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Shooting in Tongues, Vol. I: Help You Gab With the Crew (A-M)

Shooting in Tongues, Vol. I: Video Vocab to Help You Gab with the Crew

No question, the entire video production world shares a language all its own. At Bottle Rocket Media, we find ourselves constantly using words and phrases that most people outside the industry would cock their head at. So, for those interested in knowing just what-in-the-hell those crew members are saying on the set or in the edit of your next brand video, here’s part one of our ‘Shooting in Tongues’ series to help you gab with the crew.


“Let’s ADR that in post,” said many a director. It’s a nice, easy-to-remember abbreviation for additional dialogue recording, which usually gets inserted during the final editing stages. Not every line or sound is recorded cleanly—sometimes there are unexpected background noises or performances that require do-overs. AND sometimes swear words will need to be replaced for family-friendly platforms. We’re pretty sure “Yippee kay yay, Mr. Falcon!” was not the original line in ‘Die Hard 2.


You’ve probably heard this term a few times in your life. In fact, you’ve most likely viewed b-roll hundreds of times without even knowing it. In a nutshell, b-roll is the secondary imagery within a given scene used to underscore the main messaging. For example, fast food commercials can use all the celebs they want as spokespeople (a-roll), but they would be ineffective without classic cutaways to flaming burgers on a grill or hungry dudes chomping down on overstuffed subs. Still, confused? Click here for a funny tutorial.

*Did you know? Back in the day, the term “b-roll” referred to a literal roll of film. Continue the history lesson at

Depth of Field

First off, it’s not “depth of feel” as many out there seem to think (perverts). It’s a term extremely familiar to anyone shooting through a lens, from landscape photographers to movie directors. When all is in sharp focus, from foreground to background, we classify the frame as having a deep depth of field. However, when only one area of the frame is in focus compared to an otherwise out-of-focus frame, the depth is considered shallow.

Jump Cut

When we ‘cut to’ something in video, we are essentially just shifting our viewpoint from one source of imagery to another – from camera to camera, or from shot to shot. The general idea is for these transitions to be smooth. A jump cut, however, happens when two, back-to-back shots from the same perspective reveal a passage of time without any continuity; suddenly a shirt is unbuttoned, or a pair of legs have been crossed without any explanation. Generally, this is not a desirable outcome, and can really take the viewer out of the scene. Having secondary cameras or solid b-roll to cut to can really fill out and save a jumpy sequence.

Of course, if you are Wes Anderson making the ‘The Royal Tenenbaums,’ jump cuts could work to your benefit. Here’s Luke Wilson in a jump cut bonanza.

Martini Shot

Fitting that this term would conclude our first ‘Shooting in Tongues’ blog. At the end of a really, really long day, when your feet are aching and your mind is overloaded, there is practically nothing better than an ice-cold martini. No surprise, then, that the final shot before a production wraps for the day has become known as the ‘martini shot.’ According to film slang aficionado and author, Dave Knox, it was so dubbed because “the next shot is out of a glass.” Damnit, they’re onto us!

More video vocab on the way! In the meantime, click here for help with your next brand video.

Cutting a ‘Good’ Interview for Your Next Brand Video

If you’ve ever watched an unedited interview – yawn – you know how extremely helpful the editing process can be. Music, graphics, cutaways…  all of these elements help drive a compelling video. As far as Bottle Rocket Media’s Dave Sarno is concerned, a great brand video requires both a “relaxed subject” and a creative mind at the console.

How do interviews enhance brand videos?

Because you get to see faces. After all, brands are people, right? We all want to feel something when we watch a video—interviews help the audience get something emotional and passionate directly from the client. They create memories. If someone is excited about their products or services, it’s so much more impactful to see that excitement.

What video editing techniques help interviews come alive?

A relaxed interview subject is a great start. I have to rely mainly on the producers and directors to create the right atmosphere on set. Beyond that, there is only so much an editor can do with broll, music and graphics to add texture and mood to an interview. A great music track, for example, is a great way to set the pace. B-roll and active footage are also nice additions to balance out a monologue and keep the audience interested—matching words with product-related visuals can help emphasize the point and leave a lasting impact.

What constitutes a good interview?

Good interviews move quickly. They share important information, clearly. The composition is balanced, and multiple cameras provide variety. But most importantly, a good interview feels like an honest trip into the mind of the person and the brand.

It usually takes the combined efforts of a passionate subject, a seasoned producer or director, and a creative editor at the console to create the most honest, effective result. Again, it’s about finding and exploiting those compelling moments. At the end of the day, if the interview sticks in your head, it’s a success.

Interviewing sometimes takes skill Learn some tips on being a great interviewee.

Why is editing interviews a unique process?

It’s a specific balance between getting the best content and the best performance while staying true to the intended message. You have to scour the footage and find the most human moments to really underscore the message. The performances are what they are, so I try to make everything flow through the most honest quotes and authentic reactions I can find.

What are the main challenges?

