It was an exciting challenge for the Hauff brothers to build out a large set and trolley system allowing for one continuous shot — a man waking up and moving through a bedroom, a bathroom, a closet and out the door.
Their efforts would pay off, winning them an advertising award for best in show at the state competition last week.
But walking into the Threefold office at the time of the video shoot, visitors were greeted by a replica of the front of a house that ate up the company’s space. It was that experience and wanting more like it that would lead to Threefold’s current office expansion in downtown Bismarck.
The video production company, co-founded by brothers Keenan and Caleb Hauff, aims to be moved into its additional office space, growing to 3,000 total square feet, in April.
The company has been at 212 W. Main Ave. for almost two years, taking up the southeast end of the building. Renting the southwest end of the former Gun Hut space will allow the brother to move their office, containing desks and a conference room, and use the entire southeast side for production and shooting.
Keenan Hauff said Threefold is one of just a few video production companies in town and in the state. Four full-time staff are employed there. Others are contracted on a project-by-project basis. There is hope of hiring another full-time producer in the spring and a social media intern in the summer.
The space also will allow them to host community events, such as a local movie night that appeals to the Bismarck-Mandan creative community. Out-of-state production crews have rented space there before, too, rather than work out of a hotel room for the couple weeks they’re here. The expansion will allow for more convenience at those times.
The Hauff brothers are self taught when it comes to video production. Caleb Hauff had gone to school for graphic design. But they’ve since carved it out as their niche.
Keenan Hauff said, so often, North Dakota companies were bringing in video production firms from Minneapolis and Denver. Opening their own shop gave clients a hometown option.
The Hauffs also knew they didn’t want to be an advertising agency offering a multitude of services.
“We wanted to do one thing and do it really well,” Keenan Hauff said.
It has paid off, with each project getting a little bit bigger.
The majority of the work the Hauffs and their team does is outside of Bismarck and outside the state, having worked in more than 20 states. But they’ve been able to put their Bismarck roots to work in the types of clients they attract.
Growing up here allows them to relate to agriculture and industrial companies better than an urban-based company might.
Threefold’s work is not for every company and does not fit every marketing budget. But moving to specialty companies rather than full-service agencies is a trend the company has seen catch on slowly in the past decade as technology changes in video production have made the service more complex.
“It’s not right for every project, but that centerpiece headline project, that’s where we want to be,” Keenan Hauff said.
The full set ad the Hauff’s recently shot was to promote ReQueue, a social animation tool built by CoSchedule for a social media marketing calendar application. In a behind-the-scenes video about the ad, CoSchedule Product Marketing Lead Athryn Nyhus said it gave them a “really cool concept” that helped humanize the animation tool.
At the Addy Awards this year, in addition to best of show, Threefold won nine other awards in the state competition. In 2016, it won a silver ADDY award in the regional competition.