Another visit with the Video Marketing Success Stories team yielded this great story about one of our favorite continuing clients: Line 6. Live action videos always present their own set of challenges that are always worth exploring and discussing. Feel free to have a listen and watch as we discuss points, such as:
- Achieving such a sleek, sexy, cool look is never easy. It takes a great deal of planning and a LOT of people. Not just the brain trust on both the client side and the Rip Media Group side, but then comes the extensive cast and crew that worked for two full days to complete the shoot.
- Some products/clients just lend themselves better to Live Action. Products that promote a certain lifestyle are ripe for Live Action. The Line 6 amps are definitely a lifestyle product. When you use it, it makes you cool – simple as that.
- There’s so much that goes into live action. You have all the people in place, producer, director, the director of photography, sound people, lighting people, etc., all the way down the line. And then you go to post production, editing, sound effects, sound design, color correction, deliver. As opposed to animation where all those things are really an artist creating either a character or a scene. It’s all from an artist hand or from scenes we designed. So in some ways animation can be easier because you can really see and feel it in the storyboards, and feel it come to life.
Here are some great resources that will provide you more information and tools on how video marketing can help your business.
One is the Video Bot where you can make your own videos in seconds. Whether you want to get back in touch with that cold lead or the person that hasn’t gotten back in touch with you, or you just want to do some outreach or even wish somebody happy birthday, happy holidays, there are videos there waiting for you to personalize and you can literally do it in seconds and send it out.
Second is called “Create the salesperson that never sleeps,” which was compiled from all the frequently asked questions we’ve had over the years from different customers of ours, so we put together a scorecard and a way to create your own best video marketing message.
And then the last thing is another link to an infographic: the 11 best ways to promote your video.
If you want more information on Rip Media Group check them out at www.ripmediagroup.com. You can see samples of their work and check out their blogs for even more tips.
HOST: Hi everybody. Welcome to video marketing success stories. I’m your host Andy Glickman, along with Maury Rogow, CEO and Founder of Rip Media Group. How you doing, Maury?
MAURY: Hey there. Good, thank you.
HOST: Every week we like to take a look at some projects from the video marketing world, their origin, their process, their progress, the things you went through and your company went through to produce them. Maybe learn a little something out of it.
If you’re a company out there that’s looking to get into the video marketing industry, just have some video marketing projects for your company.
MAURY: If you’re not thinking that your company’s a media company at this point, you’re already behind. “We’re a hardware store.” You’re a media company. “Oh, we’re a bank.” You’re a media company. “We’re in construction.” You’re a media company.
Look at this guy on podcasts and he’s sitting there, “Here’s how we fix a closet door.” Dude’s got millions of views. He’s a media company.
HOST: Or he should be, right? I mean, how can you exist in this space if you’re not at the very least considering video marketing? That’s what keeps us aloft. May they all see the light and realize that they need videos and more of them.
I wanted to look through the vast Rip Media Group library of videos – the overwhelming library – for things that catch my eye, and, I think because it was centered in the music industry and just screamed rock and roll, which I’m a big fan of. The Line 6 series of videos that you guys did, which look so sleek, so clean, so bleeping cool.
MAURY: It’s guitar amplifiers. It is cool.
HOST: So it’s live action. For those of you not familiar with it, we’ll include a link. It’s live action, it’s – I don’t know, sexy is the only thing I can think of. I mean you guys treated this amp, this equipment like it was a hot babe lying on a bed. The angles and the lighting and the close ups and it was slow. I expected Barry White to bust out at any second.
I’m curious about the origin, how it came about, how you first got to meet them, how it became, “Hey, this is what we need,” and then sort of how you settled on that style.
MAURY: Yeah, and I’m glad you mentioned this is a series. We have some rockin’ guitar goin’ on, and you’re so right. We made this thing a lifestyle. We made that amp a character in this and we actually got a musical group. They helped us find this music group and we found other people that went through casting that are musicians that use Line 6 guitars and it was really kind of cool.
