By Andrea Keating
Founder and CEO
Based in Austin, TX, Sparksight is a design firm that is focused on delivering results that inspire audiences and have a measurable impact for its clients. Its three areas of business include video production, event production and support, and lead generation through its proprietary product, Leading Reach Software.
Sparksight was founded in 2007 by T. Kelly Shores (pictured above), and Christopher Justice, both of whom have extensive experience developing web technology, content management, video production, and event marketing. With its 16 employees, the firm’s varied list of clients includes Oracle, Convio, Northrop Grumman, and TEDx events.
At Crews Control, we are big fans of these two creative men and their company, and even before they formed Sparksight, we had the privilege of working with them for more than a decade.
Below you’ll find my Q&A with Kelly, who tells us more about his business, his insights into trends in the video industry—and the fabulous video his firm produced, 10 Tips for Shooting Video Abroad, which gives a big shout-out to Crews Control (see Tip #4).
Andrea Keating: What type of equipment do you have in-house? And what trends do you see for the future in terms of equipment?
T. Kelly Shores: Our four in-house videographes use two Panasonic HPX170 cameras, and a couple of Cannon 7D cameras, as well as a GoPro camera, which is great when we are taping sporting events. We really like these cameras because they allow us to use SDI-out cards. When we travel to do shoots, and especially when we work with Crews Control teams around the world, it’s very convenient to give them our P2 Card to shoot the footage. When we’re finished I can easily slip it into my bag to take home and do the edits using Adobe Suite and Final Cut Pro. This approach also works beautifully when we are shooting events.
In terms of trends that we’re tracking, we are seeing Digital SLRs and “Pro” cameras starting to merge. Panasonic and Canon both have great offerings in this space. We also are seeing more videographers like our firm use small, highly mobile “second unit” cameras, such as GoPro. Last, but not least, we are also seeing more videos that use time lapse and different frame rates to make video more interesting.
Andrea Keating: How did you hear about Crews Control?
T. Kelly Shores: I have been working with Crews Control since 1999. I was looking to book a video crew in another state, and a colleague told me it would be the best decision I ever made. He, of course, was right. Especially when corporate video budgets started getting cut, it became a routine to book a Crews Control team and then fly out as the producer to do the shoot.
I have booked Crews Control teams about 50 times, and never been let down by their professionalism. They always show up on time, are dressed properly, and bring the equipment they say they will.
Plus, they treat me like a producer. By that, I mean they carry the equipment and let me work with the client. That’s very important to me because in the corporate world, clients tend to be a bit nervous about video shoots. Because the executives are already out of their comfort zone, the key is to reassure them that they are in good hands. With Crews Control, I know the shots will look good, that the audio will sound great.
I am actually amazed that you have access to so many crews in so many cities around the world—and that with each and every one of them they are able to keep that quality so high. What impresses me most is the high standards that you and your colleagues demand. It’s very impressive, and it keeps me coming back for more.
Andrea Keating: What details from a recent project stand out in your mind?
T. Kelly Shores: We do a lot of work with InfinityQS.com, a company in Falls Church, VA, that found us online and hired us to shoot videos for eight customer testimonials. Their customers were located all around the country, so for six of the videos, we hired Crews Control.
One, in particular, comes to mind—when we shot a video at a chicken processing plant in Greensboro, SC. We all had to put on frocks to go inside, where it was steaming hot, and you can only imagine how bad the place smelled. The Crews Control team didn’t complain for one minute. They were professional, powered through, and did a really good job on the footage.
We also work with several health-care clients and have shot footage of knee and heart surgeries with Crews Control. Especially the knee surgery can be a little gruesome, but again, the Crews Control videographers were professional and soldiered through.
Perhaps the best experience I had was when I was running late to catch a plane out of Chicago, and the Crews Control team drove an hour out of their way to get me to the airport. That just showed me how great this company is, and how they are willing to go the extra mile literally! I really appreciate that.
Andrea Keating: What is the best part about working with Crews Control?
T. Kelly Shores: I love the way your staff answers the phone, “We’re having a great day at Crews Control.” If your company is like ours, I know there are days when you just aren’t having a great day. So I always appreciate that greeting when I call, and honestly enjoy phoning your office to hear your staff say that. You also send out amazing holiday cards. Getting one makes me feel like I’m part of the family.
Click here for Sparksight’s 10 Tips for Shooting Video Abroad.
About Andrea Keating
Andrea Keating founded Crews Control in 1988 as the first film-and-video-crew staffing agency. Since then, the company’s focus has been to match each client with the perfect local crew for each specific shoot.
“That means we can offer our clients the quickest response time when they need to book a crew, and then provide the most dedicated customer service in the business,” she says.
Click here to learn more: www.crewscontrol.com.