This month’s blog post includes a round-up from our team at GMS on various past and current projects. We hope you find these pieces educational and insightful – and maybe gives you a chuckle here and there.

How to Create Engaging Instructional Videos – Geff Zamor, Owner + Creative Director

As the owner of GMS Media, I’ve had the privilege of working with a variety of clients over the years. However, one project that stands out to me is the experience of filming safety videos at the Evraz Steel Mill in Oregon.

When we first received the call from the folks at Evraz, I knew that this was going to be a unique project. Safety is always a top priority for any industrial facility, and the stakes are especially high in the steel industry. Our team was excited to take on the challenge of creating engaging and informative videos that would help keep the employees at Evraz safe.

The first thing that struck me when we arrived at the mill was the sheer size of the place. I’ve worked on large-scale productions before, but nothing quite prepared me for the scale of Evraz. We were immediately struck by the incredible machinery, the deafening noise, and the intensity of the work being done there. It was both awe-inspiring and humbling to be in the midst of such an impressive operation.

Of course, with the excitement came the reality of the job at hand. Our team had to be hyper-aware of our surroundings at all times. We were given strict safety protocols to follow, and we had to be extremely careful not to get in the way of the employees working on the site.

Even the host of the safety videos had to be wearing full protective gear throughout the shoot.

Our goal was to create informative videos, but we couldn’t do that if we caused any disruption in the workflow. I was impressed by the level of focus and attention that the Evraz team displayed, and we did our best to match their professionalism and work ethic.

The first step in the process was to work closely with the Evraz safety team to understand the specific safety concerns that the videos needed to address. We went over the scripts and the storyboards with a fine-toothed comb, making sure that we were accurately representing the processes and procedures being used on site. Once we had a clear plan in place, we began filming.

We used a ‘Safety Sam’ dummy to illustrate some key safety concepts – like this shot before the truck would be smashed by a giant slab of steel.

The process of filming the safety videos was challenging, but also incredibly rewarding. We had to work around the noise and the machinery, finding creative ways to capture the shots we needed without disrupting the workflow. We used a variety of different camera angles and techniques, including time-lapse footage, slow-motion shots, and aerial drone footage.

Moments before the truck was flattened. We used multi-camera angles to capture this important moment that could not be replicated.

The result was a series of dynamic and engaging safety videos that effectively communicated important safety information to the Evraz employees.

The Evraz team was thrilled with the final result, and we were proud to have contributed to the safety culture at the mill. I think what struck me the most about this project was the sense of camaraderie that we felt with the Evraz team. We were all working towards the same goal – the safety and well-being of the employees. It was a reminder that no matter what industry we work in, we are all united in the effort to keep our workers safe.

In conclusion, filming safety videos at the Evraz Steel Mill was a challenging and rewarding experience. It was an opportunity for our team to stretch ourselves creatively and professionally, while also contributing to an important cause. I am grateful to the folks at Evraz for their trust in our team, and I look forward to seeing the positive impact that these safety videos will have on the safety culture at the mill.

Geff Zamor, Owner + Creative Director


Redefining Corporate Headshots + Portrait Photography – Gabe Lawler, DOP

At GMS Media and Advertising we offer a lot of media production services. We pride ourselves in the video productions that we put together for our clients, but did you know that we also offer excellent in-house photography services in our brand new studio space? Well now you do! 

Though we find ourselves the majority of the time on set working on video productions, we love our still photography work and with the new addition of our studio space, we are able to take our game to the next level! The client that I would like to highlight this month is Emily Du from Elavon Merchant Services. Let’s start off with a photo that I took of her and the work that got us to it.

Highlighting Emily Du’s personality with elegant shots that veered away from your standard corporate headshots.

Emily came to me looking to step up her online presence and wanted some photography work done. She was looking to get some corporate headshots done, but wanted to show her personality while also conveying that she is a professional in her field. She really highlighted that she wanted to stay away from “Super Corporate” and veer towards elegant, with personality. I took all of that information and started scanning the web for reference work that we could use as inspiration for her shoot. We finally landed on a similar setup to what you see above.

Now the reason why this shot came out so amazing is not because of the lighting setup and composition. It came from the energy that we bring on a shoot for our company. Behind the scenes we are almost having a full party in our new studio, bumping all sorts of fun music, passing jokes back and forth to one another, and just having fun. Our customer service is tailored to each client and at GMS Media, we are a house full of fun. Here is another behind the scenes still that I captured that really shows the fun that we had.

