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Why You Always Want Lighting Hair and a Makeup Team For Your Video

During the era of social media, in the world of everlasting content on the internet, we can all agree that image really is everything (thank you Andre Agassi)! And when you commit to delivering a unique brand message through video, the last thing you need to worry about is reading unfavorable comments about your double chin, or going viral because the audience was distracted by your whacked out hair. No one will remember your brand, but they will surely name your pimple – definitely not the goal of any video!

Covid-19, more than before, has shined a light on the importance of why you always want lighting, hair and makeup for any video shoot.

We’ve all seen it, the major pivots large corporations and networks have had to take because of the stay-at-home order in place due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Newscasters are broadcasting from their homes, television hosts, like Jimmy Fallon are no longer in studios, but in their kitchens with their kids alongside them on live television.

Graciously, there is appreciation in knowing our favorite shows can continue during this time, but we must admit there have been some, er… major setbacks when it comes to how all our favorite celebs are looking on camera.

To put it plainly, if you didn’t notice quality lighting and talented glam squads before the pandemic you absolutely miss ‘em now that they’re gone!

1. Why is lighting so important?

Many people don’t realize that everything we do in video production revolves around light. We’ll skip the filmmaking 101 lesson, but remember quality imagery begins with good lighting. Case in point, have you seen yourself on Zoom when the lighting is terrible? Yeah, us too, and it’s not a pretty sight!

When working with professionals they know the specifics of lighting to get any person, celebrity or not, through a shoot without breaking a sweat (…well maybe a little sweat under the hot lights). The right light is often chosen like a painter would choose the right brush – the type of light, color, angle, distance, height. It all factors into what is considered a well-lit subject. And let’s be real, most people don’t know and many don’t care (and that includes the talented people on camera!)… until it’s gone.

To mitigate sweat breaking, and power consumption, perhaps you’d prefer lighting options that pull less power and produce less heat. If so, you may want to choose LED or RGB lighting options. Our friends at Magnanimous Rentals in Chicago review the assembly and basic operation of several RGB options in their blog post RGB Lighting Adds Color to the Movie Palette’.

The Boston Globe rated a handful of people making their online video premiere during the stay-at-home order. Easily, you can see who gets it, and sadly, who doesn’t!

2. Makeup or Not?!

If you haven’t noticed, screenshots are being captured left and right. Videos are being shared on social media timelines everywhere. We know that during this period of social distancing and broadcasting from home, often alone, we are forced to our own devices. The question for you is, when we finally are allowed to leave the house do you want to be ready for your cameo or not? Just know being prepared and having a quality makeup artist assist you will have you looking like you need to be on a magazine cover. The confidence implemented when you illuminate your best features, you know the ones you’re most proud of, will get you into your #forevermood! That mood where you become the new age model you’ve always known you could be.

Since the lighting crew will surely make you sweat it is always preferable for a makeup artist to start you off on the right foot, and keep you there for the remainder of the day. Let’s face it, making videos takes time. Nobody looks the same at 6pm as they did six hours earlier. It’s important to enhance your look with makeup and know with a makeup artist onsite you will have someone tending to your best look all day long.

Take a look at the ladies from the talk show, The Talk. They got the memo – makeup on deck, even from home!

3. Is a hair stylist really necessary?

Now, as we have conquered lighting and make-up, tell me do you think a hair stylist is necessary? The Atlantic offered some enlightenment. Simply put, do you want a comparable image like the one below with 15.1 million views plastered all over the world wide web of you and your hair looking like an unforgettable style, and not in a good way. If you’re one of the funniest people in the world, like Will Ferrell, this hairdo may work for you, but for the rest of us, this look is not getting us to our next paycheck.

In the end, your brand message should always be the focal point of any video you make. Looking your best doesn’t have to mean overdoing it with makeup or hair styling. It simply means that your appearance does not distract from what you are saying. Like many aspects of filmmaking it is often the case that if you don’t notice a technique it is being done correctly. That is very different than not doing it at all.


Connect with Bottle Rocket Media to produce a valuable video that represents your brand clearly and efficiently and we’ll be sure to use the appropriate lighting, makeup and hair team you need!

Maintaining Brand Awareness During Covid-19

We can all reason that when it comes to brand management Covid-19 has created a tailspin of uncertainty in the minds of practically every marketer, but if we are honest with ourselves this type of worry has always been there – if we are doing our jobs correctly. Maintaining brand awareness has always been an ultimate challenge. What do we do to keep it fresh and current? When should we consider changing it up? What needs to happen today? For those responsible for these marketing decisions the task is never ending.

Now, during a time of quarantine, massive unemployment, and with a polarized nation on edge, maintaining brand awareness is more challenging than ever.

