, we discuss some of the best practices for filming at home, and how to make your user-generated content look great. We cover lighting, framing, recording tools, audio and microphones, as well as editing it all together. Check out the session below.

If you have any questions about what we discussed contact us here.

Getting Certified as a Government Contractor

In 2016, Slow Clap became a Local Business Enterprise (LBE), certified with the City and County of San Francisco. In 2019, we got our California Small Business Enterprise (SBE) certification. In both cases, we’re considered a Micro Small Business because of revenue and employee requirements. To our knowledge, we’re one of the few video production companies in San Francisco with these certifications. So, what’s this government certification stuff all about? Why did we do it? Who should consider getting certified? And how do you do it?

Slow Clap’s photo of San Francisco’s finger piers.

Becoming a certified government contractor is a great option for small business owners. It offers you an opportunity to bid on government work, and, in some cases, gets you brownie points in the process. Government contracts can include anything from infrastructure projects to civic engagement. Along with the work comes a sense of purpose, that your business is contributing to something greater, to your town, city, state, or country. That’s a great feeling.

Plus, while the margins may not be as high as private sector work, government contracts are often long-term engagements, with steady income. Steady income allows you to make long-term business projections, invest in capital and employees, and tons of other stuff. For a business like video production where each client engagement lasts just a few months, a government contract can provide a sense of certainty to your business.

Getting certified is easy. Well, there’s some paperwork involved… there always is. But, just a simple google search, or visit to your local government agency website, will usually instruct you on the steps to get certified. The SBA website has some great info about federal contracting. The State of California’s Department of General Services administers its SBE certification. And here in San Francisco, the Contractor Monitoring Division handles LBE certification.

The hard part is winning a contract. For small businesses like ours, a great option is to become a subcontractor on bigger proposals, offering just one service or product in a suite of services or products. That’s how we won our first contracts, and continue to win them. As a “sub,” we’ve created videos for the Port of San Francisco, the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC), the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA), San Francisco International Airport (SFO), and other local agencies.

We’ve also recently won contracts directly with the San Francisco Health Service System (SFHSS) and the Judicial Council of California.

Here’s a few of my favorite projects we’ve created for government clients:

Are you considering getting certified as a government contractor? Or, do you work at a government agency that needs videos created for them? Reach out, we’re happy to chat more. The process can seem intimidating, but it’s well worth it from a business and community standpoint.

Daniel Lichtenberg
Slow Clap Creative Director