It’s not unusual at Crisp Video Group for a client to request all the raw
footage after a shoot. But what happens when their client requests it
years afterward? This was exactly the situation Crisp found itself in
when a client asked for all their raw footage three years after video
production was completed and before Crisp upgraded to a new
production server. Remembering that their old server’s backup solution
had failed for several months before the transition, Mike McMullan,
director of production, crossed his fingers, took a deep breath, and
began to search...
For successful creative agencies, there's
no such thing as “former” clients. Learn
how Crisp cultivates its video marketing
clients for the long-term by keeping all
content, including raw footage, backed
up during production and archived once
the program is complete.
Softening up the Tough Guy Lawyer Persona
In the four and a half years since Mike started working at Crisp Video Group, much has changed.
The agency started out as a general video production house, earning awards for their work with
Coca-Cola, Red Bull, Verizon, and other local businesses. However, they saw that creative agencies
that specialized in a particular market were among the most successful. So they made the strategic
decision to focus on a market niche where there was an aching need.
Surprisingly enough, the market they found with the greatest need was lawyers. Through video marketing, they
could elevate a law firm’s practice well above their competition.
After working with attorneys in the Atlanta area, telling their stories like
they had for other clients, Crisp Video quickly learned that they got much
better results when they broke away from the stereotypical tough guy
lawyer persona and humanized their clients by showing their kindness
and their connection to the community. Crisp Video focuses on their
client’s unique value proposition and builds complete marketing
campaigns around that, centering the campaigns around the video.
Today, legal professionals who work with Crisp Video typically double or
triple their revenue after the engagement — sometimes within just six
months —as the video campaigns help them consistently attract and retain
"We’ve become a big enough
player in our market that clients
come back to shoot more, and
want all their old content back,
even if it’s been years."
- Mike McMullan, Crisp Video
Planning for Unreasonable Growth
Crisp Video has the same goal for themselves as for their clients — pushing fast,
consistent growth at what some might consider an unreasonable pace. Since their
founding seven years ago, they have expanded in virtually every facet of their
business. Their own unreasonable growth has translated directly to a huge
increase in the volume of client content they manage, requiring infrastructure that
can scale quickly and effortlessly.
Crisp Video had only three editors when Mike came
aboard, but their production server was maxing out with
50 terabytes of client content. Mike was tasked with
finding a new server that was better tuned for video
production and integrated with cloud storage for backup
and archive. And it couldn’t be too expensive. They didn’t
want to limit what they archived or impose capacity quotas
on their clients. Finally, Mike wanted “set it and forget it”
backup automation so that he could focus on creating
content and supporting clients, not managing storage.
Mike and his team chose Studio Network Solutions for
their production server, and planned to continue backing
up to Amazon S3 cloud storage like they had with their
existing server. But when Mike was preparing for the server
transition, he checked in on the S3 backup data and
discovered that backups hadn’t run for 109 days. He
scrambled to recover content deleted from the server,
pulling what he could out of its recycle bin.
"We wanted to be sure our cloud storage
would be a good long-term fit, not just jump
over to a new provider and see how it goes."
- Mike McMullan, Crisp Video
Rather than simply fixing what caused the backups to fail,
Mike started investigating alternatives and found Backblaze.
Pricing out their 50 terabytes with Amazon S3, Microsoft
Azure, Google, and other cloud storage providers, they
calculated Backblaze B2 Cloud Storage would cost four
figures, while every other solution would cost well over five
figures. Doing the math for 100 TB and beyond — they
were planning for unreasonable growth, after all — they
found the cost for storing data not only dramatically lower
with B2, but the retrieval costs were dramatically lower as
well. Working directly with the Backblaze team, Mike
learned B2 offered everything they needed in a cloud
provider at a price that would allow them to continue to
save all content from their clients, indefinitely.
Rolling Out the New Server with Backblaze B2
Crisp Video’s transition to Backblaze was coordinated with
the rollout of their new production server and the move to
a new office space. They wrapped up the workday on
Friday and put everything in a moving truck with the
nail-biting goal of having everything in place come
Monday, including backups.
They unpacked in the new office on Saturday, started
moving data from the old server to the SNS server, and
configured it for cloud backup. For backup software they
had chosen qBackup, setting it up so that each file share
on the server backs up to a designated B2 bucket.
"I'm a huge advocate for the platforms that
we can set up and forget about. With Backblaze, we set up backups for the new shares
on our server and it’s good to go. We don’t
ever worry about losing anything."
- Mike McMullan, Crisp Video
Backing up the project files was straightforward. Backing up
the raw footage required more planning, given it was 40
terabytes of the total 50 terabytes on their server. Mike
considered ordering a Backblaze Fireball to speed the
transfer, but in the end decided their 300 Mbps fiber
internet connection was fast enough. Come Monday
morning, their editors were in their new office working off
the new SNS production server. And Monday night, all the
work they did on Monday was successfully backed up to B2.
Organizing Content for Bigger Operations
Fast forward three years and Crisp Video has grown to
50 employees, with their 14 editors amassing nearly
500 terabytes of client content. And they’re prepared
to manage even more by becoming more organized. In
the early days, they assumed the editor who worked on
a project would be the only one working on it. They
didn’t even have a naming convention, much less asset
management. Now they’re using SNS ShareBrower File
& Asset Manager for tagging and managing metadata,
and for searching the archived content.
Their backup and archive strategy is straightforward:
everything, including raw footage, is backed up to B2
cloud storage. When a video marketing program is
completed, its project files are archived to B2 through
the SNS Asset Manager. Associated raw footage is
simply deleted from the production server and the
backup copies in B2 become the archive.
"We're actually able to retain clients longer
because we preserve all their content,
including every clip from every day that we
were in production."
- Mike McMullan, Crisp Video
Fast Growth Leads to Game Changing Success
Just as importantly, the agency’s storage costs haven’t
skyrocketed, even as the volume of content they manage
has grown by a factor of 10. And there’s no end to Crisp’s
business growth in sight. In 2018, founder and CEO Michael
Mogill published The Game Changing Attorney, a book on
best practices for marketing legal firms. They’ve completed
their second annual Crisp Game Changers Summit, where
they unveiled how the agency grew their business 1158% in
three years, and showed the law firm owners in the
audience how they could do the same in their firms.
As for that client who requested his raw footage from years
before? Mike is pleased to report they’re still a client.
Although their video had been shot when Crisp Video was
still in their old office, the files had been migrated properly
during the big move. Mike found the folder, restored the
files from B2, and shipped them over to the happy client.
After all, with successful creative agencies, there's no such
thing as "former" clients. Crisp Video’s business has
flourished because they remain dedicated to customer
service for all their clients, not just the ones with active
video marketing campaigns.
About Crisp Video Group
Crisp Video Group is a national video marketing and video production
company that helps companies get noticed, enhance their brand, and
grow their business. Consistently recognized as Atlanta's Top 100 Fastest
Growing Companies every year from 2016 to 2019, Atlanta's Best Places
to Work and in the Top 20% of the Inc. 5000, Crisp has been identified as
one of the nation's fastest-growing providers of video services. Crisp has
worked with a variety of industry-leading brands and businesses, tailoring
their concept and execution to the needs of each project. Simply put,
Crisp produces slick videos that clients love and customers share.
Backblaze B2 Cloud Storage has become the cloud storage
of choice for content creators by offering extreme levels of
content protection and instant availability at one-fourth the
cost of the largest cloud storage solution. At only $5 per
terabyte per month of content stored, creatives can finally
get all of their content into a truly active archive, streamline
their production workflows, and phase out expensive,
hard-to-manage tape and disk archive systems.