Slow Clap Announced as a 2022 Local Excellence Award Winner by UpCity

UpCity spotlights the most trustworthy of over 70,000 B2B service providers. For Slow Clap to win the UpCity Local Excellence Award again in 2022 is really exciting for us. We love helping our clients tell their authentic stories. 

Here are a couple of things our clients had to say about our partnership in our UpCity reviews:

“Dan and the Slow Clap crew were very professional, conscientious, and worked very hard to deliver a great production under budget and on time. They had to work with some difficult restrictions and they smiled through every adversity. I would highly recommend them.”

Mark Hornung, Employer Brand Consultant

“As someone who has personally worked with Slow Clap during the filming and editing process, they are wonderful to work with. Slow Clap are not just filmmakers, but advocates and storytellers as well. They are invested in helping you tell the best story.”

Casey Tran, Asian Law Caucus

Thanks to all our clients who have chosen us to help tell their stories. It’s your support that has made this award possible and helps us evolve as storytellers. Can’t wait to see you on our next project!

If you or someone you know is interested in making a video, let us know! We’d love to share our knowledge and help you get started. Share your ideas with us here.

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

Results

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

Approach

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.

Execution

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

Results

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.

Video Content In Quarantine: A Slow Clap Brainstorm

The days are blending together, but we’re still pushing our brains to the limits. As we continue to navigate the public health crisis, our team decided to get together (virtually, of course) to discuss the various forms of marketing videos our partners can produce remotely. Check out our brainstorm session:


Want to make a remote video? Reach out.

How to Make Videos While Sheltering in Place

We know many of you are working remotely and thinking of new ways to communicate with your communities during the COVID-19 public health crisis. And that’s great because 80% of consumers say their content consumption has increased since the outbreak started. Now more than ever, people are turning to brands for helpful information and inspiring stories as we all navigate a strange, new normal.

At Slow Clap, we’re inspired by the challenge of making videos to help our clients connect to their customers and communities. We want to share a few of the “distant storytelling” tools that we’re using that don’t require on-site filming. And, we’re open for business if you need help with execution.




Animated Explainers:


An animated explainer video is an engaging way for you to quickly and easily break down complex information through beautiful visuals. Using motion graphics, bright colors, and a simple voice-over, you can create a beautiful animated video that will continue to attract current and potential clients. We recently created this video for States Title.







User-Generated Content:


Native content is one of the most authentic formats for storytelling because everyone has a camera in their pocket. When you can’t send out a professional crew, it’s a great way to capture original, unfiltered content that people crave in a world where so many try to be picture-perfect.







Educational, Instructional Content:


Nobody ever liked to read instruction manuals. That’s even more true today. Enter the instructional video. For software companies, a simple screen-sharing video with great voice-over can provide a step-by-step guide to help customers learn to use products and services. We love how Slack uses this approach in their product videos.







Brand Anthem Videos:


Whether you combine stock footage with a voiceover, like we did for Workato below, or marry narration with text and powerful music like Sutter Health, anthem videos are a feel-good way to share who you are and what you stand for as a company. That can be an important message for your community to hear, especially at a challenging time like this one.







Repurposing Content:


Recycling existing video content saves time and money and makes the most of resources. Dig into your content library, pull footage from different video projects, and cut them together to create a montage video or social content. Need inspo? Check out the Instagram video we recently did for one of our favorite wineries, La Crema.

 

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There are so many possibilities when you get creative about making video marketing content; whether you’re trying to jump on the latest TikTok trend (we’ve been practicing the “Don’t Rush Challenge”, or simply trying to tell a good story.

Need some ideas? Reach out and we can chat.

Blue Shield of California: Oakland Headquarters

As a company, Slow Clap is always striving to improve the quality of the work we produce for our clients. In November, we worked with our long-time client, Blue Shield of California, to highlight their move from downtown San Francisco to a new, state of the art facility in downtown Oakland. The video was designed to serve as both a general announcement of the move and also a recruitment tool to encourage talent to join the BSC family. It’s now the lead video in their employer brand campaign and was produced with the slickness and high production values worthy of this new office space.

“Any time you undergo a big change in an organization, you run the risk of people leaving. We hired Slow Clap Productions to create a video that would make sure that didn’t happen.” – Mark Hornung, Employer Brand Manager, Blue Shield of California

Approach

BSC wanted to feature their new facilities as a reminder of their cutting-edge workplace, but they also sought to capture the culture of the company, with an emphasis on making a positive impact in the communities that the company serves, as well as making an impact in their new home, Oakland.

