Why You Should Be Making Content In 4K and Beyond

If you’re planning your next shoot or looking into a video marketing investment, you’ve probably considered this question. Over the past few years, 4K video has gained quite a bit of popularity – and with good reason.

But despite the interest, producing video at this resolution level still poses challenges. Unfortunately, those thwarted by these challenges will get left behind.

Luckily, 4K video doesn’t have to be out of reach anymore. As technology continues to advance, 4K video can be created by anyone and served to more and more audiences each year.

The TAR Productions team has mastered the techniques and challenges presented when working with 4K video. Since 2009, we’ve shot numerous projects in this format, including both commercials and documentaries for enterprise and nonprofit needs.

We’re pioneers when it comes to this format, and now, we’d like to share exactly why you should be creating content in 4K (and in higher resolutions as they become available) today.

For many years, 4K video was reserved for cinema and Hollywood budgets only. With many cell phones, tablets, laptops and desktops alike having high resolution, or retina, screens, it makes sense to produce your video campaigns in 4K resolution.

RED has pioneered the 4K revolution (and beyond)

What is 4K video?

4K video is the next generation video format that has quickly been gaining traction over the last couple of years. It has approximately 4x the resolution as Full HD providing a much clearer picture with greater details. 4K video also has greater color depth and contrast, providing a much more realistic picture.

So what’s the advantage of all this?

4K video, being a higher quality picture, means greater retention among audience, increased time spent watching material and less stress while watching. This means that your audience will pay greater attention, watch more and remember more of what they see – all incredibly important factors for marketers to consider.

1. Future-Proof Your Video Marketing Efforts

4K video resolution is the future of video marketing, and within the next few years, it’s certain to become a more widespread standard of resolution.

All of the reasons for using 4K video come down to one ultimate goal: future-proofing your current content for advancements in video streaming technology.

The last thing you want is to lose out as the industry evolves.

2. Reach More Viewers Through Online Channels

High-quality video captures the attention of users. And when you combine that with an entertaining story and inspiring message, the possibilities are endless.

If you make the move into video marketing – 4K video, in particular – you’ll be able to reach more people than ever before.

Just as it did with HD video several years ago, YouTube will provide preferential treatment to higher resolution videos in search results. Keep reading for more on YouTube’s plans.

Don’t Spend Outrageous Money on Broadcasting

Traditional broadcasting costs a lot of money. And, unfortunately, it doesn’t provide a positive ROI for many small and medium-sized businesses.

If you’re creating high-quality video, you can put it to use without a hefty financial cost.

Online platforms give you access to more viewers, an engaged audience and direct access to your website from the video. That makes the sales funnel much more streamlined than traditional broadcasting.

With great insights into how your videos are performing, you can optimize and increase your video’s ROI.

Just as it did with HD video several years ago, YouTube will provide preferential treatment to higher resolution videos in search results.

Make Contact With New Prospects With Online Sharing

If someone likes your television commercial, they may laugh. Best case scenario, they tell a friend about it. But there isn’t always a clear way to make an impact in terms of social sharing.

But it’s different if you’re producing high-quality online video.

Not only can you use this new technology to reach your target audience, but they’ll be able to easily share your message with hundreds of others – all with the click of a button. That makes growing your audience much easier.

So long as you have a proper distribution strategy in place to maximize viewers and audience call-to-action, you can make this much easier, and even incentivize your audience, to do the sharing for you.

3. YouTube is Experimenting With 4K

YouTube is, undoubtedly, the biggest player in the online video market. It’s built its reputation on providing free video for viewers, so if your company is going to invest in online video marketing, you’ll definitely use this platform as a part of your strategy.

Seeing a leader like YouTube already experimenting with online 4K resolution only reinforces that this is where the future of video marketing is going.

A Look at YouTube in 4K

Currently, all of our YouTube videos make use of the 4K format, though if you want to view the videos at this resolution, you’ll need to change the streaming settings as shown below:

Dual high resolution camera

High Resolution cameras are now small and maneuverable.

You’ll notice that it takes quite a while to load, which is affected by the streaming capabilities (or lack thereof) of your Internet connection.

Current Challenges and Complications

Companies making the move to 4K technology typically aren’t worried about the current challenges. They’re playing for success in the long-term.

The most prominent complication affecting 4K adoption are limitations associated with network connections. Most wireless speeds simply can’t handle the demands of 4K streaming, which is why platforms like YouTube are only experimenting with the capability.

YouTube is definitely at the forefront of 4K streaming, along with Netflix and Amazon Prime is not far behind.

What This Means for the Future

This level of content is just a glimpse into the future. Network connections and video platforms will continue to evolve in the coming years, allowing for greater adoption of 4K video.

The next generation streaming formats are right around the corner. Currently, most streaming videos online are in the H.264 format. The successor, H.265 promises the same quality at half the bit-rate, meaning less strain on the pipeline delivering the content.

Google is also concurrently developing their own next generation streaming format for YouTube, called VP9. VP9 will be open source and the main power behind YouTube, promising similar quality-to-size ratio as H.265.

It’s up to you to prepare today for the standards of tomorrow. With the rapidly changing technology landscape, doing so is your best defense against falling behind the times.

4. Tech Audience Already Expects This Level of Quality

The tech audience keeps an ear to the ground when it comes to technological developments. As connection speeds and video platforms evolve, they’ll take notice of the brands that have already made the 4K investment.

And the attention of the tech audience can do great things for your company. This includes tech-savvy consumers, too.

Keep Early Adopters Happy

If you’re creating 4K-compatible video, early adopters of 4K technology will take notice. You’ll get in on the ground floor, which will open up the doors of opportunity.

Who knows, maybe TechCrunch will feature you in an article discussing brands that are creating valuable 4K videos? You just don’t know what kind of opportunities will open up to you when you position your brand as a video marketing leader.

Customers will want to put those high resolution and retina screens to the test. Entice them with content that they can fully enjoy, and share.

Get Recognized as an Industry Leader

Customers will notice when your video quality crushes the competition. Your competitors will start to hold you in higher regard as they take note of the videos you’re producing. The media may even pick up on your brand’s prominence.

The only catch? You need to start creating this kind of video now.

Getting all the detail with high resolution cinema cameras.

5. No One Wants to Watch Low Quality Video

We’re living in the digital age.

Regardless of our current capabilities, today’s audience still expects a high level of excellence.

Long gone are the days of shoddy written content, gaudy Flash websites and low-quality video content. People expect brands to live up to high quality standards.

People Expect a Certain Level of Quality, Even Now

Consumers can create decent videos with their smartphones, which means that brands need to step up their game even more.

Investing in 4K video is just one way to prove that you’re completely committed to quality. As computers and networks become better able to handle higher resolutions, your 4K video will keep up with the changing landscape.

Not only does 4K video quadruple the resolution of Full HD, the color gamut and profile have been expanded to deliver videos that look more true to life. They increased dynamic range delivers a picture that’s more believable and easier to watch – both which will create more Likes, shares and comments.

Win the Respect of Customers Through High Quality Production

If you’re producing poor content, you’ll do more harm than good for your brand. Customers expect excellence, and it’s up to you to deliver.

When you do make the commitment to 4K quality, people will notice. And when they notice, they’ll take the time to share your video with others. It really is worth the extra effort to do it right from the beginning.

