Evolve Blog

AVA Digital Awards - Evolve Media

AVA Digital Awards - Evolve Media

Evolve has been recognized with two 2019 digital campaign Gold Winners from the AVA Awards for our client CBIZ.

AVA Digital Awards is an international competition that recognizes excellence by creative professionals responsible for the planning, concept, design and production of digital communication.

Watch one of the CBIZ digital AVA Gold Winners here.

CBIZ is an emerging B2B brand in the enterprise financial & consulting sector. This award-winning brand story was set in an elevator, where a prospective C-Level client interacts with a CBIZ executive.

On a 30-second ride, the compelling CBIZ “elevator pitch” unfolds. (Notice how much “story” is packed into a mere half-minute).

Words with Friends Live

Words with Friends Live

Zynga selected Evolve Media to produce the daily Words With Friends Live event showcasing a team of witty hosts, supported by a collection of top tier comedy writers from such programs as The Daily Show, James Corden’s Late Late Show and the Tonight Show. Evolve built the studio and equipped it, hired the talent and production crew, and manages it all as the production company. Check out the video here.



WAS_Final_breakouts3_4We recently wrapped the pilot episode of our new docudrama, Without A Scalpel.  It is a sixty-minute 12 episode broadcast series with a large accompanying digital strategy.  Each episode follows three to four patients and their doctors through ground breaking procedures that heal and transform their lives.  Astonishingly, many times these patients are able to leave the hospital with just a band-aid.  Click here to watch episode #1




Camera Angles and Framing

When thinking about your storyboard or shot list for either a corporate, commercial or feature project you need to remember that every single shot should support the tone and mood of your piece.  There are many different ways you can use your camera to help tell your story whether it’s through distance, angle, movements or frame composition.

Getting your intended message across depends on every detail of your project. Each creative choice you make should be motivated by your intended message.

Outside of these tools there are also basic rules every filmmaker should follow while creating a shot list or story board. One of the most important rules being the 180 degree rule which definitely deserves it’s own post. For now, we’ll touch on just a few basic camera choices you can use to enhance mood and emotion. Your will be beautiful while also supporting the overall objective of the project at a higher level.


It’s important to not only vary your shot size i.e CU, M, MCU etc. but to also think about the effects of using different angles. Try moving away from eye-level to create different moods, you should choose each angle for a reason because in film the choice is always deliberate.

If you want to give your subject or product some importance you can try shooting from below with the camera facing upwards. This makes your subject appear bigger and gives the subtle feeling of courage or strength.  Crouch down below the subject, hold the camera above your head, climb stairs or use a tall tripod or ladder.  Also, low angles can give your subjects a sinister look if exaggerated a bit, this works well to designate her/him as an antagonist or villain.

On the other hand, you can step up on a chair or ladder for a high angle shot.  This can lend totally different character traits and make the subject seem vulnerable or weak.


If movement makes sense, you may need a Steadicam or a slider to limit the inherent shakiness, unless you’re working on a project in which the unsettling feeling that handheld movement gives makes sense, like The Blair Witch Project for example. If you’re interested in this handheld approach and you’d like to learn more about it I’d suggest looking into the filmmaking movement Dogme 95 in which the style is completely hand held and without tools or special effects.

Here we’ll talk about more traditional camera movements. Sometimes, a bit of a slow camera movement can add more to a locked scene. The best way to get this effect is to use a slider while following the action or movement.

If you have the ability to move in and drop down on a subject with a crane shot, for example, the viewer will feel like they’re entering the character’s space or mind frame. If you start close and then pull away, the viewer will get a feeling of how vulnerable the character is or how large the obstacle he/she is facing is. This is also a great way to reveal an unexpected surrounding.

A quick push-in will have a shocking effect, whereas a slow dolly-in creates tension and brings the viewer in closer to the character’s inner state. You can also dolly or tilt to reveal a change of facial expression mid-shot or to introduce a product.


You can also convey mood and emotion to the audience through the distance you place between the subject and the camera. Close-ups (CUs) are mainly used to show a character express emotion or communicate because they allow viewers to form a close attachment to the subject.  You can also use wide shots to establish space. A wide shot is commonly used in the beginning of a scene or video to establish location.

You can also use changes in distance, mid-shot, to tell the audience something about your characters and/or their relationships. A long shot can establish a context or sense of place in the same way a wide shot can. Repeated use of long shots in a scene tends to stress setting over character.

The most commonly used is the medium shot (MS). It creates a balance between character and setting and usually emphasizes a character’s upper-body, arms, and head. The medium shot is a general, all-purpose shot.

