Video Marketing

Social Media Videos Are A Whole New Beast. Are You Getting the Most Out of Yours?

This just in: social media videos are today’s most powerful marketing tool. In fact, a study from Cisco predicts that by 2022, 82% of all Internet traffic will be video content. Why? Because video is more engaging and more memorable than the written word. According to some studies, the average viewer remembers 95% of a message when they watch it, and only 10% when they read it. But not all social media videos are created equally. Luckily, we’re here to make sure you’re getting the most out of yours. 

When it comes to social media videos, less is more

When you’re trying to tell your brand story via video, it’s tempting to push things to the outer limit. After all, how could you possibly say what you need to say in 15 seconds or less? 

But according to industry experts, less is more when it comes to video length. In fact, the 6-second video seems to be on the rise, with 80% of advertisers rating 6-second video as effective or very effective. 

The takeaway? You can keep social media videos short and sweet. And a video production company like WK Studios can help. During our shoots, we can gather enough footage to fuel your social media strategy for months (or even years) to come. 

Snaps, Stories, and Reels. Oh my. 

First things first, let’s consider the different types of social media videos. In the last few years, we’ve seen an explosion of formats across various platforms—from hour-long unboxing videos on YouTube to 15 second Reels on Instagram.

When it comes to video, Facebook is the most flexible. You can upload videos up to four hours long directly to your timeline, business page, or group pages. Compared to Instagram’s 3-60 second rule, that’s a veritable eternity of video. But just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. 

As Talking Tree Creative notes, “Even though Facebook allows four-hour uploads, research shows that most users engage with Facebook videos for about a minute before scrolling along.” 

Instagram now has a few ways to post video content. Most prominent among them: IGTV, Stories, and Reels. Each has its pros and cons, depending on the audience you’re trying to reach. 

Want to connect with a younger audience? Don’t chalk off Snapchat or TikTok just yet. Whether you’re creating content organically or posting pay-to-play ads, each platform can get your content in front of over 70 million viewers.

Don’t forget the captions.

Think about where, when, and how you’re spending time on social media. Whether you’re scrolling Insta at the bus stop, catching up on Facebook news while in line at the grocery store, or firing off Tweets between meetings, odds are good you often use social on the go. The same is true of your brand’s customers. 

That’s why captioning your social media videos is no longer a nicety—it’s a necessity. 

As Elisa Edelberg notes in a recent article for 3PlayMedia, “Especially on Facebook, people tend to watch social video with the sound off and videos autoplay without sound. So, captions can help enormously with catching viewer attention.”

In fact, a recent study saw a 40 percent increase in views of captioned videos versus uncaptioned. Plus, captions help you connect with the 466 million viewers worldwide with hearing loss.

Social media videos aren’t the future—they’re the now

There’s no denying that social media videos are a powerful tool in your brand’s toolkit. But posting videos without a strategy can feel like screaming into the void. Luckily, a video production company like WK Studios can make sure you’re getting the most out of your video assets. Ready to get started? Get in touch today or check out our social media video portfolio.   

Video Marketing

Are TV Commercials Dead? Absolutely Not. And We’ve Got Proof

Every year you hear the same hot take: TV advertising and TV commercials are a dead medium. But if you look at the statistics, this couldn’t be further from the truth.  In fact, a study by MarketShare said that TV advertising produces four times the return on investment (ROI) as digital advertising does.

That’s because even though people aren’t sitting on the couch to watch sitcoms on their TV sets, they are still watching TV in other formats. But are professional TV commercials still an investment that’s worth making? We think so.And we can back it up. 


Benefits of TV Commercials That No One’s Talking About

Even though attention spans and watching habits are changing, Americans are still watching a lot of television. According to A.C. Nielsen, the average American watches four hours of TV every single day!

They might not be sitting around the living room as a family, watching television together all of the time. Instead, they’re in their rooms, watching it on various devices. Just think about how often your friends and family are streaming on their phones, tablets, and laptops. 

For advertisers, these habits offer the potential to make a solid return on their marketing investments. Based on one study, every dollar spent on TV advertising results in $6.50 earned for the advertiser. That’s a great ROI for something that others are so quick to deem ‘outdated’.

Not only that, but with new mediums come new possibilities. Long story short, you don’t always have to invest in long-form ads anymore. In fact, studies show that short-form ads (around 6 seconds) capture 8% to 11% more attention than long-form alternatives. 


TV Commercials for Auto Dealerships

Of course, not all TV commercials are created equal. Just think about all of the stereotypical auto dealership commercials you’ve seen. Are you picturing a red-faced man in a suit and tie shouting about how they have the BEST DEALS as long as you HURRY HURRY HURRY

If you’re interested in standing out from the crowd, you need to shout less and show more. Our Driver’s Seat Program can help you do exactly that by highlighting your offering in a memorable, quality video that will leave a lasting impression.


Get Creative and Stand Out From the Crowd

TV commercials are far from dead. In fact, all of the evidence shows that this medium is thriving. Well-produced commercials allow you to stand out from the competition by using creativity to highlight your expertise and capabilities. Ready to showcase your business? Get in touch to book a consultation today.


Video Marketing

The 3 Pillars of Quality Video Production: Creativity, Equipment, and Expertise

Let’s be honest. These days, just about everybody is walking around with a high-quality camera in their pocket. And there’s no shortage of free and low-cost video editing apps and software available. As a result, everybody (yes, even you!) can shoot, edit, and distribute professional-looking videos. But how do you get the high-quality video production feel of working with the pros? We believe that creativity, the right equipment, and a little help from the pros can get you pretty far.  

Creativity in Video Production

What makes a compelling video? What defines a story that sticks? And, most importantly, how do you produce videos that your audience actually wants to watch? In short: creativity. 

But isn’t “creativity” a super ambiguous term? Yes. And it’s totally subjective too! For example, the acceptable quirk-level for a craft brewery will differ from that of a law firm or doctor’s office. But it’s essential to keep in mind that “creative” doesn’t always mean “Puppy Monkey Baby” weird. It can be something as simple as discovering a unique story angle to help your audience connect with your brand. Or using lighting, frame speeds, and creative cuts to set your video’s emotional tone. 

In short, creativity needs to be at the center of every aspect of your video—from concepts like storyboards, scriptwriting, and location scouting to technical details like shot angles and lighting requirements. 

Invest in the Right Equipment

Wait a minute, didn’t we already tell you your iPhone could capture high-quality footage? Absolutely. If you’ve got David Leitch, director of John Wick, framing your shots. But for professional-looking digital ads, television spots, and web series, you might want to upgrade. And even the highest quality camera can’t make up for shaky shots and poor lighting. That’s why, if you’re serious about your video production, you’re going to want to invest in the right gear. 

There’s no one-size-fits-all recommendation for video production equipment. Your needs will vary based on your budget, experience level, type of project, and objectives. But, as a baseline, your essential gear checklist should include a camera, tripod, microphones, lighting and screens, and any editing/production software you’ll use. You can also work with a video production company like WK Studios and let us pick the right gear for the job. 

Expert Video Production

But how do you know the best lighting, the right shot angles, and where to cut that frame? This is where expertise comes into play. Because the best video production teams know how to combine creativity and technical skills to craft engaging visual stories. In our corner of the world, we call them stories that stick. 

Unfortunately, you can’t become an expert overnight. But, with time, persistence, and a little help from the pros, you can develop an eye for engaging video storytelling. Here at WK Studios, we’re experts in everything from conception to distribution. And we’re your trusted consultants in ROI generation through quality video production. 

Have Questions About What Goes Into WK’s High-Quality Video Production?

We’ve got answers. Whether you need a fresh take on your brand’s visual narrative or you’re looking for auto dealership commercials with more action (and less yelling), we’ve got you covered. Get in touch with our team to get the ball rolling in your next project.  

Marketing Uncategorized

Take Your Marketing to New Heights with Drone Videography

From panoramic skylines and time-lapsed cityscapes to sweeping views of nature’s grandeur, drone capabilities have literally changed how we see the world around us. And, across industries, businesses are recognizing the value of a bird’s eye view. Done well, drone videography creates an attention-grabbing experience for your target audience.


Why Drone Videography?


Even twenty years ago, aerial video was the domain of Hollywood video producers with sizable budgets. It required renting a plane or helicopter, hiring a licensed pilot, and hoping the weather would cooperate. But drone capabilities have made aerial shots a viable option for businesses and production of every size.


In general, video is the reigning content marketing champion. The average person will watch 100 minutes of video every day in 2021. And according to Social Media Today, “81% of businesses use video in their marketing strategy. This figure is a 63% increase compared to [2019].” With this saturation in the video space, aerial videography is one of the most effective ways to make sure your video content stands out.


Best Industries for Aerial Views


While any business can benefit from a fresh perspective, some industries need the birds-eye view more than others.


Hospitality & Travel


How do you attract travelers to your resort, lodge, beach-side cabana, or hideaway? By immersing them in the experience of your location. With drones, you can capture immersive, breath-taking footage that helps viewers imagine themselves in the center of it all. Tropical getaways can showcase white sand beaches. Drones can follow skiers down the black diamond run in your resort’s commercial. No matter your location, aerial views help you get the most out of your video content. 


Real Estate


The National Association of Realtors reports that 90% of home buyers find their property information online. And one way that real estate companies add value to their listings is through drone videography. Not only does it give potential buyers a birds-eye view of the property, but it also helps showcase the neighborhood and surrounding areas.


Auto Dealers


Shoot a sweeping panorama of your lot and vehicle selection. Get white-knuckle, off-roading action shots of the trucks and SUVs you offer. Or, just show ordinary people doing local things in your vehicles. No matter how you approach auto dealership commercials, drone videography helps put your audience in the driver’s seat. And at WK Studios, we offer subscription packages to tell your dealership’s story (and tell it well).


Precision Drone Videography


But we don’t always need just drones to showcase bigger, broader views. Sometimes, they’re even more useful when it’s time to get up close and personal. Especially in the age of COVID-19. Drone videography lets us get close to the action—without getting in the way—while maintaining social distancing. The experienced team at WK Studios can use in-office and on-site drones to showcase your building, crew, and capabilities.


Contact WK Studios for FAA-Certified Drone Videography


Ready to take your marketing to new heights? Our team has the certifications and creative vision to help you get the most out of aerial video. Give us a call to learn more about using drones to capture your high-quality video content.


Video Marketing

How Video Production Companies Create ROI Through Visual Storytelling

People have told visual stories since the first time a prehistoric human smeared ochre onto a cave wall. And, just like our societies have evolved, so have the ways we tell stories. We may have replaced hand tracings and animal drawings with selfies and Tik Tok. But visual storytelling still taps into a primal part of human nature. This is why it’s an invaluable tool when it comes time to create ROI in your marketing strategy. 

Types of Visual Storytelling

Before we get into the specifics of how visual storytelling can create ROI, what do we mean by “visual storytelling” in the first place? It’s a relatively new—and ridiculously broad—term. It covers everything from infographics to unboxing videos on YouTube. 

But according to marketing experts Eric Goodstadt and Sacha Reeb, it’s not enough to just talk about the tools used to tell the story (graphics, images, pictures, videos). In this context, visual storytelling has a specific desired outcome: “to drive emotions and engage intercommunication to motivate an audience action.”

In other words, visual storytelling makes people feel something to get them to do something—buy a product, sign up for a service, remember a brand, and more. 

How Videos Are Changing the Marketing World

In the digital age, when it comes to visual storytelling, video reigns supreme. And it’s popularity just keeps growing. Back in 2015, only 78% of marketers saw the value of video. Today, 92% of marketers say it’s an essential part of their marketing strategy. Thanks to social media, consumers are watching more videos than ever before. In fact, experts predict that in 2021, the average person will watch 100 minutes of online videos every day. Which means it’s an awesome way to create ROI in your marketing. 

How to Measure Your Video’s ROI

Unfortunately, it’s not always as easy as slapping up a new YouTube video and watching the money pour in. ROI depends on your goals and which metrics are most meaningful for your company. For example, if you used a video to announce a new product and got 500 views but no website click-throughs, those views are just a vanity metric. 