The future is now. If you hesitate to keep up with rapidly changing technology, you’ll fall too far behind. Invest in the current standards now if you want to keep ahead of the game and beat your competitors in the long-run.

Are you ready for 4K video?

How Reading Fiction Makes You A Better Storyteller

A journey of my own

When you read a book, do you imagine the world the author is describing? Do you imagine what a character would be like to interact with in real life?
Reading fiction is some of the best storytelling around, and that’s exactly why I’ve recently come full circle into reading fiction again.

Imagination of Fiction

Non Fiction

As a business owner, I’ve spent the last several years constantly reading books on marketing, strategy, business & negotiation tactics, and blogging – basically, anything related to sales, business, digital strategy, and technology. My Feedly is full of blogs on these subjects pushing out several posts a week and I try to at least skim 90% of them.

This is extremely consuming. There’s definitely a lot of value in there, which is why I continue to read them. But recently, I’ve come to several realizations that make me better at managing my time and that have improved my storytelling technique in the process.

I’m on my phone several hours a day. If I’m not on my phone, I’m likely on my computer at work or on my laptop at home. It’s usually one of the last things I look at before going to sleep.

Lately, though, I’ve been seeing a lot of studies indicating that this is unhealthy for your sleep.So I decided to change it up. In college, I was reading fiction novels non-stop. I remember being so enthralled with Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code that I stayed up all night for 3 nights in a row to read more and more. I read it all in about 4 sittings total.
I had never been to France or Paris or seen the museums the book references, but I did imagine I was making a movie about a book. When I saw Ron Howard’s movie, I was shocked to see how close my imaginary view of the book was to his movie based on the book.

Short stories are perfect for adaptation to feature films.



Of course, imagination is easy, but actually doing it is a whole other story. Thinking back on a fiction book you like, it’s fairly easy to imagine the scenes playing out. But each shot, edited together, with music, sound effects and the way the actors play each character is a ton of work.

Novels are generally several hundred pages long and the stories are very detailed and developed. They often don’t make sense to adapt into movies because you’d have to leave so much out; otherwise, you’d end up with a 10-hour movie.

For this reason, novels tend to make better TV series or miniseries. HBO’s Band of Brothers and Netflix’s House of Cards are great examples of this.

Do you know what’s great to adapt into feature films? Short stories. The plots are less elaborate and are generally on par with a movie’s length, which is about 100 minutes on average.


Favorite Authors

The author who really got me into fiction is Jeffrey Archer, a master storyteller who’s always including attention-capturing cliffhangers that make you want to read more. When I was 17 or 18, I asked my dad if he had any good short stories, and he gave me one of Archer’s books. My favorite wound up being one that was called One Man’s Meat, in which Archer includes 4 different endings.

Fiction never gets old

Coffee + fiction = Amazingness

This, to me, illustrated a profound sense of storytelling – one where you could take the story in 4 unique directions. It was great to compare actions and plot lines among each ending, opening the door for me as a storyteller on which way to chase a story in a documentary environment.

I began to adapt books I really enjoyed into movie scripts simply for the experience. This is much harder and a lot more work than imagining what you think the movie should look like, as you have to condense a lot of details into a brief script and translate descriptions into character moods, dialog or actions.

It’s also tiring and time-consuming. Whenever I would do this, I wouldn’t have the book open and try to copy everything. Instead, I’d reference it for the finer details, but as the exercise was supposed to improve my writing – specifically my scriptwriting – I left the book closed.

I’ve always prided myself on my directorial skills. So when I would write scripts, I’d be thinking ahead to who I would ideally cast and the shots or framing I would use to cover a scene.

Life Lessons

I even went so far as to contact Archer’s publishing wing for permission to adapt a story for my senior project. I had the script ready to send upon their request, but although I didn’t know it at the time, he has different representation for his novel and his short stories, and presumedly his plays, too.
I was aware that there was this much involved at age 21, but – as they say – ignorance is bliss. But I was persistent. I stayed up to 2 am to call the publisher (as they’re based in the UK) – a process that taught me a lot about the business side of things.

Dreaming of Fiction.


Reading fiction allows me to dream. The freedom to explore shots in my mind and how to piece a visual story together is a powerful act or surpassed by actually making films. I love reading someone else’s work without any idea of what’s next. Curiosity for the next chapter, scene, page or sentence. What will it bring and what does it mean? How does this shape the way I would shoot this scene. Would I illustrate it the same way as my peers?

This practice isn’t something that is learned or taught, it’s something that is done. It’s difficult to explain, and, heck, even to understand. It’s just something that is done. When you get on a bike do you think about how to ride it? Or do you just hop and start doing?

Once this thought process routine is set it’s hard to stop. As a visual learner myself, whenever I read something I’m picturing it in my head. Fiction is no different, but more detailed and thorough. It provides me with the material to line up scenes, block characters, direct actors and ultimately tell a story.

This is the same process when working on commercial projects for clients. I’m dreaming, seeing in my mind before it all comes together. It’s just a matter of putting these thoughts on paper in an organized fashioned.

That’s how we created our process. By doing this over and over again I realized that we approach projects in a similar fashion each time. This provides consistency, give both parties and expectation on what’s to come and allows us to achieve the incredible results we’ve seen thus far.

Do you read fiction and imagine what the scene would look like in a movie setting? What are some of your fiction favorites?

What is Branded Entertainment (And Why Should You Care)?

By some estimations, 61% of consumers are more likely to buy from a brand that delivers custom content. And the only thing people love more than custom content from brands?

Feeling entertained.

We live in a world full of responsibilities, discouraging news and bills. People use entertainment to escape the drudgery of daily life. And if your brand can find a way to become that haven, you’ll win customers for life.

Using branded entertainment is one of the smart ways to use video for your business. It offers several different benefits and can take your marketing campaigns to new heights. Are you ready to get started with this video marketing tactic?

What is Branded Entertainment?

Wikipedia defines branded entertainment as follows:

“Also known as branded content or advertainment, [branded entertainment] is an entertainment-based vehicle that is funded by and complementary to a brand’s marketing strategy.”

Ultimately, the content gives the brand an opportunity to connect with its audience in a unique, engaging way. By using media to tell an entertaining story, you establish a connection between the positive feelings viewers felt while consuming your content and your brand

Weeman Branded Entertainment

Branded Entertainment Benefits

Most companies use partnerships with creatives, artists and professional media companies to craft custom branded entertainment content. These alliances allow companies to publish a truly engaging piece of content. Without them, you’re left to the limited creativity of your in-house team.

While that may not seem like a challenge for those in creative industries, it’s more difficult for brands in “boring” and “unsexy” industries. And, in all honesty, even creatives often find it challenging to create entertaining content for their own brand. Trust me – it’s much easier to be creative for others than for yourself!

Want to create a campaign for your brand with us? Click here to get in touch with us

Everyone has a story to share, if you don’t think so you’re likely not asking the right questions. Furthermore, everyone’s story has an audience who genuinely wants to hear your story.

When you’re able to identify what your story is and who wants to hear it you’ll find you have much greater success with your branded entertainment.

When done right, branded entertainment can offer your brand a number of different benefits:

Reinforce Your Brand’s Story

Every brand should have a narrative that extends beyond its advertising campaigns. Things like story arc, characters and plot development strengthen the overall impact of your brand.

Using branded entertainment is, inherently, a storytelling technique, so it stands to reason that using it will cause you to evaluate these portions of your brand. The result is a reinforced brand story that feels more honed and focused on your core values, message and mission.