Frame Composition and Background

We run into background choices a lot in corporate video production and sometimes this choice can make or break your production. Most filmmakers choose to go with a subtly colored background to reduce distractions, in this case, and while that approach has some merit, with some thought and effort, your backgrounds can be used as a tool.

Your background should give the viewer information about your subject or product.

Even the tiniest of clues, which may not say much to the viewer at first, can help to beef up your characters and the viewers’ understanding of them as you continue to tell your story.

You can also use symmetry in your framing, or the lack thereof, to clue the viewer in on the mood or context of the scene. Many filmmakers adhere to the basic rule of thirds, which suggests splitting the frame into three vertical and three horizontal sections and then placing subjects or other important elements at the intersections.

The bottom line is, you need to make informed decisions when it comes to the camerawork on your film or video projects and, in order to do that, you need to have a firm understanding of the effects that different compositions, distances, angles, movements, etc., will have on your audience.

These details can be overlooked and effect the quality of your project and if used incorrectly, they can detract from the message you’re trying to convey.


Evolve Media just got back from LA where we produced a series of commercials with Alyson Hannigan and Jockey’s Skimmies.  The four humorous spots were directed by Glenn Clements (Daily Show, Jay Leno Show). The series features Alyson Hannigan running to the rescue of women with embarrassing wardrobe malfunctions armed with a pair of SkimmiesYou can read more about the campaign here at #SavedBySkimmies.

Our new clients, New York-based ad agency Laird + Partners, hired us to get in there and produce the series. We got the call and shot the project fifteen days later. Alyson Hannigan is hilarious, she made our job easy. The Evolve producers on the ground in LA were Marc Solomon, Marc Levy and Michael Mattes. Come behind the scenes to watch Evolve and Alyson Hannigan hard at work!

The team had a lot of fun shooting this commercial in Los Angeles. We cast the talent, except for Alyson and we’re really happy with the outcome. Casting last minute can be a daunting task without enough time to really sift through your best options for the project. Our talented team made sure we had solid talent to work with and Alyson Hannigan was a great lead.

Our Emmy-nominated editor, Guy Hardingbrought the series to completion. Take a look at our behind the scene photos here and click below to watch each 30-second spot:


Jockeys Skimmies

The Friction Afflication

Jockeys Skimmies

The Flash Cycle

Jockeys Skimmies

The Shake Down

Jockeys Skimmies

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Free Storyboard Templates for Filmmaking Projects

Wether you are trying to share your vision with your crew or a client it is always best to storyboard your script out in an organized template.

There is really no better way to portray the details of your shots than through a storyboard. While there are other important steps to take in planning your shots and production day, like creating a shot list or a detailed script, we believe a storyboard definitely has it’s place.

There are a few different ways to utilize a storyboard.

What is a storyboard?

A lot of the time a storyboard will have most of the information a cinematographer would need to shoot a specific shot. You can tell a document is a storyboard by identifying the squares on the page, these squares will contain your vision for each specific shot. In some big budget features there is a whole team of people working to create the most insanely detailed and stunning drawings to fill their storyboards. These can help to inspire the whole filmmaking process from the very beginning. In smaller production projects you can use stock photos to portray the framing information for your Director of Photography (DP), Cinematographer, Gaffer or set designer. Or if you feel confident in your stick figure drawing skills you can create the stills yourself. There is also the option to hire a specialized storyboard artist for your project and depending on budget and scope you can get a really great artist to help you visualize your story. You can expect to pay anywhere from 30.00-100.00 an hour for your artist, you can choose to illustrate your story in color or black and white. Below are a few examples:

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In addition to these squares, storyboards often have important camera information like which lens to use, stabilization preferences, and a lighting diagram. Depending on the size and scope of your video project, a storyboard can be as simple as a collection of squares with scene numbers, or as advanced as a highly detailed diagram of the entire production layout. There are a few different templates out there, some more detailed than others. Below you can find a few places where you can get a free download of different storyboard templates if you want to create one on your own: 

Basic Thumbnail Template

Vertical Storyboard Template

2D or 3D Animation Template

Taking the time to hire a professional, high-quality voice over actor bumps your video’s production value up a few notches while also keeping the integrity of your script. The VO artist carries the tone and brings emotion to your story.

Here is a step by step guideline on how to search for your voice over artist.

What you’ll need to know before you start your search:

1. Lock in your script.

2. Do a word count of your script.

3. Pick a short paragraph for the prospective artists to read.

4. Figure out where will your video air.

5. Set your rate.

6.  What kind of audio file will you need?


It’s important to know all of the answers to these questions before you reach out to any voice over artist.  These are all questions he or she will ask and if you’re prepared the artist will trust you know what you’re doing and be happy to work with you.

