Adam Wygle and Bryan Zug make up Bootstrapper Studios, a video production company forming part of the new wave of real-time editing and immediate video release. Located in the vibrant tech community of Founders Co-op in Seattle, WA, they work fast and inexpensively to capture the momentum of an event as it’s occurring, and to give participants instant tools for sharing their experience.
Seattle is host to numerous start-up forums and at Startup Weekend Seattle EDU in September, Bootstrapper documented the progress of contestants who built web or mobile applications over the course of a weekend. Throughout the 54 hours Adam would regularly pull someone from each of the 15 teams and ask the questions: What have you done since we last talked? What are you working on now? What’s blocking you?
Adam describes his workflow: “I’d have an H4n Zoom audio recorder, hit Record on that, let it sit there and just run. Then I didn’t have to think about it. Then whenever someone walked up to the camera, I’d hit Record on the camera. When they walked away I’d stop the recording. We’d shoot fifteen different people over the course of 20-30 minutes. We did it really fast because each person only had 30 seconds. At the end of one of those sessions I’d go back to the computer, dump my camera and audio footage, throw it in Premiere, export it so PluralEyes could look at it, render it and I was done.” The cycle was repeated every two to three hours. By Sunday night all footage was synced, assembled, and ready for release as soon as the final pitches occurred and winners were announced.
Adam adds, “Without PluralEyes I would have had to cut audio between
each interview. I wouldn’t have been able to just turn the mic on and
let it go. We would have had a clapper or have the interviewer do a clap
in front of the camera, then I’d have to go back and sync it all up.
That would have made the process between sessions a lot more time
consuming with fifteen different clips, especially considering that
fourteen of them weren’t going to be featured right away. The idea was
that we could get the video out right away.”
Adam and Bryan work predominantly as a two-person team and stay effective because all their technology is digital. They reach for a Canon T3i DSLR camera, or a Canon Vixia HF20 camcorder, and use a wireless handheld mic, or a boom or lavaliers to record to the Zoom H4n. Their favorite new acquisition though, is an ATEM 1 M/E Production Switcher from Blackmagic Design. It allows for four SDI inputs, four HDMI (High-Definition Multimedia Interface) inputs for cameras or computers, and is used for event streaming and live switching.
“We have the problem first and then we go looking for the solution,” comments Adam. “We used to run a Mac pro tower that had multiple HDMI cards in it and the process was so complicated, there were so many moving parts, there were so many things that could go wrong. When we started using this, the speed at which we could get up and running increased by 50 percent. We went from three to four hours set up time to two hours.”
In the early- to mid-90s Adam remembers how his dad was baffled by all the advertisements that had web addresses in them. Adam predicted a time when URLs would become standard business practice, and his eyes are again on the future where he sees that anyone without video on their websites will soon be left in the dust.
It was an easy decision for him to accept Bryan’s invitation to turn his passion for video production into a business as more and more people began asking for his services. “We’ve got a small studio in the heart of the startup world in Seattle. We’re using gear that would have cost thousands and thousands of dollars a few years back. What would have been an HD television station truck - you know those big semi-trucks - we’ve got that in a box that’s sitting on my desk.”
Adam also experiments with video innovation in his rare free time by creating music videos of local Seattle bands using his All Cameras On approach. With the band’s permission, he asks everyone at the concert to record a few songs using their handheld devices. If the venue has a professional recording facility, he’ll ask if they can turn it on to capture a good quality audio track. Then he collects all the various footage and edits it together for unique, collaboratively generated music videos that reflect the audience’s authentic experience.
“It’s a lot of fun. It’s time consuming so I don’t get to do it as often as I’d like to. Each one takes a little bit more time than the last one because I add more complicated things, but I also shave time on some other things, like creating templates. I use this as a way to teach myself the tool of Adobe Premiere … I’m definitely going to be using PluralEyes on these from now on!”
Adam’s enthusiasm for his work and the success of Bootstrapper Studios
are a direct reflection of their personal love for the tech and creative
community in Seattle. “There are lots of fun, different things we can
do with social media. With our clients we’re more partners than we are
the help. When we go to some of these events, they’re events that we
want to be at. It’s really exiting for us.”
Check out HiveSeattle and IgniteSeattle for more insight into Seattle’s tech community and Bootstrapper’s work.
Writer Sara McIntyre is a Communications Specialist and Filmmaker who calls Vancouver, BC home.