Influencers need content to share to their audience- your audience.

Coffee (Branded) Entertainment

Ice Cream (Branded) Entertainment

Tap Into Established Audiences

In this day and age, you don’t need a Hollywood budget to produce a remarkable video. And you don’t need a celebrity endorsement to tap into huge audiences. The digital era has spawned tons of micro-celebrities that have millions of fans that they built from scratch.

Your brand can connect with these influencers and tap into their large network of raving fans. There are even specialized tools that make this process even easier for small and medium-sized businesses.

Remember, these influencers need content to share to their audience. Aligning yourself with an influence is probably easier than you think if you approach it as a symbiotic relationship.

Finding your target audience and the influencers in that space can help grow your brand, audience and overall reach by leaps and bounds.

Give People a Reason to Pay Attention

Ogilvy refers to this benefit as emotional engagement or brand engagement. It’s the element of entertainment that captures our imagination. And when that happens, your brand creates a level of intrigue, provokes the audience to action, and invites an open dialogue.

And I don’t know a brand in the world that wouldn’t love that type of engagement.


Examples of Branded Entertainment

We recently shared some really great examples of viral videos. It’s important to realize that while branded entertainment can go viral, that’s not the ultimate goal of this tactic. While viral content reaches out and attracts a wide audience, branded entertainment strives to go deeper and build lasting brand strength.

With that in mind, here are a few outstanding examples of branded entertainment.

The Lego Movie

Do you realize that when you sit down and watch films like The Lego Movie or Marvel productions, you’re really just watching a 2-hour advertisement?

These kind of movies are the epitome of branded entertainment. They captivate the audience and establish an emotional connection with the company. Businesses can use this same concept without going to this extreme. How can you tell a story using the people and ideas that drive your brand to success?

Dove “Real Beauty” Sketches

These videos work so well because they tug at your heart strings, and because their imminently relatable to most women.

In the clip above, Dove peels back the curtain and shares an important message that directly impacts their ideal customer: real, everyday women.

How can you use a similarly entertaining video to propel your company’s deeper messages and values?

Old Spice’s “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like”

This commercial started out as a simple campaign spot for Old Spice. But once it generated so much attention and success, the brand decided to continue this story. What followed was a series of videos developed in a Response campaign.

Your business can use a similar approach to storytelling. Don’t stress about finding the perfect story arc right away. Test different things and see what clicks with your audience. Once you find the fit, capitalize on it and continue the story.


How to Implement Branded Entertainment for Your Brand

Now that you’re feeling all hyped up from those awesome examples, it’s time to learn how to apply branded entertainment to your brand. While there are certainly deep intricacies for each of these steps, today, we’re going to make things as easy as 1, 2, 3.

1. Set Goals for the Campaign

Every marketing effort should start with clear goals. Do you want to increase purchases for a new product? Would you like to develop stronger brand awareness in a certain demographic? Take a moment to specifically outline the objectives and goals before moving forward.

Every other step in this process hinges on this moment.

What do you want to achieve?

2. Develop an Entertaining Idea

Set up a brainstorming session with your team and partners. Now, it’s time for the fun part – coming up with your brand’s story concept.

Enjoy this part of the process. Sit back, relax and bounce around a lot of terrible ideas so that you can find that one diamond in the rough that’ll make a big difference for your company.

Branded entertainment for @culturebrewingco

BTS photo of @culturebrewingco branded entertainment spot.

3. Produce the Content & Launch

It’s hard to make a real impact with a low-quality production. If you’re going to do it, make an investment to get it done right. When looking for a high-quality production team, make sure they have the following qualities:

  • Natural, experienced storytellers
  • A track record in award-winning videos
  • Experience with branded entertainment

The right company will help you out from start to finish. Don’t underestimate the power of a knowledgeable team to assist you with this process.

They also should have a process in place to help you identify key attributes of your company, brand and audience. Knowing who to target, and coming up with creative ideas to connect with them is hugely important to the success of your campaign.

Once you’ve finished the video, that’s it! It’s time to release your valuable branded content to the world. Congratulations! Now, it’s time to get started on your next big idea…

Now that we have you convinced, let’s create a campaign. Click here to get in touch with us

Power of Storytelling through Video

We live in an ephemeral society.

When you first meet someone, do you instantly forget their name? With so much content (read: noise) available at our fingertips and everywhere we turn, how do you focus on something? Imagine being able to make that lasting impression on someone – a customer, a hiring manager, a future date or a new friend – and have them remember you at some point in the future.

I remember growing up and my Dad always remembering someone’s name. He knew names of all the neighbors, people at the bank, businesses next to his. I would sit there and admire how he would always address someone by their first name. It showed respect.

Now later in life I understand the value of this. It’s much nicer to greet someone by their first name, even if you have only met them once or rarely see them. It will make an impact on your peers and will inevitably return positively to you down the line.

We easily get caught up in it all. It’s not hard for me to identify someone who doesn’t remember my name. It’s unspoken, but not unnoticed. Being too involved in our devices takes us away from interpersonal conversations.

I don’t know about you, but I’m definitely guilty of trying to consume way too much. I spend hours every single day on various devices reviewing social networks, blogs, news feeds, and text messages. Besides being overwhelming, it can get a little addictive too. When does it stop and where does it end (hint: it doesn’t)?

Setting for STORY.

It might surprise you to hear that the answer to these questions can come from video production. Stick with me for a minute – I’m going to show you how we create lasting impressions with the videos we create, based on what drives that connection and what we look for in pre production.

My sophomore year of college, I was introduced to a fellow film school undergraduate by the name of Conor Colwell. He’s one of the smartest people I know and someone I respect in many ways. His intelligence level being far beyond mine made me struggle to keep up with him in conversations. It seemed Conor could talk about any subject with knowledge and eloquence. He’d mention something that would take me a moment to process, and then he’d continue his thoughts – while I was still processing what he said a moment ago.

Honestly, when I first met Conor, I was a little embarrassed because I felt stupid next to him. I didn’t think I could be his friend because I’d never add to his meaningful conversations. That was tough to deal with because I had a lot of respect for him and wanted to learn from him.

I tried really hard to focus whenever I was with Conor and, eventually, I was able to converse with him more comfortably. And when I didn’t understand something fully, I’d ask him to look for ways to help me understand the subject. Conor became, and remains to this day, one of my best friends and, later, a roommate of mine.

What helped me get over my fear of sounding stupid was my ability to wield one important request: explain this to me like I’m five years old.

When you tell a story, you have to do the same thing. This doesn’t mean that you can’t get deep into esoteric details, but don’t assume your audience knows what you’re talking about from the start. If you aren’t upfront with your explanations. You risk them losing interest or being confused – all of which results in what turns out to be a wasted effort.

Explain this to me like I’m five years old.

In video production, and pre production specifically, it’s important to break down what your story is really about. We typically will find a few keywords that remain top of mind during throughout the project. For example, we’ll use: Experience, Brand, Location.

During a documentary shoot, when we’re not working off a script, we’ll ask ourselves what shots can we get that will help tell this story. Can we push through a doorway and reveal our subject in front of 1,000s of fans to show the experience of a live performance? Can we use a drone or aerial videography to highlight the location?


Early Lessons

Early in my career, I worked for many action sports companies, shooting their athletes. I traveled non-stop for 3 years, mostly to international locations with professional surfers. I would visit their countries and we’d often stay with their friends who would host us if we were visiting somewhere else.

