After the Cameras Stop Rolling. Post Production: An Interview with Mark Henning

The talent is gone, the sets dismantled and the footage captured; now what? How does the raw footage and images captured in studio become transformed into the content that you see on TV? Mark Henning, Director of Post Production sits down to explain just that.

 

So you and your team essentially turn raw assets into gold? You make all this content useable for whatever application that it has been designated for, correct?

Well here’s kind of the progression of things and how things work from pre-production through post. In pre-production they write a script that serves as the guide for shooting the commercial, then when it’s all finished we take whatever assets they’ve gathered and use the script that was written as a road map of sorts; it’s kind of like we’re writing the script a second time. We take the puzzle pieces so to speak and assemble them in a way that creates the best picture possible.

So who makes up your team?

It runs the gamut, we have everything from assistant editors that bring footage in and get it organized and prepped to editors who make creative choices. We have guys who do 2D graphics and motion graphics, we have 3D animators that can create almost anything you can imagine, we have sound mixing and sweeting, color correcting and visual effects all going on – it’s all very involved.

What would you say is the most difficult part of the post production process?

Honestly, every project is different. A long form project has the challenge of having to tell a bunch of small stories individually for the entirety of a 30 minute infomercial and yet still make it flow and be a cohesive show. People may have the misconception that a short form is easier, but that isn’t always the case. With only 30 seconds you have to utilized every frame and each second the best you can in order to explain all the features and benefits of the product. So the real answer to your question is that each project presents unique challenges, you can’t necessarily nail down one thing as the “most challenging”.

How did you get into this line of work, what advice would you give to someone who is looking to get into this field or someone who is just starting out?

I started editing as a kid by splicing film together, I’ve loved filmmaking since I was 10 years old. My advice is two fold, firstly, learn by watching tutorials. It is an easier field to get into now than it was in the past because of the access to tools and knowledge. Back when I was starting computer editing was brand new and it could cost half a million dollars or more, but today there are so many tutorials on YouTube and other places, it helps a lot. So be willing to learn and work hard. My second piece of advice is this, you have to be passionate and make your own projects. As I said before, there isn’t a lack of resources to learning about these things, become well versed in a specific skillset and make it your expertise so that you have something you can offer to a studio or production company.

What is the one thing that you want people to take away after reading this article?

Post is where you have the ability to really craft a story. Yes there is an important technical side to it, but even more so than that is the creative side. When a post team brings these two things together, we’re able to advance the production beyond the original script and footage shot, into the best possible product.

Now you know, the process that happens after shoots is a time consuming and labor intensive one, but it is integral to producing the content that we as consumers all crave. While very technical in nature, the creative side is just as important, so when you have passionate professionals like Mark Henning leading the way in post, you’re able to have amazing, engaging content that works.

Inside the World of Production: An Interview with Brandon Anthony

At the heart of direct response marketing are two things, the product and the production shoot. Content really is king; no matter how good or revolutionary a product may be, the creative, putting together the content, shooting the TV spot and stills (more on this in the future) is what gives it life. Brandon Anthony, one of our senior producers and directors sat down to give a behind the scenes look at what production is really like.

 

How many projects/clients are you typically working on at one time?

That varies. The production team as a whole has anywhere up to 30 separate projects. Each producer may have 5-10 separate projects on their plate at once.

How long have you been at Bluewater?

January will mark 10 years.

How did you get into production?

It was all a dream, I used to read Word Up! Magazine. Salt-n-Pepa and Heavy D up in the limousine.
Hangin’ pictures on my wall. Way back, when I had the red and black lumberjack with the hat to match. I’m blowin’ up like you thought I would.
Call the crib, same number, same hood. It’s all good and if you don’t know, now you know.

What’s the most important part of a shoot?

As I have always said. The most important part of production/shoot is the team. If you have a good team you can make the impossible, possible.

What goes into a shoot? Rundown of all the intricacies?

Each shoot is different even though every project is important. Some shoots have more details than others and some of our higher budget long-form creative, even though done months in advance, still take us all the way up to the project is being filmed to execute the vision.

How do you deal with unexpected situations and sudden change?

