Behind The Scenes: Process of 2017 End-of-Year Video

By Will Kesling

What would a behind-the-scenes look at our 2017 End-of-Year Video show? It would show a lot of “try this,” “plan this,” “shoot this,” “collaborate with her,” “meet this deadline” — and the list goes on for about 6 months.

Bts Eoy 3

Focus Lab’s End-of-Year series began out of necessity. Up until 2016 we documented practically everything that happened here. Whether it was a branding process, a Chopped cook-off, or even a walk to the coffee shop, most moments were captured so we could highlight our culture and work. With all that footage, we decided to consolidate everything into one video that summarized 525,949 minutes (the number of mins in a year) into 3-4 minutes. That initial video concept, as it began 4 years ago, looked like this : 

Now, as with any creative project, it’s about learning from and topping the last video. So we started getting more specific with what we wanted each new video to achieve, who we wanted it to reach, and how we would put it out into the world.

After the 2015 EOY video we realized we had a contingent of people who understood and connected with the Focus culture already, and there were other platforms we could use to host all that content of us goofing off around the office.

So instead, we took the 2016 End-of-Year video as an opportunity to use our client work as the main selling point. We said, “let’s start creating things!” This, in large part, meant Focus Lab’s Creative Production Team took on the tasks of creating sets, shooting paint drying, rigging lights to the ceiling, and even setting off fireworks. It’s all about coming up with new creative processes to show our creative process.

The final product turned out better than expected. However, there are always going to be areas to improve from both a craft and process standpoint.

This past year, for the 2017 EOY Video, the Creative Production Team improved our process by implementing a high-level video timeline in order to visualize how the flow of the film would go. To be perfectly transparent, this was a complete reversal for me personally: I was used to shooting and editing the video organically, as ideas occurred to me. It took some getting used to for me; my free-flowing creative process needed to adjust to the system.


We then spent the next 3 months creating assets that would be used throughout the EOY Film. Because we were determined to show even fewer culture shots than we did in 2016, we knew we had to create twice as many assets.

We pulled out all the stops, creating with motion, branding elements, papercrafting, styling, video, lifestyle photography, weekly meetings, cross-department collaboration and more. We tried to approach this film with open minds in order to better our process and team. But the true balancing act came with the growing amount of client work, which would take priority over any internal project, including the EOY video series.

Group 2

Once pre-production was finished and everything that had been planned for was created, we worked with a sound designer to create a custom soundtrack around a sporadic-sounding jazz score. The initial inspiration came from the last scene of Whiplash - check it out. The editing process and motion design overlapped the soundtrack hand-off, and was compressed into 3 months of intense work peppered throughout client projects and holidays.

Being a part of a small studio like Focus Lab with a large reach, you learn that it’s easy and comfortable to get comfortable. We designed this entire process to push ourselves out of what we were already doing, and into what we want to do.

So without any further ado... enjoy the 2017 End-of-Year Video below.