Archive for the ‘Pittsburgh ad agencies’ Category

How do you like them apple boxes? – the on-set unifier in video production

Tuesday, June 2nd, 2015

What’s in our name? an apple box? What is an apple box anyway?

To those of us in the video production industry, an “apple box” isn’t just something your new iphone 6 or mini ipad comes in. The humble apple box is a standard piece of video production equipment that serves several different purposes on set. This wooden box is often considered a great unifier on set and a core concept among our company, Apple Box Studios.

Apple Box - a video production essential

For our new friends, one of Apple Box Studios’ specialties is full-service video production, hence the related name. Here at The Box you can find many apple boxes lying around paying homage to its unlimited functions.

applebox what it is

As a full service ad agency and video production company, you can be sure to find these wooden boxes on each one of our shoots as well as around our office. They come in handy as seats for our director, as support for equipment, they assist with light stands staying level, they keep dollys flat on a steep slope, get rigged to a ladder to hold a camera high up and are even used to trick the camera into thinking talent is taller than they actually are.

If you’re a Modern Family fan, actress Sarah Hyland often uses this trick. See her Instagram post below from just a few days ago.

Actress, Sarah Highland uses apple box to trick the camera into thinking she's a tad bit taller

If you’ve ever been on set, you might have taken a squat on an apple box (although, we don’t encourage our crew to take regular box squat’s, unless they are the camera operator), but did you know there are all kinds of different sizes and names for these wooden boxes?

Sarah Hyland, above, isn’t just giving her box a cute nickname, “get me a few pancakes” is actually a call you’re likely to hear on set.

Apple boxes in the “action” department

Apple boxes in the camera department are most obviously used to elevate the camera anywhere from a few inches to a few feet depending on how many are stacked, the specific size and side you choose to use. One tip we’d give is also using camera wedges – they are smart to help level the camera for times when the boxes are not as stable as they could be.

Camera operators and camera assistants (ACs for short) as well as directors of photography (DPs) heavily use apple boxes as seats. These people aren’t lazy, the boxes provide support and stabilization and are used to hit subjects at a certain angle or height.

If you’re on set, a third common use of these boxes is for resting the camera on them in handheld situations.

If you’re a 2nd AC, it’s usually appreciated and more time efficient to have an apple box on standby for the 1st AC to rest the camera on in between takes. Cameras and attached equipment are heavy, no operator wants to keep lifting them from the ground all the way onto their shoulders.

Of course there are a million more different uses for apple boxes – just stop by our office and you’ll be surprised, but many of them are unique to certain situations.

Sizes, names and types 

Apple boxes come in a variety of sizes:

  • Full Apple (8″ x 20″ x 12″)
  • Half Apple (4″ x 20″ x 12″)
  • Quarter Apple (2″ x 20″ x 12″)
  • Pancake (or Eighth Apple) (1″ x 20″ x 12″)

The different sizes are designed to be modular so two half apples would be the same size as a full apple box or two quarters would be the same as one half apple.

Different sizes and types of Apple Boxes used in video production

Did you know about these fancy positions?

An apple box can be placed in one of three positions, New York, Los Angeles, or Texas/Chicago position. The New York position refers to The Big Apple’s tall skyscrapers and sits on the box’s shortest side making it the tallest position. The Los Angeles position, however, is when the box is at its lowest, or when it rests flat on the floor. Finally, the Texas or Chicago position is when the box is resting on its longest side, sitting at a medium height.

Have some free time on your hands and want to see an apple box in action? Check it out here.

We’re always impressed with the creative ways grips, production assistants and different crew members use apple boxes. They are practical, serve several purposes, time and cost effective, come in different sizes and shapes, are unifying and often serve as great solutions. For all these reasons and more, the humble apple box was chosen for our company name years and years ago – it’s where it all began for our Pittsburgh video production and ad agency. It’s still a core concept for us today.

How do you use apple boxes on set? Any tips or stories? We’d love to hear them. Share your apple box experiences or fun facts with us on our Facebook or Twitter page!