You just have to adapt and find a solution. The client doesn’t care if its raining, still need to hit the deadline.

What advice would you give to a young producer, PA, or someone looking to get into the business?

Make sure production is something you really want to do. A lot of times it’s not as glamorous as it looks. You can’t be afraid of long hours and hard work.

What is your proudest production moment?

We were in New Orleans a year ago with the team filming KitchenAid. We were scheduled to shoot a daytime scene the next day when a tropical storm was scheduled to hit the area. We turned it into an evening scene and filmed the wide shots on location outside and filmed the medium and closeup shots in a warehouse with a tropical storm overhead. The scene turned out amazing and I dare anyone to point out the difference between what was shot inside and what was shot outside.

These guys are the unsung heroes of the advertising and marketing worlds. Consumers see the finished products on TV or on the internet, they see the charismatic spokesperson, but they don’t necessarily know the grind that goes into the production that makes it all possible. As Brandon said, “if you have a good team you can make the impossible, possible”. Content is king and the producers, directors and shooters are an integral part to a smooth running direct response machine.

 

Animation: An Interview with Creative Director Ricky Turner

Animation was a revolutionary change in film and TV that signaled the advent of technological triumphs that previous generations couldn’t have even imagined. Animation brought us Mickey Mouse, Star Wars, Jurassic Park and others on the film side. In the world of television it enabled advertisers and show producers to create engaging and entertaining programs that connected with consumers like never before. Our Creative Director, Ricky Turner shares some insights about animation and his experience.

 

How long have you been with Bluewater Media?

I’ve been an official employee for eight years, but I’ve been working with them for 11 years.

How many clients or projects do you typically work on at one time?

I usually have five or six going at a time, but there’s always a queue of internal projects at any given time as well. Fun fact, last year I did 21 animations for HSN alone.

How did you get into this field and how long have you been doing animation?

I got into animation very purposely, it’s exactly what I went to school for, so in total I’ve been in this line of work for 20 or so years. Back in 1998 I was at Mississippi State, which is an engineering school, back then animation had to be done on quarter million dollar, giant, super computers. Because of the engineering department as well as grants from the National Science Foundation we were able to have access to this incredible technology.

Why is this kind of creative important, what role does it play in our organization?

This kind of creative just has so much heart in it, both on the part of the creators and with the consumer. The animators really put a lot of work into this kind of thing and care about the quality of their craft, and for the consumer it really gives the messaging and content that it’s paired with more meaning. Putting yourself in the position of the viewer and imagining what would excite them is a creative adventure for us, so it plays a huge role.

What’s your creative process when you take on a new client or project? 

I feel that it helps to talk about things, I’ve always been a very visual person and have a clear vision about what I see in my head, but talking it out and hearing it out loud can help you figure things out. Talking not only with clients, but with other creative people can also help a lot, sometimes when you hear an idea out loud it can actually change. The fleshing out process is very important.

What would you say makes a good animator? 

I think that what separates the good from the great in the world of animation is having an artistic eye. I’ve seen a lot of technically gifted animators who don’t have an artistic eye and as a result make very well put together garbage. On the opposite end of things, I’ve seen some animators that are just diamonds in the rough. These guys might have a long way to go or need some extra tutelage, but they have an eye for art and can make some really simple things look simply amazing. To me that sense of art is the most important thing.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to pursue a career in the field or is just getting into it?

Get a background in art first. My first degree was a bachelor’s in fine arts and graphic design. The computer animation was a master’s degree, so I didn’t even start any of my animation work until after I had already completed five years of art school. I think that this is just so important, because that’s where that eye gets developed and you figure out your personal aesthetic, the foundations of design and what objectively looks good.

Finding a good animator is something that can immensely help your business or campaign. They provide the kind of creative that can help a brand connect with their audience in unique and effective ways.

Photography: An interview with Nolan Heasley

Nolan Heasley is our Director of Photography here at Bluewater Media. He took time out of his busy schedule to talk a little bit about photography.

How long have you been with Bluewater Media?.

Since 2010, but I’ve been doing work for the company since 2006/2007.

How did you get into photography?

