Meet Slow Clap’s Producer: Katy Bailes

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

Introduce yourself!

Hello! Nice to meet you! My name is Katy and I am Slow Clap’s newest recruit! I am originally from London in the UK and have been living in San Francisco for around 2 years now by way of marriage to my lovely husband George! Prior to joining Slow Clap, I worked at the in-house documentary film team at The Economist newspaper. There we made short(ish) documentaries about anything and everything from start-ups in the world’s largest refugee camp to what led to Trump’s victory in the 2016 US presidential election.

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

I am a producer at Slow Clap which I’m very happy about because I love producing! In general, I have always wanted to produce and make documentaries because I’ve always been interested in what’s going on in the world. It may sound a bit simple but that is simply it! From a young age, I was always fascinated in the stories of my friends from different places and the stories of the new places I visited and lived in and so making films and specifically documentaries just kind of made sense to me as a job. I like the mix of creative organizing (if that’s a thing!), whereby you have an idea or a concept and you make that a reality through solid processes. I love working in a team and truly appreciate the collaborative nature of filmmaking in all its forms.

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

I was interested in the role firstly because I wanted to diversify my experience from documentaries into more commercial work. As Slow Clap is a corporate video production company in San Francisco, I really love that Slow Clap works with a large variety of companies from large tech organizations to smaller NGOs and I was impressed with the documentary style of the work they produce. To me it was sort of the best of both worlds— I could continue working in a style I was used to and appreciated but rev it up a bit with new clients and processes. I also really liked the photo illustrations of each member of staff and the inclusion of the company pets! 

What am I watching? 

Anything from Keeping Up with the Kardashians to old Brazilian classics like Black Orpheus! This year I am excited for the new series of Succession but am also looking forward to watching some new documentaries like To The End and Descendant which is about African-Americans tracing their ancestral roots.

Any Hobbies?

I’ve always loved dancing from ballet to dancehall and so I try and keep that up! I am a big fan of anything Brazilian and so I enjoy reading and keeping up to date with what’s happening over there and on the continent in general, as well as speaking Portuguese as and when I can. Now that I live in California, I am embracing the outdoors and love a good hike to watch a sunset and am even considering taking up paragliding!

Lastly, favorite project you’ve worked on? 

I have to say probably Public Advocates’s 50th Anniversary as I got to piece together 50 years in a paper edit, continue to develop it throughout the editing process, and see it come to life. It was an honor to learn about the many stories of Public Advocates as well as highlight the systemic changes that they created in the community.

Meet Slow Clap’s Camera and Post-Production Assistant: Keely Liles


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

Introduce yourself!

Hiya! My name is Keely Liles and I am a photographer, filmmaker, and one of the recent hires of the Slow Clap team! I moved from Washington to California in the Fall of 2021 to pursue my filmmaking career. I was trained in non-fiction, documentary filmmaking and two years ago developed, directed, filmed, edited, and produced my own documentary film called, Embrace Your Pleasure

Since the completion of that project I have been branching into narrative film by teaching myself about screenwriting, directing, and getting on to film sets as a production assistant. 

What’s your role? 

I am the Camera and Post-Production Assistant. I was hired to support our Post-Production Supervisor, Jake Richard. In my role, I am responsible for loading and unloading the grip truck, setting up and tearing down equipment, managing media files, and prepping Premiere Pro projects for our editors. 

What made you gravitate towards this craft?

I have had a camera in my hand since I could walk and I have the photos to prove it. I started with photography and naturally gravitated towards filmmaking later on. I think what initially drew me to filmmaking was watching the behind the scenes specials included on DVDs. I loved watching how the story was created and as I learn more about all of the artistic choices that are involved with making a movie, I love filmmaking even more. I am that person who will interrupt the movie to point out a cool filmmaking technique. 

What made you interested in joining Slow Clap?

I have been freelancing for several years and have had the opportunity to do a number of interesting and engaging projects, but I was ready to be part of something bigger than myself. I wanted to join Slow Clap because I was ready to be part of a long-term, collaborative, creative team. Slow Clap is a commercial video production company in San Francisco. Slow Clap’s mission to create authentic stories for their clients resonates with me in my personal and professional life. In my career as an artist, I want to act as a catalyst for change and I see filmmaking as a way to do so. The collaboration between filmmakers and their community acts as a catalyst that ignites movement. It’s cameras, lights, and audio equipment in the hands of passionate people who are brave enough to ask themselves and those around them, “who are you and what is your story?”