An Ad Agency Year In Review

Monday, January 19th, 2015

2014 was an amazing year for Apple Box Studios. here are a few of the highlights:

We expanded our team and welcomed Andrea Short, Client Services Manager, Molly Fallone, Social Media Manager, Caitlyn Depp, Inside Sales Representative and Sam Eisen, Copywriter Proofreader as the latest Apple Box Studios additions. And, more importantly, a new mascot: Chicko…Director of Cuteness.

We are excited about the addition of some new clients this past year including: DCK Worldwide, NearShore Technology, Visit Milwaukee and Rinovum.

In summer 2014, we continued to support our charity-of-choice, Parkinson Foundation of Western Pennsylvania. The Apple Box Team joined forces with friends, family and community members to increase awareness and raise money for the Parkinson Foundation. The fundraising also included an annual Moving Day walk. More than $3 million was raised in 2014, (a $1 million increase) and we are proud and excited to have been apart of it.

We had a video go viral. It wasn’t quite a Kim-Kardashian take-over, but the Mighty. Beautiful Pittsburgh spot for Visit Pittsburgh, produced by Apple Box Studios had a surge of 100K+ video views spanning a little over one week. The video was featured in a blog post from in early November with the title: “If You’re From Pittsburgh, This Will Be The Most Jaw-Dropping Thing You See Today. Hands Down”. The blog received almost 540K hits and spread through social media. Along with our friends at VisitPittsburgh, we were beyond excited to see the video go viral and generate so much Pittsburgh spirit and buzz.

We expanded our social media reach. You can now find us on, Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube, Google+, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and SlideShare! We post content daily on industry tips, trends, inside news and other goodies! Check us out with a /appleboxstudios.

And to top off the year, we ended with a Christmas party for the ages that included stops at some of our favorite Pittsburgh places like the Pittsburgh winery, Meat and Potatoes and Club Cavo in our hood – the Strip!

Thank you to our friends, clients and creative partners for another wonderful year and your loyal friendship. Looking forward to all 2015 has in store for the Apple Box Studios team.


RFP advice from the front lines

Monday, December 15th, 2014

Requests for proposals (RFP)s. They bear a striking resemblance to awkward older relatives you haven’t seen “since you were in diapers”. You love them because, hey, who doesn’t love the opportunity to gain more business/new clients? But they also have a way of making you feel slightly frustrated and a tiny bit inadequate … yeah that’s the right word. But if we’re smart, we relish their potential opportunities because, who knows, they may even leave you that gorgeous brooch when they finally kick … I mean you could possibly gain a new client, is what I meant.

Anyway in my completely humble opinion these 5 tips can help anyone get through the “cheek pinches” of RFPs:

1.)   Take advantage of the opportunities to ask questions

  1. Now, I’ve only been assisting with these for a couple of weeks, but what I’ve noticed about these puppies is this: no one edits these documents at all. If someone did, there would be so much less hair pulled out around the office, I can guarantee it. Therefore, if something is confusing you to the point of baldness, RFPS generously allow bidders to send in questions. It’s just like you’re back in school: if you have a question just raise your hand.

2.)   Read, re-read and re-read again … and one more time just to be sure

  1. Like I stated previously, it is obvious that a third party never reads the actual RFP document before it goes out making the whole process such a headache. So read the whole thing like 10 times until it makes sense to you. Do what you need to do: highlight, underline or draw boxes around things etc. Just make sure when you begin compiling and writing, everything makes sense to you, and, what doesn’t, you can save for questions.

3.)   Make a statement … add your company’s personality where you can

  1. It’s easy to get bogged down when you’re reading an RFP, and you just see paragraphs and paragraphs of bizarrely worded text. But don’t forget, you are trying to get noticed among a sea of other applicants vying for the same bait. Don’t hesitate to be fun and add some color and possibly images. Think outside the box. There are many different ways to represent text: a chart, a graph, a diagram … think about it.