Honestly I always had an interest in it. I took some classes about it when I was in high school and I had a 35mm camera that I got from my dad, that’s kind of when it really started to take shape. When the time came for me to figure out what I wanted to do with my life I actually decided that I would go to film school. There’s a lot more technical stuff to learn with video that doesn’t come into play with still photography. While I was in school focusing on video, I was still learning and teaching myself still photography skills.

Talk about all the intricacies that go into a shoot and getting the perfect shot

There are a lot of different things, it varies from shoot to shoot and depends a great deal on the client. We usually sit down with the client before the shoot and try to figure out their needs and the creative vision of the director. We collaborate and try to find what will portray a certain vision in the best possible way. Technically it can be very simple or very complicated depending on what’s needed. Things like the setting, lighting, composition, camera movement – it all plays a role.

If there’s one thing that is essential in photography and getting a good shot, what would it be?

The camera, having the right tool for the given situation, they’re not all the same. Aesthetically, lighting and composition play a big part too.

What advice would you give to someone who is looking to get into this field, a young photographer or someone who is just starting out?

Never stop learning. Every shoot you learn something new, the learning process is never done. When you stop learning stuff it becomes boring, there are always new challenges and new ways to find to overcome them. Every project, every shot, you need to be gleaning information from.

Someone who is just getting into it I would say that they need to learn on their own. A lot of people go to school with the mentality that, ” if I leave here with a film degree, then I’ll get a job”. It doesn’t work that way, they need to understand that technology keeps changing and advancing so there are always new things to learn.

If there is one thing that you want people to know or take away from this after reading it, what would it be?

That it’s a lot harder than it looks, it’s not just point and shoot. You have to dedicate yourself to learning and understanding how things can effect a shot, what you need to do to capture an image that looks a certain way. Additionally, understand that being prepared and giving great attention to detail can make all the difference in a photo looking just ok and it looking great. It’s not as easy as everyone may think.

A good photographer can help you generate valuable content and assets for deliverables, clients, in house projects and more. Investing in shooters that are professional and know what goes into a shoot can be a major asset to an organization.

 

Creative Design and Brand Identity: An Interview with Brad Nault

In the recent weeks, I’ve noticed recurring discussions on the web about brand identity and its effect on a company’s success. Obviously, we can all agree that brand identity is imperative to a thriving business, but why does it seem that so many fall short on its definition, only limiting themselves to logo design.

What exactly is brand identity? Brand identity extends past logo design, it includes branding, or “corporate image” which reflects the core values of the brand. Brand identity also heavily relies on design – or any kind of visual imagery – this includes marketing materials, web pages, product packaging, etc.

To get more insight into this topic, I figured I should ask Bluewater Media’s very own Brad Nault. Being one of the driving forces of the creative design team for the past couple years, Brad has first-hand experience with building a brand’s identity.

Jeremy Remot: Hello Brad, thanks again for sitting down with me.

Brad Nault: Of course, it’s no problem.

JR: So why don’t we just start off with a simple intro.

BN: Alright, my name is Brad Nault, I’ve been with Bluewater Media for about… 3 and half years now? That sounds about right.

JR: And in those 3 years, how many clients have you done creative work for?

BN: 200 or so…?

JR: That’s more than I expected, how many years of creative experience do you have in total?

BN: 20 plus

JR: Wow. Okay, so for my first question, what do you think makes a good designer so essential for businesses?

BN: I’m a bit biased but I’d say a good designer or team of designers is one of the most essential roles for any business that wishes to present itself to an outside audience. If a business is dishing out average designs, weak concepts, and sloppy work… that will show and their audience will recognize them as such.

 

“a good designer or team of designers is one of the most essential roles for any business”

 

JR: I agree, it seems like a lot of these businesses value the idea of their brand identity, but don’t devote the right amount of time and resources to it. So, what do you think is important when a company is trying to develop their brand identity?

BN: Having a clear and direct mission and vision statement is really helpful. Defining the company’s goals, target audience and overall theme gives the graphic designer a better foundation to start from. It’s the basics really…  Who are they? What are they offering? Why this brand? How will their brand change the world?  That last one may seem a tad lofty but sometimes a client can’t explain how their brand might change the world…  It’s part of our job to answer that question for them if they can’t. Having the other 3 questions answered aids the designer in doing this more convincingly.

