Behind the Project: Planck Aerosystems

We know a little something about drones. Being a production company, we often work with our own drone to capture stellar aerial imagery and epic views for our projects. So when we were contacted by Planck Aerosystems, a drone start-up company who specializes in marine aeronautical drones - we jumped at the opportunity to create a brand film for them. 

Simply put: Planck creates drones for boats. Their state of the art technology allows a drone to fly itself while capturing and transmitting information from sea. After learning their office was only 3 blocks away from ours in east village, downtown San Diego - we walked over and met with their team to begin the concept and ideation phase. We were pleasantly surprised to find their headquarters is an awesome industrial studio flat with vaulted ceilings and huge glass windows, where they build the drones and do test flights in-office. The kind of office space that is begging for interviews and b-roll. 

From our first meeting with the Planck team, they let us know that they wanted to tell the story of who they are, what they do, and how they do it. They wanted to showcase the technology and software behind their product - but also feature it in a real life situation. This meant one thing: we needed  to get on a boat and head out to sea with them. We didn’t hesitate. After filming in their office on the first day, we popped some sea-sickness pills and geared up for a 4:30am wake up call and full day shoot out on the Pacific. 

It was a jam packed shoot: from early morning fog; loading bags of camera equipment onto a small fishing boat, to jumping back and forth between two boats, filming b-roll, flying our own drone to capture their drone, and plenty of salt water in between. 

Take a look at the film we made below: 

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3 Tips to Being A Better Producer

Here's a little secret: great projects don't just *happen*. They are the product of hard work, stellar cinematography and fine tuned editing. But knowing how to film & edit is usually just half the battle to creating awesome projects. More often than not - a great project will be the direct result of quality producing.

If filming & editing is the heart & soul of a great project - Producing is the body. Producers help projects come to life by coordinating all of the different aspects of the production. Often, producing a project means working on the concept, coordinating info with the clients, creating a budget, finding the location(s), scripting, casting, buying props, creating a schedule, sending out call-sheets, verifying addresses, setting up appointments, renting equipment, coordinating the production days, etc.

It's finding a snake shop who will let you "rent" a snake for 1 hour so you can film it on top of a PlayStation. It's knowing exactly which cliff you need to stand on to get the perfect shot of the water at sunrise. It's knowing which questions you need to ask the interviewee to get the sound bites needed for your narrative.

It's ALL of the leg work and gritty details that are rarely seen.

Here are 3 quick tips to being a better producer and creating better projects:

#3. JUST ASK! (and pick up the phone)

One key ingredient we learned early on in our producing is the power of "just ask". When a project starts, or a concept is approved, a young Producer might be overwhelmed with the idea of where to start. "How do we get access to film at an Olympic pool?", "Where can we find dancers who want to be in this video?". We learned that just ASKING can open so many doors. Researching businesses and then reaching out to ask if they'd be willing to help your project. You might get "no" often, but when you get "yes", it can lead to great things.

Another  huge we made early on was trying to produce all of our projects via email. Email is great for regular correspondence, but when you're producing - you're usually trying to get info FAST. You want to see if you can film at a specific location. You need to know what the pricing is to rent a specific camera. You need answers! In our experience, picking up the phone and calling is much faster (and way more successful - it's so easy to say no or not respond via email). 

#2. LOCK-IN THE DETAILS EARLY

Want to know another secret? Well, it's really not much of a secret; more common sense: if you don't finalize every possible detail of the story & concept before you start production, you'll find yourself doing twice the amount of work. Trying to produce while details are still in flux is like trying to juggle but the items you're juggling keep changing. Not fun. Work with the client to finalize all of the important details of your story or concept before you start the leg work of your producing. 

#1. THINK OF EVERYTHING (and then have a back-up plan for it ALL)

As a Producer, it's on you to ensure the concept, crew, gear, locations, location contacts, etc, etc are all good to go come shoot day(s), all the way to final delivery of the finished project. However, like most things in life, not everything always goes to plan. Weather changes, construction crews make noise you didn't plan for, people get sick, tires go flat, and everything in between. Being a great Producer is always being prepared; and having a back-up plan for it all.


Let us know if you have any specific questions about being a better Producer and creating better projects! Send us an email to sayhello@purecinema.tv

"Raised in the Waves" - A Brand Film for Ravean Aaron Photography

In the last couple of years, we've been luckily enough to produce a handful of amazing projects taking us all over the world. But when we get to stay home and dive into the Pacific Ocean, ride motorcycles and fly drones over the mountains - it's a little extra special. And when we get to collaborate with other awesome creatives it's a match made in film heaven. 

So when we got a call from TNB Creative looking to create a brand film for Ravean Aaron - a local surf, landscape & travel photographer - we knew we were in for some fun. 

Ravean is a fellow homegrown San Diegan like ourselves - raised in La Jolla - where his backyard was literally the La Jolla cliffs, caves and Pacific Ocean. His coming of age in this environment birthed a constant curiosity for adventure and the outdoors. After picking up a camera, he quickly learned that he was able to capture the raw emotion of landscapes and sense of awe into his lens. 

