Tavern of Tales: Discovery to Production

Boston video production agency, Skillman Video Group, recently worked with a brand-new board game cafe on Mission Hill, Tavern of Tales. This shoot is a great example of our creativity, adaptability, and passion for what we do. Tavern of Tales discovered us, and we are thrilled that they did. 

This was our first time creating a marketing video for a restaurant. Upon first contact with our client, we realized they were very detail-oriented, so we sent a comprehensive, fifteen page proposal for their review! Through the initial hard-work we showed our client, we learned they needed someone to help them tell their story and value proposition through narrative and b-roll. We were able to deliver.

Discovery: New Terrain

We sat down with Tavern of Tales for a Discovery meeting and quickly realized no one is doing it quite like them. We learned the ins and outs of their business, their target audience, and what makes them unique. Once we had a better understanding of the unique experience they offer, there was a good amount of back and forth about the exact style both parties felt was best to portray this new business. We decided that artistic storytelling was going to be a large part of communicating their value proposition.

Strategy: It’s All in the Detailsshooting interview

In the Strategy phase, we locked down the key themes Tavern of Tales wanted to convey. Our client wanted to communicate to young professionals that they provide VIP service to customers for an immersive, easy to play, and story-driven game experience in Boston. Tavern of Tales wanted us to film on their media day. They gave us a detailed list of the shots they wanted and who they wanted us to interview in order to convey their key messages. They decided that they wanted us to interview young influencers who were coming to the cafe to enjoy the experience for the first time. We helped smooth out their ideas and made them come to life.

Creative/Concept: Work Hard, Play Hard

This project was a fun challenge. As we were shooting a live event at a restaurant, brand restrictions were lifted and we had more creative freedom. With this freedom came a lot of planning on how to visually reinforce their key themes with cameras and crew. We discussed using a top of the line camera for the shoot, as well as anamorphic lenses, which shoot a very widescreen picture to improve image quality. Our Director of Photography (DP), Matt, had a MoVI, which is a stabilized camera system that straps onto someone’s body to capture more versatile movements. This system was especially helpful in shooting interviewcapturing shots that looked straight down on board game tables. 

Shooting a live event also meant we were going to be working in a busy, tight, and low-light environment that we did not have a lot of control over. So, we had to find a middle ground between getting the shots we needed without taking away from the event itself. To do that, we needed the smallest crew possible. We decided against bringing a lighting crew, but did need an audio operator to help combat the loud soundscape of the event.

Planning/Pre-Production: Lights, Camera, Action

The Planning/Pre-Production stage involved renting the proper equipment and coordinating crew members. Matt, our DP, went to Tavern of Tales ahead of time to survey the area so we knew exactly what we were working with. Because the location is packed tightly on Mission Hill, a fair amount of coordination for travel and parking took place. This is essential to make sure our production day runs smoothly!

Production: Go with the Flow

Once we arrived at Tavern of Tales for our full-day shoot, we kept in mind that we did not have a lot of Tavern of Tales interviewcontrol over the environment, like we usually do. We adopted a “go with the flow” mindset and alternated between shooting interviews and b-roll. A major part of this was interviewing college-aged influencers who were invited to the event. Although they had no prior contact or coaching from us, they said exactly what was needed in order to portray Tavern of Tales’s core values. This was both remarkable and unusual for us! Our client was so detailed on what they wanted from all parties, that they got everything they needed.

Again, because we had more creative freedom than usual for this shoot, we took b-roll in ultra slow motion for dramatic effect. We also staged shots to tell the story of a customer coming into the cafe. Overall, the shoot was seamless because of the intense and detailed planning phases that took place. Our client’s ideas were crystal clear, and Boston video production company, Skillman Video Group, was able to help them pull it off.

The next and final step for us is the Editing & Finishing process. During this stage, our raw footage is creatively combined into an entertaining marketing video about the immersive Tavern of Tales experience.