Get to know Jake a bit better with our quick Q&A interview.
Hi! My name is Jake Richard. I grew up bouncing around from Southern California to the Bay Area and in between but decided to settle in the Bay. I have attended classes at the Academy of Art and City College of San Francisco.
What’s your role? What made you gravitate towards this craft?
I am the Post-Production and Camera Manager which means that I am responsible for all of the footage and projects we take on, making sure it is safely ingested on our systems and that it is prepped and ready for an editor to begin work. I also manage the company’s equipment making sure that it all remains in working order and is ready to use on the next shoot. I always had a love for filmmaking and wanted to get a deeper understanding of the full processes it takes to make something great.
What’s your prior experience? What made you interested in joining Slow Clap?
I started at Slow Clap as a production assistant with no experience and did my best to work my way up. My main goal was to learn something new every day when I started to work here, and I couldn’t imagine where it has led me to today. My interest in Slow Clap was always how authentic and human the approach to storytelling was.
Favorite Film? What am I watching?
It’s always so hard to pick a favorite film, but a couple of my favorites from childhood are Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining and John Carpenter’s The Thing. Currently, I am watching the Sopranos for the first time.
I am a fan of going to the movies and I try to stay up to date on the latest shows. I also enjoy relaxing with my friends and playing video games. Most of the time I can be found training in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in my off time. I have been doing it for almost 8 years and have recently received my brown belt.
Lastly, favorite project you’ve worked on?
This is hard because I love all of our videos. Some of my favorite projects I have worked on are the Building the Future videos we did for Github which was one large scripted video and 3 doc-style videos. The scripted video was the first big production I had worked on, and the doc-style videos were all fun to travel and work for. Others include the Juror Orientation video which I think has the biggest audience (albeit a captive one) of any video I have worked on and Earl’s Story for Blue Shield which was one of the first projects I had worked on. Most recently, I am really proud of how the Freemark Abbey videos turned out for Jackson Family Wines which we have already won a few awards for.
At Slow Clap HQ, we’re (obviously) always trying to deliver the best content for our clients so that more audiences clap…more…slowly. But it’s deeper than that— we want to inspire viewers to act, whether that be sharing, subscribing, or signing up. In order to do that, we need to pay attention to more than just beauty shots and captivating storylines. We need to think strategy, we need to think trends— we need to be ahead of the curve.
And it’s quite a big curve to get ahead of. Video is, quite simply, exploding:
And despite the global economy taking a hit, 64% of marketers expect their video budgets to increase in 2023.
So here’s our two cents on what’s coming up in the industry and what to look out for:
BE A SHORT KING – Now this isn’t necessarily groundbreaking news that short videos can be more successful than longer ones. Maintaining audience engagement is one of the hardest things to do when making a video, so keeping a piece of content short and sweet can be instrumental in achieving it. As a video production company in San Francisco, we’ve known this for a long time and there are ever-more data to prove it:
64% of marketers surveyed claim to say the optimal length of a short-form marketing video is 20-60 seconds.
Leveraging the power of short-form content is essential to any video marketing strategy. As long as it stays true to your brand, there’s no reason to shy away from it. It doesn’t have to be all about TikTok, but keeping your videos succinct and to the point will increase messaging and access to your audience.
It’s important to note, however, that this is not a blanket rule, and the length of a video should also be discussed in the context of the platform it’s going out on.
BE HUMAN – In a nutshell, successful videos are informative but also relatable. A recent study conducted by the Content Marketing Institute found that half of the respondents create videos to raise brand awareness and nearly 40% said one of their primary goals was also to create a human connection. There are multiple ways to do this— you can use real employees or customers over hired talent or delve into the world of UGC (user-generated content):
75% of brands feel that adding UGC to their marketing mix makes their brand content more authentic.
Not only do user-generated videos provide more value in terms of authenticity, but they also drive higher engagement and are often a good way to save time and money.
STRATEGIZE THIS – Creating content is all well and good, but if you don’t have a strategy to lead it out into the stratosphere and support it while it’s there, then you might as well stand on a hill and watch it roll down.
Setting a video strategy is essential to provide direction and focus for your videos. If you publish a video without a strategy, and it doesn’t get seen, that’s not the fault of the video— it’s the fault of your strategy.
Put your money behind the videos.
And that’s it! Good luck with all your video marketing dreams for 2023.