We were tasked with bringing his story to life - and creating a short brand film that captured the essence of his photography and lifestyle. 

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(Above) Filming on Sunrise Highway at sunrise, in Mount Laguna, CA. 

Over a 3 day span in December we set out with Ravean for a few of early morning shoots - from the cliffs and caves of La Jolla Shores to the mountains and hiking trails of Mount Laguna. 

We got dirty, muddy and wet - but it was worth every second. 

Take a look at our film below and let us know what you think:

Welcome Steve Cachero

Today we have the pleasure of welcoming the talented Steve Cachero to our roster here at Pure Cinema. 

Steve is a Director/DP and multifaceted storyteller who's client list includes Patagonia, Titleist and Future Fins - we're thrilled to have him on board!

We've known and worked with Steve for many years, so for us, it's a natural transition to welcome him to the team. But we wanted to roll out the red carpet with a short Q&A.

Here's a little more about him:

. . . . . . 

1. What drew you to visual storytelling? 

I studied an array of different types of art mediums in college and just loved the idea of telling stories through the different outlets. With time I slowly became obsessed with telling stories with the video camera; Video gives you so many different angles with the right script, and captures emotion in such a media driven world.

2.  What type of content really inspires you? 

Brand content is the name of the game these days, I love building context and culture behind the intent of every brand. And EVERY brand has a STORY.

3. How would you describe your Directorial/DP style? 

So I'm that annoying director that has a keen eye for attention to detail. But in the end, it's always worth it; as the product is always better because of it. And it has to start in the pre-production process. Working with the client for clear creative direction in maybe a handful of convos before ever getting on set to film. 

4. What's one thing you've learned in your career that you'll never forget? 

At this point of my career, one major take away is that I have to constantly surround myself with other creatives to be challenged and inspired. I'm pretty blessed by a very talented and unique community that new ideas are birthed at 2am chats and 7am espresso.

5. What's one thing you cannot live without? 

I'm gonna have to go with two things...my fiance (soon to be wife) Vanessa, and my pup Duke. Yeah, lets go with that. 

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PROJECT SPOTLIGHT: Soul Powered - The Indestructible Women

Earlier this year we got a call from the fantastic Sarah Kaler, founder of Soul Powered - an entrepreneurial coaching brand that transforms female leaders to live the lifestyle they want while also making an impact on the world in a positive way. She informed us that she was holding a 3 day retreat mastermind event in Maui - and was looking to have it captured on film. 

We chatted on the phone for almost an hour - talking all about the type of work she does, the types of clients she wants to attract, and the overall look/feel she wanted for her video. What was most exciting to us what that she didn't really have a specific "vision" - but more so had an aesthetic and vibe that she wanted the retreat to *feel* like. 

We took notes - and decided that we wanted to really get creative with this piece. Sarah made it clear from the get-go that she didn't want the standard narrative "event filming" and more so wanted to be abstract and deep; edgy and bold. 

Over the next few months she sent over a few pages of notes detailing keywords she wanted the video to exude. Words like "aspirational", "empowering", "dynamic" really stuck out to us. We exchanged links to projects that inspired us and really got a great feel for the style of video she was going for. 

Once we arrived in Maui - it was go time. 

We spent 3 full days following around the amazing women of Soul Powered - from yoga on the beach at 6am - to full days masterminding, learning about each entrepreneur and hearing their incredible stories - to 5 hour drives up the coast - to sunset cruises around the bay with the Hawaii mountains on the skyline.

We had our cameras out the entire time and enjoyed every second of the transformative experience. Watch the video below and let us know what you think:

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Budgeting for Travel Shoots

Shooting video in a beautiful city like San Diego is great but we still love to travel for shoots.  I can definitely think of worse things than getting to see the world while doing what you love.  At the same time, if you're not careful travel can quickly drain your nice budget if not properly accounted for.  So here's a quick list of travel line items to remember when putting together your initial proposal.

Pure Cinema San Diego Video Production Plane

1. AIRFARE 

Yes, probably the most obvious but also one of the most dangerous.  Early on we would just ball park a number for our flights.  Huge mistake.  If you under estimate, and we have, you could lose thousands.  Jump on a site like Expedia or Travelocity to get a more accurate guess.  Flight costs change from day to day but this will at least decrease the risk.  A lot of clients will be happy to cover the overages if your original figures were pretty close.

2. HOTEL

Same general rule of thumb as airfare.  Don't just ballpark it.  Even though this is a less costly mistake than under bidding on airfare.  Coming in low on your hotel budget usually leads to you sleeping at a Motel 6.  There's nothing more important than a good nights sleep after a 12 hour shoot day.  So plan accordingly.  We like to try to package our airfare with our hotels when we book to get better rates.

3. TRANSPORTATION

Make sure to reserve a car that's big enough to fit all of your gear.  When we travel light we've actual started to UBER to save a little cash.  Usually hotels will charge insane rates for overnight parking.  So if you don't have to park there all the better.

San Diego Video Production Beach

4. PER DIEMS

You're leaving the comforts of home behind for this job.  So things like food need to be covered.  Depending on client budget we'll usually charge around $75 a day per person.

