Yes, content creation can be powerful. Filmmaking can be powerful. And social media distribution takes it all to another level.
Films are the perfect way to share the highlights and features of various products, the missions of different organizations, and the stories that drive us to buy things, to donate, to volunteer, to vote, to change our thinking and change our ways, etc. And when you only have a few seconds to grab your audience, what better place is there to broadcast your films and videos than on Facebook and Instagram? The fact that the films autoplay as people view their feed means your audience doesn’t even have to click the PLAY button any more. You can grab them as they scroll past!
We assume, of course, that you are up to speed with building your following and sharing things with your people, keeping them engaged and looking at the things you find share worthy. It doesn’t matter if you have 100 followers or 1 million followers, as long as you are building up your presence you are going in the right direction. There are a ton of strategies on how to do this, and we won’t get into that here. The aspect that most concerns us is this: WHAT ARE YOU SHARING and WHY? The answer will be different for everyone out there, but in the world of brands and business, this is a very important question. And we aim to help our clients solve it.
THE KANEX PROJECT
Recently, we created two short one-minute films for a brand out of Orange County called Kanex. From their website, Kanex is an “innovative leader in connectivity solutions for Apple, iOS, PC and Android, we have thrived on creating functional products that fit seamlessly into your everyday life…”
We considered the WHO, WHAT, WHERE, WHY, WHEN and HOW breakdown for this project, and as always, we encouraged the client to help us answer the WHAT and the WHY. After that, it became our job to handle the WHO (people in the film), WHERE (locations to film), WHEN (dates for filming and delivery), and the HOW (how will we execute the plan? how will it be filmed? and how will it look?)
Kanex develops some brilliant technology products and they wanted to showcase two of their latest designs. This is the WHAT and the WHY for Kanex. Rather than just hoping people will stumble onto the product page within their website and read all the text regarding the cool features of their products, they realized that they could grab a bit more attention by putting out a polished, narrative-driven film full of lifestyle imagery that puts their products into the real world.
This is really effective because the viewer doesn’t have to read about the product, they can actually see it being used by people in real world scenarios. The films are meant to show how the products make our character’s lives better, which hopefully inspires the viewer to relate to that and possibly see the product making their own lives better too. If we have done our job well enough, and the feeling is strong enough in the viewer, well, then Kanex might have a new customer.
The first product is a portable battery charger for Apple MacBook, and the second is a portable charger for Apple Watch. Both are small and light, they have a beautiful matte gray finish and they can power your iPhone too.
Both pieces were meant to be lifestyle films that were short enough to put on Instagram, Facebook, as well as YouTube, their website. Yet they had to be long enough to tell a short story while showing off the features and benefits of their new products. It was also very important to us that the viewer be pulled into these small journeys visually. So big, flowing camera movement was huge for us.
Our first story is about a girl studying photography in college who needs to be out in the world, exploring and taking pics, but doesn’t want to have to go home in order to process and retouch her photos. She needs battery life! She’s got a small Apple MacBook, her charger, her camera and her favorite photography book to guide her on this adventure.
The second film is based on a hard-working man, late twenties who starts everyday by going for a run through his neighborhood before work. He has goals and is driven. Not a minute of the day is wasted. For lives that don’t stop, you can’t have a watch that dies halfway through the day, so the portable Apple Watch charger is there when he needs it. But he’s not all about work, he spends his evening enjoying the sunset on the beach with his special lady friend. She, by the way, happens to need a little charge on her iPhone in the middle of a selfie, the charger saves the day once more.
THE PRODUCTION DETAILS:
We had two production days to film both pieces. One day of filming for each! So we had to create a pretty tight production with storyboards and an efficient schedule. We started early morning and shot into the evening with our actors John Dewall (@divinelyaligned) and Karol Martin (facebook.com/karol.priscilla.martin). Dean Hall (@deanhallstyle) was on set as our stylist and the rest was accomplished by myself, Vic and Carlos (@bluebarncreative). We utilized natural light whenever we could and used reflectors to dial it in. We found ourselves hanging out of the production van with the 3 axis gimbal stabilizer for some awesome guerrilla filmmaking. The locations were scouted the week before the shoot and the client had a pretty good idea of what we wanted to accomplish, as ambitious as it was.
For the photography, I used two cameras that we had never mixed in a production before. The Sony A7RII and the RED Scarlet Dragon. I decided that for all the wide angle, steadicam shots I would mount the A7RII on the Helix gimbal stabilizer with a stabilized, wide angle lens. For all the medium and close-ups I went with the RED. All footage was shot in 4K and 5K, and I was pleasantly surprised at how I could color grade the footage to a decent match.
The Sony was great because we could shoot in LOG (which allows us to retain a ton of highlight information), and it was so light! Spending hours a day operating 3 axis gimbals can be rough, but the Sony is a light, full frame mirrorless camera that takes fantastic footage in 4K. The codec is a little wimpy so getting the exposure and the white balance right is critical while shooting since it can’t handle much tweaking in post-production.
The RED however, is a different story. The raw footage looked incredible and the skin tones are just amazing, So for those tighter shots I really wanted those flattering, rich colors shot through a 50mm Makro Zeiss Milvus lens. The sharpness of that lens is incredible by the way (it’s my favorite lens at the moment). The combination of the Sony A7RII in 4K plus the RED in 4K and 5K worked perfectly for these films. They allowed us to get all the filming done in the two days of production. It allowed us to travel light and get those sweeping camera moves we wanted. We kept the crew small and we operated fast. We knew what we wanted going in and that allowed us to play around with it to get some really fun, cinematic shots that pushed the films along.
-Stephen Alberts / Creative Director