We take corporate video very seriously, and have a lot of fun with it. Here’s our latest corporate video reel, and it totally embodies how we feel about it. There’s no reason why corporate video has to suck, B2B audiences deserve entertaining and well-told stories, too!
Category Archives: Corporate Video Production
Five years ago I gave a short, squinty-eyed video interview to a startup called Wipster that not only makes cool tools for video agencies, they actually care about the industry.
Now, all these years later Wipster’s bigger than ever. And this week, Wipster says we’re one of six cool video agencies producing boundary-pushing content. Thanks, Wipster!
Here’s what I said about the future of video five years ago, in Austin, Texas at SXSW:
A million years ago (ok, back in 2014) Noam Kroll wrote that corporate video production companies in Los Angeles were lazy sloths who didn’t bother to keep up with the times, didn’t deserve to get the work they got, and mostly did utterly crapola work. OK, I’m paraphrasing. A lot. You can read what Noam really said here (and you should, as Noam’s not just a smart guy- he’s also much more polite than I am).
Done? OK, cool. Thing is, Noam has a point. In the land of 2,000 video production companies, Los Angeles is exceptionally lacking in high-quality corporate video companies. Here’s why I think most corporate videos in Los Angeles suck:
The Greater Los Angeles area covers 600 square miles. It’s HUGE!!! Not only is Los Angeles so big, there’s far too many companies competing in the video production space. While some may say “Great! The more competition, the better” it’s not so. The fact that LA’s so big and so crowded with production companies means it becomes very hard for clients to find the right company to work with. Even if your work stands out head-and-shoulders above the competition, your prospective clients have to wade through dozens and hundreds of listings to find you.
At the same time, 99% of the companies doing corporate videos in Los Angeles don’t take it seriously. Noam’s probably right that most of them wish they were doing Hollywood stuff. Thing is, whatever you do you should take it seriously and do your best. It’s shocking to me to see over-exposed, poorly-composed footage and flat-out lazy storytelling in 2019. I don’t get it, because to me you’re only as good as your last job. And fairly enough, most of these fly-by-night video production companies go out of business quickly. But they clog up the system bigtime, and make the rest of us look bad.
It’s kind of like dating. You go on two dozen dates with total duds? Your expectations get lowered and you settle for less than you should.
Therefore, finding a great corporate video company becomes insanely hard for clients. They become fatigued during the search. I’ve been there: it sucks looking at hundreds of (mostly crappy) reels. So you know what they do? A) they just look at the companies spending the most on GoogleAds and pick a few to talk with, B) they say to hell with this mess and hire an advertising agency instead of going direct to a production company, or C) they give up and stay with the aforementioned lazy sloths who don’t bother to keep up with the times and really do not deserve the work they get.
Evolve the Corporate Video
One of the more interesting bits Noam’s article suggests is that the low quality of Los Angeles’ corporate video production companies has resulted in not only bad videos, but in companies without the vision to do something great. He suggests that clients need to be brought into the now, and they need to embrace corporate videos that use storytelling and entertainment to get their points across. He points out a few examples, and they’re worth checking out.
Noam basically feels it is past time for the production companies and the corporate clients to evolve. I think he’s right. There’s so much “noise” in the corporate video world that to stand out and get your ideas out there you need to change things up. Some of the bigger companies (Fortune 500s, brands you know) have embraced this approach. And it’s working for them.
For corporate video production companies, this means changing how you do business. You need to start seeing yourselves as creative agencies, not just button-pushing video monkeys. And probably you need to understand that part of the job is educating clients about the possibilities video offers when done right. I’m not sure many production companies are set up to do this. I think most of them can’t do it at all, actually. Certainly the aforementioned lazy sloths cannot.
So do I think all is lost? No. Not at all. I think there’s a huge opportunity for smart video production companies and corporate videos in Los Angeles. The question is, are you as a client or production company willing to evolve and demand more?
Here’s our latest work for MassMutual. It’s aimed at their 10,000 or so financial advisors and is meant to help give them a more in-depth introduction to their new Coverpath insurance platform. It’s more educational than the other videos we’ve created for this series. But we worked hard to make it as entertaining as possible.
We shot this over a few days in September in New York, including some shooting at Roosevelt Island. It was a blast!
Wikipedia: In traditional Japanese aesthetics, wabi-sabi is a world view centered on the acceptance of transience and imperfection. The aesthetic is sometimes described as one of beauty that is “imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete”.
This is a story about how we made a cutdown for a client, and how imperfection is actually pretty great.
We recently made a Facebook teaser video for MassMutual and their new Coverpath insurance product. It’s part of a longer-form financial services video production we did last month in New York. I’m posting it because this is a perfect example of a situation where a client hires us for a project and then asks us if it’s possible to create more than one deliverable for them.