Some of the most common metrics used to measure ROI on visual storytelling include: 

  • View count — The number of times someone watched part or all of your video
  • Engagement — The number of times someone commented on, liked, or shared your video post on social media
  • Conversions — The number of times someone watched your video and then performed a desired action (like buying your product or visiting your website). 

Start by defining the primary purpose of your video. Do you want viewers to recognize your brand? Share your video with their friends? Get excited about a new product or service? Your answer might change from video to video. But knowing what you’d like to accomplish is the first step towards success. 

Create ROI Through High-Quality Content

The number one way to create ROI? Make sure your videos are high-quality, full of emotion, and distributed to the right audience. At WK Studios, we’re in the business of stories that stick. Whether you’re looking for a moving brand narrative, a compelling commercial, or a shareable social media clip, we can make sure it gets seen by the right people. Get in touch to learn more about how WK Studios helps you get the most out of your brand’s story. 


Video Marketing

Creativity Through Chaos: COVID-19 Case Studies from WK Studio

Boarded up shops and locked shop doors. Time Square and California’s busiest freeways standing empty. Coyotes commandeering the Golden Gate Bridge. When coronavirus case numbers began rising across the country, the world as we knew it ground to a stop. But the storytelling didn’t. In fact, it may have made us even more creative. From helping local restaurants to getting the word out about life-saving mask producers, our COVID-19 case studies show how the WK Studios team spent the first few months of lockdown.  

Our initial COVID-19 response: what now?

Like many of our neighbors, partners, and clients, when COVID-19 struck, things got chaotic. It feels like a lifetime ago now. But in those early days, it felt impossible to predict the next hour (let alone plan weeks or months in advance). 

Expecting the worst, many small business owners proactively tightened their budgets, shifted to remote work where possible, and hunkered down to weather the storm. As a team, we had to consider our options. Sure, we could sit around and wait for the phone to ring. Or we could use our unexpected free time to get to work in our community. 

Stay home, stay safe, stay fed. 

As state-mandated orders rolled in, restaurants found themselves caught between a rock and a hard place. Suddenly, they were 100% reliant on takeout business. But nobody knew they were open for takeout business. WK Studios partnered with several area favorites and developed a campaign to get the word out. We donated our resources to help restaurants produce some simple television commercials. To maximize our reach, we made sure they could be shared via social media as well. 

In the end, we produced commercials for Bo’s Falafel, Thump Coffee, Crux, Zydeco, and Greg’s Grill. For context, it usually takes us about three to six weeks  to produce a single commercial. We worked through five commercials in three weeks.  

But we couldn’t have done it alone. A commercial without distribution is like telling your story to an empty room. So we got to work, networking with our community partners. Central Oregon Daily agreed to air all five commercials (free of charge). At the same time, Compass Commercial and Bend Chamber took to social media. And, of course, the restaurant owners and managers put their own social channels to work. 

Unfortunately, some restaurants closed their doors  temporarily before we could roll out their commercials. But thanks to everybody pulling together, we got most of them on the air. 

Addressing the mask shortage

As if empty toilet paper shelves weren’t enough, during the first few months of coronavirus, the nation saw an extreme PPE shortage, including N95 masks and gowns. Thankfully, Medline Industries, an international medical supply company based out of Chicago, sprang into action. They transitioned their reprocessing facility in Redmond to addressing the mask shortage. And we helped them tell the story of launching the new project. The goal: to clean and sterilize used face masks and respirators for safe reuse. Our video helps show the process behind accepting bulk shipments of used masks and making them safe for the health community to use again. 


Community first COVID-19 response

While things have started to return to normal, we know that there’s plenty of work left to be done in the community. We’re grateful to have a team with the ability to respond quickly when our partners need all hands on deck. Ready to take the next (or first) step in telling your story? Get in touch, we’d love to help


Video Marketing

The Difference Between a Brand Narrative Video and a Commercial

“Your brand is a story unfolding across all customer touch points.” — Jonah Sachs


There’s a lot of jargon in the branding, filming, and production industries that overlap. We admit the terms can be a little confusing at times, which is why we think it’s important to educate our clients and help them understand the subtleties. This is especially true for terms that we’ve coined and made the bedrock of our services like brand narrative videos. So what’s the difference between these videos and commercials? Let’s dive deeper. 


What do we mean by ‘brand narrative?’ 

In general, a brand narrative is a building block of a brand strategy. It might be easier to think of brand narratives as in-depth, dynamic storytelling. They’re not always set to videos (although that’s how we refer to them), but they help define the brand’s story and bring it to life.

Typically, a brand narrative contains five main elements: brand truths, promise, story, emotional impact, and external expression (i.e., the “marketable concept.”). When we talk about brand narrative videos at WK Studios, we mean videos that use psychology and science to connect with your audience––on a level that’s real, emotional, and authentic. 


How it differs from a commercial 

Commercials are something many of us have experienced. Like narratives, they promote your company, but they’re a lot more straightforward and “high-level.” Where narrative videos dive deep, commercials skim the surface of emotional depth and help to spark initial interest. You could think of them as the handshake and a brand narrative as the hug. 

Commercials are also typically shorter and generate buzz through their shareable nature. And while these are all benefits to your brand and should be used in your marketing strategy, if you want customers to become brand fanatics, you need to invest in a brand narrative video. 


Brand narrative benefits

Choosing the narrative video vs. commercial route is a little more involved, but the end goal is higher engagement and deeper emotional connection. In addition, narrative videos benefit your brand in the following ways: 


Engages the psyche 

We mentioned before how these videos utilize psychology and science. Going further than most simple ads, they tap into neurotransmitters like dopamine, oxytocin, and endorphins. You know, the feel-good hormones. Because the content tells a story, your audience can bond with your brand through these emotional connections. And the emotion doesn’t always have to be happy (just think of Apple).



Most brands (read: all brands) should be thinking of ways to highlight their differentiators. A brand narrative video helps to “cut through the clutter in ways that matter.” These differentiators through visual storytelling also support better recall, which ultimately leads to more awareness and engagement. 


Creates ROI

“Of course, you don’t just want something that looks pretty and makes your clients feel good. You want to see ROI. Luckily, brand narrative videos produce it in spades. Given the emotional complexity of these videos, recent statistics show “ if people love a brand story, 55% are more likely to buy the product in future, 44% will share the story, and 15% will buy the product immediately.” 


The studio difference 

It might seem like a big undertaking, but a video production studio can help you bring your narrative (and your brand) to the next level. Trusting a professional company means you get access to the best equipment, experience, crews, and the know-how to tapping into emotional depths. In the end, it always comes back to storytelling. Ready to take the plunge


How a Social Media Video Makes Your Profile Stand Out

If you stop your social scrolling to watch an interesting video, you’re certainly not alone. In fact, Social Media Today shows that “82% of all consumer internet traffic will come from online videos by 2022.” And when social sites like Instagram and Facebook started rolling out auto-play features on these videos, it was a game-changer for marketers. Overall, social media video helps your profile stand out through building brand trust, generating leads, and increasing brand awareness.


Why create a social media video? 

Before we detail the benefits, let’s talk stats. Social media video is admittedly more time consuming than static imagery to produce, but the impact outweighs any setbacks. In fact, “video[s] on social media get three times the number of inbound links than plain text posts.” What’s more, videos also generate 1,200 percent more shares. This is in part due to the viral and shareable nature of video, as well as its ability to engage an audience. 

For those wondering what’s behind the numbers, social media video has some incredible benefits for your brand


Building trust 

When it comes to building trust, sometimes people need to see something to believe it. Video can help give your consumers more confidence to purchase, but it can also create a long-term relationship with them. Especially if your videos are emotionally relevant.  


Lead generation

Social videos are, by nature, very engaging. And this engagement can help to generate leads and connect with your audience. Not to mention the viral and shareable nature of videos, which can lead to more sales and exposure. 


Brand awareness

Brand awareness is often a massive hurdle that marketers must overcome. With consumers viewing thousands of ads a day, your brand needs to stand out. Social media video increases brand awareness by delivering positive ad recall and helping users understand your brand better. And this awareness brings them one step closer to brand loyalty. 


The value of social 

Social media campaigns should help your profile stand out, tell your brand story well, and give you the returns you need. Many video partners don’t take into consideration optimizing your ROI and, instead, only focus on the quality of the content. One effective way to get more value in your social content is to plan ahead and minimize the number of film sessions needed. You can do this by creating a shot list for the upcoming month, quarter, or year and working with your video partner to reduce the number of filming sessions to capture them. 

Another way to get more mileage out of your video production budget is to combine it with a larger project. For instance, if your company is already investing in a larger scale video project like a branding or explainer video, your production team can add a social campaign to the project for a reduced rate. Especially if you do your homework ahead of time to allow the shots to be captured the same window as the principal project. These shots not only save you time and money but keep your social campaigns consistent with what your followers are seeing in your brand videos. 


Let’s get started 

Pictures are worth 1,000 words, but videos encapsulate emotion. And there’s no denying that branded social media video makes your profile stand out. If you don’t have access to a video production team driven to provide ROI in addition to quality, feel free to reach out to WK Studios. Even if we’re not the best fit, we’d be happy to help guide you in the right direction. Let’s talk

Video Marketing

Video Projects Should Focus on Specific Desired Results

Creating a Good Video isn’t an Effective Goal

Video production is the future of business marketing, there’s no doubting that today. However, did you know that making more video content shouldn’t always be the goal? And the goal needs to be more specific than making good video content? Video projects should focus on specific desired results. Making a video is easy, but making a quality video production that drives specific desired results is not. In fact, it involves an extensive amount of knowledge, experience, and creativity to create a successful video for business purposes. Thankfully for our clients, we are here to do that for them. It’s also important that your video production team isn’t solely focused on creating a great looking video. Your video team needs to be keeping your underlying goals and vision front and center as well. Many production companies are learning that this provides the best results not only for their clients, but also for themselves as well.  


Every Video Project Should have Goals

With WK Studios, our clients rest assured that we approach each project with the big picture in mind. We see it as our priority to create video production projects in an engaging and effective manner. To be effective, messaging must cover specific goals intended for that project. Having specific goals will also make it easier to gauge results. Because each type of project has its own set of desired outcomes, the approach to each video must vary as well.

In other words, not every deliverable can be achieved with the same type of video. Branding videos, commercials, and fundraising videos are all examples of videos that need a significant emphasis on quality. However, each has vastly different messaging requirements. Whether the results you desire are measurable metrics tied to sales figures, or you wish to tie a general emotion to your brand; every successful video project should have these goals communicated early (and often, if needed). Your video production team needs to be focused on your deliverables. How can a batter hit a ball if he isn’t looking at it?

Focusing on Your Clients’ Goals Benefits you Just as Much

Focusing on providing results for your client will reward you in the long run. In this day and age, a client that you help achieve its goals will let the world know it. And so will a client that isn’t seeing results, and nobody wants that type of acknowledgement.

Our work is always focused on our client’s vision, so it brings us great joy when we can hear back from them. Recently, we received our first review on Clutch. We traveled to Boston, MA for this project in order to film and produce a stream of video content for global sensor technology industry leader, Vaisala. This review resulted from one of our partners that trusted our capabilities enough to fly us across the country to bring their vision to life.

Our approach was to focus on the underlying goals and vision for their organization and the project itself. Our client shared their goals and vision and we simply took notes, shifting our focus to those things. We communicated with them what we believed to be their goals, and corrected ourselves where needed. It was determined that they wanted to create a stream of video content that would inform viewers about their products. They equally wanted to educate viewers about the very technical and scientific environments that their products function in. This client is an industry thought leader because they have great products and people that truly understand their industry as well as anyone. They wanted this series to show exactly that, and we focused on bringing those goals life.

Vaisala’s review highlights the difference between having a team that creates a high quality, engaging video, and one that does this while also keeping their focus on their client’s desired results for the video project. The review can be seen on Clutch is a DC-based B2B platform that connects businesses with potential solution providers. Through the use of client ratings and reviews, companies can find their best matches according to industry of interest and geographic region.

Results for Your Clients’ are Results for you

By focusing on our client’s needs and goals, we were able to not only provide hours of great quality video content, but also significant results. Vaisala has since experienced tangible results through improved engagement and lead rates. They explain these results in their review. All this to say, there are many video production companies that create high quality content.  There are very few that immerse themselves into the status, needs, and goals of their clients. Ensure that the your content is achieving its intended results by keeping the focus where it should be. Make sure that you’re hiring an organization that is willing and capable of approaching your project as a member of your team, not their own separate company.

