MarTechSeries: Interview with David Mason, CEO and Founder, StudioNow

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Tell us about your role and journey into technology. What made you start StudioNow?

I have been an entrepreneur for the past 25 years. Along the way, I have dabbled with having a normal job here or there, but always found that my passion was to create ideas and companies from scratch. My key ingredients have always been to identify a large-scale trend (internet retail, WiFi communications, digital video, etc.) and then create a new business model for that industry that utilized technology to disrupt the status quo. I started one of the first internet bookstores in 1994, which later became Buy.com, which was then sold to Rakuten. I started StudioNow in 2007 because I was taking a ton of birthday and vacation pictures of my five- and two-year-olds at the time and never got around to doing anything cool with that content. While thousands of these pictures and videos were clogging up my hard drive other and more experienced individuals with film school backgrounds and editing software were uploading funny and entertaining videos to YouTube and generating millions of views. My original idea was to create a marketplace where less experienced individuals (people like me) could be matched with video experts to turn their pictures and videos into something that was worth watching. StudioNow 1.0 was born and on the first day, we had about 80 video professionals sign up to be part of the StudioNow Creative Network. Fast forward to today, and we now have over 10,000 creative vendors from mom and pop creative shops to some of the largest, high-end production companies in the world. We stopped making video content for individuals in 2008 and our software platform now manages the video creation process (vendor sourcing, bidding, project management, contracting, payment, etc.) for some of the largest companies in the world, including Coca-Cola, P&G, HP, Bridgestone, etc.

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Environmentally Sustainable Practices in Video Production

Video and film production is an industry that has not traditionally been associated with efficiency and sustainability. Undoubtedly, pulling off a production takes a specialized team of professionals that manage every single detail from the budget for lens rentals down to who is providing the catering. Producers are often forced to deliver nothing short of a miracle with crunched timelines and conservative budgets. These common limitations can force producers and studios to cut costs and corners when needed, which often means eliminating environmentally sustainable practices.

Contrary to popular belief, being environmentally friendly does not have to be expensive. In fact, it could actually be more cost effective in the long run. Some major film studios such as 20th Century Fox, Sony Pictures, and Walt Disney Pictures, among others, have been finding new ways to sustainably and efficiently produce big budget films. During the making of “The Amazing Spider-Man 2,”  for example, Sony Pictures contracted Earth Angel, a company that provides sustainability consulting services, to oversee the management of energy use and resources during production. By donating nearly 50 tons of materials toward future productions and donating nearly 6,000 meals to local shelters, “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” achieved a 52% waste diversion rate, earned a carbon neutral certification, and saved an estimated $400,000.

Focus Feature drama, The Book of Henry directed by Colin Trevorrow, sought to be more environmentally friendly by renting hybrid cars for the crew. They also used cameras that require less energy and incorporated LED lighting into the production plan. Although these changes may seem minor, the overall cost savings and benefit to the environment were incredibly impactful. More and more production companies and studios are making a serious effort towards conservation and sustainability, but you don’t have to have deep pockets to contribute to the cause. Here are a few important tips for a more environmentally friendly film set and production process:

Pollute less. Opt for hybrid or electric cars for transportation for the crew

The Film/TV industry makes a large contribution to conventional air pollution and is responsible for 130,000 metric tons of pollutant emissions within Los Angeles alone.

Conserve resources. Use rechargeable batteries

Fun fact: Noah saved the use of 594 batteries and $645 by using rechargeable batteries.

Reuse plastic. Order reusable water bottles for the crew and set up 5 gallon water coolers on set

Americans throw out 38 billion empty water bottles a year. The average cost of using plastic bottle on set for 60 shooting days in film production is $11,000.

Donate items. Donate materials and wardrobes once you’ve wrapped

If you donate the entirety of a large studio, feature film wardrobe department’s non-hero clothing, the value of that donation would be $250,000.

Use LED light bulbs. Take advantage of energy efficient and highly versatile LED lighting

Companies now turn to different leaders in professional LED lighting, such as Brite Shot. Brite Shot recently saved the Radford staged in California $16,000 in monthly energy costs through LED lighting.

Go paperless. Use tablet, smart phones and laptops to distribute and review documents

Accessibility to tablets is becoming a practical alternative to paper, with companies saving by using tablets and laptops for scripts, documents and more.

Converting to sustainable practices shows a consistent net savings of thousands of dollars. Sustainable efforts in film production continue to make significant strides in the industry, with different success stories emerging from filmmakers. For an in depth look at the benefits and more examples of sustainable practices in video production, take a look at Going Green & Saving Green: A Cost-Benefit Analysis.

 

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Cameron Gray
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