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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.

Long Weekend Ahead? Movies to Watch this 4th of July

Movies To Watch on 4th Of July

Summer is here – which means it’s time for BBQs, ice cold drinks, swimming pools and more time to chill on your hands than you’ve had in months. Of course, one of Bottle Rocket Media’s favorite pastimes to pass the time is MOVIES! Whether surfing your iPad or hitting the cinema this weekend, here are a few suggestions to make the most of your well-deserved downtime.

When that Movie Theater AC Calls to You:

For some of us, it just might be one of the hottest seasons on record, and there is no better place to cool off than a dark theater, while anonymously sucking down an ice-cold beverage. Typically, this is also a HUGE blockbuster weekend for the box office—memorable movies from years past include Transformers, War of the Worlds and Hancock (who knew?).

This year is proving to be just as exciting, with the following suggestions from us to you:

John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum We love this movie because it has everything you want from an action thriller: lots of fighting, tons of blood, fast motorcycles and King Keanu, who is apparently taking over the world this year with his turn in the video game, Cyberpunk 2077, and a long-awaited Bill & Ted comeback (WE CAN’T WAIT!). From beginning to end this release will keep you on the edge of your seat. *If you liked the Matrix, you’ll really appreciate the scenes with Lawrence Fishburne. The best part? NO dead dogs.

Midsommar Do you like feeling so uncomfortable that you just want to jump out of your own skin? If so, this movie is right up your disturbed alley. The amazing framing and lens work were just enough to keep us from running screaming all the way to the exit. To quote a friend: “I don’t know what I just saw, but it freaked me the hell out.” Enter into a mad world of sacrifice, suicide, drugs, sex and music, all set the backdrop of a beautiful, flowery European summer. Don’t bring the whole family.

Spider-Man: Far from Home What would a summer movie list be without a classic superhero presence designed to thrill audiences of ALL ages. Yes – take the whole family to catch our arachnid-infected protagonist as he saves the universe from evil, again! Samuel L. Jackson, Jake Gyllenhaal and Zendaya round out the latest cast in this CGI masterpiece. We are so are blown away by the effects that we might take a few cues from the cinematographer in our own work this year. Stay tuned!

Sticking to the Couch this Weekend? Of course, you don’t need to leave the comfort of your living room, den, bedroom or neighbor’s pool to get some entertainment in this weekend. Instead, grab your tablet or pop a squat in front of that gleaming monitor and catch up with your favorite streaming services:

Stranger Things For starters, season three of Stranger Things kicks off on Thursday, the 4th on Netflix – and it is already teasing the hell out of us at Bottle Rocket Media. Why do we enjoy it so much? Well , I guess you could say many of us are children of the 80s, so any reference to Gremlins, Ghostbusters, Dungeons & Dragons, Goonies or cheesy hairdos is almost enough to get our attention – and there is plenty of that. Plus, we think the visual effects are pretty cool.

Divorce Got HBO or HBO NOW? Sarah Jessica Parker and Thomas Hayden Church have reunited for the sloppy, funny, sad and somewhat realistic tale of two former spouses trying to start new and separate lives. You can now catch up on the first episode of season three, which aired this past Monday and come down off the holiday weekend with episode two on Monday, the 8th. Think your life is complicated? Watch and feel better.

Have an amazing, fun-filled 4th of July, everyone! Don’t forget to sit back, relax and enjoy.

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 | 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.

The Bullhorn | Meet Director Joel Kapity

Meet Bottle Rocket Media Director Joel Kapity

There is no shortage of creative talent at Bottle Rocket Media these days – emphasized by the onboarding of longtime Chicago-based director, Joel Kapity, who has been telling stories through the lens since childhood. A love for the human experience guides his creative sensibilities, while his fearless outlook helps him accomplish what others deem “impossible.” 

Here’s what Joel had to say about his rise as a successful storyteller:

What got you into directing? 

As a kid, I was always the guy with a camera. While others were hanging out, doing what kids do, I would be shooting little shorts with whomever I could wrangle on any given night.  

What about the craft moves you?

I think I’m terrible at a lot of things—directing is not one of them. There is no other job that comes more naturally or brings me more joy. One of my favorite aspects is working with professional actors to bring a story to life. As a director, I have a very specific task of pulling emotions out of others, and I love playing with framing, lighting and camera moves to help draw the audience further into the worlds of the characters.

