VIDEO: Coffee House Promo Video (as a Movie Theater Commercial)

Your movie theater probably runs commercials as pre-roll before the films begin. Sometimes the commercials are national/regional; a few may be local.

If you've watched a movie at the Lincoln Theater 4 in the past month, you've seen a 57-second commercial for By the Bean coffee shop--also in Lincoln.

David Lanterman, who owns both the theater and By the Bean, sells advertising for the theater's pre-roll commercials. David and I were chatting one day and he mentioned he wants to show more commercials but he doesn't do video production. Since he doesn't offer video production, it's a tougher pitch to business owners.

I suggested, though, that we create a promo for By the Bean and show it in the theater so local business owners could get a sense for what their commercials could look like. David decided to give it a try and the video above (also linked here) was the result.

Before we could shoot, we needed a concept, a script, and a cast.

David offered some ideas as did David Williams who manages the coffee shop. I worked with Britney Flora, a junior business administration major at Lincoln Christian University to help refine some concepts. Our favorite concept, a "Forrest Gump" parody, turned out to be David Lanterman's favorite as well. So that's what we went with.

Britney and I worked up a script and shared it with my friend Tom Sowers. Tom's been doing video production at LCU and as a freelancer for years, so he was a natural go-to expert for the technical production details. On the day of the shoot, Tom handled audio for us.

We also needed to recruit a cast. My friend Emmary Roemer (who I photographed earlier this year) grew up singing and doing theater, so I asked if she and her husband Aaron would be interested in playing a part. She gave me an emphatic "yes!" (and volunteered Aaron). LCU student Ben Dial plays the "Forrest" role in the promo.

When it came time to shoot, we filmed on-site both at the theater and the coffee shop. Ambient audio gave us some challenges: Lincoln Theater 4 and By the Bean both sit on a busy street, so we had to time our dialogue between cars and trucks going past. And the coffee shop scene was filmed during business hours, so there's more background noise than I'd like. In the final production, though, I don't think it's too distracting.

Once we had the filming done, I edited the video in Final Cut Pro, added a background music bed, and mixed the audio. After a rough cut or two, however, Britney and I felt we were missing an important piece to close the story. We made arrangements for Ben to come back and filmed the last scene that you see at the end of the video. Those couple of seconds gave us the conclusion we wanted.

Since the video has been playing, several friends in the community have mentioned that they've enjoyed seeing it. And a couple business owners have expressed interest in making commercials of their own. Good news for both me and the theater.

Huge thanks to David Lanterman, David Williams, their staff at both the theater and the coffee shop, Emmary, Aaron, Ben, Tom, and Britney.

Technical notes: The video was filmed with a Panasonic GH3 camera and Lumix 12-35 and 35-100mm lenses. Scenes were lit with an ALZO Digital Pan-L-Lite kit and audio was recorded with a Sennheiser shotgun mic.