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!

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. 

Think Bigger

The age of interruptive advertising is ending.  With the internet and mobile devices, control has shifted from advertisers to audiences.  That means marketing today is about earning audience attention. And what captures and holds the attention of audiences?  Stories.

Great storytelling isn’t easy. There are well-understood principles to it, but it’s more art than science.  Fortunately, the same technology that has empowered audiences has given modern marketers the most engaging, ubiquitous storytelling tool ever: video.

Our clients understand the power of video to tell a story – to make a memorable impact, to evoke an emotional response.  And they know that audiences today love video, consuming it wherever it appears – on your website, in your social media, during your event, through your paid media.

Yet many clients come to us with just a single video in mind – a company overview, a customer testimonial, a product introduction.  Of course a single, high-quality video can be a powerful marketing tool.  But it’s just one asset, and the appetite for good content in this era of story-driven marketing is voracious.

What we see our more forward-thinking clients doing is thinking beyond a single video, and crafting a video storytelling strategy. We refer to it as “thinking bigger,” and it’s more than just making lots of videos.  It’s about taking a longer, integrated view of story content across your organization, and planning for it up front.

To develop a truly thriving video ecosystem, your video plan needs to be part of a holistic marketing strategy. And by thinking proactively and strategically, you can develop a creative approach that leverages shoot content to produce multiple high-quality videos across multiple channels. Working to break down inter-departmental silos is challenging, but that’s an important first step.

Here’s one way to approach it:

  1. Start by looking at how different departments in your organization (Marketing, PR, Social, Sales, HR) use video and where.
  2. Brainstorm with colleagues about their video needs and messaging, and how best to share content. Are there opportunities to collaborate?
  3. Consider making multiples videos from one shoot, each tailored to their particular audience and channel.
  4. Be sure to develop a clear creative plan and distribution strategy for each deliverable BEFORE the camera starts rolling. Each platform and channel is unique, and your stories need to be carefully crafted to connect with their audiences.

Thinking holistically about your video storytelling – over time, across departments and within productions – lets you tell more and better stories more efficiently. Not only does this approach yield more assets for multiple channels, your brand voice will be clearer and more consistent.

Caution! Wet Paint!

We’ve just re-designed our website!  I know that might be more exciting for us than it is for you, but when you have time…URL us at mk3creative.com.

We put a fresh coat of paint on our brand, with a newly designed site – but what does that mean for you?  A site that’s cleaner and easier to navigate – and hopefully easy on the eyes as well.  As always, our site will offer you a chance to find out more about who we are and what we do.  You’ll find a refreshed MK3 logo, a peek at a few new team members, updated samples of our VIDEO work, and examples of our STRATEGY, INTERACTIVE and EVENTS capabilities.

MK3 has gone through a few changes recently and we wanted our website to reflect that.  This is the first big step in our own visual rebrand.  But don’t worry, we’re not changing too much – we’re still here to pitch and produce fresh and bright creative for you – new website and all!

The Constant

As a marketing professional, it’s easy to get lost in the day-to-day of the “everyday.” New challenges, new ideas, and new solutions await us with every new project. In an industry driven by the “new” there is one thing that remains constant, the one variable we can control – great service.

After all, we are in a service industry, and success isn’t achieved without great service. There are many different ways to provide it, and sometimes it’s worth taking a step back to experience it through the lens of another.

MK3 was afforded this opportunity when we produced the annual SHI Global Sales Conference in July, spotlighting major software service providers like HP, Dell, Microsoft and Apple. With keynote speeches focusing on new ways of motivating and inspiring sales, MK3 would like to take a moment to recognize one inspiring perspective.

Marcus Luttrell, the former Navy Seal and author of the book-turned-movie “Lone Survivor,” recently was a guest speaker at this year’s event, commanding the stage in his understated way, telling us his story and what it meant for him to do his job. It was an inspirational speech that delivered a message of service – no matter what you do or what situation you find yourself in, you are in control of the service you provide. And that level of service is what makes a difference.

