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Our favorite event and video innovations so far this year

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Projection Mapping

Most people associate projection mapping with Justin Timberlake concerts and Paris façade transformations. But today we can achieve some of that same magic for our clients at more conceivable budget levels.

Projection mapping gives you a visually novel way to project visuals across a variety of surfaces—walls, ceilings, dimensional set pieces—more cost-effectively than ever before. You can now tell a story in any space, large or small.

IDEAL FOR

Event stages, lobby installs, step-and-repeat photo booths, 2D murals, 3D sculptures, and outdoor building surfaces

KEY THINGS TO KNOW

The difference between conventional projection and projection mapping: Conventional projection is a flat image in a rectangular frame—every image you’ve ever seen since the beginning of TV and live events. Projection mapping considers the geometry and architectural details of the surface on which you’re projecting. We map images that fit the shape and features of those surfaces, making the surfaces themselves come alive.

NOT RECOMMENDED IN THESE SITUATIONS

  • Not great for brightly lit spaces (until nighttime)

  • Not great for darker colored surfaces (white/off-white surfaces produce the brightest images)

  • Not great for situations where you won’t have at least two weeks of lead time

THE FACTORS THAT DETERMINE TIME AND COST

Complexity of the physical surface, size of the surface, number of projectors needed to blend, and the number and type of animations necessary to produce

BEST PRACTICES

Choose your surfaces strategically—those that will promote the best illusions with the lowest development time.

The Power of Podcasting

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Content may be king, but it sure can be time-consuming and prohibitively expensive to produce. Enter podcasting: A simple and effective way for leaders and experts with something valuable to say to share their wisdom or news informally, in a professionally produced manner. Besides, we are bombarded by visuals. It’s nice just to hear a message sometimes.

IDEAL FOR

  • Busy upper management teams who want to accelerate their messaging significantly.

  • Companies who wish to inform their audiences about their services/products on a more relational level.

  • Any gathering of company experts all in one place. Just add microphones and an audio mixer.

THE FACTORS THAT DETERMINE TIME AND COST

  • Logistics of interviewees

  • Amount of editing needed

BEST PRACTICES

  • Keep it real and informal: people just talking, not delivering speeches

  • Having a conversationalist host helps keep things moving

  • Consider creating a series around a topic that you record in one sitting but release as episodes over weeks

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Color Grading

Color correction and color grading are often the X factor that gets you from good to great in terms of both visual and emotional impact. Colorists can take a video that’s 90% there and push it over 100% quickly.

IDEAL FOR

A quick color pass can benefit any video. The better the original camera image, the more you can do in color to elevate that imagery.

KEY THINGS TO KNOW

Color correction and color grading are actually different things. Color correction is the first step to make the footage look as the human eye sees things (i.e., making the whites look white). Color grading is the more artful process in which you employ color and tonal adjustments (i.e., light/dark) to express a certain mood, emotion, or even time of day.

NOT RECOMMENDED IN THESE SITUATIONS

  • Some quick-turn projects just won’t have the time for a color pass.

  • Images shot with lower-end cameras can be tough. If the highlights and shadows weren’t preserved (i.e., the whites are ‘blown out,’ and the darks are ‘crushed’), you can’t bring back what’s not there.

THE FACTORS THAT DETERMINE TIME AND COST

  • Run time

  • The quality of the cameras

  • The level of correction needed

  • How much you need to push the original image to achieve your grading goals

BEST PRACTICES

  • Professional shooting makes all the difference. Directors of Photography (DPs) will know how to preserve highlight and shadow details.

  • DPs will also have the right equipment to make that possible. Cameras now have shooting formats such as RAW and HDR specifically designed to dramatically improve your color grading possibilities during post-production.

Reinvent Your Pitch

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Nothing tops face-to-face meetings, but video conferencing technologies like Zoom are getting better every day. Still, for those of us in the business of pitching RFP responses to prospects or sharing news with constituents, your poorly lit face filling a Zoom screen doesn’t have quite the same impact.

Before you decide to travel, see a novel approach for presenting that blends the sophisticated visual presence of ESPN’s SportsCenter with Zoom’s ease and real-time interactions.

IDEAL FOR

Pitches or other high-value/high-stakes communications

KEY THINGS TO KNOW

The solution requires a set, camera operator, control room, and at least three people behind the scenes: producer, video engineer, and Keynote or PowerPoint presentation operator. It should also be rehearsed.

NOT RECOMMENDED IN THESE SITUATIONS

Lower-stakes communication. There’s a cost for this level of production over standard Zoom meetings, so there needs to be an ROI at stake that makes it worth it.

THE FACTORS THAT DETERMINE TIME AND COST

Length of presentation, amount of rehearsal time

BEST PRACTICES

  • Your on-camera talent should have a level of comfort with presenting.

  • Rehearse for the most natural and seamless experience. You’ll be switching between people and presentations, and it needs to flow well.

  • Make sure your audience knows how to log into Zoom or whatever platform you’re using beforehand, so there’s no wasted time at the start of the meeting.

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Motion Tracking and Compositing

You know how they say, “We’ll fix it in post?” Often, the post they’re talking about is motion tracking and compositing.

Motion tracking is the process of figuring out where the camera or object was in the scene and how it was moving when the shot was filmed. Compositing is the process of combining visual elements from separate sources into a single shot. In most cases, adding or removing objects in a scene can convince the viewer that the scene was shot that way in the first place.

IDEAL FOR

Improving or fixing footage in post is far more cost-effectively than shooting or re-shooting. Clients are often blown away at how much we’re able to fix in post and in such a reasonable amount of time. It’s also an excellent solution when shooting on chroma key (green or blue screen).