As the Slow Clap team gets ready for 2023 (wow, we never thought we’d make it but here we are), we took some time to reflect on 2022, the busiest, craziest, most fun year in our company’s eight year history of making videos. Take a look at our year condensed into one minute:
Our first assignment of the year got us out of the office, and into the water. We partnered with the Port of San Francisco, a longtime client of ours, to produce a video highlighting the fisherpeople of Fisherman’s Wharf, who recently started selling live crabs right off their boat. Tourists and locals alike really enjoyed gaining access to the “working Port,” and getting to talk directly to the folks that catch the crabs. It’s like an open air farmers’ market on the wharf.
Glide is one of the coolest clients you could think up. Their no-code platform lets anyone turn spreadsheets into mobile apps, whether or not you’ve ever seen a line of code. How cool is that?
We’ve been lucky enough to partner with them to tell their customer success stories for several years. This time around, we got to go big, featuring the PGA, who used Glide to develop apps for the Ryder Cup. We captured interviews at PGA’s Texas and Florida HQs, plus even got to film some product shots and reenactments at our Oakland studio. But most importantly, this customer story video is surprising and entertaining.
Our client at Glide said it best: Their team doesn’t create videos that are off the shelf. They create something that engages the viewer emotionally.
We love partnering with our government clients like the San Francisco Treasurer. Telling stories of huge impact, like the Kindergarten to College (K2C) program’s success, gives us a chance to be part of something bigger, something that affects our community. The video we produced does just that, featuring stories of kids and parents who have taken advantage of the K2C program to save for college.
This educational video is seen by nine million jurors a year, and is used as the primary tool to make sure we have an educated jury of our peers. The video has a shelf life of ten to twenty years. At 100+ million views, that’s blockbuster status baby!
We were also excited to simultaneously launch a documentary about the history of Jury Service as a companion piece to the orientation video. We had the amazing challenge of condensing several hundred years of history into ten minutes, and we got to learn how essential juries are to a healthy democracy.
Another huge production challenge landed in our laps with Ironclad’s summer virtual event video. Ironclad has always been thinking outside the box for virtual events, but this was on a whole nother level. The theme was 80’s high school in the style of John Hughes films like Breakfast Club and 16 Candles. So we scoured thrift stores and local area high schools to put together an authentic expression of this fun theme. We rented a high school that hasn’t been updated since the 70’s, put together a classic gymnasium school dance scene, rented a 1980’s Porsche, and so much more. Our production design team had a blast with the 80’s period pieces. There’s enough in there to watch this video 10 times before you catch all the easter eggs.
We celebrated Slow Clap’s eight year birthday party in a big way at the Alice Collective in downtown Oakland. We’ve celebrated every Slow Clap birthday with a party, inviting our clients, our team, our collaborators, and their loved ones to celebrate another year of amazing video projects, and connect over some banging food and drink. 2022 was no exception.
In August, Katy Bailes joined the team as a producer, to help lead our increasingly complex and large body of work. Katy came from the Economist’s documentary films division before joining Slow Clap, and brings her top notch storytelling skills and can-do attitude to all our projects. She’s been a huge asset to the team, and to our clients, in the short time she’s been here.
We also added Keely Liles to the team as a camera and post-production assistant. Keely brings her fresh ideas and fun personality to all of our projects.
The Slow Clap team tackled a new challenge in 2022, partnering with San Francisco Bay Area regional retail chain Beck’s Shoes to create a brand story video about their unique approach to retail. Shoe cinematography is unlike any other challenge. These are fashion items that move at ground level. But of course, the most important thing is the look on a customer’s face when they find that perfect fit, which is right up our alley.
We always reserve a portion of our calendars to partner with cause-based organizations, offering below market rates. This year, we partnered with Public Advocates, one of the first public interest law firms in America, to produce this short documentary about their 50 year history. We worked with the folks at PA for the entire year to go through decades of archival material and film several new interviews. In the end, we produced a brand film that shows how Public Advocates “makes rights real.”
In addition, after three years of development and pandemic delays, we finished a five-part documentary brand film series for the iconic Napa Valley winery Freemark Abbey. From being founded by a woman in the 1880’s, to winning top prizes at the Judgement of Paris, Freemark Abbey has been redefining what great is since its founding. It was fascinating and exciting to get to be the team to bring this story to life.
Another one of our cause-based clients is Asian Law Caucus, who we’ve been partnering with for eight years. In fact, they were our very first client!
