Mason Stoops plays Dynamic Distortion

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We wanted to focus attention on the playing and the sound for this Vertex Effects video. The lighting is directional and minimal. We moved the camera sparingly. The titles communicate when the pedal is on/off and where Mason set the guitar volume at any given time. We filmed at a recording studio in Burbank, CA.

How to Teach Your Dog to Sit

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I made this video about “how to teach your dog to sit” in 2013. It was part of a series of videos for the Pasadena Humane Society.

Something you might not know: The Pasadena Humane Society completed an expansion shortly after we completed this video. They now have a larger training facility where they host dog training classes and an underground parking garage. They also have a larger pet supply store and the proceeds all help fund the shelter!

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club and Harman

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I’ve been a fan of Black Rebel Motorcycle Club for a long time. Their first album was on heavy rotation when I was in college back in Tennessee. So getting to work with them on a video project felt like coming full circle.

For this project, we wanted to make a fun music video that highlighted the band rehearsing with JBL speakers, Martin lights and AKG microphones.

Something you might not know: We put this video project on hold for nearly a year. BRMC’s drummer, Leah Shapiro, was undergoing surgery in 2015 for Chiari Malformations. These are structural defects in the brain that altered her sense of balance and coordination, making it very difficult to play drums. It was great to see her fully recovered and holding her own with the rest of the band.

Special thanks to Brandon from Martin for the stage lighting!

Mowing Lawns for a Guitar

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The cherry sunburst Gibson Les Paul sitting in the local music store was everything I had ever wanted, but I couldn’t afford it. It was the summer before high school and I was playing in my first band. All I could think about was playing our songs on a genuine Les Paul electric guitar, instead of the knock off Les Paul copy I was currently playing.

My stepfather, Roger, was about three years into starting a lawn fertilization business. Our family finances were ok, but I don’t think there was much extra to go around. There certainly wasn’t enough for a $1600 electric guitar.

Luckily, Roger started an add-on lawn mowing business. He hired me to work alongside one of his employees three days a week for the summer. I was only 14 years old, so the opportunities to work for pay were limited.

If I worked all summer long and saved every penny, then I would just barely have enough to buy the guitar before school started. So I set to work, mowing in the humid heat of the Southern summer. I wanted to fake an illness plenty of days. I questioned why I had given up so much of my summer, but every time I recommitted to buying that guitar in a few months.

Finally the time came. I had worked all summer and saved up $1300. I didn’t know if that would be enough, but Roger thought we should give it a try. So we jumped in the car and drove down to the local music store.

I pointed the sales guy to the glistening cherry sunburst electric and asked if I could play it for a minute. It was everything I had dreamed it would be. It felt sturdy. The pickups shined. The frets were perfectly rounded.

After playing for a few minutes, I made my offer. The sales guy gave a dismayed look down at the guitar. After a moment, he said that there was no way that they could sell the guitar to me for $1300 instead of the asking price of $1600.

I was devastated.

I went home in defeat. I couldn’t believe that my whole summer had been a waste. I couldn’t believe that Roger wouldn’t kick in a little extra to help me get the guitar.

After several days, Roger asked if I wanted to go back to the music store and give it one more try. Yes! Absolutely!

I walked back in and stopped the same sales guy. I explained that I had been working all summer long for that one guitar. I had $1300 and that was everything I had earned. He went to talk to his manager and I stood there with my heart jumping out of my chest. Finally, he came back with a smile on his face.

The guitar was mine!

I still have that guitar sitting beside my desk. Every time I look at it, I think about that summer and all the hard work it took to get it.

Mobile Video On the Rise

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Mobile video viewing statistics clearly show that people love watching videos on their phones and tablets. Views on mobile have increased 2084% in five years. Are you creating videos that connect with people, even when they watch on their smartphone?

“46% of all video plays in Q4 2015 were on mobile, ⬆︎35% in past year, ⬆︎170% since 2013”
posted on Facebook

Strymon BigSky Video

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This Strymon BigSky video is already almost three years old. The BigSky product page features the video and people still seem to love it. 320,000 views so far!

We wanted to explore the main features of the pedal in a creative and musical way. So we decided on a music video concept that linked elements of the song to different parts of the pedal. It’s a concept that we’ve evolved over time, most recently with the DIG and Flint videos.

Something you might not know: Whenever you see the settings change on the pedal, it corresponds with a part you hear or are about to hear in the song.

Special thanks to State Shirt for the music!

Extend Your Video’s Shelf Life

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Omni on White
Thinking about each video as part of an ecosystem will help you stretch the life-cycle of any project. Rather than make just one video, edit the video into different segments for different sites and posts. Make each video easy to watch, share and discover.

Native Video

When people discover your video, you want them to watch it as easily as possible right where they discover it. This means you need to make the video “native” to whatever site or service they’re using. Upload the video directly to Facebook in its preferred format rather than link to a YouTube video. The same is true for Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram or any other service supporting video uploads. Linking away to your video often forces people to make a choice. Should they leave the site they’re on or simply skip to the next thing in their feed?

As a bonus, sites often give higher priority to videos uploaded directly. Here’s some guidelines for each site:
YouTube  Vimeo  Facebook  Amazon  Twitter  Instagram  Snapchat

Multiple Edits

Different sites cater to different audiences, so customize your edits to each site. For YouTube, you might post the “master” edit of the video. This is the longer version with the full story. For Facebook, you might post the same or break the video into shorter segments to stretch it out in specific posts. For Twitter or Instagram, you might cut 30 second teasers encouraging people to watch the full video. Multiple edits also give you a chance to look at the stuff you shot in different ways and re-purpose it. The additional editing cost is minimal compared to the cost of shooting new material.

Reposting

For any feed-based site like Facebook or Twitter, it’s important to remember the amount of information people are inundated with every day. It’s very likely they won’t see your video the first time around, so think about reposting it after some time has passed. Present it in a new light or add a different message when you re-post. This keeps the video from feeling stale for people that saw the previous post.