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Dani Lyman

Summer movies to make you feel like a kid again

Summer movies to make you feel like a kid again 150 150 Dani Lyman

This summer movie theaters are sure to be packed with a new generation of viewers who will be introduced to some of our favorite childhood characters. However, kids’ movies aren’t just made for kids these days. Those of us who grew up with beloved characters such as Aladdin, Simba, and Agent Jay will also flock to theaters in droves to revisit our childhood.

I was one of the millions of viewers who rushed to the theater over Memorial Day weekend to witness Guy Ritchie’s fantastical live-action version of Aladdin. Sitting in my reclining leather chair, reminiscing on how different things were when I was a kid, I couldn’t help but wonder why the remakes, reboots, and sequels appeal to us older folk as much as they do to the children.

The performances are charismatic, the humor delightful, the choreographed action sequences captivating and the brilliant colors are mesmerizing. So, no doubt, viewers of varying ages will be entertained. But, at the core, this was a story about true love in the form of friendship, romance, and family. A kind of love that is truthful, accepting, forgiving and willing to put others ahead of our own agenda. It was touching and challenged the viewer to reflect on their own self-worth and motives.

Perhaps as adults, we get so caught up in the rat race of life that we forget the simple principles we learned as children. These nostalgic reboots serve as a reminder of the innocence of childhood. They are also pure entertainment.

Here are 3 movies hitting theaters this summers that are sure to make you feel like a kid again!

The Lion King

Simba comes of age as you’ve never seen him before on July 19th. James Earl Jones reprises his role as Mufasa with a voice full of wisdom that will certainly spark childhood memories.

Toy Story 4

On June 20th, your favorite toys come to life on the big screen (and not in the murderous Child’s Play way, that’s a different movie that also releases that weekend)! Tom Hanks and Tim Allen bring life to Woody and Buzz alongside a cast of great voice actors, Keanu Reeves, Christina Hendricks, Jordan Peele and many more.

Men in Black: International

A new generation of alien-capturing agents hit theaters this Friday! Not only is Chris Hemsworth sure to draw a crowd (both young and more mature), but Tessa Thompson will introduce a new female hero as the first woman MIB agent.

Here’s to the magic of childhood, summer, and the big screen.

video production

Why you should hire a child wrangler for your next shoot

Why you should hire a child wrangler for your next shoot 1440 1440 Dani Lyman

Kids are the best! They are adorable, sweet, funny and can really elevate a video project. But they are also unpredictable, illogical and unreliable. That’s where the Child Wrangler comes in! It is one of the most challenging yet important jobs in video production.

Here are 4 reasons you need to hire an expert Child Wrangler if your next shoot calls for a tiny human actor!

They are good with kids

This may sound like a no brainer, but some people have this gift with children that many of the rest of us (including myself) just do not have. They understand them and can talk to them in that special way that keeps them engaged without being condescending. I have looked on flabbergasted at the way one person can, almost magically, guide a child into an action or mood. A Child Wrangler is that gifted kind of human being. They’re the kind of person you would want working with your own child.

They understand video production

In addition to being great with children, a Child Wrangler also understands the ins and outs of video production. Kids may not have a concept of the monetary value of time on a set, but a Child Wrangler does. They’ll have their actors ready for their scene on time. They also respect the AD and the Director and help children to do the same. They help the production flow smoothly and efficiently. Someone who thinks like a producer and is also good with kids is a rare gem in the video world!

They know how to talk to parents

Have you ever tried to tell a parent what to do with their child? I wouldn’t recommend it. Directors, producers and ADs are often so focused on the outcome of the project that they may overlook the necessary empathetic small talk a video pro needs to engage in with parents. An expert Child Wrangler knows how to make parents feel like a valued part of the production while also making them feel confident that they can hand their child over to the process.

They advocate for children on set

An experienced Child Wrangler will be able to recognize and properly communicate with the production team if a child needs a break, is too sick to work, or isn’t on their game and needs more rehearsal time. They can be the voice for children who are incapable of speaking up for themselves. We’ve heard horror stories of child actors being taken advantage of and dealing with lifelong trauma from working in the production world. An expert Child Wrangler will fight for the child actor’s rights in a professional manner. By adding a Child Wrangler to your video production team, you are helping to ensure the safety of the child you’re working with. Isn’t that what’s most important?