Every country, town and host was new to me, and many a completely new experience. When I started, I would usually extend my hand and greet them with something like “Hi, I’m Tim.” This might seem normal to you, but I had no idea I was so off so many times. After being greeting with a quick nod from the other person, I began to figure it out – I was speaking English, my native tongue, in their country.

I felt foolish in Morocco, seeing everyone hug as a greeting, or in Puerto Rico, kissing on the cheek. I was an odd man out, and while a quick handshake is polite, if you don’t follow up and create interest, there’s not much that you’re offering. This is exactly why no one remembers your name – you’re not doing anything to stick out and be remembered by.

When we introduce new characters on screen, I always think about creating a powerful opening – something that builds a lasting – connection with the audience. In our latest video for Helping Haitian Angels, Debbie, the co-founder, starts by saying “Unequivocally, they give me ten fold what I give them. It’s not even close.”

We don’t yet know who she is, but we know she’s American and receiving much more than the starving Haitian children we see on screen. Doesn’t this make you want to know why she’s saying this and who she is?

So far, this video is directly responsible for more than $1M in fundraising. People have been so moved just watching the video that they donate without any questions asked, to the tune of $250,000 by one donor and $100,000 by a couple of others on separate occasions. Incredible!

Video storytelling.

Podcasts = audio storytelling

The Power of Undulation

Storytelling is hugely affected by undulation. The emotions you provide your audience with create psychological mood swings that make you focus more and feel as if you’re living on the edge of your seat.

Undulation means to move with wave-like motion – pulsing through the crests and troughs, and riding up and down. You’re happy, sad and then happy again. Movies, especially Hollywood movies with their 3-act structure are famous for this, which is why it’s something we chose to apply successfully to the Boys to Men video.

In just 3 minutes, we opened with deeply emotional quotes from a few young men explaining their lack of a father and the pain that’s caused them during their entry into adulthood. We then pick up the pace of the edit with happy music, surfing and smiles, then close out the video reminding the audience of Boys to Men’s need and a call to action.

To make a connection, we need to give our audience a reason to care – a purpose. If you’re planning to create your own video, you need to slow down and find a way to cut through the noise, create a powerful intro to build intrigue, and develop a call to action to create, well, action.

With Boys to Men, we’re able to bring you into the realities of the life these boys are living. The pressures of the real world, gang banging men put on them and the outlet the non profit is able to provide.

We see 13-year-old boys about to cry talking about how they don’t have a dad, don’t have someone to play catch with them or tell them something as simple as “Good job, son.”

They have their friend’s older brothers telling them how cool their new gun is, or how much fun they had when they stole alcohol from a liquor store.

Beyond this, the story well told creates depth, something these young men don’t have the foresight to see. They can’t see past the life in a gang, but our story goes shows you what a little love and attention can do for them.

Our process is built around this. Diving deep into the Why of a story and how to make that effect come across in a limited about of time.

We typically start off each project with a quick brief – 10 quick questions that cover everything from what the project is about to 3 key goals. The brief starts out with general questions (remember, nothing is assumed) and gets more specific.

Movie scripts that undulate.

We ask each person involved to fill out the brief separately and compare notes. This allows organizations to unearth differences of opinions and gets everyone on the same page. By the time we receive it, it’s usually in pretty good shape for us to dive in and start finding our story angles.

Depending on the project and the answers we get on the brief, a project could go a myriad of ways. This is the foundation of our kick off call and initial creative.

We use this to find our keywords mentioned above and sets the course for the project. We use this kickoff meeting to brainstorm more ideas, figure out how we’re going to bring this story to live and, more importantly, why.

With Boys to Men, we knew we had 1 day to shoot and the subject matter was pretty serious. We decided on shooting each interview with tight framing on the boy’s faces to focus on the emotion. We shot with a wide open lens, using full frame cameras to blur everything in the background, so the audience’s focus would only be on the boys talking.

We picked up the pace, or undulated, with all the boys and supporters of the program surfing. This change was not only visual but audible, too, with the entry of happy, pop music.

And the end is tied together with a reminder of the need, a call to action to help support the program. The emotional loop is complete, and the audience responded incredibly well.

Stories connect us. Humans have been telling stories for centuries, all they way back to cavemen drawing images in the sandstone. Naturally, we enjoy a well told story.

Once we create that connection powerful things happen. Our audience is moved to take action, support us and share our story with others. Short stories for the Internet are perfect for this.

With social media so abundant and sharing so easy we can use our audience, fans, customers to help spread the word, creating a new, larger audience, more fans and customers that purchase or donate or take action.

It’s a powerful cycle, and when the story is right, and the execution is right you can easily have a video go viral.

Boys to Men was able to 2x their donations from the previous year. The supporters had a means to connect with potential donor and show them what the program was, who it was for, and the incredible impact it’s having on teenage boys across San Diego.



A good story is one that connects to your intended audience and inspires them to take action. Speaking to your audience’s emotions improves your storytelling immensely, which is why research in pre-production is so important and can set your project up for success.

Find stories that have inspired you and break down the creative elements and approach to the story.

I’ve been fortunate to grow a company and tell stories for everyone from global, billion dollar brands to small organizations, making an enormous impact in their communities with these tactics.

What storytelling techniques do you use? What kind of success have you had. Let me know in the comments below.

Why All Companies Need a Successful YouTube Presence

Since the first TV set flickered on, video has been a foundational element of successful marketing campaigns. Brilliant marketers – even back in the early days of advertising – knew the powerful impact a creative, engaging video can make with its audience.

And if you’re operating a business today, you’re even luckier. In the online era, it’s easier than ever for brands to add video content to their marketing campaigns, thanks to cost-effective distribution systems and affordable video creation technology.

This lowered barrier-to-entry means that you can get started at a fraction of the cost of decades past. There’s simply no need to stress out anymore over Hollywood-sized budgets, massive production teams and paralyzing distribution costs.

But this ease of production has also contributed to today’s crowded online video marketplace. That, combined with our current high-speed culture, means that you need to tell a quick, memorable story that will cut through the noise to both reach and persuade your audience.

If you can do that, you’re well on your way to video success.

Not convinced yet? Well, lucky for you, there are several persuasive reasons why all companies – including yours – need a successful YouTube presence.

YouTube offers powerful stats for advertisers.

It’s a Great Platform for Advertisers

Back in the day, businesses created a commercial, then found a channel that seemed to fit. Yes, the process included other intricate details, but that’s the gist of it. A video’s reach essentially rested on the educated guess of an “expert.”

Traditionally, this meant buying local commercial spots or working with an advertising agency to buy the media spots for you.

Thankfully, we don’t have to do advertising this way in the online world.

YouTube, in particular, features a plethora of data that allows advertisers to understand audience behavior and establish a strong targeting strategy. This level of understanding leads to more intelligent campaigns for advertisers and better content for viewers.

Gone are the days of speculative advertising. Let’s look at a few of the ways you can use YouTube to target the right customer at the right time:

  • See Contextual User Intent: A viewer is watching a makeup tutorial, so show them an ad about my new facial skincare product.
  • Serve Ads Based on Online Behavior: Using search history and cookies, show my ad to people that have searched for best skincare products or Allure’s website.
  • Choose Specific Ad Placements: When someone watches the video “Avon vs. Aveeno,” serve an ad about my product.
  • Basic Demographic & Geographic Information: Show ads to people within a certain geographic region or those within a certain demographic.

