José Baselga was a remarkable man who has left a profound impact in the field of oncology research and patient care. His many accomplishments and accolades alone would earn an honored place in your mind, yet prior to receiving the call to direct a film honoring his legacy I did not know his name. I immediately began to research and explore every bit of information I could find. It was clear this would be no easy task and one that would bear the loss of his presence much like the field he left behind.
We have all been, it is safe to say, touched by cancer. The brutal disease is unforgiving and bears no prejudice to people of any age, race, or gender. José was driven in his pursuit to defeat cancer and I was driven by the discovery of what fueled his passion. I knew that I wanted to start with his family and that they would provide the thread to our story. They new a side of José that was far from the public eye and I believed they would provide the context for us to begin to peel away the layers of this man.
It was no easy task and there was no shortage of volunteers ready to share stories and insights. His life was not without controversy and as I learned more about the challenges he faced personally and professionally I began to develop a deeper respect and affection for him. As a filmmaker my job is often simply to listen and learn, to observe without judgement in the hopes of crafting a fair and balanced story that touches all the right places. I looked through hundreds of photographs, family videos and youtube recordings and what I noticed from the beginning was the very light, the spark in his eyes. He clearly loved what he was doing. He was on a path and determined to see it through.
I am thankful for the lessons José has taught me throughout this process. I wish I had the opportunity to know him personally.
– Chris Valentino
Clutch Names Bean Labs as a Top Creative & Design Agency in New York
In this day and age, storytelling is something that most agencies neglect when it comes to creating designs and campaigns for digital marketing. Not with Bean Labs! We believe in the power of storytelling. Whether long form, short form, or bite sized social videos, our focus is to help our clients convey their stories and message effectively to their target audience.
Our company focuses on creating a storytelling ecosystem through various mediums such as live-action video, digital video, motion graphics, web, and app production. We don’t just make content to fulfill requirements and beat the deadlines. We make content that matters.
A good testament to our unwavering commitment is this award that we recently received from Clutch. We are named as a top creative and design agency in New York! Yes, you heard that correctly, their 2020 research says that we are among the top agencies in our state and we couldn’t be any prouder.
“We are excited to be named a Clutch Leader. We work hard to continually help our clients. We call them partners and we create content that matters. We are very thankful. All of this wouldn’t be possible without all of you!” ~ Chris Valentino
We also would like to extend our gratitude to Clutch for this amazing award. Their valuable research and information are highly appreciated in the B2B industry. Their platform continues to help connect businesses to the right creatives.
Take a look at some reviews from our profile on Clutch’s website:
“They take care of issues immediately, allows follow up, and deliver high-quality work. Chris is an example of how social media can help the nonprofit world. Their company has been generous and dedicated to us since we started working with them.”
Come visit us or give us a quick call so we can start working on telling your story the right way!
When it comes to your business — your brand comes first. But a brand, let’s be clear, is about more than just a logo. A brand is a way of doing, a way of connecting your story to your audience. Whether you are a small local shop or a fortune 100 business your brand matters.
I won’t go too deep into the history of branding nor will I post pictures of cattle and cowboys. I will quote an old colleague, Steve Poppe, whose signature phrase is “Is-Does.” Steve always looked at branding from the point of view “to understand what a brand is you have to understand what a brand does.” The “is-does.” Steve breaks down the idea of branding into this simple idiom. As a brand consultant he spends his waking hours breaking down and developing brand strategy. What I love about the simplicity of the “Is-Does” is that it is a simple two-step equation. Define what your business IS in a word or two, then define what your business DOES. Once you do this, you are on your way to developing winning brand strategies that will ultimately grow your business.
Now if you dive deeper into Steve’s approach there is an aspect that is counter in many ways to mine. Steve focuses on the selling of a product as opposed to the selling of a story. These are two thoughts with one goal.
Let’s take the iPhone — what is Apple selling? It is a phone, yes, but it is a lifestyle more than that. The story behind the iPhone brand is one that showcases the best you. The person who is always in touch, the person who creates, who dances, who lives on the cutting edge, all the while holding a small device, that sometimes makes phone calls, in the palm of your hand. What Apple continues to do successfully is tell a consistent story across all of its brands. That story is about the consumer which in effect is about the brand. It’s like a pinwheel effect that once it starts spinning it works beautifully.