The more natural the subject matter, the better. Oftentimes the performer isn’t relaxed in front of the camera. Most of us aren’t. Remember, these are usually real people behind the brands, not actors. So if the piece is feeling stiff or unemotional, I simply start with my personal favorite moments and go from there. Maybe it’s someone unexpectedly laughing or smiling during a serious monologue, or even a natural exchange between takes when we were still rolling. There is always a way in, if you look hard enough.

Can an editor help ensure a good interview before it arrives in post?

Yes. If you are on a collaborative team, like we are, you’ll definitely have a say during pre-production. It’s the best opportunity to offer ideas for provocative or message-driving questions, and that will influence the end result.

My team almost always conducts pre-interviews with our subjects to give all parties a sense of what to expect on set. This helps the subject become comfortable with the camera, while helping us prepare to capture, and cut around, their individual personalities.

How would you describe your editing style?

My goal is to offer whatever style best meets the piece. If it’s comedic, I try to push the pace. If it’s a music video, I look for visuals to match the nuances of the melody. If it’s a brand video, I aim for a little professional polish. The style should seamlessly match what the client wants. Editing at its best is invisible.


Ready to make a video for your brand? Click here to find out how Bottle Rocket Media can help.

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.


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.

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.

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 

Best Brand Videos From the Superbowl

As far as Bottle Rocket Media is concerned, it is never out of fashion to take a risk when creating your next brand video. With Super Bowl LIII coming up, it is the perfect time to shine a spotlight on a few impactful examples from brands that aren’t afraid to think outside the box.

One of the most important elements to a successful brand video, whether it’s a $1M commercial on network television or a $5K infomercial on YouTube, is memorability – and what could be more memorable than Cindy Crawford as a perspiring damsel in distress, a muddy Betty White playing tackle football, b-ball giants Michael Jordan and Larry Bird going head to head, or those famous Budweiser frogs croaking away (gone, but not missed)?

No matter which team wins, every February the Super Bowl gives sports fans an extra experience to remember by including ads from some of the world’s most well-known brands, who vie for the coveted opportunity to broadcast their latest wares in front of millions. In fact, the competition over the years has become so great, the annual event has corralled an extra audience of viewers who tune in primarily to watch commercials, and consider the game a secondary form of entertainment.

Here at Bottle Rocket Media we all have our personal favorites – classics and newcomers alike that have influenced our creativity through unconventionality and smart video production:

2018 Super Bowl “Tide Ad” Commercial Compilation

Just last year, on the heels of his newfound Stranger Things fame, David Harbour was brilliantly cast in a series of Tide ads that aired in succession throughout the Super Bowl. This was not your traditional, 30-something-mom-in-middle-America running-a-busy-household-but-can-barely-get-her-whites-white type of campaign. No, this was more like an acid trip through the head of a person both obsessed with bright clean clothes and, well, David Harbour; see him float on a cloud, dominate a group of senior citizens in tennis, and sit astraddle a horse next to the guy from the Old Spice commercials. Sound nutsy? It is. And memorable.

2000/2001 Super Bowl “Whassup?” Campaign from Budweiser

To be honest, we are not all in agreement on this one. Some of us find this concept absolutely irritating, while some of us still cannot get enough of this award-winning campaign that began in 1999, with a major airing during the next two following years’ Super Bowls. In case you missed it, the original, fairly low-budget commercials featured a bunch of “dudes” calling each other up and exclaiming “Whassup!!!” Yep. That’s about it—no boring dissertation on hops, barley or malt and no cheesy overacting by airbrushed models in a random bar. By having fun, showing a sense of humor, and specifically playing to the audience watching the game, the brand stepped away from tradition, and took a risk that paid off big time. No matter where you stand on the simple creativity of this idea, it is undoubtedly unforgettable.

Click here for a fun iteration you may have never seen:

2019 Super Bowl Ads for Stella Artois

Ok, so, technically we haven’t seen the Super Bowl versions yet (it’s still January), but the unprecedented pitting together of Sarah Jessica Parker and Jeff Bridges in the current TV and online teasers has already got the entire team at Bottle Rocket Media pumped to see what else “Carrie Bradshaw” and “The Dude” have in store. We all applaud this concept because it is ultimately a way for Stella to both sell beer and help those in the developing world gain access to clean water. As a video production team, we LOVE it because it appeals to two completely different fan cultures (Sex and the City and The Big Lebowski) simultaneously – neither of which are known to have a proclivity towards imported beer.

Yet, it is clearly another risk worth taking, already racking up hundreds of thousands of views on YouTube. Who knows–maybe Stella will become the new White Russian or the new Tartini…

Click here for Stella’s new Sex and the City parody:

Getting creative with your next brand video…

Admittedly, the aforementioned brands have serious dollars behind them. But, creating an outside-the-box video merely requires a great idea that can be easily digested and remembered by viewers. AND since video has become an extremely versatile and cost-effective medium with the advent of digital techniques – including 360-Video, VR and drones – almost any message can be portrayed in powerful and unorthodox ways, without the need for a colossal budget.

But, don’t just take our word for it! Here’s a short video on making an impact in just five seconds

Ready to have some fun and show the world a different side of your brand?

Click to learn more about creating an outside-the-box video to remember.

Resolve to Create Your Next Brand Video in 2019

Ok, so maybe we have a dog or two, or three, in this fight, but what kind of a video production team would we be if we didn’t truly believe in the power of the modern brand video?

