Lights. Cameras. Assets?


How to protect your commercial shoot from invading content creators.

Here’s a scenario. You’re on set for a thirty-second commercial. Everyone who needs to be there is there. Until…

The agency’s social team shows up to shoot GIFs with the talent for the brand’s social channels. The client’s in-house production team (two interns with an iPhone) arrive to produce a behind-the-scenes video for an upcoming franchisee conference. All last-minute requests. All unplanned. And it’s making your $20k-a-day director lose his mind because he’s losing the precious daylight of his ten-hour day.

Sound familiar?

The demand—and ability—to create brand content for multiple platforms is placing undue stress on commercial productions. Here are three ways to safeguard your shoots from competing agendas and epic hissy fits.

An Opportunity, Not an Imposition

Every production presents a chance to create campaign “bonus features.” Embrace it. That goofy short video you shoot on set could earn even more fan love than the scripted spots you originally plotted to produce. But you need to plan for improvisation ahead of time. At Kestum Bilt, we encourage our agency and client partners to look at our productions as an opportunity to stretch their creativity and optimize their budgets. Get everyone onboard early and you’ll enjoy a smooth production.

First, Second and Third Units

Approach your commercial shoot like a Hollywood film production by assigning multiple units to handle each task. Second units will often film smaller sequences or scenes of a movie while the first unit tackles the big stuff. That’s what we did on a recent shoot in Atlanta. Our director and DP helmed the first unit shoot, while second and third units simultaneously captured stills, social content, and b-roll as part of a well-coordinated plan. Having clearly defined roles and a multi-unit schedule eliminates the threat of confusion and chaos.

Make Room for What Ifs

You never know what can happen on a production. If you’re lucky, all will go as planned. If you’re incredibly lucky, someone will be kissed by the creativity gods and come up with a can’t-miss idea out of the blue. Next thing you know, you’ve pulled your main talent and seven crew members into a bathroom to shoot a video that is destined to go orbital. Stop. Hold it right there. Do you have the extra budget? What’s in your talent’s contract? Are you about to go into golden time? Sure, that video could be killer. But so too is the realization that you didn’t leave enough cushion for the moments of inspiration that are bound to happen when creative people get together on a set. Have a creative contingency plan. You’ll be surprised by what happens when you do.


A Watch Company, Multiple Agencies, a Production Company and a NASCAR Race Car Driver - Decide to Create a Production


Seiko, Multiple Agencies, Kestum Bilt and NASCAR Race Car Driver, Jimmie Johnson

Recently, the Kestum Bilt team had the great pleasure of teaming up with Visionarists, Dentsu and Gravity to shoot and produce with NASCAR race legend, Jimmie Johnson for Seiko watches.  

Director. Manfred Reiff
Kestum Bilt Productions

The amount of moving pieces in a complex video shoot can be daunting and disastrous to the client, product and production. It takes finesse, LASER-beam focus, intense planning, teamwork, collaboration, transparency, creativity, humor and somedays shear grit to make the final magic that gets seen by tens of thousands sometimes millions of people.

Below is a (short) incomplete list of the Kestum Bilt Seiko Shoot by the numbers:

  • 2 Production Companies
  • 3 Full Size Camaros
  • 1 Process Trailer
  • 1 Photo Shoot Team
  • 1 2nd Unit Team Capturing car to car shots, scenic shot and on-set interviews
  • 1 Parking Garage
  • 1 Elementary School
  • 1 Outdoor Product Shot
  • 3 Parking Lots
  • 2 State Roads
  • 5 Permits
  • 4 Motorcycle Cops (rolling barricade)
  • 1 Voiceover Session on set in motorhome
  • 1 (15) Passenger Van
  • 1 Stand-In Model for Jimmie Johnson We needed to match Jimmie’s wedding band
  • 1 Food Truck For breakfast and lunch
  • 5 Children’s Bicycles
  • 1 School Bus
  • 500 AMPs of portable powers
  • 1 Motor Home Complete with 2 levels for office, 2 salons, 2 changing rooms and 2 bathrooms
  • 60 Additional People each with specialized jobs
  • 10 Hours to make the magic happen
  • 6 Hours with Jimmie Johnson
  • 3 Agencies

