The Show Must Go On Takes On A Whole New Meaning

Drake Cooper/Studio Gets Scrappy for Production During the New Normal

Anyone that works in photography and video production will tell you that working with limitations is the rule of the game. Even when there’s not a global pandemic. During the recent stay-at-home order we had to get even more agile and adapt to produce work while complying with government orders.

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Behind-the-Scenes during COVID-19 | ICCU Shoot

Production is rooted in teamwork — typically in close quarters for long hours. When the pandemic hit the US, we were met with one immediate question: How do we safely proceed without halting all production?

We embraced the challenge early on to support the safety and health of our team, extended crew, and our clients. We wanted to responsibly handle the current situation while instilling confidence for clients that they can get their visual messages out during a turbulent time. Even as states are re-opening, there’s still a demand for solutions that maintain a heightened level of safety.

Here are some of the creative ways we’ve adapted and have seen others produce work during this time:


In order to quickly turn and get a new video out, you can pull together b-roll or compile a “greatest hits” of clips from similar work. This was effective early on as some of the first messages needed to let consumers know that an essential service was available and operating responsibly.

CBH Homes | Love, CBH

An emotional appeal during the first weeks of the COVID-19 crisis was a necessary shift in tone during the 24/7 news feed of fear and worry. Since then some of the production values and creative approaches have already become well-worn cliches. This development is a sign that consumers are ready to move beyond assurances and are open to more direct messages for products and services. The key considerations will continue to be context and value.


Many local and national advertisers have used UGC to an advantage. You can be relevant while reducing contact in videos that connect.

Ex: Boise State University | Life @ Boise State


Some brands have used stock images and video to tell their story while staying locked down.

Ex: IKEA | “I Stay Home”


With advertisers and live television shows incorporating the Zoom call aesthetic into their routine, it’s become more and more common to see sketch comedy and even live music via Zoom. Many production crews often send gear to on-screen talent to film themselves and then edit to appear as a conference grid. While this trend may change, it reveals how we can still get quality work remotely. Voice artists for years have invested in home studios so they can patch-in to do national voice work from home.


Like many production houses and agencies, we were in pre-production on several projects with live shoots planned for April and May. Those shoots had large crews who were already hired and full post-production calendars in place. Then, like most of the world, things came to a grinding halt.

To begin, we created a one-sheet of production capabilities during the lockdown, allowing our creative and account services teams to get to work planning the way forward with our clients.

While initial projects were creatively repurposing previously captured assets, we still needed a solution for live production. One of our most immediate needs was a photoshoot for an upcoming Nut & Gift Shop promotion for Blue Diamond Growers. We quickly got to work on a creative solution to get the Art Director and Photographer to collaborate in the same way they would on set.

Our photographer offered up his home as a set and we grabbed found props from our homes to drop off on the photographer’s doorstep, along with a delivery of photography gear from one of our few remaining in-office workers.

Behind-the-Scenes during COVID-19 | Blue Diamond Growers Shoot

On the day of the shoot, the Art Director and Producer were called in via Google Meet with the photographer’s webcam pointed at the studio setup. The shoot was successful and demonstrated that with a little technology and ingenuity we can create new studio work from a safe distance.

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Blue Diamond Growers Shoot | Final Shot

Like all new things, this has been a learning process. We continue to better understand the limits and possibilities of limited-contact production. Practical guardrails have always been a driver of creativity. Where there is a will, there truly is a way.


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