5. TRAVEL DAYS

Yes you should be charging for your travel days.  Your time is a valuable asset.  You figure every trip will fill 2 full days of your time (there and back).  We'll usually charge half of our day rates for travel days.

6. BAGGAGE FEES

These can be a KILLER.  Most airlines will charge you a fee per bag (except for Southwest).  On bigger shoots you'll be bringing a lot of bags.  Many of which will be over the 50lb weight limit.  So that $35 per bag now jumps to around $100 per bag.  Remember you have to pay these fees on both the way to and from your destination.  Budget accordingly.  Most airlines will give you a free carry on.  We try to bring our camera bodies with us onto the plane.

7.  GIFTS

No, you can't charge the client for your gifts but don't forget to grab them! Our families are very important to us.  The only downside to leaving on these shoots is that we can't bring our families. They miss you and you miss them.  Don't forget to show them you were thinking about them while you were away!

Thanks for reading our quick list and happy travels!

-Pure Cinema

P.S. Don't forget to take pictures!

Pure Cinema San Diego Video Production

 

 

Project Proposals

Project Proposals are the seeds to almost every project we create. They’re often the main ingredient to us being hired - as it gives the client an overall vision for what we can create. On today’s blog we’ll offer a few quick tips that we use to create our Project Proposals. 

THE PITCH

Perhaps the most important aspect of any project proposal is “the pitch”. This is our creative vision for what we want to sell. The main objective is always that we want to really wow our clients - so we make sure to put a significant amount of effort into our vision. Describing it in detail, including a treatment or outline of the project - maybe even a mood board or look-book if you think it will help describe the aesthetic and give the client a real clear vision of the project. Often times your clients will be choosing between numerous proposals so it’s essential to really make sure your pitch is well thought out and delivered in rigorous detail.

THE STRUCTURE

Project Proposals are presentations - so we always make sure they’re structured and formatted in a professional and detailed manner. We generally structure our proposals the following way:

  • Cover page
  • Introduction 
  • Project Overview
  • The Pitch
  • Estimated Scope of Work
  • Estimated Production Schedule

Formatting the proposal in this way gives the client a page by page breakdown of the entire project - from an introduction to who we are, to a detailed pitch, to what we think it will take to create it and when it will be completed. Structure is so important to how the client views you and could be the difference between your proposal and the next one.

THE DETAILS

The devil is in the details - and it’s no different with Project Proposals. It’s easy to get caught up in selling our idea with awesome paragraphs about our creative vision then give a quick ballpark quote. But from our experience, clients want the details. So be sure to include the detailed itemized costs of everything that might incur (travel expenses, music licensing, equipment fees, etc, etc). Additionally, if possible, we try to detail the production process with a specific (estimated) schedule on when notable events will happen (filming dates, first draft edit due dates, final delivery, etc). This creates expectations early on, so that clients are aware of the entire process and are never left in the dark regarding the timing from start to finish. Detailed proposals will show clients that you will go the extra mile to produce a well thought-out project from top to bottom.

Let us know if you have any questions about Project Proposals - or if we can help you create one for your company!

Dream Clients

It's so often talked about what our clients look for in us. And how can we be more of that? What do we need to do to attract them

But what's often lost in this thought process is: What do WE look for in our clients? 

For us, knowing what WE are looking for in our clients is the first step to attracting them. We call them dream clients. 

Simply put, DREAM CLIENTS are people we absolutely love working with. 

For us, dream clients come in all forms - from large organizations to individuals. It's not so much the size that matters, but the type of people they are. 

We can usually discover if we're working with our dream clients in a few short questions:

1. Do They Trust Us? 

Trust is a key essential to great working relationship in video production. It's trusting our process and allowing us to mold the vision into a final product. It's trusting our creativity and vision to deliver a top-notch project without being micromanaged. Without trust, you're probably not going to have much fun creating. 

2. Are They Passionate? 

The front page of our website says it best - "We are passionate about our craft and love making films for clients who love theirs.". We want to work with people who CARE; people who genuinely want their story to be told; who have something good to say. As creatives, we feed off our clients passion and it drives us to create better projects. 

3. Are They Open To Collaboration? 

Filmmaking is very collaborative process - we're often working with Producers, Creative Directors, Designers, etc - that all have specific visions for an individual project. Clients that are open to creative collaboration are the ones we most enjoy working with, because, in all honesty, we crave the creative freedom to infuse our vision into the overall story. Executing someone else's vision from top to bottom isn't as rewarding as collaborating to create something that has our finger print on it. 

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Not all clients will be dream clients, but knowing when you have one will allow you to appreciate them more and flourish in that environment. 

 

Filming on the Fly

Sometimes video production calls for one speed: GO! We have limited time, limited gear and limited crew to execute ALL of the footage we need for a specific project. This can lead to stress, anxiety and a long day of gear lugging and over shooting. 

When it comes to these types of projects there are a couple great reminders that we like to give ourselves to prepare - to make the shoot less stressful, easier on us - but also to ensure we capture everything we need to create an amazing project. 