The above list doesn’t include pre-production, location scouting, post-production and the fact that days before the shoot, Jimmie Johnson crashed at Daytona, fortunately nothing serious. Jimmie went on to race the weekend after our shoot. Jimmie had a small window between wrapping up Daytona and qualifying for Atlanta, in that 6-hour window we shot this commercial, an interview, recorded the voice over, and shot stills for the print/billboard campaign.

With multiple locations and a short window to work with our celebrity talent many elements had to come together and be coordinated. For instance, just crossing railroad tracks on a process trailer took more than just driving and hitting the gas. We had to contact the CSX [What is that, Pete?] regional manager to alert all trains to “proceed with caution” and slow down for the hours we were shooting.  We also used 3 different color Camaro cars so that the post team could pick the car bodies and change them to match a specific watch.

In the end, did all the moving parts come together.  You bet.

We think this Helen Keller quote embodies what we do:

“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.”

Or as Michael Jordan said:

“Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence wins championships!”

Give us a call or email. We’d love to team up.



(Or a shameless promotional article written to show off our new sizzle reel.)

(Or you could skip reading the article and watch some of our favorite videos on our updated website, but we fancy ourselves good writers so why not first have a read?)

Video schmideo.

In 2017 we created a whole lot of video content, but that is not the real story for us at

Kestum Bilt.

The creative team that…

But wait, there is so much more.

If Vulcans Can Do It…

We also got to work with some amazing client-partners and agencies from across the country.

And what we are really proud of was mind-melding with our partners on strategy and content and then executing to accomplish more, exceeding expectations and creating content that helps turn our partner’s ROI into a crypto-currency rally.


UF "This Is Florida"


Strategy. Strategy. And Prepro.

We know our clients have better things to do than worry. Our mission has always been and will continue to be lighten our clients’ load. In 2018 we intend to keep doing just that. Client-friends know that they can reach out any time – day or night – to assist with creative brainstorms, fresh no-box ideas and sudden must-haves because “the CMO loves periwinkle”!

For instance, we get regular calls from our client and agency friends assisting them with budgets, creative strategy and pitches BEFORE the concept is green lit.

VR? Damn straight.

Virtual reality, augmented reality, 360 video…we are stoked about all the content we will be co-creating this new year. New partners, new technology and a new friends. Definitely stay tuned.

Got a project? Thinking about a project? Did an idea pop into your head while you were showering? Call us. Email us or stop by if you’re in Tampa, Miami, Atlanta or Los Angeles.

We always have a cold one ready.

Enjoy and lets us know if we can help make your 2018 the best year ever!

Check out our updated Home Page that contains some of our favorite produced content from 2017.



No. That’s not a picture of two aliens having sex or a mutant parsnip.  

It’s ginseng. Panax ginseng.

We show you ginseng because in many ways ginseng is like a modern creative production collective, aka: Kestum Bilt.  Okay, just stay with us and it will become very clear where we are going.  

So let’s start with ginseng. According to a several sources ginseng is one of a number of ‘adaptogenic herbs’, meaning that they are substances that work with a person’s body to help them adapt. The adaptogens are brilliant allies helping to regulate and support your immune system, manage weight, clarify mental focus, increase physical endurance and more. Basically, ginseng goes wherever and does whatever your body needs. Cool beans.

And that’s exactly what a great production organization needs to be doing.  

We understand that no two products, partners or clients are the same.  You probably wouldn’t send your direct response director to shoot a high-end beauty spot or have a (though well-intentioned) Senior Account person who didn’t speak Spanish working on a product or service targeted to the Hispanic market. Makes sense?

So is your production company adaptogenic?  Do they tailor your production and team to your specific strategy and business goals?

Are they adapting to your:

  • Creative.  Do they offer a variety of creative people from writers, strategists, directors and producers?