The good news is the playing field has been leveled and for those of you paying attention there is a lot of great opportunity abound. Considering the changes that have occurred so swiftly and the ones that are sure to come, this moment requires that we all acknowledge our brand persona even more to ensure we will continue to deliver our unique brand message clearly, post Covid-19.

Here are 5 steps you should consider to make sure you are in the game for the long haul and you are maintaining your brand message clearly.

1. Take a breath

Yeah, yeah, it sounds simple. It may even sound cliche’, but the point is, adequate deep breathing has taken the back burner for many of us. Have you centered yourself enough to be able to think clearly and not act in a rash manner? We suggest you take the time to get into a space of acceptance. Take a day off to contemplate in your garden, or take a social distancing walk with a neighbor; even a virtual happy hour. Whatever will help you recharge your critical thinking can only help you to be more focused. It may not solve any immediate challenges, but it will allow you to see the bigger picture of what lies ahead. This is a marathon, not a sprint. So take that breath. A quality one.

2. Ask yourself, what is it that your brand needs to be saying now?

Start with, asking yourself, what is it that your brand needs to be saying now? Pinpoint 3 brand messages that people need to know about you right now.

Think about Microsoft. Just 3 months ago, there were a limited number of businesses utilizing Microsoft Teams. Now, with so many remote workers, Microsoft Teams has now become a necessity. According to GeekWire more people have become aware of its features and have begun to use the platform. This all occurred because, yes, these times cause for more of a demand, but more importantly, Microsoft took advantage of the opportunity by changing their messaging and strategizing how to deliver it. For them, it was by commercial advertising.

Click to watch commercial!

The point is, brands all around the world are noticing the importance of creating avenues that make sense at this time, and you definitely don’t want to be left behind. Focus on your messaging and how it matters to your audience. Then decide on the best way to release it!

3. Who is your audience?

Knowing your audience is pivotal to connecting the dots between you and your target consumer. Knowing who this audience is is the most important thing you can do when standing on shifting sands. Maybe have a Zoom call with your team with a whiteboard in the background and plot out ideas of who your target audience is. Try to draw the complete picture of who they are. Really ponder the following questions:

You may even have to consider that your audience has changed since the Covid-19 crisis has turned the world upside down. BMW now delivers your new car to your home and Little Caesar’s pizza is now offering curbside pickup. And everyone is talking about heroes, sanitary guidelines, and being quarantined!

Does any of this make sense? In the end, it’s all about staying connected to your audience and understanding what matters to them now.

4. Your message is unique – deliver it that way

There are various ways to communicate your brand message, right? Consider them all, and what makes the most sense for your audience. Would it be best to write the message in an article? Maybe an image will work best broadcasted across social media. Or maybe you need to go back to the drawing board and play around with telling a story using video.

The mode in which you select to deliver your unique message is the driver for the increase in awareness and business, so once again being strategic but authentic to your target audience is imperative.

For example, Nike ads are typically created with impressive high octane video clips. We all know them and we all love them. But just a month ago they flipped the script and came out with a new emotionally appealing and relatable video with a completely different look. Still photographs of what would usually be video. Take a look here. Due to the current shelter-in-place situation around the country, this approach allowed them to stay true to form with just a tweak on the delivery.

Click to watch the commercial!

On another note, someone like marketing guru Gary Vaynerchuck produces a variety of content in practically every mode available. Here, Gary discusses insights to help businesses during a tough time. In this blog post you will see both the written word, video, and even designed media to catch your eye. He is appealing to both his audience that enjoys visual messaging while also delivering the message through text in an entertaining and direct way. And, if you follow Gary V, this scattered approach is authentic to him. The goal is to truly grasp what works best for your audience and create the best content you can within these parameters.

Click to read and watch the video!

Are you inspired yet? Have you considered and analyzed the ideal message for your brand and how to deliver your unique brand message effectively? If you need an extra push or are looking for more direction; maybe the following will help.

5. Get with the experts

This is the best and final piece of the puzzle! Now that you know the message, you know the target audience, and you have determined the mode in which your target audience will connect with you through your message, you have to actually produce the content. But who is the right person for this daunting task?

It is our belief that it’s always best to have a conversation with the experts. A quick brainstorm session will inform you of next steps. It will help you hone in on your ideas and determine the budget necessary to pull it off.

Consider reaching out and connecting with a visual expert – someone who really knows their craft. You can ask for referrals or simply search online. Really help you grasp the best way to present your brand messaging.

Of course, when it comes to video we would love to chat with you about everything from telling a great story to the latest drone technology. From conception to delivery, we love this stuff and can talk about it all day long. To learn more about Bottle Rocket Media and what we can do for your brand, connect with us here.

Choosing The Right Music For Your Video: Q&A with Dan Fisher

Music drives much of what we do at Bottle Rocket Media.  Not just in post, but in prep and on location as well.  We are proud to be featured on the Universal Production Music website.  Check it out!

