Corporate Video in San Francisco

Jun '17 | A May Full of Corporate Video in San Francisco

As we head into the height of summer (or should I say heat of summer) and corporate video in San Francisco has reached a bit of a lull as everyone heads to their vacations, I finally have some down time to take a breath and reflect on our crazy, production-filled month of May.

With 5 big productions, including 2 AI conferences and a trip to Houston, we had an action packed month – finishing a shoot one day and jumping on a plane the next! I had a blast and am glad to take this time to think back on my many new experiences. What good is life if you don’t learn anything right? Here was our month in a nutshell:

RocketSpace Speaker Series

This is a series we film every month for RocketSpace, but, of course, in line with our crazy month of May we changed up the shooting this time. Due to our entire normal crew being out of town, we had to find substitutes to fill in for all the positions. That’s right folks, all of them. Despite the weird scheduling mishap, however, we were able to find our substitutes and it went off without a hitch.

We love filming these series’ because, as an accelerator program, RocketSpace brings amazing tech innovators together, and we learn much that we can apply to corporate video in San Francisco. I can confidently say I now know more about startup funding, reporting, culture, acquisition, and fundraising than I thought I ever would.

Lessons Learned:

1. Don’t let habit make you lazy – you never know when every single person on your regular crew will be gone for the same day.

2. Soak up all the information you can on tech in Silicon Valley because it is always applicable to corporate video in San Francisco.

3. If you want to film your Facebook Live videos horizontally, you need to set it that way first – you can’t just turn your phone (maybe there was one hitch…).

Workspot Tutorials

Our next production was a new round of Workspot tutorials. Though we had shot these videos for Workspot before, we had been using conference rooms in noisy hotels and relying on our talent to ad-lib their entire tutorial. Needless to say, it was time to hire a teleprompter and find a new location.

After touring a number of studios in the South Bay, including one unexpectedly owned by my extended family (seriously – how are these coincidences even possible??), we found Pacific Light Studios in Sunnyvale.

Shooting there not only made my life easier (try telling an entire hotel restaurant to be quiet for filming), but was a great environment for our crew and the private filming space put our talent at ease (as did the script on the incredibly useful teleprompter).

Lessons Learned:

1. Location (and less noise) matters.

2. The world is small enough that you run into family in the most unexpected of places.

3. Scripting for a teleprompter is a great way to get through tutorials more quickly and with better performances.

BootstrapLabs Applied AI Conference 2017

The first of our two AI conferences in May was at Bespoke, the event space in downtown SF’s Westfield Mall. Our purpose that day was twofold – get great Steadicam footage of speakers and attendees and film “man on the street” interviews to get people’s takeaways from the event.

Corporate video in San Francisco is often centered around new technology frontiers, but Artificial Intelligence is one of those fascinating sci-fi inventions that people don’t realize is already happening.

That’s right people, we’re currently living in the future! While AI and machine learning won’t be the cause of a terrifying dystopian future, it is changing a huge number of industries in the US and around the world. Crazy.

Shooting this conference definitely gave us some ideas to mull over and it was fascinating not only learning about progress in AI tech, but the ethical and legal complications that accompany a technological innovation that could potentially one day think for itself.

Lessons Learned:

1. AI and Machine Learning are great fields to invest in now.

2. Make sure you get the right conference hashtag for your social media posts.

3. Get as many “man on the street” interviews as possible because people will give you golden nuggets to use in your videos if you let them.

CrowdFlower Train AI 2017 Conference

Our second AI conference was put on by CrowdFlower at the Village SF and they changed their conference name this year from “Rich Data Summit” to “Train AI.” Having filmed their Rich Data Summit two years ago, we were able to repurpose some of that footage to make them a trailer for this year’s Train AI.

I mention this because corporate video in San Francisco is changing as much as the companies themselves (so…a lot) and getting evergreen footage at every event you film something you will thank yourself for later. Not everything has to be branded!

Train AI was an action packed day and I was in charge of helping our crew stay on schedule. Needless to say, there was lots of running up and down stairs over 3 floors of the conference hall (great workout for those glutes) and coordinating between our Steadicam team, our keynote camera op and live switcher, and our man on the street/interview team.

Lessons Learned:

1. As a PA on set, bring a backpack with water and snacks – your crew will thank you for it.

2. Make sure you get those unbranded evergreen shots that can last for future videos.

3. Detailed scheduling and team coordination is key for any packed shooting day like this one was.


Workspot’s Houston Eye Associates Customer Testimonial

We flew to Houston about nine hours after we wrapped up CrowdFlower to shoot Workspot’s customer testimonial with Houston Eye Associates. Not only was this my first time traveling with Patina Pictures, it was my first time to Texas and I have to say the stereotype holds up that everything there is bigger (you should have seen the size of the car we rented).

We shot the testimonial with doctors, IT staff, and an actress over the course of two days and my main job was to make sure everything operational ran smoothly and once that was done, get out of the way of filming!

Shooting went quite smoothly because we spent a significant amount of time in conversation with our talent before arriving in Houston so everyone was extremely clear on the script and what their role in the video was. Having written out ahead of time what they each wanted to say, our interviewees were great in front of the camera.

And it was so fun to be in Texas for the first time! While corporate video in San Francisco provides many opportunities, you can’t find a fish restaurant where a dish isn’t complete without two kinds of fish, a variety of seafood and crustaceans, and a sauce that was basically an entire stick of butter. So delicious. Thanks Texas.

Lessons Learned:

1. Spending the necessary time on scripting will save you time and stress on set.

2. Anticipating the needs of your producer, director, and talent is an important skill to cultivate as a PA.

3. You definitely need a different Texas drink limit (yes, even the drinks are bigger there too).

So that was our crazy month of May. Phew. It’s nice to have the summer now to take a step back to our normal production schedule before the craziness of Fall conferences start. Until next time!

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Sophie Gunther

Sophie Gunther is a native San Franciscan and long-time lover of the performing and media arts. After realizing the extent to which this interest permeated her education, taking film and theater courses in school whenever she could, she pursued a film career after graduating from UCLA with a B.A. in World Arts and Cultures. She has worked at various film festivals throughout the Bay Area and continues to work on film sets to expand her experience and knowledge of the craft.

Sophie is thrilled to be working with Patina Pictures as she shapes her career and learns to practice this art she loves.

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