How did you hook up with Bottle Rocket Media? What drew you to the company?

At my last studio, I was given the opportunity to direct a commercial with Bottle Rocket Media staff as my crew. It was a great experience. During the shoot, I had some solid conversations with Dan and Brett, and felt very in tune with their passion to produce great video content. It was a genuine connection. Bottle Rocket Media and I shared the same creative thoughts and direction—very refreshing. My gut feeling was that I could produce some truly incredible content with this studio.

What unique elements do you bring to the portfolio?

My most unique slash powerful element as a director is my love for people, and how that translates to my commercial work – whether it’s a tv spot, a feature film or social media content. The material I am most proud of almost always involves storylines driven by human relationships.

Also, big ideas with small budgets don’t scare me. I honestly believe I can accomplish what others deem “impossible.” 

How does your style lend itself to brand videos?

Shock and awe. I am obsessed with creating cinematic visuals to support brand awareness in new and exciting ways. For every project, I try to think about that one extra visual effect, shot or action that creates a video people will remember—one that stands out in a flooded market.

What can we look forward to from you in 2019?

So far, 2019 has been jam-packed with creating content for different brands every week and there are no signs of slowing down. I’m currently finishing my third film, I AM YOUR KEEPER, while working on several big client videos for Bottle Rocket Media.  

What industry techniques/technology/methods are you most excited about right now?

I am really excited about all the cameras and lighting tools we didn’t have 20 years ago – when I was still cutting my teeth as a director. A couple of months ago, I directed a Phantom high-speed camera commercial shoot with two of the best hockey players in the world—I was blown away by what we were able to capture. High-speed cameras can bring such an incredible value to a project that no other piece of equipment can. I’m also obsessed with the use of robotic arms in production, which is becoming extremely popular for capturing food and sports commercial imagery.   

What is one of your proudest accomplishments? Why? What obstacles did you have to overcome?

Directing and producing my second film, Dreams. It consumed my life for three years, three to six days a week, and roughly 15-20 hours a day. The movie involved a huge cast, with thousands of extras, and a limited budget. It’s a film I’d wanted to make for about 10 years and it ultimately involved flying in actors from all over the country. Considering the huge job at hand every day on set, it was definitely the most complex thing I have directed to date. 

Any words of wisdom?

Don’t listen to others who tell you what to be or what to do.

The best decisions I have made in my life were the ones that didn’t make sense to others. When you feel like being a part of something, just do it. Don’t think about the money or what you think you deserve. When you are a part of a project you love, you will perfect your craft. And that always leads to something bigger and better. Don’t wait to have what you think you need. If you are truly meant to do something, take a leap of faith and people will follow you.

Favorite movie and why:

One of my favorite movies is Crash. As far as films that tell multiple stories go, this was one of the best.  

The Bullhorn | Meet Director Mark Cwiakala

Meet Bottle Rocket Media Director Mark Cwiakala

In the first installment of our Bullhorn series, we meet director Mark Cwiakala – who comes to the Chicago-based production team with a passion for storytelling, documentary-style video and a lot less “confusion” than when he started out.

Here’s what Mark had to say about his 25-year journey as a professional creator:

What got you into directing? I got into directing out of a sense of confusion. When I was working as a creative director, it perplexed me that I would hand off storyboards to another person who would then direct the spot I had been working on for weeks – sometimes for months. Not that they couldn’t do it, but why wouldn’t I do it?

How did you connect with Bottle Rocket Media?I met founder, Dan Fisher, about eight years ago while working on a pitch for a series called No Chef’s Allowed. I was introduced by a mutual producer friend who thought Dan would be perfect for the project. We clicked! He was a great addition to our team and an overall joy to be around. Years later, when I was looking to branch out and focus more on directing, I figured enough time went by that he’d forgotten how annoying I was. So, I dropped him a line.

What draws you to documentary-style video? I love a good story. That’s it. Listening to real people tell you something interesting, shocking, thoughtful, weird, obscene, sad, or exciting, is performance art.

How does the medium lend itself to brand videos? I’ve always felt the best way to communicate is to show someone something authentic that they can relate to. No one likes to be told what to do or what to buy, but if you can expose an audience to something that hits home – especially something they have never seen before – it will be contagious. Getting people to relate is the best way to make an impact.

