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:
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
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
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
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
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.”
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.
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.
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.
“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.
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.
The internet has provided a space for the burgeoning market for web video, with quality content being produced across countless subjects and in countless formats. And we are proud to leverage this development to help drive business for our clients.
Furthermore, we’re proud to announce that we have been named an industry leader on Clutch, a B2B ratings and reviews platform that identifies top service providers, helping teams make smarter choices in vendors. After being the subject of thorough market research, we were listed as one of the top video production companiesin San Francisco, one of the most competitive creative spaces in the country.
Clutch provides firms with the opportunity to receive verified client reviews from their clients, and we’re pleased to share that we have a perfect rating of 5 stars as a result of our client feedback. We welcome any client feedback, but reviews like,
“We’re confident in their ability to deliver great results. Even for the less interesting subject matter, the team knows how to make the video and photos visually compelling”
help us know that we are hitting the mark for our clients. We appreciate everything our clients have shared with us so far, and we cannot wait to continue to use this source of evaluation to improve our work and hone our craft.