Working with children is no doubt a difficult experience in any field! By adding the right expert to your team you can eliminate some of the hassle and make for a fun, safe and successful environment for child actors on your next shoot.

 

About Crew Connection

Crew Connection puts a suite of marketing tools at your fingertips. Get your demo reels, stills, gear, awards, and more in front of the biggest clients all over the world—for free. At Crew Connection we pay video and post-production providers within 30 days of receiving your invoice so your work and your life are never interrupted. Need live assistance or want to add quality jobs to your pipeline? Our crew coordinators are on call around the clock. Sign in to Crew Connection, call 303-526-4900, or email info@crewconnection.com.

How to Tell a Story With Camera Angles

How to Tell a Story With Camera Angles 6000 4000 Dani Lyman

The camera is a powerful tool that can influence people’s emotions, desires and perspectives. Using subtle techniques, like camera angles, you can reveal power, weakness and character traits all without saying a word.

In this post we’ll explore 3 classic films that used simple camera angles to create a few of Hollywood’s most iconic scenes. 

Low Angle Shot

Shooting from a low angle where the camera is lower than the subject can give the character a greater sense of importance and power on screen. We often see this technique used to demonstrate a hero conquering a villain or displaying a villain’s power and oppression over a victim. For a more humorous example, the Coen Brothers used the low angle shot to give a rule-abiding parking lot attendant power in Fargo. In contrast, you can clearly see Carl as powerless and weak in comparison. Due to extreme foul language we are too classy to share the video, but you can check it out here.

High Angle Shot

When a high angle shot is used it makes the subjects smaller, more vulnerable and insignificant, emphasizing the character’s weakness in the scene. In a more subtle example of  power vs. weakness is the death of Jesse James in the Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford. In the scene below, although the action would suggest the man who has the importance and power in this scene is the man with the gun, the camera angle instead reveals Robert Ford as a weak person. The high angle shot reflected in the painting implies to the viewer that he is weak, unimportant and, in fact, a coward.

Bird’s Eye View

The Bird’s Eye View shot is consistently used to convey the most action to the viewer, give him a broad scope of the scene and reveal the characters in their weakest form. In this iconic scene Ethan Hunt’s cover is nearly blown when he plummets to the ground and dangles inches above the floor sensors. While the eye level shots increase our feelings of anxiety as if we are dangling with him, the famous Bird’s Eye View shot reveals Hunt in his most vulnerable state, at the mercy of his partner and a rope. This shot reveals the danger and magnitude of the situation while looking incredibly badass.

Whether you are demonstrating an inferior character, emphasizing a moment of danger, or revealing the complexities of human nature, you can use very simple camera techniques to educate and persuade your article. These famous scenes are just the beginning when it comes to telling your unique story through camera angles.

Is Game of Thrones the end of TV as we know it?

Is Game of Thrones the end of TV as we know it? 3456 2304 Dani Lyman

There is a little restaurant in Denver called Stoney’s where local patrons fill the bar on Sunday nights for a Game of Thrones watch party packed with themed competitions and GoT themed foods and drinks. While many viewers choose to watch the show in the dark and silence of their living rooms, uninterrupted, viewing parties like these are popping up across the country. Similar to what we see with sports fanantics, people want to be surrounded by like-minded individuals and root for their favorite player (in this case, character).

While we gather to see who is going to rule the Iron Throne, a larger question emerges. Will TV continue to be a social experience after GoT ends? What will we be watching next and how will we be watching it?

TV and the way we consume programming has changed drastically since Game of Thrones’ first episode aired in 2011. Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime dominate with their original and award-winning content. TiVo is nearly a thing of the past now that we can stream from our cell phones whenever we want. The term “binge watching” is so popular it now has a place in the dictionary.

However, there is a social aspect to watching TV that gets lost when viewers binge-watch a series or stream on their own time. We bite back our enthusiasm about the latest episode because a co-worker isn’t “caught up” yet. We avoid social media to ensure spoilers aren’t revealed. We even stop talking to each other altogether when we realize we’re on different seasons.