What will you bring to the portfolio in 2019? I hope to work on a few new docu-series projects and expand into different industries that Bottle Rocket Media has yet to tap. Currently, I’m working on a documentary that spotlights the recent explosion of combat-art, and why we are seeking out violent outlets in a time when humans no longer need to be physically aggressive to survive. In the end, I love shooting anything that’s thrown my way, while challenging myself to make it better than expected.

What video techniques are you most excited about right now? I don’t get hung up on technology too much. I keep aware of it. But, even if the tool itself can facilitate the creative, the creative should always dictate the tool. Content comes first. That being said, I really want to shoot a moving bullet probe lens through a big pile of fruit, or cakes, or even water balloons.

Favorite movie of all time and why:8 ½ by Fellini. If you can’t relate the opening scene, I’d like to be on what you’re on.

A Tale of Two Authentic Videos

On the Internet, being popular is less about budgets and special effects, and more about being authentic and making an impact with a relevant message. 

‘This is America’ and ‘Great Depression Cooking’

If there is one thing we have learned, watching the Internet and its accompanying social media platforms evolve, it’s that ANYONE can make a massive impact through video, whether you have a billion dollar budget – or practically no budget at all. Simply put, it comes down to being creative with the tools at hand and using honest emotion to connect with an audience.

Remember the “this is your brain on drugs” commercial? A single egg cooking in a frying pan became one of the most popular spots of the 1980s. No frills – just profound imagery.

So, in the past year, we here at Bottle Rocket Media have come to love and appreciate two completely different videos that prove the power of the medium and the theory that there is more than one way to send an important, authentic, message.

Childish Gambino—“This Is America”

Don’t worry. We’re not gonna try and break down all the important symbolism of this one. There are enough articles and blog posts out there that can tell you about the Frederick Douglas tie-in, why there is a hooded man on a white horse, and why Donald Glover didn’t try and go for a “perfect” body look (who really f*cking cares, anyway!?).

In this case, what we blown away by, besides the great creative, is the end result: the impact. Right now, the video has surpassed 450M views on YouTube, and will most likely hit 1B before too long. Yes, we like the song. But, the video came at a time when our country was clearly ready for an artistic visual accompaniment to our tense, geopolitical atmosphere.

It spurred debates and lengthy conversations on news shows, talk shows, and social media sites. There were parodies, and imitations galore, which used the breakthrough piece to attempt to raise awareness for outside issues.

While the breakthrough video’s director may have had a substantial budget to work with, he purposely (and brilliantly) created a minimalistic, industrial setting that hit on the real story behind the glitz and glamour of the commercial world. The emotion on Glover’s face is almost enough on its own to sell the message, killing the need for pyrotechnics, flash, or expensive on-location shoots.

Without any major special effects, it certainly wasn’t the most costly production of 2018 – but it may have been the most meaningful.

Clara Cannucciari—“Great Depression Cooking”

Have you not heard of the late, great Clara Cannucciari of “Clara’s Kitchen” and “Great Depression Cooking?” Truth be told, we hadn’t either. But, this year one of our astute, and apparently hungry, team members turned us all on to this elderly Italian woman, who had been on the Internet for about six years, cranking out recipes and yarns from her days as a young New Yorker during the Great Depression.

We can’t exactly explain why such a meek, soft-spoken nonagenarian would become one of the most watched senior citizens on Youtube – believe it or not, some of her videos have clocked over 4M and counting – but we can take an educated guess that it has something to do with her genuine vibe and unique role as one of the only Great Depression cooking specialists to still be vocal in modern times. Just take one glance at the media around us and you’ll notice we have become a culture OBSESSED with every kind of culinary dish on the planet, old and new—it was only a matter of time before our curiosity for 1920s pasta and peas would be sated!

Clara was clearly in the right place at the right time with her callbacks to the poorman’s breakfast, twice-baked potatoes, and her “we were happy” tales about smiling through tough times. Plus, with her grandson guiding the experience from behind the camera, we could not have gotten a more intimate look at this rare reality.

What’s more? The series was so impactful it led to the release of a cookbook that continues to be sold around the world, leaving a powerful history behind along with some good eats. We dare you to watch one of Clara’s videos and NOT fall immediately in love with her.

Do you have a tale to tell? Our advice: be authentic or beware…

Click to learn how video can help you speak your truth.

