Your video should
make an impact

Creating Engaging Videos

It doesn’t seem as easy as it used to be to capture the attention of your audience these days. With so many methods of storytelling and ways to impress, it has never been more critical than now for brands to have a compelling video that is more engaging, allowing it to stand out from the rest. As a brand, you have to step out of your own way, work with your compelling storyline, then implement the many features that are available to you. 

Read on for easy-to-include methods to consider as you make your next video more engaging.

1.Get The Right Talent

Casting the right talent is no easy feat, but it is essential to creating a more engaging video. The right talent, with the right look, the right voice, and the right mannerisms will make a big difference in your audience identifying with your video. Consumers make purchasing decisions based on their connection to an ad or a video. According to Forbes, great marketers are focused on understanding and influencing their target audience’s attitudes. The right talent is capable of helping you to succeed in influencing!

2.Include Motion Graphics

It’s pretty much a universal theory that no one wants to watch a confusing or complicated video. If something isn’t easy to understand within the first few seconds,  you immediately lose your audience. So why not use a video to be clear, concrete, and interactive all at once? Many outside of the production industry may not be as familiar with motion graphics, but think, bright, shiny, moving, and crystal clear messaging to captivate your audience within a millisecond. In order to make an impact on your audience, you have to create a memorable experience, and in order to create a memorable experience, you have to create interactive content that is worthy of remembering. Check out some motion graphics examples and think about how your idea could be transmitted into an explainer or motion graphic video. 

3.Use 360 Video

Full-scale, all-encompassing, sphere-like video capture is what 360 video is. It’s like looking at everything available in front of you, beside you, and even behind you. A 360 camera can capture it all, record it and a video production team can enhance the footage to make it even more compelling. 360 video is definitely a way to almost inject your audience into the setting of the video. It’s a complete 360-degree view. Engross yourself in the following 360 video examples.

Chicago Cubs 360 Experience Video

4.Include Call To Actions (CTAs)

The decision is yours, but with Call To Actions, it is imperative to know the purpose of your video, your selected placement of your video, and make sure to choose a recognizable, but not too invasive CTA. Guiding your audience to a particular action is always an added plus and sometimes a necessity. If needed, videos these days can include a prominent call to action pending how you plan to share your video. Youtube is a perfect place to add a button or an internal link within your video content to make for an instant experience for your audience so you can encourage your audience to do exactly what your heart desires. You can add a variety of CTAs within a video. Think about it…how many times have you seen a “Subscribe” or “Visit Website” or even a “Book Now” button prompt in a video? These are just a couple of options to select from and are known to be useful ways of generating new leads. 

This Coldplay Game Of Thrones: The Musical video has a Donate call to action at the end of the video.

5.Include Live Interactive Components

Technology makes it possible to do so much when it comes to keeping your audience on their toes through video content. There are engaging and interactive videos that include live automatic feedback based on viewer response. How exciting is that? It makes for a memorable and shareable experience for viewers when they have the opportunity to provide their own immediate feedback. Check out the video below of a popular blogger giving a tour of her home. The video includes buttons to click, a chance for you to select the room you want to see on-demand, and even questions for the audience. It keeps you entertained and engaged!

https://eko.com/sweet-digs-interactive/carly-madison-three-bedroom-home?autoplay=true

There are many ways to make your video engaging, but don’t forget the content and story should be your primary focus. Determine the content, then context, then consider adding the engaging bells and whistles that will illuminate the story!

Connect with a team that knows all things video. Everything from telling a great story to the latest technology. From concept to delivery, we love this stuff and can talk about it all day long. To learn more about Bottle Rocket Media’s video production services and how we differ because of our Rocket Sauce, connect with us on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn!

Choosing the ‘Right’ Video Production Partner for Your Brand

When it comes time to put together a fresh brand video, you’ll need to choose the right production team for the job. Not always an easy task. In today’s digital marketplace there are more options than ever before – from supersized outfits to small, agile boutiques. As far as Chicago’s Bottle Rocket Media is concerned, making a final decision requires factoring in “much more” than cost.

After years of directing and producing a stream of videos, Bottle Rocket Media founder Dan Fisher has come to understand what many clients are looking for: “No question–making a video requires a real commitment from the brand,” he says. “Which is why bringing the right team on board should ease all your concerns–creatively, logistically, and technically. The director and his/her team should be able to guide the entire process.”