Bottle Rocket Media

If you enjoy finding the “perfect” music cut as much as Bottle Rocket Media’s founder, Dan Fisher, it’s a welcomed challenge. Dan is an Emmy Award-winning video editor who shared his thoughts on choosing good music for your video.

How do you choose good music for a video you’re editing?

There is nothing quite as subjective as choosing good music for videos. After all, a lifetime of musical influence is much bigger than any one video or any one editor. If you grew up within earshot of a radio or a television you have been raised with musical influence – obvious or not. Were you raised on country or R&B? Do you like electronic music or rolling piano melodies? Are you a top forty listener or mostly talk radio? All of these affect how we choose the “perfect” track(s) for a video.

At Bottle Rocket Media, when we are not working with a composer we need to keep the process fluid in order to allow for creativity as well as collaboration. The only way to do this is with a robust stock music library. I am a huge fan of music libraries. The good ones are great and the mediocre ones are terrible. There is no in between. With a music library, I can search in a variety of directions – emotional (upbeat, sad…), technical (beats per minute…), stylistic (electronic, acoustic…), even instrumentation (guitar, piano…). And a really good library will have a client services rep who knows the catalog well. This will save you time and help you gather more options.

What is the creative process on choosing music?

Seasoned editors develop a short-hand regarding what kind of music is “supposed” to work in certain situations. Typically, this is dictated by the emotional direction of the video and/or the region of the world where the video will be viewed. Of course, this only helps narrow down the choices. After this it’s anybody’s guess what will connect with the audience. For this reason, I always just choose what sounds best to me. No mind games. If it fits the tone and it sounds good I use it.

When do you begin to think about music tracks and what is your starting point?

We include music in everything we do, from script to final video. It’s helpful for the director, the actors, the editor and even the motion graphics designer. If I do not get direction from the client directly, I take my cues from the script, storyboards, and treatment. The tone of the video is usually pretty apparent from the onset of a project.

What do you avoid?

We are very collaborative at BRM. We take ideas from everywhere and the best idea always wins. That said, after the initial kickoff meeting, the fewer conversations we have about music, the better. It turns out that many people, even some of the most talented industry colleagues, cannot visualize how music will work in a video until they hear it in the video. So I like to pick music and present it with the first version. It shortens the conversation, allows us to find the final cue faster, and we get to be more creative with choices as well. We have had a great success rate with this method.

I assume ‘feeling/mood’ plays a huge role, talk to me about that.

Yes. It is everything. The mood of the script, the mood of the person picking the music, the mood of the editor and audio mixer. If anyone of these is dramatically out of alignment the music usually doesn’t work as well as we thought it would.


What are some mistakes people often make when choosing music?

To me most of the challenges surrounding music are in the non-fiction space. With scripted material, you pretty much know your end product before you start. Tone, talent, design, etc. And often you have a composer to write music specific to the final video. In the non-fiction space, you often have to switch musical direction after the first version of the video. The tone could be slightly different than planned, the music might compete with speaker’s voice or pacing, or the footage may simply inspire a new direction. All of these challenges are what makes non-fiction/documentary editing challenging and exciting.

And, after all is said and done, I always try and avoid stereotypes… At Bottle Rocket Media we approach all aspects of the process with a fresh and unique perspective, especially music. Finding the perfect cut of music is a fun challenge, and if you enjoy music as much as I do it’s a welcomed challenge.

Any technical tips?

Too often I find a cut I love that competes with the voice of my interview subjects or voiceover artists, especially with piano. A great way to make a music cut work when your budget doesn’t allow for a professional audio mixer is to use an EQ effect on the music. Just pull down the mids and the problem usually goes away.

Hey, thanks, Dan!

Have a video that needs the perfect track? Contact us here.

The New Normal: Unexpected Perks From Covid

Here is a great article we had published in REEL Chicago.  If you’d like to read it on their platform go here.  Otherwise read on.

Bottle Rocket Media is a video content agency that boasts more than a hundred industry awards and a staff of eleven.

Like most of the world, the group at Bottle Rocket Media has been working from home since March 16. Since then we have been communicating using video chats, the phone, slack, email, and text. To put it another way, just another day at the office.

While we are proponents of working through the creative process together, in the studio together, it has become clear these past few weeks that our team has refined the concept of together as we maintain strong communication and robust creativity. Except, of course, we miss one another and our clients and life on set and La Colombe coffee on Randolph street.

Today, at our daily standup Dan complimented Siobhan on her vaulted ceilings and the team discussed toilet paper. I guess this is the new normal. We are more intimate than we were before (which is hard to believe) and as a result we are more concerned about one another’s well being. And it’s not just with our team, but with all of our clients and vendors and idle crews as well.