  • Positioning.

  • Target audience.

  • Production costs.

  • Media buys and strategy.

  • Media platforms.

  • Production Locations. Can you they produce content anywhere in the Americas?

  • Remote Post Production for efficiency and cost savings

Make sure that the organization you hire can logistically produce content for you in different regions.  Whether you need a specific creative team for the multicultural aspect of your business or because you need a company that can handle a larger scale job.

Jumping from one company to the next is tedious and time consuming. It’s like speed dating with no upside. We don’t recommend it.

You deserve a world-class partner who is an ‘adaptogen’ and who will customize and create a program, shoot and production that supports your specific anatomy. Don’t settle for anemic help.

 Give us a call. Shoot us an email. And let us show you how our creative team can adapt for every project and every client.




“A Company’s Production Meeting”

Setting: A conference room.

A CMO, marketing director and marketing specialist discuss a proposed budget from a production company.  

Marketing Director: Where did they get those production numbers? They want WHAT for animation?! And a “cat wrangler”?!

Marketing Specialist: Uh… I think it has to do with the concept…and…

Marketing Director: Concept?! They don’t even understand our vision for the content campaign.

CMO: I thought my vision was clear.

Marketing Director: Tell them to come back with better numbers.  We’re not hiring friggin’ Spielberg.


Sound familiar?

Companies and Video Production Creatives LOVE to talk about new concepts and marketing content first and wait until the very end to have the [CUE the horror film music]:

DREADED budget conversation.

Marketing Departments and creatives from the video content production company may talk shop for hours over a course of several meetings, walk out of a brainstorm session feeling like they are now of one mind and clients will whisper to each other “They really get it. They really do get our company’s vision for our new video marketing content.”

Suddenly numerical reality kicks in, the production company turns in the estimate to it’s (hopefully) new client.

So what is the solution?

At Kestum Bilt we believe in truth in advertising – and production costs.

Here are three ways Production Companies can mitigate this above conversation:

  1. First, it’s important for agencies and organizations to understand how budgets are created for video production content prior to starting a conversation around content development.

  2. Second, video production companies need to be transparent and explain the estimated budget instead of just sending a number.

  3. And third, offer budget options instead of one definitive number. This helps in breaking down line items and costs. It also puts the client in the financial driver’s seat.

Below is our Kestum Bilt “Good. Fast. Low-Cost” chart.*  Where are you on the chart?



*[Please NOTE these are general guidelines and Kestum Bilt always recommends hiring a professional video production company with a solid reputation for creating video content.] 

For more down-to-earth information on production costs and information about content creation and distribution, please contact Pete Guzzo at Kestum Bilt.

We look forward to hearing from you and happy producing!

Stay Tuned: Future articles will dive deep into the video production budget conversation, this was a Video Content Production Budget – Lesson 101.













Can you hear it? The sound of silence.

It’s advertisers serving up their videos on mute. Users can easily un-mute the video and watch in full screen view. Case in point: Internet radio platform, Pandora now allows users control over their ad experience.

We agree with this approach. But first a little context…

When Mary Talks…

Mary Meeker, former Wall Street securities analyst and current venture partner with Silicon Valley firm, Kleiner, Perkins Caufield & Byers says, “…that 419 million people worldwide now block mobile ads, an even more substantial number when you consider that there are 1.9 billion smartphone users.” That’s a lot of blocked ads.

At Kestum Bilt we believe in dialogue. We also believe that your audience, aka your customer is driving the conversation. So it’s imperative to listen, understand and make adjustments to your content accordingly.

Silence Is Golden

Numbers don’t lie. 80 percent of Facebook users dislike loud ads playing in their newsfeed. Also, in a recent survey, over one third of those same folks preferred muted ads. Facebook has set ads to play automatically but without sound.  Facebook is listening to their audience.

So here’s the question: If you can’t use sound (at least up front) to grab audience attention, what do you do?