Then, access www.voices.com. Once you are signed up for voices.com:

1. Use the advanced search option to search a specific tone and category.

2. Reach out to 2-4 artists that match your criteria, you can Google search their name and reach them directly or you can rely on the voices.com team to take care of it for you. 

3. Set your rate, deadline and number of reads you expect for that rate. 

4. Schedule a phone call with the artist to do their first recording with you on the phone. This way you can give any direction necessary. 


Once you’re signed up for voices.com you can choose to use their integrated payment system or you can reach out to the artist directly.  Whichever you decide to do is up to you, but the latter provides you with direct communication which can be very helpful if you have a tight deadline.

If you have a budget you need to work within, then directly reaching out to the artist is the best way to make sure you are within your range. If you create a job posting within voices.com you will be given each artist’s bid without any negotiations. Choosing 2-4 artists that match your criteria is the best way to get what you need. Availability can be an issue as well as a budget constraint.

Once you’ve locked in your artist you are ready to get recording. If the script is relatively long, be sure to break the read up into scenes so you have more control over the tone and speed of the read. If you know what you want your VO to sound like, the rest should be a piece of cake.

Standard Non-Union Industry Rates:


Business and Corporate

00 to 05 minutes – $100-250

06 to 15 minutes – $250-500

16 to 30 minutes- $500-750

31 to 45 minutes- $750-1000

45 to 60 min. – $1000-1250

60 to 75 min. – $1250-1500

75 to 90 min. – $1500-1750

90 to 120 min. – $1750-2000

120+ min. – Request A Quote


Telephone System Recordings

00 to 05 minutes – $100-250

06 to 15 minutes – $250-500

16 to 30 minutes – $500-750

31 to 45 minutes – $750-1000

45 to 60 min. – $1000-1250

60 to 75 min. – $1250-1500

75 to 90 min. – $1500-1750

90 to 120 min. – $1750-2000

120+ min. – Request A Quote


Internet Audio

00 to 05 minutes – $100-250

06 to 15 minutes – $250-500

16 to 30 minutes – $500-750

31 to 45 minutes – $750-1000

45 to 60 min. – $1000-1250

60 to 75 min. – $1250-1500

75 to 90 min. – $1500-1750

90 to 120 min. – $1750-2000

120+ min. – Request A Quote


 Radio Commercials

Radio Commercial : Local:15, :30 or :60 – $200

Radio Commercial : Regional:15, :30 or :60 – $300

Radio Commercial : National Network:15, :30 or :60 -$1000

Radio Station Promotion / Station Imaging / Tags:05, :15 or :30 – $200

Public Service Announcement on Radio:15, :30 or :60 -$200

Television Commercials

Television Commercial : Local:15, :30 or :60 – $300

Television Commercial : Regional:15, :30 or :60 – $500

Television Commercial : National Network:15, :30 or :60 – $2000

Television Station Promotion / Station Imaging / Tags



Fiction and Non-Fiction Audiobook Recordings

Price per finished hour: $250-$500

Have more than 1 book?Request Quote

Educational Videos and Training Videos

Non-Broadcast Educational Recordings

1 Hour recording session – 250-500

Each additional hour – 100

60 + minutes (finished audio)Request Quote

 Narration for Documentaries

00 to 05 minutes – $100-250

06 to 15 minutes – $250-500

16 to 30 minutes – $500-750

31 to 45 minutes – $750-1000

45 to 60 min. – $1000-1250

60 to 75 min. – $1250-1500

75 to 90 min. – $1500-1750

90 to 120 min. – $1750-2000

120+ min. – Request A Quote

Video Games

Console Games, iPhone Games, iPad Games, Android Games

00 to 05 minutes – $100-250

06 to 15 minutes – $250-500

16 to 30 minutes – $500-750

31 to 45 minutes – $750-1000

45 to 60 min. – $1000-1250

60 to 75 min. – $1250-1500

75 to 90 min. – $1500-1750

90 to 120 min. – $1750-2000

120+ min. – Request A Quote

Memory After Belsen Q&A

Shiva Kumar, senior producer for Evolve Media in NY recently directed and edited a feature length documentary titled Memory After Belsen. This film was written and produced by Shiva’s long time documentary production partner, Joshua M. Greene and executive produced by Henri Lustiger Thaler. Memory After Belsen premiered at the Museum of Jewish Heritage in New York on Nov. 20th to commemorate the approaching 70th anniversary of the liberation of the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp.