This year, we helped them celebrate their 50th anniversary by producing several videos. Our favorite among them was this moving montage featuring several of the best interviews we’ve captured with ALC clients over the years.
We’re used to being behind the camera, but in December, the whole team got to try something totally different: we turned the camera around, and starred in the Slow Clap holiday card video. It was a blast, and an opportunity for the team to poke fun at me, in the style of The Office.
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. Slow Clap is also a listed and trusted vendor on review sites like Clutch, 50Pros.com, and Design Rush. 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.
Slow Clap is proud to announce that, we’ve been included in the 2021 Clutch 1000, a list of the top 1,000 firms worldwide on their B2B service provider platform. This is a huge validation for us, as a boutique San Francisco Bay Area video production company that’s been dedicated to delivering nothing but the best work for our clients since our founding in 2014.
Over the years, positive feedback from clients on Clutch has been our North Star. It’s how we know we’re meeting our mission, to help brands engage with their audiences through authentic video storytelling.
The insights provided by our clients motivate us to continually improve our collaborative and creative processes. Here are a few of our favorite nuggets:
“Slow Clap delivered a high-quality and professional video that mirrored our client’s production requirements. Their creative and orderly approach made each phase seamless, especially our location shooting. Overall, their team met our standards with their cost-efficient and timely deliverables.” – Polly Ikonen at Landis Communications Inc.
“Slow Clap was a team of dynamic storytellers and highly skilled writers. They translated our complex project into a narrative that was easy for the community to understand.” – Reuel Daniels, Community Engagement Manager at Brookfield Properties
“Their team doesn’t create videos that are off the shelf. They create something that engages the viewer emotionally. Professionalism and creativity are hallmarks of their high-quality work.” – Jack Vaughan, Director of Education & Video at Glide
We’re honored that Clutch has recognized us for this global award. A big thanks to all our clients for sharing their unique stories and collaborating with us.
In this post, we’ll explain what case study videos are, show you five great examples, explain why they work so well, and tell you how you can borrow their tactics to gain trust with new audiences.
When making a purchasing decision, reviews and testimonials are pretty much a requirement today. You can find a testimonial shot on a smartphone on nearly any kind of product. But in the B2B world, it’s still a challenge to easily find objective reviews of niche products and services.
Can you connect me to somebody who has invested thousands in this particular B2B product? I’d like to know if it’s worth our time, money, and reputation.
Thanks, Sally Shot-CallerBig Company, Inc.
Because the demand for this information exists, it’s a good idea to make sure your audience can see a testimonial of your product. And there’s no better way than to present that testimonial as a complete story, in the form of a case study video.
A case study features a real B2B customer discussing the impact a product or service had on their own business problems. The customer is the hero, and your product was the magic sword that shaved 20% off their overhead and got them promoted.
Good case studies don’t just shoot from the iPhone. They’re planned, produced, and edited to tell a real-world success story using your product.
But case studies are doubly powerful because they establish trust as they inform about a product. Instead of making predictable “marketing claims,” the video provides human proof. And with good production, they do it while entertaining, informing, and ultimately, selling.
So here are five great case study videos you can use to inspire and plan yours.
Slack is a multi-billion dollar company with clients worldwide, but it’s useful for the most agile organizations too. And in this case, that was part of the point: small and large teams can find success together, as evidenced by Masks for Docs and Frontline Foods.
The video really shines where it gets specific, with Frontline Foods hero Jacinth Sohi explaining how they got rid of email and used Slack instead – and how their impact multiplied as a result.
Another great point: it finishes strong. “I don’t know if we would have been able to do it prior to Slack being around.” Hard to beat that.
Built in Slack was produced by Slow Clap, and screened at Slack Frontiers 2020 to much community love.
02: #WhyWeWork – Duet
Duet Display is an app that lets you use your iPad as a second monitor for your Mac. While that sounds basic, users like Jared Erondu use these displays for top-tier design, making for a beautiful demonstration of how the app enables him to create any time inspiration strikes.
Duet Display used a subtle hero story in their #WhyWeWork series of case studies: feature somebody compelling, but show up in the background as the “sage” or “muse” who enables their growth. So Duet captured Jared telling his story, shot footage to match, and is invisible but present: they’re hidden in the screen he uses to design.