Here are 3 tips for "Filming on the Fly":

1. KNOW WHAT YOU NEED

Sure, it's important to film as much as you can - but knowing what you NEED to film before you start filming will greatly reduce the stress and anxiety of feeling like you need to capture it ALL. When we first started, we would over-stress about filming everything no matter what, and then creating the edit with the footage we had; until we realized that if we simply visualize the final edit in our heads before we start - we are relaxed knowing that if we just capture these specific shots - we'll be fine. Do you need establishing shots of where you are? Testimonials? Interviews? All of the above? Know what you need and go from there. 

"When we first started, we would over-stress about filming everything no matter what..."

2. PACK LIGHT

After you know what you NEED to film - simplify your gear down to the bare essentials. For us, this often means just one small bag of cameras & limited lenses (one wide, one medium, one tight). We'll limit our other equipment to bare minimum (one monopod, Ronin/GlideCam, slider, etc). Sometimes we'll even forego specific equipment  - This will force us to get creative and use the lenses & equipment we have to our advantage. And more importantly, be able to film on the fly faster and easier. 

"...we limit our equipment to bare minimum..."

 

3. WIDE VARIETY

We know what we need, we've packed light - now we have to execute. For us, this mainly means capturing a WIDE variety of shots. As long as we have a wide variety - wide shots, medium shots, tight shots; sweeping glide cam footage, gorgeous wide slider shots, and close up shots...we'll have a nice batch of footage to choose from when putting together our edit. 

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Let us know if you have any tips of your own that you use for Filming on the Fly!

3 Tips for Conducting Authentic and Engaging Interviews

Whether we're filming a brand film, documentary film, company profile video, etc - one thing is almost always certain: we'll probably need to film an interview. And while interviewing people isn't the most exciting or glamorous topic - it's one of the most important aspects to storytelling in our profession. And there is definitely an art to making it look good, feel authentic, and get what we need for a specific project.

Here are 3 quick tips we do to ensure we're always able to conduct solid authentic interviews:

1. Start Generic

We always start our interviews out by letting the subject know that we want this to just be a natural conversation. Many people are not used to being on camera with big lights fixed on them and a microphone above them - so we try to relax them by asking them very generic questions from the start (tell us your name and job title; give us a very basic overview of what your company does, what's your story, etc). This eases the interviewee into the conversation with a natural progression that allows them time to get comfortable in front of the camera. By the third or forth question they already look and feel more relaxed than they did from the start.

2. Dig Deeper

We absolutely always come to our interviews prepared with a list of questions - BUT one thing we're also prepared to do is dig deeper. This means rather than always sticking to the script, we stay engaged with the conversation and ask questions that we (and they) may not be prepared for. For example, when we were interviewing Shaper Studios, a surf board shop in San Diego, we asked them "What is it about your shop that's so unique?". Their response was that they wanted to get back to roots of surf culture and focus on the art of shaping. We loved this unexpected answer and so we dug deeper and began a string of spur-of-the-moment questions: "Talk to us about what surf culture means to you?", "Why do you think people enjoy the art of shaping their own surf board rather than simply purchasing one?". These new questions and answers ended up being the backbone to their brand video with more authentic and in-depth responses.

3. Circle Back

No matter how good or bad our interview is going, we try our best not to force or push interviewees for specific sound bites if we want it to feel authentic - so a little trick we do is "circle back". This means that we make note of what questions we want to get better answers to throughout the interview; and rather than pressing for them early on when they may be nervous, we circle back to those questions at the end when they're more relaxed after time has gone by and we're in a natural flow of conversation. If we're constantly asking people in the moment "Can you say this:____ ", "Can you give us this: ____", it's absolutely not going to feel natural and authentic - so we just give the interview a once over with all of our original questions (and maybe a few spur-of-the-moment questions) - and then circle back for what we need more of. For example if we didn't get a great answer to an early question, at the end after all questions have been asked we might say, "Let's circle back and talk a little more about the art of surfing." This is when we make sure we get everything we need (and any specific sound bites we need for our project). 

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These are just a few small tips we use to conduct our interviews. Let us know if you have any insight or tips to add!

How We Transitioned From Weddings to Commercial Work

It's an age old question in business: How do you transition from the company you ARE to the company you WANT TO BE? 

That was the question we were asking ourselves back in 2014 when we started Pure Cinema. At that time, we were basically a full fledged wedding cinematography company - filming upwards to 30-40 weddings per year. We had been filming weddings for 6 years straight and had carved out a nice portfolio of wedding work. That time was an amazing learning experience and allowed us to hone our skills in storytelling and video production. 

But after 6 years it left us craving a new type of work: Commercial Video Production. 

So we set out on a transition process that would eventually lead us to where we are today. Here's a quick 3 Step recap of how we did it:

STEP 1: WE DID WORK FOR FREE

Spec work - or, working for free. Literally. We believed that "if we built it, clients will come". So we decided that we needed 3 solid commercial portfolio pieces on our website, and then we should be able to start getting paid for it. So we reached out to 3 companies who we liked - and asked if we could make them a video for their brand. Luckily for us, they said yes - and a few weeks later we had 3 brand videos up of the type of work we wanted to do. This instantly showed clients the type of commercial work we could do, rather than just a wedding film. 