“They went out of their way—going above and beyond to meet our expectations. For example, they outsourced the audio of the project to an expert so the quality of the work would be top-notch. Their crew was also extremely friendly. I also appreciated that when I asked for their input on the other quotes we received, they made sure to point out red flags and show us what wasn’t necessary. For future projects, we’re definitely going to continue using them.” -Marketing Specialist, Electronics Manufacturer


Videos are a part of the present and future, and we want to help build that future for our clients. If you are interested in knowing more about our work, or would like to collaborate with us on a future project, please let us know!


Brent Dolan

Brent, Director of Operations at WK Studios, currently lives in Bend, Oregon, with his wife Stephanie and two sons Micah and Ezra.


Video Marketing

Reach the Right Customers with Targeted Video Distribution

Too many video production companies eagerly sign on the dotted line to produce a 50K video project and then wipe their hands clean after the video is exported. At WK Studios, we understand that a video alone without viewers is a liability and not an asset. Our clients expect ROI from their video projects that they can proudly take back to the C-levels at their companies.

We know that the best video production companies have suggestions and better yet, offer video distribution options for their clients’ videos to ensure that the video reaches not just AN audience, but is targeted to reach the exact audience the client needs. Moving into 2020, there are a number of targeted video distribution channels and the right production company can help you reach the right audience.

Video Distribution Channels

These days, every social media site has its own native video platform. Choosing the correct channel makes a big difference in reaching the right audience. For example, if you want to reach other businesses, sharing video content on LinkedIn can make more sense for certain B2B content. B2C product videos may do better on Facebook or Instagram, depending on what you’re selling and who you’re selling to. The right video production company can assist you in choosing the right video distribution channel for your content.

Social Video Distribution — Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Reddit, & TikTok… there are ample social media platforms to choose from to deliver your video content to the right audience.

Video Streaming Services — Video streaming services have created a wide distribution channel for video content. Find the right video distribution source — from commercial video ads on Hulu and YouTube to getting your documentary streaming on Netflix.

Online Video Distribution — From embedding your video content on your website to including it in email newsletters and blog posts, a robust online distribution strategy is key.

Cable and Network Television — While it may seem like streaming has taken over television, people still watch traditional television. Whether you’re running a local, regional or national advertising campaign, targeting the channels and programs watched by your target audience still attains an enviable reach and drives conversions.

Public Relations — Sometimes getting your video in front of the right audience takes partnering with the right social media influencer or the right online news article. Public relations may help your video gain traction depending on your brand and business goals.

Video Ad Targeting

Social media and paid display advertising make it easy to target the right audience for your video project. Facebook and Instagram allow you to target demographics, behaviors, interests and life events, which makes reaching people who like similar products or services more achievable than traditional advertising. Social media advertising allows you to target a narrow audience with interests and behaviors similar to those who have purchased your products or services in the past. Facebook offers dynamic targeting options including Lookalike Audiences. You create a source audience, which could be based on a website retargeting list, for example. Facebook then analyzes the behavior of the source audience and creates a persona that identifies similar users on its platforms (including Instagram!).

YouTube is now the second-largest search engine in the world, only dwarfed by Google. Targeting an audience on YouTube allows your content to appear in channels and videos where people are talking about things related to your business. Social media advertising offers businesses a great way to target specific audiences and introduce your brand through video advertising.

Meet Customers Where They Want to Connect

The right video production company for your brand knows the ins and outs of video distribution and audience targeting. At WK Studios, we help out clients reach people where they want to be connected with, be it through social media, traditional TV commercials, episodic web content or online streaming services. We won’t just wash our hands clean after the final export of your video. Choose to have us assist in your video distribution strategy and watch as your ROI grows. Finding the right audience makes all the difference in a video distribution strategy.

Brent Dolan

Brent, Director of Operations at WK Studios, currently lives in Bend, Oregon, with his wife Stephanie and two sons Micah and Ezra.

Marketing Video Marketing

Combine Corporate and Social Video Filming to Reduce Costs

With the end of the year looming, many companies like yours have started thinking about and planning their 2020 marketing budgets. Smart companies know that video is an essential component in that plan, but what kind of video?

Brand stories, testimonial videos, product videos, advertisements, social media videos — they all have a place in a successful campaign, but corporations that use branded narratives to create stories are ahead of the curve. They’re capitalizing on emerging studies that scientifically prove that stories stick with viewers and cause chemical reactions in the brain such as dopamine, oxytocin and endorphins. These emotion causing chemicals are then carried into the customers’ experience with all your other marketing. Social media videos take on new power when used in conjunction with narrative video.

At WK Studios, we believe video has the power to merge your brand with emotions. Viewers remember the emotion they felt long after the information has been forgotten. Creating video campaigns that evoke emotion in customers will stick with them long after the initial viewing. While we believe that all video is powerful. History, life experience and neuroscience teach us that storytelling videos are the most effective.

Budgeting for Video Marketing Campaigns

A solid video production company will offer to produce a social media campaign while also filming your corporate video content. By combining the two projects, film sessions can often be minimized in many cases. This helps reduce costs for your agency, corporation or non-profit.

Social Media Videos

Video helps you engage your audience on social channels and many of these platforms prioritize video in their listing algorithms, resulting in better organic reach. Users have come to expect social videos with great lighting, optimal sound and professional production value. Your social videos on each platform should align with the same overall brand narrative. From videos in your Instagram story to the video ads you create on Facebook, brands should be consistent and take advantage of as many platforms as possible.

Make Your Video Dollars Go the Extra Mile

In planning your marketing budget for 2020, the idea of creating a corporate video, testimonial videos as well as a full schedule of social videos may seem daunting at first. Finding room in the budget for all types of video marketing doesn’t have to be expensive or exhaustive to be successful. In many cases, filming sessions can be combined when you select the right video production company to create a variety of videos for your marketing campaigns.

Packaging your video projects helps increase brand consistency throughout your marketing campaigns. An experienced and savvy video production company has the capability to produce a social media campaign while also filming video content for a brand narrative or other corporate videos. Blending these projects can reduce costs for you by using clips from a single filming session to create multiple, cohesive videos for your brand.

Create Corporate and Social Media Videos in 2020

WK Studios offers video marketing packages to deliver video content with an emotional impact. We have more than 20 years of experience in the PNW creating in the visual language of film and video production. Our team uses our skills to engage your audience and create an emotional response to your brand. We use the “Hollywood” or Lean Model, meaning we hire the absolute best crew for your specific project and brand narrative. You don’t pay for the staff you don’t need.

Contact us today to receive a quote for a customized corporate and social video package. We look forward to learning more about your brand story.

Brent Dolan

Brent, Director of Operations at WK Studios, currently lives in Bend, Oregon, with his wife Stephanie and two sons Micah and Ezra.

Marketing Video Marketing

Branded Narrative is Scientifically Proven to Make a Difference in Marketing

Think of the marketing and advertising campaigns that have impacted you most, that have swayed you in one direction or the other on a certain product, service or cause. The most effective marketing campaigns evoke emotion in consumers, moving them to take action. Many marketers look to impressions through social and digital advertising, but without the emotion to back up your branding, how will consumers connect with your product, service or cause? Branded narrative is central to a meaningful marketing strategy. Marketers who begin to see themselves as storytellers connect with consumers on an emotional level, fostering brand trust and advocacy.

At WK Studios, we work alongside clients who want help elevating their marketing efforts to reach the right prospects at the right time with the right message — using video storytelling. Specializing in branded narratives effectively uses psychology and the science of emotions to connect with targeted audiences. Understanding how branded narrative and science work together helps companies achieve better results throughout marketing campaigns.

Science and Marketing

Good marketing starts with knowing your target audiences’ problems (in particular, the problems you intend to solve). Branded Narrative requires you to put yourself in your customers’ shoes so you can create the kind of message that draws them in using various principles of psychology. By examining the key neurotransmitters that foster the bonds people have with different stories, guiding customers along the buyer’s journey is much easier.


Dopamine increases focus, motivation, and memory. Marketers and sales teams are eager to learn about how to tap into this area of their customers’ minds. Storytelling does this extremely well. For example, as a person watches a movie, their dopamine levels become heightened as the suspense builds. Ultimately, viewers become captivated as they watch the story unfold.

An impactful story results in an engaged audience that is actually seeing more of the content. At this point, marketers can discreetly, or even bluntly insert their brand, product or service into the narrative in order to reach a focused and motivated audience. And that’s what it’s all about, right? You want to grab your viewers’ attention so your message is remembered.


Oxytocin is an empathy and bonding neurotransmitter. It induces trust, generosity and bonding. The most remarkable release of oxytocin occurs between lovers or between parents and their children.

This feeling of bonding can also be achieved to a strong degree through effective storytelling. Consider a story where a viewer watches a movie or a video that shows a young girl experience the sudden loss of her loving father. Viewers experience a heightened level of empathy resulting in trust, bonding and generosity due to their feeling of connection with the story’s character. Stories can be extremely powerful, as they form the basis for relationships and loyalty.

Many nonprofit organizations connect with donors using this type of narrative. For example, they may show a story featuring marginalized children to heighten levels of oxytocin within the audience. Feelings of duty and responsibility result, inspiring donors to give to the nonprofit’s cause. As a marketer, you want your customers to be emotionally tied to your brand – to bond and feel a sense of loyalty.


Endorphins are a powerful resource that video can tap into. One of the most effective ways to produce high levels of endorphins is through laughter, which results in more relaxed, creative and focused feelings. Consumers love to share content they find funny. When viewers share your content they significantly expand your reach, while also conveying their support for your brand.

As marketers, we must know the problems of our customers and show them how to solve those problems with our product or service. This sense of empowerment transfers from you to your customers. Your customers want to feel empowered and your brand can help them feel that way.

Branded Narrative Improves Marketing Performance

Today, the most effective way to tell a story is through video. Done well, you will be able to trigger the kind of neurotransmitter releases in your customers that make them loyal for life. Video tells stories that resonated with people. Consumers feel empowered enough to align themselves with your brand. As you share your branded narrative, your customers become gripped with the suspense of your story – the bond between your brand and their lives.

Effective marketing pays homage to how the brain works. Instead of merely selling products and services, marketing can connect us on a deeper, more human level. Branded Narrative through video makes all the difference in connecting with your customers.

WK Studios believes in the power of branded narrative — connecting with consumers through video storytelling. We’re passionate about helping brands raise awareness of the benefits of psychology-focused marketing. Contact WK Studios to learn more about using branded narrative to tell compelling stories that resonate with your prospective customers.

Branding Filmmaking Marketing Video Marketing

A Video Content Marketing Roadmap

How to make your video content marketing relevant and searchable

You want your video and webpage to rank in SEO, right? Video is taking over the world of branding and marketing.  It’s also playing a much bigger role in SEO results than ever before. The problem is, the landscape is changing so fast, if you’re not working in the industry (and even if you are!), it is challenging to keep up with what are the best strategies for SEO.  This blog by Margot da Cunha does a great job of breaking down some of the most vital marketing tactics for your video content.  

I broke down Margot’s tips into a simple list for all of us who don’t have time to spend reading full-length articles and blog posts.

9 Ways to Optimize your Video Content for Search

  • Choose the right video hosting platform
    • Using YouTube & Vimeo are great if you’re just trying to get your video seen, but NOT if you want people to go to your own site
  • Create a video transcript
    • Viewers will be able to read your subtitles when their volume is off
    • Your captions will actually create more searchable text, great for SEO
  • Create an engaging thumbnail
    • Even take photos specifically for thumbnail if necessary
    • Thumbnail picture must be relevant to the main video theme
  • Video Title and Description must be engaging and relevant
  • Make sure your underlying webpage is also relevant and optimized for SEO
    • If your site is awful, there’s a good chance your video will face an uphill battle to be ranked
  • The video you want ranked highest needs to be the first video on your page
  • If possible, make the video the focus of its webpage
  • Only embed each video in one location on your website
    • Multiple locations lead to your videos competing against each other
  • Don’t only focus on SEO for your video
    • Lots of other supplemental ways to market your video: FB, Twitter, Instagram, (other social media outlets), paid video advertising, and even having your partners share it!

