MK3 Shoot Day Checklist

Live action, in-person video production is making a comeback. We’re seeing more and more clients considering (and scheduling) on-location video shoots. And while there are guidelines we’re following to help keep people safe, we can’t forget the “evergreen” guidelines for a successful shoot! To help you stay on top of your shoot day, we’ve put together this checklist that our producers swear by.

Print. It. Out.

We live in a digital world, but good old fashioned paper still has its place – and that place is on-location! Video production is fast-paced and hands-on, so you can’t rely on your location’s wi-fi access or ask your crew to read from handheld devices – chances are they have their hands full already! On the day of your shoot, or even the night before, print out hard copies of the production schedule, shot lists, storyboards and interview questions – whatever you’re going to need during the shoot. This will help everyone keep track of what needs to happen and when. Print out enough copies of the production schedule for the crew and clients (pro tip: a few extras never hurt). Of course, be sure to recycle the paper at the end of the day!

Keep in Touch

Communication is always key! Be sure to gather cell phone numbers and email addresses for the cast, crew and clients ahead of time and put them in your phone. Send important documents and information out at least one day before the shoot day, keeping everyone up to date on the schedule and shoot locations. Bolded and/or highlighted text within an email is a good attention-getting trick.

Meet Everyone’s Basic Needs

Video shoot days are long ones – and sometimes projects require several of them. Make sure everyone’s needs are met – even the most basic ones. Food and water is a must, and with any outdoor shoot, make sure there’s a bathroom onsite – it’s a small but important detail. Check on dietary restrictions and include meals (and their delivery times) in the schedule. Oh, and don’t forget – early mornings require coffee! A good shoot usually starts with caffeinated clients and crew!

Stay Organized

No matter how thorough your shoot schedule is, you won’t be able to plan for everything. Be flexible and ready to adapt. But stay organized! You might fall a bit behind schedule…and that’s okay! As the day progresses, keep track of the shots that are taking longer and always look for ways to make up time. They often present themselves in ways you’d least expect.

Go the Extra Mile

We’ll say it again: “a few extras never hurt.” Pack a bag with extra talent and location releases, schedules, pens, makeup powder, etc. One thing you can always plan on is that someone will forget something. And with the current safety guidelines, don’t forget to bring extra masks and hand sanitizer.

The morning of a video shoot can be a bit nerve-wracking, but staying organized and prepared can make the difference between a day of problems or a day of productivity. For more help organizing your next video shoot, reach out to info@mk3creative.com.

MK3 Tips: Building Your Brand with LinkedIn

Information overload.
It’s a thing. And when it comes to building your brand, it’s hard to know where to begin. LinkedIn could be a great place to start, with tools to help you spread the word while engaging with your industry community – and the best part, it’s free! Here are a few tips to fully engage your LinkedIn account.

Make a good first impression

You know what they say about “first impressions”…you don’t get a second one. Your LinkedIn profile acts as a landing page, and when expanding your network, it’s often the first thing people will see. Make sure to add a cover image, profile picture, and bio so visitors can understand what your brand represents. The easier you make it for people to learn about you the better!

Put your name out there

Sharing thought leadership articles and company accomplishments are a great way to spread your name and reflect your brand’s personality, culture and ideals. Encourage your team to share relevant articles for more brand exposure, which is sure to generate more clicks, name recognition and page traffic.

Join groups

With over 690 million users, LinkedIn provides a platform for hundreds of like-minded industry-driven groups to gather and share. Find ones that align with your goals and join them! Spread your name and gain valuable industry insight by engaging with and learning from other brands.

Make your posts pop

A consistent posting schedule has been proven to increase following and engagement, which makes generating engaging content crucial to building your brand and network. Try to post 1-2 times a week – promote your new blog, announce an exciting project! And make sure your posts stand out by including descriptive captions, eye-catching images and hashtags.

Building your brand in today’s digital environment isn’t easy. But there are plenty of quick and easy ways to lay the foundation, and if you want to go beyond LinkedIn to increase your marketing presence, MK3 is here to help! Reach out to info@mk3creative.com. 

Creativity in Video Production: Working with What You Have

These days, social and professional distancing are in and traveling around the world to shoot live video is, sort of…out. But that doesn’t mean we can’t continue to create new content. Sometimes you gotta work with what you have and that’s exactly what we did with long-time client SHI!