Having fun on camera and letting her personality shine through!

Emily had an amazing experience and her headshots are lights-out. We are at the early stages of dialing in our full potential for in-studio photography and we are having fun while we do it. Some people hate getting pictures of themselves, and trust me, I am one of them, that’s why I usually hold the camera. But at GMS we are here to make you leave our studio with the same smile that was captured while we took your picture. 

So if you really ask us why our photos stand out and turn out so well, it is not about the technicality of the photo, but the experience of the shoot itself.

We are excited to see what is to come in the near future with our in-studio photography shoots, and if you are interested in renting the space for your own photography project, you can rent out the space through our Peerspace account! 

Lastly, I leave you with a few photos from a recent shoot we did for our company where the GMS team got to have some fun of our own, off hours.

Teamwork makes the dream work!

Ready to have your headshots taken and want to learn more? Click here to get in touch and book your session!

Gabriel Lawler, Associate Creative Director + DOP


The Democratization of Entertainment + Weaving New Narratives – Emmy Wu, Senior Producer + Operations Manager

Over the years, I’ve worked on a LOT of film projects. Since 2003, I’ve worked on various projects from MGM and Disney feature films, episodic TV, and even coordinated 3 seasons of “The Real Housewives of Vancouver”.

While every project is different, most big projects we see on the big screen or in a commercial slot is the final product of many weeks, even months, of deliberation and back-and-forths between the studio and the production creatives – all pushing their own agenda and values.

I coordinated 2 seasons of Real Housewives of Vancouver and remember feeling proud to see this on a billboard.

Many of these blockbuster films and what TV  content are engineered by a very specific subset of people: wealthy, affluent white folk who are deeply embedded in the media industry. Only in recent years with the democratization of camera equipment, the widespread use of social media, and a growing understanding of systematic inequalities have more BIPOC voices come into the forefront.

And while this is no doubt still a work in progress, GMS Media is proud to be a part of the change.

We’ve always prided ourselves in telling stories that matter – especially the ones you may not have heard of before. To us, storytelling is a way of sharing knowledge, educating people, and hopefully, inspiring viewers to take action.

Recently, we’ve been working on a project called The Fab Lab With Crazy Aunt Lindsey (actual show title) created by host and youTuber Lindsey Murphy – our dynamic host who takes us on adventures to see, touch, experience the world, and science itself, in a different way – presented by OMSI, a collaboration 12 years in the making.

Traditionally, science has had very male-dominated, top-down approach with one “correct” answer. The Fab Lab is turning this paradigm on its head with an approach that values the experiences of EVERY voice. Instead of one right answer, there are many voices that can all contribute to our greater understanding of the topic at hand.

It’s shows like this that sparks conversations that make us question the world around us, and hopefully, also invites new ideas that make it better.

We cannot WAIT to share this project with you, so make sure to follow The Fab Lab HQ Instagram and GMS Media Instagram accounts to see all the latest sneak peaks and behind-the-scenes when we begin pre-launch in late March!

Emmy Wu, Senior Producer + Operations Manager


What our Klamath River Valley Shoot Taught Me – Jason Hooper, Producer + Creative Specialist

There are many reasons why I love working with GMS Media. GMS works with a variety of clients, the crew is talented and fun and we’re given creative freedom to complete our part of the project.

At the the beginning of every job I ask myself:

  • What will I see? 
  • Who will I meet? 
  • What will I learn? 

Some jobs are special because of the nature of the work. Others are special because of the adventure. This job had both. We would be traveling to Southern Oregon to meet farmers in the Klamath River Valley. 

A frame from the ‘Klamath Water Crisis’ project. Click on the image to be taken to the video.

Food is a primal need. There’s something magical about working on primal stories. For most of us, finding food is taken care of by a quick trip to the supermarket. I was excited to be meeting the farmers, exploring their land and experiencing what it takes to bring food from the ground to the table.

