Easter Video for Reality Santa Barbara

Venture Visuals had the honor of producing a powerful Easter Video for Reality Santa Barbara. The short video was commissioned by the Reality Church leadership team to help set the stage for their Easter Service at the Santa Barbara City College stadium. The Video was premiered to an audience of over 7,000 people. The short film explores the word “resurrect”.

Our approach to the video began with a simple kernel of insight: The word “resurrect” carries a religious connotation that could deter viewers from watching. Under these conditions, we thought an analogy may capture the word’s essence without becoming too “churchy”. The resulting story follows a stack of dilapidated boards as they are restored into an object of beautiful utility. Although there are a few people in the film, the wooden boards function as the leading role. With an intentionally simple story, the philosophical message is left to be explored by its audience.

Watch the Easter Video for Reality Santa Barbara Here

3 Customer Service Principles that will Revolutionize your Business

Customer Service is a part of every business. But since we live in a high-tech world, we often spend the vast majority of our day glued to our computers, iPads, and phones. In many cases, a Facebook message has replaced our half-hour lunch meetings. Split-second tweets have replaced those short, but sweet, conversations over coffee you used to a make habit of. In reality, we must embrace these technologies. However, we’d be fools to ignore the relational impact of spending more time in front of screens, and less time in front of faces. In this technological age, we must embed high-tech AND high-touch customer service principles throughout our business culture.

High Tech AND High Touch

Those of us who are business owners, or business managers, are required to drive sales. My challenge to you is this: Is your end-game to put more change in your pocket, or is it to make positive change in your client relationships? As merchants, we have the exciting opportunity to be a part of many people’s lives through our customer service. Everybody has a story marked by joy, hardship, success, and failure; many of which in each day. We must be open to becoming part of that story and engage in real relationships with these individuals. This meaningful approach to customer service will be just as rewarding as the financial reward that comes from your labor.

Make Second Mile Second Nature

At Venture Visuals, we consistently return to the question: How can we go beyond what is expected of us to deliver a remarkable customer service experience for each client? In other words, how can we make second mile second nature? In ancient Rome, Roman soldiers patrolling the countryside would often recruit local citizens to carry their equipment for one mile. Legally, a citizen would be obligated to struggle with the burdensome weight of the military equipment. However, it were those few citizens that went beyond the mile-marker that made a profound impact on the life of a soldier. You see, it is in the second mile that true relationships are fostered. What would your business look like if you made second mile second nature?

Endearing Customers Make Enduring Businesses

Look for opportunities to add free value to your customer service. Every extra thing we do for our customers without raising our prices is pure value. In a culture that thirsts to be served, value is a scarcity. When we willingly break down this cultural norm, and begin to serve our clients, we will cultivate faithful, thankful, and endearing customers. Remember, endearing customers make enduring businesses.

Deliver Remarkable Experiences

All too often I catch myself looking at my competitors for inspiration in the field of customer service. How many clauses should be in my contract? Who pays for food on a multi-day production? How many images do my competitors deliver for each day of shooting? Let me be clear; These questions are loaded, and they are self-serving. We must retool our minds to ask questions like: How many extra images can I deliver from that production? Can I surprise my client by picking up the dinner tab? When we go into that second mile with regards to our customer service we will begin to deliver remarkable experiences… the very type of experiences that people talk, tweet, and Facebook about.

In closing, as a culture that is never apart from our digital devices, we must be intentional about making high-touch a priority in our customer service. As diligently as you monitor your Twitter account, likewise, foster your relationships in an authentic and meaningful way. One great principle to apply in this pursuit is to make second mile second nature. As your customers begin to see and appreciate your devotion, they will respond with faithfulness and brand loyalty. Finally, remember to break the mold in your industry and look for new and creative opportunities to serve your customers in a remarkable fashion. Together, these principles will make your business more meaningful in the market, and more rewarding in your personal life.

Snowboard Photography at Squaw Valley

Snowboard Photography at Squaw Valley

We here at Venture Visuals love snowboard photography! I just returned from a week up in Lake Tahoe, CA where I produced a snowboard photography shoot for the world-leading ski resort Squaw Valley USA. Squaw Valley had requested a collection of snowboarding and lifestyle photographs that would position their snowboard resort as being “friends and family sensitive” while still offering the steepest snowboard terrain in the Lake Tahoe area. We were fortunate enough to work with the extremely talented photographer Chad Riley on the project. Special thanks goes to our friends Chad Hughes and Peter Tankersley for offering their snowboarding skills as well!

Snowboard Photography can be Difficult!

Snowboard photography proves to be more difficult due to the challenge of moving cameras, tripods, camera lighting, jib arms and other photo gear in the snow. For this production, we chose to leave most of our photo gear in the lodge, and work with handheld rigs. This approach allowed our photographer to be more nimble and mobile.