NOT RECOMMENDED IN THESE SITUATIONS

Sometimes it’s more cost effective to re-shoot than to spend the hours or even days it would take to fix the footage.

THE FACTORS THAT DETERMINE TIME AND COST

Each shot is unique; time and cost depend on the complexity and the length of the shot. Below are some challenges that may increase your spend.

  • Length of the scene itself, and the number of frames you’ll be tracking and compositing

  • The complexity of the fix or the objects you want to add to the scene

BEST PRACTICES FOR SHOOTING ON CHROMA KEY

  • Good lighting (even and consistent lightning helps avoid shadows)

  • Good footage (focus, camera angle, the framing of the subject)

  • Good visual tracking points on background if the camera will be in motion

  • Avoid flashy jewelry, stripes, green or reflective clothing

  • Avoid motion blur issues in post by using a higher shutter speed

  • Patience

Real-Time Character Animation

Real-time character animation software tools allow you to improve your storytelling faster than ever. You can apply your facial expressions and natural gestures to create animated characters of any design, for richer audience connections.

IDEAL FOR

Perfect for creating a non-human or a generic host, or when you need to put a character in a dangerous, personally challenging or imaginary environment. 

NOT RECOMMENDED IN THESE SITUATIONS

Animation is usually best with some degree of simplification and visual metaphor. Character animation isn’t really for data-driven simulations or CAD-accurate renderings. Use 3D for that.

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THE FACTORS THAT DETERMINE TIME AND COST

  • Run time

  • Animation complexity

  • Voiceover talent costs

BEST PRACTICES

  • Better to spend more time up front in planning than fixing things on the fly. It’s best to make any story or scenic changes in the previz or storyboarding part of production. Significant changes late in the project can lengthen the timeline and increase the budget. 

  • This is a cumulative process. Clients need to approve each step before moving on confidently, or else the budget and timeline may reset to the beginning.

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 Instagram Wall

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Instagram walls are the easiest way to display public (and private) Instagram feeds in any physical location: events, retail environments, and parties. It’s a great way to tease the event itself, engage audiences in brand imagery, and inspire them to contribute their pictures on the spot.

IDEAL FOR

Any event or space where Instagram visuals would add to visual enrichment and energy.

KEY THINGS TO KNOW

  • Works with Instagram only

  • You can create custom playlists that shuffle images from multiple Instagram accounts or hashtags. You can show different imagery on different screens in a mosaic or span one image across multiple screens.

  • You can organize as many displays as you want in any configuration.

  • You can curate and pre-approve what images go to the screens.

THE FACTORS THAT DETERMINE TIME AND COST

  • The number of monitors

  • Whether you want to create custom image layouts

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3D Animation

Our clients are turning to 3D animation with surprising frequency, often for an equally unexpected reason: to achieve cost savings.

IDEAL FOR

  • Fixing images in post rather than reshooting (e.g. replacing old product shots with new)

  • Previsualizing real-world objects in physical spaces – “try before you buy”

  • Visualizing products that don’t yet exist to start creating marketing materials

  • Achieving ideal camera moves not possible in the real world

  • Exercising total control of real-world physical dynamics (e.g. particles and liquids)

NOT RECOMMENDED IN THESE SITUATIONS

  • If it can be easily done in real life, do that instead.

  • Not good for turnaround times less than two days.

  • Not yet ready for realistic faces.

  • Fish, animal fur, and things that move very naturally and organically can be harder to make look realistic.

KEY THINGS TO KNOW

Render times, while coming down, are still a major decision factor for whether to do 3D or not. They also make last-minute changes far more time-consuming, hence the greater need for strong production planning.

THE FACTORS THAT DETERMINE TIME AND COST

Length of scene, complexity of geometry, level of realism (i.e. reflectivity, motion blur, etc.), number of lights in scene

BEST PRACTICES

  • Limit the length of your animations. Our 3D work tends to fall into the sweet spot of finished runtimes around 10-15 seconds. Those animations may run in 30s within live action so the whole thing isn’t 3D

  • Preparation is key, and you need to first get signoff on test frames and preview animations before doing high resolution renders. Re-rendering to fix tiny last-minute changes can add days to a project.

Snapchat Lenses

Highly branded engagement that taps into everyone’s desire to look funny. Guaranteed to make people smile and share.

IDEAL FOR

  • Generating social media content

  • Creating buzz at social events

NOT RECOMMENDED IN THESE SITUATIONS

Snapchat filters are not designed to harvest demographics or marketing data. No collection of personal information.

THE FACTORS THAT DETERMINE TIME AND COST

Making sure all decision-makers approve the art before we go into production.

BEST PRACTICES

It’s best to make any art or text changes during the storyboarding phase of production. On-the-fly changes late in the process lengthen the timeline and increase the budget.

EXAMPLES AND INSTRUCTIONS

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Step 1

Open the Snapchat app and point your camera at a Snapcode. Press and hold the Snapcode to scan it.

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Step 2

Unlock the lens by pressing the purple button.

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Step 3

Have fun! You have access to the lens for 24 hours.

 
 
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Set Design VR

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Being able to previsualize set ideas (in a virtual representation of the actual event space, from the perspective of the audience) gives clients a truly immersive sense of the experience to come.

IDEAL FOR

Planning major events where the design of the set is really important

NOT RECOMMENDED IN THESE SITUATIONS

Not worth it for simpler spaces and conventional staging where you already know what you’ll be doing.

THE FACTORS THAT DETERMINE TIME AND COST

  • Set complexity

  • Availability of CAD drawings for the event venue

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