“(Out of) Office Hours” Part 8: The Making of the Wistia Creative Alliance
May 6, 2020
On the eighth episode of (Out of) Office Hours, Chris invites two folks onto the show who helped make the Wistia Creative Alliance a reality. If you haven’t heard about this initiative yet, the Wistia Creative Alliance is a collaboration between the Wistia team and freelance creatives that aims to bring more moments of delight to our shared community.
Our Development Producer, Sydney Rutman joins us to talk through how our team brought this idea to fruition, and we get one of the featured creatives, Christopher Ryan Grant, on the line. Hear how his “just make it” mindset helped him create an impressive video using anything and everything he had in-house, despite having zero video editing experience. Here’s a recap of what went down and some helpful links for you to dig deeper!
Zoom hot tips
To kick things off, Chris introduced a brand new segment called “Zoom Hot Tips.” Chris’s hot tip this time around was about how to record isolated audio tracks from each person on a Zoom call. If you’re using Zoom to record a podcast or you have someone in a meeting that refuses to mute their mic, this tool will definitely come in handy.
The making of the Wistia Creative Alliance
When Wistia Studios’ entire slate of production evaporated and everything came to a halt, our Development Producer, Sydney, ran with the WCA project to see it through. Chris and Sydney talk about what went into making this idea a reality.
Where did this idea come from?
Sydney explained how our team had to figure out a different way to create content for our audience where we weren’t out in the field shooting b-roll or interviews. We thought to repurpose our budget and work with a bunch of different creators who would make their own videos that we’d curate on three different Channels for Wistia. Sydney did an incredible job sourcing the talent, and that’s how the WCA was born.
Watch the Wistia Creative Alliance trailer below:
Behind-the-scenes of the production process
Next, Chris and Sydney delved into how they managed to create the WCA trailer seen above. Sydney said we were managing about 30 different creatives. To keep the process streamlined and easier for post-production, she emailed all of the creatives a light script for them to follow as well as an example from Chris. By doing so, the talent knew exactly what we needed from them in terms of what they should say and how they should say it, which made cutting up lines in post-production a breeze.
In Sydney’s email, she also included a link to a project in Wistia for people to upload the videos they made. Chris pulled those videos out and edited the trailer together, and voila! A crowdsourced trailer was created.
Crowdsourced videos are one of Chris’s personal favorites because they write themselves and enhance the diversity of shots. He described how there’s a puzzle to solve in the edit, but if you ask everyone the same questions, you create a solid framework for yourself that helps make the video come together very quickly.
An interview with the creator of “Bathtub Time Machine”
Our second guest was Christopher Ryan Grant, the mastermind behind “Bathtub Time Machine,” which was submitted to our For the Kids Channel for the Wistia Creative Alliance. Both professional actors and performers outside of quarantine, Christopher filmed “Bathtub Time Machine” with his wife. What was the genesis of this out-of-the-box idea? Well, Christopher explained how they decided to build the story based on what they had in their apartment. He just so happened to have an incredibly robust hat collection, which is the product of his wife’s brilliant gift-giving.
From his grandfather’s WWII helmet and furry caps to jester hats and propeller beanies, they knew they had to utilize these hats. And the best way to use the hats was with the idea of time-traveling to visit different characters, which is how “Bathtub Time Machine” came to be.
The scrappy production process
As for the production process, Christopher and his wife are accustomed to being the people in front of the camera, not behind it. To shoot this video, Christopher said he shot everything on an iPhone X with an $80 ring light he originally purchased a couple of years back for actor self-takes.
“Bathtub Time Machine” was not color-corrected, but even with minimal lighting, Chris applauded how Christopher and his wife pulled off impressive green screen stuff. Christopher and his wife had a bedroom wall they painted green, which did the trick, and he watched a YouTube video or two to figure out how to make it work. To source special effects, he paid 99 cents for an iPhone app.
To edit this entire 14-minute production, you might be surprised to find out Christopher used only iOS iMovie on an 11-inch iPad Pro. With no video-editing experience, we were super impressed with the result of his labor of love.
Takeaways from this creative experience
Christopher said shooting the video was an absolute blast because that’s what he and his wife do every day. However, he experienced a trough during the video-editing process. The only video-editing experience Christopher had was helping actors make their reels, which consists of piecing together television and movie appearances to build a highlight video. For him, editing was fun at the beginning, not fun at all in the middle, then fun again at the end when he finally figured things out. But with that being said, experiencing a trough is the same for many different creative endeavors.
For folks out there who are constrained creatively, Christopher’s advice is to adopt a “just make it” mindset. Don’t let the fear of not knowing what you’re doing keep you from starting. He had no idea what he was doing, but they decided to run with their idea and figure everything out along the way. We think the result is something pretty inspiring for shooting DIY.
“Don’t let the fear of not knowing what you’re doing keep you from starting.”
In this installment of (Out of) Office Hours, folks out there also had a few questions for Chris. Scrub to these timestamps to hear his responses:
33:38 — Purchasing some of Chris’s recommended products have been a struggle. Any advice on what to do?
36:37 — What are your thoughts on using a ring light?
38:44 — How has COVID-19 affected your workflow and the content you oversee at Wistia? Have you begun to teach people outside the video team how to produce content on their own?
40:00 — What has been the hardest part adjusting to working remotely? Personally and for your team?
How can we help?
That about wraps up this episode recap! Enjoying the topics we’re covering? We want to know how we can be genuinely helpful moving forward. Let us know what challenges you’re struggling with when it comes to video lately by hitting up Chris on Twitter @crlvideo or emailing him at email@example.com. You can also reach out to Wistia directly on Twitter @wistia. We hope to hear from you soon! See you next time.