What was once a social practice, an avenue to bringing friends and family together for a half an hour or an hour, is becoming an isolating experience. Game of Thrones is one show that still brings people out of their dark living rooms and gets them excited to share with others. Will there be shows in the future capable of doing the same?

More niche content is being created today. With more and more series being delivered through various platforms, the mainstream appeal of programs is diminishing. People are loading up on content they enjoy, but not something they can necessarily banter about with their friends.

And let’s not overlook how we are consuming content. We no longer just sit in front of our TV’s. We stream from our phones on the train to work. We watch from our laptops on our lunch break. We sit in a room full of people and stare at our iPads. Chief Marketing Officer of Factual, Brian Czarny, contributed an excellent article on fragmented viewership and what it means for the future of content. He writes, “Rest assured that, for the next hit show, the live viewing numbers will be smaller because consumer behavior is swiftly trending toward…mobile.”

As we move into in the final season of GoT, a series that has greatly influenced pop culture and has risen to become one of the most talked about shows in history, we have to wonder if this is the end of an era. Will there be another show that can bring us together the way Game of Thrones has? Or will we become a nation of binge-watchers, turning TV viewing into a solo sport?

How to Make Crew Connection Work For You

How to Make Crew Connection Work For You 500 333 Dani Lyman

You’ve heard all about how Crew Connection is the best of the best, providing top-notch crews around the globe and unmatched customer service. But are you getting the most out of your experience?

If You’re Looking For a Video Crew…

How to Find the Best Video Crew For You

At Crew Connection we pride ourselves on our white glove service and being there for our clients around the clock. That doesn’t just mean being available by phone or email. We created CrewCloud, our online platform, with your busy schedule in mind. Now, when you’re on the go, you can take advantage of several DIY features for a fast and easy booking experience. Easy to use tools include browsing crew profiles, directly messaging crews, accepting estimates and paying your bill online anytime, anywhere.

Landline and Fax Machine Not Required

We try to do as much work as possible through email so we can have a paper trail for everything. Believe me, it limits mistakes and ultimately makes your life so much easier. We know you have a busy schedule too, so if you can send us updates through email it really helps to keep the booking process moving forward effortlessly. We’re always happy to jump on a call, but often dropping a quick note does the trick!

Make Your Next Shoot Even Better Than the Last

Crew Connection is here for you! Your feedback lets us know how we’re doing and how our crews are doing. If something feels off to you about a video crew you’ve just booked, someone was rude on location or you chatted with a DP who doesn’t seem knowledgeable – just drop us a line and let us know. We are more than happy to make new arrangements and apply your feedback moving forward. And, while we definitely live in a world where praise is sparse and no news is usually good news, positive comments actually do go a long way in our business too! We really do appreciate your feedback.

If You Are a Crew…

Snaz Up your Profile

Think of your CrewCloud profile a little like an online dating profile. Say a client comes to us because they need a great crew in Los Angeles. A search for crews in L.A. is going to populate quite a few results. How are you going to stand out from the crowd? Vivid BTS photos, badass demo reels and extensive equipment lists are easy ways to grab attention. Do you have awards? Are you Union? Add it to your profile! A meaty profile reads as experienced and professional. The more information you share, the more likely you are to be contacted for a job.

Insurance May be Boring, But It’s Important

This is a key tip you may not know about Crew Connection: If you don’t have your updated COI attached to your profile, clients can’t even see your profile. You don’t want to miss an opportunity or be invisible to clients just because of one little (but very important) document.

Make Yourself More Hireable by Communicating Better

Whether it’s responding to a direct message to a client through our online portal or replying to emails from your Coordinator, a prompt response can make all the difference in landing the job. Sometimes an email that just reads “I’m available and will send a quote when I’m done with my shoot” can keep a client from looking to another crew to meet their needs. Acknowledging receipt of the request lets the client know you’re on it and you care about their project… and their time.

The Number One Thing You Need for a Great Shoot

The Number One Thing You Need for a Great Shoot 5398 3648 Dani Lyman

Whether you’re traveling on location for a big Reality TV show or you’re planning a small corporate video, proper execution comes down to being prepared.