Unfortunately, according to Fisher, too many brands make the misstep of choosing a video production team based on budget alone.  “Either they simply look for the cheapest or falsely associate highest cost with maximum value. Both paths often lead to disappointment, as there is so much more to consider.”

Here’s a brief rundown of THREE Bottle Rocket Media-approved criteria you may want to consider on your journey to finding the right video partner:

Experience:

Yes, experience counts. A production team that has a good amount of years together, versus one with only a few under its belt, is much more likely to have developed effective, proven strategies. However, it’s the right kind of experience you should be most concerned about. For example are you interested in action shots or static interviews? 3D Graphics or a spokesperson speaking to the camera? Drones? 3D graphics? VR? See where this is going…?

Start your search by looking for the portfolio that most closely aligns with your vision. While online reels can be found on most video production sites, don’t be afraid to scour Vimeo, and YouTube, which can also provide unexpected inspiration.

Personality:

Does your brand have a sense of humor? Is its voice serious? Do want your video to offer a corporate feel, or carry a mom & pop vibe? In any case, it’s always vital that the personality of the production partner be fitting of the project at hand. After all, you wouldn’t hire a plumber to fix your X-Box, would you?

Even after scanning a production company’s portfolio, combing through its online content, and reading up on its latest blogs and posts, you can never truly get a sense of a team until you speak at length about the project at hand – whether it’s in person, by Skype, or on the phone. As Fisher adds, “Chemistry is the one element that can make or break the whole thing. When you hire a video team you should be so comfortable with the relationship that you go to sleep smiling because you know everything will be done properly.”

References:

Asking for references is such an easy step that so many take for granted. Any good production team should be able to offer a list of satisfied-to-overjoyed clients, even if they’ve only been operating a short period of time. Sure the portfolio may speak to the soul of your brand, but there is so much more to know about individuals on a team. Tapping past clients is a great way to get the most honest information possible before signing the deal.

So, don’t just get references. CALL THEM! Ask questions regarding their experiences and outcomes. Find out if they’d work with the director again, and if everyone got on well.

Fisher concludes: “In the perfect situation, a client can rest in the fact that the heavy lifting will be done by a team they trust. It is the ideal environment for any project, and certainly integral to the Bottle Rocket Media philosophy.”

Looking to partner up on your next brand video? Click here to find out how Bottle Rocket Media can help.

Telly Awards & Upcity Excellence Award!

Bottle Rocket Media Wins Telly and UpCity Awards

Season 40 Telly Award Winners were announced this week, and we’re super excited to announce that we took home SIX! Clients include Dyson, Kenmore, Centro, The Peninsula, and The Chicago Cubs! View the winning videos below.

We also received UpCity’s 2019 Excellence Award and were named Top 20 Marketing Service Providers in Chicago – Thanks Upcity! Check out our listing here.

Thank you to all of our stellar clients for allowing us to do what we do all day long. Thanks also needs to go out to our incredible team – the BRM gang and every crew member, cast member or freelancer that continues to support these endeavors.

Though we cannot share the Cubs 360 Gameday experience at the time, check out the response to the 360 video experience:

https://www.facebook.com/Cubs/videos/524138164762495/

Client Spotlight | American Girl

Encouraging thousands of kids each day to let their individuality shine through play, no brand is more focused on empowerment than American Girl. After collaborating with their creative team to develop a series of traditional promotional videos, the perfect opportunity to incorporate cutting-edge 360 Video sprouted when they reached out to Bottle Rocket media to create guided tours of its New York and Chicago locations.

Since its start in 1986, American Girl has developed into one of the most popular doll purveyors in the country, with roughly 20 major retail stores that also serve as restaurants, party hosts, and play centers. With so much going on at each spot – including stations where kids AND their dolls can receive makeovers and ear piercings –it was the perfect opportunity to utilize 360 video to create a fully immersive experience for viewers.

According to Bottle Rocket Media co-founder, Brett Singer, a successful run with American Girl on past productions was enough to set the stage for the use of 360 video: “We had worked with [American Girl] on many other promo videos, and fortified a wonderful working relationship,” he says. “As a result, the brand’s creative team approached us to produce 360 VR store tours with accompanying motion graphics to help guide the viewer throughout the experience.”