In selling supplements to gyms, Six-Pack Shortcuts uses NewVoiceMedia for live data on prospect and closing rates in its call-center. The video uses immersive visuals to bring the audience into the unique culture at SPS, and lets the narrative tell the success story. The result is an uplifting and straightforward success story.
04: Marriott is a Trailblazer – Salesforce
Marriott is a Trailblazer is the story of real employees serving a family that is a stand-in for all vacationers. To give vacationers everything they dream about, Marriott uses Salesforce to organize tasks and communications.
The Marriott video is a good example of what Hollywood screenwriters call “A Story/B Story.” The employees do their jobs, and the family has the time of their lives because of it. It’s easy to put yourself in the shoes of both parties, so it’s easy to understand how Salesforce helps Marriott succeed.
05: Valpak is a Trailblazer – Salesforce
Valpak is a national company with thousands of contracts around the U.S. They managed all of their contracts on paper. That gave them problems. Sometimes the paper process delayed a customer’s advertising. Other times, those contracts got lost.
So Valpak switched to the most powerful CRM in the world and has enjoyed an upward trajectory ever since.
This video gets right to the problem without unnecessary chest-puffing, and it keeps the pace with visuals that explain the client meeting process, and the relief that Salesforce provided for their complicated workflow.
How to make a case study video
Creating a case study video depends less on creativity than on research. The story already happened, but you must figure out who to talk to, what questions to ask your customer, how to visually convey the story, and how to arrange the story to be clear and powerful.
Find a champion
Creating a case study worth watching starts with a great client, a “champion.” You’ll need somebody who will tell the story of your partnership, and tell it with enthusiasm.
You can create case studies with just text facts, but the audience will know that you’re the one telling the story, and not an objective third party. So capturing an authentic interview with someone that’s going to be a great ambassador for your company or product is key.
Plan your story around your audience
Before you begin writing, consider your audience. Answer the following questions:
What do they believe is true about their industry?
What result do they want?
What do they need to hear to take action?
Write questions for your champion
With those answers in mind, you need to write questions for your champion. Here are good starters:
What problem led you to seek us out?
How was this problem affecting your business?
What did we offer that interested you?
How did our solution help your problem?
What was the result of working with us?
How do you feel now that we work together?
It’s a good idea to have a brief conversation with your champion before filming anything. Ask them these simple questions.
Estimate your audience’s reaction
Ask yourself, “Is this story believable? Is it too miraculous? If it’s a dramatic change, what will we need to prove it’s true?”
Get additional perspectives
Often the answer is corroborating testimony – which, outside of Law and Order, means another point of view. Somebody else to help tell the story.
Get data – even anecdotal data
Numbers are gold. If your client’s sales went up by 29%, that’s invaluable. But even a ballpark estimate can be valuable, such as “it used to take us half a day to load a truck. With the RoboGo, we can load one in around an hour.”
Choose the right music
The theme is already “success.” But music can provide the atmosphere and backdrop that makes the story enjoyable for your audience. While a software video may rely on Indie music popular with office jockeys, a cattle company will seem odd when paired with a generic version of The Arcade Fire.
Open with a hook
Get to the problem right away. “We sell copy machines, but they often broke during shipping.”
Give the solution a clear transition in the story
Sometimes the solution can get buried in your customer’s account. Don’t let that happen.
Give a pause before and after introducing the solution. “When we used PenguinPack, none of our machines broke on the trucks.”
The one thing you need associating with your brand is the solution. Your logo should be all over the place when the problem gets solved.
Keep the length just right
How long should a case study be? You may feel tempted to add too many details about your client. They may want to talk about their company mission. But this is neither the time nor the place.
If any shot, sequence, or sentence doesn’t support the story of how you succeeded together, cut it.
Don’t let them forget your brand
Use your colors and fonts in the video. Don’t use a sub-brand or anything confusing.
Include branding throughout the video, but only where it’s natural.
Finish with a result that highlights your brand. “If I hadn’t consulted Dr. Jaime” or “because we packed a RoboDog…”
Conclusion: you lived this story. Share it.
If you helped a customer, that’s a good thing. Others need your help to realize their dreams and potential. And a case study is often the right way to tell that story: you’re talking about a customer of yours, but done well, your audience will realize you’re talking about their success too.
Why these five explainer videos rocked the market.
Thanks to creativity and accessibility, it’s never been easier to introduce a new product with a fresh video.
This entry discusses five of the best explainer videos, the different approaches they use, and how they can help your business.
