April Farm News Member Profile: Definition Films

Written By: Brytann Busick
Published: April 1, 2020

Have you noticed our new video content featuring local farmers and ranchers on our website and social media platforms? If not, go check out the impressive videos that were shot, edited, and produced by the local video production company Definition Films who traveled up and down Sonoma County and in and out of pastures to capture the beauty, integrity, and heritage of local agriculture. 

Definition Films was founded by Justin Liddell during his freshman year of high school in 2008. The local company started as an action sports production company, but has since transformed into a full-service video production agency that works with diverse clients from Fortune 500 companies to local small businesses and organizations like Sonoma County Farm Bureau.

Justin, who is the company’s president, runs the Santa Rosa based business while also directing most of the projects on location and acting as a creative director during post-production phases of projects. He leads a four person full-time staff, which he said is “awesome.”

“Derek is our producer and lead video editor,” Liddell said. “He interacts with clients on a daily basis and takes projects from start to finish. Allie is our senior editor and lead motion graphics designer. She creates the motion design that has most of our clients asking, ‘how did you do that?’ with a high level of efficiency.””

He said that Lucas is the audio engineer and production assistant. For projects that have crystal clear audio like those produced for Sonoma County Farm Bureau, viewers have Lucas to thank. Liddell explained that as most projects are out in the field on windy days, Lucas uses his keen ears to determine which takes need to be reshot because of unwanted background noise.

Together, the Definition Films Team is a full video production agency. Liddell said that they cover services from pre-production concept development and production planning to production, which consists of going on location to film with a 2-person crew or with larger multi-person crews. Definition Films captures stunning images not only from the ground, but also from the sky because they are FAA Part 107 certified for commercial drone operation.

During post-production, Definition Films covers all aspects of editing and motion graphic design. Liddell said that his team handles projects from concept to finished delivery without clients needing to find outside vendors. 

Ultimately, Liddell said that storytelling is what sets Definition Films apart from other video production companies. 

“We tell stories about companies large and small, dig into who they are, what they do for the community and extract amazing talking points,” Liddell said. “Then we edit it in a way that will attract viewers and make them feel something. That’s what it’s all about and that is what sets us apart.”

He said that he is especially proud of his team’s ability to make even rocks look cool and compelling.

“Go watch the project on our website under the ‘work’ page for BoDean Company, which is a local company that offers construction and aggregate materials,” Liddell said. “We created a 4 minute “who we are” video that captured the company’s essence, is very exciting to watch and a video that we received great feedback on.”

Definition Films does business with clients in Sonoma County and the Bay Area but the company also has several on the East Coast. 

“We had a 2-week project for a contract research organization located in New Jersey back in late 2018,” Liddell said. “We started with 2 shoots in Wisconsin and Indianapolis and then went on a 2-week travel spree that led us to the UK, India, China, Switzerland and Germany. Our job is so exciting. We get to work locally but also do projects all over the world.”

Liddell said that Definition Films is a Farm Bureau member because they do a lot of business in the agriculture industry and because he has a passion for telling stories about local businesses.

“From wineries to farming and agriculture, we love being outside the most,” Liddell said. “Telling stories about local businesses in the agriculture industry is really the direction we’d like to head in.”

He said that being a part of Sonoma County Farm Bureau is a way for Definition Films to continue the relationships they have in the agriculture community and also to show their work to those that want to tell their stories and see if their company is a good fit for them to do so.

“So many farms and businesses have amazing stories that have never been told to a broad audience,” Liddell said. “We look for ways to communicate their messages and stories in a visually appealing way and love filming on location on farms and ranches.”

Liddell said that he hopes the future of Definition Films will include growth and the addition of advertising services to their client offerings. 

“Providing services such as ad buying and marketing strategies is ultimately what we see in the not-so-distant future and our small business mindset of building relationships and being there as a long-term partner will help us get there,” Liddell said.

Definition Films works with many non-profits and is proud to offer discounted pricing to help them afford high quality and compelling projects. 

“We help Becoming Independent with their annual gala and create a video for their fundraiser each year,” Liddell said.

Definition Films’ storytelling expertise was put to good use serving the community after the 2017 Tubbs Fire.

“We worked with The Engine is Red to create a handful of Spanish and English commercials for the free counseling service that Healthcare Foundation was offering with a #MySonomaStrong campaign.,” Liddell said. “We also created a commercial spot with The Engine is Red for Friedman’s Home Improvement after the Kincade Fire in 2019 called “Proud to Call This Our Home”. 

He said that the video spot honored the community and first responders and was a very meaningful project for him and his team.

“Being ready to work and get things done in a time of distress and panic like during those fires has really given us a way to be a part of the recovery effort through digital campaigns even if it meant going out filming in challenging circumstances. I’m happy that our team stepped up and was able to help,” Liddell said. 

Liddell said that he is proud to see the fruits of his original vision and efforts grow into a company that he is proud of and one that has a great working environment for his team.

“We now have a team that has health benefits, 401K matching and salaries,” Liddell said. “As a 24 year old, I didn’t think this would happen so soon, but it did.”

He said that he thinks his company’s growth and success is due in large part to the relationships built and maintained with each and every customer that Definition Films has worked with, including Sonoma County Farm Bureau.

“Even in challenging times like the fires, our relationships get us through and we do our best to continue to tell stories that matter,” Liddell said. “Definition Films is built on strong relationships and partnerships with our customers.”

Justin said that for him and his team, the work that Definition Films does is more than just a job. 

“It’s a way we express our craft and love for filmmaking,” Liddell said. “We work hard to create everlasting impressions on viewers for the companies we service.” 

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