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The Bottle Rocket Media (BRM) Video Production Process

As a brand, it is becoming increasingly important to maintain relevance in a world filled with so much access, so many options, and an abundance of competition. You have to move with the times, not against them. Video has become the most compelling format for entertainment filled with storytelling, information, and memorable content.

Do you have video content loaded on your drive ready to be launched when needed? Is your YouTube channel filled with videos representing your mission, your brand story, your product, or all of the above? To stay afloat, you have to have content these days, because content builds relevance, and video, if you didn’t know it already…is king. Think Zoom, TikTok, Instagram Reels, and Facebook Stories; video is where it’s at. 

As you get ready to start your project, we are here to share what to expect when you hire us as your video production team. 

Read on to learn more about our process. 

At Bottle Rocket Media, almost all of our projects flow the same way, regardless of storytelling style or content. 

1. MEET WITH US

Our projects always start with a creative kickoff meeting which allows us to get to know one another more, discuss the project in detail, collect preliminary information, and learn more about your messaging goals.  We will take this information back to our team and discuss, following up with more questions as we formulate a plan of attack, refine our creative approach, and begin to bring your ideas to life.  Get to know more about our team here

2. CREATIVITY TIME

Creative discovery and exploration is a crucial period after the job is awarded and before serious planning begins. We will discuss your ideas, present our own (when appropriate) and really dig into the message and how best to tell it.

PRODUCTION TIME

Pre-production is a time of weekly check-ins and constant communication surrounding casting, locations, scheduling, and more.  We will also flesh out the visual style during this time, create storyboards, shot lists, and style frames, and create a production outline matching your vision.  For documentary-style productions, this is also a time for us to conduct pre-interviews with on-camera participants.

Production.  All creative elements have been approved at this point in the process, and we start creating/shooting the elements.  The production phase might involve a camera crew shooting footage we need to tell the story, or it might mean our motion designers, animators, and editors get to work. 

In the Post Production phase, we assemble all elements to create the first version of the video(s) as planned.  Editorial, motion design, color correction, music, audio mix, and finesse will take place during the predetermined post-production schedule. Once the video(s) is approved, the final files are delivered to you in any format you desire.

3. ARE YOU READY?

The BRM team is adamant about making the production process from beginning to end as seamless as possible and not to mention, a good time! We understand the decision to deliver your brand message in video form is important, and the team takes our jobs especially seriously. We enjoy working with our clients, becoming friends, and working side by side to create exactly what you have envisioned and more!

We would love to chat with you about everything from telling a great story to the latest drone technology. From concept to delivery, we love this stuff and can talk about it all day long. To learn more about Bottle Rocket Media, all of our 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.

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.”

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.

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 

From the Director’s Chair: Cubs Virtual Reality ‘Gameday Experience’

Brett Singer Talks Entertaining Troops Overseas with a Virtual Reality Chicago Cubs ‘Gameday Experience’

360-video production turns the lyric “Take me out to the ballgame” on its head in this spotlight on one of Bottle Rocket Media’s most meaningful project of 2018. Working with the Chicago Cubs, and with sponsorship support from Boeing and the U.S.O., they were challenged to create a one-of-a-kind 360 Immersive Gameday Experience at Wrigley Field, designed to take the ballgame out to thousands of wildly deserving overseas military personnel.

Thanks to the advent of VR gear, troops stationed in Germany were given exclusive access to every corner of Wrigley Field during this custom 360 experience. Viewers get to sit in Cubs dugout, stand in the batter’s box during batting practice, be right on the field during the national anthem, and even a sing-along with Cubs Hall of Famer, Ryne Sandberg, – all accompanied by eye-popping, graphics that tell the story about Wrigley’s history and some other fun facts along the way.

Creating an immersive Wrigley Field experience for the nation’s armed forces was both a dream-come-true for many at Bottle Rocket, and an extremely worthy use of a technology that is “still in its infancy”.

