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
Tina Lutz
Tina Lutz
Heidi Klessig
Heidi Klessig
Brett Nooyen
Brett Nooyen
John Hackman
John Hackman
Eric Mikula
Eric Mikula
Karol David
Karol David
Scott Tuinstra
Scott Tuinstra
Cole Unsinn
Cole Unsinn
Amelia Pawula
Amelia Pawula
Brian Buczek
Brian Buczek
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

Vice President | Business Operations

Completely engaged in the defined objectives of her company, Tina is the anchor who defines the parameters by which the business functions of Balance are held. Playing the roles of Executive Producer, Business Operations, and CFO (often referred to as the Iron Bank,) Tina is responsible for all things contractual, financial, special projects, negotiations, and partnerships. She is an accommodating and engaging client relations executive that has resulted in creating many loyal, life-long relationships… and successful client campaigns.


Graduating from University of Wisconsin – Madison in 1997 with Radio/TV/Film & Communications Major and a Business Minor, Tina began her broadcast career working at Studio Productions in Nashville, TN with talents such as Alan Jackson, Jim Varney, Suzy Boggus, and Deanna Carter as well as working on independent feature films. In 1998, she returned to Green Bay and shifted focus into sales, client relations, and business development. Taking on the role as Director of Sales for Heim Productions, she rounded out her understanding of the production process, animation and technology. 


In 2001, she partnered with Darren Lutz to launch Balance Studios, Inc., 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, film, emerging technologies such as augmented and virtual realities, web, mobile, software, interactive exhibit and more.


With this diverse 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

With over 14 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 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 long-term relationships with a broad variety of brands, corporations, museums, and institutions, helping them bring ideas, exhibitions, products, and stories to life.

 

Her outgoing and charismatic personality is a cornerstone of the Balance 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.

Brett Nooyen

Brett Nooyen

Application Development Manager

Over 16 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 driven 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.

John Hackman

John Hackman

Art Director/Animation Specialist

With more than 15 years 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 a myriad of characters and virtual worlds to realization. 

 

John works directly with the Creative Director to create assets optimized for projects utilizing a variety of technologies. He 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 animation and motion graphic teams.

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

Project Manager | UI Designer

With a unique blend of creative and practical skills, Scott works with the internal team, project partners, and client team for all project coordination needs, and provides the creative team support in the design of unique user experiences. His Zen-like manner helps him to serve as a highly effective collaborator with both the client and production teams. He is central to our development and production process, supporting asset organization and acquisition, production scheduling coordinating meetings, phone calls, budgets, project communications and training.

 

Scott’s motto is never settle for less. Whether that’s in pushing his mind with reading about upcoming technologies, exploring new ways to incorporate gaming into digital experiences, or pushing the team to present a seamless experience to 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 smarter to produce the best possible experiences.

Cole Unsinn

Cole Unsinn

Junior Web Developer

Hard work and determination are no stranger to Cole, with a background in all things web, making him ready to tackle the most adventurous virtual projects. His past work experience has gifted him with stellar communication and teamwork skills. As a Junior Web Developer, he takes on projects with passion and creativity to enhance any experience.

Amelia Pawula

Amelia Pawula

Receptionist/Administrative Assistant

When you first walk through the door at Balance, we want you to feel the creativity, the passion, and the energy of our incredible studio team. Your first stop into this world is Amelia, our Receptionist/Administrative Assistant, as hers is the first face you will see and first voice you will hear!

 

With a client-first attitude and technical mind, Amelia not only manages all of our office needs, but also assists with our internal admin team and client needs. She is master and commander of the studio, ensuring it is stocked, cleaned, and running like a well-oiled machine.

Brian Buczek

Brian Buczek

Back End Developer

With more than 12 years of experience with the systems development life-cycle (SDLC), Brian provides an extensive background in the design, development, and testing of our web and software application systems spanning a variety of platforms.

 

He applies his expertise in back-end development to enhance content management experiences, lead the process of streamlining automated deployment cycles, and ensure the effective use of development security ops on a large-scale level.

Our Partners

Believe Animation
WonderWerkz Publishing


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