Roots Family History is a longtime Boise company that has always been about preserving, well, family history. Usually that means restoring old photos, digitizing those old home VHS tapes, or selling conservation frames, but now they are expanding their brand and breaking into a whole new facet of the family history industry — gaming. When embarking on the journey of self-discovery, we often forget about the resources we still have in our loved ones. A lot of Mom and Dad’s stories weren’t captured on camera; we have to hear it from the horse’s mouth. That’s why Roots has developed a new game, designed to bring the family together and learn about Mom and Dad, or Grandpa and Grandma. Pando is an interactive game where the heads of the family read questions from cards about their history. Each correct answer earns the player its corresponding card, although it’s not so much about winning as it is about accessing the family history right in front of us.
Pando creator and Roots CEO Thomas Watson came to us with the game and some ideas about the video that would promote it on Kickstarter. What was great about working with Thomas is that he understood what he had. When you look at Kickstarter’s game section, you’ll find a ton of fancy looking video games and intricate board games. Pando is a box of cards. Right away we all recognized the need to personify Pando, causing it to stand out through the familial ties and emotional reactions it invokes.
The shoot was broken into three parts: he voice over from Thomas, which he wrote himself, Pando game night with a larger family, and the Pando team in the lab building the game. We wanted to shoot everything with prime lenses around f/2. Shooting at such a shallow depth of field gives the footage a more personal feel, as well as a nostalgic glow.
In the final video, Thomas’s voice over is very prominent, but we wanted to have good underlying nat sound to go with it. It may not be obvious in a first watch, but the subtle sounds of family laughter and card shuffling make their way into the viewer’s subconscious and increase the chance of them connecting with the product. Normally I would just run a video mic pro from the camera to get nat sound, but for this project we had Jessie run a boom to get really high quality sound.
The light was drastically different in our two locations. For the family scenes, we used hot tungsten lights to match and enhance the light we had; this felt more natural since the house was lit with incandescent light. At Trailhead, we used smaller LED’s to splash light here and there, creating more dramatic shadows. We shot at night, re-creating the long hours the Pando team worked to develop the game. We even included the pizza we ordered into a shot, to add to the “late night grind” feel. Check out the full Pando video below.
Two days of shooting followed by some edit time and boom, Pando launched on Kickstarter. As of today, Roots has raised over $17,000 of their $25,000 goal. What I really love about this campaign is that you aren’t just contributing money for a pat on the back; you’re buying the game! The more you donate, the more cards and questions you get. So if you would like to get your very own Pando game and help Roots hit their campaign goal, visit their Kickstarter page at the link HERE.