How did this project with the Cubs come about? Also, go Cubs!

Just before the start of the 2018 season, the Cubs reached out to us about the possibility of creating a 360 experience during Spring Training. It was an exciting email to get. We had some great conversations but, unfortunately, that project never came to light. A few months later, they reached back out with an opportunity to create an experience, specifically for the men and women serving in the US Military overseas. Boeing and the USO were the sponsors.

I’ve spent a fair amount of time at Wrigley myself and I’ve seen first hand what a close relationship the Cubs have with military personnel. A few times a month they have military appreciation days. I knew this was an important project to them. We were one of several firms vying for the job and we were over-the-moon when we were awarded the job.

Can you briefly describe the ‘experience?’

The point of the virtual/360-video technology is to immerse the viewer in an alternate reality, so to speak. When you put on a 360 headset you feel like you’re standing in that experience. Our viewers would get to feel what a day at Wrigley feels like. From walking into the gate at Clark and Addison, walking by the concession stands and coming up to the field. We put them in the dugout, on the field, in the bleachers, and they even get to be in the press booth during the Seventh Inning Stretch and be just feet away from Ryne Sandberg as he sings ‘Take Me Out to the Ballgame’ in full view of the entire stadium. We even got to go into the Cubs clubhouse and hi-five a player!

Thanks to funding from the project’s sponsors, 2,500 Google Cardboard headsets were handed out to overseas soldiers and their family. With those headsets they all will be able to receive an experience that most attendees don’t usually get.

As we filmed, every viewer was able to see exactly what we were seeing as if they were right at Wrigley with us.

What does this experience mean to you and what does it say about the future of VR/360?

The idea of combining our passion for video production with our philanthropic model – and all at Wrigley Field – was an opportunity of a lifetime. We had no choice but to knock this one out of the park. I couldn’t be more proud of our team. We all are honored to have been a part of this project. In fact, it was such a success that the Cubs made their own video tribute to the event (see below). Maybe, they’ll let us back to do a spring training video… 🙂

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

We’re always looking for opportunities to continue working at the forefront of 360 video, an area that is still evolving. It’s not every day that the technology can be applied so perfectly and for such a good cause! Ultimately, however, I do think the future of 360 video will continue to involve immersive virtual reality experiences more and more—and our invitation to help the Cubs last year just highlights a demand already on the rise.

What was the best part of filming at Wrigley Field?

After we filmed the batting practice, which they had setup just for us to film, they asked if we’d help them collect the balls. So our whole crew got to run around the outfield at Wrigley, picking up the balls. IT WAS AMAZING!! We took lots of photos. What aday. Really proud of how it turned. We all are.

Thanks, Brett!

Ready to share your reality with the world? Click here and go virtual.

Bottle Rocket Media’s Year in Review

A look back at our 2017 highlight reel.

We can’t believe it’s already time to look back at 2017. It feels like just last week it was March, and we had a pile of umbrellas at the door to our office instead of a pile of snow boots. What can we say—time truly does fly when you love what you do. We’ve had a blast this year, and narrowing it down to a few favorites is tough. But we’ll try: here’s some stuff we’re especially proud of from the past year.

The Telly Awards

They say it’s an honor just to be nominated, but let’s be honest, winning is pretty cool too. Five of our projects took home trophies at the 2017 Telly Awards, and we’re still grinning about it. The Tellys are a pretty big deal in the video world, so getting recognized was a huge honor. Check out our WeWork Times Square video, which won in the Branded Content & Entertainment in Craft-Virtual Reality / 360 category.

Our 360 Video for iO Comedy Network

Back in February, we got to use cutting-edge VR tech to shoot a one-of-a-kind improv show at the legendary iO Comedy Network. People rarely film improv shows; so much of the fun is being there in the audience, participating (when invited) and watching how each performer puts their own spin on a scene. That’s why we chose to capture this using 360-degree video. Viewers at home can relive the magic over and over and choose a new face to focus on every time. We had a great time capturing the show and watching the iO performers (known as “The Late 90’s”) do their thing.