This type of targeting makes YouTube a great platform for advertisers. Don’t waste time on a speculative advertisement campaign. Instead, invest in a strong production team and start building a successful YouTube presence.

YouTube stats for advertisers and creators

50% of all watch time on YouTube comes from mobile users.

You Need to Rank in Search Results

Most small and medium-sized businesses understand the importance of strong search engine rankings. I’m sure you’ve read countless articles on the benefits of SEO. And you may have even experienced its power firsthand.

But did you know that YouTube can be an even stronger SEO tool than your website?

YouTube is the Second Largest Search Engine

User stats on YouTube

Processing over 3 billion searches each month, YouTube is second only to Google itself as a search engine. Its popularity is changing the way we search online, and it directly influences the way we’re consuming information.

Use Video to Rank Higher in Google Results

Go spend a few minutes searching on Google. You’ll notice that, in many instances, YouTube videos dominate the rankings on the first page. Businesses without large corporate budgets – especially those in competitive industries – often find themselves at a disadvantage when it comes to gaining rankings over more established competitors.

But you can overcome that hurdle with YouTube.

Create a strong YouTube video SEO strategy and you can start ranking for keywords that once seemed impossible.

Gain Access to a Larger Audience

Ultimately, a successful YouTube presence brings a whole new dimension to your content, as you’ll get the chance to reach a larger audience and present your brand in a new way.

When it comes to utilizing this larger audience, there are a few tips to keep in mind:

  • Remember, it’s a social network. Get active in the community. Subscribe to other channels, comment on videos, and interact with people that engage with your content.
  • Get your brand featured on other channels. Create strategic partnerships to get your brand in front of a larger audience. It’s a chance to show off your product and gain new customers.
  • Use guests to grow your audience. Make videos that feature guests with audiences of their own. Once you publish these videos, ask your guests to share your videos. Because they’re in them, they’ll usually be more than happy to share, bringing even more traffic to your channel and increasing your presence.


50% of YouTube Traffic Comes from Mobile

You read that right. Recently, YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki confirmed that 50% of all watch time on the platform comes from mobile users. That’s an impressive number.

But that’s not it. It’s estimated that this number will continue to rise as more and more people adapt to a mobile environment. This is great news for companies that want to gain the attention of mobile users. It’s a prime opportunity to engage with you audience at pivotal moments.

Get Attention With On-the-Go Users

Generally speaking, mobile users have different objectives than desktop users. They’re often away from a computer, which means you could capture their attention while they’re out-and-about and needing your product.

Businesses want to capture the attention of users at just the right moment. Combine the percentage of mobile YouTube traffic with its search network strength, and you have a recipe for success.

Several Opportunities for High-Quality Content

You can use and leverage video in many ways. It’s a platform that can serve as a utilitarian tool one moment and a bold expression of creativity the next. This is great for businesses, because it allows you to showcase your company in a variety of styles.

Here are just a few ideas you can use to create YouTube videos for your business:

  • Create a branded vlog about industry topics.
  • Show off your company’s daily culture with behind-the-scenes shots.
  • Conduct regular interviews with leaders in your industry.
  • Host a webinar to teach an in-depth topic to your audience.
  • Cover the proceedings of a corporate event with video.
  • Use video to capture your next keynote or presentation.
  • Teach your audience something by recording a tutorial.
  • Film in-depth product demonstrations or reviews.
  • Show the best ways to use your product.
  • Share a testimonial from a happy customer.
  • Explain complex topics and messages with an animated video.
  • Special private videos for your best customers.

Once you’ve created your YouTube video, enhance its performance by taking advantage of the video site’s interactive features that let you link your video directly to a specific landing page, store, product page or event page. They’re an easy way to get the maximum value possible out of the video assets you’ve invested in.

Enterprising brands can create all types of high-quality content that will engage their audience, build their brand and help their companies reach greater success. These are just a few ideas to get you started – so head out and start creating your own successful YouTube presence!
Are you trying to build a YouTube presence for your company? If so, leave a comment below sharing the biggest challenge you’ve faced so far:

Lighting Outdoors with Modifiers

Make your outdoor interviews look great

Shooting interviews outdoors can be tricky. You often times don’t know what light you’ll be working with for exterior shoots until right before. Therefore, it’s a good ideal to have the tools needed for all types of lighting conditions.
If you don’t have the budget for large HMI or LED lights you might have to control and/or shape the sun to make your subjects look great on camera. When you’re talking to someone outside on a bright sunny day, you probably don’t notice that they have huge shadows beneath their eyes. But if you were to see this on screen you definitely would notice.

TAR Productions uses Suntracker for interviews outdoors

The sun is usually going to be the biggest and strongest light source available. This also means the sun can provide some harsh lighting conditions. Sometimes you’re forced to shoot outside, sometimes it makes the most sense for your story.

For example, when we were in Haiti with Helping Haitian Angels, we shot all interviews outside since the land, Kay Anj Village, was a huge part of the organization that it just wouldn’t have felt right to shoot inside.

The sun is usually going to be the biggest and strongest light source available.

The problem was that the land was very flat and dry without a ton of vegetation. This made it a challenge to find great interview spots. Fortunately, we brought with us a portable lighting kit from Matthews  that would allow us to shape and bounce light as needed.

Debbie, the main character in our Haiti documentary, was a really important to our story and we knew she was going to be responsible for a majority of the story. It’s our style to use a lot of B-Roll over interviews, but the moments that we do see her we want the image to be easy to look at and understand.

Setting up an exterior daylight interview

Debbie interview results, see how we light this

In the image above we have Debbie taken from a screengrab of one of the camera angles. Next to it, we see the setup. We placed her in the shade to light her face evenly. This provided a soft and natural light on her face. The light was very high as this interview took place midday, that back background was unfortunately flat.

To fix this we took a Westcott 5-in-1 reflector on a Manfrotto Nano Stand and bounced it to rim light the back of her head. The kick from the reflector was small, but noticeable. It was able to separate our subject from the background and put her at the foreground of where the eye naturally focuses.

Haiti was 90˚ & 95% humid, so having our interviewees in shade was imperative.

In Haiti, we had 5 main character to interview. And because the land was very flat and open, it didn’t provide many locations to interview at. Haiti was 90˚ and about 95% humidity, so having our interviewees in the shade was imperative. Had they been in the sun, they would have started sweating immediately. This would make them less comfortable and the sweat reflecting in the sun would make it less desirable to watch.

We shot all the interviews in one day in Haiti. As the day went on and the sun got higher, our shade disappeared. When we interviewed Ben, we barely had enough shade for him to sit in and be comfortable.

Daylight exterior interview setup

Final lighting for exterior lighting

The dry grass and openness provided a golden reflection on Ben’s pale face. With him sitting next to a giant wall of cactus this made his face very contrasty. To lessen the contrast and even out the warm color from the golden grass we flipped our 5-in-1 reflector to golden side. This provided the smooth contrast we were looking for while keeping the colors similar.

To our surprise, Ben gave a fantastic interview that really had an impact on our story. We ended up using a lot more of what Ben had to say than we anticipated, and we were glad we went the extra mile to light his interview properly.

Exterior Interview lighting overcast day

Lighting on Overcast days

Overcast days will naturally provide a soft light that evenly lights your subject’s face. Often times this provides the look you’re going for without much effort. However, sometimes you’ll want to add contrast.