If you’d like to know more about how to produce engaging and SEO-friendly video content, or would just altogether rather leave it to time-tested professionals, reach us at WK Studios! We’d love to work on your next video project with you.

#videocontent #video #marketing #branding #seo #results #WKStudios

Branding Marketing

A Powerful Digital Marketing Tool

All Videos not Created Equal

By now, I’m sure you’ve heard countless reasons why video is the best form of media for digital marketing. You’ve likely been beaten down with sayings like these:

  • Video is great for driving positive SEO results
  • It leads to more conversions
  • It inspires viewer emotions
  • “A picture is worth 1,000 words, but a video has 24 pictures per second

We believe all of these points are true (but today, good quality equipment can capture way more than 24 pictures per second!). However, this information does very little to tell us how to make a great video. It also doesn’t tell us what TYPE of video is the most effective. Because of this, in future posts, we’ll continue to elaborate upon aspects that make great videos. We’ll start here with one of the most powerful video types for marketing and branding — Branded Narratives.

At WK Studios, we’ve produced all types of digital marketing videos, and have found different messages call for different video types. As a result, we’ve found Branded Narratives are unique in that they take viewers on a psychological journey. The goal is to elicit desired thoughts and emotions from its audience in such a way that guides their thought processes and behaviors to desired outcomes. For instance, videos can guide their viewers to buy products, donate to a cause, and remember a brand name or product, to name a few examples.

Branded Narrative — Video Storytelling

A Branded Narrative tells a story, and is essentially the same thing as storytelling but has a caveat. Branded Narratives tell a story with a specific brand or brands placed in the viewer’s mind. Stories have the power to fully engage viewers as few other options have. As a result, these digital marketing videos have the unique opportunity to expose their brand or product to viewers that are at this heightened level of engagement.

One aspect of Branded Narratives that make them so effective for marketing and/or branding is their versatility. Organizations with extremely different objectives can use Branded Narratives to meet their goals.

Branded Narratives in Action

One widely popular example of a Branded Narrative was created by True Move, a Thai phone company. The Wall Street Journal posted the digital marketing video to YouTube, seen here:

How to do it?

Still not completely understanding how to use stories to market your brand, product, or idea? Don’t worry, WK Studios will continue to post informative pieces to help explain the ins and outs of video and Branded Narratives. If you’d rather work with an industry expert directly, we also offer strategy consults, as well. Feel free to visit our site ( for our contact information. However, we’ll leave you with a couple of simple scenarios that we came up with to help jumpstart your creative thought processes.

Scenario 1

A non-profit organization focused on helping inner-city children with unstable living situations can choose to hire someone to produce a video that compels viewers to give. In this situation, we strategically developed a Branded Narrative to place viewers in the midst of a young girl’s story. It begins as she walks home by herself down a dark dangerous street, with boarded windows on broken-down buildings. Then she enters a home with a passed out mother and a verbally abusive, drunk adult male. Through the eyes of this young girl, the viewer can feel empathy because of the gravity of her situation. This type of fictitious story about real-life situations will compel viewers to action through giving.

Scenario 2

A Fortune 500 automaker is spending a large sum of money on brand exposure. They choose to use a production company to create a short film for potential customers. They begin their short film in the driver seat of a luxury sports vehicle. In the driver seat is a handsome, middle-aged detective staking out some suspected sex traffickers. As the detective watches, the suspects drag several young girls out of a building and into a van. He soon realizes without any backup his life could be thrown into peril if he pursues the traffickers. However, those girls may never be seen again if he doesn’t. The detective chooses to disregard his own safety and chase down the traffickers in a nail-biting high-speed chase while simultaneously showcasing the vehicle’s speed, precision, and elegant style. As you can see, this tactic engages viewers in a roller coaster of emotions. When this happens, the viewers only care that they are enjoying a great story unfold. Meanwhile, the company has strategically placed its product, brand, and message throughout the video.

Trigger Desire with Branded Narrative Video

Above are very simple examples that barely scratch the surface of what is possible with Branded Narratives. Both of these videos have characters that the viewer feels some type of emotional attachment with, and problems to be solved. Scenario 1 leaves the problem unsolved so the viewer can be compelled to help solve it by giving. Scenario 2 takes viewers on a ride as the main character saves the day, all while the company’s product is being used to capture the bad guys. Hopefully, this has helped you understand the effectiveness of storytelling within the branding and digital marketing worlds. In future posts, we’ll explain how emotions and neurotransmitters in the brain can be targeted to solicit desired responses.

If you’re in the market a production company that you can trust, who has been making videos for over 10 years, feel free to reach out to us at WK Studios!


Vimeo Page



Storytelling…miles more than just a story.

Here at WK Studios, we love our industry, and that includes lots of love for other companies and individuals that are pouring their blood, sweat, and tears into it, just like we do. Muse Storytelling shares our passion for telling stories. They bring up a great point in one of their articles (The Story of Story, by Patrick Moreau) about being careful not to allow temptation or persuasion to derail the story. We couldn’t agree more.

There are endless things that you’d likely love to have viewers see in you your videos, whether it’s a specific person, the great price, or even all the ways your product can benefit them, but it’s important to remember that a story is meant to take the viewer on a seamless mental journey, and each informational detail that is forced in has the potential to damage the strength of the story.

Keep on making your dreams come to life, everyone!


We are Attention Brokers

As video producers,  we make our living trying to capture people’s attention.  Attention is the currency,  and we are the brokers.  Every time we conceptualize that TV commercial, upload that video or post on Instagram we are hoping to capture the attention of our target audience.  How many of them will view, like, share? How many of them will convert?


Sorry to be so mercantile,  but video production is expensive.  If there’s no ROI then your client has very little reason to invest.  Even non-profits have to connect their message to the proper audience to ensure their longevity.

As creative professionals,  it’s our job not just to make pretty images,  but to conceptualize and capture effective ideas.

So,  how do we hijack the attention of our audience away from the myriad of other images vying for their eyeballs?

Of course,  there’s always the cheap tricks – do something shocking or disgusting.   If you’re funny,  I mean really funny you could always make a hilarious video and hope… However,  that low hanging fruit has pretty much been harvested.

For serious brands with an actual message,  here’s the WK suggestion.

1. Content marketing –  these are cheap and easy.   For these videos,  content and distribution is king.  The quality of production doesn’t matter nearly as much as communicating something useful.  When you want to fix the fan in your computer or change the spark plug in your car you care that the “teacher” is thorough and intelligent and are willing to overlook the shaky video and noisy audio.  If you associate your brand with these “quick tips” or small teachings, it is a great way to establish yourself as a thought leader and keep yourself “top of mind”.

2.  Lifestyle videos- people in general,  especially millennials, don’t just want to buy a product,  they want to buy into a lifestyle.  Communicating your brand through lifestyle videos can create strong associations with the kind of lifestyle your target audience either has or desires.

A great example of this is GoPro.  They show awesome Video of people living extreme lifestyles and finish with their tagline “Be a Hero”.  Most people who buy the camera probably never engage in anything near the extreme sports shown in their promo video,  but buying it makes them feel like they are a part of something greater.

3.  Branded narratives –  Stories move us. They create emotion. A well-told story grabs our attention early,  brings us into the character’s world,  and invents a need for resolution.  Innovative brands such as BMW,  Lexus,  Pontiac,  Ritz Carlton and more are tapping into this art form as a powerful way to infuse that emotion into their brand.

Once your client’s mind associates an emotion with your brand, that same emotion will come back every time they see your logo, your product, your website, etc.  Of course,  emotion lingers long after facts and figures are gone.

Paul Powers videographer


Paul Powers is a producer at WK Studios and currently resides in Bend OR with his beautiful wife and daughter.

Local Business Uncategorized

Branding is a Slow Burn… but a Longer Term Investment

I love commercials. I know… I’m the odd man out.

In fact, I’ll share a little secret with you: When I watch TV, I mostly skip the shows and look for the ads.

I’ve noticed that big names do branding commercials while small businesses create informational commercials. This got me to thinking and here’s what I came up with regarding the differences.

1. Branding creates a feeling

Check out this commercial for milk:

An informational commercial would have started by listing the health benefits of milk, continued with telling you where you can buy it, and finished with a call to action (i.e. Drink Milk because it’s good for you.)

Compare the above with this commercial:

Which one gave you more information? Which one are you likely to remember when you are at the grocery store thinking about what to buy? (Matt Dillon tells us, “don’t forget it,” but I’m pretty sure you already have.)

2. Branding is slower

If you want a quick burn with immediate results (i.e. a sale or event) then informational is the only way to go. Just tell people “Who, What, When, Where and Why.” But as Roy H. Williams, the “Wizard of Ads,” asks, do you really want to train people to wait for a sale, or do you want them to buy from you because they love your brand?

If you are looking to build a “presence” in a product category, or a reputation in a geographical market–if you want people to feel your weight–then informational ads will be watched and forgotten before people even know who you are.

When you think about Nike, do you think about what kind of rubber they use on their soles or how cool their laces are? Does Nike have to convince you that they are quality by listing their manufacturing process? No, you feel something that has been faithfully added to and built upon for decades; they have created trust by the very “weight” of their brand.

3. Branding uses association

Nike associates its products with the biggest names in sports. Milk associates itself with obsessive desire. By the time they get to their slogan, “Got Milk,” the idea of living without it is unthinkable.

Unlike Nike, most businesses can’t afford even one minute of LeBron’s time, but with some skillfully-crafted creativity, they can create other powerful associations that are cheap or free. If you make quality knives, for example, then you can spend your advertising dollars associating your brand with the types of gourmet foods that your clients want to cook. If you make custom dog collars, then associate your brand with the special bonding that happens between dogs and their loving owners.

The most powerful branding moves the viewer to think, “I want to be that person; I want to live that life”

(By way of full disclosure, we were not associated with the above commercials in any way.)

Which sports fan doesn’t fantasize about being at the front of the pack, or the top of the key, making the winning slam dunk and having the fans go wild? Nike ads strongly associate its brand with some of the most powerful images known to sports fans.

The stronger the associations, the more powerful the emotions; the more powerful the emotions, the deeper your ads will impact the soul.

4. Branding lasts longer

Since association and emotion are functions of the subconscious mind, they stay with the viewer for much longer than mere facts and figures (which reside in the intellect).

5. Few things can impact the soul like video

SO here it is…the shameless sales pitch. (Not really.)

While strongly crafted words or a beautiful image can affect the soul, the medium of video is uniquely poised to impact the emotions of the viewer and help them temporarily suspend their filters. This is something I strongly believe.

Take your cues from how the big brands concept their ads, and focus on building brand loyalty through emotional connections, rather than going in for the kill with less effective informational ads. As marketing legend, David Ogilvy said, “Don’t bunt; aim out of the park. Aim for the company of immortals.”

Paul Powers videographer



Paul Powers is a producer at WK Studios and currently resides in Bend OR with his beautiful wife and daughter.





The Definitive Word About Formal Film Training (according to me)

There’s a huge debate among filmmakers as to whether film school is necessary for this instantly available information age. If I have a question about how to key a green screen or animate a 3D bird into a scene the answer is available with a couple of clicks. Besides that, even formal filmmaking courses are now publicly available for free. (Such as this free film school from MIT).

The argument goes that since equipment and software are so accessible and information is free, this renders film school unnecessary and expensive.

As a young man just turned on to film, I was passionate about the art and craft of film and almost immediately began to work in a professional studio as a cameraman and editor.

While I didn’t attend a formal film school, my hunger for more led me to attend every film/ graphic design/ multimedia class offered by my local community college.

Here are my personal observations:

 1.  Is Film Training Necessary? – Are you disciplined?

If you are a highly motivated, disciplined type A driver personality that networks well and gets stuff done then skip film school, buy a camera, watch tutorials, network some friends and go make your film.

There are many famous examples of people who did just that:  Cristopher Nolan, Steven Spielberg, Kevin Smith, Quentin Tarantino, Robert Rodriguez, James Cameron, Akira Kurosawa are only a few of the myriad of amazing/ successful directors that never graced the film school hallways.