It seems necessary to address the technical aspects of working from home when discussing the new normal, but there really is very little to discuss in this area. At the end of the day on Friday the thirteenth we packed up our workstations, consolidated our media and went home, only to reconnect for our usual Monday morning meeting via Google Meet. Oh, I guess we did have one small hiccup with our server so we called our IT Guru, Adam of Most Training & Consulting. He logged in remotely, killed a Gremlin or two, and we were good to go.

Beside the team themselves, a few more work-from-home honorable mentions go to Slack, Frame io, Sprout, Microsoft, Google, and of course the entire Adobe family.

And as we have been working away these past few weeks we can now say that the anxiety of working from home was much greater than the actual task of working from home. Uncooperative kids and noisy roommates and poor internet connections begone. At the end of the day, each of us has found at least one reason to wake up and do it all over again tomorrow.

Here are a few of the unexpected perks we have learned in the first few weeks of working from home.

Dan Fisher – I underestimated the joy of having a dog at my feet all day and taking dog selfies

Brett Singer – It’s been nice to play chess everyday with my boys. And cool to see them get into it and play one another.

Dan Wulfing – I used to view meetings as a necessary evil. I always felt as if I was being pulled away from an active project. Now I really look forward to seeing my coworkers, even if it is through a webcam. Meetings have become a welcomed event. It’s a good reminder we’re all in this together.

Siobhan Summers – My afternoon coffee has become time to brush up on my hopscotch skills.

Stephanie Jaslowski – being able to step out and find the different ways people in the neighborhood are choosing to be creative and inspire others

Dave Sarno – The greatest perk, no commute!  Which leaves a little more time for extracurriculars.

Tre Manchester – Now that I’m always twenty feet from a kitchen, there’s been more opportunity to cook and play with new foods and recipes, something that I had stopped doing during the hustle of a “normal” week.

As we continue to push forward, waiting for the film permit office to reopen, we know that our motion design team is going to be busy this Springtime. With production grinding to a halt from coast to coast our clients have allowed us to get creative with previously shot footage and stock footage, motion design, and animation. So until we get testing and it is safe to be on location again we will continue to tell stories and deliver messages as we’ve always done, keeping an eye out for unexpected benefits along the way.

Save Your Video Campaign With Post Production During Covid-19

If you’re like us, you make videos; everyday, all day long. But what do you do when your planned six month long video campaign gets shelved indefinitely? Or your web series gets halted in the middle of production? Turning to post production during Covid-19 can help save your video campaign.

The magic of post production is often overshadowed by the allure of the production scene – Cameras, lights, microphones… ACTION!

But when you peel back the layers of video storytelling you will find a world of resources that will allow you to keep delivering your message without leaving your Coronavirus bunker.

Here are a few great ways to continue making movie magic by turning to post production during Covid-19.

1. Stock Footage

Gone are the days of swimsuit models in white lab coats being passed off as medical footage. In case you haven’t been paying attention, over the last five years the quality and the quantity of great stock footage libraries has grown considerably.

The Old Ways Versus The New Way

The general sites, such as Getty Images, Shutterstock, Dissolve, or Filmpac have stepped up their games, for sure, by constantly updating their libraries with more high quality material. But also, if you dig a little deeper you will find pre-made collections geared around topics like diversity or Baby Boomers. The opportunities to create visual stories are endless.

2. Stock Music

Some days I think there are more stock music libraries than there are musicians. It is really amazing what you can find if you are willing to spend a little time hunting down the “perfect” track.  Talented musicians making music, all over the world.  That’s the landscape the digital age has provided for us music consumers.

You can find soundalikes, such as this one reminiscent of Coldplay, from Universal Production Music. You can find obscure culturally motivated tracks like this unique interpretation of Tchaikovsky. Or you can simply type in “Rock” and party all weekend long.

Bottle Rocket Media Music

Good sites will allow you to narrow down your search using keywords or tags. Great sites will provide you with stems, individual instruments of a song isolated for easy editing.

And let the stock professionals give you a hand. Most stock sites offer real live representatives who will assist you on your searches. Utilize this. The libraries are vast and the process can be overwhelming, especially when you are on a tight timeline.

3. Motion Graphics

Stock motion graphics are a resource, but good luck finding the fonts and an animated style that matches your brand.

At Bottle Rocket Media we believe that custom motion graphics is the best way to get these stock products to conform to your brand attitude and deliver your brand message. Look at how we combined stock footage with custom graphics in this company video for Drivin.

When considering all the reasons motion graphic videos are awesome, any day of the week, you should really read our last blog, pre Covid-19 – 5 REASONS YOUR COMPANY NEEDS TO BE CREATING MOTION GRAPHICS VIDEOS.

But if you don’t want to read it, here’s what it says. Motion graphics videos are awesome!  They are a great mechanism for:

4. Customized Voice Over

The digital age has arrived and with it came online alcohol delivery, the ability for major corporations to work from home during a crisis, and remote voiceover recording.