Launching Tripods For Joby

We love working with innovative startup companies. Joby is no exception. The company, predominantly known for their flexible-legged tripod, has taken the prosumer photography market by storm in the last year. By totally rethinking the way a tripod is engineered, the company has given outdoor enthusiasts an upgraded alternative for shooting film and photography on the go.

A Tripod For Action Sports

Joby approached us with a unique and exciting challenge: develop a robust collection of images to help propel their rebel tripod into the highly competitive photography market. As it turns out, the flexible-legged tripod provides particularly significant value in the action-sports category due to its ability to get hard-to-reach and too-dangerous-to-reach vantage points. Therefore, much of the imagery must exemplify youthful authenticity for the action sports demographic while still maintaining an approachable face for the professional market. Working with Joby’s marketing director, we identified three primary objectives for the imagery:

  1. Educate the viewer on the tripod’s reliability and utility in dangerous and hard-to-reach locations
  2. Reveal the high-quality photography the product helps to capture
  3. Position the product as a best-in-class solution for the action-sports industries

Images Often Teach Better Than Words

As action sports fanatics ourselves, our team was especially enthusiastic about taking this product to its limits in front of the lens. We chose to bring the Garillapod into a variety of arenas including skateboarding, moto-cross, mountain biking, travel, and lifestyle to depict its unique application in each setting. While extreme sports are incredibly fun to shoot, they can present a certain degree of danger to capture the right shots. By configuring the Garillapod around precarious items (posts, limbs, trains, and even a Vespa) and shooting with remotes, we were able to get into some fascinating locations!

The family of images feature an array of cameras ranging from small consumer digital units, to the much larger professional XD-Cam EX. With the viewfinder visible in many of the shots, the audience is able to see the image being captured as well as the location of the tripod in its rugged environment. The resulting images successfully educated the audience how to use the tripod, how it is unique from it’s competition, and exemplifies the high quality photos and video made possible by the product. Go ahead and preview a few of the images below and be sure to check out the all-new Joby.com!

Shooting Product Photography Before the Product is Built

Although our team contains a diverse set of talents and personalities, we do share a common passion for new technology. Tech-geeks, gear-heads, nerds…call us what you like, we love getting our hands on the latest and greatest toys! Thus, we were ecstatic when Jetboil approached us to shoot the product and lifestyle photography for their new Helios Cooking System. In a nutshell, Jetboil pioneers new and innovative ways to make outdoor cooking smarter and easier. Being far more reliable and efficient than most stoves in its class, the Helios stands out as a leader among its peers.

The Preproduction Paradox

If you have ever worked in industrial design, you know that there is rarely much time between beta testing for a new product, and its full-blown mass-production. The same was true for Jetboil during the launch of the Helios Cooking System. Therefore, when it came time to actually photograph the product, we were given preproduction test models that held significant aesthetic variance from its not-yet-released counterpart. Since our task was to capture photography for the company’s packaging, catalogs, websites, and advertising, we needed a viable solution to digitally replicate a final product that did not yet exist.

Digital Solution

The preproduction model of the Helios, although fully functional as a cooking system, had three major structural differences from the final version. These differences included plastics that were the wrong color and texture, neoprene sleeves with improper stitching and fit, and metal components not yet anodized or coated. This required that we modify almost every exterior feature of the Helios for each photo. Thankfully we live in the age of Photoshop, which gives us the freedom to edit virtually anything in an image! Our process began by analyzing samples of plastic and metal that resembled the planned components. We then went into each image by hand to outline the particular elements of the stove that would require modification without compromising the aesthetic integrity of the surrounding components.

Plastics

With only the plastic elements selected, we blurred out the existing texture. Then, using a custom-made brush, we painted on a new exterior coat. With a few additional textures and colors, we effectively fabricated the appearance of the actual plastic.

Neoprene Sleeve

Not only was the neoprene sleeve too short, it’s stitching was a mess and lacked Jetboil’s logo. First, we cloned the sleeve and extended its length to match the circumference of the stove. Next, we meticulously corrected frayed and misdirected stitches. Finally, we overlaid a new logo to match the curvature of the products sidewall.

Metal Components

The metal components on the stove presented the biggest challenge. The original parts were made of a grey porous matte metal that is often used as a lower cost alternative for testing. The final pieces, however, would have a shiny red anodized coating. Reflective, three-dimensional shapes are among the most difficult objects to replicate digitally. Thus, it was with great care and attention that we painted a digital alternative that correctly managed the direction and effects of the surface against a light source. Hotspots, reflections, shadows, and textured imperfections were each added to the stove.

Pixel Perfect, and On Schedule

The resulting images look remarkably similar to the final production model of the Helios. The photographs were completed on a tight schedule enabling the collateral to be printed in conjunction with the stove’s release from the assembly line. Such a timeline could never have been met had we waited for the final product. Jetboil tells us that the authenticity of the images has never been questioned, and that the company continues to use the composite images to this day.