At Bottle Rocket Media, we have learned that a successful approach to marketing requires pulling out all the stops—and in this 24/7 world of online sales, thriving brands are the ones bringing potential customers closer than ever to products & services through 360-degree video, immersive VR, drone-captured footage and so many other cutting edge, visual techniques.

AND considering everyone and their mother (and their father, sister, brother, grandpa, 7-year-old spoiled nephew, etc.) has a personal screen in either their pocket or on a desk somewhere, we think it would be tragic to NOT use this ubiquitous medium for brand video experiences that can help your brand gain visibility.

So here are four reasons why a new brand video could help make 2019 a much more promising year:


When telecom giant, AT&T, began using the term “reach out and touch someone” in the 1980s, they had NO IDEA how easy that would one day be! Now, thanks to the Internet, any individual or brand can reach out and “touch” millions with a simple upload to YouTube or Vimeo. By cutting out the traditional TV network “middlemen,” brands can go worldwide, cheaply and with more creative freedom than ever before.


Fact: if you’re not using video in some way to promote your products & services, you are behind the times. But, don’t just take our word for it. Endless research from top names in business reporting reflect our consumer-based society’s growing desire (and expectations) for as much upfront info as possible—and video is perhaps the most enticing way to draw in today’s potential shopper, who is well-accustomed to watching ads and infomercials on screens large and small, 24/7. All things being equal, wouldn’t you rather click through to the competitor with fun videos to watch?


It’s not just about using video—it’s how you use it! No matter if you are marketing products or services, modern 360-degree video techniques can give your potential customer a unique, closer look like never before. With or without accompanying headgear, viewers can virtually immerse themselves into every inch of your office buildings, hotels, retail shops, restaurants, warehouses, and explore your widgets in a way that makes them feel as if they were right there behind the camera. Plus, now that drones have become an accessible way to shoot video, brands can offer fast-paced, high altitude visuals, without the need for renting cranes or helicopters.


Listen… Hear that? It’s the sound of your brand. The problem is that only you can hear it. Is it classic rock? Smooth jazz? Bluegrass? Engelbert Humperdinck? Video is a great way to give your products and services a soundtrack that fits with both the tone of the company and spirit of the intended target audience. If your melody is good enough, it will hopefully stick in your viewers’ memory banks for weeks – along with the accompanying visuals. Hey, you may have gotten sick of the Chili’s baby back ribs campaign, but you’ll never forget it!

Ready to kick off 2019 with an impactful brand video? Click here to learn more.

It’s a Bird… It’s a Plane… It’s Supervideo…Drone Style!

How Drones Can Help Any Brand Take Flight

As cinematic geeks, we here at Bottle Rocket Media have spent most of our lives marveling, from afar, the complicated aerial shooting techniques that have enhanced our favorite films, TV shows, and commercials – from “Apocalypse Now” and “The Sound of Music,” to “Magnum PI” (the original, duh) and the world-famous I Love New York campaign of the late 1970s.

And, where would we be without overhead views of the Olympics? Super Bowl? NASCAR???

Unfortunately, due to the huge costs and liabilities associated with procuring helicopters, planes and pilots, sky-high productions have been next to impossible for most professionals without a million-dollar budget… until now.

In a flash, drones have completely flipped the script. Thanks to this agile, cost-effective technology, any brand – large or small – can capture the minds of its target audience from the perspective of a soaring DC superhero.

Below are three ways drones can help your brand make a powerful impact:

Location, location, location:

It doesn’t matter what services or products you are pushing on the consumer. You have a story to tell—and that story includes important locations. Perhaps your brand has familial roots in the lush green Emerald Isle, with newer factories near the cornfields of Iowa. Or, maybe you just completed that ultra-modern office building in one of the most competitive cities in the world. Meanwhile, your employees and customers can now be found on every continent. With drone technology and high definition video, you can give your audience a bird’s-eye-view of your entire business landscape, from countryside to cosmopolitan in minutes or even seconds. The best part is you don’t need to be Francis Ford Coppola to afford it.

Lights, Camera, ACTION!

There are a lot of moving parts in your world. Every second of the day means time spent on designing, engineering, building, manufacturing, marketing, selling, hiring, expanding, and beyond. With drone-video technology, no need to slow things down and reset every (freaking) two minutes—these flying machines are designed to keep up with the pace of your workforce. Drones can scan the hustle and bustle of factory operations or capture your engineering crew at work in the field. For sports equipment or apparel brands, drones are nimble enough to film expert users or professionals in action, whether we’re talking skiing, motocross, or fidget-spinning.


Even helicopters lack the grace to pull of what drones can do. Film the highest apple on your award-winning orchard from just a few inches away. Hover directly above your projects at HQ or in the great outdoors. Showcase every detail of your latest commercial or residential real estate offerings, including hallways and walk-in closets. Offer tours through your corporate offices, laboratories, and studios. At all heights and in cramped quarters, drones can truly go where no camera has gone before.

Ready to create a cinematic experience? Click here to see what the buzz is about.

Oh, and anyone remember this?