Pulling back the Curtain: A Tour of the M/C/C Video Production Suite


Photo by Jurgen Appelo, CC-BY-2.0
Photo by Jurgen Appelo, CC-BY-2.0

Visit M/C/C for the first time, and there’s a better-than-average chance your touring party will make its way toward the “House That YouTube Built.” You will wander by the Think Tank, make your way down the west hallway and journey through a few more doorways before reaching the magical dead end, filled with lights, cameras and plenty of action. Welcome to the M/C/C Video Production Suite. What most video suite guests don’t realize is had they made that journey just three years earlier, they would be visiting an electronic burial ground where kids used to play. Yep, M/C/C video production has come a long way. It all started back in 2010…

You had to look past the pile of beige CRT monitors. Block out the two 1980s IBM printers. The baby crib. The empty filing cabinets. The stacks of boxes containing client brochures from previous decades. Like these obscure objects, Todd Brashear and Phillip Barnhard stood still in the forgotten wasteland, hidden deep within M/C/C. No agency tour would come within breathing distance of this hollow place.

In a previous life, the office space was used as a creative think tank and a nursery for children of employees. Over the last decade, the 425 square feet had matured into a dumping ground for old electronics and furniture. A cathedral of crap. As Todd and Phillip examined the area, they literally waded through the possibilities of such a space. You could put a window here. What if we knocked down this wall? Maybe some red curtains here. Can this door be removed? . You see, M/C/C had advertising, public relations, marketing, internet marketing and social media on lockdown, but to market its video production capabilities, the agency wanted something unique. It needed a showpiece.

Two weeks of hammering, drilling, stapling and painting filled the west wing. When the smoke cleared, M/C/C was left with a video marketing tool better than anything it could set on a shelf or embed on a site. The highlight of the M/C/C office tour became the new M/C/C Video Production Suite (formerly known as the think tank-turned-nursery-turned-electronic landfill). Every guest received the red curtain treatment — a welcoming gesture where M/C/C opens the curtains toward the building’s atrium so guests can peek at the suite upon their arrival. Though it went unstated, it served as visual confirmation that M/C/C made an investment in video production. And over the next few years, the agency would put that investment to good use.

Oh, if the sound-resistant walls of the sound studio could talkthey’d be immediately torn down because the space requires complete silence while recording voiceover. The crumbled drywall would use its last moment to reminisce about the first video shoots M/C/C had in the new studio. CommScope, the globe’s network cabling juggernaut, needed a hands-on demo to sell the ease of cable termination. M/C/C welcomed the CommScope version of George Clooney into its studio, where the producers had multiple cameras and lighting setup to record every angle of the tedious process. Seconds after a segment was filmed, producers flipped over to the editing suite to review the footage to ensure they had the correct shots and angles before calling it a day.

Then there were moments that go unseen. Like the time the sound studio floor was covered in 4,287 Lego blocks. Oftentimes, the red curtain treatment is more than just an inside look at what goes on at the video suite. It can be used to pull the audience into M/C/C’s creative process. In this case, producers spent more than 30 hours meticulously putting together the Tower Bridge of London set to serve as a metaphor for an internal presentation. Instead of just showing the end result — a 2-foot-tall-by-3-foot-wide behemoth — the agency captured the entire build using a timelapse video treatment. Brick by brick.

The wow-factor achieved by the Lego project helped spawn the production and execution behind M/C/C’s multiple award-winning video, “Snow-motion; A Post-it Holiday.” Producers canvased the editing suite walls with sticky notes and other office supplies. The video became one of the most decorated projects in agency history.

But it’s not all bricks and Post-its. While the new space has its advantages, most M/C/C video projects take place outside the comforts of the production suite. Producers use the suite primarily for pre- and post-production needs, such as scripting, concepting, recording voiceover, editing, previewing and publishing. Maybe add Vine production to that list, too.

Things are going pretty swell right now. In the age of the new video suite, M/C/C video production accounted for 11 awards and accolades. The sound studio’s condenser microphone remains filled with warm voices providing narration for the latest client features. The video backdrops turn more frequently than a New England arboretum — changing from black-to-green-to-white and back again — depending upon the project needs. On the editing side, the 46-inch display and hi-def studio monitors entertain guests with sneak peeks of the finished video project. Below the desk, the Apple Mac Pro Tower roars with enough processing supremacy to churn out HD videos while powering a small village. And at the helm is one of the best collection of creatives an agency can put together.

And that about concludes the M/C/C Video Production Suite tour today. On your way out, stop by and visit a sampling of the agency’s finest video treats. And please feel free to grab an outdated computer monitor or box of random wires of your choosing.




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MCC creates the right mix of communications for today’s audience – from traditional advertising and public relations to highly interactive digital communications, engaging social media and powerful search engine optimization. With such a broad range of communication services, it’s easy to think of MCC as the big agency that does. With the passion of the little agency that could.

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