So as we focus our eyes through our own respective lenses, we should remember that clients, projects, and ideas change, but no matter what you do, great service should remain the constant.

By Mark DiTondo, Creative Director

Getting to the Boston Garden

How do you get to the Boston Garden?  Practice.
And a creative eye for marketing strategy, graphics, and animation.  

We’re paraphrasing an old joke to help sum up a new project at MK3 Creative.

Recently, one of our clients tasked us with creating a bold visual presence for them in the TD Boston Garden.  UG2, a facility services management and solutions provider, needed a set of animations to be displayed on the arena and concourse video screens in the Garden.  

The challenge was engage a distracted audience with the UG2 story through an animation package with no sound and animation elements only 15 and 20 seconds in length.  MK3 created simple, clean bullet points highlighting UG2’s services and eye-catching animation environments that featured the text, and circular framing devices that created a consistent visual home for the varied imagery supplied by the client.  

So the next time you get to the Garden, check out the action down on the ice, the talent out on the parquet floor, and our style up on the video screens.

Taking Time to Celebrate in Stowe, Vermont

What does the MK3 Creative team do when we get together in Stowe, Vermont? We stand outside in 7-degree weather for a group photo, naturally! Well, we also go skiing, snowshoeing, enjoy each other’s company, and appreciate a successful 2016.

Standing from left to right starting with the back row are Rodrigo Philbert, Jonathan Markella, Tim Whaley and Mark DiTondo. Posing in the front row are Ann Gennaro, Goldmond Fong, Joel Kaplan, Adam Marx, Ted Wayman, Amanda Haselton, Mo Effron and John Lawrence. Missing from this photo is Kate Quigley, who unfortunately couldn’t make the trip.

All of us at MK3 Creative wish you a happy holiday season and a happy new year!

Food Styling For Big Papi’s Kitchen

MK3 recently had the opportunity to produce a television commercial for Big Papi’s Kitchen, a line of chips, salsas and hummus by David Ortiz. The opportunity to work with the Boston baseball legend and the creative challenge of producing a “for Broadcast Television” spot thrilled the whole team.

With a tight budget and a quick turnaround time, we needed all hands on deck. My colleague took the lead as the main producer and I volunteered to step in as food and prop stylist, a role I secretly love.

Food and prop styling is a lot more than simply pouring chips into a bowl. You need to ensure the food looks fresh and the colors are appetizing. I used a variety of textures to give the spot a fun, bright appearance. Southwestern chip and dip bowls, rattan platters, textured placemats, and table runners helped add to the overall look and feel.

The food itself, while delicious, needed some assistance to look aesthetically pleasing. Hummus is the one color you do not want to see on-camera….brown. To distract the viewer’s eye, we paired it with bright red peppers, beautiful petite orange carrots, lemon wedges and, of course, garnish. Garnish is a food stylist’s best friend.

The script also called for a large wiggly Jell-O mold, a pyramid of cheese cubes, and a very droopy, boring sandwich. The cheese cubes and droopy sandwich were easy, but the Jell-O mold proved to be more of a challenge. Practice was in order. We tried bowls, bunt pans, and Pyrex dishes. We tried orange, rainbow, and cherry. We tried it plain and with canned fruit. By shoot day, we had mastered the mold. I arrived on set over prepared with three large, very wiggly red fruit-filled, bunt cake Jell-O molds. (For those interested in the secret to my success, you must layer the fruit in stages, refrigerating in between layers. The key to getting the mold out of the bunt pan and not losing any Jell-O is a three second dip in boiling water before flipping the pan over.) A large, flawless mold for the shoot. I have never been more proud!

The final television commercial spot looks fantastic and the extra time spent on the food and prop styling really paid off. I had a blast working on this project, but one thing is for sure: food and prop styling is a lot of work. All my respect to those who do it every day!

Kate Quigley, Senior Producer at MK3 Creative