Filmmaker Stephen Kraus On Doing it Yourself vs. Hiring A Professional When it Comes to Video Production

Pittsburgh Entrepreneur Stephen Kraus gives Me the 411 on why his services are not just needed but always in demand.

What inspired your company name?

The idea to name my company Anthem Video came to me almost randomly when I was making the 5-hour drive from Syracuse NY (my hometown) to Pittsburgh. I had been playing around with the idea of starting my own video production company, creating storytelling videos for businesses, and I started brainstorming words that I associated with storytelling. I ended up coming up with Anthem, and to me, it’s very fitting.

An anthem is a song that engages people and brings them together behind a cause, and that’s what I want to do with video: help businesses engage people with their story and cause. I’m also a musician so that association with music definitely solidified it as a name I could get behind.

What made you decide to set up a business in Pittsburgh versus Los Angeles or New York?

Pittsburgh is one of those unique places where a bootstrapped/low-key starving entrepreneur (such as myself) can actually feasibly start a business while managing to stay above water. Pittsburgh is home to a ton of diverse businesses and organizations, from Fortune 500’s, startups, to socially conscious non-profits.  My favorite part of what I do is the fact that I get to work with businesses (and budgets) of all sizes.

Having graduated recently from Pitt, and being exposed to so many impactful individuals here during my undergrad, it made perfect sense to set up shop here.

12909707_10208257213602024_6973389260645707908_o-2-1024×683If I may ask, how can you ensure a client that you can capture their visual through your visualization?

I think the best metric for future performance is past performance, so I tend to point potential clients to my portfolio so they can see my work. That being said, my philosophy tends to be that, I should be able to incorporate the client’s  vision, and their needs, independent of my own personal style.

What are the benefits of hiring a professional, such as yourself versus doing it on my own through an app or Youtube?

The truth is: hiring somebody like me shouldn’t be the only thing in between you and creating video content… almost everybody has the capability to be able to shoot and edit video on their iPhones. However, people are smart, they know the difference between a video shot on an iPhone, and one shot on a professional level video camera, with an editor who understands the nuances of crafting a storytelling video for you or your business.

The benefits of going with video professionals are that you get content with higher production quality, and when that’s combined with compelling creative and smart strategy, you get content that can help you grow your business.

What sets you apart from other videographers?

What sets me apart is two things. One, I understand businesses. I studied business in school, I keep up to date in the industry, I own and operate my own business, and it’s those things that help me better understand the needs and goals of businesses looking to create video content.

Two, I’m agile. I am a one-man team, I do the pre-production, shoot, edit, and even help clients with tying in video content into their larger strategy. Being lean allows me to get really hands on with the clients I work with, getting to know their businesses better than other media professionals, and working with (not for) businesses and organizations here in Pittsburgh.


What would be your ideal project and why?

I would love to work on a feature-length documentary about coffee.  I don’t know why, it just sounds like it’d be a ton of fun, really aesthetically cool to produce, plus, well, free coffee probably.

IMG_0554Have you ever produced your own project? If so, where can I view it?
I’ve produced a good amount of short films and business storytelling videos that you can check out on my website.

Here are two I’m especially proud of. My Disney ABC Promo Video and Moments.

Outside of yourself, whose video production work do you admire and why?

One of my mentors, Keith Parish of Parish Digital, is a straight up wizard when it comes to understanding how to combine storytelling with business strategy, and he’s always finding new ways to innovate with making video production accessible here in Pittsburgh. You can also check out his new self-guided media studio, StudioME  that’ll be opening up in East Liberty in the next few months.

Crisp Video out of Atlanta is another innovative video marketing company, great work being done there.  In terms of filmmakers go, I’m a huge Paul Thomas Anderson Fan!!

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