Danny West is a graphic designer, videographer, and multimedia producer. Before joining TriStar’s creative team, he spent nearly a decade in the action sports world creating award-winning publications and launching the video department at Motoplayground magazine, where he produced video content for web campaigns and television spots for clients like Monster Energy, Red Bull, and Yamaha Motorsports.
You’re a graphic designer but also a video editor and producer. How long have you been creating videos?
My passion for film and creating movies began mainly in high school, where I made some short films of questionable quality that mostly starred cardboard robots and mutated bugs — don’t ask! From there I honed my cinematography and production skills at the University of Kansas, where I earned a bachelor’s degree in film studies and made more films … mostly starring slightly better cardboard robots.
How are print design and video work similar?
One would assume designing print layouts and producing videos are at the opposite end of the spectrum. One is static, the other has motion. With print and website design, as the graphic designer you have full control of where every piece of content sits and how they interact with each other to produce a visually appealing piece of work. Video is more like a juggling act. There are many factors you must balance — lighting, room sound, microphone levels, etc. And if you have a subject being interviewed, they may unknowingly move out of frame, misspeak, or completely freeze up when the camera rolls and the bright lights go on. With video, you have to be aware of all these little pieces that fit together to produce a quality and captivating product.
But with both graphic design and video editing, the attention to detail is where a piece of work goes from mediocre to amazing. In the end, the purpose of each format is to convey or tell a story using a visual platform — story is everything. Making sure a text box lines up nicely in a newspaper or making a clean video cut that goes unnoticed by the viewer allows the story to flourish and brings your vision alive.
What has been your most rewarding project at TriStar?
The most rewarding thing is really just being able to bring an expertise and skillset to TriStar and having the full support of the team to let it grow and open up new doors that were previously closed for us. There’s a real excitement about the future of video at TriStar because of all the new and creative possibilities we can bring to our clients and partners.
How would you like to improve TriStar’s videos in the future?
We are striving to polish and advance the video production department with every project. Increasing our audience is also very important. We have great content and we have high production values, so making it all work together for everyone at an association event is a goal for the video department. The more attendees who see our work, the more an association has to gain from the partnership.
What do you like to do when you’re not being creative at TriStar?
Whether I’m in the office or at home, I enjoy being creative. I make music, design screenprinted gig posters, and I recently got back into photography. Traveling is also important to me and my family. Growing up, I didn’t have the opportunity to explore the world so now it’s a top priority and passion.