Have you ever visited an "about us" page on a website just to see about 3 or 4 executives with what amounts to a resume of each person in basically a list form? I've always wondered who the missing employees were. The elusive "behind the scenes" characters. The cogs in the corporate machine....sorry I got carried away.
It's All About Culture
True story. You see, when you showcase all employees, you're showing both your potential clients and your team that we're in this together. Now take that a step further with a little creativity and you add personality to the team. But enough about that. Let's look at how we did this.
We're going to break this up into a two part blog. Here I'll discuss planning and production. In part II Stefen will discuss some of the challenges in making this thing work on the site and how we optimized it for all users.
When we first started to plan this, we did some quick searches for cool, creative team photos. There are a couple of great blogs up that list out some favorites, like this one. Hubspot did one for "about us" pages that was helpful too. Personally we loved what Wistia did (and check out their dance party before you leave the page).
So we knew we wanted to go with something animated. From there our favorite idea was to create living images, like the Harry Potter images that come to life. Now there are a couple ways to do that, one effect we toyed with trying was the cinemagraph. Ultimately we knew we wanted the whole image to come alive.
Honestly, we didn't know what would work going into this, so to prevent us from reshooting this whole thing, we shot these two different ways: in stills and in motion.
As each team member came in, I would shoot a series of pictures to create a gif. I kept the images raw for the highest clarity and resolution possible. These gifs would be our Plan B.
Next we would shoot a short video with the same action. All of this was done using one tool: our Canon 5D Mark III. You may have seen my blog on using magic lantern with the 5D Mark III, which btw I still absolutely love using, but for these videos it was not necessary. We knew this would be a roughly 300px image/video in the end and knew a 1080 compressed video may work. Our biggest question was, how would video stills look as our portraits? Again, this was the reason for the redundancy.
We'll let you come to your own conclusion, but as far as we can tell, using 1080 stills is perfect. The final effect gives a fluid movement from portrait still into motion picture. We are thrilled with the results.
Cool Backdrop, Right?
Oh yeah, we wanted to build something that could be used for all of our backdrop needs (you'll see more of this in future videos from us). We are pretty blessed to have a warehouse located in our building with all kinds of shipping materials. So Luke (one of our marketing managers) and I spent a couple hours building this out and distressing/staining the wood to give it that old, warm, weathered texture.
Probably the coolest thing? It's two pieces. We knew we'd have a hard time getting a 10' x 5' wood backdrop in and out of anywhere, so we built it in two parts that jigsaw together in the center. Keep an eye out for a blog about this build in the future. If I get to it I'll insert a link here.
I was so excited by how amazing these turned out, especially thanks to our team for being so willing to get ridiculous together. But like a good campaign, amazing content means nothing without great execution. That's where Stefen the web unicorn comes in. In part two of this blog Stefen will go over his challenges and what helped to sell this thing.