4.)   Go ahead and be selective

  1. Being open-minded about RFPs is just good business sense because they have the potential to bring in more money … and we like money. But if you truly want to call yourself an integrated marketing company you have to make sure the RFP you’re responding to meshes with your company. Research the company or institution that is putting out the RFP and make sure your values and mission statement match up with theirs. If there is some discrepancy, it might be a difficult partnership down the road if you are selected. You want everything to be seamless and make sure that whatever you’re working on expresses one cohesive message for your client and also for yourself.

5.)   Deadlines are gospel … don’t mess around

  1. When an RFP states a due date, pay attention. If you’re a person or a company that is good at procrastinating … well good luck. Again just get things in on time. It’s courteous to those on the RFP committee, even though they drove you crazy with inane writing. And yes, current clients and projects need to take precedence over prospective clients, but if that happens too often you’ll find yourself missing out on some incredible opportunities.

Good luck everyone!

Video Content Take Over

Friday, November 21st, 2014

Today, we see time and again the endless stats and advice from industry specialists about the growing popularity and need to not only produce video, but to produce good video content. Why? Screens are getting smaller. People are getting harder to engage. Not to mention, always on the move. And lets not forget the platforms people are using or think are “cool” at one moment, changes almost as fast as the speed of light. What does this mean for marketers trying to reach these unsatisfied and out of reach consumers? It means making content fit for mobile, versatile across platforms, engaging and sharable. Translation? Producing high quality video content (emphasis on the content).

We live in an age of information overload. Consumers are surrounded by constant hits of information and ads. It is thus vital to offer content that is easy to digest and content that is highly engaging. If not, consumers will simply move on. The video platform achieves this very well. You know that famous, old saying – a picture paints 1000 words? Well, I’m no mathematician, but that makes a one-minute video worth at least 1.5 billion words or so. Visual content is naturally engaging. If done right, you only need a few seconds to pull the viewer in and hold them long enough to leave an impression or better, make them want to share it (which, by the way is only a click away).

Lets talk reach. When it comes to potential reach with this form of content, video is matchless. Looking at YouTube, YouTube receives more than one billion unique visitors every month and more than one billion regular weekly users worldwide. This is more than any other channel (besides Facebook). Apart from YouTube, the number of visual content platforms is growing today faster than ever. Platforms like Instagram, Vine and Snapchat significantly add to videos being viewed more than four billion times a day and shared more than 50,000,000 a day. Name another form of content that can do that.

With such big numbers, comes the big question – is video production really possible, effective or even worth the investment for all businesses? Absolutely. Many years ago, there was no way of getting around high video production cost commitments. Today, there are more flexible options when it comes to video production. There are many more applications and platforms available today that are not only free to use, but are also very laid back and easy to work with. In fact, raw video content is becoming extremely popular. Platforms like vine and six second twitter clips or even snap chat videos are proving positive to be successful video marketing strategies. Raw, short clips are perfect for engaging millennials with their short attention spans and constant information heavy lifestyles. This style of video also makes great sharable content. Who doesn’t have six seconds anyway?

Ok, at this point I know what you’re thinking. Great reach, totally sharable, very effective…what’s the catch? The catch is coming up with great content. Even my 82-year-old grandmother can figure out how to make a vine (and that’s not a hit towards my grandmother), but in order to have success with video you need to get creative. A saying I recently read from the Guardian puts it perfectly – “creativity wins over the cost of production every time.”

My point is that everyone has a story to tell. It’s about finding that story, making it unique and relevant to your audience. Get that part right…or hire someone or a video production firm who can do it for you, and the video will be your content marketing. In that case, the cost of video production, big or small, will be well worth it.

Mighty Beautiful Pittsburgh Video Goes Viral

Thursday, November 13th, 2014

Created by Apple Box Studios for VisitPittsburgh, the Pittsburgh. Mighty. Beautiful. tourism presentation went viral last week. Featuring aerial footage of the Steel City, the video showcases Pittsburgh like you’ve never seen her before.

Movoto Real Estate, a realty blog and online guide were the ones who lit the spark on November 3. In their blog post titled “If You’re From Pittsburgh, This Will Be The Most Jaw-Dropping Thing You See Today. Hands Down,” Movoto embedded the 3 minute VisitPittsburgh presentation, which has been taking off on social media sites like Twitter and Facebook over the last eight days with 94K+ likes and shares. Today, the original Movoto blog post has reached more than 469K views and is still climbing.