Recording custom voiceover is easier than ever with operators like Just like any other service online, you can order up a voiceover session at the click of a button.

Every professional VO artist has a home recording studio and every professional VO artist is connected to the world wide web. And, bonus, you can direct and record the session over the phone! You no longer need to break those pesky social distancing rules by cramming together into a tiny sound proof booth.

5. Hiring a Post Production Team that knows their stuff

Teamwork makes the dreamwork. Invest in a post production team whose videos impress you. Check out their work. Talk to them, ask questions. The right team will understand your vision and maybe even take it to places you never dreamed.

You are marketing experts and advertising giants. You are great at your job. So look for a post production team who is just as good. This team will likely have years of experience and expertise to lock step with you and get creative.  Working together you’ll make video gold.

We use each of these elements every day. And used together we can really tell a compelling story, allowing you to fill the gaps in your current video campaign or start something new that is as dynamic as you want it to be. These elements are high quality, professional and might just save the day. If you are interested in turning to post production during COVID-19 contact Bottle Rocket Media.

5 Reasons Why Motion Graphics is Important

For years, motion design and animated videos have been a fun way to inform and entertain customers and employees alike. Producing a custom animation that delivers your message can sometimes cost more than you want to spend. If you are on the fence about whether or not you should use motion graphics to tell your story, keep reading.  Here are the five main benefits of creating motion graphics videos.

1. Simplify Complex Information

If you work in a highly technical industry or simply seek to explain complicated information, communicating with your audience can have its challenges.

Motion graphic videos are an effective way for content marketers to communicate this complex information and data-rich content in an easy-to-digest format.

Once your audience has a clear understanding of your information and process, they can make the connection between what your brand does and how it can fulfill their needs. This is essential to moving your audience through the sales funnel.

Motion graphics can make learning new information exciting. The dynamic nature of the content draws your audience in and keeps them focused—which helps with retention of the information.

Bottle Rocket Media | Litera “Transact”

2. Increase Brand Awareness

We all know that brand awareness is key to driving conversions. In a market that is highly saturated with content – standing out from the crowd can be challenging. After all, if someone has never heard of your brand, how can they be expected to convert?

Put simply: motion graphics are memorable—and that drives brand awareness.

While live action video is a great way to engage your audience, there can be limitations to how much you can incorporate your brand messaging without it feeling like overkill, or too salesy.

Motion graphics, on the other hand, can be easily altered to fit the needs of your different audiences—all while keeping your branding and core messaging consistent.

Bottle Rocket Media | Make Every Vote Matter

3. Communicate in Multiple Languages

The internet has given consumers access to brands from all over the world. Being able to communicate with people in their native tongue can make the selling process flow much smoother. It not only reduces confusion but it also shows your audience they are valued.

Unfortunately, it’s not always practical to create multilingual versions of your live action videos. That’s where motion graphics come in handy—and the possibilities are endless.

Motion graphics allow you to easily produce video content in multiple languages simply by changing the text and voice recording to represent your target region. For a fraction of the cost of the initial video you can have region specific videos running all over the world.  Thanks to motion design and animation, at Bottle Rocket Media we have created videos that span six of the seven continents without all the travel.

Bottle Rocket Media | Walgreens “What is Kaisen” Spanish Version

4. Communicate Without Audio

These days we find ourselves putting subtitles on just about every video designed to hit the social media airwaves. Often when viewers are scrolling through timelines they do not want to be bothered with audio.

Creating motion graphics using text is a way to communicate via video without having to subtitle your images after the fact.

By designing the video to use text from the start you will be able to elevate the design and ultimately create a more compelling video.

Bottle Rocket Media | Mothership “Election Day”

5. Unlimited Creativity

Paramount to all of the above, motion graphic videos allow you to truly tap into your creativity. You can create any scenario you wish with unlimited parameters. And, in a world where budget plays a role in the creation of any video, motion graphic videos tend to be more forgiving for a lower budget.

In essence: With motion graphics you get what you pay for. But you don’t have to spend a fortune to create a video that communicates your message.

Whether you’re telling a story, sharing interesting data, or explaining complex subject matter, motion graphics provide endless possibilities in representing your brand.

Bottle Rocket Media | Drivin Company Video

So stop delaying and create the motion graphics or animated video that will clearly communicate your story around the world!

At Bottle Rocket Media we’ll help you create the right video for your brand. Connect with us to start your motion graphics services video or live action video project.

Social Media Tips to Create the Perfect Video

Posting videos on social media needs to be part of your strategic marketing plan. We know this much is true (We blogged about it before). But, how do you approach that? Read on for some social media video production tips.