Similar to the example with Ben in Haiti, adding contrast to your image can happen one of two ways: you can add light via a light source or reflector, or you can remove light via a flag or net.

For a series of testimonials for Premier Fitness Camp we shot over several weeks we were tasked with quick setups and dealing with all the elements of shooting outdoors. One morning was very overcast and we positioned our talent, Phil, away from the sun.

Why did we position him with his back to the sun? The sun acted as a backlight providing separation from the background and our subject. Since these were testimonials by actual customers, not actors, it took a few more takes to get the message across. As the morning went on the sun started to burn through the morning marine layer.

The fog burning off provided both a challenge and opportunity. The sun was now providing a stronger backlight and toplight, making our subject look great. However, we wanted to increase the contrast slightly to help separate him from the bleak background.

By adding a 24×36 flag to the left side of his face we effectively removed light, keeping the contrast and overall providing the look we were going for. NoFilmSchool has more details on negative fill. The images above show you a behind the scenes look at our simple setup, and what it image looks like without and with the flag.


Shaping Morning and Evening Light

Outdoor lighting with silk modifier

Exterior silk modifier lighting example

What about when shooting outside when there aren’t any clouds? When the sun is high the lighting can be harsh. Another one of our go-to tools for exterior lighting are white muslins and silks.

The images below show a large 6×6 matthews frame with a silk fabric. A silk is one of my favorite fabrics to soften light. It provides a soft and natural looking diffusion.

Example Sunset Interview Lighting

Soft evening interview lighting outdoors

For Levi’s interview, we shot it near the end of the day, when the sun was getting low. This typically provides for better, more appealing light than midday, but since his back was towards the sun, bouncing light on his face would have made him squint his eyes too much, making the interview look unnatural.

We added a 4×4 opal behind him, softening the light and reducing the amount of light by 1-stop. We then added a California Bounce to his face which made our subject and the background more even.

Do you have some exterior lighting tips? Share with us below in the comments and let us know if you’d like a video tutorial.

10 Common Video Marketing Mistakes Small Business Owners Make

There’s no arguing with the fact that strong video content helps businesses reach their target markets and actively engage with viewers. Many iconic brands produce remarkable video content, and their results speak to the effectiveness of this marketing tool in building their brands and spreading their messages to an eager audience.

Unfortunately, small businesses don’t always see that kind of success.

It’s sad to see many coming up short with this powerful marketing method. In fact, in some cases, the video content does more harm than good. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

Businesses of all sizes can take advantage of the power of video marketing. You just need to be conscious of a few common mistakes. Avoid these problems and you’ll be well on your way to producing something that captivates the world.

Making a splash

1. Your Video is Too Promotional

No one likes to feel like they’re being sold on something. Too many small businesses make the mistake of producing online videos that feel like commercials, but that’s simply not the way to use video marketing in today’s online world.

Solution: Focus less on selling and more on telling a story. Video provides a unique opportunity to share an entire narrative in a few minutes. Take advantage of that through powerful, engaging storytelling. In fact, our entire process is built around telling stories. We dive deep into what makes a brand unique, and bring that out in the best form, whether that be a short documentary, branded entertainment or a commercial.

Got video strategy?

Stop and think about your video strategy. Stop making these mistakes.

2. You Don’t Have a Clear Branding Strategy in Place

On the flip side, you can’t neglect your branding all together. There’s got to be an element of your business in the video; otherwise, people won’t get to know you and your brand. Nike has pioneered the hyper realistic look, with a lot of contrast and deep dark shadows in their commercials, and when you see a Nike commercial you instantly feel like it fits their brand.

Solution: Find the balance between overly promotional and a lack of branding. Include logos and call-to-actions where applicable to keep a consistent message across your videos.

3. Your Video Goes On Too Long

Say what you mean and mean what you say – there’s no need to ramble on and on. The online world doesn’t have a long attention span. You’ve got to get to the point or you won’t hold their interest.

Solution: Stick to accepted standards for video length, which varies depending on the type of video you create. This article on TNW gives some great advice, broken down by video type.

Are your videos too long?

4. Your Video Lacks Any Entertainment Value

People love to feel entertained – it’s the main reason we consume video content in the first place. But don’t worry – you can make your video content entertaining, even if you feel like you’re in a “boring” industry. A bit of flare and creativity will go a long way.

Solution: Find a way to make your content entertaining (and remember that “entertaining” doesn’t always mean “funny”). It’s just a matter of making people want to watch your video rather than do something else. That’s why creating a strategy in pre-production is so important. You get the chance to figure out how you’ll make people want to watch.

5. You’re Giving Viewers Information Overload

Don’t try to share everything you know in just one video. It’ll overwhelm the audience, and they won’t watch the video all the way through. No one likes information overload, and you’ll see that reflected in your average drop-off rates.

Solution: Stick to one main point in every video – remember, you can make more videos later. It’s great that you have a lot to say, as this means you’ll be able to keep up a consistent flow of videos. Don’t limit your future video creation opportunities by forcing all of your material into a single clip. More videos means a greater opportunity to invest in a solid distribution strategy and reach more customers.

Trying too hard to go viral?

6. Your Focus Too Much on “Going Viral”

Too many small businesses focus on “going viral.” That’s all they want to accomplish, but people can tell when something feels forced. That kind of thinking will lead you straight to the graveyard of awkward, unwatched online videos.

Solution: A viral video happens when you focus on the right things. Think about what you can do for your viewers first. Only after you have them, their interests and their needs firmly in place at the front of your mind can you create something worthy of the virality you desire.

7. You Don’t Have a Clear Video Marketing Strategy

A clear video marketing strategy includes several different components:

  • A simple, one-line statement that summarizes: The type of video you want to create, the target demographic for the video and the takeaways you want the audience to leave with.
  • An understanding of the topic, as well as how you’ll use your video to further your business goals (e.g. facilitating internal training, marketing a new product or supporting the sales department).
  • An outline of who will create the content. If you have a strategic production partner, make sure to document who is involved and what their responsibilities and requirements will be. Or, if you’re using an in-house team, break down each step of the production process and note each person that will be involved along the way.
  • A clear guide for where you’ll distribute the video.
  • An understanding of how you’ll measure the performance of the video marketing campaign from start to finish.

Solution: Take a few hours – even a few days, if necessary – and use them to create a clear strategy. That way, after your clip is completed, you can evaluate your efforts based on the above criteria and implement any necessary changes in your next video marketing campaign.

8. You Expect Instant, Overnight Results

Many business owners upload a video and expect thousands of views by the next day. But that’s just not realistic. The work doesn’t stop when the upload starts – in many ways, that’s when the real work begins.

Solution: Set clear, attainable goals for your videos. If you don’t hit the mark, that’s okay. Measurement leads to insight, and insight can help you improve your videos for next time around.

Is your video strategy dead?

Confusion is abundant. Get a clear strategy.

9. Your Video Isn’t Optimized for Distribution

Want more engagement and better responses from your viewers? Any of the following small steps can help get your video in front of a wider audience:

  • Use target keywords in your video titles, descriptions and tags to optimize for SEO.
  • Share your on top video hosting platforms like Vimeo or Wistia, not just on YouTube.
  • Create a prominent landing page to host and promote the video on your website.

Solution: It may seem like extra work, but you should always take the time to optimize your video for correct distribution. If you want a video that brings results, you’ve got to make it easy for viewers to find it and share it with others.