This was not me.  I was extremely passionate, but I was undisciplined.

Film classes forced me to read books, study, attend lectures, watch and analyze films.  They gave me filming assignments that I had to complete which were critiqued by friends who were talented and passionate about filming.  It allowed me to attend labs where film professionals (professors and staff) were there to answer my questions and advise me on my work.

Would I have spent that many hours in front of YouTube videos/ Linda/ ripple training/…  Would I have logged into the MIT film school and worked my way through it’s teaching. Probably not. My studies would have been sporadic if I did it at all. I most likely would have woken up later, played more video games, skateboarded and wasted much of my free time away.

I needed the pressure of having an assignment due or a test coming to study as intensely as I did.

2. Is film Training Necessary? – Are you good at networking?

As a young man, I was so horrible at networking that I once produced an entire monthly TV show all by myself (I filmed it, often acted in it, edited it, did sound, and color corrected)… I simply didn’t know how to meet other filmmakers and didn’t have the confidence or strength of vision to ask them to join in my cause.  Sure I learned a lot, but…

Attending film classes put me smack dab in the center of a creative community of passionate filmmakers who spent all their spare time making films. We made films for school and for fun, showed each other what we learned and shared tips and techniques. We spent hours together in labs, on set, and hanging outside of class.

Without film classes, I wouldn’t have made those connections and would have spent my days filming butterflies on flowers or birds in the park (anything that I could do alone without involving others).

3.  Still the best training- Do it

All that being said, I can honestly say that no film classes prepared me to run my own video production company.  Being in business has forced me to be disciplined and to network well.  (OK. at least a little better).

The best training has been making films day and night- having real clients. Working with those clients to meet marketing/ sales/ informational goals and tell good stories about their business or brand. We’ve learned from our mistakes and our successes: practiced on our off time and are now very motivated to learn from every and all available sources.

Would I have gotten to the same point without film classes? Probably. I just think that for me it would have taken a whole lot longer.

Filmmaking TV Show Uncategorized

Working for CBS Sports

The email came in from our website contact form just like a thousand before. ” Hello, I’m from CBS Sports, saw your website… Like to contact you about doing some filming. ”


I wrote him back. We exchanged emails two or three times and it turned out to be a legitimate job. (I have to admit that I was a little skeptical at first). He sent me a three-page special sheet highlighting everything from the format of the show to the method of delivery. I found out the budget, the needed crew and the timeline. He also sent me a long 10? 11 pages? vendor form that asked questions like, “what percentage of your budget does this job represent? ” and “list some of your previous clients”.

One of the things that surprised me is that they required the following:
A producer
A DP /camera operator
A dedicated sound tech
A PA/grip
A director

As I contacted all of these people we put together the following team:

Producer- Neal Burgess
Director/ Camera 2- Paul Powers
DP/ Camera 1- Benjamin Edwards
Sound Tech- Frank Costa
PA/Grip-  JP Schlick

The show was a reality sports show that would highlight a famous award-winning athlete and show their lifestyle. CBS had provided me with a shot list that included such things as luxury cars, iPod lists, time at the gym, etc.

We showed up on-site right at 12 the day of filming. Robert opened the door to the modest home. I was surprised. This was Robert Oberst’s multiple award-winning/record-setting strongman. He lived in a normal house and drove a nice but normal truck. The luxury car shots were out.

As we were doing the interview with this incredibly strong man, I was impressed by his humility, his intelligence and his easy-going good nature. We did some shots of him lifting and headed to the gym to get some more lifting shots. My DP immediately saw a beautiful light shining through the window which would work well for some Highlight and flares. It pays to hire a good DP /camera op as his eye can make let break the production. Unfortunately, I forgot to bring release forms and location releases. (more on that later.)

The last stop of the day was a Mongolian restaurant where Robert and his friend/fellow trainer stocked up on protein. While the rest of the shots had been somewhat set up, we decided to do this segment documentary TV style. DP, Benjamin Edwards put the camera on the ronin and “got the shot. ”

Since it was 4:30 and I had promised the crew an early quitting time I called it a day satisfied that we had done good work for 4.5 hours.

My big mistake on the day was not bringing the release forms. Because of my oversight, it took my producer another 5-6 hours of chasing down all the individuals and business owners without whose signature the show could not be aired.

Overall, CBS Sports was satisfied and it was fun to see what their editors did with the footage.


TV Show

Destination Beer

About a year and a half ago, we were approached by a producer out of Houston TX about the possibility of making a TV show pilot. He said it would feature travel and beer. After talking to Chris and agreeing on terms, we decided to move forward with the project.

Chris flew up from Houston and he, along with Jason Randles from Deschutes Brewery and our crew filmed for three days in the beautiful city of Bend OR.

The edit took us a while.  We hired the super talented Duane Shrode and he, along with Marshall Burgtorf and myself (Paul) edited and color corrected/ and picked up shots/and edited and color corrected until we were done.  In the meantime, Chris was floating the show in front of networks.  They all came back with one piece of advice:  “Add travel.”

So in March 2015, Chris flew back to Bend and we filmed him participating in various Bend OR type sports.

Marshall edited it in and boom! Here you go: WK’s first TV show. We hope there will be many more.


Create Something Entirely New!

If you’re in the video industry, your head is probably exploding as you try to keep up with all the latest technological advances in cameras and post software.

Just keeping up with the changes can be a full-time job in itself; much less learning how to use and implement all the new features. That’s why I think it’s important to step back from the announcements and ask ourselves two essential questions:

1. What do I want to create?

If you want to produce the next reality TV show you probably don’t need to study NUKE or look too deeply into the latest line of cinema cameras. If you have no money, but you want to create the next “Avengers”, then Nukes new non-commercial free version will make your heart dance the cha-cha. If you love post-work and controlling images then Da-Vinci Resolve 12 should definitely be on your list to download. (You get the idea.)

2. What can I do that is new/ exciting/ totally original?

If you spend your time studying the principles more than the techniques, then every new feature opens an incredible opportunity to create something entirely new… Something that has never been done before. There are combinations and uses of software that have never been tried or done before. If you know the “why” before the “how” then you can quickly see how techniques can combine in new and incredible ways.

Local Business TV Commercial Uncategorized

Why Pay More for Professional Video?

We all know you can get cheap video. From the kid on the corner who is “really into” that video stuff, to the TV station that will produce your commercial for free in exchange for selling air time, to the cookie-cutter production house online, cheap video is not that hard to find.

So the question arises, “Why should I pay more for a professional production company?” Here are a couple of our thoughts:

1.  Experience Matters:
I was once a young film student with a video camera and a laptop out selling my video services to anyone willing to pay me.  These days, I hide those projects from everyone, secretly hoping that the Internet has lost that work forever. While it was pretty good for where I was, I sincerely hope my former clients have upgraded their videos.

2. You may need to access/ modify/ find that footage later.
It costs money to back up projects and keep footage safe and organized for future access.  The fly by night production service may not be there next month, let alone next year.

3.  Video is more than moving pixels, it’s a relationship.
Good video is communication.  A well-planned video will communicate with the words, the music, the set dressing, the wardrobe, the graphics, the talents movement, the camera’s movement, and more.

Moving pixels may be enough to look good, but only a relationship with our clients allows us to really understand and communicate your brand.

4.  Your brand is Important.
This is the big one. Everything you release to the public enhances or denigrates your brand.  Video is especially powerful and should be handled with extra care.  You spend a lot of money on your logo, your website, your copywriting and your print.  Do you really want to come across as the bargain place with the cheesy videos?

Yes, professional video is an investment, but like most investments, you get out of it what you put into it… with interest.

Filmmaking Uncategorized

10 Reasons We Love Being Video Producers

Seems like everyone is doing their own top 10 lists. So in the interest of represtin’ the video creatives, here are the top 10 reasons why WK loves to create video.

10.  We’re almost always doing something different

Just take this week for an example. On Monday we were working in premiere editing some incredible footage, Tuesday we were interviewing a gentleman who is on his way to Ghana to help the poor.  On Wednesday we were in a large airline manufacturing plant doing interviews,  Thursday we were doing a video of a guy who makes Aeroponics (designed by NASA), and today we’re working on a mountain bike commercial in After Effects (and writing this blog of course).

9.  Our  job is highly creative

Every part of our job is creative.  From the time we pick up our pen to outline some concepts, all the way through the storyboards, the filming, the editing, the music, all the way until we apply the final grade to the edit.

8.  You can never know it all

Even if you learn all the rules of the three-point edit, the three-point lighting, how different angles affect the viewer, etc. you are just then scratching the surface.  It’s only once you know the rules that you can bend or break them effectively.  The moment you think that you know everything is the moment you cease growing as a filmmaker.

7.   We have to figure out difficult problems under tight deadlines

This may seem like a negative, but if you like the adrenaline of keeping your mind alert and overcoming obstacles this job will present you with plenty of difficult challenges. Seth Godin talks about “dancing with the fear” and in this job you get plenty of dancing music.

6.  We get to travel

We have gone to more cool places with our video camera than we have for any other reason. And since our team loves to film, and we’re getting paid… well…. what could be better than that?

5.  We meet really cool/ amazing  people

We have met, spoken to and spent time with more amazing people because of our job. We have crossed social strata and met artists, inventors, creatives, geniuses, presidents of corporations and more.

4.  We help people find their voice and communicate their message

Obviously, video is powerful. Well done video can take a message and amplify it: getting someone’s message out to places it would not otherwise go.  A good story can take complicated ideas and break them down in an easily understandable or intensely emotional way.

3.  We fulfill our passion to  tell stories

WK Studios crafts visual stories. We are storytellers. Whether it’s a corporate video, a music video, television commercial, or narrative, we see everything as a story to be told. Talk about loving what you do.

2.  When we get an image right and it looks good

We have a team of artists who love to create.  When the image on the screen meets or exceeds the image we originally saw in our head, there is no feeling to compare.

1.  We  get to use our God-given gifts to make the world better

We believe that God has given everyone gifts and talents that He wants us to use to glorify Him and help our fellow man. When we create a video that fulfills those two criteria, we like that.



Diversity of Projects Make the World Go Round…

Here’s some of the projects we have recently completed. A bunch of more amazing projects are in the works.

Josh and Nichole’s beautiful wedding was a joy to film.  What a beautiful couple and venue.

Willapa Hills Farmstead and Artisan Cheese in beautiful Southwest Washington.  This was the first of six Whole Foods Market Local Loan Recipients that we visited in a two-day whirlwind filming adventure.  We had two hours at each location and a lot of traveling in between.

Mt. Townsend Creamery:  Local Loan Recipient

Manini’s Gluten Free:  Local Loan Recipient

Willie Greens Farm:  Local Loan Recipient

Firefly Kitchen:  Local Loan Recipient

CB’s Nuts:  Local Loan Recipient

We are so blessed to get the most amazing couples.  This was a wonderful day spent filming in Sunriver OR.

One of our great joys is doing work for Non-profits that are making a difference in our community and beyond.

The Old Mill District is a hub of culture, shopping and entertainment in Bend. This commercial was a real joy to film, and it was great to work with all the creative people at the Old Mill as well.

This was a last-minute job.  Electronic International’s marketer called me up and said that Eric was going up to test a recently installed aircraft instrument.  I jumped in my car and had this whole thing filmed and edited by the next day.

What could be better than talking brains?  This was a really fun and quirky commercial for the Bend Webcam.

Local Business Uncategorized

Think Deeply…

When WK started, we had very few jobs, but tons of time, energy, and passion.  We wanted to create amazing video and an awesomely successful company.  As such, we spent countless hours strategizing around a giant whiteboard in the spare bedroom of my house.   We had plans to get new clients and increase our equipment.  We had revenue models, market analysis and a 5-year plan that would put MGM to shame.

Two years later we had real clients…. lots of them.  The editing bay was occupied day and night, but the whiteboard sat conspicuously empty.  We used it to write notes to each other or draw pictures.  When we moved into a studio the whiteboard didn’t even get hung up.   We were busy.  Too busy to sit around and strategize.

One day, during a company meeting, we sipped our mate’ and looked at each other.  “What happened to our five-year plan? Are we any closer to reaching it?” That’s when it hit us that we were no longer driving the company.  We were no longer in control.