Planning your video marketing strategy

Keepin’ it real: Authenticity is important. Your social media video gives you the opportunity to show your audience who your brand is, what it does, and why they need it. Your brand identity should guide your content. The social media space is casual and fluid, so don’t be afraid to give your audience a different side of your brand, and in turn, expanding your brand identity. We talked about that in this blog

When you consider planning your video marketing strategy make a list and answer the following questions:

  1. What you would like to accomplish with your video marketing strategy?
  2. Where would you like to share your videos and how often? Create a content calendar to make it easy to follow
  3. Who is your target audience? Build the persona of your audience so you can clearly speak to them through your videos

Welcome your audience into your world and (hopefully) they’ll let you into theirs by giving you a “follow” or a “like”. People don’t just “LinkIn” with anyone or let randoms in their Facebook friend-circle, but when they let someone or a brand in, they’re opening the door to their online space – their social media world, or, let’s be honest – the center of their universe.

Focus on Quality

Let’s be honest. These days, customers are extremely smart. Your audience requires much more from a brand than ever before, and quality is essential – high quality is an expectation. The quality of your video determines your seriousness and displays professionalism. Remember you have to stand out. So make your videos high-definition, use a quality camera, an appealing background, and utilize the skillsets of the professionals like great angles, motion graphics, and text overlay that captures your viewer’s attention.

We LOVE this video. Made almost entirely of employee shot videos, this video shows the heart of Centro is its people, and we hear its CEO unscripted, just talking about the company he’s built, and loves.

Including a Call To Action

People need direction. People desire clear communication. The benefits of creating video for social media are the potential reach, the ability to attract people through visual components, and the ways in which you can input a call to action that is meaningful for both you and your audience. Take a look at the video below.

Using Animation

Animation has become a growing trend to creatively get a message across. Animation and motion graphics make space for storytelling that is memorable and captivating. Have you seen the movie Soul on Disney+? From children to adults, animated films have become the trend that continues to expand. From a branding perspective, it can be extremely compelling to communicate your brand message through animation. Take a look at the video below.

Make Your Videos Short

People are busy and have the attention span of a gnat. We recommend short-form videos on your social networks. YouTube videos are a different story. They’re favoring longer content. But for your social posts, shorter is still better.

Short-form videos allow you to deliver content in the format your social media viewers want and prefer. And, what’s cool about short-form video is that you don’t necessarily have to go and shoot short after short, you can, and should, re-edit existing material.

During a big production day when you’re filming a longer piece; you’re there, cameras are rolling, why not shoot a little extra to use on social? Plus, you can use the short, re-edited pieces to drive your audience to the longer version.

No one wants to watch a long video on social media, but if they like this short “teaser,” on say, Instagram, they just might follow that link to the long-form that lives on your company homepage or on your YouTube Channel.

Not to mention if you have a long or short video that you don’t necessarily like the background, check out how you can easily change the background of your video here.

This 30-second social video was made for The Peninsula Chicago’s new rooftop bar – Z Bar.

To the Max: Maximize exposure on social media. By sharing your branded video content across all social platforms, you will increase your brand reach even further. Duh.

Caption This: Think of captions and subtitles as being just as important as the sound on your video – music & dialogue – and as the images that play on screen. Most of us don’t turn up the volume on IG or FB vids as we scroll through our feeds. But we do read along with the caption. Plus, it enables those living with deafness or hearing loss to be able to fully experience and enjoy your content.

Tactical tip: You need to know the specs, sizes, dimensions, and ratios of all your social media videos. This also includes your social media ad videos. This is a great article on social media video tips by platform for Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Snapchat, and beyond. The team at Bottle Rocket would love to help you create videos for social media! Connect with us today to Start Your Project today!

The Importance of Audio in Video: Bottle Rocket Media’s Top Ten Audio Checklist

We here at Bottle Rocket Media acknowledge the importance of audio in video, and as video content creators we spend so much time producing, coordinating, and conceptualizing “the shot…” that oftentimes audio can get neglected. And somewhere between “Action” and “Cut” your precious audio track becomes somewhat of a Jan Brady – the middle child of the video project. So in order to protect you and your video from being distracted by “Marsh, Marsh, Marsha!” we bring you Bottle Rocket Media’s top ten audio checklist.

Bottle Rocket Media’s Top Ten Audio Checklist

1. Start by capturing quality audio.

These days it’s too easy to throw a wireless microphone on a subject, feed it directly into a camera, and roll. Alternatively we are also seeing a lot of folks recording their own audio using a smartphone. This rarely works. Think about it, imagine you’re using your phone to record someone as they are sitting across from you. Your off-camera audio is going to be much louder than their responses because you’re the one holding the device and it’s closer to you. Shouldn’t it be the other way around? If you want your subject to have an impact the audience has to be able to hear him or her.

