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


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.


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.



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.

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.


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.

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.

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.

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?

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.

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.

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.

Filmmaking Local Business Uncategorized

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.


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.”

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.