Slow Clap kicked off the work on this video by conducting in-depth pre-interviews, a location scout, storyboarding, and a visual shot list to ensure our creative brief was a perfect reflection of the final product.

“The most important aspect of making a great documentary-style corporate video is casting people whose authentic stories and lives align with the key marketing messages of the video. So, pre-interviews to identify the right voices are essential. We took calls with at least twenty employees before settling on the three we featured in the video.” – Daniel Lichtenberg, Creative Director & Founder of Slow Clap

BSC wanted a more polished look for this video than much of the doc-style content we produce for them, so we crewed up with a Director/Producer (Daniel Lichtenberg), Director of Photography (Alan Sanchez), Gaffer (Elani Ferri), Grip & Assistant Camera (Jake Richard &Sarah Wells), Associate Producer (Nicole B Wilson), 2nd Assistant Camera (Naomi Pasmanick), Make-up Artist (Laura Yamasaki), and Production Assistant (Kai Nealis).




Execution

Our team filmed over the course of three days. Like all productions, we had several challenges to work around, but we didn’t let it slow us down. The weather, of course, is always an unpredictable factor. We were unable to fly our drone for the first day of filming due to fog and high winds, but we did manage to capture some powerful interviews from executives and employees, such as CEO & President of BSC, Paul Markovich.


Post-production spanned several weeks. Our editor, Mike Kuba, worked with Daniel and the BSC team to craft a story that brought everything home. The dedication to serving the community, the shared sense of purpose amongst employees, and the great place to work all came front and center.

To put the final touches on this project, Slow Clap collaborated with Bay Area colorist and founder of Color Gatherer, Will Smith (no, not that one). Will and Daniel took a dramatic approach to the look and feel of this film, using the C-Log 3 footage’s high dynamic range to give a larger-than-life feel to the highlights and darks, but crunching the mid-tone contrast to give our characters a sense of authority and purpose.

“Dan and I used DaVinci Resolve Studio’s toolset to create a light and clean environment while tilting the subjects toward a more dramatic feel with more contrast but brighter mid-tones, helping them to stand out from their backgrounds, achieving the larger than life feel, and demanding the viewer’s attention” – Will Smith, Colorist & Founder of Color Gatherer


Results

Blue Shield of California posted the video to YouTube on January 14, 2020. The three social media shorts were shared shortly after that, smartly leveraging a serialized content release strategy that leads to a higher rate of engagement.

“Slow Clap Productions is a creative organization, but they also know they’re a business. Their team is cognizant of achieving a purpose, working closely with us to guarantee results.” – Mark Hornung, Employer Brand Manager, Blue Shield of California


Blue Shield of California: Oakland

 

Social Shorts

Maria’s Story: Aligning values working with Blue Shield of California

 

Isabella’s Story: Creating a community to serve our communities,

 

Alvin’s Story: Making an impact while helping your friends and family



At the time of writing, the video campaign has several thousand combined views. Considering the limited audience of these recruiting efforts, our client Mark calls this a “slam dunk.”

La Crema Winery’s 40th Anniversary

Over the past few years, Slow Clap has grown a partnership with Jackson Family Wines that began with small, one-off projects for the company’s different wineries, such as Kendall-Jackson, Nielsen, Vérité, and others. In the Summer of 2019, that relationship got serious. JFW asked us to create a marketing video that celebrated the 40th anniversary of La Crema Winery, digging into the history books and origin stories of Pinot Noir in California.

Approach

The JFW marketing team wanted to approach this video from both the historic and educational perspectives but also wanted to ensure the video was entertaining for wine enthusiasts. Dan Sutton, Brand Manager of JFW, knew the exact voices that needed to be featured in this video, such as Rod Burglund, the founder of La Crema, and Jenny Jackson Hartford, Co-Proprietor of JFW. To round out the story, we recommended adding a third-party perspective. We often suggest adding the voice of an industry expert, to create a sense of weight and objectiveness in the story. Dan Berger, a top wine critic, was more than excited to talk about La Crema’s place in history.

 


Execution

Pre-Production

Forty years is a lot to cover in a three-minute video. In addition to a surplus of research, our team conducted pre-interviews with the video’s subjects to pinpoint key moments in La Crema’s history that would speak to the two different target audiences of this video. Using this background research as a guide, we developed a mood board, a shot list, and a creative brief.

Crew + Equipment

Directing and producing was Slow Clap’s Dan Lichtenberg, and logistics were managed by associate producer Nicole B Wilson. Leading the camera department was Alan Sanchez, and working as our assistant camera and grip was Jake Richard and Tomaso Semenzato.