Type “explainer video” into Google and (ironically) you’ll get a full page of sponsored ads before any explanation of what an explainer video is. So in case you’re wondering, explainer videos are commercials that focus on how a product or business solves a particular problem.
Explainer videos have become a sort of commodity, and for many businesses online, they’re the second thing they purchase, right after a Web site.
Part of the reason for their growth is the rise of technology companies. Technology allows us to solve problems we didn’t know we had – but it also creates more problems to be solved.
But they’re also popular because they’re accessible. They can be animated, live-action, or just a talking head. Prices range from $100 on Fiverr to seven figures with major agencies like Sandwich.
But the other reason for their growth is that they work. They don’t even have to be great – just good. But if you’re going to learn how to create an explainer video, you may as well learn from the best.
So today we’ll show you five of our favorites and break down their tactics into simple riffs that anyone can rock.
GitHub’s most epic explainer – created in San Francisco by yours truly (Slow Clap) – uses an emotional story to introduce the problem: a boy with musical dreams is held back by his immobile hand.
Enter heroic big sister, who plays to her strength in coding by developing a robotic hand. But there’s a twist – it’s too much for her to achieve alone. So she sends her plans out to the universe via GitHub, which enables dreamers and tinkerers and coders everywhere to work together.
GitHub is a development platform with a world-famous Open Source community. As they put it, “Small experiments, inspired inventions, and the software everyone depends on—the code you write on GitHub can reach one codebase or millions.”
Using collective effort, big sister and a variety of heroes send machines to Mars, work on engines in virtual reality, and ultimately empower little brother to become a master pianist.
The story is emotionally powerful, while the explanation is clearer than the lens of the hubble telescope: you know exactly who it’s for, and how massive its potential really is.
How to copy it
Come up with a powerful, emotional story. Or hire a writer to help you develop that idea. Then hire a top-notch production team to make it come to life down to the last detail.
Made by the aforementioned Sandwich agency, the Airtable explainer video puts a different twist on tackling collaborative projects: it’s told through the eyes of kids.
The kids are making a movie. And each one has big personality: a sassy director, a precocious writer, and so on. But the challenge they face is how to synchronize all of their creativity, which is visually represented as they sit in a sea of marker-drawn storyboards.
The solution is the AirTable app, which implies that it’s so easy a kid could use it – without losing a speck of their innate personality or creativity.
This explainer works because it grabs and holds your attention. The kids are sassy and perfect, the colors pop, the production is sharp, and the point is simple.
How to copy it
Hire a comedian or a script writer with comedic chops. Riff on ideas until something consistently gets laughs. Then, hire a professional production team like Slow Clap that regularly works with actors.
Created in 2013, What Is Hubspot is an early example of the animated explainer boom. But it’s a champion of the era, and if you’re considering an animated explainer, study this one.
Hubspot begins with the problem: marketing has changed. It’s not the cold-calling era anymore – a data-driven digital presence is now the best path to new sales. But because that means managing dozens of platforms, it’s easy to get overwhelmed.
The solution is one marketing platform that connects you to every other platform and provides metrics on their effectiveness.
This video works so well for three reasons. First, the script is crystal clear. It’s easy to follow no matter who you are, or how much you know about marketing.
Second, the visuals are simple and intuitive. The subject of every segment moves to the center of the screen. There are no fancy patterns or distracting backgrounds. It’s the animated equivalent of a close-up, and it’s perfectly framed.
Third, the voice-over is crystal clear. The narrator is matter-of-fact, approachable, and yet compelling enough to convince the audience that this is a real problem, but the solution is also real – and within reach.
How to copy this approach
Start with the leanest script you can make. Hire a copywriter with video experience to help, if possible.
Then look for a video production company with animation experience – or just a specialized animation company.
Find out: Have they tackled tough subjects effectively in other work? You may have to lean on them to creatively provide context with visuals, so their previous work must speak for itself.
Also spend some time choosing the right voiceover artist. Not all of them can provide the right tone to match the problem and solution. And keep in mind, more than anything, the tone of the voiceover must be one that is appealing to your audience.
When closing home loans, mortgage brokers often lose significant time in the title underwriting process. The process is over a century old, and still uses much of the same snail-paced paperwork that requires dozens of signatures and long meetings.
So what if software could make that dramatically easier and faster?
States Title’s software can create legally-correct signable title forms with an 80% accuracy rate. It also informs the broker if it can’t hit that accuracy rate, letting them seek help from a title company when necessary.