Keep Making Great Content – With Some Tweaks

Here are some quick guidelines to follow:

  1. The NEW Two Second Rule – What used to be 5-7 seconds to grab your audience, now is only two seconds. Make those first two seconds count like a mofo.

  2. Embrace the Silence – Instead of struggling trying to figure out what to do with sound, use compelling visuals or even a countdown.

  3. 10 Second CTA – Put your CTA in the first 10 seconds. We know, this breaks normal direct response best practices. Don’t worry. These days, you need to cut to the chase: get a chyron/title card in that’s super easy to read with your offer.

  4. Subtitles – Just like silent movies of yore, add subtitles. Research shows that by adding subtitles view times goes up.

  5. Feelings, Nothing More Than Feelings – It’s emotion, baby. And story. Tell a story visually. Find what moves you emotionally, what gets your juices flowing. If you’re affected then your audience will be too.

And of course, if you’re looking for kick-@$$ content muted and un-muted, give us a quick call or email.

Your best (silent) friends at Kestum Bilt.


Screen Shot 2018-02-28 at 5.40.39 PM.png


Some of the best ads don’t cost a million dollars, half a million or even one hundred thousand. Though sometimes they do.  This creative shop has seen and done it all.  They shoot on an iPhone. They improvise. Or in a fit of pique, capture a moment of gorgeous video grace. Today, Video Marketing Companies, Production Companies, of all stripes need to be nimble, adept and oh so creative. This Creative Shop is one of them. In just one spot for the University of Florida, they let you in on the behind-the-scenes magic to show you how they delight and surprise.   

This tasty and outstanding video recipe is flexible, but the ingredients usually consist of:

  • 2 days of shooting in studio and at UF

  • 2 large helpings of green and blue screens

  • 2 dashes of prop-master puppetry

  • 4 dashes of superior drone work

  • A sprinkle of VFX animation

  • ½ Inch old-fashioned VHS player for added retro flavor

  • Serve with a smattering of video pixie dust

Put all the ingredients into the Kestum Bilt oven and…presto!  


Checkout their behind the scenes video magic below.

How To Get Baby Actors TO Pee On Cue

(Another Kestum Bilt movie magic trick)

Who doesn’t love babies? But having them on your set can be challenging. (See staged picture above.) There are very specific working rules that have to be followed and then there is that moment when you need your young actor to deliver the goods. What if they’re teething? Crying? Pooping? Or just having a bad day.

But we digress. Let’s take a look at how to create intimacy, story and casting magic on any video set.  


We just wrapped post-production on a wonderful spot for Jackson Memorial Hospital. We used a plethora of creative problem solving methods to make the movie magic happen. We’ve talked about story in past blogs so we’re not going to discuss that here.  

At Kestum Bilt, we’re transparent internally and always with our clients. We believe in trust. So we let our clients know what production costs entail so that there are never any budget surprises.

Video Miracles Made Daily

For our Memorial Hospital shoot, we paid particular attention to our casting. We needed to ensure we had enough “backup” babies on shoot day.

Because of the necessary constraints of shooting in a hospital, we trimmed down the production crew to the absolute minimum needed for a shoot of this complexity:

1 Gaffer

1 Props person

1 Grip

1 Wardrobe/Make-up person

Director of Photography

Assistant Camera 


(Some BTS Pics and Stills)
By keeping the crew small and nimble, having lots of casting back-up babies and finding a way to get our babies to pee on cue (a little bit of art direction mixed with some VFX), we were able to focus on what was important: intimacy, story and emotion. Effectively telling the Jackson Memorial Hospital story.

We also shot in one location at the hospital. This allowed for fast set-up, shooting efficiency,  bringing each set to us and moving from one shot to the next.

Oh yeah. Make sure you have plenty of baby "dolls" on hand. Babies have a very very limited time on set, so dolls help you light and block without disturbing your "precious baby stars."

The result is a fun, heart-warming spot for you to enjoy.

You can check it out here.

Like the tagline says, “(Video) miracles made daily”

If you’re company or organization is looking to make some video miracles, give us a shout. We love a good challenge.