We had become slaves to the tyranny of the now.

This is one of the chief dangers of being busy: The failure to think deeply; to strategize; to be in charge. If you are not driving your company, who is?  Don’t lose control. Make sure you are going where you want to go.  Take the time to think deeply. This may mean carving a day out of your busy schedule, going on a retreat with your core team or just getting alone in the woods for a couple of hours. Whatever it is… do it.  If you don’t, one day you will look around and realize you’ve arrived someplace you never intended to go.

Filmmaking Uncategorized

Video Production: How to Reach the “Next Level”

The price of entry into the video market keeps getting lower and lower.  From the Red to the 5D to the Black Magic Cinema Camera, the power to create incredible video keeps getting more and more accessible.  Heck, even the latest GoPro can film in 2.5K. Anyone with money (or a credit card) can get a pretty good camera, lens, a tripod, slider, Steadicam, and light kit.  Many creatives know someone who does logos, can whip up a website, and boom… “You’re in business”.

There are literally millions of young, creative, hopeful entrepreneurs with nice cameras and Creative Cloud subscriptions out to make a name and a profit for themselves. The question on all these creative’s minds is “how do I get to the elusive ‘Next Level'”? (and pay off this credit card).

While we at WK are constantly striving to get to the next level ourselves, here are few things we have learned in our journey thus far:

1.  Avoid the “Magic Camera Syndrome”
When we talk to young hopeful videographers, we often get the question, “what camera should I get?”  While this is a legitimate question, it belongs at the end of the conversation, not the beginning.   You can have a first-rate professional 6K camera and stink as a videographer… or… you can have an iPhone and tell an amazing story in a compelling way. Our rule of thumb is, “Keep using your current camera until the camera (not your lack of knowledge) is hindering your ability to tell your story.  Then, and only then, start looking for a new camera.”

2.  Don’t be Lazy/ flaky
I’m convinced that if you work hard and keep your word you will rise above 80% of the competition.  We are often approached by clients who have had a negative experience with their previous video team.  They say things such as, “I don’t trust my video team.  They’re creative, but they’re just flaky.”  Don’t be that guy/gal.  Work hard on projects.  Do the pre-production before you show up.  Have a shot list.  Really think about the client and their needs.  Know the brand.  Study it.  Show up for meetings on time.  Impress your client by your work ethic as well as your creativity.

3.  Learn as much as you can about business…
This can be a difficult concept for creatives to grasp, but there really is no substitute for good business.  Awesomely creative people who run their businesses poorly will end up working for someone who runs their businesses well. We had to learn the hard way how to read a balance sheet, do cash projections and create an accurate bidding spreadsheet.  If I could have done one thing differently, it would have been to get more business training before starting WK Studios.

4.  Practice, Practice, Learn and then Practice Some More
There are tons of training resources available to video people of all skill levels.  From formal training and film schools to and youtube, there is enough online training to help you make a feature-length film. Take advantage of all of it… Then take your camera out into the real world and film. Study your footage. What looks good? What could you do better?  What effect do different angles have on the viewer? Go out again and apply your findings.  Repeat. Every time you film and study your footage you are getting better.

5.  Be a good storyteller
Video Production is about more than just capturing a pretty shot, it’s about communicating. Learn how to tell good stories.

6.  Charge what you’re worth…
I mean this in both ways:  If you’re brand new and don’t know what you’re doing you can’t expect full studio prices.  If you are experienced and have great equipment don’t try to compete with the kid down the street.  Your experience brings value.  Charge for it.

7.  Do get better equipment
There is no doubt about it, nice equipment will make a huge difference in the image. Once you truly understand why you need it; what you will do with it; and if you can afford it, go get it… just post reviews on youtube for the rest of us.

These are probably not the answers you were hoping for, but I’m convinced there is no shortcut. I’m open to your opinions and comments. Let us know what you think.


The Real Power of Video…

I never sell video.

Oh sure, I meet with clients and explain the benefits of having a quality video, but I won’t sell it if I feel they have no need. I never try to talk someone into getting an expensive video just to increase our bottom line.

That being said, I feel that video sells itself. According to SEO experts, video has been proven to increase web rankings with Google overnight. Video increases conversion rates by a significant percentage. Video makes your webpage more “sticky” (causes people to stay on your page longer) and decreases the bounce rate. It can replace reams of copy and makes the process of ingesting your message much easier for your visitor.

While these are all great reasons to buy a video, they are not (in my opinion) the primary value of video.

The primary value of video is that it can infuse emotion into your brand like nothing else.

When you think about your favorite brands, do you think about information or do you experience an emotion?  Companies like Nike and Starbucks spend millions to infuse emotion into their brands.  Apple made a “dent in the universe” when they released their 1984 commercial and forever infused an emotional response to their computers.  Nike commercials consistently capture the “emotion” of running… or basketball… or jumping… or competition…  They don’t just give information about their shoes, they make you think… “I want to be that guy!”  Later, when you pick up the latest copy of “Running” magazine and look at the Nike ad the same emotion comes back.  Why?  Because emotion is much more sticky than information. Information goes in and out of our minds in volumes, but emotion will stay with us long after the initial experience has passed.

A well-conceived, well-created video can stick in people’s souls long after they have finished watching it. If the emotion is powerful enough, it will go a long way toward keeping you top of mind when someone thinks about your product category or service.

Are you utilizing the true power of video?

TV Commercial Uncategorized

The Latest From WK Studios

Kuk chocolate is a chocolate producer from Portland. We had the privilege of producing his Kickstarter video.

Hood River Blueberry- A fun video we did as part of the Whole Food Market, Local Producer Loan Program series.

Brew Dr. Kombucha and Townshend Tea- A fun video we did as part of the Whole Food Market, Local Producer Loan Program series.

Heidi Ho Vegan Cheese- A fun video we did as part of the Whole Food Market, Local Producer Loan Program series.

Ruby Jewel Ice Cream Sandwiches- A fun video we did as part of the Whole Food Market, Local Producer Loan Program series.

Dave Kamperman Photography- a great Central Oregon Photographer we had the privilege of filming.

Always love working on the animation pieces.  Here’s a 30-second TV spot for Bend Webcam.

Filmmaking Uncategorized

Paper (Pixels) are the Cheapest Thing You Have

When most people think about video production, they think about the big sets, the sense of community, the creative energy, and the excitement. While these things are certainly awesome, we have found that this is not where the production succeeds or fails. There is something more, something a little less glamorous that really determines the final quality- and it happens long before you pick up a camera.

What I’m talking about (of course) is paper.  In the craft of filmmaking, we have found that paper (or pixels) is the cheapest thing you have. “Fix it in Post” may be a clever phrase, but it’s a horrible strategy and can turn into a real nightmare. Paper on the other hand, when used correctly, can save you days of time and help you create infinitely better final results. So how do we use paper correctly? Here’s the WK guide.

1.  Script:  Write with intelligence.

Everyone knows you need an interesting concept and solid story, but most beginners write far above their budget and skill level.  As you write think about the following:

A.  How many locations?  company moves take time and money.  If you have 40 locations are you really ever going to get your film finished.
B.  Are these real locations you can practically get to?  If you live in a small OK farm-town should your script really include a NY city street?  Can you realistically fake it and make it look good?

A.  As you write your epic scene about the aliens coming out of the white house covered in green ooze think to yourself, “What building do I know of that could pass for the White House?  Who do I know that could make realistic alien costumes?  Can I make green ooze and how much do those ingredients cost?  Can I afford it?
B.   Think about what you have and write based on that.  Unless your buddy is a 3D animating master, you might want to leave the 1940s world war two tank out of your script.

Skill level.
A.  Yours:  Be realistic about what you can and can’t do.  If you can’t do a rack focus dolly jib up then don’t write it into your script.
B.  Your Actors:  Can your actor pull off the emotion it takes to attend the funeral of his father and make it look good?  If not, then maybe write something different.

2. Shot list:  Don’t pick up a camera until you have one.

Not every shoot requires a storyboard but even the simplest shoots can benefit from a shot list. This can be simple or complex. The idea of the shotlist is to put every single shot on paper in order of location, not the order of the script.  Make sure to mention the location, the actors needed, any special props/ animals/ etc, what type of shot (ie handheld, over the shoulder, high angle, establishing) and then check them off the list as you go.  If you’ve thought through your shot list well enough you should have no need for pick-ups later.

Of course, there is more you can do with paper such as storyboards, script breakdowns, call sheets, lighting diagrams, script supervisor notes, budgets, and more… but these are, in my opinion, the basics and absolutely necessary to keep the production from spinning out of control.

We would love to hear from you?  Please leave a comment below or look us up on Facebook to join the conversation.


More Oregon Video Production

We love it when we’re busy, and we have been. Here’s the latest.

The client wanted a video to show just how easy it is to travel from the neighboring city to save a whole bunch of money on a vehicle. This is what our crew came up with.

Finally, we did a video for ourselves. We are storytellers who use video.

A nice video title sequence can add production value to any show.  Here’s one we created for Visitors Choice.


A Professional “Crisis Moment” on LinkedIn

My LinkedIn home page is constantly updating me about my friends and colleagues:  people that I know well, and some that I don’t.

I am often amazed by the skills that are added to people’s profiles. I find myself saying, “I know that guy.  He may have a Facebook account, but that doesn’t mean he’s a social networker.   He may understand meta tags, but that doesn’t make him an SEO expert. ”


I was recently faced with this when a well-meaning friend endorsed me for “Graphic Design”.  I found myself hesitating over the button, wondering if I really wanted to add this skill to my profile.  Yes, I took 2 or 3 semesters of Graphic Design in college.  I understand the concepts, I know the software, I could point to a ragtag body of work gathered over the years, and yes, I could design a logo or a poster if needed.  However, I still hesitated… Why?

I hesitated because I’m not a graphic designer and I really don’t want to be. There are a few things that I know really well – video is one of them.

In “It’s Not About the Coffee,”  Howard Behar advises leaders to “Wear One Hat”.  He says that we need to very honest about who we are and who we are not.  As the former President of Starbucks Coffee Co. I think the man knows what he’s talking about.  By trying to be a jack of all trades do we ever become the master of any?  If people are hiring you to do a job, don’t you think it would be better to be the absolute best at what you do rather than dissipating your time and energies over many disciplines?

I know some will make the point of diversifying revenue streams etc. but for the WK crew, we are passionate about video production, it’s tools, it’s a trade and it’s a craft. That’s what we do, that’s what we invest in, and that’s where we want to go.  If we need a graphic designer for anything other than a newsletter, we will hire someone… someone who’s passionate about graphic design.

So, did I add “Graphic Design” to my LinkedIn Profile?  I’m not saying.

Brewery Filmmaking Local Business TV Commercial Uncategorized

Gary Gruner’s Sock Puppets, Aircraft Instruments and Deschutes 25th

I’ve said it before, and I will say it again.  One of the great parts of our job is the amazing amount of variety we experience in the day-to-day.  One day we are literally hanging out of airplanes as they narrowly escape hitting a rocky, mountain ridge, and the next day we are filming sock puppets in our studio. Then on Saturday, we get sent out to film Deschutes Brewery’s 25th-anniversary mountain bike ride and party in the park.

Hope you enjoy checking out our videos as much as we enjoyed making them.

Electronics International wanted a video to highlight one of its high-end airplane instruments.   We needed to show the functionality but also wanted to make it a little more exciting.  We worked together with Michael Roberts to shoot takeoffs, landings, in-flight shots and chase scenes.

Gary Gruner wanted something out of the box, and Anne Marie Daggett of The Marketing Department delivered. Collaborating with a creative from Texas, and a bunch of our amazing friends (Duane and Liz, Kecia Kubota, Anne Marie, and more) we filmed these toys against our studio green screen, composited in After Effects and edited in Premiere Pro CC.  The original music came from Freddie Gateley.

Deschutes Brewery is a landmark in Bend Oregon and the Craft Brewing world.  Established in 1988, they have literally grown from a little pub downtown to a nationwide distributor.  All that growth deserves a little celebrating. WK was there to record their anniversary ride and party in the park.

Another part of Deschutes’ 25th-anniversary celebration was a collaboration between Deschutes Brewery and Great Lakes Brewing Co. We were privileged to make this video highlighting this collaboration brew (Imperial Smoked Porter).