Any hobbies? 

When I don’t have my hands on a camera, I am painting or drawing. I make so much art that I love gifting my art to people. It’s one of my love languages. Pre-pandemic I would go swing dancing and salsa dancing. I used to do Irish dancing and hope to get back to it one day. I love spending time with my friends and going hiking, making a meal together, seeing a movie, or just hanging out in the living room. 

My Favorite Projects from Slow Clap 

Faces: A Work in Progress by Truong Tran

Building the future

La Crema Brand Story

Meet Slow Clap’s Production Assistant: Darissa Hicks

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

Introduce yourself!

Hello there, and thank you for stopping by! My name is Darissa and I’m Slow Clap’s Production Assistant. I’m from the Bay Area and graduated from University of California, Davis with a Bachelor of Science in Managerial Economics and a minor in Sociology. With my major, I wanted to gain knowledge that could be applied to the business side of many industries. Soon after, I also became interested in sociology and in finding a way to make a positive impact through my career. 

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

As a Production Assistant, my role is to support the team especially in the pre-production phase of producing a video. I help with planning the logistics of a shoot, including managing legal documents and researching locations/equipment. Sometimes, I am also a PA on set for our shoots. I may assist with crafty set-up, camera/lighting set-up, and behind-the-scenes photos.  Alongside helping with video production, I support company operations, such as marketing, company events planning, general administrative tasks, and anything else our team may need. 

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

I have general experience in outreach, marketing, and HR. I have helped prepare informational interviews for different organizations, including a start-up social media app for college students and a podcast focused on diversity and social impact in the film industry called Rewriting Hollywood.  I was in search of gaining experience as a PA since I was interested in storytelling in media. As I was looking for different opportunities, I was surprised to find a PA position with a company like Slow Clap. I was really excited about finding a company that really cared about different causes and shared values about diversity and fostering an encouraging environment where you are able to learn and grow. Slow Clap tries to partner with community-based organizations to help tell their story. I am so glad to be a part of a team that wants to make an impact and help people through the power of storytelling. 

What am I watching?

Since I watch a lot more dramas than films, I think one of my favorite Korean TV dramas is My Mister. Watching it during the pandemic and without spoiling the story, I found My Mister to be very comforting and relatable in emotions to watch. It is a slice-of-life drama that is very understanding of different life experiences and can be encouraging to see how those characters overcome hardships. 

Any Hobbies?

In general, I like to spend time with friends and family, especially trying out the new foodie spots in town that we haven’t tried before. I also really enjoy watching movies/dramas and learning languages. 

Lastly, favorite project you’ve worked on?

As it was one of my first times being on set, I’d have to say that my favorite project is the Judicial Council of California’s Juror Orientation Video. For Slow Clap, it’s one of our larger projects, and I think that’s why I found it exciting. Over at least eight days, we had a crew of about 20 people and over 30 people for talent. I even got to clap the slate! (Check out the BTS photos below!) Seeing behind-the-scenes of how so many different folks could come and work together to create this video was amazing. I had the opportunity to connect and learn from veterans in the industry who were kind and patient in showing me the ropes. I am so grateful that our team kept an eye out for me and guided me throughout my time participating in this project and the many more to come!

Although I haven’t worked on many projects yet, some of my favorite work from Slow Clap also includes:

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.

#blacklivesmatter

At Slow Clap Productions, we believe in authentic storytelling. We believe all voices should be heard, and that everyone has a story. We stand behind the Black Lives Matter movement and with our friends, family, colleagues, and neighbors of color who are sharing their authentic stories through protest, murals, social media posts, and conversation.

The injustices that members of the black community have suffered cannot be ignored. The only way we can grow as a community, city, and country is to acknowledge and address the systemic racism that black people face every day.

Prejudice, bigotry, racism, and hatred of any kind should be condemned. That’s why at Slow Clap, we dedicate a portion of our working calendar to pro bono and below market rate work, partnering with organizations committed to racial equity. We’re thankful for our partnerships with amazing organizations like The San Francisco Foundation, Asian Law Caucus, San Francisco Immigrant Legal and Education Network (SFILEN), Gritty City, Boys & Girls Clubs of San Francisco, PACT, and others.

This year, we continue this commitment and will seek out partnerships with clients advancing racial equity. If you or someone you know has an important story to tell, please reach out.

Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery. Say their names. Tell their stories. Let these stories resound as we stand in solidarity, and encourage change today for a brighter future.

In solidarity,

The Slow Clap Team

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.