The film follows the granddaughter of a survivor as she discovers the reality of her grandmother’s concentration camp experience. Her journey to Bergen-Belsen serves as a springboard for exploring issues of memory. Voices of leading scholars and educators contribute to this unique program on the future of Holocaust memory and how it is portrayed in contemporary culture through film, the arts, human rights initiatives and education.

Evolve Media and Clayton Douglas collaborated with Kumar on the look and feel of the film and provided key visual effects to enhance the mainstream appeal of Memory After Belsen.  Memory After Belsen has been accepted by Discovery Education for distribution to classrooms nationwide.  Evolve Media is currently working on negotiating distribution rights for the film for national and International release. The Huffington Post wrote about the film and touches on the subject of remembering the Holocaust after the survivors are gone.

Check out the trailer for a peek into the documentary.

A trailer for the Origins project highlighting New York's founders

Origins Project Trailor – New York’s Founders

Evolve has partnered up with Origins in New York to help create a series of projections, holograms and light sculptures of New York’s founders. Check out this Origins Project Trailer – New York’s FoundersThe Founder’s life stories will be projected around Battery Park on buildings, fences, walls, airshafts, trees and the Hudson River. Accompanied by lively recordings based on the experiences of the early settlers, Origins will provide visitors with a dynamic step back in time to the beginnings of New Amsterdam/New York.

Meet some of New York’s (or New Amsterdam’s as it was called until 1664) early settlers:

American Indians – the original settlers of ‘Mannahatta’, or ‘Manahatouh’ in the Munsee language:  ‘the place where we get bows’

Henry Hudson – (England) who dropped anchor in NY Harbor early September 1609 with his ship ‘Halve Maen’ (Half Moon)

Jan Rodrigues – (Dominican Republic) New York’s first non-native American settler

Asser Levy – (Poland or Germany) Jewish activist, merchant and a successful mediator

Manuel – (West coast of Africa) survivor of a public hanging, one of the first freed slaves in New York and a farmer on what is now Washington Square

AdriaenVan der Donck – (Dutch Republic) lawyer, landowner and activist, whose nickname ‘Jonker’ lives on in the name of the city of Yonkers

Griet Reyniers – (Dutch Republic) New Amsterdam’s infamous prostitute, wife of the Moroccan pirate Anthony van Salee

Petrus Stuyvesant – (Dutch Republic) New Amsterdam’s one-legged, powerful and last Governor

Margaretha van Varick – (Dutch Republic) a 17th century businesswoman

Jacob Leisler – (Germany) an influential business- and political figure who was pardoned shortly after being executed by the British.

Please contact us if you know of other historic characters who should be immortalized. Through their life-stories Origins Project Trailer – New York’s Founders celebrates New York, the amazing  and diverse City of Opportunity.

From Sept. – Dec. of 2015 every night, from 7:00 pm to midnight, Battery Park will be transformed into a living open-air light exhibition. Visitors will come face to face with some of New York’s first settlers. Through their life stories we celebrate New York, originally called New Amsterdam, the enlightened and diverse city of opportunity. If you want a preview of this awesome project, check out this Origins Project Trailer – New York’s Founders video Shiva Kumar directed.

For more information on the enlightened Origins sponsor and partner benefits contact Evelyn Ellis or Gerard Jongerius.

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Making the Whiteboard Video Format Entertaining

If integrating multiple business systems and navigating the cloud and on-premise hardware sounds daunting to you, you’re not alone. Success Factors came to Evolve to produce a series of Whiteboard videos. Their script ideas were complex and hard to grasp.

Making the Whiteboard Video Format Entertaining

When SuccessFactors approached Evolve to produce a series of Whiteboard videos, we challenged ourselves to develop a fresh take on the format that would be educational as well as entertaining. We worked with our team to add dynamic movement to almost every hand drawn scene, creating a form of magic in every piece of the video. The goal was to demystify the integration process and educate potential customers on the benefits that SuccessFactors and SAP can offer with this process. In the end, we were able to do that and more. Their audience truly “Got It” and we were able to make a complex message one of ease and simplicity while making the whiteboard video format entertaining. SuccessFactors now has a video they can be proud of while also informing potential customers of the benefits to using their product.

If you are interested in creating a whiteboard video to tell your story, idea or business concept you’ve come to the right place. Evolve has experience in working with many different companies and we are always looking to challenge our storytelling skills. If you think your concept could benefit from this format, check out our other work. Take a look at our website for our various takes on this format. We are experts at making the whiteboard video format entertaining. Contact us and speak to one of our producers, we always make sure to answer any questions as quick as we can. You can fill out our contact form and expect a same day response. We are looking forward to working with you. Thanks for stopping by and checking out our blog!