Balance Digital Media Studios

Balance Digital Media Studios

About Balance Studios

WORK WITH THE DIGITAL MEDIA COMPANY WHO GIVES A DAMN!

It's that simple. It could be called client-centric, but we think of it as people who care just as much about your goals as you do. You deserve nothing less. We're darned good at our jobs; and we deeply value your organization, your vision, and your objectives. We don't know of any other way to work; it just comes naturally to us. If we didn't care, we'd be swallowed up by others who do. We work with the best in their industries and provide them with the best of ours. Since opening Balance Studios on September 11, 2001, we've believed in hard work, checking our egos at the door, and a commitment to collaboration with every one of our client-partners to help tell their unique, compelling stories.

With Midwest roots and world-wide clients, Balance Studios is an innovator in media development and has remained at the forefront of ever-evolving industry technology. Our work is diverse and encompasses an incredible variety of subjects. This, combined with our life-long learning and continuing education in design, animation, programming,mobile environments, and gaming, ensures that we deliver state-of-the-day ideas and innovative concepts to every client we serve. What we don't know, we figure out. We're energized by finding solutions for and adding value to the organizations we serve. We're people powered, results driven, and helping our partners tell their stories by connecting people through technology is what gets us out of bed in the morning.

Check out our impressive client list. We've been humbled and honored to tell many stories,bringing brands to life and we carry the flag for each and every one of our client-partners.If hiccups happen, we take a big drink of water and figure things out. Yes, it's because we're trendsetters in emerging technologies. Perhaps it's because we're competitive and have a strong need to succeed and finish first, but at the end of the day, it's the commitment to collaboration that is at the core of everything we do. It's because we care, and yes –we give a damn – that gets us over the finish line.

Every. Single. Time.

About Us

Our Philosophy

COMMUNICATION

Even with the advancements in technology, there is no replacement for face-to-face and verbal communications. However, we also understand the need for more streamlined and efficient project communication. So, we developed INSPIRE: an in-house, proprietary, web-based project collaboration and workflow software. This irreplaceable asset in project collaboration enables instant and constant global communication throughout a project. Even with the advancements in technology, there is no replacement for face-to-face and verbal communications.

CREATIVITY

Young, progressive and passionate, it is the talent behind the technology that makes the magic. Believers of innovations, originality and creativity, Balance delivers outstanding quality while maximizing return on investment.

VELOCITY

Balance is forward thinking. Time and money is spent on continual education, lifelong learning and up-to-date technology to fulfill client requests without hesitation or delay.

ETHICS

Comprised and structurally based on moral and ethical character, Balance prides itself on delivering its promise: quality, satisfaction, and a cost-conscious product to its rapidly growing clientele.

Your Team

Darren Lutz

Darren Lutz

President | Creative Director

Equal parts artist, inventor, mechanic and visionary, Darren Lutz has stood at the vanguard of his own digital revolution for nearly thirty years. Prolific and passionate about fueling his appetite for knowledge and artistic expression, Lutz co-founded Balance Studios with a simple mission—to apply his unique creative flair and technological prowess to fuel next-generation storytelling to educate and entertain.

 

His insatiable appetite for knowledge and his love for edu-tainment (educational entertainment) are reflected in the nuances and communication of his art. His work is founded on a life's journey that has created professional and personal relationships around the world, continually fueling his leading-edge innovation.

 

Darren has conceptualized and designed interactive experiences for countless institutions, including the Smithsonian, Newseum, Museum of Science and Industry, and the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum to name a few. His passion for immersive storytelling has helped teach visitors around the world about English, Omani History, Les Paul and even cheese.

 

Beginning his career in commercial animation during the early 1990s, Lutz conceptualized and developed clay animation, cel animation and stop motion animation for TV commercials, film and interactive CD-ROMs for clients such as Disney, Pacific Bell and Cartoon Network, first for his own production company, Phantasy Lab Productions, and later as lead animator and general manager of John Lemmon Films.