After many years of producing SHI’s live events, they asked MK3 to collaborate on a new video campaign, starting with a branding video. One of the main goals of the video was to highlight their “ridiculously helpful” employees, who are spread out in offices across the globe. And there was the problem: the current environment did not allow for live video shoots. And while using stock footage has been a solution for many productions, it was not an option for SHI because they wanted the authenticity of their own people in the video.

The solution came in stages. First, SHI suggested we use video from a large library of footage they had shot on location in their New Jersey, Texas and UK offices. Problem solved…with a slight concern that while the footage did capture SHI and their people “in action,” it wasn’t “custom” shot with this video and messaging in mind, so there may be a bit of a disconnect.

MK3 then created the second “solution” – we designed and animated a two dimensional “environment” for the footage to live in – framing each shot and showcasing text on-screen call-outs that reinforced the voiceover. This branded “framing device” became as prominent an on-screen element as the footage itself, acting as a singular consistent visual thread that pulled all the footage together.

 

 

Resourcefulness and creativity were, and are, the keys to our collaboration with SHI. Given the conditions we were working under and what we could create, we were able to produce a story that communicated who the company was and the people behind the brand. Check it out above!

If you find yourself with a legacy library of video footage, there are always ways to refocus, repurpose and repackage it so that it can deliver new ideas and new messaging! It’s all about making everything old feel new again!

For more info or help with your next production, reach out to info@mk3creative.com.

MK3 Tips: Video Conferencing

No matter how long social and professional norms remain in flux, there are a few new conventions we may continue to enjoy long after distancing becomes a distant memory. Video conferencing has proven itself a great way to work virtually and keep people connected. But just because you’re on video doesn’t mean you shouldn’t remain “on guard,” in both how you conduct and present yourself. So here are a few tips to help maintain your professionalism in our new video conferencing world.

Dress Inside the Box

If you’re working from home, it’s okay to be a bit more casual than usual, but looking professional still matters, even if it’s just within your small video frame! You’re usually just a head and shoulders in a box, so dress for success above the belt – and whatever you wear beyond that is up to you!

Location, Location, Location

Before hopping on your call, consider your background. A bookshelf or neat office/living area behind you creates a more professional look. A “lived in” bedroom or kitchen, not so much! Use as much depth behind you as possible so you’re not flattening yourself up against a wall. Make sure your area is well lit, and try to avoid glares on your face. Though natural light is best, never position yourself with windows behind you because you’ll end up backlit and in the dark. Let that sunlight shine on your face instead!

The Eyes Have It

Video conferencing focuses on your face more than any other in-person interaction, so body language, eye contact and facial expressions are everything. There are often more distractions at home than in the office, making overall attentiveness crucial. Avoid eating, playing with your hair or face, looking away or moving around too much, as this can be distracting and indicate that you’re not paying attention.

Things Are Looking Up

Focus on your posture and eye line. After looking down at your computer all day, it’s easy to find yourself slouching…so when it comes time for an important video conference, look up! Position your computer as best you can at eye level – find a box, a stack of books or something stable to raise it up. This gives you a more “eye to eye”  appearance on camera and reinforces better posture and overall positioning. Maintaining a strong posture creates a more professional look and is scientifically proven to give you a confidence boost!

Check your Tech

Video conferencing requires you to be a little more tech savvy…so check your tech in advance! Avoid last minute scrambles by familiarizing yourself with the video platform – ensure it is up to date, take a test drive, and check your connection to make sure it’s strong. Even with strong wifi, the video can still lag, so make sure you speak slowly and enunciate. Speaking too fast or slurring your words can cause people to miss what you’re saying. Take a breath, take it slow, and take on the world!

While these tips are geared towards your company’s internal and external video conferences, they’re also applicable for remote video shoots and virtual event participation! For more info on this, or anything video or virtual, reach out to info@mk3creative.com!

A Conversation with Bryan Fusco

We’re all acting and reacting to our changing landscape on a daily basis, but MK3 made a big change that pre-dates the pandemic. Meet Bryan Fusco, a production jack-of-all-trades dedicated to the details! He’s worked on feature films, including “Knives Out” and “Little Women,” so that makes him “kind of a big deal.” Check out this conversation with MK3’s new video editor and cinematographer and learn more about what makes him tick!

