We want to start sharing some case studies to give you a glimpse into our workflow and projects on a more regular basis.  So here's a look into a recent project for the National Association of Realtor's Fair Housing Anniversary.

The Project Start

A lot of our work doesn't come directly from the end client, but rather through an agency who's doing other work for them and the project has a video component.  This one went that way.  We started by doing an estimate for us to go out to 5 cities and do a photo shoot and video shoot in each location.  Then we waited a while.  And a little while more.  That happens a lot where there's an idea but the project doesn't start for a while.

The Project Itself

So after a wait, we got the green light.  But the project had changed.  Instead of us heading out of town to capture everything, we were going to be using a hybrid approach.  The number of cities was cut to 3.  The client engaged a Miami company to do the filming / photos there.  They were also going to pick up video from a different project for the Chicago talent, but we would be doing a photo shoot with them.  And then we'd be traveling to Grand Rapids to film and photograph talent there.  Then we'd handle the editing of all the photos and executing post production on the video.  It's less than ideal for a few reasons.  One... video from 3 sources means three different codecs, three different lighting setups, and three different approaches.  With the photography it has less of an impact because they're stand alone ads.

The Talent

Before we jump into the shoots, I just want to say a quick note about talent.  Like most of our projects, the people we were featuring were not professional talent.  They were real people who'd done amazing things.  It takes a special approach to work with non-professional talent and we've been doing it for a long time.  You have to keep people comfortable in an inherently uncomfortable situation, while getting great content.  While these people weren't pros, you'd never know it.

The Shoots

Once we got a thumbs up, we had a couple days to set up a shoot in Chicago.  All we knew was we'd have a conference room to shoot in.  That can be problematic with big tables and lots of chairs and such.  But when we got there we were pleasantly surprised... they were able to clear EVERYTHING out.  Leaving just a HUGE room.  We were only looking for a simple solid color background as the talent was likely to be clipped out.  Frank got there right on time and was great to work with.  His office had been broken into, his phone lines tied up by people in the community and his house was even fire bombed.  For what?  For selling homes to black people where the predominantly white community didn't want them.  Crazy.


The Miami shoot was the one that the client hired out.  We handled preproduction calls with the company, but in the end we had almost no control over the outcome or approach.  They shot on a DSLR with minimal lighting which wasn't ideal but we were able to edit to get a quality end piece.

The Grand Rapids shoot was one we handled.  We traveled out and did a photo and video shoot with the talent there.  We were in a tinnnny meeting room with a huge table we had to work around.  But we got some good stuff.

The Photos

These came out great IMHO haha.  We captured what the client requested and then got some stuff we thought would be a better fit.  Photo shoots are always a push and pull.  You need to accomplish exactly what the client expects, but sometimes you have a creative idea you want to try and think might work a little better.  In the end, they went with the setups we thought might better tell the story.

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The Video

The edit came out great as well.  It was a mix of stock, and footage from the three shoots.  But we were able to combine it all to tell the story in the best way possible.  The video was posted and sent out to NAR members around the country to get them excited about the anniversary of the Fair Housing initiative.


While this project had some unique challenges, we were able to execute final pieces that blew away client expectations.  Which is always our goal.  We love working with real people because they lived the stories they're sharing and that really comes across.  While the shots needed to be a more serious tone, we have to share our favorite photo from the project...