I love the pre-production phase of a shoot! I’m kind of a nerd for it. Breaking down a script? My favorite. Creating the shot list? Nothing makes me happier. Handling contracts and paperwork. All over it. Because I know that a shoot will not be successful and the DP won’t get that killer shot and the director can’t do his creative thing  if we don’t show up prepared. We need to have permits, bring the right equipment and the Audio Tech shouldn’t be on the other side of town because he didn’t get the revised call sheet.

Planning and communicating all the details beforehand allows for the production phase to be filled with creative energy and leads to a successful final project.

An absolute must for your best shoot day, although it is often overlooked:

Imagine showing up to a shoot location and the building security won’t let you in because your name isn’t on his visitor list for the day. You can’t find the name of the location contact because it’s buried in a thread of 50 emails. The CEO you’re supposed to be interviewing has already been waiting an hour because he wasn’t told the proper time to arrive. And your crew is lost trying to find the loading dock and parking.

This is a terrible way to start a shoot. You’re already way behind, crunched for time and everyone is beyond annoyed before you even set up the first shot. However, one little document could have saved the day. Yes, you guessed it. The Call Sheet!

A call sheet should be used for every shoot, no matter the size of the crew. Call sheets help to make sure everyone is on the same page about the most important logistical details. You want to make sure it covers the Who, What, Where, When and Why of the shoot. Who is supposed to be where, at what time and for what purpose.  The sheet should include everything from the shoot location, the weather, the time the crew and talent need to arrive to the breakdown of the schedule, general notes, and contact information for everyone. That includes everyone that could possibly be involved with the shoot or affect the shoot in anyway, if you have their number add it to the sheet!

The call sheet doesn’t have to be fancy. It can be, and you can add as much information as you’d like, but it can also be really simple like this great example:

A smooth shoot also comes down to effective communication. It may sound basic, but little things can get overlooked and cause a lot of confusion without detailed communication. It’s best to send the call sheet as a pdf in a new email thread and ask everyone to reply “Got it.” This way everyone is clear and exactly on the same page.  You also don’t want to have ongoing conversations in the Call Sheet thread. Create separate emails for questions between your team and the crew, so when you’re on site the pertinent information will be easy to pull up.

It’s really important to reply to your crew when they have questions. Sometimes we can get so distracted about information that we find important that we can disregard other peoples’ questions. So, if your crew is asking something about cables or room dimensions, be sure to help find the answers they need before you get to the location. Going over these details on set might wind up being a little too late.

If you’ve just spent the last few weeks nailing down permits, securing talent and planning that perfect sunset shot, don’t blow all that hard work by not properly communicating the specifics to your crew! It also saves you 50 text messages day of about shoot details. You can always just say, “Refer to the call sheet!” And everyone’s on the same page.

Influential Women in Film

Influential Women in Film 500 324 Dani Lyman

Women have always played an integral role in the film and video industry. French director Alice Guy directed her first film in 1896 and is credited with creating techniques like the close-up and synced sound. Margaret Booth started editing in 1915 and is widely considered one of the top-10 editors of all time. In front of and behind the camera, women have always left their mark on this powerful medium.

In honor of Women’s History Month here are three women who are dominating the industry and forging the path for future women.

Thelma Schoonmaker – Editor

Thelma Schoonmaker is a Hollywood legend, a three time Best Editing Academy Award winner and, after 50 years of working in the industry, is still making history.

I didn’t know it when I first enrolled in film school, but Schoonmaker had already been a major inspiration. I always thought of myself as a die-hard Scorsese fan, but I soon came to learn that I was also a die-hard Thelma Schoonmaker fan. She has been the editor behind every Scorcese film since Raging Bull. The story goes that while Schoonmaker was taking a filmmaking course in NYC a professor asked that she edit one of Scorcese’s projects to see if she could salvage the “badly mangled negative”. They have been working together ever since!

So, it was really Schoonmaker’s talent in the editing room and her ability to partner so well with a director that inspired me (and so many other film kids) so greatly as a young film nerd mesmerized by the blows in Raging Bull or the cuts that managed to make a joke out of violence in Goodfellas, .

