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October 2014

Viewing posts from October , 2014

Have you Heard about the St. Petersburg Science Festival?

This past Saturday, we volunteered at the St. Petersburg Science Festival located along the waterfront campus of the University of South Florida, St. Pete.   Our sponsorship of the event included demonstration of our quadcopter video drone, and filming highlights of the festival.

Our participation at the event refreshed our perspective on the power of hands-on experience in connecting the depth, beauty, and enormity of science with people of all ages.  This event is a terrific blend of family fun, entertainment, interactive learning, and eye-opening experiences with creatures from land, sea, and air, both seen and unseen by the human eye, and the chemistry, biology, geology, physics, eco- and environmental systems of our planet and beyond.

Part of our responsibility in filming the event was to capture visual highlights of the festival, but the most powerful imagery that emerged was the reaction of kids, their parents; everyone who could be seen catching on to a new idea, expressing amazement at realities of our world, and consuming this “stuff” with wide-eyed enthusiasm.  Seeing the people connect; that was the beauty of this event for me.

Please enjoy this video from the 2014 St. Petersburg Science Festival.

Animated Videos for Product – Service Marketing: Advantages versus Live-shot Video

As we continue our mission to help clients REACH internal and external customers, CONNECT their enterprise content with people, EVERYWHERE through digital and traditional media, we create and produce content in all forms, shapes and sizes. One of our favorite tactics is the use of animations to transcend the limitations and costs of live-shot video.

We’ve had clients with exciting creative visions for marketing their product or service, including a desire to communicate these visions through video, but the production scale to realize these visions, if produced with live-shot video, would be cost and time-prohibitive.

In these cases, we’ve found that using illustrations, animated in various styles, including white board animation, frees the creative process from limitations of location, visual themes, production complications; basically the only limitations are imagination and the talents of the creative team.

Animation allows the creative team to proceed with clever, humorous, exciting stories set in any location or physical scenario desired to position products and services in context with their markets in a unique way.  One of the examples posted here uses the analogy of a battlefield of competition and a treacherous mountain climb to success in capturing government contracts as facilitated through specialty financing.    The second example shares a path from distraught thoughts of retirement challenges, through a humorous education about the benefits of an online retirement planning tool, and the excitement of now having simple, affordable support for retirement planning.

The time and cost associated with these productions was a small fraction of live-shot versions, and the point of each piece is far better made by the animated scene-scape and messaging.  These cases were major wins for our clients!

So if you would like to go with video for your branding, messaging, product/service marketing, keep in mind that there are many options for producing creative works and the first step is matching up production methods with budget and time resources.

Pitching for a Capital Raise; Video for Your Pitch

We’ve had several inquiries lately about the use of video in capital raise initiatives, from simply adding audio and video elements to standard pitch decks, to creating and producing “pitch reels” that make a connection, impact, and lasting impression on individual investors or investor groups.

Video is a terrific medium to add to this kind of outreach effort.   It can be used as a stand alone piece to “break the ice” and test interest, and also for use in support of more detailed pitch decks and presentation documentation.   Video can introduce more personalized character and content to capital raise campaigns, applying creativity, humor, and individualized themes in making these critical connections.

We recently produced a “Pitch Reel” for a new tech company that is seeking investment capital for launching and scaling its product.   In this case, the video was created and produced for an audience of “one”; Sir Richard Branson.  The video was produced around the common interest of the client CEO and Branson in the sport of kiteboarding.

This piece, created for HORN CEO, Lawrence T. Levine, built a story around Levine’s and Branson’s common love of kiteboarding, connecting special and very specific elements of the kiteboarding world and personal experiences of the two men with the technology behind, and applications of the HORN product.  The piece then proceeds with an overview of HORN’s present situation, successful history in tech launches and exits, and objective of scaling the product globally.

This pitch reel will be used to catch Branson’s eye, along with the rest of his exclusive review team, as part of the Extreme Tech Challenge (ETC) program.  The video will accompany a brief pitch deck and forms with necessary details, but the idea was to create a piece that would hit reviewers in the face, connect directly with Branson, and compel the ETC folks to focus on the HORN opportunity.

Check out the video and see if you agree with us that Sir Richard will want to check it out; and then take a second look for good measure!

Good luck to Lawrence and his team at HORN and thank you for trusting SMARTS with this important work!

Aerial Videography via Drone

Drones (used by SMARTS) are unmanned aerial vehicles that have been scaled down to four propeller “quadcopters” that are simple to fly. Most of the drones used for commercial video are very small, around 24 inches from prop tip-to-tip, and flight is assisted by GPS satellite positioning and even guidance. The drone we use has a gimbal-stabilized, high definition camera that can be controlled from a smart phone connected through a wifi network that is setup from the quadcopter to the remote controller and phone. Real-time flight video can be watched on the phone during filming, and adjustments to the camera view and settings can be made during flight.

Our applications for SMARTS-Force 1 (the first in our drone fleet) have been real estate, tv commercial production, and company “sizzle reel” productions for promotional videos that are deployed on websites, email campaigns, and social media posts. The aerial footage is incredibly stable and dramatically increases production values of each video through unique perspectives and motion dynamics. Home & property video is more inclusive and dramatic, adding a sense of majesty to beautiful architecture and surrounds. Filming with the drone can yield shots that were formerly too expensive or time consuming to capture, and low altitude, close quarters flights can provide producers and directors with many more creative shot angles and camera movements that really beef up editing options in post-production.

The small size of these drones, their toy-like characteristics, and basic safety features make the use of this equipment easy and safe for proximity to buildings and people, assuming responsible operators are at the controls.

The controller device and GPS data alert the pilot if the quadcopter enters restricted air space, and sensible deployment (or a no-go decision) can manage risks during production. Very few rules or regulations exist at present to limit or foster drone uses for film, although it is expected that the FAA will develop regulations as the population of private and commercial drone users continues to grow.