At the time we were talking to Fender amp, which my brother’s a musician and he always used Fender. And then he started looking at Line 6, and then these guys called.
So we ended doing this Line 6. First it was a video and then it was a series of videos. We did a 30 second version for commercials, a one minute version for their trade shows, a two and a half minute version for in store display. And then a much longer version included a lot more like how to, so I think we did four or five and maybe more of those. And there it was, so we just let it play out there. So when you hear the music, it’s coming through their own amp, it just sounds really great.
So how did it come about. That’s what you asked me. Actually, this is a funny one. So it came about through one of the photographers that had done some work for them in the past. They have a lot of still images and product shots and things like that. And they really wanted to amp it up, pun intended, and show this new product that, now, four years later, there’s Bluetooth amps all over the place, but then it was very new to go without the cord, without the cable. So cutting the cord. The product did not exist yet.
So that’s why we have these product shots that were created out of CadCam, 3d design models. Since the product didn’t exist yet, we created it in the 3D world. They test marketed it and then they became a really big seller, and specific musicians really like Line 6.
Every amp, every guitar, every drum set, has its own sound. So people really love these guys. They’re here in Los Angeles. Outside Los Angeles, in the suburbs. It was great working with them. They’re really cool and creative.
HOST: Did they have any other style in mind or that you guys pitched that was part of the consideration?
MAURY: Another good question. When I go through the styles, there’s things like stop motion. You can go with live or stop motion, there’s speed ramp, there’s with actors, without actors, there’s talking head, and then there’s animation, 3d animation, 2D animation, whiteboard animation.
So they were thinking more live and lifestyle. They really are a lifestyle product. You use this thing, it sounds better, you’re cool. So they wanted to get cool, hip, young, millennial and younger to kind of represent the brand. So they knew that.
I don’t think they had started off planning on doing the 3D animation. So that was something we really wanted them to mix in to throw the product out there. But don’t just throw it out there, “it’s gotta be a part of this, let’s show the product.” They incorporated it into the story.
So all of these different things are happening and revolved around the amp. It was like the party happens because the amp’s there and we literally have a party scene. We filmed for a whole day, a whole party scene and you see it for three, four seconds.
That is one of those funny things about live action. You don’t know what pieces you’re going to use. You can spend a whole day here and take a couple of seconds or it could be the whole day you go through and you feel it out in post and what really tells the story the best.
HOST: Yeah. I was going to ask specifically about the live action production process. There’s obviously a lot that goes into it. Like you say, the shoot, you’re dealing with the crew. What kind of considerations, especially as it differs from animation or motion graphics. Talk a little bit more about some of the process that goes into live action shooting and production.
MAURY: Well, there’s a lot. Let me tell you what’s the same. So when you go through the process, the beginning process, the preproduction process is probably the most different of them all.
What we do is we always start off with the idea factory, which is pitching. We actually do a discovery session where we listen to the customer. What are their goals? What are they trying to do? What’s the call to action? How do they want people to feel and what do we want them to do at the end of the video?
I want them to feel good, but I also want them to click on, let’s see a demo or where’s the local store that I go check this out, or click like on Facebook or whatever it might be.
So you’ve got to find out those goals. Then we come back and we pitch the concept: Okay, this could be live action and we think it could be funny or this could be sexy or sizzle, which is what we pitched here. Again, “sexy” doesn’t mean models on a boat or something like that. It’s just making something that’s aspirational, something you really want to be in that’s visibly attractive in any way.
Like I want to be in that car, in that convertible. That’s sexy and it sizzles. Or it’s essential and intriguing.
S T U F F: Sexy, Touching, Unique, Funny and Fear like I always talk about. So we went for the sizzle in this one. And so we pitched that, they loved the idea, and then you go about with live action.
Of course, now you’ve got to put the pieces into place. So we’re talking auditions, we’re talking locations, dates, how much time and each location because you’re not just in one studio.