Not every client Bottle Rocket Media comes across can expertly dialogue about the latest in media techniques – however, as Singer implies, it certainly helps. “It should come as no surprise that American Girl is a very forward-thinking company, and early to embrace new technologies – including both 360 video and AR (augmented reality). Loaded with creative talent, including an in-house design team, we were seamlessly provided with brand-specific graphics, and new ones created just for the videos. Working with them is always a pleasure, as they come to each project as a partner. No one knows the subject matter better, so it’s a no-brainer for us to welcome them into the process.”

In the Cutting Room | Meet Editor, Dave Sarno

Meet Bottle Rocket Media Editor, Dave Sarno

Dave Sarno knows about visual storytelling—as far as he is concerned, it is not just the writing or directing that guides the viewer. With a love of film that began at age 10, he has fully embraced the painstaking, yet vital “discovery process” that is post-production. Learn how his approach helps push each Bottle Rocket Media project forward.

Framed: An Improvised Series – “The Clown” from Bottle Rocket Media on Vimeo.

What got you into editing?

I’ve been into movies and storytelling since I was 10. My first foray into the filmmaking process was making Super 8 movies with my childhood friends (Yep, I date myself). Much later, after I graduated from film school, I co-directed a feature documentary film. While working on that project, I saw the story come together in the editing room and I knew that’s where I wanted to be.

What about the craft moves you?

I can’t explain the reason why a cut works—I just know it when I see it. It’s trial and error until something clicks. I like that discovery process.

How does your style/technique tie into creating successful brand videos?

A lot of stories are reimagined in the editing room. Sometimes, the intended middle scene becomes the opening scene. Other times, a voice over is added to give depth to the visuals. The cut at the end of the day can be much different than at the start. There is a lot of improvising required in editing in order to get the best result. For me, it is always exciting to try something new in the editing room that hasn’t yet been considered.

What video technology/storytelling technique are you most excited about right now?

Moving to Bottle Rocket Media from the freelance world has allowed me to edit many 360 video projects. It’s a different kind of storytelling, and I’m eager to see where we can go with it.

What has been your proudest accomplishment at Bottle Rocket Media?

We shot and edited a web series last year called Framed, featuring the amazing talents of Chicago’s funniest improvisors asking a “shop owner” to frame bizarre objects. Since the actors were so funny, there were actually few moments that weren’t usable. We sculpted the 4-5 min episodes in the edit and my job was keeping the pace up while staying out of their way.

Comedy operates completely on what feels good and what makes you laugh in the cut. It was a great learning experience and so much fun. I wear headphones in the office, and everyone knew when I was cutting Framed because I laughed out loud a lot.

ON THE SET OF FRAMED

Favorite movie of all time and why…

Good Fellas. The camera movement, the editing, the acting… It’s uncomfortable. It’s terrifying—funny and manic. I think I’ve softened a little over the years as a movie watcher, but each time I see it, I can’t take my eyes off it.

Client Spotlight | Byline Bank 

When it comes to sending the right message through video, a down-to-earth brand requires the vision of a down-to-earth production company. It was a match made in marketing heaven, therefore, when Bottle Rocket Media and Byline Bank seamlessly came together to produce a series of effective promotional shorts – featuring a signature human touch both are known for.

With over 40 years of serving local businesses and entrepreneurs under its money belt, Chicago-based institution, Byline Bank, sought to share the tale of its evolving enterprise through a select group of real people – customers who have benefitted from its community-focused programs and services. Enter Bottle Rocket Media producer, Siobhan Summers, who pitched the idea of a team-up and brokered the first meeting of the minds. From the start, it was clear that both companies held a strong passion for positive, Windy City narratives and a HUGE love of documentary-style video.

From there, Byline began banking on Bottle Rocket Media to help bring its customers’ inspiring stories to life: “This was a project right up our alley,” says Fisher. “There is not a single director on our team who doesn’t embrace the importance of genuine emotion in video storytelling. Ultimately, we created three pieces revolving around thriving, local businesses that use Byline [see video below]. The project was unique in that it focused on the people, rather than the client itself, yet still showcased how Byline Bank was an integral part of their financial stability.”