10. You Haven’t Chosen the Right Production Partner

One of the biggest mistakes small business owners make? Producing a low-quality video.

That’s why you need the right production partner. If you don’t have an in-house team, look for a company that’s open to understanding your vision and capturing it for you; someone that cares about your needs and seeks to meet them throughout the entire production.

Solution: Meet with several production companies and evaluate them based on how you feel from the initial meeting (we’d love to snag a meeting with you too!). The right company will stand out from the rest, making your decision easy.


There you have it! The 10 common mistakes that business owners make with video marketing. Are you guilty of any of these mistakes? What plans do you have for avoiding these faux pas with your next video? Share your thoughts by leaving us a comment below!

Who’s who on a film set?

Film Set Roles Identified.

Do you ever watch the credits at the end of a movie and wonder why so many people are involved? Besides the occasional comedic outtakes or behind-the-scenes videos, the endless list of names and roles that makes up the credits are typically pretty boring.

I appreciate movies that offer the bonus material during the credits – something I picked up on from my early days making surf and action sports videos. It takes a small army to create creative work, with many specialists working simultaneously throughout the project’s lifetime.
All of these people deserve recognition, but still, the credits seem to go on forever, taking minutes to display all the names associated with the project. Offering an incentive to watch the credits demonstrates respect for the people behind it, but what do all these people do and why are they important? Let’s break it down…

Video shoot call sheet

Studio-backed feature films are creatures of habit, which means that they’ll always employ a large number of people to complete a film. Did you know there are a few companies in Hollywood that only produce end credits? And another that only produces the much shorter, but more viewed, intro credits?

Luckily, corporate video production usually comes with much smaller crews, but occasionally, certain projects require several individuals or crew members with specialized talents to make everything come together. In fact, it’s common to see crew members on these smaller video production shoots wearing multiple hats.

Let’s take a look at some of the specialized roles in filmmaking and video production to see how they all come together to produce great video content…


Above the Line

Above the line refers to the positions of high importance – those on top of the hierarchy who have a lot of authority on a film set. Historically, this was done to separate the budget for these roles before a film was made from a separate budget that was created for the actual production.


Executive Producer (EP)

Typically, the executive producer is someone who finances a film, but isn’t 100% involved on the day-to-day creative process during production. For short films commissioned by businesses, this may be the CEO who signs off on the project


The producer is hired by the executive producer to ensure the movie is made correctly and that everything goes smoothly. A producer usually creates an initial budget and runs the logistics during production – in a sense, they’re the equivalent of a project manager in a modern company.

Depending on the size of the production, there can be several producers on a movie, all of whom have their own areas area of expertise (such as finance, location or crew).


The director is the one responsible for telling the story and bringing it to life on screen. A director’s responsibilities include working with the actors, answering interview questions, setting location and blocking, as well as writing shot lists and deciding on the film’s overall look and composition. The director is responsible for the look, feel and mood of the film and works with all levels of creative talent and production members.


The screenwriter is responsible for writing the script or narration, or sometimes drafting  interview questions for the director. This role largely depends on the type of production, whether that be a film, commercial, documentary or digital video, all of which may require the screenwriter to work closely with the producing team and director on elements such as mood, setting, and character descriptions.

The lines you always repeat from your favorite movies? You have the screenwriter(s) to thank for that.


Actors and actresses are huge assets to films. In many branded entertainment pieces, such as the Quiksilver commercials we produced, the talent were endorsed athletes who held long-term contracts with Quiksilver. For our Penny Skateboards videos, we were able to reach out to friends to cast the entire piece.

The lines you always repeat from your favorite movies? You have the screenwriter to thank for that.

Below the Line

The below the line crew are often viewed as being more expendable to the production and can be replaced more easily,if need be. They’re typically hired only after a film or video has been given the green light. And although they’re responsible for a majority of the day-to-day heavy lifting on a project, they typically only work in one or two phases of a film.

Line Producer

The line producer works with the producing team and handles the budget, specifically by tracking and logging expenses.

On smaller productions, a line producer can be overkill if the film’s producer can handle all production logistics and needs.

Associate Producer

Associate producers help above the line producers with various tasks throughout the production process. Associate producer are often those who are working their up the chain of command. They may also be responsible for securing an asset for the film being made, such as financing, an actor or location. This is akin to a formal “thanks for the help!” from the executive producer or producing team.

Production Manager

Production managers are responsible for the physical aspects of production, but are not involved in any of the creative work. They’re imperative to executing certain logistics, such as making sure gear and equipment arrive on time.

Film crew

Video shoot 1st AC

Assistant Director

Contrary to their title, assistant directors don’t actually direct the film, but instead, run the day-to-day management. Their responsibilities include managing the shooting schedule and keeping the crew on track each day, as well as queuing up the background actors. Typically, only larger sets have room for one or more assistant directors.

Director of Photography (aka, DP or Cinematographer)

The DP works with the director on bringing the look, feel and mood of the film to life for your audience. DPs are responsible for all lighting decisions and the quality of the light (such as its shape, intensity, position and color). They provide input on camera angles, lens choice and movement.

DPs will also offer insight into which camera to use during production, depending on several factors. Most DPs will prefer different camera systems depending on the style of work being done, such as a commercial on set or a documentary on location.

Camera Operator

On smaller productions, the DP will also operate the camera. However, on larger productions, this task is often given to an operator who can help move the production along smoothly and increase everyone’s speed.

Camera Assistant

Low budget productions will have a camera assistant, or “1st AC,” before having a dedicated camera operator. ACs are responsible for helping the DP get the right lens for the shot, in addition to making sure any batteries, media cards and other accessories needed are ready for the next group of shots or scene. They’re typically tasked with building the camera at the beginning of the day and making sure everything gets put back in its place at the end.
Depending on the number of cameras being used, you may also see 2nd and 3rd ACs helping the 1st AC.

Cinematographer with Easy Rig


The gaffer works with the director of photography to help shape the light. Essentially, gaffers are in charge of lighting and will place flags, nets or diffusion filters on lights to control their color, softness and intensity. Gaffers traditionally manage the grips and electricians on set and usually work their way up to being DPs.


The grips are responsible for building and rigging lighting, dolly tracks and other lighting accessories. The key grip is in charge of other grips and reports to the gaffer. On smaller sets, it’s common to have the same person handling the gaffing and gripping during the production.


The electrical team handles getting power on set (usually required for the production’s lights) and manages the power draw on the building or generator. Electricians will run distribution boxes strategically on set so that they’re both safe and out of the way from other personnel.


The digital intermediate technician (DIT) is what many people call the most important role on set. The DIT is responsible for transferring the filming data on the camera’s cards to hard drives (note – plural). They usually have a system for this process and  back up each card a minimum of two times. They may also use programs like Shotput Pro that performs check sums of the data to make sure all files are there and are not corrupt.
Although corrupt data is rare, when it does happen, there’s nothing that can be done about it. Therefore, DITs must work quickly and perform quality control checks throughout the filming process to ensure nothing’s lost.

Art Director

The Art Director is works with the Production Designer, Set Designer, Prop Master and others in the Art Department. The Art Director is responsible for realizing the creative vision set by the Director to give the film a unique looks. Often times the Art Director is in charge of bringing a brand’s look and feel to a commercial or entertainment piece.

