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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
Tina Lutz
Tina Lutz
Brett Nooyen
Brett Nooyen
Heidi Klessig
Heidi Klessig
John Hackman
John Hackman
Eric Mikula
Eric Mikula
Karol David
Karol David
Scott Tuinstra
Scott Tuinstra
Amelia Pawula
Amelia Pawula
Craig Balke
Craig Balke
Noah Doperalski
Noah Doperalski
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, Darren 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 over 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, Darren leads Balance Studios in reshaping the way brands, educators, and entertainers are using Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, Projection Technology, and other emerging technologies to transform traditionally static concepts into immersive experiences.  

Tina Lutz

Tina Lutz

Owner | Executive Producer

With a dedication to storytelling and an unwavering commitment to pushing creative and technological boundaries, Tina Lutz boasts over 25 years of experience as a producer and executive producer across a diverse range of multimedia projects. Her focus on quality, innovation, and the transformative power of media to inspire and connect individuals to the world around them has been the cornerstone of her career.

 

Recognizing the need for a fresh approach to media production, Tina co-founded Balance Digital Media Studios 23 years ago. Under her leadership, the company has become a creative and tech trailblazer, known for its unwavering dedication to excellence, creativity, and cutting-edge productions. From pioneering groundbreaking multi-faceted immersive campaigns and exhibitions to innovative gaming-systems and feature film, for clients such as Paramount, ESPN, 7 Fathom Films, Fun Brands, Les Paul Foundation, the Smithsonian, Carnegie Science Center and the Museum of Science and Industry, Tina has led Balance in consistently delivering content that captivates diverse audiences.

 

As an accomplished executive producer and business strategist, Tina has steered hundreds of successful projects.  Possessing a keen understanding of business dynamics, the importance of collaborator endeavors, and a proven track record of delivering projects on time and on budget, Tina is instrumental in translating high-level strategies into actionable plans. She plays a pivotal role in negotiations, assembling teams, navigating complex production challenges, optimizing production and corporate processes, fostering cross-functional collaboration, and ensuring the seamless execution of every production she oversees. 

 

Guided by the mantra, “Always make the client the hero”, Tina and the Balance team pride themselves on their proactive embrace of new technologies and platforms. By staying at the forefront of design and technology trends, they ensure their clients remain the true 'heroes' in the eyes of their audiences.

Brett Nooyen

Brett Nooyen

Vice President of Application Development

Having over 17 years of experience at Balance, Brett is a key member of the Balance team who has helped create a working environment for interactive designers and developers which fosters creativity and nurtures new ideas.

 

Brett 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 nearly two decades, he has drove the evolution of web from the early stages of rich media internet applications to responsive web-based applications that function across multiple platforms and devices. This experience was a strong foundation leading Brett on an intense exploration of new development technologies. He has built complex interactive experiences for leading educational entities including the Smithsonian Institution, The Field Museum, and the Abraham Lincoln Library and Museum.

 

Brett leverages his broad 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 extensive 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 creative 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.

Heidi Klessig

Heidi Klessig

Vice President of Client Relations

With over 16 years of experience producing digital media engagements at Balance, Heidi utilizes a broad set of skills to help develop powerful stories that grow from her work effectively connecting client teams with the team at Balance. 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 compelling educational stories in ways that connect with audiences. Though her passion for discovering new concepts or technologies in the interactive realm she often brings new ideas into projects to create a unique guest experience.

 

She has supported the development of a broad range of interactive media projects, including websites, mobile apps, touch-screen experiences, augmented reality, mixed reality, 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, Heidi oversees complex multimedia exhibits from ideation through installation. 

 

Heidi has fostered a long-term relationship with numerous museums and institutions, helping them bring exhibition topics and stories to life. 

 

Her outgoing and charismatic personality is a cornerstone of our team’s ability to build successful client relationships. As a producer, Heidi excels in working with both the production team and clients on a day-to-day basis making sure communication and production stay on schedule. That role also includes client relations and regular communication which ensures the client is involved and understands every step of the project.

John Hackman

John Hackman

Art Director | Animation Specialist

A maestro of visual storytelling, John Hackman, is a seasoned Art Director and Animator, leading the company’s art department to bring creative visions into reality, and whose creative prowess has left an indelible mark on the world of art and animation for Balance Digital Media Studios and its clients for his ability to breathe life into ideas, creating visually stunning narratives that resonate across diverse audiences.

 

As valued member of the Balance’s creative team for over 16 years, John brings a collaborative work style and a sharp eye for storytelling to a wide range of creative work, including character design and concepting, storyboarding, 3D model design, animation and motion graphics, and has demonstrated an exceptional ability to shape and guide the visual aesthetics of projects. His keen eye for design, color, and composition have been instrumental in creating cohesive and visually striking narratives that evoke emotions and captivate audiences.

