Recap | Video for Designers with Mike Esser

You can’t have a great video without a great story. That’s one of the key takeaways from the November AIGA Homegrown event: Video for Designers. Our speaker, Mike Esser (Team Leader of Red Hat Digital Media & Video), told a stand-room-only crowd how good storytelling is essential to creating a great video. Mike began by taking us along with him as he detailed key events in his career including work on the very high profile video anti-tobacco campaigns produced by a group called truth. He explained that his career become more focused when he realized how powerful the video is because of its ability to tell a strong underlying story that connects with viewers.

He also gave us a quick overview of the inroads video has made—from an industry with a very high cost of entry to one that virtually anyone with an iPhone can join. Mike explained how YouTube has played a major role in the growth of video. In a single day there is more programming on YouTube than was created for the first few years of TV by the “big three” networks. Every minute, 48 hours of video are uploaded, resulting in over 3 billion of views in 2010. Almost everyone has a video recorder at their fingertips (hello, iPhone 3S and above!). Long gone are the days of pricey cameras and film. You can get started for about $1,000. There’s nothing preventing anyone from competing with the best video producer. And that’s where designers come in. Just because anyone can do it, doesn’t mean you should, or that you’ll do it well.

Mike explained how Red Hat works with designers and content creators:

  • Storytelling – Help your clients imagine the possibilities. Bring the assets to life through motion design
  • Integrating Designers – Define guidelines: Type, color, style, music that conveys the brand. Go from storyboards to style boards. Mike showed how Red Hat incorporated their designs in their Red Hat North America Partner Conference 2011.*
  • Have fun and love what you do – Mike showed us outtakes from the video he created for this event. (

He also did a quick analysis of Starbucks on the use of video on their homepage.

  • Displaying video front-and-center makes you want to click.
  • Fish-eye lens/depth of field creates visual interest
  • Realism works. They used employee roasters. It feels like you can smell the coffee. Looks like they soaked the film in coffee.
  • They brought their package design elements into the video

AIGA Raleigh thanks Mike Esser of Red Hat for stopping by and sharing his video expertise with the AIGA Homegrown Lunch & Learn community.

Connect with Mike on twitter @mikeesser

View other AIGA Homegrown Events and videos (

By Maura McDonald
Published November 14, 2011