Panel: A Look into the Future
FLOW opened up with a panel discussion moderated by Brian Guidry, Pixelz, with Giulia Zen from Amazon, Jennie Rapson from John Lewis, and Louise Balmford, formerly with Net-a-porter and Zalando. The panel discussed current challenges they have been facing and then looked into the future to try and predict which trends were here to stay and what are passing fads.
Here are a few of our key takeaways from the panel:
Doing More with Less
Whether it's being asked to keep budgets low or create more content with the same budget, the panel agrees that the challenges for 2023 will be about doing more with less. As demand for more and different content types increases, set up your physical studio and team to be agile and versatile.
Trends for 2023
- Video becoming used more
- Automation for pre-production
- Expectation to do more with less
Fads (what may come and go)
- Web3 and the metaverse - it’s yet to be established if it’s here to stay or not
- Also, automation!
- New tech. Be cautious about spending time and money on new tools that may not be needed
How is the panel feeling about 2023?
- Optimistic and excited
- Creativity never dies
- Certainly uncertain
Optimizing Studio Technology in 2023
Mateusz Zablocki from Boozt shared how he approaches optimizing his studio with a developers mindset. He walked everyone through the main principles of a coder that can help you clean up your processes and streamline your work.
The coder's principles:
Do not repeat yourself:
- Audit your processes
- Be transparent and clear
You ain’t gonna need it:
- Remove the things you don’t need
- Don’t be afraid to let your customers tell you isn’t working
Keep it simple stupid:
- Simple = scalable
- Simplify UI and UX
Panel: Sustainability in Creative Industries
Katrine Rasmussen from Pixelz moderated this panel with Velua Frost from Copenhagen Cartel, a brand using innovative materials in order to help protect and regenerate the ocean, and Marina Muñoz from Alohas, an on-demand sustainable fashion brand. Here are our key takeaways:
We are all on a learning curve
Sustainability practices are new to many people. Take the time to educate yourself, your team, and even your customers.
Use resources well and plan ahead
Start with small sustainable wins such as planning a photoshoot to coincide with other events. Or plan ahead to do only a few shoots a year. Planning can help you get the most out of your resources. For example, if you need props for a shoot, think about how else they can be utilized in your studio rather than buying for one-time use. It’s also an economic win!
Post-Production that Flows
Carlos Pérez Rullán from Pixelz got us in the mood to flow! He dove into the lean methodology and how to start automating different parts of your creative operation workflows. Here are our key takeaways:
Automation isn’t Enough
Including automation in your workflow may only amplify the problems you are currently facing. Starting with a lean methodology can help you optimize before you start automating.
Communicate to Collaborate
To successfully automate and go lean, the different teams involved need full transparency and understanding about how and why changes to the workflow are being made.
Automate What you Can
AI and automation will accelerate other skills in your workforce. So automate the tasks and skills that are ideal for automation and let the human workforce focus on what they are good at.
The Continued Evolution of the PDP
Who better to discuss PDP than Carlos Leon from Mango? He discussed how the product detail pages have evolved and the nuances of product vs. images. Here are our key takeaways:
The New PDP
The product detail page has evolved for many to be more than a way just to sell the product. It’s now meant to inspire, influence, create an experience and communicate the brand identity.
Image vs. Product
With the evolution of the PDP, the balance between selling an image versus selling a product has to be carefully maintained. By staying true to the intention of the product and providing accurate descriptions for the customers, the product can still be in focus.
Photo Studio Evolution
The photo studio must also evolve to accommodate new content for the PDP. Including multidisciplinary talent in the studio can help achieve the content you need for an evolved PDP.
How to Double Studio Production and Stay on Budget
In this fireside chat, Kevin Boutwell from Pixelz interviewed Ekaterina Sokolova from Babyshop Group. Ekaterina shared what it takes to step in and manage new teams while increasing production and staying on budget.
Understanding the Individual
Be interested in the way your team works as individuals. You’ll end up finding new areas of opportunity and improvement.
Scale with Technology
Automating certain parts of the studio, such as renaming or photography machines, can allow you to scale up and down when needed.
Don’t be afraid of finding mistakes. That’s where you’ll find areas to optimize and automate. Automation is less likely to be making those same mistakes.
Creating Inclusive Narratives
Clair Carter-Ginn from Forecast Agency hosted this fireside chat with Tracey Woods from The Luupe. They discussed the steps we can take to foster more diverse and inclusive narratives in creative industries, including:
It Starts at the Top
Diverse voices are needed at the top to ensure that different narratives and points of view are included in the content created. This means both in front of and behind the camera.
Mentorship and Community
Fostering community through mentorships, networking, and events is a key to helping give young and diverse talent a voice and exposure to more opportunities.
Nothing can change overnight, and conversations around diversity and inclusion need to keep happening. Ask questions and keep exposing yourself to new perspectives.
No Product, No Problem: A Fully Digital Workflow
We ended the day with a look at what the future might hold with Sébastien Eskenazi from Pixelz and Wojciech Kropdilowski from THG Studios. This dynamic duo pushes how we think about content production with a fully digital workflow. Here are our key takeaways:
Mind the Gap
The critical question to ask when it comes to CGI is - How real does an image need to be for your customers? Can a digitally created image of the product answer all your customers' questions about what the product would look like, feel like, and fit like?
Push your Creativity
One of the benefits of using CGI is pushing your creativity to places it couldn’t go before. While the product remains the same with CGI, you can explore the setting, background, and styling in new ways.
Why aren’t we fully Digital?
First of all, the technology is still very new! Specialists need to be trained to make CGI more accessible, and there needs to be buy-in from stakeholders before we start to see CGI becoming more common.