So let’s get back to ownership. In recent months we have seen many major brands reinvent themselves (goodbye, Aunt Jemima and hello, Princess and the Frog.) A sign of the times that was past due. As these brands look to overhaul their message and mission they will need to be consistent in their story. For Quaker Oats, that means looking across their entire branding portfolio. For Disney, the same, and they have a lot of ground to cover. In every aspect they will need to take ownership.
Taking ownership of your brand is important, and not just for the business owner or the marketer you may hire on occasion to help boost sales. Ownership needs to permeate through every aspect of your company down to every person who represents you. At every level, they should equally know and believe in your brand, in your story. By taking ownership, and understanding your “Is-Does” (read Branding) you can more effectively communicate your goals, your offerings, and your uniqueness.
Take ownership of your image, your tagline, your social, and be consistent.
When it comes to working with a Branding company there are a lot of talented and experienced professionals. Do your homework. If you haven’t made the decision to hire us, that is okay. It is sad, but okay. A great place to start a search is one of the many directories dedicated to Branding and Design. DesignRush featured us and is a great place to start.
Fall is here. You can feel it in the air, at least on the East Coast where hurricanes and fires have not wrecked havoc of late. With everything going on and production easing back into a daily grind we have to remember to stay safe and smart, or we will be right back where we were a few short months ago.
Remember Danny Boyle’s 2002 film, 28 days later, well NY feels a lot like that lately. It seems it was only a few days ago that the world was shut down, toilet paper was in short supply, and the idea of hugging a relative was considered punishable by law. Thankfully, NYers and others across the country worked together to stay apart. Thought and care was put into numerous plans to get things, and people, working again.
Fortunately for us in the production world we have a number of organizations with dedicated people who have crafted guidelines to getting back safely.
The AICP published their COVID-19 WORKPLACE GUIDELINES AND CONSIDERATIONS outline. Version 6 — Last Updated 9/07/20 is available as a PDF on their site. You can read more here.
On the other side of the fence, the Directors Guild of America (DGA), International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE), International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT) and the Basic Crafts, and Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) released their multi-union report on Covid-19 safety in “The Safe Way Forward.”
At Bean Labs, our team is ready and willing to get back to work safely. Let us know if we can give you a hand with anything.
Video production is the future of marketing. Videos capture audience attention with ease while relaying important information. However, they can be hard to create without the necessary business insight in the production world, alongside proven experience working with the creative video making processes.
That’s where Bean Labs strives. With us by their side, our clients only need to have their project purpose and vision; we take care of the rest. We provide support from the beginning ideation stages to the final distribution. For us, we place our clients as our priority and bring their visions into reality with complete integrity and attention.
It makes us extremely happy to see that our clients have enjoyed their experience working with us, as we maintain our 5-star average profile rating on Clutch. Clutch is a DC-based B2B platform that connects companies to solutions providers on the basis of ratings and reviews from former clients.
Our first review on the site comes from KZSW Advertising, a full-service ad agency. They requested our support in marketing materials, specifically TV commercials for the greater New York market. We worked alongside them from the very first step to successfully putting together multiple commercials over the course of several years. Throughout the process, it remains important to us that not only are satisfied results met, but that the client is able to collaborate with us at every point.
“The commercials we worked together on have been so successful over the last few years that the number of projects and the media budgets we have to deploy them have grown steadily, year after year.” -President and Creative Director, KZSW Advertising
One of our more recent reviews on Clutch is from The Canine Review, an online publication focused specifically on dogs within the pet industry. We helped them with a project that required branding ideation, positioning, and website design and build. We understand that marketing goes beyond just video projects, and strive to help our clients with whatever they may require assistance with in order to reach their desired target market. The process involved two separate mini-projects, between the ideation and branding, and then the overall discussion regarding the design and functions for the website. At the end, both these projects came together to fit the overall brand of The Canine Review.
“They were honest and ethical. The great thing about them is that they’re terrific about spontaneously starting a project when I give them a call. They’re great at putting together a reasonable plan. I highly recommend them for startups and publishers. They’re very reliable.” -Editor and Publisher, The Canine Review
Clutch also maintains a sister site, The Manifest. The Manifest is a supplemental tool to highlight top companies across various industries and regions so that partner-seekers can narrow their searches for the perfect match regarding an upcoming project.