STEP 2: Craigslist!

Say what you will about Craigslist, but Pure Cinema owes a lot it when we first got started! After we created a small portfolio of work, we relentlessly scoured the Craiglist site on a daily basis - looking for any ad's for video work - and replied to them all. Shockingly, we got lucky quite a few times. Even if it was a small budget ($500, $1,000, $2,000), we took on projects and built even more of a portfolio, built relationships - and started making money for our commercial work. Before we knew it, we were landing $3-5K+ projects from Craiglist, had a ton of samples to show, and built some great relationships with clients (we even have a few clients to this day who continually come back to us who we found from Craigslist). 

STEP 3: We INvested profits back into our company

It's true what they say, "You need to spend money to make money". And we took heed to that advice after we started making a small bit of money on our commercial work by INVESTING it back into our company on better equipment. When we were doing weddings we had 2 DSLR cameras, a kit of basic lenses and a simple lav audio set-up. What we learned was that if we wanted to be a successful commercial video production company we needed to upgrade quickly. We used the early funds we made and purchased a new camera (Canon C100), boom mics, a lighting kit (Kino Divas), and a couple more lenses. This allowed us to instantly create better work all around - and to attract better paying work down the line. 

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So, in short, that's how we made the transition from full time wedding cinematographers to full time commercial video production. It wasn't easy...and it wasn't fast. But it was incredibly fun and well worth all the hard work. 

 

Steering Our Ship: The 3 Core Values That Guide Pure Cinema

Being a small video production business in San Diego, it's easy to get caught up in the day to day craziness of routine work. On any given day we here at Pure Cinema are meeting with clients, responding to calls and emails, organizing shoots, building proposals, filming, editing, sending invoices, etc, etc. It's a constant daily grind - and if you're not careful, you can lose focus of where you're steering the ship.

And that's why we implemented 3 core values - meant to guide every decision we make as a company. Everything from the types of projects we take on to the people we want to work with; to make sure we always stay focused on our ultimate goals. 

The 3 Core Values of Pure Cinema:

Snap shot from our 2016 Company Retreat in Encinitas, CA

Snap shot from our 2016 Company Retreat in Encinitas, CA

#1: Do What We Love & Are Passionate About

Duh, right? It's not rocket science to assume that you're at your best when you're doing what you love. And who wants to make a living waking up every day hating the projects they're working on and the people they're working with? Implementing this as our #1 core value reminds us of the overall big picture. It reminds us to not allow ourselves to slide down a rabbit hole of projects we hate just chasing a paycheck. It's all about quality of life to us and making sure we wake up every morning loving what we do. 

#2: Be Adventurous, Fearless, Hungry & Humble

This core value is more of a daily reminder. It reminds us to keep at it when things seem mundane. To stay adventurous and fearless, constantly grinding and working towards our long term goals. To stay creative and keep pursuing passion projects in the midst of a busy season. We added in "humble" because that's just as important to us: a reminder that we're grateful for everything we've built but know it can be taken away at any moment. To us, these 4 words are a call to action that we are constantly infusing into our daily workflow. 

#3: Put People First

We made it a core value earlier this year that we don't want to sell people - we want to build relationships. Putting people first is a great reminder to us that life is all about relationships - at home, at work, with friends, with family. Always remembering to put people first guides us towards a more fulfilling experience with our clients not just considering them "another client" - but human beings that we get to connect with on a creative level. 

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Those are our 3 Core Values that steer our ship. What do you think of them? What are YOUR core values that help you run your business? Feel free to comment and we'd love to read them. 

 

A Look Inside: "Get To It"

Like most of our ideas, this one came from a conversation outside one of our favorite San Diego coffee shops.  We have our weekly meetings to sync up, catch up and just chat about where we are creatively as a team.  One of these mornings we were talking and Luke brought up that he'd been wanting to do a production featuring athletes and felt like he had a good idea.  We all dove in from there and started concepting what would end up being our video "Get To It." 

Whenever we do passion projects we try to accomplish two things: promote a message that we whole heartedly believe and stretch ourselves past our current creative limitations.  

OUR MESSAGE

We decided from day one that this had to be more than just a sports video with pretty shots.  We wanted to speak to our hearts and the values we hold as a company.  After a few discussions and paths we started diving into the core idea that "we are what we make ourselves."  That our lives can be as full and accomplished as we want them to be.  That all it takes is to find a goal and take the first step. It's how we all were able to leave our day jobs to start this video business that we love and are fortunate enough to be able to sustain ourselves from.  So we took that sentiment and started to explore how that related to the athletic world.  Quickly we realized how perfect of a fit it was.  In sports every day is a new competition; against the other team, an opponent but mainly yourself.  In sports as in business you set your own limitations.  All it takes to succeed is to stop waiting around for success to come to you and to go get it.   Rise and grind. To get up, get to it.  We drew inspiration from listening to famous motivational speeches, watching iconic movies and drawing from our own athletic pasts to craft a script that we loved and felt drove home our message.