How has the shift to work-from-home impacted you?

B: It was definitely an odd time to start at MK3. I joined about a week and a half before the pandemic hit, so I was really just getting to know everyone and getting to know the space. I went from having a nice week and a great editing suite at MK3, to working in my bedroom at home!

What were you doing before MK3?

B: Before I joined MK3, I was working on union films, shooting in the Greater Boston area. I worked on “Knives Out,” “Little Women” and a film called “Coda.” The most important thing I learned working on larger film sets was not only how to do things efficiently and correctly, but how to do things safely. And that’s definitely something I’m looking forward to bringing to the table here at MK3 once we start shooting on location again.

What are you looking forward to at MK3?

B: The thing I’m looking forward to the most is working on the wide variety of projects that MK3 is known for and that we know we have coming up again. I know I’ll continue to learn something new and add something to my skill set with each new project I work on. I was really looking to join a close knit team of creatives, and I think I found that with MK3.

We’re looking forward to seeing more of what Bryan can do and sharing it with our clients! For more info about what the MK3 team can do for you, reach out to info@mk3creative.com.

MK3 Tips: Remote Directing

Now that distance is de rigueur, many people are generating their own video content from the safety of their own homes or offices. Adding a professional remote director to the mix is a great way to ensure a DIY production turns out A-OK!  But remote directors don’t have to reinvent the wheel; it involves the same skills as traditional video directing, with just a few extra steps. Here are some tips from the pros that will help make your remote-directed video production a success.

Pre-production is Key

The most important part of any successful video shoot is the pre-production process. For traditional in-person interview shoots, directors work with the client in advance to help shape the story, survey the site, and craft interview questions and answers. Remote directing requires the same approach but adds an extra layer: pre-rehearsal. It’s important to schedule a video call to walk the talent through the technology that will be used, and while you’re at it, you can direct a remote site survey to find the best recording location in the space available. Plan for success and success will follow!

Rehearse, Rehearse, Rehearse

When remote directing, whether using a webcam or “video-in-a-box” equipment, rehearsals are more important than ever. On the day of the shoot, help your talent set up the shot, paying careful attention to background, lighting and framing. Once you have the shot, direct their performance as they practice delivering the content to-camera. Even with screen sharing technology, it’s hard to tell what your video will look and sound like in full resolution, so have your talent send you a test recording to make sure your video will be high quality.

Reset Your Mindset

Once everything has been set up and is ready to record – stop, and take a 10-15 minute break! When directing remotely, so much of the emphasis is on logistics and technology that you don’t want to lose sight of the aesthetics. Find a balance by resetting your mindset before beginning the shoot, so you and your talent can focus on the content and its delivery rather than worrying about the technology. It’s amazing the difference a mental break can make.

Overall, communication is key, and the fastest route to a successful production is communicating with your team and talent. And remember…just because you’re directing remotely doesn’t mean abandoning your in-person techniques!

Want more info or help directing your next production? Reach out to info@mk3creative.com to learn more about what MK3 can do for you!

A Conversation with Joel Kaplan

In these days of social and professional distancing, MK3 continues to adapt as the environment changes around us. We’ve transitioned seamlessly to remote collaboration, converted corporate events from live to virtual, helped clients create user generated video content and customized stock footage in place of live action production. Like many other businesses, we’ve taken time to understand how clients have been impacted, and identified solutions and new practices that could stick around long after COVID does. For more, let’s listen in on a conversation with MK3’s founder & principal, Joel Kaplan.

What message did you have for the MK3 team transitioning to a work from home environment?

J: The goal for me is to get the team to come out on the other side of this exactly how we went in – as a well-oiled machine. I’ve asked everybody to make sure they take breaks, exercise, get away from their computer, spend time with family and make sure they are taking care of themselves. It’s really important to me that everyone takes this message to heart. I think it will only make your work life and your home life better.

How has communication with clients evolved in this new work environment?

J: Not only has MK3 had to change course, work from home, and support our families, but our clients are going through the same thing. So the conversations have actually been much more of a bonding experience, in terms of us understanding what they’re going through, and them understanding what we’re going through.