“Power Move” for The Atlantic’s Re:Think

Partnering with The Atlantic’s marketing arm, Re:think, for this piece on energy solutions was without a doubt one of the coolest things we’ve done this year. We got to visit 3 different cities and learn about some crazy innovations in energy tech, while bringing our own gadgets into the mix to shoot their landscape using 360 video AND drones. How cool is that? The amazing visuals we captured are unlike anything we’ve done before.

These are just a few of the amazing projects that stand out to us from 2017. We can’t wait to see what stories we’ll get to tell in 2018, but for now we want to pause to congratulate our team on another fantastic year. They really do make all of this look easy.

Alright, before this gets too sappy, we’ve got cocoa to chug and leftovers to eat. Happy New Year from everyone at Bottle Rocket Media! Stay tuned to keep tabs on all the cool stuff we do in 2018.

How Do People Watch 360 Videos?

Understanding where, how, and who watches video with this new technology will make your storytelling more effective

While the public’s access to 360 videos used to be limited to the rare IMAX visit, today, anyone can watch a 360 video with the help of their smartphone or gaming console. That’s made 360 videos more popular than ever, with these immersive clips racking up millions of views on social media. As with any video, it’s important to know your audience, and with 360 video it’s equally important to understand where and how they’re watching. Here’s the latest on 360 viewership habits.

How People Are Watching 360 Videos

Viewers don’t need expensive equipment to check out 360 videos—in fact, most smartphones can be used to watch 360 videos interactively. They’re supported on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, and to interact with a 360 video, users just need to hit play and move around their phone to see the action unfold from any angle. Low-tech and high-tech headsets like Google Cardboard lean on smartphone interactivity while using hardware to help audiences feel “immersed” in their 360 videos, looking around by simply turning their heads.

Viewers can even use a computer to interact with a 360 video, though the experience is less interactive: instead of taking cues from your motions, you simply change the angle with the click of a mouse. For a 360 video experience, you can control and, in some cases, manipulate, gaming consoles are even starting to incorporate 360 tech into their gameplay. The PS4 will display 360 videos and photos if players connect a PlayStation VR to the system, and with compatible games, players can move around the digital objects surrounding them.

Who’s Watching 360 Videos

Who are the viewers behind all these shares? An analysis from Nielsen found a quarter of U.S. consumers aged 18-54 said they were likely to use VR technology in 2017. The people in this group tended to be higher-income “urban professionals” who advocate for specific products and causes they believe in. According to Nielsen, these people were also more likely to donate to a charity, contact an elected representative, and volunteer at a non-profit organization. And people who watched a 360 video featuring a cause or organization were more likely to remember it than those who watched a more conventional ad that played in the middle of a video. Nearly half of those who watched the 360 video were likely to donate to the group afterward—higher than the 38 percent who watched the midroll ad. 360 video viewers are smart, motivated, and loyal to the brands they feel connected to.

Why 360 Videos Are Clicking With Viewers

360 videos have a higher click-through rate and interaction rate than standard, “flat” videos, according to a study from Google. That’s good news for companies: It means people watching 360 videos are more likely to click to watch a full video or learn about the brand behind the clip and are thus more likely to share the video or subscribe to the maker’s channel. But on the flipside: Google’s study also found 360 videos had a lower view-through rate, or rate of people watching the video through its end, than standard videos. That suggests “viewers aren’t always in the mood to interact with 360 video,” according to Google. That means you should make your 360 videos matter: one meaningful, thoughtful and strategic video can really make an impact, and throwaway videos where you propped up a camera and walked away aren’t worth your time. That’s why it’s so important to get it right.

360 videos can pull the audience into a story like few other platforms, and no one understands how to nail it better than we do. Contact Bottle Rocket Media today to get started on an immersive video that will connect with your audience.