The Apple Box Studios team is grateful and excited to see the tourism piece spreading, but we must admit – Pittsburgh makes it easy to make such a mighty beautiful video. Although next time, as the video’s many comments have repeatedly stressed, the 6-time Super Bowl Champs, the Steelers, just better get some prime aerial coverage too. 😉

Go ahead, one more view ain’t gonna hurt ya! Click here.

Apple Box Welcomes Four New Hires

Wednesday, November 12th, 2014

We are excited to announce the four latest additions to our Apple Box Studios team: Andrea Short, Molly Fallone, Caitlyn Depp, and Sam Eisen.

Andrea Short, Client Services Manager, provides administrative, financial, project management and business development support.

Molly Fallone, our new Social Media Manager, manages social media marketing, planning, writing, execution and reporting for clients, as well as Apple Box Studios.

Caitlyn Depp, Inside Sales Representative, is responsible for lead generation, marketing and business acquisition. Here she comes.

Sam Eisen is our newest Copywriter Proofreader. Sam joins Apple Box Studios as a preferred freelance partner providing creative copy writing, technical writing, social media content and proofreading services.

If the opportunity presents itself, I hope you will take a moment to welcome Andrea, Molly, Caitlyn and Sam into the Pittsburgh marketing community.

My First Week at the Box

Friday, October 17th, 2014

Apple. Box. Apple Box.

And no … I’m not talking about a box of apples. I am speaking of a device chiefly used in the film industry to raise equipment and to gain a higher perspective. Wikipedia (o so graciously!) reminds you to not confuse them ordinary crates or boxes.

But, as I glance around the “straight-out-of-an-episode-of-Mad-Men” office, I find myself surrounded not by apple boxes, but unique individuals that make up the kind and friendly staff here at Apple Box Studios. From my first day on the job, the entire team has been wonderfully welcoming.  The air is filled with a sharp and bold creative spirit that might have something to do with copies of their incredible print work that populate the walls of the entire office. I know they say you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but you should definitely judge an ad agency by the caliber of its work that line the walls of its office (at this place, you can barely see the walls and it’s very top-notch).

However, like their website proclaims, they are more than just “pretty pictures”. As much as they are creative and enjoy creating, they are a group serious about getting their clients’ voice out in the public. It does the company no good to display their content proudly for the new employee to gawk at—here at Apple Box they have higher standards than that. They have figured out the perfect way to balance superbly creative messages with precise production management and it seems to be working out pretty well for them (in my completely un-biased opinion).

Needless to say my first week at Apple Box Studios has been excellent. From the one-of-a-kind atmosphere that could make even the most left-brained person write an epic poem to the ease of communicating with an awesome staff by calling out the name “Dan” or “Mike”, I feel very at home.

It is definitely a comfort to know that the walls that make up my work place are so much more than an office: they are an incubator of hard-workers and creators. A place where people strive to take that extra mile and discover different ideas and perspectives. So scratch that previous statement.

I feel very at box.

Apple Box.

Apple Box Studios.

My Summer at the Box

Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014

When I signed up for a summer internship with Apple Box Studios I thought I would learn which agency role or department I best fit for success. Instead, I learned that value and growth will come from hyperconnectivity as well as hyperdeveloped talent. Let me explain. My name is Molly Fallone. I’m a senior at Duquesne University studying Web Development and Integrated Marketing, and I just spent the last three months interning with Apple Box Studios.

Throughout my college career, I’ve considered myself more of a hybrid marketing and design student fascinated by the art of video production. Although this path has had me a little confused as to which Duquesne department I belong in, it made me feel right at home at Apple Box. Not only does Apple Box design and develop communication tools, programs and advertising campaigns, it also offers video production, social media and branding services. All of which, I had the opportunity to embrace.

