Online video was experiencing exponential growth before Covid 19. Since then it has become an essential way for organizations and brands to communicate with their customers, shareholders and employees.
Bryan has been working in creative production over the past 20 years in Seattle and now in Bozeman, Montana. His virtual studio SINTR® has created over 500 motion graphics videos in the past decade. Many of which were produced and delivered remotely.
Join Bryan as he shares dramatic shifts in the industry, nuances of creating video for online social channels, broadcast TV, and virtual events.
Discover where there are opportunities to better connect with audiences through motion graphics video.
Communo Member Insights: Bryan Schaeffer
I’m here today to share tips and tricks of how to build video working remotely and more importantly why you should.
But first a bit of my background: Growing up in SW Montana, I have always been curious with an adventurous spirit. Moved to Western Washington for college to learn graphic design and explore volcanoes, granite spires and the sea. I have spent my career exploring new terrain. Climbing up mountains. Skiing down them. Crossing over them. Taking my family along for weekly adventures outdoors. I started as with a degree in fine arts/graphic design for print and along the way learned web design, power point, digital illustration, motion graphics, cinematography and special effects.
I find the same explorative spirit, camaraderie and challenge in outdoor pursuits in creative work and enjoy the teams that share the journey.
Over the years I have enjoyed working with many prominent NW brands bringing their stories to live creating over 500 videos in the past decade. Some of the most memorable are iconic campaigns were for Northwest landmarks, events, locations and people. Doing traditional media campaigns, print, web out of home and broadcast TV.
I started my career as a print designer (because that’s all there was). Then had to quickly learn web design, picked up Power Point to do executive presentations evolved into animating in Flash and later After Effects. I’ve had to learn a new profession skillset about every 5 years. We have won awards and lost clients, got new clients promotions and lost clients. It is a never ending cycle that keeps me on my toes.
When I started my studio I noticed some major disruption in the traditional advertising and internal communications (this was before Covid 19).
Now, with new media and universal publishing and distribution (and the awareness of the possibility of remote work) there are new opportunities there are also new challenges. Now theoretically anyone can connect with any audience… Do great work and everyone will like or love you and your business will thrive right? Or does it take learning the new distribution systems as well?
Do I need to convince anyone here that video and interactive experiences are taking over the internet? Video content has 3x more click through online than still images. Video content has a 90% retention rate as opposed to 10% of just text alone.
People online expect video to deliver important messages.
What if everyone started producing social media videos the same way they have done traditional broadcast advertising? Churning out blanket advertising because that is what they always have done. Filling the internet with flowing rivers of content. The digital landscape of media is crowded, everyone is clamoring for our attentions. Social media means more content.
Is it better content?
Does that matter?
It is like the wild west on line.
The world has gone on a content bender and now there are rivers of crappy content just flowing through social media channels.
After the wild free-frawl of media overload it may be time to tidy up.
This is a time for self introspection.
Both on a personal and organizational level. Clarifying what we are about personally, what our organizations biggest value is. Focusing on what we have to contribute to the world. Where we can help. In these crazy times a calm clear voice rings more true. Reach audiences on a more personal relevant level. Speaking with them not at them.
I initially missed the mark on social media. Re-posting TV ads wasn’t working. The broadcast authority voice became replaced with the authentic influencer. People tuned out ads, they wanted something different when given a choice. I had to figure out where I fit in this new brilliant mess of opportunities and pitfalls with out the support of a bus dev team and sales and marketing department. Turns out this is very difficult to do for your own business. Think the cobbler's kids have no shoes...
To celebrate our 20th anniversary of working in the creative field the royal "we" have been brainstorming a way to share some of the business and broader impacts of projects and teams that we have been involved with through those years. Given the privacy restraints this can be a creative challenge.
Here the two Bryans concept and brainstorm ways to go about telling this story to you. Hope you enjoy!
Here is a story I like to tell about how a unique project from my home town came to be and some discoveries I made along on the way.
Just for fun a few good friends and I got together at a public do it yourself brewery.
We accidentally double hopped the batched and made a double IPA. It actually turned out really well.
Fast forward a few years I bump into a childhood friend randomly in Seattle. She tells me her husband who had apprenticed as a brewer for Pyramid and Mannys in Seattle was going to start a brewery in my home town Dillon. She said that my name kept coming up as a Dillon guy that did graphics or something like that and asked if I had done any work for breweries. I sent them the Drunken Sailor video link.
We jokingly named it the “The Drunken Sailor” I designed this label and filmed a spoof commercial combining the animation with live action footage. Full disclosure our “actor” Tom doesn’t actually drink. He is just a very talented actor.