JR: Walk us through your creative process when you take on a new project.

BN: The process begins outside of my wheel-house. The salespeople and the marketers get together with the client and work out what the overarching goals are and what it will cost.  Once a clear indication of the client’s needs is documented we can begin pushing forward.  Usually, the Creative Director will update me on what creative will be required. We have a discussion regarding the client’s brand and work out the best way to approach the work so that we remain true to the spirit of the brand and the client’s wishes. The key here is getting all of the pertinent information at the beginning so that every bit of creative done; whether it be a website, ad banners, B-roll, whatever… measures up to and carries forward the brand’s identity.  Once we work out what needs to be done I set up tasks and dole them out to my designers or myself.  After that it’s basically just barreling through it making sure we stay on brand and carve a clear path towards completion.

JR: What are some of the common mistakes you see companies make with their designs and their overall brand identity?

BN: A lot of times I’ll see inconsistencies in brand identity. A lot of clients want to constantly change their logo or branding and it can handicap their brand recognition. It’s like they’re trying to reinvent themselves but they aren’t established enough to make that move.

 

“…sometimes a client can’t explain how their brand might change the world…  It’s part of our job to answer that question for them if they can’t.”

 

JR: Before I let you go, what kind of advice can you give to companies out there looking for the right graphic designer?

BN: For the company, just be clear and concise with your creative goals. Be open to new creative ideas, constantly provide feedback and practice good communication. When you’re looking for a graphic designer, find someone who is obviously knowledgeable and suitable for the job. They should have at least the fundamentals down. Color theory, product and package design and typography are essential. And of course, someone who is a good collaborator can take criticism and fun to have around.

JR: Definitely, well thanks for letting me speak with you I really appreciate it.

BN: Cheers

As you can tell, a good graphic designer is more than a smart investment when it comes to building brand identity. They don’t just play a role at the beginning stages. As your company grows your brand identity evolves too so having a designer to help manage those changes is critical. Otherwise, not only will you find inconsistencies in your brand identity, your audience will too.

America loves Bluewater Media, Kid Rock and the American Badass Grill. (Not necessarily in that order)

100% American made, of course.

Bluewater Media at its finest… GoPro perspective, Rock Stars, Shotguns, Catapults, Machine Guns, Phantom High Speed and explosions…. does it get any better? After 2 years of secrecy we can finally tell you what we’ve been working on. Introducing Kid Rock’s American Badass Grill! Cheers to another epic production by the Badass Bluewater staff.

Kid Rock Primed For Summer BBQ Season With ‘American Badass Grill’

On Thursday morning (March 9) Rock announced the roll out of his “American Badass Grill,” a “100% Made in the USA” charcoal grill that he describes as “tough enough to last season after season, compact enough to take on the road, yet large enough to get the job done right.” In fact, Rock says it’s the perfect grill for the back yard, bed of your truck or “wherever you want to grill with a little attitude.”

The grill — which can hold up to a dozen burgers, or three beer can chickens — comes in a charcoal version for $99.95 (plus shipping and handling) and a gas version for $149.95 (plus S+H), both embossed with Rock’s American Badass eagle logo. “I’m not gonna lie. It is more expensive to make things in America. But it’s important to me. I love America, and I want to do all I can to create manufacturing jobs at home,” Rock says in a statement announcing the grill

And now, please enjoy pics and video of Kid Rock flinging foreign-made grills into the sky with a catapult and shooting them with shotguns:

Do you know anyone else who films infomercial footage from a GoPro attached to the end of a 12-gauge shotgun? Didn’t think so.
Looking down the barrel at some foreign made shit.
Nothing like an instant replay when you just shot up some foreign made grills

Check out the American Bad Ass Grill: http://americanbadassgrill.com

– See more at: http://www.billboard.com/articles/columns/rock/7717902/kid-rock-american-badass-grill-charcoal-gas


The American Badass Grill made the Late Show with Stephen Colbert! And as you may know a parody is quite possibly the sincerest form of flattery.

 

The American Badass Grill videos have gone VIRAL :

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