That’s a whole lot easier than going out with this. We were in probably five or six locations across Los Angeles, which is tough to get place to place. If you’re outside of Milwaukee in a suburb or something like that, we’ll get from here to there in 15 minutes.
Here it’s, we’ll get from here to here, which is three miles in an hour and a half. We don’t have helicopters to take us. So it’s all a consideration. You’ve got to do this bar graph of how much time, how much expense and that kind of thing.
So you go through the auditions, you do the casting, you run that past the agency or the customer directly, you go for the locations, location scouts. Will this work? What’s the lighting like? What’s the lighting like at this time of day? Because if you’re going to be filming all day, the morning to the afternoon to the night, totally different, and you gotta keep it static, you gotta make it look like all this happened within one minute, even though you’re filming across the whole day.
So there’s so much that goes into live action when you ask a question like that. But once you lay all that out and you storyboard it, then you go about the production piece. So you have all the people in place, producer, director, the director of photography, which is the person that holds the camera, really feels out what’s going to be on lens and show that the director has the best sound people, lighting people, etc., all the way down the line. Everybody is critical.
Let’s say you get everything, you shoot, you hope it came out how you hoped or you hoped it comes out better. And then you go to post production, editing, sound effects, sound design, color correction, deliver. As opposed to animation where all those things come into play except for the audition is really an artist creating either a character or a scene. Do you like this field? Do you like that?
The location, the same thing. It’s all from an artist hand or from scenes we designed and that kind of thing. So in some ways animation can be easier because you can really see and feel it in the storyboards, and feel it come to life. It’s like looking in a comic book and then the comic book comes to life. So there’s great advantages to both.
HOST: I’m going to put you on the spot here. What kind of parameters determine your preference for one over the other, live action versus motion graphics? Is it within the story you want to tell? Is it the company, the client itself, is it just how you feel on a Tuesday?
MAURY: I’m going to give you a couple of behind the curtain things that were going on and why I switched to become more of an animation company then live action. So the first one always comes from the customer. What kind of brand are they? What are they trying to show?
If they’re a lifestyle company, consumer based, B to C, typically lifestyle people, actors, that sort of thing will play a bigger role than animation. Not always, but it usually plays a bigger role.
If you’re B2B, people are at work, they’re going to watch this. How does it represent the product that they’re selling? Even more so, it leans a little bit heavier on animation, but it comes down to what they really want, what that customer is going to open their eyes to.
That’s the most important thing. We got to disrupt their day and have them watch and pay attention and learn something new.
Then it comes to budget. Do they really have the budget to be able to pull off what we really want to do? And that is a big determining factor between live and animation in some cases. And there isn’t an easy rule for live is going to be more expensive than animation. It’s not the case.
We’ve done animation projects that are a hundred and some thousand dollars. Think about a Pixar film. Pixar films are $1 million per minute, 1 million a minute. You can shoot for a whole lot less than that.
The Hangover was $30 million, including Bradley Cooper and Zach Galifianakis and all those actors in there. So you never know. You do know you’ve got to look at budget.
But you know, with these kinds of things, people typically have like 10 to 30,000 of a budget. So sometimes at the lower end, you’ll lean a little heavier on more motion graphic design animation. Higher end, it could be a blend of both 3D animation, you can be much higher than that in budget.
And then I’ll give you the big thing. Why I started switching from a lot of live to animation was the actors would come in and do fantastically well at the audition. They would crush it, they’d be perfect, they’d have emotion, they knew their lines and they came in – different actors, different actresses, different days, different projects, we’ve done hundreds – but they wouldn’t be prepared.
So we’d lose hours of them not knowing their lines, not being able to communicate well.
The other thing: weather. It would happen all of a sudden. It’s going to be windy or rainy that day. So now we have to delay everything and we have 10 to 15 person crew in some cases have to delay everything.