I was excited, but nervous when I started at the Box, because I have zero to no agency experience. However, the nerves were quick to go away as the team welcomed me with smiles, my own desk (and phone!), a content marketing project (one of my new fav topics), as well as blueprinting assignments. As my first few weeks rolled on, I quickly noticed the speedier pace of agency life – something I hadn’t been used to in my other internships. I also found with such a pace, problem solving and collaboration are crucial and constant. I felt lucky however, to learn from the team how to turn problems into opportunities for creating strong products and happy clients.

As I grew more confident and the team placed more assignments on my plate, I took on benchmarking assignments and even participated in a branding and identity project for a new client. The design student inside me was inspired and fascinated as I followed Dan Brettholle, through his Art Director’s process on delivering the product. I got to experience first-hand how benchmarking is an essential step in understanding the client’s tastes and exact needs. But the cool thing was, I noticed times when the client was actually unsure of what they really wanted, but through sessions, the team was able to fill in those pieces for them. It reminded me of the great line Steve Jobs once said, “people don’t know what they want until you show it to them.”

I’m grateful I had the opportunity to jump inside the Apple Box this summer. Working and learning from the team was a rewarding, exciting and inspiring experience. It made me realize it’s ok to be interested in all aspects of marketing, design and production. In fact, most of the Apple Box team is just that. This professional culture makes for a passionate, collaborative team with hyperdeveloped talent.

Thank you team Apple Box, for making it a great summer at the Box and for feeding and fueling my hybrid marketing and production taste buds.

Joining the Team!

Monday, January 13th, 2014

Well let’s see where to begin. I am now into my second month here at Apple Box Studios and so far, it has been an amazing experience. It has been about 2 years since I have had to visit an office setting everyday, I worked freelance for the last two years and I called my home and car, my office. But needless to say, this transition has been smooth and everyone has been very welcoming. The crew is incredibly friendly and very willing to answer all my off-the-wall questions. It is great to work with a team that is incredibly creative and receptive to each others input. I come from a very eclectic background: catering, event planning, sales, cigar aficionado and concierge. I’ve lived all across the country from Ohio to Florida, Las Vegas to Pittsburgh. Landing in the steel city 7 years ago, I immediately knew this is where I was going to “hang my hat.” As a die-hard Steelers, Pens and Pirate fan, it just seemed natural to begin a life as a Yinzer.

My career paths may have changed but I have always been into business relationships and sales. To grow a business you have to have the right person for the job. This person needs to have gusto’, no-holds- barred attitude and tons of charisma. Not sure why they hired me? But if you won’t tell, I won’t.

With any sales job you have to believe in the product, love the product, use the product and eat-sleep-dream the product. My first sign that I knew I was in the right spot came while at the gym, I spotted a few ad spots on the TV above and just started to wander who developed those, how did they come up with it and so on. I would have normally never given a second thought to the development of an ad spot on TV. This started a snowball effect; I started noticing brands, ads, video spots, logos and thinking who did this and why.  My career in advertising was born!

I was born to help people, to be around people. I hate to wait around… I want action, I want to talk to people, learn their needs and wants and help them achieve their goals. Bringing customers and consumers together is my passion.  In a nut shell, I am pleased and thrilled to be here.

7 Realities of Social Media that will change in 6 months

Friday, September 17th, 2010

We’ve been thinking a lot about measurement lately at Applebox Studios. Not only measuring our efforts as an ad agency in Pittsburgh, but also our social media efforts, as well as our marketing initiatives and how it all plays out into today’s economy and it utlimately affects you, the consumer. Thus, we came up with a couple of absolutes that for now, make sense to us.

  • Social media measurement will adapt with the changing of external markets and it‚Äôs influencers.
  • The rules of engaging the consumer and marketing to that consumer are changing at light speed with the advantage shifting towards the consumer.
  • Social media engagement should be measured differently in tough economic times.
  • The tone of marketing and social media marketing is changing.
  • Consumer expectations of social media will not change during¬† the current economic woes because they haven‚Äôt set any precedents yet.
  • The importance of social media optimization and SEO has never been larger.
  • Social nets have a better chance to thrive now, more than they did at this point last year.