USATF Dakotas – Social Media Video Ad Campaign

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Tim McLagan, Fargo South Girls Track Coach, also serves as the USA Track and Field Youth Athletics Chair for the Dakotas chapter. In that role it falls upon him to promote the Dakotas championship and Region 8 championship.

Tim contacted MacDalton Berns of Absolute Marketing Group for advice on the best advertising path to pursue. So Mac pulled together the Absolute Marketing Group team to develop a multi-platform social media marketing strategy that would utilize videos to target a very select audience of student athletes and their parents, who would have interest in the upcoming Fargo competition.

The plan, which called for a variety of video ads to be placed on YouTube, Google, Instagram and Snapchat. Now it was time for Tim to meet with the creative team from Video Arts Studios to discuss his vision for the video campaign. The agreed upon idea was to create several spots that showcased four different young track and field athletes, dramatically performing their sports against only a graphic and music backdrop. With that in mind it was decided to bring the young athletes into our studio to capture them in front of our seamless green screen wall, and add graphics and effects later in post production.

Writer/Producer Jim Kirwan developed a storyboard script and shot list while Production Manager Aimee Mitchell coordinated a shooting schedule with Coach Tim, and the four volunteer athletes.

Director of Photography Marty Halgrimson decided to capture the video with a Red camera at a very slow frame rate to get a super slow motion, pristine image, that could key-out crisply in post-production. Starting blocks, hurdles, high jump poles and mats were brought into our studio, as well as a specially constructed long jump pit compete with sand. However, even with Video Arts Studios 2,000 square foot video production stage, and its 34-foot wide green screen seamless cyc wall, Marty had to get creative with camera placement in order to best capture the fast moving activity of the athletes. The studios adjacent garage also had to be cleared out and its doors opened, so the athletes could get a good enough running start before entering the studio for their performance.

The four volunteer Fargo South Athletes, high jumper Mesaged Abakar, hurdler Greta McLagan, sprinter John Farr Jr., and long jumper Enok Siboman, worked very hard performing the same chosen action many times, in order to accommodate the multiple camera angles needed, for a compelling final edit.

After a long day of successful shooting, the raw video was passed off to Video Arts editor Scott Tostenrud and Graphic Designer/Animator Dustin Gire, to begin the challenging post production and final edit. The two worked together completing the graphic backgrounds and needed text graphics. Then, after making his selection of favorite video clips, Scott set to work editing to the chosen music beds and keying the video over the new backgrounds. Once that was done, he added the desired special effects to enhance the athletes’ movements.

The finished campaign was met with great approval was deployed. The enthusiastic response to the finished product by all involved from client, Absolute’s marketing staff and Video Arts’ creative crew, of the finished product is a testimony to the carefully thought out and executed plan that the team accomplished, working together.

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