If you are interested in working with us or learning more about our work, please do not hesitate to reach out and let us know!
Recently we launched a new local directory website for Northern Westchester County, WestchesterNorth.com. Westchester is home to a number of amazing places and people. The area is rich in history and beauty. Westchester is located north of New York City (no it’s not upstate – that would be Buffalo). It is a convenient and enjoyable commute to Grand Central Terminal (no not station – that would also be incorrect). Westchester North is a gateway to the local businesses and people of Northern Westchester, and we continue to enjoy developing content for the site and social. But I digress, the point of this post is to talk about the importance of images on your website, in your social media, and for your brand in general.
In building and designing Westchester North one of our primary tasks was to capture and organize 1000s of photos for the site and for social. As content creators we tend to go overboard with high-end cameras and lenses, often capturing content in 4K and beyond when necessary or just enjoyable. When it comes to a website however it is best to keep in mind the mantra “size matters.” If you are building an image-heavy website you need to make sure your site will load quickly and efficiently for both proper google ranking (and SEO) and most importantly for ease of use by your visitors. Below we breakdown some important steps to help you optimize your content. Our quick guide to preparing your images for your website, brand, and beyond.
Let’s start with the basics.
First, start with high-quality images. Whether you are sourcing stock imagery or taking your own photos start with the highest quality possible. This will give you the opportunity to properly resize, crop, correct, augment, or enhance as your heart desires.
It’s also important to remember if you are using your phone to capture images for your website how you plan on using the image. Play it safe and take a PORTRAIT and LANDSCAPE photo, you’ll thank me later.
In most cases, your image is likely to be a JPEG file. While there are other web-compatible files such as GIF, SVG, and PNG, JPEG and PNG are most common. PNG’s offer you the option to have a transparent background say for your logo if you want to overlay it on your page or another photo. Starting with a high-quality LARGE jpeg file will give you the opportunity to edit it for a variety of uses. Remember you can always make a large image smaller, but making a smaller image larger well that results in a poor looking, pixelated disaster.
PNG for Graphics and Logos
Many simple image programs you might find on your computer or phone let you choose JPG or PNG by going to “Save As,” “Export,” or “Save for web” and selecting your preference. There are some great web apps that make editing images and graphics super easy. (We love canva and crello for creating simple graphics.)
RESIZE TO OPTIMIZE
Life is all about balance. When it comes to your photos and your website you will need to find the right balance between page speed and appearance. If you are using a high-resolution image (read large file size) you will greatly affect the speed at which your web page loads. Large file = Slow load, this hurts your user’s experience and your SEO as I mentioned above.
That said there are times when you want to use a large image for your page header or hero banner or to showcase an amazing feature that requires detail, so it’s okay, but don’t go overboard. You want to keep an eye on the size of the image after you save it. Is it 6 MB or 128 KBs? Are you using multiple images on a page? They add up too.
Size and Resolution (DPI). DPI or dots per square inch refers to the pixel density of an image. If you plan on printing you will often want your images to be 300 dpi minimum and scale up as necessary (which if we jump back up a few paragraphs is why we often capture content with super cameras and lenses, or as we say, overkill). However, if your goal is the internet then you need to think smaller, 72 dpi to be exact (although 92 dpi is also an acceptable practice). Now, the resolution is only one part of the equation, the other is dimension. Like most humans you are probably familiar with typical photo formats such as 4×6 or 5×7, perhaps you even have your 8×10 highschool photo matted in a nice 9×12 frame. On the web we talk about dimensions in pixels. For example, a hero blog pic may be 1600 by 800 pixels. We typically start with our images at 2000x 1200 and scale down as appropriate. There are times where we will play with the scale of an image for a more cinematic look and others where the image dictates the format (such as a portrait or landscape photo).
We could talk for hours about the numerous ways to format a picture from 1:1 for Instagram, to 4:3, to 16:9, to 9:16, and so on. Every social media page has its own requirements and guidelines and you have to think of how your image will work on both desktop and mobile as well.
CONSISTENCY IS KEY ( a side note)
Before we jump into the all-important topic of naming and organizing, we’d like to stress that consistency plays a huge role in your web design and presentation. Think about how your images will be used on your page or in your post and create your own brand style guide to uniformly organize your images.