Entitled Written By…, Byline’s campaign series from Bottle Rocket Media puts front and center the owners of Chicago’s Trader Todd’s, Village Fresh Market and Euro Collision in order to demonstrate the bank’s direct impact on the community it serves. Check out the videos to see how its customers are able to truly “write” their own futures:

This is what Byline Bank had to say about working with Bottle Rocket Media: “At Byline, we loved working with Bottle Rocket. They put together inspiring videos telling the Byline Bank customer story. We loved how they made the video process seamless and painless. With little direction, they were able to hear our needs, create the vision and carry it through to reality. We’re excited to continue working on more videos and continue to grow our relationship and our testimonial library.”

Summers concludes: “The entire Byline team was very easy to work with. They were open to our ideas and willing to collaborate on creative – a vital tool we always try to encourage among our clients. Bottom line? Byline gave us some awesome, compelling stories to tell – and that made our job a breeze. We look forward to much more down the line.”

The Bullhorn| Meet Director Kristina Perreault

Meet Bottle Rocket Media Director Kristina Perreault

Kristina Perreault has been everywhere, man. This world-traveling lens master brings both a breathtaking portfolio and endless vision to Bottle Rocket Media’s growing roster of creative talent. Discover the inspiration behind her work!

What got you into directing?

I have always had visions—even from a young age, I was able to make them happen. When I was 14, I began making up random stories and I would enroll my friends to act them out. It was a blast! I guess I naturally fell into that role. It was never a goal of mine—it’s just who I am.

How/why did travel become such a big part of your work?

The world is magical, and I want to share that with people. Travel opens our eyes to different ways of life and takes us out of our little bubble of reality—it expands consciousness. That’s what I’m here for.

How does your style/technique tie into creating successful brand videos?

My work is an extension of the way I see things: full of wonder, excitement, sensuality and grace. I want people to feel how I feel about the subject through my work. With every project, I am focused on connecting viewers to a real emotion that brings them further into the message—one that hopefully stays with them long after.

https://vimeo.com/236951722

What unique element(s) will you bring to BRM’s portfolio?

With all the dudes around here, my style definitely brings a much-needed feminine touch. That said, I feel my contributions nicely complement their existing slate.

What types of projects are you looking forward to in 2019?

More festivals and more travel!

What video technology/storytelling technique are you most excited about right now?

360 VR is finally on the rise in the travel industry. It’s the closest you can get to experiencing something new, somewhere else, without leaving your seat.

Favorite movie of all time and why…

Avatar really knocked my socks off when it came out. I love the story, the vibrancy, the world the characters live in, what they value and all the messaging throughout. It also looks a lot like my dreams – which is fun to see on film.

What Is Your Brand Tone of Voice?

Brand Voice and Nailing the Right Tone With Video

Can you imagine any of your favorite movies, tv shows, or web series with a totally different soundtrack-like, what if The Sopranos’ theme song was switched with the one from Friends? Or, what if all the ROCKYs were suddenly stripped of music and replaced with canned laughter? Think about it. Sound can be just as impactful as visuals when it comes to almost any video production. While SFX and complex scores have been traditionally reserved for the most prominent in entertainment, marketing teams now use the same tools & techniques in setting the right tone for their own brands.

At Bottle Rocket Media, we have great admiration for the maestros that have given us so many audio-visual experiences to remember; John Williams rocked us in Star Wars, Hans Zimmer took us into a dream world in Inception, and Danny Elfman creeped us out in Beetlejuice. And wanna talk amazing SFX? How about every Pixar Toy Story installment – featuring crack teams of specialists just to ensure Woody’s spurs sound ‘authentic.’

Well, here’s the good news.

Thanks to the digital age, the same intense aural impact can now be made without the need for an orchestra, a recording studio, or a team of Foley artists with horns and blocks in tow. Modern technology has gone light years beyond what we imagined only 10 years ago. With small-footprint crews manning 360-video, VR, and drone technology, brands in almost every industry are dropping cost-effective music video-style presentations that move fast and send the right messaging; carefully selected sound solutions are more accessible than ever before, helping to bring tons of new products & services out of the shadows and into the light.