Then you have to go back to the customer and say, “I’m sorry we couldn’t get this,” but we still have 10,000 in expenses because all those people showed up.
So all those things happen. That’s what you gotta be prepared for. Have a backup actor, have this and that. Just higher and higher expense to really make sure you’re going to do it well. And I started toying around five or six years ago and said I don’t have those problems and I can be a little closer to home and the family, if I go with a little heavier leaning on animation.
Luckily the market said exactly the same thing. They wanted animation as well. So that’s why we’re a little heavier on animation than we are live. But we certainly do both. And it really depends on the customer.
HOST: How big of a crew was that for that Line 6, do you recall?
MAURY: Let’s exclude the actors because each scene that you saw there had different levels of actors. One of the party scenes, we had 15-20 extras as well as five or six bandmates. Outside of that, let me run down the line because I can’t remember exactly.
But we certainly had four folks from the customer, producer obviously, me, director, director of photography, two people for sound, I think two people for lighting, probably three PAs, production assistants, and I’m not really counting right now, but I’m thinking probably about eight or 10.
So wherever we traveled around, we were looking at 10 to 15 people plus the actors. Oh I forgot the grips. They’re the ones that do all the electric and carry things.
HOST: 10-15 people, and you did it all in one day, at different locations?
MAURY: It was actually a two day shoot. All the different locations. So we went from the kid in his home. It wasn’t really his home and it really wasn’t a kid. He 25 years old playing 18, in somebody else’s apartment that let us rent for the day so that we could film.
But he’s in there jamming on the guitar. So that was probably half a day. We squeezed in another half a day at the studio. We had about two or three people setting them up over at a soundstage. So they were playing. So when we got there with all the gear and some cameras and the rest of the folks and director, they were pretty much set up. So we actually could pull off two in one night there.
And the other day was one short scene inside the house, then outside was the party scene. So two days, four or five scenes, if I remember right. Then we mixed it in the animation. And that was beautiful, and that took a few weeks to create on its own.
HOST: Well, I think what you came away with in the sample you showed and the other Line 6 videos is very cool, really stylized, interesting to look at. But obviously as you say, with live action, there’s a lot of things to take it into consideration, a lot of potential pitfalls. Always something to consider for our audience when they’re considering some live action shoots and live action videos.
So Maury, do you have any resources you can recommend to our listeners that they can check out either through your website or some other way?
MAURY: Sure absolutely. There’s some great resources that we put together out there. So three that come to mind really quick. One is the Video Bot. The video bot helps people make their own videos in seconds, and it’s a resource that we’ve been using really successfully and our customers have been using.
So you want to get back in touch with that cold lead or the person that hasn’t gotten back in touch with you, or you just want to do some outreach or even wish somebody happy birthday, happy holidays, there are videos sitting in there waiting for you to personalize and you can literally do it in seconds and send it out.
And there it’s free for the first period of time so that’s a great resource. Second is basically – it’s called “Create the salesperson that never sleeps,” and this was actually compiled from all the frequently asked questions we’ve had over the years from different customers of ours, so we put all those FAQ’s together and then turned it into a scorecard and a way to create your own best video marketing message.
So if you go there you click on, it’s a free download. Download this workbook. It’s like six pages, nothing too laborious. It won’t take you a year to go through, maybe a few minutes or half an hour and you will have a great roadmap for what you should be setting up as far as your company’s best story. So that is creating the salesperson that never sleeps.
And then the last thing is ways to promote your video or your story. There’s another link that I can get you and I believe that infographic is the 10 best ways to promote your video and your story and I’ll give you a link.
So those are the three things I can think of quickly and happy to share more if you hit us up on our website at www.ripmediagroup.com.
HOST: Thank you for joining us on video marketing success stories. I’m Andy Glickman your host with Maury Rogow, CEO and founder of Rip Media Group. If you want more information on Rip Media Group check them out at www.ripmediagroup.com. You can see samples of their work and check out their blogs for even more tips.