2. Keep the set quiet. It matters.

Even if extraneous noise on location will not affect the on-camera talent, keeping a quiet set will save you time in post, keep the crew focused and allow you to dig up the hidden gems you may not have heard the first time around. Capturing broll for a non fiction video is a perfect example. If you allow your crew to chat while capturing the footage you might wind up having to find and edit similar audio into the scene versus just yelling “Quiet on the set!” before you start recording.  Not only does this waste money during post production, but it never sounds as authentic.  This brings us to number three on our list….

3. The importance of natural sound (NATS) or diegetic audio – audio that is part of the world of the video location.

In larger narrative films background noise and diegetic sound is often added during the post production process.  This is done by Foley Artists. In documentary work, the more you can record during principal photography the better. We would argue that background noise is not at all actually noise. Whether fiction or nonfiction, the realities of an environment tend to always include many layers of sound; voices, laughter, dishes clanking, ambient music, cars driving by, wind rustling through the trees. Pay close attention to all of your locations and capture those sounds. They always help set the tone for your scene.

4. Sound Effects

While these super important elements help bring the shots to life, even more so with graphics, you need to police yourself here. It’s really easy to go overboard on sound effects. They should help move your piece along and add depth, but if you’re relying on them solely there’s probably something else wrong you need to examine. Perhaps your music bed isn’t exactly right or you didn’t record dynamic audio to begin with? So use those SFX, but use them wisely.  Check out this list of the top ten most famous sound effects in movies.

5. Make sure you have a great voice over talent.

The market is oversaturated with options when it comes to finding quality VO talent. You need to invest time into auditioning the right person for your piece based on your budget. You can’t afford to compromise here. It needs to be professionally recorded and casted right, like any other aspect of the video. Have a solid understanding of what you want the VO to sound like and don’t be afraid to direct the talent and ask for several versions. Also, other than a script your VO person is likely blind to your project’s tone and high-level messaging so he/she will appreciate any guidance you can provide ahead of time. For more on this, check out our Directing the VO  blog from a few months ago.

6. Do you like to edit audio or video first?

Whatever you post-production process, it is critical that you allot the right amount of time for your audio editing needs, just as you would with the video editing. Throughout the revision process there could be music changes, major cuts, major additions, your VO could be axed and replaced by all graphics, you name it, it could happen. Your timeline will go fast, make sure you think this through on the front end in pre-production and scheduling.

7. A great editor can edit great audio

but whenever possible, try to use an actual post-production audio designer to at least mix your videos. It will make a massive difference in how your video sounds. Using a professional with a trained ear, who understands the medium, but also how things sound on various delivery devices, from a phone to a movie theater is critical to giving audio it’s due.

8. Silence really can be golden.

But… we get it. It can also be very awkward. You have to get over that though. In a conversation situation, whenever there is silence, the natural reaction is to fill it. Don’t. This is especially true when you’re interviewing someone or working with actors in an ensemble. When they finish talking or answering a question, don’t immediately jump to the next talking point. Sit there, smile and nod sincerely so they feel safe and comfortable, and see what happens next. Odds are, you’ll get more emotion, more story and the conversation could reveal something you previously didn’t learn in pre production.

9. Room tone

This one may seem obvious, but any good director/audio/sound tech will always make sure to capture room tone. Room tone is a small sampling of the environment without any talking. This can be super helpful in audio editing later in the process. When you are on location it’s easy to ignore certain ambient sounds that aren’t obvious. The air conditioner, fan, buzz of fluorescent lights, a train in the far off distance. They all make much more noise than we give them credit for and your microphone will capture it all. Recording room tone at each setup will help even out any of the wonderful impurities offered by your location.

10. Music

Last but certainly not least, one of the most important elements of your audio is… music. As you recall, it’s so important that we dedicated all of Part 1 of this blog series to this topic – The Importance of Audio in Video: Music. There are several approaches to finding the right track and it can also be very personal. Don’t be afraid to ask others their opinions.

Thanks for reading and stay tuned more tips and tricks and probably some less interesting stuff as well. In the meantime, feel free to reach out to us if you have any questions about audio recording, music, or just want to make a kick ass video.

The Importance of Audio in Video: Music

We here at Bottle Rocket Media acknowledge the importance of audio in video. Music, sound effects, voice over, diegetic sound, etc. It’s all part of a wonderful tapestry that can only enhance any video project.  Picking music for our videos is actually one of our favorite things to do. It can be challenging at times, but the hunt for a “perfect” song only leads to a sublime pay off of emotional truth in your video.

The importance of Music in Video

We think it is safe to say that when it comes to achieving the emotional goals of a video, your choice in music is critical. Of course you need the right visuals to tell a great story, and the music you decide to use requires an equal amount of passion and purpose as blocking out your shot list. Picking the right (or wrong) music track will really influence the way people feel when they watch your video.