 

Returning to hometown Green Bay, WI, Lutz helped a local animation and broadcast production company triple in size and earn dozens of local, regional and national awards for animation, visual FX and broadcast.

 

In 2001, he partnered with his wife Tina to launch Balance Studios, initiating nearly two decades of growth by attracting a national and international clientele with award-winning cross-platform media solutions that span the worlds of storytelling via animation, web, mobile, software, interactive exhibit and more.

 

Today, Balance Studios is reshaping the educational world by using Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, Projection Technology, and other emerging technologies to transform traditionally static exhibitions into immersive experiences. 

Tina Lutz

Tina Lutz

Vice President | Business Operations

Completely engaged in the defined objectives of her clients, Tina is the anchor who defines the parameters of time and budget by which the creative and business functions of Balance are held. Playing the roles of both Executive Producer and Producer, Tina is responsible for new client relationships, coordination, communications, negotiations, contracts, deliverables, partnerships and schedules for Balance and its clients. She is an accommodating and engaging client relations executive with listening as one of her master skills. Application of what she hears from her clients has resulted in many loyal, life-long relationships…and successful client campaigns.

 

Beginning her career in broadcast media in 1997, she worked at Studio Productions in Nashville, TN with talents such as Alan Jackson, Jim Varney, Suzy Boggus, and Deanna Carter. In 1998, she returned to Green Bay and shifted focus into sales, client relations, and business development. Taking on roles as Director of Sales for Heim Productions, she rounded out her understanding of animation and technology. 

 

In 2001, she partnered with Darren Lutz to launch Balance Studios, Inc., initiating nearly two decades of growth by attracting a national and international clientele with award-winning cross-platform media solutions that span the worlds of storytelling via animation, web, mobile, software, interactive exhibit and more.

 

With this incredible background, Tina combines her skills and passion for the industry to create the balance in Balance Digital Media Studios. Tina's sense of passion, integrity and excitement from start to finish is a distinguishing hallmark of her four companies.

Heidi Klessig

Heidi Klessig

New Media Producer

When looking for unique and exciting ways to share an exhibition’s storyline, new media is the hot ticket everyone seems to be looking towards. With over 12 years of producing digital experiences, Heidi easily connects to each story, understanding the connection between the clients and team at Balance Studios. Innately curious with an inherent quest for knowledge, Heidi focuses on creative storytelling through a digital lens. Letting the story drive what new media can do rather than force fitting experiences into a new media environment, she excels in finding the perfect media to tell the story in a way that will best resonate with visitors. 

 

Prior to joining Balance Studios, Heidi managed the digital presence for one of the largest furniture manufacturers in the United States. Since joining Balance, she has produced a variety of interactive media projects, including websites, mobile apps, touch-screen experiences, augmented, mixed, and virtual reality experiences, multi-gestural technology, and sensor-based experiences. 

 

Heidi shines in making complicated, advanced technology projects fun and relatable for our clients. Specializing in user experience, usability and functionality, interactive technologies, new-and-upcoming technologies, project management, content wrangling and production, and client relations, Heidi oversees complex multimedia exhibits from ideation through installation. 

 

Heidi is passionate about learning new concepts and technologies in the interactive realm and brings these ideas to the team to incorporate into client projects when applicable. Her outgoing and charismatic personality is a key cornerstone in our client relationships. She excels in working with the internal team and clients on a day to day basis for all project management needs, including but not limited to: assets organization and acquisition, production schedules, coordinating meetings, phone calls, daily schedules, timelines, budgets, project communications and training.

Brett Nooyen

Brett Nooyen

Application Development Manager

Over 16 years of experience have crafted Brett into a leader who has created an environment for the interactive designers and developers which fosters creativity and nurtures new ideas. 

 

He has extensive knowledge in producing multi-platform interactive applications combining traditional concepts and technologies with the foremost emerging technologies – such as API integration, augmented and mixed reality, beacon, sensor and projection technologies. 