Video crew & Audio Boom Operator

Boom Operator

The boom operator is easily identifiable on set – he’s the one holding the microphone on the pole wearing headphones. The boom op’s job is to get the microphone as close to the action as possible, without the equipment or its shadows showing up on camera.

Production Sound Mixer

Finally, the sound mixers take all the audio inputs generated by the filming process and records them to flash media cards. They’ll then place mics on each actor or character and recordthem on separate channels, giving them the ability to adjust the audio levels of each mic individually.
Good sound mixers will make sure all audio tracks are recording properly, providing much more flexibility in post production. They’ll typically bring their own equipment and microphones, making the sound quality as good as possible.

A TAR Productions Film Set

Typically, our sets range from 2-12 people. As an example, the sales video we produced for Monster Energy Drink had a crew of 25 and required 6 days for principle photography. The Housecall video, on the other hand, was shot in one day with a crew of 4, plus help from the Housecall team.

As you might expect, different projects will require specific roles be handled by an expert, while other projects are more flexible and can be handled by a smaller team that incorporates both film professionals and the client’s in-house team.

The more experts you have on your crew, the higher your production value will be overall. This means you’ll end up with a better product that people want to watch more of and share online. It may be be more expensive to produce, as experts tend to charge more for their expertise, but the impact the final video can have on your business’s bottom line can more than make up for the added expenses.
Was this helpful in understanding who’s who on a film or video set? Did you ever imagine that so much went into creating the videos you enjoy every day?

17 Viral Successes that Prove Small Companies Can Win with Video Marketing

Big Viral Wins.

Too many small business owners believe that video marketing is something that’s only accessible or feasible for large businesses. And sure, that may have been true, once upon a time. But we live in a new age now.

Businesses small and large can make an impact with video marketing – all it takes is a bit of creativity. The following 17 examples prove that it’s possible for your small business to win with video marketing, without breaking the bank:

Lawyer Jamie Casino

This successful video aired during in the 2014 Super Bowl. Your small business may not have the budget to purchase a local ad during an event like this, but that shouldn’t stop you from creating something that’s Super Bowl worthy. This ad works because it blows viewers away.

Do your videos do that?

Robert Dollwet – Animal Behavior Business

It’s pretty clear that online success and cute cats are tightly intertwined, an adorable stereotype that Robert Dollwet continues to perpetuate with this video. At first, you don’t even realize that it’s an ad, as there’s no strong call-to-action or logo at the end of the video. Instead, the video tells a story and then only briefly mentions who trained all the animals involved.

The lesson here? Focus on the story – not on your agenda.

Wren Studio – First Kiss

First Kiss took the internet by storm, racked up millions of YouTube views in a just a few months. Ultimately, the ad was picked up by the media and major news outlets, and you can now find tons of parody videos using the same concept as Wren. Best of all? The exposure came from a simple $1,300 production cost.

Small businesses really can win, even without a huge budget.

Ojai Valley Taxidermy Services

Remember Chuck Testa? The viral taxidermy star was able to reach a huge online audience with his hilarious video. So far, it’s generated millions of views and even became its own Internet meme. The video works as a great example of how any industry can succeed with video marketing. All you need is a bit of creativity, a good story and a splash of humor.

Dollar Shave Club

The Dollar Shave Club video above is a very popular example of viral video success, as the company spent just $4,500 on the video. From that small investment, the business received 12,000 new orders in the first 48 hours alone. That’s the kind of positive ROI that you can get from a great video.

GoPro – Fireman Saves a Kitten

Here’s another great example of the virality of kittens. Really, who can resist this video of a fireman saving the smallest little life?

Aside from the internet’s love of kittens, this video works because of its authenticity. It’s not a staged piece, and it gives viewers a very happy ending. GoPro does a great job of showing the audience how a simple camera can capture such a heroic event in everyday life.

Codeschool – What Most Schools Don’t Teach

This video goes back to the beginning of several iconic websites and brands – including Twitter, Microsoft, Apple and Facebook – and interviews the owners, telling the story of how these successful founders wrote their first line of code or designed something masterful.

People love to hear how others got their start, as it makes them relatable and their success achievable. Every industry has big names that your small business can capitalize on for a similarly powerful video.

Gotstyle Gets Naked

Who doesn’t love a bit of nudity and mild profanity? It may not hold the same cuteness factor as cats, but this risqué video got menswear store, Gotstyle, on the map. Again, the video tells a story that captivates and entertains the audience (and the attractive, nude model certainly doesn’t hurt).

Since launching the video, the Toronto store has been so successful that it’s opened a second location that caters to both genders.

Alphabet Photography – Flash Mob

Alphabet Photography surprised holiday shoppers with an on-the-spot performance of the Hallelujah Chorus – a difficult piece to perform even in nice, structured auditoriums. But the chorus involved did a great job, even while dispersing through the crowded holiday audience.

You may not have the interest or resources to put together a flash mob, but you can still take a lesson from Alphabet and find other ways to surprise and impress.

Ultra Ever Dry

In the perfect world, you have a product that sells itself, and it seems as if UltraTech International occupies this ideal space. There’s nothing hilarious, risqué or awkward about a coating for your concrete blocks. Yet, the company has mesmerized millions in this video. If your product speaks for itself, don’t underestimate its power to captivate.

Skater Ollies Car

We’re a little biased with this one since we made it, but it went viral in the truest sense of the word. Being one of the first modern viral videos, Skater Ollies Car quickly found itself on the homepage of the Internet’s most popular sites at the time, and last time we checked had amassed over 4 million views total. Pretty incredible for a budget of $385.

Corning – A Day Made of Glass

This video will blow your mind by opening up a world of possibilities. At the same time, it takes B2B video marketing to a new level by creating a broad appeal to the consumer market. Chances are, most of the tens of millions of people who viewed the video aren’t involved in the B2B glass-buying business. But its viral nature captivated audiences far and wide, potentially creating demand for the products featured and contributing to Corning’s success.

VeriSign – Cart Whisperer

VeriSign used this quirky video campaign – another great example of how you can be clever and use humor, regardless of your industry – to help promote their security products. Remember, the greatest ideas often come when you let go of convention and start thinking outside the box.


In 2009, millions of people faced the nightmare of losing their jobs, causing many who were employed before the Great Recession to become entrepreneurs out of necessity. Although Grasshopper’s video is very simple, its underlying message hit home with the target audience, proving that you don’t always have to go over-the-top. Sometimes, simple works best.

Pazazz – Printing’s Alive

In the digital era, the printing industry doesn’t get much attention, and Pazazz knew just how to capitalize on that in this humorous, if mildly offensive, video. The company did a great job of convincing viewers that they’ll have a great experience with the business – even if they’ve never worked with professional printers before.

Blendtec – Will It Blend?

Before Blendtec released the first of their “Will it Blend?” videos, name recognition for the blender builder was low. Now, the company has become a bit of a household name, thanks to its provocative videos. Blendtec really succeeds with shock and awe factor, as they’ve blended thousands upon thousands of dollars worth of products to date.

Rush T-Shirts – T-Shirt War

This last video is a bit of a different example, as Rush T-Shirts actually sponsored the video, which was then created by YouTubers Rhett and Link. That said, the success of this viral video just goes to show the many different paths that small businesses can take in order to reach a much larger audience through the power of video marketing.


Do you have any other great examples of viral videos that prove small businesses can win with video marketing? Go ahead and share them in the comments below!