Using big movies as a way to illustrate our point is easy. Imagine the Italian Stallion running the steps of Philly without the help of Composer Bill Conti or Luke, Han, and Chewy taking a victory lap sans John Williams’ brilliance. In both cases, it’s just doesn’t grab the audience the same way.

In this article written by Mic. They’ve cobbled together several iconic scenes from scary flicks. Watch one or all, and then watch again with the sound off. It’s a completely different experience! The audio composition usually consists of silence, strings and screams, but take those away, and the impact of the scare is completely watered down.

But what do you do when you aren’t making a blockbuster or a horror film? How do you choose music that’s right for your brand video?

How To Pick the Right Music

OK, music is important. We’ve established that. So how do you know when it works? Answer a couple of easy questions to help you get started.

Music and Money – There Are Always Options

We know what you are thinking… Good music is going to cost a fortune, right? And you’re correct if you’re trying to license from Beck. But these days there are loads of music options to choose from. If you cannot afford a uniquely composed track, check out the abundance of stock music libraries available online. All you have to do is spend five minutes on any stock library site to see that it’s all there for the taking. From funk to orchestral to indigenous music to soundalike tracks – If you can think of it, it’s out there.

Over the years we have enjoyed a variety of solutions, ranging from having our favorite composer create something specific to signing up for an unlimited use library, to scanning the web for that rarity. It all depends what you are looking to accomplish and how often you create videos. Currently we are happy to be part of the Universal Production Music family. We pay annually for a license that allows for unlimited creativity.

If it’s not clear by now, we love music libraries. Mostly because music libraries provide an abundance of music WITHOUT lyrics – a point to really consider. Very often music with lyrics does not work in a video score. The messaging can be off and the words can be distracting. So when you consider all of the factors – variety, cost effectiveness, no lyrics, high quality – we recommend starting your search for the perfect cut with a music library. And even in the occasion that you have budget for a composer, using a library will help you communicate what you are going for in the first place.

Thanks for reading and stay tuned for Part 2 of this piece where we explore the importance of additional audio elements outside of music. In the meantime, feel free to reach out to us if you have any questions about music, music searching, or just want to make a kick ass video.

We All Have a Story To Tell

Who’s Excited for Chicago Ideas Week?!

In a couple of days, Chicago Ideas Week kicks off with over 200 global thought leaders taking the stage to share their ideas and personal stories with thousands of people.  At Bottle Rocket Media this got us thinking about how we all have a story to tell and you don’t necessarily need a podium to share it. So in honor of this week-long festival, here’s some thoughts and tips from us about great storytelling.

We All Have a Story To Tell

Yes yes, we’ve heard this a thousand times. It’s over-used, but it is very true. And no matter what medium you’re working within, you have to find the story. Let’s stress the importance of that again… you have to FIND it.  Sometimes it’s right in front of you. Other times you have to take the facts turn them inside out and upside down before you are presented with a story that will cut through the clutter and resonate with your audience.

We’ll never forget the time we were introduced to the beautiful world of Lurpak Butter. This catalog of spots is so stunning and they aren’t really even about the product line of butter. They’re about the adventure you go on when you use it.

And when Evian Water rolled up its sleeves for some branded content, we were gifted with a comical story about the water’s hometown. Seriously, its really funny and who knew Evian had such a dry sense of humor?

The Importance of Pre-Pre… Pre-Production

When it comes to finding that great brand story it’s all about doing your homework. If you don’t put in the lion’s share of the work on the front end of your project, before you even consider putting pen to paper, you will most certainly miss something. Here are some tips we consider necessary when it comes to finding, and telling, the best story for your brand.

Do the research

Starting off your project with a nod to Google is a logical place to start, but it isn’t enough. Dig in and dig in deep. Talk to people, read articles, talk to more people and read even more. Endless articles, books, and subject matter experts are out there waiting to be consulted.

Don’t just research your subject, get to know it

Investing your time can be tricky when you’re on a budget or an accelerated timeline, but an extra 30-minute phone call, meet-up over coffee, or secondary chat with subject matter experts will only bring your idea to the next level. The more insight and information you can gather, the more authenticity you will bring to your story.

Question your answers

When considering your story don’t take every answer at face value. If you are conducting an interview be sure to probe for more detailed answers. If you are doing research be sure to follow up with the source. Anyway you slice it, there is always more to learn about a subject.

Get buy-in upfront

When collaborating on a brand story, always confirm your ideas before you advance to the next phase of the project.  The tone, style, and point of view in your head need to be communicated to the brand experts in order to confirm the project is moving in the right direction.

So there you have it.  A few reminders to help you get started with your next big story. Go to Chicago Ideas Week.  And if you are looking for a team to tell your story reach out to Bottle Rocket Media for all of your video production services needs. We’d love to hear from you!