I put the video up on a custom web site and after the excitement faded kind of forgot about it.
They thought it was hilarious and just had been living in Australia, they especially loved the ascent at the end of the video. Logo and brand graphics reflect Beaverhead Rock out side of Dillon, named by Lewis and Clark on their core of discovery on the way to the Pacific. They ended up hiring me to do all the branding for the brewery starting with this poster illustration. Followed by: Logo development, crest design, responsive web site, merchandising, tap handles, and signage. After all this thought it would be interesting to get the background story in a short emotive video. Spent a couple days with the brewmaster, was difficult to get many soundbites he doesn’t like to talk too much.
But in edit was able to string together this story. Experimented with using a fast and light camera kit. The same kit I have used filming 227 Washington Trail videos for the Best of the NW.
I didn’t bring a dedicated mic so you can hear brewing sounds and authentic background sounds of a day in the life of the brewery. Now typically on a video project I send a private video review page link where notes can be made on the timeline as an organized into a punch-list of edits. I hadn’t heard anything from them, but the next day my wife said she saw my video on Facebook.
Apparently my rough draft was downloaded straight from my link and uploaded through their Facebook page. Overnight there were 6,500 views and over 11,000 by the weekend. The entire county doesn’t have that many people. I was surprised that a video in this rough production style could attract such an audience and wanted to figure out why.
I think it comes down to clarity and authenticity.
Don’t assume an audience knows why a business does what it does.
Don’t assume a web site with facts and whats will be enough to convince someone to make that call or buy that product.
The other thing I picked up on was building the community in which messages will be received.
People following a page on Facebook or Linked In are already interested in hearing more.
I learned that video with personality can build upon a foundation of trust and consistency for brands of all sizes through social media distribution.
How do you present yourself or your company authentically? Consumers can sniff out advertising immediately and tune them out on social channels. With social channels taking over the engagement from traditional channels this is something to pay attention to. In this new space some of us have to unlearn how to build traditional advertising and start building educational content. It can be refreshing so much less BS.
I spent 10 years trying to figure out the “tone and manor” for social media as a side project. My core business of corporate communications was thriving, but I missed the mark in my social media experiments.
Eventually I think I uncovered the secret.
Peter McKinnen, Andrew Kramer, Chris Do all are leaders in this new space. What do they all have in common? They all give away their process. In fact they publicly share it with the largest audience possible. This new form of digital currency starts with “generosity” and intern builds a personal brand connection to their organization in the same way that larger cult brands do.
See the Gathering…. Cult collective etc…
We used to show up with a semi-truck full of production equipment.
Now with new technologies like Sony Mirrorless cameras and a few duffle bags of lighting and sound equipment and we have a mobile film studio. I have a small inexpensive audio kit that captures excellent voice over. New innovations are coming out all the time, add-on attachments to tripods for mirrorless cameras. Lighting kits for green screen and studio lighting from Amazon. Light boxes for professional product shots. All relatively in expensive. This all changes when we talk about a high-end digi-cinema workflow, but for online video this works amazingly well.
Remote Audio Production
Audiences won't stand for poor audio. Get a good microphone they are cheap have videos on my site to show how to do dedicated audio (don’t use mic in camera).
Shoot Camera RAW to capture better quality images with more flexibility for post-production adjustments. An equivalent of Camera RAW in video is 444 color space. More to come on that in future videos.
Takeaway with the myriad of production techniques available; lighting and production matter but not as much as message and network.
Production quality doesn't replace having something important and authentic to share that is relevant to the audience.
The Big Picture.
Knowing your audience well, budgets and reach can help you determine production quality standards.
This ranges from cell phone camera social media, to broadcast TV Quality to Digi Cinema ultra HD video. There is a place for each of these.
Watch 1000, 10,000 100,000 for budgets and production. https://wistia.com/learn/marketing/just-launched-three-soapbox-ads
The Age of the Platform.
Amazon has massive internal studios, every major brand is it’s own media center. If you want to reach customers directly and manage that relationship you need to build your own platform. Use LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter etc to drive the top of the funnel to your site but keep your permanent content on your web site and blog and email list. You own those, they won’t change with an update to an algorithm. Leading brands (we work with a few of them) have something in common. They are learning institutions that value educating their employees, vendors and customers. Sharing information, processes and best practices is critical in running a world-class organization.
We can learn a few things from them.
I hope you can make order out of your organization, put your best foot forward and use these new tools to grow your audience and your business.
Thank you for watching and following along. This video describes what my studio SINTR is about.
Feel free to reach out with positioning or production questions.