NEW CREATIVE PATHS

pre-production

We knew this was a much larger producing job than we had ever taken on going into it.  Finding a cast of 8 that met the look we needed but were also accomplished athletes was no easy task on a shoe string budget.  We turned to family, neighbors and of course our good friend Craigslist.  After a month long search we ended up with an Olympian, a NCAA national champion, and a woman who's nationally ranked in the top 5 of her sport.  In a pinch, my wife even got thrown into the mx and did a fantastic job.  What was so great about casting actual athletes instead of actors was that they brought authenticity to their sport.  They also brought locations all local to San Diego which was a HUGE help.  So once we had the cast, locations and script written we were ready to start shooting.

production

We wanted to to break the mold of our standard polished look on this video.  We wanted this is feel raw, natural and real. So we set out to see what we could accomplish using primarily natural lighting.  Using the RED Epic Dragon we knew that we had a wide dynamic range to play with but that low light situations were going to kill us.  We stuck to exteriors when we could, using simple bounces and scrims to sculpt the light.  When the script called for an interior we were resourceful.  We found locations that had wide, open windows or nice even interior lighting.  From there we let our guys get to work. 

post production

We wanted to try a few different new things when we were cutting this video.  The first one was to pick a song that was out of the ordinary.  We've been inspired by bands like Explosions in the Sky for so long that that type of music is generally what we've gravitated towards for motivational videos like this.  So we headed over to Music Bed to find a song that we both felt fit the film but went in a direction that we'd normally never touch.  We ended up finding a track that we loved and its really inspired us to stop being so closed minded about trying new styles on future projects.  Next, we wanted to switch our color grading platform.  We had been doing the majority of our grading inside of Premiere but thought this was the perfect opportunity to finally make the switch to DaVinci Resolve. We'll never go back.  Not only is the software free and easy enough to learn but it opens up endless possibilities to your grade.  There's a reason why this is the industry standard.

Overall we had a great time producing this video.  We learned more than we expected and ended up with a film that we were proud of.   We love answering questions and helping others in anyway we can so feel free to leave a comment.  Also, If you haven't had a chance to watch it yet check it out below.

-Ryan

 

 

 

5 Important Things We’ve Learned (so far) About Creating Brand Films

Over the past few years we’ve slowly grown our company into a commercial video production studio, focusing heavily on brand films. To us, brand films are any project that is meant to encapsulate a brand and promote the overall business, company, product or service. Often times these come in a few different forms. The two we are most familiar with are:

  • Short, commercial-like, stylized/creative films; usually 30-90 seconds in length. 

And…

  • Longer, more in-depth brand films that show people the who/what/why of a business; often times referred to as Company Promo Videos.

Both types of projects have similar goals: to promote their brand. 

We’ve been at it for over 3 years now developing brand films for a wide array of clients, and throughout our experience, we’ve learned a few things. Here are the 5 Important Things We’ve Learned (so far) About Creating Brand Films:

#5: Get To Know The People Behind The Brand First

This might seem like a no-brainer, but for us, it wasn’t. When we began producing these types of projects we were so excited to just dive in and create a video that we thought would fit the brand based on our research; rather than really getting to know the people behind the brand first (the creators, the audience, etc). Who are these people? What are their goals? What is their lifestyle like? What is it about the brand that resonates with them? Getting to know the people behind the brand first will better help you to navigate the choices you make during the creation of the project. It also allows you to form a relationship with your clients, making the entire process more fulfilling for them and you. 

#4: Spend More Time on Pre-Production

For us, one of the main culprits of a poorly produced brand film is usually lack of pre-production. When we first started out we would essentially just schedule a shoot day and show up on-location to film - with no clear outline, shot-list or narrative in mind. Everything was on the fly. We were so excited about creating an awesome project that we assumed the project would “come together itself”. And early on, they did to a certain extent. But when we started working with bigger clients, bigger budgets and more thought-out creative concepts we quickly learned that spending ample time on pre-production is the difference between a good project and a great project. 

So - take time; shot-list, storyboard, script, scout locations, and invest energy into the planning of the project before filming, and trust us - it will show.

#3: Leave Room for Creative Freedom

Perhaps one of the most important things we’ve learned about creating brand films was to spend more time on pre-production (above). But with that comes a HUGE reminder: Leave Room for Creative Freedom.

Equally as important as pre-production, make sure you’re not stifling any spur-of-the-moment creativity on-set or in post-production. If you, your director, your DP, your Producer, editor, or anyone else has any great ideas - don’t be quick to dismiss them just because the shot-list and storyboard is already finalized. In fact, many times the random spur-of-the-moment shots end up being some of the best. Or if while editing the project begins to take a different shape or might work better if the narrative shifts a tiny bit - be open minded and adaptable. Putting together a great project is more important than making sure an okay project is executed from top to bottom. 

