Venturing into Virtual Production with Mindful

Partnering with a niche B2B software company to make corporate video content that’s creative and fun can be a challenge, but it’s also incredibly rewarding to produce. These lighthearted descriptors, rarely used in the same ecosystem as call centers and boardrooms, were top of mind for Mindful, a company specializing in contact center callback technology, as they set out to produce a livestream event highlighting the latest updates in their software. In order to bring some cheer to callbacks, Mindful knew they needed expert guidance. And as a product trusted by many Fortune 500 companies to provide top customer experience, they needed to be intentional about which agency they partnered with to help them launch the new look for their software user interface (UI). 

After seeing our work with Ironclad, which blends creativity and entertainment with high-production value, Mindful knew that they wanted to partner with Slow Clap to communicate to a B2B audience about specialized software. 

Behind-the-scenes with the Slow Clap camera team and talent interacting with our real-life prop



As Mindful planned to launch its new UI, they wanted this event video to reflect the same values and characteristics that their brand embodied: “kind by design.” With a thoughtful aesthetic and more robust software, Mindful’s new UI includes soft colors and a light airy feeling, evoking a sense of levity, fun, approachableness, lightness, and airiness. Mindful centers around the philosophy that customer service prioritizes a people-first attitude, and they hoped to bring kindness and compassion to their software. 


Slow Clap was faced with figuring out how to walk through the technical features and improvements of Mindful’s software in a fun, creative way that put kind by design center stage. 


The first decision that needed to be made was location; where would this magical, airy, kind-by-design video take place? Mindful’s suggestion for a sky filled with puffy, white clouds would hit the marks on the brand’s vibe, but the setting would be too abstract. Slow Clap advised that a more concrete location could be a better connective tissue to Mindful’s UI updates. After lots of brainstorming with Mindful, Slow Clap proposed a factory in the vein of Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory but instead of creating chocolate confections, Mindful’s factory would manufacture kindness through their new UI updates. The factory setting served as a more tangible concept that would likely yield better results for the video.

A page of Slow Clap’s moodboard that guided us to align with Mindful’s brand

Slow Clap was able to deliver a clever, cost-effective solution to create Mindful’s kindness factory thanks to a cutting-edge technology: Virtual Production.

“It would have been crazy to find a location in the real world or build a location from scratch that was a Willa Wonka’s kindness factory. It would have been nearly impossible and prohibitively expensive, so what we were exploring instead was building a virtual set. We partnered with animation house Deep Sky alongside the clients and had several live, collaborative sessions to make sure the physical set pieces were feeling consistent and fitting together with the virtual aspects. It was an interesting learning experience, and there were a lot of hurdles that we had to get over to rig the 3D world correctly, but we did it in a tight turnaround.”


Daniel Lichtenberg, Creative Director, Slow Clap


Dan Lichtenberg, our creative director, alongside the Unreal operator and Disguise operator


As Slow Clap began pre-production, it became clear that a full-scale, 3D factory set was not in the cards because of budget constraints. Filming in multiple locations to achieve the ideal look was also off the table because of the tight filming schedule, which allotted two shoot days. Instead of viewing these as challenges, Slow Clap saw these parameters as the perfect opportunity to venture into the world of virtual production technology. 


For those who don’t know, virtual production is a new technique of producing video content that was first developed by Industrial Light and Magic for The Mandalorian that combines virtual and physical worlds. 


The first step of Mindful’s virtual production was to build a bespoke, 3D world, aka the Kindness Factory. Since this was our first foray into virtual production, we brought in the experts at animation studio Deep Sky, to help us create a computer-generated world (CGI) in Unreal Engine

“I love working with Dan. I thought how he chose the film and the shots were very classy. That’s the one thing I enjoy most is working with other creatives that understand the process a little bit, so it was really nice to be able to collaborate.” 

Barret Thomson, Creative Director at Deep Sky


Once the kindness factory design was complete, the next step was to bring it to life. We packed our bags and traveled from the San Francisco Bay Area to Nashville, Tennessee to use the brand-new, state-of-the-art, virtual production stage at ARC Studios.


Once we arrived in Music City, we rigged the virtual kindness factory in a physical space: a large volume, LED wall designed to handle virtual production. This was achieved using, Disguise, a software that brings virtual design into the real world. And just like that, the kindness factory was ready for its closeup of our talent. 

You may be wondering, what’s the big deal with virtual production? How is designing a 3D background that projects on an LED screen all that different from a traditional backdrop? The answer is active camera tracking. The large volume LED wall is comprised of many, interconnected screens, which allowed Disguise to simultaneously track the 3D space with camera movements. That meant that when the camera moved, the kindness factory would also move relative to the camera. When the camera pushes in, the 3D world also moves, making the viewer feel as if the talent is really inside the kindness factory.