 

For the past almost two decades, he has watched the evolution of web from early stages of rich internet applications to responsive web-based applications that function across multiple platforms and devices. This experience was a strong foundation leading Brett on his quest and an intense exploration of new development technologies. He has built educational experiences for the Smithsonian, The Field Museum, the Abraham Lincoln Museum, and countless others. 

 

Brett is able to reach into his vast skillset of multi-language programming to apply the best possible combination of logic and design to develop the architecture of virtually any interactive application. Whether authoring a web driven application or developing a software application, he understands the goals set out beforehand and architects the development pipeline to produce an exceptional educational experience. To round out this diverse background, he also builds and maintains secure databases, pulls in information from existing ones through API’s, or can write the needed APIs for integration. 

 

One of Brett’s most notable skillsets is his ability to bridge the gap between the artists and programmers, acting as a conduit for creativity to flow between the teams while maintaining a high level of logic and order. He continues to push the boundaries of what is achievable in the interactive world to present user-friendly, beautiful application to a global audience.

John Hackman

John Hackman

Illustrator | Animator | Modeler

With more than a decade as an animator and motion graphics artist, John is skilled in a variety of creative media. Specializing in character and concept design, character modeling, storyboard creation, 2D illustration, and animation as well as traditional animation techniques, his hand has brought many characters and virtual worlds to realization. 

 

John works directly with the development team to create assets optimized for projects utilizing a variety of technologies including Maya, Max, After Effects, and Unity. His leadership of the 2D animation and motion graphics teams shines with his dedication to expand his skillset. He is proficient in the entire Adobe Creative Suite and continues to search out new or improved technologies to increase efficiencies and provide the best creative solutions to projects. 

 

With an eye for design and the power to create, John is driven by his passion for storytelling and love of creating entire worlds out of even the smallest idea. Coupled with his eagerness to explore new animation and motion graphics techniques, he is a pivotal leader in within the motion graphic, editing and animation teams. 

Caitlin Norem

Caitlin Norem

Production Development Associate | AV Coordinator

As a highly committed and capable AV Coordinator & Project Development Associate, Caitlin brings a variety of skills to Balance Studios. Being client focused has always been a passion, with nearly a decade in the health care industry. Switching careers to follow her passions, she obtained a Bachelor of Arts in English and continued on to receive her Masters of Business Administration, emphasis in Marketing.

 

Caitlin can be found in many areas of Balance Studios, with responsibilities including everything from AV equipment research to assisting the project management and sales teams, quality assurance to marketing to vendor management to post-project support. Her goal is to ensure projects are successful from the RFP phase to completion to technical support, acting as an important point of contact in all things equipment, testing, and fielding questions from our clients.

Eric Mikula

Eric Mikula

Interactive Application Developer

Eric’s expertise and versatile capabilities are a result of over 10 years of combining animation and character rigging for commercials, sports transitions and web with the development of complex scripting, control systems, coding and advanced interactive technology. One key aspect of Eric’s experience is developing and integrating custom content management systems, allowing content to be updated easily and effectively.  

 

Eric’s background in calculus and computer science, as well as his in-depth work in both design and development, lends itself to a seamless merger of artistic and technical components. His passion to learn new software and procedure has made a direct impact on the progressive technologies including Balance’s proprietary technologies such as DigiPucks, Augmented ARtwork, and ARena™.

 

Sam Creelman

Sam Creelman

Interactive Application Developer

It’s rare to find someone directly out of school with the passion and expertise in Unity programming that was found in Sam. Starting with Balance Digital Media Studios in 2017, Sam focuses on being the solution to problems people didn’t know they had. 

 

An unquenchable curiosity to learn new technology, Sam has extensive knowledge in producing interactive applications combining innovative techniques – from gesture-controlled applications to PanoVR, touchscreens to augmented reality, virtual reality to API integrations. He works to provide the best results for the client, keeping an open mind to change and new ideas combined with a critical mind to change for the better. 