#2: Collaboration Is Key

In work, as in life, collaboration is key. And what we've learned over the years is that collaborating with our clients provide's a much more fulfilling experience for both them, and us. There are rare times when the client simply hands over full creative control into our laps - but usually the client is reaching out with some type of overall vision of what they want.

The flip-side to this is that you want to make sure you're contributing ideas to the vision, as well. If you're simply executing someone else's vision from top to bottom they're probably much less likely to appreciate your creation; because, after all, it's not really your creation. 

As a creative it's our job to gather up all of these ideas our client's have, infuse them into our own process and create a brand film that encapsulates the client's vision & OUR vision OF their vision. 

#1: Focus on the BIG PICTURE

So often we see brand films that simply show a business or product and the entire video is spent highlighting the different features the product has and why it’s so great. We used to be victim to this, as well. Until we decided to dig a little bit deeper. The BIG PICTURE is the overall objective. The WHY. Take a step back and ask yourself, “Why does the brand - their product or their service resonate with their audience?”. Once we discovered this it really helped us to drive the narrative towards better and more effective marketing. 

For example, when we produced a brand film for Merritt Bookkeeping, a business bookkeeping company - rather than focusing and showing the features of their service (business reports, how interactive the website is, how helpful & friendly the staff is, etc) - we focused on the WHY. The WHY in this case was that Merritt Bookkeeping makes business owners lives so much easier. It allows them “to never have to worry about their bookkeeping ever again”. This dives into the root of their brand and results in a connection with their core audience. 

To that same idea, when we produced a brand film for BPM Supreme, a music subscription service for DJ’s - rather than focusing entirely on the service itself, we focused on the WHY: Because being a professional DJ is insanely busy - traveling, meetings, shows, radio appearances, etc - so BPM Supreme is a MUST have for this lifestyle because it saves DJ’s all of the time it takes to spend researching new music, downloading, organizing, categorizing, etc. The Big Picture connects to the brand, but more importantly, connects to the brand’s audience.

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Hopefully these 5 important things we've learned about creating brand films will help you as they've helped us. Let us know what you think in the comments below, and feel free to share any additional tips!

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Pure Cinema - New Logo

 

Re-branding is always a fun process. It's a fresh start and a chance to approach the brand from a new perspective and make adjustments to your current image. 

Luckily, we happen to share an office with the stellar team over at Briefcase, and we approached them to handle our new logo. 

 

It all started with some sketches. 

Jordan over at Briefcase met with us to learn about our company and what we do, which would become the visual backbone for our new logo. 

We knew we wanted something bold. Naming a video company Pure Cinema is a bold move - and we know we wanted to emphasize the "Pure" by having the logo focus on the "P" in our name, rather than "PC". 

Jordan put together some initial sketches and we provided some feedback. 

 

Briefcase was able to take the "P" in our name and really play with the geometrics of the letter while also having some fun (the dashes through the "P" are a subtle nod to the dashes on a traditional film slate). 

After a few long weeks of flushing out the design, color, layout and overall system that work into our new branding...the fellas over at Briefcase presented us with our new brand assets. 

And, without further adieu...the new Pure Cinema logo:

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A Day in the Life of Jack Fallon

Getting to work on awesome projects with rad people is why we exist - and it’s always a bonus when it requires a trip to a place we’ve always wanted to go.

It was a brisk 19° when we arrived in Detroit, Michigan. Total Life Changes, a rapidly growing international health and wellness company, needed a video that would answer a lot of questions about their C.E.O., Jack Fallon. Naturally, with TLC being a huge international brand with offices across the globe, people were really curious about what their C.E.O. was like. What does he do all day? Are the rumors true about the leotard under his suit and the giant “S” on his chest? Does Chuck Norris have HIM on speed dial? Who is this captain that’s steering our ship?

The goal was to connect people to their C.E.O. by giving them a backstage pass to a day in his shoes. When we heard the concept, we immediately knew that it was imperative for the video not to feel manufactured. Creating a video that was overly-produced or staged could actually hurt our goal in getting people to connect with him. Our aim was to capture substance and authenticity over a heavy focus on visuals.

One of the ways we did this was deciding early on that excessive or dramatic camera movement wouldn’t quite fit this story. It could take away from its believability and could even distract the viewer. We kept our gear light and simple; ready to capture any spontaneous moment that might occur.

The danger in going off-script and trying to capture something authentic is that you might not like what you get, but we were pleasantly surprised. We arrived at Jack’s house at 6:30am and at that hour, you can’t expect a happy camper when a film crew is invading your home, but Jack was gracious, warm, and made it really easy for us to capture everything we needed.

Most people would imagine the C.E.O. of a company worth hundreds of millions to be the type of person that would make you feel small in their presence, but that is the exact opposite of how Jack made us feel. We spent the entire day with him and it was clear that he was the real deal. We simply rolled the cameras as he spoke candidly about the love for his family & the passion he has for his company. Not forcing a narrative onto the concept was the key in producing the authentic feel we hoped we would capture.

We didn’t find any leotards. There wasn’t any evidence of calls to or from Chuck Norris (that we saw), but we did get to see what gets the successful TLC C.E.O. up in the morning and with over 100,000 views and thousands of shares, we absolutely helped people connect with Jack in a new way.