The virtual production stage with the Slow Clap crew at ARC Studios in Nashville, Tennessee


To add further depth and texture to the set, Slow Clap called in our production designer Emile Rosewater to create real-life art props for the funny moments in our script, such as a vintage 1960’s telephone popping into the scene, a peephole tube, and the control panel that our talent, Devon, used to launch colorful confetti.

Mindful’s Devon sending a burst of confetti with both perspectives of behind-the-scenes and on-screen


This additional layer of real-life props added an extra dose of magic and playfulness to the project and blurred the lines between what was real and fake.

Emile Rosewater, our production designer, leading the art department on-set


After some late nights and tremendous collaboration, the beauty of virtual production merged the 3D world, our real-life set pieces, and our on-screen talent together. It was our first time executing a fully virtual production from start to finish and our clients were thrilled with the results.


The final video took Mindful’s UI launch to new creative heights. Not only did it achieve the goal of rolling out new software features and enhancements, but it leveraged new technology to make it lively and intriguing. Slow Clap was able to successfully communicate Mindful’s three core pillars of security, speed, and accessibility through exciting visuals. 


As a Bay Area video production company, we were delighted to win two Bronze ADDY SF Awards in the categories of Computer Generated Imagery (CGI) and Art Direction. 

Slow Clap’s Bronze ADDY SF Awards (American Advertising Awards)


In addition to awards, Becky Chastain, our close collaborator from Mindful, shared with us that the video had a successful launch during their product webinar on LinkedIn and YouTube. The video boasted high views and engagement on both platforms and Mindful reported a great attendance at their conference. 


“So happy we got to work with an agency that understood and got excited about our brand. I can’t say enough great things here. We were heard and understood throughout the entire process. Everything and everyone stayed really tight, and I think the proof is in the video itself – it was a very tight timeline with an ambitious set, and we probably won’t be using any other agency for this type of work. Dan and his team not only are great partners, but I think our teams complement one another really well.“ 

Becky Chastain, Creative Director at Mindful


To see how everything came to work in harmony, see the behind-the-scenes of our virtual production here

Take a look at the full video below. 


Meet Slow Clap’s Senior Producer: Michele Dennis

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

Introduce yourself! What’s your role? 

Hi,  I’m Michele Dennis and I am so happy to be Slow Clap’s ‘Senior Producer’, meaning I have been a producer longer than most! I’m a native Californian with a love for this earth and all its people and creatures.

What I love about the work I do as a producer with Slow Clap is the goal and mission to find the heart and the truth of our subjects within the context of their story and to utilize the amazing talents of our team to do it.  We work together as a finely tuned machine to make this happen. We all love what we do. 

As the ‘senior’ in the group, I often have opportunities to be a mentor and to introduce new ideas that are outside the original scope of the project, finding magical locations, using thoughtful casting, guiding the art team, planning the shoots for the best light and circumstances to give us the very best ingredients for delivering a show that surpasses any expectation on budget. I love the pre-planning stage, learning new technologies and the puzzle of procuring all of the pieces for great success. 

What made you gravitate towards this craft?

As a kid growing up in LA, I was always writing humorous little scripts that my friends & I would rehearse and then perform for the parents and whoever else would watch. I always had a high awareness of commercials and the little story they told successfully in such a short time frame, so often these scripts and performances were marketing household products and foods like sunflower seeds and Ajax cleanser. 

Later, when I saw “Born Free” a docu-drama about a couple in Africa who raises a lion cub, to later be released, it changed my outlook. I wanted the world as my office, and to make movies that told genuine stories. 

What’s your prior experience? 

From my first job in this biz in my early 20’s as a scheduler and manager for a small production studio video editing and duplication business to my work in creative boutiques as a producer and later as a freelance producer, I have produced everything from multiple day large-scale union shoots with actors, animals, and big crews to small intimate docu-style testimonials, documentaries, feature and short narrative films, and dazzling marketing pieces for dozens of major players including Google, Apple, Cisco, and Salesforce

What made you interested in joining Slow Clap?

This mighty little company can do anything. This team can do anything. Working with teams who think outside the box, using imagination and experience to stretch budgets and abilities to get amazing results beyond anyone’s initial expectations, is my joy. That’s who Slow Clap is.

Favorite Film? What am I watching?

Too many films to name, but they are all films that affect me emotionally.  Recently the 2022 Foreign Films nominee “EO” stole my heart, but I do tend to gravitate towards dark humor and indy films. Always love the Cohen Brothers and anything about carnivals! Guilty pleasure watch: Yellow Jackets

Any Hobbies?

I’m always up for a hike in nature, desert, sea, mountains… I joined a community garden this past year and have loved it! 

Lastly, favorite project you’ve worked on?

I am such a fan of history and chronicling the human story. One of my first Slow Clap productions was the new California Jury video for the Judicial Council of California (JCC), which tied into this passion. Everything I have done with Slow Clap has been a great and fun challenge. 


2023 – Justice for All: Orientation to Jury Service



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

Kiante Marron, Camera & Post Production Assistant

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.

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.


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!

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.

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.





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 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.