What does the future look like for MK3?

J: I wish I had a crystal ball, but there’s really no way of knowing exactly when normal is going to return. From a business perspective, MK3 will continue to do what we do best. Our product is key, our service is paramount and we can’t lose sight of that.

Change is inevitable, and we’re continuing to adapt and collaborate with our clients – while always moving forward as restrictions continue to lift!

 

Tools We Love: Part 1 

We live in a world that’s crowded with content – so how do you make yours stand out?  That’s the challenge we take on every day here at MK3, in producing live action video and animated content that “pops.” And while there’s a lot of “creative” that goes on behind the scenes, our motion graphic designers, animators and video editors use a few common tools from their  toolbox that you can use to produce content with a professional look and feel. Here are a few tools that our video editors use, in one form or another, on almost every project.

1. Quicktime: This platform is great for remote and user generated video production – especially with our current distancing limitations. When recording interviews remotely (using Zoom or other virtual meeting platforms), screen recording is a simple solution to producing content. Easy to use and already installed on most computers, Quicktime does everything you need, without a lot of extra junk. Users can record certain portions of the screen or the entire screen, and high quality video files get saved to your desktop for easy access.

2. Adobe Suite: Adobe software is ideal for those who tend to use multiple editing platforms. The Adobe Suite of tools lets you transition between platforms seamlessly; from video editing with Premiere to photo editing with Photoshop. And while there are hundreds of tools available, you can produce a pretty impressive project with only a few of the simple ones. With Adobe, you can experiment and grow along with the entire suite.

3. DaVinci Resolve: If you’re looking for a one-stop color grading platform, DaVinci Resolve is your software. While this program has a bit of a learning curve, it offers a great selection of color grading tools as well as some new editing features. DaVinci Resolve is free to download and with so many options, you can evolve from basic editing to the nitty gritty techniques used by professionals.

While our editors love these tools because of their user-friendly interfaces and flexible capabilities, each of these platforms has a lot more to offer. MK3 uses tools like these every day to produce carefully crafted content that “pops,” helping our clients to stand out in our content-crowded world.

Want to give your content a more professional look? Reach out to info@mk3creative.com to learn more about what MK3 can do for you!

Meet MK3’s Summer Interns

Times are changing, and so are internships. MK3 has been providing rewarding and hands-on internship programs since 2009, giving college students a chance to gain real-world marketing experience. And then, the “real world” changed…changing this summer’s internships along with it. Our work and workplace have moved online, and while our internships have gone “virtual” they are virtually the same – using screen sharing and conferencing platforms like Google Meet and Zoom to provide our intern team with a fully immersive educational experience. This summer, we have a unique batch of interns already thriving in this unique environment – meet Sydney, Alex and Noah!

Sydney is a rising senior journalism major at Emerson College. She quickly took to video production and design, and began pursuing opportunities in those fields. At MK3, she’s our Creative Marketing Intern and works with our team to help create blog posts, generate social media content and more. Beyond MK3, Sydney works as a graphic designer at Boston Tattoo Company, and vlogs in her free time.

Alex is a senior journalism student at Emerson College with a minor in psychology and creative writing. When she isn’t studying hard, she enjoys reading fantasy epics, finding and making delicious eats, and strumming on the ukulele. At MK3, Alex holds the position of Content Marketing Intern, helping to develop the written content being pushed out on blogs, eblasts, and social media.

Noah is a rising senior at Brandeis University, where he’s a double major in psychology and business. Outside of the classroom, he’s also the captain of the Brandeis Men’s Soccer team. Here at MK3, he’s our Marketing Project Management Intern, working on key marketing strategies, including social media management and our growing referral program.

Our interns are diligent collaborators, contributing to the fun and fast-paced MK3 environment. They’re already involved with MK3’s internal operations and some of our most front-facing projects, proving themselves essential in helping us maintain our blog, and keeping our social media fresh and relevant.

In this age of uncertainty, MK3’s commitment to Boston-area students remains constant; providing opportunities to improve their skill sets, and establish professional experiences and relationships. MK3 runs on creativity and enthusiasm, and our interns are a reflection of both.