Filmmaking Uncategorized

Is RAW video for you (…or me for that matter)?

Greetings all! Duane Shrode here – WK contributor, with what I hope to be a pretty interesting post. There has been a lot of buzz lately surrounding Magic Lantern‘s work, specifically as it relates to RAW video in Canon DSLR’s. If you’re not familiar with Magic Lantern, it’s an independent group that has been able to hack into Canon DSLRs and unlock amazing features found only in higher-end cameras. Features such as peaking, zebras, audio levels and AGC disable, a built-in intervalometer and HDR bracketing, and a myriad of others. But what I really want to talk about is their latest offering – RAW video.

The long-short of it is: After installing the Magic Lantern firmware (hack) into your Canon DSLR, you are able to record RAW image sequences. These sequences are then broken up into DNG files via another program downloaded from Magic Lantern – raw2dng.exe. Then these DNG files are brought into Photoshop, batch color-corrected/graded, and then saved as tiffs. The final step is to image-sequence import the tiffs into Premiere and cut, film dissolve, and ripple edit to your heart’s content.

A couple of questions that have been posed:

Q: What kind of resolution are we talking?

A: The settings on the latest hack let you ratchet all the way up to 3584 or 3.5k… unfortunately – my fastest card is unable to ingest this much information and I have not heard of anyone having success passed 1920. The 5DMKII and 60D are the only cameras I have experienced RAW with, and they max out at just under 200 frames with 60/mb CF and 95/mb SD cards… but that’s only at 1880. I have heard of people using anamorphic lenses to squeeze those last 40 pixels out with a horizontal crop, but I have yet to try anamorphic lenses on my 5DMKII (plus I don’t want to mod my body in order to receive them).

Q: So what’re the “nuts and bolts” advantages?

A: Since the video sequences, in essence, are built from raw (stills) frames, all of that detail and information is maintained through the ingestion process. This pays dividends in both initial fine detail and latitude to push, pull, and tweak in post. In laymen’s terms, where a video file might fall apart – say after trying to spot expose a dark point or push some contrast back into a cloudy sky… the RAW files are able to stretch much further. This allows for more vivid colors, sharper fine detail, and better image crops.

Sound like a lot of work? It’s not… it actually promotes a little more composition discipline. You don’t want to record clips you know you aren’t going to use – not only is the post process a little more “involved,” but the clips take up quite a bit of space on ye ole’ memory card. Why? Because all that information streaming onto your sensor isn’t being  stifled by compression (especially nice for keying):

At any rate, there’s plenty of tutorials on Magic Lantern, setting up your camera to record RAW, and dealing with the files in post. I just wanted to relay my findings and experiences… and offer my support as someone who has first-hand experience with the new function – and would recommend it to others looking to take advantage of all that RAW video has to offer. Questions/comments/concerns welcomed!

Filmmaking Volunteer

Breweries Bars, Beer Food, Flying High, Orphans, and Adventure Travel

One of the coolest parts of our job is the variety that it affords us.

Sure, there are the countless hours in the editing bay when you would trade your right arm for simple human interaction, but then there’s also the times you get to hop on a plane and go to Chicago, or Houston, or Mexico, or Guatemala.  Right now, Marshall is starting his third week in Iraqi-Kurdistan.  He threw his trusty 60D in a bag with a couple of lenses, a pretty rockin’ business plan designed by our friend Noel at No. 5 Creative, a couple of shirts (and pants), and headed out to pitch an adventure travel show to the Kurdistan Regional Government. Along the way, he got to hang out with the locals, drank a lot of tea, went mountain biking, climbed mountains, enjoyed amazing food, and got a letter from the Mayor granting him access to the entire countryside.

Back in the US, Paul’s finishing up a TV pilot about Craft Breweries, Craft Bars and the food that pairs with them. This pilot was filmed at the amazing Deschutes Brewery and Public House in Bend Oregon.  We got to see parts of the brewery that are off-limits to non-employees, film on the floor of the bottling line, visit the top-secret barrel room and meet some really cool people who love their job.

Another project with Electronics International allowed Paul to fulfill a dream he’s had since moving to the Northwest.  He and Duane Shrode jumped in a four-seat Navion and took a short filming flight to the Cascade range.  They buzzed mountains, flew over beautiful lakes and even flew between the peaks of Broken Top. Of course, filming a really great pilot doing takeoff and landings was pretty cool too.

Yes, we love our jobs, we love telling visual stories, love the experiences, and love it when our friends meet their storytelling goals.


Finding Stories

I make friends where ever I go.  I believe part of this comes from my upbringing in Northwest Oklahoma and another part is just how I was made.  Early on in my relationship with my wife she found me in the tire section of our local big box store talking to an older gentleman.  I introduced the two, shook the gentleman’s hand and said my goodbyes. On the way out of the store, I shared the man’s stories of his grandchildren, his health and other details of his life.  Tabitha turned to me and asked, “Where do you know him from?”

I smiled and said, “The tire section… just met him”

I love people and the stories that make up their lives.  I guess that is what helps me make friends where ever I go.  I truly do care for the people I encounter.  I believe that no matter how brief the encounter that we affect one another.

This is is also why I am driven to be a filmmaker.  I have heard so many stories.  How can I keep them to myself?  So here I am in Iraqi-Kurdistan making friends and learning their stories.  And my hope is to share them with you someday.

There was a man I met at the airport. Long ago he fled Saddam’s Iraq, making his way to Greece, much of it on foot.  He fled in such haste that he had left his passport and other documents behind.  It was of no concern.  Whatever he would face as an undocumented immigrant in other countries was better than what he had left behind.  He found a home in the U.K. and after the fall of Saddam returned home.

Years later, standing outside an airport checkpoint he met me.  Another stranger in a strange land. He shared his story and then I shared mine.  He offered me a ride to my hotel and I accepted.  We may never meet again but I will always call him a friend.

I am collecting stories like this every day. My hope for you, my friends is that you will take the time to get to know the strangers around you,  listen to their life and share yours with them.

Tomorrow I go mountain biking in Iraq with new friends I met today.  I will update you soon.



Here’s an update from the road.

Filmmaking Local Business Volunteer

Guatemala Habitat for Humanity and Family Access Network

This is one of the most epic projects we have ever had the privilege of working on: The ten days in Guatemala were made more awesome by the incredible Habitat staff, the first-class team from First Presbyterian Church in Bend, OR and of course, the amazing fun film crew that came with us.  Special thanks to so many people, but especially Jenny Warner, Anne Marie Daggett, Judy and David Osgood, Benjamin Mincho Swenson and Melissa Hassler.

Another great organization we recently made a video for is Family Access Network. They have an incredible mission of helping youth and families living in poverty with youth in local schools to have basic necessities.  Did I mention that we love our jobs?


Murray and Holt Commercial

We recently teamed up with “The Marketing Department” to produce a great commercial for Murray and Holt Motors.

While we initially wrote the script to involve a grandfather and grandson washing a classic car we soon realized that would be impossible.   A very cool owner was going to loan us his  ’67 Camaro for the shoot, the idea of washing this $50,000 car was vetoed.  We were also informed that the only person who would be allowed to drive the car was the Head Sales Rep at Murray and Holt.

This created a few challenges.

The first day’s shooting was in the Murray and Holt lot.  We started in the mechanics bay with a shot of a Murray and Holt technician helping our “Grandpa” with his car.


From there we moved into the showroom where our grandson was going to buy his first car (with grandpas help of course).  So that we would not interrupt the flow of business, we wrapped for the day.


The next morning the Head sales rep drove the car down to the local park, put it by the curb, took the keys and went back to work.  The shooting went well.


How were we going to show that the grandpa was driving the car?  We didn’t have a green screen with us.  So what do we do?  Marshall came up with the idea of holding up a scrim outside the window as he shot from the other side.


Back in post, we put it all together, using the After Effects Rotobrush tool to composite “grandpa driving”.  Marshall even put a virtual camera on the shot to make it look like the car was shaking.


For the other half of that shot we had the “grandson” ride with the sales rep on the way back Murray and Holt and filmed him riding in the car.

We then called in our good friend Cameron Whitaker to do the voiceover.

All in all, it took about 2 and 1/2 days and 8 people to produce a 30-second commercial.

Here’s the result:

Murray and Holt “When it Came Time” :30 second Spot from WK Studios on Vimeo.

Filmmaking Uncategorized Volunteer

Breweries, Bars and Beer Food

Last week, WK Studios worked with Chris Spradley and Jason Randles of Deschutes Brewery to wrap principal production on a 21 minute TV pilot entitled “Breweries, Bars and Beer Food.”  Of course, Steven Heinrichs came along to take beautiful production photos.

The show is going to highlight great craft brews, the breweries that make them, the places that serve them, and the food that pairs well with them. The pilot episode features Deschutes Brewery in Bend, Oregon and takes viewers on an in-depth, behind the scenes tour of the inner workings of this landmark brewery.  Along the way Chris (our host) spends time with the brewers, visits the downtown pub, learns some recipes from Chef Jeff, and of course, drinks some great brews.  He even gets a sit-down interview with the brewery founder, Gary Fish.

The project is currently in post-production and a special introductory trailer will be premiered at American Craft Beer Week in May. If you want to keep informed on the progress and get special extras, you can join their Facebook page or visit their website.

Filmmaking Uncategorized

The Rule (Principle) of Three

Oh sure, everyone knows the “Rule of Thirds”.


Everyone knows that you divide your frame into thirds and make sure that important elements in your frame happen on those lines. It often makes for a more interesting image than one that just lies in the center in your frame. Even consumer cameras often have overlays available for their view-screens dividing the image into “thirds”.

This post is not about the “Rule of Thirds”;  It’s about the “Principle of Three”.

The “principle of three” is something I carry in my mind every time I step out the door with my camera.  It’s an instruction I give to my DP every time I’m a director on set.

It comes in two parts:

In Filming:  Wide/ Medium/ Close Up

This is actually as old as classic Hollywood. When you’re filming, make sure you go for the wide medium and close up (throw in some cutaways and you’ve really got something you can work with). That’s pretty straight forward, but it’s easy to forget when you are on set and the pressures and demands of direction come upon you.

In Editing: A series of three cutaways is (generally) better than two.

When I sit down for the edit, I find that a series of three quick b-roll clips can really tell the story more quickly and more interestingly than just one or two.  This is not always the case, but when we start out with it as a principle, I think it helps.


Note how the three clips together give you a more complete and interesting sequence than just a shot of the van going by.  Give it a try and let me know what you think.

Local Business Uncategorized

“Angry Cat Mob” TV Commercial

We just finished this fun commercial for Sublime Creative Agency and The Marketing Department of Bend Oregon. The goal was to promote ABC Coating Solution’s Ugly Bathroom Contest.

Anne Marie Dagget of The Marketing Department wrote the script. She sent it over to Russell Nute at the local radio station to magically transform it into a jingle. Once we received the jingle director Marshall Burgtorf broke it down into a shot list. We transformed our Studio Bathroom (already an ugly bathroom) into an ugly bathroom that looks like it belongs in a home (thank you, Goodwill).

On the day of shooting, we lit it, and then super PA/ Gaffer/ Grip/… was willing to be a stand (er… sit) in for our talent.

Once we got to Marshall’s house we had 5 kitties. Unfortunately, only 2 decided to cooperate. It became clear that the shot of our “angry cat mob” outside in the front yard was not going to happen. What do we do now? If only one kitty will cooperate then one kitty it is… We changed the headgear of our one kitty multiple times and filmed him over and over again. The other shots went pretty much the way we figured they would. Here’s a little bit of the process we went through in post.

All in all, we think it turned out really well. The client loves it and it effectively communicates their message in a very creative way.


A Surprise Addy Award

We weren’t expecting this one. Visit Bend hired us last year to film and edit one commercial of a two commercial TV campaign. We just found out that they won a Silver Addy for that campaign. It’s matés all around at the studio!

Here’s the commercial that helped win another Silver.


WK Studios Wins

Saturday was an exciting night for WK. We received a silver award at the Oregon Addy Awards in the category “Digital Advertising- Video”. We are going to the Northwest Addy’s.

Here’s the video that won.