We wanted to create a larger than life feel for this forty-year story, so we decided to use a motion control camera system to add some drama to our interviews. To achieve this, we used the Rhino Arc, which tracked our subject on loop, keeping her or him center frame with a fluid, buttery camera move.

 

During this marathon three day shoot, we filmed in several locations, including La Crema’s production facility and barrel room, the Estate at Saralee’s Vineyard, and La Crema’s Healdsburg tasting room. Each location provided a richness to the history of the winery, as well as a variety of elegant backgrounds for interviews and b-roll.

 

Like all productions, there were challenges, and one of the major challenges we encountered on this production was time. We filmed on-site for three days, spread out over the course of several weeks. But unfortunately, the grapes were not hanging from the vine… so, we had to use several shots from our archive of footage shot with JFW to create some movie magic. Another major snag was the drone footage we needed to capture. The vineyards are in the flight path of the regional airport, so we actually had to get FAA approval to fly in a “no-flight zone.” Thankfully, the results of these efforts were worth it.

We worked with our editor, Natalia Lopatina, to begin editing the video in between filming in order to create the story, select broll, and start figuring out music and tone. Once our crew completed their second day of filming our editor work meticulously alongside our Creative Director, and the La Crema team to complete the video.

“The feedback from the organization was very positive… this video has given us a ‘north star’ on the story for the brand.” – Dan Sutton, Brand Manager, JFW


Results

The video premiered at a general sales meeting event in late July 2019. In early August, Safeway, one of JFW’s biggest retail partners, decided to feature the video in the wine aisles in their California stores.

“The video was really well received at our GSM event. It hit all the marketing and selling points, and recieved lots of applause.” – Dan Sutton, Brand Manager, JFW

Collaboration, flexibility, and trust are the keys to any successful partnership. Over the past few years, we gained the trust of the JFW team and got to know the people behind the brands. We fostered that relationship and were able to really show them the value of working with Slow Clap. As a result, we were able to craft a beautiful story to celebrate 40 years and beyond.

Building a Brand Voice with Video: Insightly

Every few years, b2b companies go through the exciting and expensive process of refreshing their brand. As part of the overall marketing campaign around a re-brand, video has only become more front and center to give life to the brand’s voice. But many companies don’t want to spend a hundred thousand dollars to add one corporate video to their YouTube Channel that may or may not get a lot of views, nor do they want to release a piece of content that looks cheap or uncreative.

 

Our client, San Francisco-based tech company Insightly CRM, was grappling with this challenge when they reached out to us about a major branding initiative they were conducting. Slow Clap worked closely with the Insightly creative & marketing teams to produce several branded content videos that perfectly captured their brand voice, looked great, and was produced affordably.

 


Approach

Slow Clap was approached by Insightly’s Product Marketing Manager, John Weeke, who was tasked with doing a full rebranding of Insightly’s website. He wanted to create videos that educated potential customers on key features but were more than just your average 90-second tech explainer video. He wanted these videos to be a reflection of the brand’s voice; fun, smart, and simple.  

 

We worked with Insightly for about 8 weeks developing the script, cast an amazing actress, and put together a top-notch video production crew. Our Creative Director, Dan Lichtenberg, directed the seven videos shot over the course of four days, working with Billy Golden as producer, and Drew Eckman as cinematographer and camera operator.

 


Execution

In the world of video production, working with the constraint of a client’s budget is essential. So, Slow Clap makes sure that we can be nimble, scrappy, and wear a lot of different hats when we need to achieve a big production value with a small budget. Core to Insightly’s new brand was this sense of constant movement and speed. To visualize this, we made sure the camera was constantly moving to capture our wheeling-and-dealing on-camera narrator. This is a challenge to do without a huge video crew and a big budget. So, our problem-solving cinematographer, Drew Eckman, and his grip & electric team came up with an innovative technical solution, placing the camera operator on a dolly, and rigging our key light to the dolly. This meant we didn’t have to light the entire scene to get great-looking results. 

“What was great about these videos, was we were really resourceful and were able to use the client’s office to save time and money. It was an efficient and tight operation.” – Billy Golden, Producer 

Another way we visualized Insightly’s brand voice in video, which has a big energy since it’s a product that serves sales teams, was to have tons of activity in the background. These videos take place on a sales floor; to make it feel like this sales floor is sealing deals left and right, we used Insightly’s own employees, many of them salespeople, working away in the background. We used clever blocking to time much of this “business” to be coordinated and cross frame at strategic moments as our main actor walked through the sales pit.

