The Making Of: Sun Outdoors


We’re excited to debut our latest production for a new client: an outdoor hospitality brand called Sun Outdoors. As a bonus, we’ve included a behind-the-scenes breakdown of what it took to make a production like this.


Let’s get in the weeds!

THE CHALLENGE

When we first learned about Sun Outdoors’ needs, the scope of work was to make a single video explaining how their new technology will revolutionize their brand and business. 


We took what we learned and made two creative treatments. The “Manager” approach had the talent speaking direct-to-camera in a tongue-and-cheek tone, while the “Customer” approach told the story without spoken dialogue and conveyed the feeling of the brand primarily through visuals. 


When we handed over our two strategies to Sun Outdoors to pick their favorite direction, their response was: “Why not both?”


So that’s what we did. We can't share the Manager video (just yet!), but here's a look at the Customer one:

 

THE STORYBOARDS

“A job well planned is a job half done” - that motto is our north star when it comes to storyboarding a narrative-driven video. Storyboards translate the relatively abstract text-descriptions of the script to a truly visual document; one that helps everyone involved in the project, from the creative director, to the clients, to the on-set production crew, all the way to the editors and animators.

The storyboards are particularly helpful for conveying transitions. Take the following two moments in the “Customer” video, where the woman researching her vacation snaps from being in her home to being on the vacation property. This is a difficult idea to explain with just words, but the storyboards made it crystal clear.

Here’s another example of a transition, which is called a “cut-on-action” - putting two shots together where the end of the first shot’s visual composition matches that of the start of the second shot.


Storyboards are also invaluable for the on-set film crew for shots that involve overlaid graphics. The storyboard can help avoid awkward situations in the editing room, and make it clear where the talent should be framed in the shot and where the graphics will swoop in from during post-production. But storyboards don’t come from thin air. Luckily we could rely on our extremely talented artist, designer, and animator, Ava Bernacki, to bring the Sun Outdoors boards to life!


THE SHOOT

Both of these videos were shot in Austin, Texas. The customer’s beautiful home was actually an Airbnb we rented for the day, while the resort, depicted in the videos as “Lake Travis,” is actually known as “La Hacienda.” 


Flow Video’s all-star producer, Jamie Savalle, had the tall order of wrangling all the actors, crew members, client requests, locations, props, AND made the trek all the way from Detroit to Austin to oversee the shoot. Here’s what Jamie thought of the experience:


"This was an exciting shoot, and some classic movie-making hurdles kept the entire team on their toes. First there was warning of a literal hurricane around our shoot date. Then our 'Dad' character dropped out a day before the shoot, forcing us to scramble to find a new actor. Then of course there were other adjustments made on the spot (or even on the plane to Austin) to make sure that we stayed on track. But what production doesn’t come with bumps and hiccups along the way? That's what makes it exciting!" –Jamie Savalle, Producer


Last but not least is our wonderful on-set director, John Azoni, who skillfully guided the performances that make these videos shine.


It was such a fun time working with Flow Video and Sun Outdoors on this project. It made directing easy working with talented actors who understood the characters, and could put their own spin on each take. I've never worked with anyone that smiles as much as [the resort manager] Texas Tre did on set, which put everyone in a good mood. Props to producer Jamie Savalle for coordinating a TON of moving parts and putting together a great crew. –John Azoni, Director


We’re always thrilled when a client is willing to get extra creative with their message; to craft a narrative that’s not only informative, but evocative; one that’s at times humorous but also bold; to depict visually stunning locations while also presenting beautifully designed graphics. We’re thrilled Sun Outdoors took this journey with us, and we hope this won’t be the last time we can bring their story to life.

-About the author-

Devin Polaski

Devin has directed videos, animations, audio stories, and games for some of the world’s largest brands. His role is to help shape beautiful stories that solve big challenges. When he’s AFK he’s probably watering his plants or playing Tetris.