A Nerd Does SXSW: South by Southwest

by James Loizou
James and Kate at SXSW

South by Southwest. It’s where Twitter got buzzy. And where the world discovered Star Wars director Gareth Edwards. And where the movie Frank took place!


Wedging a humble schedule between the Interactive and Film conferences, I jumped into my first “south-by” experience. It can only be described through an overwhelming montage.



The experience can also be described with photos and random thoughts from some very thoughtful people.



The One-Second Challenge



POPSUGAR’s President David Grant emphasized that their lifestyle videos only have one second (one second!) to reach their viewers. They do so with flashy or interesting visuals that represent the heart of the video’s subject matter.



Editors Are People, Too!



VFX wizard turned visionary filmmaker Gareth Edwards asked why do we say CGI? Computer-Generated Imagery? We don’t call footage Camera-Generated Images. We don’t call scripts Computer-Generated Documents. It unfairly removes the human element from the visual effects craft.



but Designers Can be robots



Conversely, Adobe Creative Cloud’s Evangelist Paul Trani previewed some hot new software that automates graphic design. Like auto-adjusting image colors against a defined project palette. Or offering specific export settings to 3D-print your latest Photoshop creation.



To Live or Not to Live



As brands develop internal teams to meet unprecedented demands for videos, they struggle to find the right balance between live content and produced pieces. NYTime’s Deborah Acosta is training journalists to use their iPhone in the field for Facebook Live. Vox Media’s Joe Posner talks about the value of distancing yourself from the story to produce a thoughtful video (within a week).



Shot on an iPhone



Nat Geo’s photographer David Guttenfelder reflected on his controversial decision to use an iPhone in war zones and North Korea, inadvertently prompting more personal photos and a realtime dialogue with followers. As his Instagram posts have been regularly published in magazines, this is now a moot point.



Client Talk



And Intuit’s Founder Scott Cook talked about the need to put customer over competition. To be ready to pivot dramatically away from the founding “vision” to follow what clients want. How do you know what they want? Go out and talk to them!



We're always stoked to step outside of our bubble to bring back ideas that challenge us as video-makers. As marketers. And as nerds. We'd love to tell you more over some good music and good brisket.

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