 

Serving both as a creative and a creative facilitator, his work has been characterized by a unique blend of artistic vision, technical skill, and an unwavering commitment to pushing the boundaries of visual storytelling for client such as NatGeo, ESPN, Paramount, MeySen Academy, Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, Dillion Nature Center, and Carnegie Science Center delivering immersive and unforgettable visual journeys.

Eric Mikula

Eric Mikula

Interactive Application Developer

Eric’s expertise and versatile capabilities are a result of over 15 years working with diverse platforms, ranging from animation to character rigging to the development of complex scripting, control systems, coding, and advanced interactive technology. One key aspect of Eric’s experience is developing entertaining and educational game experiences for interactives.

 

Eric’s background in calculus and computer science, as well as his in-depth work in both animation 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™.

 

Using his experience in animation, gaming and high-end development, Eric is able to bring visitors into virtual worlds, such as the Red Sea, the EAA (an aircraft museum) and BounceU’s Imagination Zone, to learn and explore.

 

Karol David

Karol David

Animation Generalist

Karol’s expertise in multiple skillsets across a variety of creative media drives her own artistic flair. With almost 20 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. 


As Lead Artist, 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 creations.

Scott Tuinstra

Scott Tuinstra

Associate Creative Director

Guided by a belief in the transformative power of design, Scott stands at the intersection of creativity and technology, shaping immersive digital experiences that captivate and engage users for a broad spectrum of clients.

 

With a style characterized by a commitment to innovation, collaboration, and a relentless pursuit of excellence in the digital space, Scott plays a pivotal role in leading, designing and producing digital designs with an emphasis on compelling user-interfaces combined with seamless user-experience interactions for multi-platform interactive projects and immersive digital campaigns for mobile, web, wearables, desktop and an array of sensor-based, touch and multi-touch applications that not only capture attention but also leave a meaningful impact.

 

Scott’s moto is ‘never settle for less’. He approaches all projects with creative problem solving, is an avid learner exploring and understanding how to integrate new tech into his designs, creates opportunities for the Balance team to excel and inspires them to work smarter to produce the best possible experience for clients.

 

He has demonstrated the innate ability to blend artistic vision, story-telling and technical expertise with the unique talent of connecting and demystifying the creative, tech, and user-experience for a wide spectrum of clients including the University of Illinois, Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, Indiana State Museum, The Packer Hall of Fame, and Boeing.

Amelia Pawula

Amelia Pawula

QA Analyst | Production Assistant

Amelia is thoroughly-dedicated to making sure software development processes are top-notch as our Quality Assurance Analyst & Production Assistant. Her background in quality assurance and project coordination gives her a unique mix of tech know-how and organizational skills.

 

In her role as our Quality Assurance Analyst, Amelia is all about maintaining the highest standards of quality. She's really good at catching the small stuff and has a methodical way of testing that helps her spot and tackle potential issues early on in the development process. Her attention to detail and precision play a big part in making the software she works on reliable and user-friendly.

 

As Production Assistant, Amelia excels at helping our project managers and teams meet their objectives in a smooth and efficient way. She's great at handling project paperwork, keeping tabs on project progress, and making sure everyone on the team stays in the loop. Her proactive approach and strong communication skills make her a real asset in any project setting.

Craig Balke

Craig Balke

Digital Media Project Manager

Communication is not just the most important thing... It's everything! Craig prides himself on his ability to make quality connections with the teams he works with. From that emphasis on communication Craig becomes a conduit; taking clarification from your team into actualization from our team.

Craig has worked with leaders in various industries throughout his career, and with that experience comes the ability to ensure that no ideas get lost and the best possible experiences come to fruition. He is involved with all projects we work on, from the initial stages of design through quality assurance and beyond.

With a diverse management background ranging from small scale daily operations to large scale governmental projects, Craig has the know-how to keep projects running smoothly and efficiently, with regular communication ensuring that every client is involved and understands every step of their project.

Noah Doperalski

Noah Doperalski

Junior Web Developer

With a knack for backend technology and experience with development for Android, Noah brings a unique set of skills that have been adapted to a Web development environment.  A couple key skills include SOLID principles, .NET Architecture and relational databases.

Growing up, Noah always loved computers, machines, and creating. With a determination to create, Noah started his career with a Computer Science degree and began by developing applications for Android with Kotlin.

Here at Balance he's responsible for developing various backend management systems - include many that power one of the largest sustainability museum exhibits in the nation

Noah brings a lighthearted, outside the box view to the studio.  He brings that human touch to a world that is missing it.

Our Partners

Believe Animation
WonderWerkz Publishing


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