Here are a few examples to illustrate the power of sound in video:

  1. Dexter Gives Us the Chills

Have you heard of ASMR (autonomous sensory meridian response)? It’s a lot more interesting than it sounds. AND it’s a technique that won’t break the bank. In this example, featuring the talented Zoë Kravitz and an ice-cold bottle of Michelob Ultra: Pure Gold, we can almost feel the whisper of her voice, her fingertips against the glass, and the sounds of the pour – awakening our tactile senses and creating a spinetingling experience that’s both captivating and memorable. Never underestimate the power of giving your audience real goosebumps!

  1. Tom Cruise Terrifies Us in SFX-less Trailer

We’re not quite sure if this almost soundless trailer for 2016’s The Mummy was a major league screw up or a brilliant publicity stunt. Without traditional SFX to back up the action, audiences are left to fill the void with their own imaginations. For some of us at Bottle Rocket Media, it made the video more profound – especially when hearing Tom Cruise scream for his life, unaided and unenhanced. No SFX, just pure human terror!

For others, the unorthodox style detracted from the weight of the scenes – creating more of a ridiculous or unintended comedic feel. What do you think?

  1. Sounds of Space Give Theme to Promo Video

At Bottle Rocket Media, we are committed to ensuring our own brand familiarity through consistent themes that help hit target audiences, yet remain in line with our unique voice and mission. So, it stands to reason we would attempt a promo piece incorporating the sounds of satellites, NASA dispatchers, and of course, the earthshaking feel of a blast-off at Cape Canaveral – all while prominently displaying some of the valued clients that have helped us reach the stratosphere of 360-degree video production and soar beyond it.

Ready to Sound Off to the World?

Getting your brand to sound just right is not necessarily a quick process, and it can lead to a lengthy, frustrating wild goose chase across the endless chasms of the Internet before anything promising sticks out. So, for those of you eager to dive in, we highly recommend taking a gander at KillerTracks.com, one of our main sources of music. Also, for decent SFX, check out MotionArray.com. Finally, there is always YouTube, with many amazingly FREE options to explore.

Still stuck? Click here to find out how Bottle Rocket Media can help your brand get heard.

This Is Bottle Rocket Media | Meet Producer Siobhan Summers

Bottle Rocket Media’s own Siobhan Summers’ love of producing dates back to a fateful experience at 12-years-old at the Oprah Winfrey Show (where she would later work). From coordinating massive shoots in mere hours to hunting for a  ‘missing’ Stevie Wonder, there is nothing this multi-talented producer/editor/writer has ever shied away from.

Here’s what Siobhan had to say about her 20-year, professional journey:

What first got you into producing?

When I was in seventh grade, I attended a live taping of The Oprah Winfrey Show. I loved watching the women work behind the scenes. They had headsets, they seemed super busy and important—buzzing around the studio and backstage. I was very drawn to what was happening during the commercial breaks. Producers would come out with blue cards and talk to Oprah and her guests. I was in awe! These people pulled this show together. That’s when I knew I wanted to be a producer.

When I was a senior in college, I opened the yellow pages (remember those?) and called Harpo Studios to ask about their internship program, they didn’t have one at the time but said “can you come in tomorrow for a meeting?”  And I was there for the next 13 years.

Why do you love producing?

Collaboration. It is one of my favorite words—it is one of my favorite things. While I love the logistics and the organizational side of my job, the best part is when we all come together on set. We combine our individual roles, responsibilities and perspectives to produce something great. And, If I’ve done my job well, I don’t have much to do on set, the shoot should be running smoothly. I’m there to troubleshoot and graze craft services.

How do you approach each of your projects?

Always look ahead and work the process backward. When producing any project, it’s important to think of the end-game first. As Oprah taught me, it’s important to ask the question: “What is the intention?” So I think about – what does the client want to see/feel/communicate? Once the end is clear, you map out the road to get there. That’s what a producer does—we coordinate all aspects of the production from start to finish.  

What are some of the challenges you face as a producer creating short form material?

I love short form—it’s small and packs a punch. Considering that today’s consumers eat up a massive amount of content on their devices, bitesize is the way to go. The challenge is getting the message across in a brief, succinct and impactful video. This is a challenge I embrace. The editing process, for example, is an opportunity to deep dive into the material we’ve shot and be super selective and picky about what ends up on screen. This is when my Type A personality shines!