Give Your Viewers an Immersive VIP Tour With 360 Video

How a peek behind the scenes can give your audience engagement a major boost

No one can resist a “behind the scenes” tour, and 360 videos provide the perfect opportunity to give viewers a rare experience without having to leave their couch. For brands, 360 video tours are the perfect way to connect with viewers. If you’re hosting an event or spotlighting a cool venue, a 360 video tour can give your customers an interactive look inside their favorite company. Here’s how to make them work for you.

Finding the Right Time and Place

The best candidate for a 360 video tour is an exclusive event or a space your viewers wouldn’t normally get to explore. Look for locations with excitement from all sides, like a movie set, a colorful cultural event or a rare tour of a stunning home. The most important part of a video tour is offering your viewers a new experience. WeWork used a 360 video tour to showcase its unique coworking space in New York, offering its followers a glimpse of Times Square as well as a tour of their lively workspace that only members can usually enjoy. Access to that workspace is what they’re selling, and their tour gave potential customers a peek inside, while also highlighting the brand’s personality. E! News recently took readers inside reality star and model Kendall Jenner’s closet—a place they’ve never seen and would never be able to explore if not for the 360 tour.

When It’s The Wrong Time and Place

Not every story needs to be told with a 360 video tour, and the strongest candidates complement the message your brand is trying to share. If you’re not sure whether a 360 video tour is right for your event or location, consider what a guest would see and think if you gave them free rein to wander the space. The scene should have multiple points of interaction all around the room. If there isn’t an abundance of detail for viewers to explore, or if the story has a single focal point, a traditional video with a narrow focus might be better.

Plan The Story AND The Scene

Start your 360 video tour project by thinking about the video’s mission, audience and story. If you’re going skydiving, you don’t just want to show viewers a shot of you falling through the sky. Talk to the skydivers as they’re prepping inside the plane before the jump. In addition to mapping a narrative, you should also plan out the whole 360 degree scene. Make the most of your space, and invite your subject to move around and interact with their surroundings. Remove anything you wouldn’t want viewers to see—a messy desk, a poster with questionable language—and arrange props any you want use or highlight during the video.

If you’re thinking of telling your brand’s story with a 360 video tour, contact Bottle Rocket Media for help creating a stunning one-of-a-kind video experience. You name the place, and we’ll transport your audience there.

How Does 360 Video Work, Anyway?

A crash course in the cutting-edge technology that’s changing the way people think about video

What’s 360 Video?

360-degree video has transformed the way people capture and share their world. Using multiple lenses to record everything around them simultaneously, these high-tech cameras create interactive movies that viewers can interact with in real-time. The technology is relatively new, but 360 videos have already gained enormous popularity. They’re more interactive and engaging than static videos or photos, and they let viewers independently control what they see.

Hundreds of these videos are uploaded to Facebook daily, garnering millions of views daily.  It’s never been easier to make 360-degree videos, easier to share them, and a lot easier to watch them. Here’s what you need to know about the medium before you dive in.

There’s (Not Really) An App For That

Developers have created apps that make it easy to create 360 photos (or panoramas) by taking multiple photos and “stitching” them together. One app, Splash, will even allow you to combine photos and short clips into a video, so you get a 360-video-like effect. But because true 360 videos need a camera with multiple lenses, you won’t be able to put one together with just a single-lens phone and app.

Finding the Right Camera

There are many 360-degree cameras, and each offers unique benefits. For a hobbyist, a smartphone attachment like the Insta360 Nano can replicate the 360 video effect on a budget. For a high-end camera that will create a truly immersive 360 experience, production companies spend thousands upon thousands of dollars on the most cutting-edge tech. If you need a crystal-clear, professional video, consider partnering with a professional team with the experience and the highest quality equipment.

Where To Share

Many social media sites like Facebook and Twitter support 360 videos, and you can share these videos on video-dedicated sites like YouTube and Vimeo. In fact, Facebook and YouTube even support live streaming for 360-degree videos that your viewers can watch and interact with on their phones, tablet, or computer.

The Tough Stuff

Once you’ve shot your 360 videos, editing those multiple views together—or navigating the inescapable blind spots produced by a spherical camera lens—is the most challenging and specialized part. Without 360-specific training, it can be difficult for a hobbyist to self-teach. But we can help with that.

Thinking of making a 360-degree video? Check out our guide to decide if a 360-degree video is right for you—then reach out to Bottled Rocket Media’s team, and we’ll help with everything you need to make your immersive video project pop.