Q&A: Ben Seymour on Video Production During a Pandemic

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With months of unprecedented events behind us, and months more still to come of weathering the COVID-19 pandemic, marketers everywhere are innovating and finding ways to make it work. One question we’ve seen crop up again and again? “I know I need video, but how am I supposed to produce it in a pandemic?”

The answer to that question is evolving every day. For insight from the very center of that storm, we turned to friend of the agency and frequent video production partner, Ben Seymour, owner and executive producer at Postmodern Company.

 

Talk to us about collaboration in storytelling — what benefits come from blending expertise? 

I believe the absolute core of good communication be it a video, a brochure, a banner ad — hell even a food menu, starts with the old adage “know your audience.” Storytelling starts with knowing your audience; what they want, what they need, where to take them. So, when I get to work and blend with the team at CSG it always starts with a shared interest and keystone in knowing the audience. The CSGers are experts at knowing the personas of the clients and brands they work with and the audiences they’re all trying to reach. We share that core in our storytelling abilities and that makes for an awesome blend of talent and outcome.

 

Let’s talk about video in the current moment. What’s changed and what hasn’t?

Uhhh..where do we start? So much has changed. Prior to March 2020, almost all of the work that we did, our work environments and the basis for our professional being was anchored to in-person activity. So, not being able to be with other human beings has been a huge shift on so many levels, particularly the creative services we are able to offer and how that looks. What hasn’t changed (thankfully) is reliance on collaboration. In fact, I would say that the necessity for creatively collaborating has increased. Execution for every project we work on now starts with a discovery of how we can produce at our standards and who/how we need to pull together to make it all happen.

 

What can brands do to keep up a curated look at a challenging moment for video?

We’re all so hungry for reliability and truth right now. Working with creative agencies in Denver (and elsewhere!) and production partners that understand the brand and what content works best for them and then relying on those production companies to execute on said content is the key. Unless it’s in the brand’s best interest to re-brand right now, the best thing they can do is stay true to the content they’ve delivered well on. To switch out preferred partners or to change for the sake of change seems like a huge misstep today. It’s incumbent on the production partners to offer solutions from a production standpoint when the old way doesn’t apply. But, it feels like it’s the brand’s duty to all shareholders and audiences to deliver on the goods, with truth, now more than ever.

 

What video trends are you seeing emerge? What do you anticipate next?

There’s no question that repurposing existing video content and employing stock footage is the most common trend right now. We’re also seeing a lot of motion graphics and animation work. I think bigger brands and agencies (Nike, Gatorade, AT&T, Hulu, NBA) are doing a good job of building strong, unique production design around very isolated, solo vignettes; one subject well shot as part of a montage of well-shot solos.

I think the next trend is going to be smaller production sizes (2-3 subjects on camera) with more robust animation and motion graphics. We’ve all had enough time now to see how we can produce content at a higher production value than what we saw in the spring and it involves smaller, more artistic production and more collected design.

 

What missed opportunities have you noticed for brands?

I think there are a lot of companies and brands out there that are sitting on engaging, usable, high production value content and they don’t even realize it. I can think of a handful of our own clients that should and could be using footage that can either be repurposed from old deliverables or that wasn’t even used in past projects — that could help elevate those brands now.

 

To see the blended creative services talent of CSG and Postmodern Company in action, check out our series of resident spotlights for Holiday Retirement.