In this case, the request came in after we’d already filmed. So, I sat down with Jessica (not really, I think she was on one coast and I was on the other) and we figured out a story that hits all the important points of Coverpath.
We’d already shot the running stuff, and the client approved the story. But I realized to tell this story best we needed to have a slow-motion shot that did not exist. So, into VFX-land I went. Simply slowing the footage looked terrible! After much experimentation, I decided to use Twixtor Pro and its ability to separate elements with alpha mattes. I went into a high-end rotoscoping program called Silhouette to create the rotoscoped matte, then spent a lot of time playing with the results in After Effects to create a pretty realistic slow motion shot.
The other part of the visual effects for this teaser was the MassMutual logo in 3D, sitting on the grassy knoll. For that, the workflow was After Effects- Cinema4D- After Effects, using 3D camera tracking and HDRI lighting for the logo plus some manual tweaks. It looked great! But after living with it for a day, I realized that the tripod panning shot I’d used was too sterile. Coverpath is all about people. So instead of our pristine tripod shot, I found a gimbal shot that had a lot of “mistakes” in it. It wasn’t totally smooth. It jumped around a bit. It didn’t “settle in”. It was profoundly “human”.
And it was glorious. That’s the shot we ended up using, and of course that meant redoing much of the work. But it was worth it.
When you’re investing money in a high-quality video or film, it just makes sense to also be able to provide (for a reasonable cost) additional versions and cutdowns to help create buzz for the product/service. Production is expensive. We like helping our clients get the most out of the investment.
Here we are in New York, working on the second MassMutual film. Photography by J. Webster Smith II.
And lastly for today, here’s a recent testimonial/review from our client Prepdeck. They hired us to create a video for them for fundraising, and it’s raised over 14x their funding goal. Not too shabby.
Please describe your company and your position there.
Prepdeck is an innovative, patent-pending kitchen accessory that helps keep things organized, tidy and stress-free in the kitchen. I’m the founder and CEO.
For what projects/services did your company hire PatrickOrtman, Inc.?
We hired Patrick Ortman to help with the end to end execution of our first commercial and branding video.
What were your goals for this project?
Our objective was to create a sleek, forward-thinking and well-branded production. Ideally, the video aimed to balance an aspirational quality with the broader appeal of our product’s functional operations. We needed multiple edits that varied from 30 seconds up to two minutes in duration.
How did you select this vendor?
I assessed PatrickOrtman, Inc.’s previous work. After multiple conversations with Patrick (Founder & Partner, PatrickOrtman, Inc.), I felt confident his team was the right choice. He took the time to understand our needs and goals. I could immediately tell that he was thorough and could deliver a quality product in line with our vision, no matter what effort that required.
Describe the video(s) and the process in detail.
Patrick took a deep dive into our business to understand our product, target customer base, and overarching goals. We worked collaboratively to write a script, select locations, and vet actors. From there, they flawlessly executed the project from start to finish. We had some last-minute needs and requests, which they always happily accommodated. They delivered what we needed time and time again.
What was your vendors’ project management or feedback process?
PatrickOrtman, Inc. maintained a robust line of communication throughout the entire process. They strictly managed timelines, resources, and deliverables. Patrick was always in control and made sure we felt informed at all times
Can you share any outcomes from the project that demonstrate progress or success?
We used the commercial and brand video to successfully launch our brand in Summer 2018. The video assets PatrickOrtman, Inc. produced were a significant factor in our success. We beat our initial launch goals by more than ten times. I have no doubt that Patrick’s work played a critical role in those stellar results.
How effective was the workflow between your team and theirs?
The collaboration was excellent. PatrickOrtman, Inc made everything feel comfortable. Our communication was clean and crisp. It was helpful that we agreed on most things. Even when we had different opinions, our incredibly valuable conversations would lead to the best result.
What did you find most impressive about this company?
Overall, the quality of the final result is the most notable criteria for our engagement. I admired the ease with which they worked. PatrickOrtman, Inc.’s willingness to adjust to our changing needs stood out as exceptionally impressive
Here’s our latest corporate brand film. It’s for Fortune 100 member MassMutual, and their new Coverpath product. It was played for 5,000 people on a 100 foot screen recently.
Clutch.co, a leading resource for B2B services firms, has listed PatrickOrtman, Inc. as a leading agency in California for 2018. This is extra cool because the listing wasn’t just about video production agencies, it is an all-services-inclusive list of the top agencies in the state of California that do business-to-business services. They put this information out in a press release, which you can read here. Thanks, Clutch.co!
We’ve been in New York working with a really cool client on their launch video. More soon!
Director Patrick Ortman talks with the Talent before filming. Special NY Guest Makeup Artist Gabriela Banda does her thing. And there is coffee.