 


Results

“It was wonderful to work with Slow Clap. The moment I realized Dan was really going the extra mile was when I asked him about a shot in the edit where it seemed like there was a lot more paper flying across the screen, an outcome we weren’t able to make happen on-set. I asked him about it, and he said he actually set-up a little green screen scene, filmed a bunch of papers, and composited them into the shot… it was well beyond my expectations.” – John Weeke, Product Marketing Manager, Insightly

In the end, we were able to provide Insightly with seven high-quality branded videos that covered the seven features of the product they wanted to highlight, but also capture the authentic brand voice.

 

Insightly leveraged the videos in three key ways. The first was through paid lead generation to get in front of their target market, buying YouTube pre-roll time and other paid advertising, to encourage leads to click through and start a free trial. The second was on their website, where these videos lived at the top of the page of each feature landing page. The final way the videos were used was through their outbound sales process; sales reps sent the videos to potential customers to get them excited. The videos have in total more than one million views, and paid for themselves in a matter of months, said the Insightly marketing team.

 


Insightly CRM

Watch all seven videos below:


Building the Future: GitHub

The new year is already over a month in, and here at Slow Clap, we’re taking the time to reflect on the growth we experienced in 2018. We had some amazing production opportunities that challenged us creatively and operationally. A highlight was working with GitHub on a brand video that launched their marketing campaign leading up to GitHub Universe 2018, their biggest annual conference and event.


Approach

We worked with GitHub’s creative team to develop a story that would highlight the open source community on their platform, and how collaboration can have a domino effect of positive change. To visually demonstrate the use of collaboration, our teams decided to create a story inspired by GitHub open source projects from all over the world, in all different industries, and with all different applications. Projects like Open Bionics, a VR medical training simulation, the da Vinci Surgical System, NASA’s Mars mission, and so many more got our creative brains buzzing. But at the center of it all, we knew this video had to be human, and feature the real human impact that GitHub’s community has in the world.

 


Execution

Style, Look, & Locations

This project took us around the world, to a neighboring planet, and back again even though we never really left the Bay area. We filmed in approximately 11 different locations in 5 days with a cast of over 30 people.  Our art department did a fantastic job creating and recreating scenes to help our audiences feel that they’ve been taken to foreign countries, inside NASA, and to another world. Mars, by far, was one of the most fun achievements of this project. In a studio setting, our art department used different elements to recreate the reddish/orange tint of Mars’s surface using things such as Paprika and a wind machine to simulate Mars’s surface.

To achieve a cinematic look we filmed on the Arri Alexa and used rehoused Cooke Lenses from the late ’60s to achieve a classic and stylized look (click here). Lastly, we utilized the Corba Dolly (click here) which was small portable dolly we used for smooth and sturdy camera movement.


The Robotic & Puppeteering

“He was not only great to work with but brilliant! He doesn’t just build things to look like robots he engineers them to actually work.” Cassandra Jabola – Producer

 

We hired the incredible Brandon Minton, who specializes in robotics and puppeteering. Brandon worked for 6-8 weeks, prior to production, to develop, 3D print, and engineer the hands and arms that are used in the video. Brandon not only built and engineered the robotics used, but he was also on set puppeteering them throughout the shoot.


The Music

“When you hear the score it sounds like the beginning of the song, but it’s really the ending. It was reverse engineered.” – Diana Salier

Prior to filming, we worked with TV & Film composer Diana Salier, to create a unique piece of music that is both diegetic and non-diegetic in its use throughout the video. The phrasing that Diana, and pianist Jessica Yap, created was integrated into how the story was told. In fact, the music had to be written prior to production so it could be utilized during the filming process for both young Michael and adult Michael to play. As a key storytelling element, the music had to show progression over time, which mirrored what was going on in the narrative.

 

 

 

 


Results 

As a creative agency, this was one of our most challenging and most rewarding projects to dates. We successfully completed the video on time, and in September GitHub launched their video campaign starting with the branding video. The video gained over 250,000(+) views between its launch in September 2018 to the opening of the Universe conference on October 16, 2018. During that same time, GitHub gained nearly 40,000 new followers and had over 45,000 social engagements across all platforms.

Awards & Recognition

In February 2019, Slow Clap was awarded the Platinum Honors from the AVA Digital Awards. The award recognizes outstanding work by creative professionals involved in the concept, direction, design, and production of media that is part of the evolution of digital communication.

View the finalized video below