Schoonmaker’s career is far from over. She recently edited Scorcese’s The Irishman, set for release through Netflix this year, and just received the prestigious BAFTA Fellowship for her “outstanding and exceptional contribution” to film.

“I’m not a person who believes in the great difference between women and men as editors. But I do think that quality is key. We’re very good at organizing and discipline and patience, and patience is 50 per cent of editing. You have to keep banging away at something until you get it to work. I think women are maybe better at that.” – Thelma Schoonmaker

 

 

Director – Kathryn Bigelow

Kathryn Bigelow first showed us what she was made of when she directed the cult classic Point Break (the amazing 1990 version, of course). Coming onto the scene as an action director with films like Blue Steel and Strange Days proves there is no room for gender stereotypes in filmmaking. Her career continued with a steady flow of work, but in 2008 Bigelow made history when she became the first woman to win a Best Director Academy Award for The Hurt Locker.

Bigelow’s work continues to leave an impression as she tackles issues of race, violence, government corruption and morality in films like Zero Dark Thirty and Detroit. Her ability to cover complicated, offensive and relevant subject matter proves storytelling knows no gender and, most importantly, that it shouldn’t.

“If there’s specific resistance to women making movies, I just choose to ignore that as an obstacle for two reasons: I can’t change my gender and I refuse to stop making movies.” – Kathryn Bigelow

Rachel Morrison – Cinematographer 

Rachel Morrison started her camera career working on reality TV shows like The Hills and short documentaries. She climbed the ranks in television and movies until eventually becoming the cinematographer for films like Fruitvale Station and Dope. In 2017 she earned a nomination for an Academy Award for Best Cinematography for her work on Mudbound, which made her the very first woman to be nominated in the category.

Most recently she joined forces with Fruitvale Station director Ryan Coogler again to become the DP for Black Panther. A female as the Director of Photography on such a big-budget, high-concept film is unheard of. In fact, in 2015 the American Society of Cinematographers had only 14 active female members out of 360 members (less than 4%). So, to say that her nomination and success is groundbreaking would be an understatement.

“When people ask me why there are so few female DPs it makes no sense to me. Everything about what we do actually speaks to women’s strengths like empathy and visualizing emotion.” – Rachel Morrison

One of Our Own

Another pioneer in the production world is our President and Founder, Heidi McLean. This month Crew Connection celebrates 30 years of successfully connecting the best talent in the industry with the right jobs and clients. From movies and TV to commercials and corporate videos, Heidi has also left her mark on this male-dominated industry and we are proud to be a part of her journey.

Part Time Evil’s Chen Zhang on AR and VR

Part Time Evil’s Chen Zhang on AR and VR 400 266 Dani Lyman

Just like the rest of the world, I have been recently becoming more and more interested in AR and VR and how it is continually shaping the here and now as well as the future. Regular basic stuff. I’m curious about how we, as consumers (and just generally as humans for that matter), interact with reality, video, marketing and tactile objects in relation to one another. And, how we have created an environment in which we can now shape/limit/expand the mind’s ability to intake reality, video, marketing and tactile objects.

I decided to speak to an expert on the subject and get a sense of what the AR/VR production world is up to these days from a source I truly trust. Chen Zhang is the COO of Part Time Evil, a superior ‘immersive story studio that creates AR, VR and mobile experiences.’ Crew Connection has had the pleasure of working with Part Time Evil and can attest to the excellence of their work. Check out my super interesting and very helpful interview with Chen Zhang below where she shares the ins and outs of AR/VR, advice for the next generation, and tips on how to make this all relevant to our lives below.


Crew Connection: What is your background and how did you get into this line of work?

Chen Zhang: I’ve always worked in emerging technology, whether it was at digital and design consultancies like Gensler, Razorfish, and frog Design, or at tech companies like Under Armour and HomeAway. My undergrad degree is a dual degree in economics and marketing, which is what gave me my start in digital marketing, which evolved to digital products and experiences. It’s really exciting to me to find ways to deliver true value to consumers and users via new technologies and experiences. That is a challenge and requires creativity and a deep understanding of user needs and the tech landscape to be able to design products and experiences that are new, and yet feel seamless and friendly. I like that challenge.