Karol David

Karol David

Animation Generalist

Karol’s expertise in multiple techniques across a variety of creative media drives her own artistic flair. With over 15 years of experience as a designer, game artist, 3D artist, character modeler and animator, she specializes in creating a cohesive look and feel for interactive experiences with their physical counterparts. 

 

Karol is able to understand the story she is working with and can take intricate patterns and textures and place them on 3D models to make them photo real. Her work can be seen at the Smithsonian, Peabody Essex Museum, and the Les Paul Foundation. 

 

As Lead Designer, Karol works alongside the production team to creatively link technical needs with beautiful graphical elements. Her aspiration to understand and utilize new interactive media techniques leads to inventive and unparalleled designs.

Eric Brown

Eric Brown

Interactive Application Developer

“We all have the power to affect the change we want to see in life if we are willing to put in the work if our cause is just.” That is the advice Eric, otherwise known as EB, lives by. That work ethic shines through for Balance Digital Media Studios in everything EB creates. 

 

A history of military service, followed by pursuing his passions in technology led EB to work as a Multimedia Application Developer, creating virtual reality and web applications before joining the Balance team. EB’s disciplined ability to analyze client needs, mixed with a caring, creative, and inquisitive nature, allows him to look at projects with a unique viewpoint to craft amazing user experiences.   

April Baeb

April Baeb

Receptionist | Production Assistant

A deep love for nonprofit arts and film, April has worked in entertainment and nonprofits for her entire career. Joining Balance Digital Media Studios at the start of 2020, April has brought more to her role than being the first friendly face you see when you walk in the door or first voice you hear. She keeps the team in check and organized, ensuring we are always in a productive, creative space. 

 

Beyond her role as Receptionist and Production Assistant, she has taken on the big lift of managing our social media presence. Her incredible analytical skills and attention to detail has helped the team showcase all of our amazing skills, projects, and clients to the world. Beyond social media, you will also see April helping the project management and sales team, stepping up to provide support to the entire team. Her musical background and love of arts and culture plays into her deep desire to help our clients’ dreams come alive! 

Jesse Rahikainen

Jesse Rahikainen

Interactive Application Developer

Gaming is more than just a passion, it’s a way of life. Starting his career in a game development studio, Jesse continues to expand his understanding of languages and technology in all areas of interactive development. His belief that it’s not you versus me situation, but rather us versus the problem is apparent is his impeccable teamwork. 

 

Jesse brings his flexibility and curiosity to Balance to push the team to live outside the box and believe in the impossible. He is constantly finding new ways to approach old problems and often works miracles for clients who didn’t think their desires were a possibility. 

Scott Tuinstra

Scott Tuinstra

Project Manager | UI Designer

A unique blend of creative and practical, Scott is not only responsible for working with the internal team and clients for all project coordination needs, but also working with the creative team to design unique user experiences. His zen-like manner makes him an amazing go-between for the client and production team, while handling this multi-faceted role like a rockstar. One moment he could be working on asset organization and acquisition, then move to production schedules and coordinating meetings. He might be on client phone calls and managing daily schedules, then shift to timelines, project communications, or leading the team in making game design decisions. 

 

His motto is to never settle for less. Whether that’s in pushing his mind with reading, exploring new games, and traveling or pushing the team to present a seamless experience to our clients, Scott creates opportunities for every member of the team to excel. He encourages everyone to learn, absorb, and experience everything and has a limitless view of what can be learned. He approaches all projects with creative problem solving and fun, inspiring the team to work harder to produce the best possible experiences.  

Careers at Balance

There are currently no open positions at this time. If you are interested in being considered for future hiring needs, please submit your resume to hello@balancestudios.com.

Our Partners

Believe Animation
WonderWerkz Publishing


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Balance Digital Media Studios is trade name of Balance Studios, Inc.