Talk to the creative side of producing.

While budgets, logistics and deadlines are a huge part of a producer’s job, a really good producer has to be a storyteller with a creative eye. It’s essential when doing quality control of the messaging and offering constructive direction during pre and post processes.

What is your proudest accomplishment in the field/why?

There are so many! I really love my job because every project is different.

I was part of the team who booked, produced and arranged for 176 olympians from the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympic Games to come to Chicago’s Millennium Park – and we had 12 days to do this. I’ve taken a seeing eye-horse for a walk in the west loop while his handler was in hair and makeup. The horse was named Cuddles. I’ve run around United Center with Patti LaBelle to get her to rehearsal on time when my colleague, Amy,  says over the headset “We’ve lost Stevie Wonder!” it was a rough twenty or so minutes until she came back on radio to say “Mr. Wonder has been located. He is at the Radio Shack on Michigan Avenue.”  So great.

But my honest to goodness favorite moments in producing is connecting with regular people who have the courage to open up to me in an interview. It may not always be glamorous or super exciting, but it is always humbling when someone trusts me to tell their story.

Favorite movie of all time and why:

Say Anything. Originally, I loved it for the obvious reasons: John Cusack’s Lloyd Dobler, the unapologetic hopeless romantic, and of course, the iconic In Your Eyes boombox scene. However, my favorite moment is when Lloyd is in a phone booth, in the rain, talking to his sister and he says: “I gave her my heart. She gave me a…pen.”  For your viewing pleasure, click here. You’re welcome.

Years later though, watching it for the millionth time, I came to appreciate the shy brainiac, Diane Court (Ione Skye), realizing that she is just as complex and interesting as Lloyd. She is a strong and resilient female lead, and I don’t think that was celebrated when the movie came out.

Cheers to Diane Court!

 

On Set with Bottle Rocket Media

From two-day shoots featuring free ice cream for the cast & crew to a series of really cool 3D models being designed in-house for a client, spring has officially sprung for the team at Bottle Rocket Media.

Here’s a glimpse of what we’ve been up to the past few weeks!

We shot a series of videos for Dyson at two Chicago salons over the course of two days. Each location provided its challenges (hellooo mirrors), but the team overcame each one gracefully – making for a fun, rewarding shoot.

Director: Dan Fisher | Producer: Siobhan Summers | DP: Andy Stegmeyer | Assistant Camera: Nick Silva | Audio: Tyler  Lang | HMU: Jayciee Ganek | Set Design: Jim Lichon | Stylist: Becca Nino | Script PA: Jack Cronin | Camera PA: Corey Henderson | PA & BTS Photos: Amy Davila | Editors: Dave Sarno & Tre Manchester 

We also did a two-day shoot in Gurnee, Illinois, for Second City Works. It happened to line up perfectly with Ben & Jerry’s Free Cone Day, which some of the cast and crew have dubbed “the best day ever.”

This unique, vlog-styled shoot allowed us to shoot around 20 pages of script per day! Yep, the crew killed it every step of the way – even burning off calories from all the free ice cream while chasing after kids and running across the resort for gear (at least, that’s what we’re telling ourselves).

Director: Brett Singer | Producer: Siobhan Summers | Assistant Director/BTS Photos: Dan Fisher | DP: Josh Tallo | Audio: Tyler  Lang | AC: Jordan Kantola | Grip: Adrian DiGiovanni | Set Design: Jim Lichon | Stylist: Becca Nino | HMU: Jayciee Ganek | Production Assistant/BTS Photos: Amy Davila | 

 

Last year, we were fortunate enough to work on a campaign for a very popular appliance brand. Guess we did a good job, as they recently contacted us to shoot some pickups! In no time, we got the team back together, rolled into Oakbrook Center in Chicago, set up the jib and did our thing.

Director: Joel Kapity | Assistant Director: Dan Fisher | DP: Josh Tallo | AC: Erik Bjella | Producer: Siobhan Summers | Art Director: Jim Lichon | HMU: Jaycie Ganek | Production Assistant: Jordan Kantola | BTS Photos by: Dan Fisher | Editor: Dave Sarno