CC: What does your average day look like?

CZ: No two days are ever alike. For example, today, I started the morning with a few hours of status meetings on ongoing projects. We check in on the latest designs, 3D models, and development efforts, provide feedback, and then discuss next steps. Then Matt Udvari, Part Time Evil’s CEO, and I met with a video team to discuss the trailer for our VR film. After that, he and I discussed a roadmap and revenue models for our Aquifer face motion capture product. In the afternoon, I caught up on some business development communications and then finished an agenda and presentation for a workshop I am facilitating with the global leadership team for one of our clients. I mean, whew! I love it though.


CC: What are your favorite applications of AR and VR?

CZ: AR and VR are both often lumped together, but they are actually very different experiences that deliver different value to users. VR is totally immersive. It takes you out of your world and puts you in an entirely new one. Because of that, I think it’s ideal for entertainment and gaming, which is already the primary use case for VR. Shared entertainment experiences like sports and concerts are also great. Oculus Go is already on this with their co-viewing app Venues that allows you to attend an event with your friends. VR is also really powerful for any experience where you need to empathize with someone (or something) else’s world which is very important in training, education, and even mental health. The biggest hurdle for VR right now is the difficulty in setting up.

AR on the other hand, adds objects to your current world. At the risk of sounding simplistic, my favorite consumer AR experience that not many people talk about as being “AR” is Snapchat. It takes your face or your view and adds something valuable to it and makes it better, more enjoyable and more useful. People love it, it’s easy to use. From a user experience standpoint, it checks all the boxes. There are a ton of great apps that provide utility, like the measuring AR app and the Ikea app to place and view furniture. There is also lots of great movement in medical and industrial industries with smart glasses and AR glasses that allow employees and medical professionals to have critical information at a glance.


CC: Are you seeing more women in AR/VR as an emerging industry?

CZ: It is relatively male dominated, but there are a lot of women who are making big moves in the industry. For example, Joanne Popper, the global head of VR for HP has a great public presence. There’s Amy Peck, founder of EndeavorVR. And there is a great organization called Women in XR fund that was created to help the industry distribute capital more fairly. There is much progress to be made and I think the industry will only benefit from a more diverse group of contributors and industry leaders.


CC: What advice do you have for students considering a career in this field?

CZ: There are so many ways to get into this field, either as a project manager, artist, developer, product manager, or a million other angles. Use AR & VR experiences and develop a point of view about what you like, don’t like, and what the future may bring. Pursue what makes you excited about going to work every day.


CC: What are a few ways clients can use AR, VR, 3D modeling, etc. in their video projects, corporate interviews or marketing campaigns?

CZ: I could talk all day about this, but I’ll limit myself to a few good examples. For marketing, AR can be as simple as a branded lens or filter experience on Snapchat, Facebook, Instagram or have more functionality as a mobile app. Magic Leap, HoloLens experiences can be really impactful for event marketing. VR is another one that is great for event marketing. There are a ton of successful immersive 360 video or fully interactive real-time VR experiences that can really deliver an unforgettable experience at a booth or event. 3D storytelling in general is just a great tool for videos and marketing campaigns. You could tell a product story via a 3D animated video or bring in 3D models and animations into a 2D video to increase impact.


CC: Can you walk us through the process from meeting with a client to project completion and what the most important things are to note along the way?

CZ: Our general process for projects is 1) emphasize, 2) concept, 3) create and build, 4) test, 5) deploy and learn, 6) expand. We start all projects with understanding the landscape – who are the users? What do they need? What is the business need? What is the ROI that we are targeting? What are the operational needs? What hardware? Then we concept several ideas and create some concept art so the client understands what we are proposing. Once a concept is selected and refined, we start to build! Whether it’s detailed design, modeling, animating, development, we have a collaborative agile process that our team follows. Then we test on device and deploy the experience. If this is a pilot program, then we tweak the program and experience based on our learnings and plan a full launch.


CC: Is there anything else you feel is important for our readers to understand?

CZ: We’re not your typical 3D animation or AR/VR development shop. Yes, we’re designers, technologists, and 3D nerds, but first and foremost we are strategists and storytellers. We think deeply about what consumers want and need (whether or not they can verbalize it), and then try to design something easy and beautiful, and thoughtful that delivers meaningful value to customers and to our client’s businesses.