So how do you explain something so abstract?
Slow Clap tackled the challenge with simple animations. Visually, millions of data points converge into one document – which is something software is made to do, better than humans. That software then does the other thing it’s best at: repeating the process as much as requested.
The video closes with a powerful question: “Can you afford to underwrite the old-fashioned way?” It declares an inevitable change in the industry but simultaneously invites you to adapt it to your advantage.
How to copy it
States Title depends on the creative use of visual metaphor. Find an animation or production studio that has tackled really tough abstract concepts. Work with them on a script, and then let them handle the rest.
Razor blades are overpriced. Dollar Shave Club is a direct to consumer brand, possibly the first to get big. That’s still boring though. So instead of focusing just on the price difference, Dollar Shave Club chose to mock their competitors and the absurdity of overpaying for thin strips of metal.
Easily one of the most well-known explainer videos, Dollar Shave Club’s epic breakthrough in the market was created by its founder Michael Dubin. It uses humor at its best, lining up joke after joke. And the miracle is, all of them flow together.
How to copy it
Humor is prized in modern culture, but it’s eternally tough to pull off. Therefore if you don’t have somebody who regularly gets a crowd laughing, we suggest hiring a comedian to help you write the video and act in it. That’s essentially what Dubin did.
But the other character in this video is the setting itself – a warehouse full of gags. To pull off both the staging and the filming, hire a professional video team so that the final product looks and feels like a funny commercial.
How an explainer video can help your business
Explainer videos can answer more questions about your product – and select your audience – faster than any other media.
To that end, you should consider adding them in the following locations:
On your Web site, either on the front page or a specific product page
On LinkedIn, in your company business page
As a Facebook business page banner video
On any platforms that you use, within your business profile and as a schedule post
For more than a decade, UpCity’s mission has been—and continues to be—to help businesses find B2B service providers they can trust. The UpCity Recommendability Rating was developed to determine a service provider’s credibility and recommendability, giving UpCity the confidence to recommend them to the more than 1.5 million businesses that visit their site.
Each year, UpCity analyzes and scores more than 70,000 service providers based on their UpCity Recommendability Rating and acknowledges the top national and local providers with an UpCity Excellence Award. The results are in, and we won!
We at Slow Clap Productions produce authentic, entertaining, and meaningful content to capture the attention of any target audience. We approach every project with a collaborative mindset and involve our clients every step of the way.
Jen Gadus, Vice President of Product & Design at UpCity, had this to say about Slow Clap Productions:
“Slow Clap Productions uses innovative storytelling techniques to create truly entertaining and moving content that resonates with large audiences. Their clients can depend on them to create content that is engaging, innovative, and powerful. Congratulations on the 2021 Local Excellence Award.”
This recognition has been driven in large part by our 5-star review rating on UpCity. Here are a few of our favorite pieces of feedback we’ve received from our incredible customers:
“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
“Once we selected SlowClap, they took us through their process. We shared with them our expectations, walked through the brief in more detail, and explained the logistics (timeline) which was tight. Once we were on the same page, Slow Clap put together an execution plan. Slow Clap utilized internal and external research to decide on questions for each interviewee – they then performed a pre-interview to get initial plot points for the video. From there, SlowClap developed a creative brief (acts of the video, questions, shot list, etc) for our review. We worked hand in hand with Slow Clap to get the logistics right. They performed the interviews, determined the best shots, and shot the video. Once they had all the footage, they edited together a first draft. We worked with them to get to a final video that everyone was happy with.” – Dan Sutton
Thank you to UpCity for this award, and thank you to all of our clients who have helped make it possible. We look forward to the opportunity for continued partnerships and are excited for what’s to come!
I often receive emails from marketers wanting to work with us on their video marketing project. Sometimes, those marketers have a video production company they want to work with, and are just looking for competitive bids to make sure the price is in the right ballpark. Sometimes, the marketers really like the work on our site, and want to produce a video project that falls into some of our strengths (authenticity, documentary-style, big emphasis on storytelling and the human angle over visual polish). And sometimes, they just knew somebody who has worked with us successfully in the past.
Whatever the circumstance is, we’re happy to develop a proposal for our potential clients’ project, or even brainstorm some creative ideas together. In a proposal, we include an overview of the project, some ideas on creative approaches, a budget (or several budgets), a detailed timeline for the project, and info about our company and our team. But the one thing I always tell marketers who have asked for a proposal is, make sure you consider other options. After all, we may not be the best fit for your video project, and there are a few other video production companies in the San Francisco Bay Area that do really great work.