Filmmaking Local Business Uncategorized

Northwest Quality Roofing

WK offers a service that we call “Facebook Videos” which are shorter videos at an affordable price. Companies can buy these individually, in a four-pack or in an eight-pack.

Here’s a four-pack that we produced for Northwest Quality Roofing in Bend OR.

Filmmaking Local Business

Cleaners, Marketers and Prayer People

Here’s a few of the most recent projects from the world of WK Studios.

We were approached by Cathy’s Cleaners to create an ad highlighting the fact that they had complimentary pickup and delivery.

A fast turn around project to advertise a marketing firms series of workshops.

A fun video for the Central Oregon House of prayer.  Thanks to all the brave people that came out on a very cold spring day.


Don’t Forget the Story

One of my favorite books about filmmaking is “On Directing Film” by David Mamet.  This book has become a WK manual in the art of directing.

While the book covers many subjects, one of the most important takeaways is the idea of super-objective.  Every film, every marketing video, every commercial has an overarching goal that it wants to accomplish. Since a  film is broken down into scenes, sequences, and shots, the first question to ask yourself when you are writing, filming, or editing is:  Does this shot forward the sequence, does this sequence forward the scene, does this scene forward the super-objective?  I don’t care how great the dialogue is, how creative the camera moves are, how awesome the depth of field, if it doesn’t further the story, cut it.

A shot has to earn its way into the film.  Let’s not allow our stories to be ruined by emotional attachments to shots.  In the art of filmmaking, let’s not forget the story.

Filmmaking Uncategorized

The Curse of the Lazy Brain

If you are a creative professional, you have an enemy:  a horrible monster that seeks to destroy your potential and limit your results. Many are enslaved by this insidious curse, not even realizing that it has control over them.  These poor souls languish under the weight of mediocrity, never quite understanding why their work doesn’t satisfy.  They long to create something original, epic, amazing, but it continually eludes them.  What’s worse, is that the monster lives inside of all of us, defiling even our best days with it’s subtle whisperings.

This monster is none other than Lazy Brain and here’s how it works.

I’m approached by a client to produce a :30 second spot on how widget A will help save time in the chopping of onions. Not the most exciting project. Hmmmm.  How are we going to show this?

  • Lazy Brain:  “Interview the client talking about how much time you can save in chopping onions and film b-roll of the widget actually chopping onions.  Put the two together with cool music.”

Sounds like a good idea.  It will be fast, easy, cheap…. LAZY.  MEDIOCRE.

Those of us who have identified this enemy have found that our first thoughts are usually the lazy ones. That’s why WK has developed a culture of challenging one another to dig deeper; to bypass the lazy brain. The collaboration continues… maybe we could show two people, one is crying and the other is smiling.  We hold on this for a while and then show that the crying person is cutting onions by hand.  The smiling person puts the onions in the widget BOOM, BAM, BANG. FINISHED:  The widget is so fast that the persons eyes have no chance to tear up from the onion’s odor. We wrap up the spot by showing the widget and the tag line, “Widget A:  Chops onions faster.” (Note:  I think my lazy brain wrote that tag line.)

Which one do you think will be more effective?  Both communicate the message.  Both require a similar investment of time and money.  One is lazy brain and the other more creative.

Unfortunately, the lazy brain is not something we overcome once and are free forever.  For the creative, this is a lifelong battle, one which we sometimes win and sometimes lose.

Have you had any battles with the lazy brain?  How did you conquer?  We would love to hear your story.  Leave it in the comments.


Still Having Fun

Here’s a couple of the fun projects we’ve been a part of during the last part of 2012.

This was a great project. We traveled to the beautiful city of Oaxaca Mexico for 3 days filming with Director Mark Ellis of Moonshine Park. After coming back, White Knuckle had a great time editing and doing the special production.

Another great shoot. WK took the little jaunt up to Walla Walla to spend a day and half with director Kate Medley at the VA Piano Vineyard. What a great collaboration between Whole Foods Market and Va Piano.

Another great collaboration with Moonshine Park. We did the camerawork and lighting for this great project.

One of our great pleasures is to spend the day with great people. This awesome couple allowed us to join them on their wedding day. Here are 7 minutes out of the hour-long DVD we produced for Richard and Carrie.

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Ideas are the new Currency

As creative professionals, we’re constantly trying to figure out what the market is doing? What kind of creative work is reaching people?

Sure there’s the obvious stuff like “that’s a cool camera angle”, or “that’s a great use of that effect”,  but what really catches our eye, (and I believe the eyes of clients and viewers) is a well communicated, original idea… in classical terms:  a good concept.

The de-facto video is: A. Show up. B. Get an interview with one or two people C. Get some really pretty B-roll. D. Edit it to music.

It’s easy, it’s quick, and it doesn’t require a script, a storyboard, a shot list… you get the idea. No concept. And let’s face it, there are a ton of people out there who can capture good interviews and b-roll. Some are worse than us, others are better.

So what can set your work apart from the competition? Yes, you could capture prettier b-roll than they do (sometimes)…. or you could consistently come up with original ways to “Show and not tell”.

I’m convinced that there is a sea of amazing videographers and editors out there, but in this new digital landscape, “Ideas are the new currency.”

Do you think this is true?  Head over to our Facebook page to join the conversation.


Gearing Up for Iraq

There’s no way around it:  Baghdad is a dangerous place; a fact that was not lost on my wife.  So when I told my 7-month pregnant wife that I was going to Baghdad for two weeks it was met with a mixture of reactions.

Her:  How long will you be gone?

Me: Two weeks.

Her:  How much are you getting paid for this?

Me:  Nothing

Her:  To tell the story of Kent Couch and his flying a lawn chair?

Me:  Kind of….

Truth is, that’s how it started.  We were invited to Iraq to tell the story of Kent Couch and Fareed Lafta as they launched a double lawn chair equipped platform from the center of Baghdad, powered by nothing more than helium-filled party balloons. Crazy story, right? They were going to break several cluster ballooning world records, flying to an altitude of more than 25,000 feet and staying aloft for more than 24 hours.   This was a great story, we thought, and could easily be sold as an interesting documentary/ TV special. Since the airfare and accommodations were covered, the cost of production would be at a minimum. We felt that we could easily get our initial investment back.

Last November, my business partner Marshall Burgtorf packed his gear and boarded the plane to Baghdad. That’s when things changed. The news media grabbed ahold of this story, and it went worldwide in a couple of weeks. Fareed and Kent saw an opportunity. What if they could bring the attention of the world to help the millions of orphans in Iraq? No question about it. This immediately became the new plan with the launch postponed until March 2012.

Fast forward to…. well… now.  It’s March 2012 and the whole WK team is leaving for Iraq on March 17th.  The launch is scheduled for the 29th and we have the privilege of not only telling the crazy story of two adventurers floating in the skies of Iraq but also being an integral part of bringing the needs of Iraqi orphans to non-government and humanitarian aid organizations around the world.

Yes, Baghdad is still dangerous, but all I can say is that… “I love my job”.

Here is a prologue to the documentary put together from Marshall’s previous trip to the middle east.  You can follow the whole story at


The Story is King

While watching “The Pixar Story” I was struck by this quote from the Co-Director of “Finding Nemo”:

“The challenge on Nemo is the same challenge we had on ‘Toy Story,’ which is making a good movie … we spend the first two and a half years making these films doing nothing but working out the stories.   -Lee Unkrich

Now I know that not every budget can allow for 2.5 years of story development (ours certainly don’t), but but it does make me take a closer look at how much time I spend working on characters and plots.

In narrative especially, “The Story is King.”


Is Your Camera Controlling Your Image?

Believe it or not, I was once a ranch hand.  Besides the usual excitement of feeding the horses, chickens, dogs, and other animals, my days consisted of lots of time alone, walking the acres of the East Texas ranch.

This stoic season left me with lots of great memories.  My favorite memory, however, was not walking by the beautiful pond, or across the emerald green  pastures; my favorite memory was saddling up the horses to get that “darn bull” back into his pen.  During this time, the rancher would put me on a rodeo winning, 3/4 thoroughbred, cutting horse.  I’m serious, this horse knew more about “rustlin’ up that old bull” than I did.

During these exciting rides, my horse would run full gallop across the field, get in front of the charging bull and “cut” back, leaning nearly to the ground. It was all I could do to keep from being thrown for a country mile. I was having a great time, but that rancher was not impressed.

“You’re a rider, not a passenger!” he would yell at me. “You need to control that horse!”

I see the same thing when I look at video sites like youtube or vimeo.  While there are many true artists out there, a lot of videographers seem to point their nice cameras at pretty things and hit record.  Instead of controlling the image, they let the camera define it.  What I say to myself as well as others is: “You are videographer, not a passenger!  You need to control that image!”

Just because my camera has a shallow depth of field, should I really use it for every single shot?  Just because the image looks good with natural light, will I get more depth if I light the background separately? Will my story be told better with fast falloff, or with flat lighting?  What items in the frame move my story/ interview/ promo video forward?  Should I make sure all of them are in focus, or does a little blurriness create a sense of mystery?

As videographers, we have an opportunity to move the story forward.  Don’t settle for pretty… Control your camera and go for art.


Canon FD lens Test on Sony NEX FS-100

This is a simple test to try out our FD lenses on the FS 100. Ignore the sloppy camerawork. What I was really looking to find was the clarity of shot compared to the kit lens. Unfortunately, I didn’t do the shot with the kit lens, but I think most of us know how it looks.

None of the shots are color graded or stabilized (although they could definitely use it) and the editing is not meant to be beautiful. It is just to show the diff. between the lenses.

We use the Kipon Fd-NEX adapter. We also used the Heliopan variable ND filter on each shot and left the aperature wide open.

Special thanks to for the music and my friend, Michael for allowing me to film him and his dog.

My observations:

All in all, I was very impressed with the lenses. None of them are “L series” lenses, but the image looked good to me.   The zoom lens seemed to have the least “tack sharp” of all the images, but that’s to be expected.

I was a bit surprised by the difference between the f1.8 on the 50mm prime and the 2.8 on the 35mm and the 24mm.  There is a significant difference in the depth of field (the 1.8 allowing for more shallow DOF).

I think the 50mm 1.8 is the sharpest image and may become my lens of choice for many situations.  I guess it’s true:  You can’t beat the nifty fifty.

Let me know your thoughts and comments.

Filmmaking Local Business Uncategorized

Opportunities and Challenges of the New Video Landscape


The landscape of video production is changing at an alarming rate. The digital revolution rolls on as standards change from HD to 2, 4, 6, and even 8K.  Sub $5,000 cameras (especially DSLRs) allow the kid down the street to take shots that would have required a full crew less than a decade ago. Video sites are flooded with masterpieces.

So how do we find our places in this new digital landscape?

It’s simple really…  The best storytellers will emerge. Those who push their craft, hone their skills, don’t rest on their laurels and don’t let the camera define their style will begin to stand out.  Good business practices;  good work ethics;  Good customer relations:  These are the timeless principles that will always remain.

A good camera is a beginning… a good shot is a building block… a good story will stand out… good storytelling will excel… and good businesses will remain.


What Camera Do You Use?

This music video was going to rock!

I had a concept…  I had a storyboard… and I had a VX 2000.  This was an expensive camera with lots of controls!

Pulling the camera out of the black pelican case, fresh from the hallowed halls of film 101 I knew I must have arrived. Superstardom awaited. I put my hand on my cell phone and felt for the buzz. My call from Stephen Speilberg was coming at any moment.

My disappointment was pungent. While the dailies were pretty good for a first-year film student, I had seen better things on public TV. I was unimpressed.

That was the first time I dipped my finger in the waters of “There’s more to being a good filmmaker than just having an expensive camera.”  I didn’t know that an ocean lay beyond. 10 years and many cameras later I have learned that lesson well.  I think there is a transition in most filmmaker’s lives where they must turn the corner from “I need to focus on getting a better camera” to “I need to focus on improving my skill.”

Improve your skills and someone will put a better camera in your hand.

If you don’t improve your skills will you even know what to do with a better camera?

My new mantra is this: Improve your skills to the point where your old camera won’t accomplish what you know is possible, watch people who are doing what you want to do, and then ask, “What camera did you use?”