 

Check out Part Time Evil’s website to see some of the revolutionary work they’ve been doing here.

Social Media Stirs Controversy Over Super Bowl Ads

Social Media Stirs Controversy Over Super Bowl Ads 499 333 Dani Lyman

You just created your Super Bowl commercial and paid $5.2 million for your spot, what are you going to do now? If you’re like the most talked about brands of the year, a lot.

In our social media driven world, agencies are creating an immersive experience beyond the Super Bowl ad itself. Today, brands are spending a minimum of $175,000 per second of air time and launching marketing campaigns that begin before the game and fuel conversations long after it ends. They engage viewers in content, conversation and a little controversy.

Among many Super Bowl ads people are calling “safe” this year, these 3 surprising trouble-makers emerged to steal the spotlight.

Battle of the Brews: Bud Light vs. Miller Lite & Coors Light

In a bold move, Bud Light decided to pit themselves against their light beer competitors by pointing out the use of a popular ingredient: corn syrup.  In a surprise twist, Americans care very little about corn syrup in their beers. They are, however, very passionate about corn, corn farmers, and not acting like a jerk.

Before Bud Light knew what was happening, social media was blowing up with posts from the National Corn Growers Association, tweets from farmers and videos of Bud Light being poured down the sink and dumped in the trash. A clear line had been drawn in the sand. In a move meant to poke fun, Bud Light lost sight of their target audience and sparked a major #corntroversy in the process.

Our Marketing Manager at Crew Connection, Alexis Gabel, made an excellent point that if you’re going to spend millions of dollars on a Super Bowl commercial you have to “anticipate the conversation that will ensue and if it could have a negative impact on your brand. The conversation surrounding Bud Light very well may have negated that not so inexpensive 60 second spot.” And with no clear follow-up strategy from Bud, Miller Lite was unintentionally presented with an amazing marketing opportunity without having to spend a dollar in advertising and Tweeters loved it!

Meanwhile, Bud Light looks like your jerk friend trying to start an insult fight after too many beers. The consumer has more influence to make or break your brand than ever before. Don’t let your competitors “Miller Lite” you by being unprepared for the conversation.

Devour Commits to their Racy Addiction

The brand most unapologetically committed to their campaign was Devour Foods – by a long shot. The brand took the term “Food Porn” to an entirely new level, a level that was too high for some. However, their marketing strategy is unwavering.  Their ads started with teasing posts about the censored Super Bowl ad itself, continued with the promise of more risqué content being released on social media and then flooded their Twitter feed with a series of live tweets and videos packed with enough “That’s what she said” innuendos that Michael Scott would be jealous.

The ongoing videos, racy tweets and flirtatious comments have fans continuously engaging with the brand, even 3 days after the Super Bowl. The highly amped uncensored version of the commercial now has nearly 16 million views on YouTube alone. Accompanied by the decision to promote themselves on adult-themed websites, Devour has carved out its brand and is sure to be remembered.  While many got a kick out of the innuendo-packed ad, a lot of parents were beyond upset that such adult geared content was played in front of their children.

Devour’s creative use of Twitter during and after the Super Bowl ad aired is worth checking out. Just remember, it’s not everyone’s taste.

That’s Not Right

One of the more controversial Super Bowl ads came from a brand with an unfamiliar name and a knack for making people angry. As part of their “That’s Not Right” series, Mint Mobile revealed their Chunky Milk Super Bowl commercial and viewers were not at all happy. Aired during a time when most American’s are stuffed to the brim with pizza and cheese dips, watching a tv family drink a chunky dairy product was just not right. The outrage from viewers was intense and unfortunately relatable.

The Senior Vice President of Marketing and Creative for Mint Mobile, Aron North, told Time, “We expected a reaction. I think this strong of a reaction maybe not. …If it took something as obtuse as chunky-style milk to wake everybody up, I would run it again.”

