Founded in 2018, KANVID is one of China's largest independent visual content creation studios. To date, KANVID provides everything from model to product photography, video, live streaming, post-production, 3D product rendering, and more. We talked to KANVID’s General Manager, Theodore O’Mahony, about overcoming unique challenges when creating content for the Chinese market, shortening customers’ lead times, and scaling the studio with a hybrid setup.
From in-house e-commerce productions to campaign shoots on location
‘KAN’ is the Chinese word ‘to see’, ‘VID’ stands for visual identity: ‘That’s what we do. We help brands and retailers to realize their visual identity,’ says Theodore. Born out of the need for high-quality product content, the studio team shoots over 500 items weekly, ranging from e-commerce stills and videos to campaign imagery on location. During peak periods in the run-up to major holidays or shopping events such as Christmas, Chinese New Year, Black Friday, or Single’s Day, the studio hits close to 700 products per week. Starting out with shooting apparel stills, the team quickly expanded to capturing furniture, electronics, and seasonal items: ‘we can shoot nearly every product, from a diamond ring to an eight-person tent.’ Customers range from Kmart Australia over Abercrombie & Fitch to Zegna and Sweaty Betty, covering high street brands and luxury fashion alike.
When entering the Chinese market, international brands face unique challenges
‘What international brands think is enough is not enough for the Chinese market,’ Theodore points out. ‘Brands new to the Chinese market often overlook the allegedly small things that have never been thought of before.’ These issues significantly impact online sales, from expanding the scope of their style guides to include content requirements for China to confirming simple ‘on brand’ fonts and typefaces for Chinese characters visible in photo and video content.
One of the main challenges is creating content that is on brand globally while still meeting Chinese consumers’ expectations and e-commerce platforms’ requirements. Online marketplaces like Tmall, JD, and the WeChat ecosystem set the tone for e-commerce content required to launch products on their platforms. The current standard is having at least ten images per SKU instead of the three to four that international brands are often used to. On top of that, a product video for each item is a must. ‘Having Profoto Live and Eclipse has allowed us to produce affordable, high-quality video content at scale for brands launching in the Chinese market,’ says Theodore. ‘Brands who don’t follow the content requirements will find that they’re not prioritized in search results, so they’re incentivized to improve their content continuously.’ Theodore concludes: ‘China definitely continues to lead the way in the sheer amount and variety of content offered to customers.’
KANVID uses Profoto e-commerce solutions to help customers conquer the market
As a content specialist, KANVID’s priority is to deliver the highest quality on-brand visuals for global markets or localized for the Chinese market. The team started with testing one set of Profoto lights leading to great customer feedback: ‘after receiving positive comments from our clients, we decided to move completely to using Profoto in the studio.’ Working with Profoto e-commerce solutions, the studio team can meet the high production standards of international brands and retailers: ‘using Profoto light shaping tools, we manage to deliver the same content quality for every brand.’ Theodore continues, ‘even if we have a new photographer join our team, the lighting and camera angles have been stored on the system. Meaning there is one less variable to possibly cause the delivered asset not to be on brand.’
Shorter lead times
The first and most frequent problem KANVID has helped international customers overcome has been shortening their lead times. By moving content upstream and having suppliers send samples directly to the Shanghai studio, KANVID has helped brands cut their time to market to just a few days. Using our automated tools, the studio team can quickly create content: ‘the reason for purchasing five Profoto StyleShoots machines is their great, easy-to-navigate user interface and the limited amount of downtime we’ve had with the machines.’ Theodore continues by pointing out the reliability of the systems: ‘They are built so well and use such great quality parts that they very rarely cause our clients or us any headaches. And when there is an occasional hiccup, customer support kicks in and solves most problems extremely quickly. So for lack of a better expression, it’s simply ‘the peace of mind’ that Profoto continues to give my clients and me. The solutions do exactly what they’re designed to do and do it consistently well.’
Scaling the studio with an automated and modular studio setup
Working with a mix of automated and modular solutions, Theodore and his team quickly scaled the studio. After its founding date in 2018, KANVID quickly moved to a larger space one year later. Since then, the studio has doubled in size and is looking to expand to three additional studios by the end of 2022. To date, KANVID features five automated solutions for repetitive product content: two Verticals for mannequin shots, one Horizontal for flat lays, one Live for model photos and videos, and one Eclipse for photos and videos of accessories and smaller items. A modular setup of Profoto B1X and D2 flashes combined with different light shaping tools offers perfect flexibility and mobility for shoots on-site or in the studio. Combining automated and modular solutions enables Theodore and his team to cover a wide variety of content: ‘from e-commerce to campaign content – we can cater to all budgets and briefs.