Our production office was the bottom floor of a working farmhouse. The atmosphere was inspiring. We would meet in the morning to confirm what we were shooting, head out to separate locations, then meet back at the office to share the footage and insights. It felt tribal. Primal. We relied on each other to gather the raw materials we needed to tell this story:

  • Video production
  • Still photography
  • Interviews

I was teamed with editor Ben Edwards and his dog, Luke. Ben is a master of his craft and a pleasure to be around. He’s insightful and happy to share his knowledge of building a story. Luke was pure joy. For the first portion of the shoot, the three of us explored the landscape with a drone. All cameras bring new perspective by framing the world the way the photographer sees it. The drone enhances the view by allowing us to explore a perspective we don’t normally have. 

The job reminded me that there is something special about filmmaking. You’re given access to restricted locations and the opportunity for magic happens. We were filming on a nature preserve, slowly flying over a waterway when a flock of birds flew right by the lens. It felt like the opening scene of an adventure movie.

Ben, Luke and I explored nearby towns as we interviewed the clients. We were invited into their world as they shared stories of what life has been like in Klamath.

On the last day, as we were capturing the final beauty shots of the farm, we were able to fly the drone so the client could see their land from the air. To see the beauty beyond the ground. These are the moments that stay with me.

I saw vast farmlands, food processing facilities, quiet towns and nature preserves.

I met people who’ve spent generations bringing food to our tables.

I learned about storytelling while I learned about the cycle from seed to harvest.

What I’m left with is the kindness of the people we met.

We are truly lucky to be able to do what we do.

Jason Hooper, Producer + Creative Specialist


Collaboration + Storytelling for Corporate Brands – Spencer Bonnell, Production Coordinator + Writer

Picture this: You’re recounting the events of your last weekend caper, wild dance party and all… Or maybe you’re reminiscing about that one time in middle school when your friends lip synced the Backstreet Boys in front of the whole school. Whatever the story, imagine you’re reaching its climax, and having carefully paced the events like an orchestra conductor, you’re ready to deliver that final punchline: the thing that makes your story not only make sense, but have purpose. 

But then tragedy strikes. Suddenly your mind goes blank, words fail you, everything falls apart and your story leaves your audience confused, not enthused.

Storytelling is an imperfect art form, and we’ve all had moments where our grasp of a narrative seems to slip away. I recently experienced this while editing a brand video for one of our clients. Holland Partner Group, a national real estate development firm, needed a video that spoke to their character, informed viewers of who they were, and lent credibility to their name.

We captured their video in their gorgeous brand new office space in Vancouver WA.

Storytelling is an ability central to my identity as a writer, but as a burgeoning editor, telling a story visually is still challenging. 

Aristotle said that there were only two types of stories that could be told. Kurt Vonnegut expanded this to six. I’d like to add a seventh, because both men failed to account for the corporate narrative.

On a surface level, video editing and writing are distinct skills. One is textual while the other is visual, but the process underlying the two is the same. Letters are to frames, what sequences are to sentences, and what a video is to a finished story. Smaller pieces are combined to create something greater than the sum of their parts. 

Teamwork and collaboration are core values to this company – which we had to showcase in a visually compelling way.

The challenge with editing is that your visual vocabulary is limited to what was filmed on set. The GMS team did an excellent job in capturing interviews with Holland executives, but I struggled to join their words into a coherent message. Sentences would overlap in content but not in connectable words. A perfect quote would present a perspicuous idea … only to be occluded by the sound of footsteps in the hallway outside.

I was stumped. I’d spent a whole day finnicking with footage, trying to get pieces to fit in unnatural ways, the timeline was a mess with the casualties of my haphazard splices, and my story felt more like a preschooler’s first attempt at a collage than anything close to a serviceable ad. Desperate, I unintentionally made the best decision of the day by turning to my coworkers for assistance. After a few minutes of carefully worded input, I was shown that there was a solid story nestled inside my slapdash timeline. A few pieces were missing, but I knew where to pull them. An hour later I had a rough edit, and a couple days later,  a finished video that I’m proud to put my name on.

The solution to my problem wasn’t purely technical. Knowing an extra shortcut or having the right plugin wasn’t going to fix the issues I was facing. It was a problem of my own design, unwittingly formulated and executed by me, myself, and I and it took a team of people to help me see that. 

In an industry populated with freelancers, I think we forget how much we can benefit from collaborating with others. As an editor there will always be technical challenges to overcome, new skills to learn, but I now know how important it is to have a team that will back you up when you need it most.

Spencer Bonnell, Production Coordinator + Writer