Here’s a list of my favorite production companies in the Bay Area and, based on my observations, the type of work I think they’re best at:
These guys make really brilliant, cinematic branded content and customer testimonials. They have an amazing knack for creating something that feels more like an advertisement, or a film in the movie theater, but is actually a documentary-style story for a brand. This is something Slow Clap is also quite good at, however, our approach is a lot more focused on authenticity in storytelling and capturing authentic moments, whereas their approach is heavily curated and clearly storyboarded frame-by-frame. I especially admire their series for BMW and E-surance about motorcycle lovers:
This video production firm has something that most others in the Bay Area don’t: a true voice. Their work is unique, different, and feels very much like it is part of the same body of work, similar to how all of a director’s films might share similar traits, themes, or motifs. While Avocados and Coconuts’ quirky, edgy, and hip aesthetics and storytelling might not be the right fit for every company, when there is a proper fit, the results are lovely:
Corduroy’s visuals are excellent, but they also have strong storytelling skills. They’re a great firm to go to if you want help with both creative storytelling and a high level of visual polish. The work that I’ve seen them really excel at has been scripted and storyboarded. They’re almost more of a creative agency than a production company, in the sense that they do everything top-to-bottom and put a huge emphasis on creative. If you’re looking for someone to produce a scripted project and have a big budget, I recommend considering Corduroy. Carl, the founder, is warm, smart, and creative. Here’s a video of theirs that I love:
This team of high-end filmmakers make some of the most polished, highly produced visual stories in the Bay Area. They partner with a lot of advertising agencies on big budget stuff, but also work directly with brands to tell stories that look as slick as a traditional broadcast spot. If your budget has no upward limit, I suggest reaching out to Jordan and the folks at Heist. This is my favorite video from their portfolio:
Did I miss any great video production companies in the San Francisco Bay Area? Let me know, as I’m always interested in connecting with peers, and watching some great work.
In 2018, the City & County of San Francisco passed a proposition to reinforce the Seawall, a barrier that protects the City’s waterfront from flooding. The Seawall is over 100 years old and is in desperate need of reinforcements to protect from earthquake and sea-level rise. As part of the project, Slow Clap was selected by the Port of San Francisco to produce videos on an as-needed basis.
Phase one of the Seawall was to conduct a series of tests to diagnose all the problems with the Seawall. This complex, wonky undertaking had to be explained in a simple, digestible format so that residents could stay informed about and proud of the foundational research that will eventually guide the multi-billion dollar project.
“We were really proud to have been selected by the Port of San Francisco to create video for the Seawall project, which will leave an impact on our city for generations to come.” – Daniel Lichtenberg, Creative Director, Slow Clap
Execution & Challenges
The Port collaborated with Slow Clap and communications firm Civic Edge to condense the Multi-Hazard Risk Assessment (MHRA) studies into a simple, easy to understand, short, animated video. These tests include laser measurements, drilling, seismic monitoring, traffic flow studies, and many other components. So, the challenge was to find the best way to condense all this info into something that San Francisco Bay Area residents would find welcoming and informative, instead of overwhelming.
“Through this work, I’ve learned about drilling techniques, data collection, and structures for taking care of our water system and sea. It was such a cool challenge to create these illustrations and help promote public understanding of such an exciting environmental initiative.” Rose Tully, Graphic Illustrator, Slow Clap
Slow Clap worked closely with the Port to identify the best way to visualize each concept in the MHRA. We chose to hand illustrate the whole video, in a style that is somewhere between a whiteboard infographic style, and a cartoon style. We felt it was the perfect balance to strike a tone that felt both official and educational, but also friendly and accessible. Our voice-over talent, a warm, welcoming voice, was chosen for similar reasons. The illustrated scenes were animated as though they had been hand-drawn onto the screen, to inject an extra sense of fun and curiosity.
The result is a short, accessible, engaging video that has several thousand views across the Port’s various social media platforms, and has been used at every community engagement event about the Seawall since its release.
“The Port of San Francisco loved the final video. They felt that the video captured the technical assessments conducted in a fun, visually engaging manner. It was even useful for other Port staff to learn more about the MHRA.” – Tira Okamoto, Civic Edge