While they definitely stood out and North adamantly stands by the decision to run the ad, you have to wonder if the reaction of the posters on social media will influence decisions when it comes to purchasing new mobile plans. The other videos in the series are just as uncomfortable to watch, proving there was a clear attention-grabbing strategy at play, but will it provide the desired results? We know your name now, Mint Mobile. But, do we like you?

The Take-Away

After seeing the aftermath of three very bold approaches to advertising, a few questions come to mind. How will social media affect your campaign? Are you prepared for the backlash? Do you have enough video content to keep your audience engaged? Are you giving customers the opportunity to join the conversation? Do you have something to say and the social media strategy in place to say it?

“Story without strategy is art. Story with strategy is marketing.” – Dave Sutton

The Art of Good Lighting

The Art of Good Lighting 800 534 Dani Lyman

As every selfie-obsessed Millennial knows, great lighting is keyWhether you’re posting your daily #foodie pic on Instagram or creating a fog-filled scene for a horror movie, it is crucial to find your light. Before going into a production, you want to determine the tone of the project and then discuss with your DP the right lighting to achieve that tone.

Lighting is an art form all on it’s own. DP’s and gaffers are talented artists that paint a scene with light to create the desired tone of a video project. They can cast shadows, manipulate time and take your video from bland to brilliant with the flick of a switch.

Here are three inspired lighting ideas to take your video up a notch:

The Corporate Video

Most corporate videos take place in offices that are not quite as cheery as the picture above. Under fluorescent lights in a room with grey walls, your video can look depressing and bleak. To avoid the “Office Space” vibe, you’re going to want to use light to create an inviting, warm and modern tone.

You also want to consider that your subject is likely not a professional film star and may come across as awkward and unattractive on camera. The right lighting cannot only make your subject look stunning, but also give them the confidence they need to present well on screen.

For a bright and inviting feel that’s perfect for interviews, testimonials & marketing videos try:

  • Thinking beyond 3 point lighting: Bring additional gear to light around the room, bounce off walls, and brighten up the background to make the whole space more inviting
  • Adding faux sunlight: Give the impression natural light is coming from the windows to appear friendly and approachable
  • Using soft light: Like in the photo above, soft light helps subjects look more attractive and polished
  • Tip: China balls, domes, additional background lighting and diffusion are great add-ons to your lighting package

 

Dramatic Flair

 

 

 

 

 

 

Menacing. Brooding. Mysterious. A highly contrasted look, like the example above, is perfect for dramatic re-tellings, serious PSA’s or corporate videos containing heavier material. Deep shadows create a stark contrast which will immediately communicate to the viewer this content is serious. In this example, it looks like the darkness is about to devour that unsuspecting happy man, which might be too intense for your corporate PSA. But, lighting in a lower key, using additional gear to separate the subject from the background and experimenting with color, split lighting and diffusion can help create this sinister tone.

Next Level Talking Head

The go-to video trend of content creators is the Talking Head. We’ve seen it a thousand times. It’s efficient, inexpensive and practical… a.k.a, boring. But, it doesn’t have to be. With great lighting and a few fun extras, your Talking Head can be eye-catching and dynamic.

If you check out the video below, you’ll see the subject is beautifully lit with specific lighting for hair, face & eyes. However, despite the simplicity of the setup, the video looks rich with contrasting shadows, texture and depth. That’s the work of a skilled professional. You’ll also want to note the use of subtle movement here. The camera glides with such control you likely wouldn’t notice if you weren’t looking for it, but it makes the video all the more engaging. The use of two cameras, a slider or additional accessories like a dolly or gimbal, combined with beautiful lighting techniques, can really push production value to the next level.

A video represents who you are to the world, so you want to make sure the style and tone match your brand. It is essential to establish tone and then plan your shoot and budget accordingly. You are definitely going to need to schedule enough time, as creating the right light can be a meticulous process, so a full day shoot is always best.

While lighting is key, it certainly isn’t everything.  To achieve the best results you’re going to want to make sure you hire a complete team. A director will focus on the talent so the DP can focus on the frame. Hair & makeup artists will make sure your subjects look flawless – because lighting can’t fix everything.  Onsite editors are invaluable when it comes to making sure you have enough footage for a seamless edit. And don’t forget a great production assistant can help a shoot flow smoothly, or at least bring you coffee.