 

 

 

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Mesa Rim Video Shoot

Living in San Diego, you often hear all about our beaches - the waves, the surf, the sun. But many might be surprised to learn that SD also sports an enormous rock climbing community; And at the heart of that community is Mesa Rim. 

Mesa Rim Climbing and Fitness Center & Training Center are indoor rock climbing facilities that feature some of the world's most advanced and modern amenities in the sport. 

They contacted us to create 2 videos: First, a "making of" video that would follow them throughout the construction of their new world class Mission Valley location. And second, an "About Us" video for their Climbing & Training center location. 

We worked with Mesa Rim and filmed off and on over a 4 month span and literally watched as the entire location took shape. The shoot took us to 3 different locations - including a real boulder high atop a mountain just outside San Diego. 

Here are both final videos we created for Mesa Rim:


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Google Local Guides: Surf's Up Clean Up!

Over the last year we've had the pleasure of working with the amazing people over at Google, filming various different special events in and around San Diego. These events are never just "events" - they're always more like cool parties that bring together local vendors, food, drinks, games, and community for a great cause. So we were thrilled when they called again last month asking us to film their new Google Local Guides' "Surfs Up Clean Up" event at Crowne Point Shores.

Google Local Guides is a global community of the top reviewers on Google. As the reviewers write more reviews, they're rewarded in various different ways. This event was thrown specifically for level 3 and 4 Local Guides.

Guests engaged in a bay clean-up with local non-profit I Love a Clean San Diego - walking the beach and bay area in small teams to pick up trash and weighing the amount for prizes. Afterwards, guests enjoying an amazing catered picnic lunch on the grass featuring local food & drink vendors, live music and activities. 

Here's the video Highlight we created of the event:





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Merritt Bookkeeping Video Shoot

Bookkeeping. For some, the mere mention of the word can run shivers down your spine. Crunching numbers, keeping track of data, logging all of your profit/loss, purchases, etc, etc - Simply put: it's a chore. We were well aware of this before we were approached by Merritt Bookkeeping - a company who's goal it is to simplify the process for small businesses such as Pure Cinema. So when they approached us looking for a short video to promote their services, we honestly weren't sure where to even begin. How do you advertise BOOKKEEPING?! It's just...bookkeeping. A task so many want to avoid, but a necessity none the less. 

We put our heads together with the Merritt team and came up for a concept to hear "real stories from real business owners" - have them talk about their company and detail how Merritt Bookkeeping has simplified their lives. 

Filming this video was a short and sweet - a 1 day/full day shoot in Pacific Beach at 3 different small businesses that use Merritt Bookkeeping. We starting the morning in a small tea shop, before moving into a tiny acupuncture studio, and then finished up at a small beauty & hair studio.

We kept our gear simple for the small locations: 2 DSLR camera angles, 2 Kino Diva lights for interviews, & a boom RODE mic.

Our key focal point for the video was to focus on the entrepreneurs experience with Merritt Bookkeeping - and we wanted to make sure that the video highlighted that they "never have to worry about their bookkeeping" by using Merritt. 

In the end, we produced a short business promo video for a great local company who does stellar work in a difficult industry to excel in. And they even gained another client in the process: us!

THE FINAL VIDEO



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The Raw Collective Video Shoot

It's always great to be approached by new brands and companies to create a video for a new marketing campaign. And what makes it even better is when the brand represents a greater purpose. So we were thrilled when the team from The Raw Collective called us up and asked us to create a video to help launch their new company. 

Certified Raw by The Raw Collective aims to be a trusted certifier of healthy, organic raw foods and products. They were looking for a video that would explain who they are and what they do - and show their Certified Raw Collective stamp of approval in a real life setting. It was also important to establish some credibility for the company, so we interviewed Michael Luna, co-founder of the Raw Collective in order to put a face to the name.

This was a project that required a lot of planning. We needed to make an empty grocery store not look like a ghost-town, so from the get go we knew this meant working with a group of actors so the set didn't look so "after hours" although it was. 

After completing the script and outline - we were able to book a filming location at Organic Roots: an organic grocery store located in Temecula, which was the perfect setting for the organic brand.

The idea for the video was that we wanted to bring the viewer into a familiar setting and show the Certified Raw brand being purchased and trusted by everyday shoppers. 

On most of our shoots prior, we were used to filming with 2 or 3 cameras. But for this project, we chose to film with just 1 camera - this way we would ensure that we take our time and properly set up each shot. We were looking to control the environment more rather than run and gun it. 

On set we worked with a cast of about 10 people to simulate the shopping experience. Working with a cast was a bit different for us, and was definitely a learning experience. At times we told them to just "pretend shop" for 10 minutes while we ran around capturing tons of broll footage. Other times we were able to stage more specific branded shots that were storyboarded and set up in pre-production. 

Production wrapped after midnight after a long night of filming - but we were very pleased with the outcome of the shoot and proud of the short video we put together for Certified Raw by the Raw Collective. 

THE FINAL VIDEO


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