THE NAME GAME
As some of my clients will tell you, I can be a bit pushy when it comes to naming things clearly and properly. When it comes to images most people don’t think about their file names at all. If they took a pic and it is “DSC_120312343489.jpg”, “Photo2.png” or, dare I say, “Screen Shot 2019-07-01 at 3.28.42 PM”
If this sounds familiar, take a break from reading and start renaming your images before you upload anything to your website. Why? Why? Because doing this one simple thing makes managing your photos easier and in the process, it may just help boost your SEO (depending on where the images appear online.)
Again on the topic of consistency, stick to one format: use lowercase letters and numbers 0-9. Don’t introduce punctuation or spaces, it is best to use-hyphens-to-separate-words-rather-than_underscores. (Think awesome-photo-of-chris-valentino-on-set-looking-dashing.jpg rather than DSC12345.jpg).
Once you properly name, resize, and UPLOAD your images think about the other SEO seasoning called Alt-Tags (Alternative Text). While not visible to your average user this information tells search engines what your image is all about. Typically with Alt – tags you want to describe your image in a simple, descriptive way this helps visually impaired visitors who navigate your site with audio-based software. It’s also a great way to improve website accessibility.
The last thing to add is to always keep your images placed in a relevant position on your page or post.
Don’t just toss it on the page, place it close to the related textual content. While Google is getting better at recognizing images they won’t do your work for you.
All in all, think organization, optimization, and quality!
Video and photography go hand-in-hand it is why we have always championed a tandem photo shoot with every video production. We have a talented team of photographers who specialize in different types of imagery, from commercial to corporate, from architectural to behind the scenes and more. Whatever your need we can meet it. Before you start your next project talk with us about the different ways and mediums in which we can champion your story. It all starts with discovery and planning.
We love to tell stories, especially personal stories that uncover a person’s journey which can, in turn, help others in a similar situation. Earlier this year we had the opportunity to get to know Julie and her family as she shared her personal struggles and triumphs living with PAH.
Pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) is a rare, progressive disorder characterized by high blood pressure (hypertension) in the arteries of the lungs (pulmonary artery) for no apparent reason. The pulmonary arteries are the blood vessels that carry blood from the right side of the heart through the lungs.
Julie was a pleasure to work with and her family and we thank her for allowing us into her home and life if for only a short time.
As #Pinktober winds down and the focus all too quickly shifts from the breast cancer conversation, we celebrate the story of Esther Garza. Esther is a 55-year-old mother, grandmother, metastatic breast cancer patient and advocate within the Latina breast cancer community. Esther brings her story to the mbc awareness campaign Story Half Told. We had the honor of working with Esther and her family and friends to shed light on her personal story.
Breast Cancer: A Story Half Told is the initiative by Pfizer in partnership with advocates, patients and healthcare professionals that aims to elevate public understanding of metastatic breast cancer, dispel misperceptions, combat stigma and expand the breast cancer conversation to be more inclusive of metastatic breast cancer. The unbranded campaign focuses on metastatic breast cancer patients in their daily lives at home, at work, at play or at the doctor’s office. The goal was to create socially engaging content rooted in honest storytelling.
Story Half Told was nominated for a 2016 Cannes Lion and 2016 Sabre Award.
#MelanomaJustGotPersonal – We are proud to share our latest production, Melanoma Just Got Personal.
It was a pleasure working with Troy Aikman and #Novartis on this campaign and to have the opportunity to work with Troy to tell his personal melanoma story.
Melanoma Just Got Personal is a portal to help patients living with advanced melanoma (unresectable or metastatic melanoma) learn about the personalized nature of their disease so they are better equipped to fight against it. We had the privilege to speak with patients living with melanoma and their supporters as well as healthcare professionals who provided insight into the importance of knowing their diagnosis. It was an eye opening experience to learn about the different types of the disease and how knowing your mutation can lead to better treatment. The team at Novartis is dedicated to spreading this message.
Join pro football legend, Hall of Famer and former melanoma patient, Troy Aikman, the Melanoma Research Foundation, Melanoma International Foundation and Aim at Melanoma, and learn more about advanced melanoma to help raise awareness of this rarely discussed cancer.