Thursday, February 25, 2016

Animation or live action? It's not just about the budget anymore, it's about the story.

Video animation can be a great solution for companies looking to extend their marketing reach. In two minutes or less you can sell just about anything from a new product, established brand or the dream of a great product to come. It's also relatively inexpensive, impactful and efficient way to create compelling content.
But, there are times when the creative needs to go beyond animation.  This is especially true when it comes to a multi-billion dollar company whose customer are amongst the most recognized brands in the world, and projecting the right image is critical for attracting new customers.  In other words: don't pitch me another whiteboard, video, we need to get serious about our brand.
When our production partners, Spring Street Studios, were first approached by CSAT-Solutions of Houston, our collective first impression was, wow! This is a company that repairs computers and motherboards for the world's largest and most notable tablet, PC and LCD screen manufacturers in a facility large enough to fly a drone through. Once we saw this, the options quickly narrowed. We needed a powerful brand video that featured the key management team, the facilities and, of course, a drone. After all, if you can't fly a drone through a building in Texas....
A few insurance hurdles and several pre-production meeting later we arrived in for a five-day shoot in the dense humidity of  Houston. We shot at the CSAT facilities and interviewed the management team, who were all passionate and lucky for us, articulate advocates for the company. On top of that, we shot hours of b-roll footage to help get over the sheer size of the operation. We commissioned local drone experts, DroneWorks, to shoot the ariel and internal fly-throughs: the only way to showcase the scale and breadth of the facility. 
Despite all the usual pre-production potholes (and the literal potholes that crippled the production vehicle on the last night of shooting) we managed to capture the story of C-SAT Solutions. 
I could say it was the drone footage, the six GoPros we had on time lapse or the three camera shoot that made the difference, but in truth, it was of all the above, along with the hours we spent with the executives before the shoot, preparing them for their interviews. At the end of the day, their own words told the story, we just needed to figure out what to omit. Sometimes, production is as much what you leave on the editing floor as it is about what you leave in the video
Five days of shooting and a few weeks of editing later, we had a powerful brand video that told the CSAT story. We drafted in ace movie trailer editor, Ley Wilson, to add the drama and impact to the video. It's recently gone live on the company's new website and is getting some great responses. 
You can check it out here:

Sometimes the decision to either go with animation or a live shoot comes down to budget, other times it comes down to the brand and the story you need to tell. As every craftsman knows, choose the right tools for the job and if that includes a drone octocopter, then fire it up and let it fly.

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