Category Archives: Video Artisan

Welcome

Video Artisan pride themselves on producing cost-effective video communication tools for business clients.  They understand their clients’ needs – and how to achieve their video production goals. This is why more and more businesses are using them for their video production needs.

These articles will keep you up to date with what’s been happening at Video Artisan.  Short stories, news updates and comments are published by the company’s founder, Kevin Cook.  Kevin has been in the professional video industry since 1985 and always aims to provide his clients with exceptional levels of customer satisfaction.  The company motto is, “Under promise and over deliver”.   At Video Artisan they always go that extra mile to provide an excellent product at a competitive price.

For further details

In conclusion, the areas of expertise include corporate video, company films and all professional video services.  Please contact Kevin Cook for further advice on this website – kevin@video-artisan.com or call 020 83602 3356

 

IOV Award winning film – or is that “films”?

I’m so chuffed at being able to call myself the producer of an award winning film! In fact, I picked up two awards this week and Twitter went #IOVAward mad for a moment!

IOV Award Winning Film - Kev in the studio
Trying not to look too excited about my award winning film news!!!

On the evening of Tuesday 13th November the IOV announced all the winners and runners up in the various categories included in this industry’s leading video production awards programme. A bit like a mini Oscars, the IOV Awards was brought about to showcase and reward the industry’s leading talents. Each year it attracts entrants from all the main production types – including corporate films, documentaries, music videos, short films and wedding day films – plus a whole variety of other entries within the Open Category.

As you’ll see from my previous blog I was pleased enough to have been shortlisted in both the Best Open and Best Documentary categories. To me that was my ‘award winning film’ moment. I’d seen the exceptionally high standard of entries I was up against so getting shortlisted was compliment enough for me. Discovering on the night that ‘Supadance – Shoes for Dance’ had been picked as the winner of the Open Category – and then find that ‘Bees & Wasps’ had achieved 2nd place in the Best Documentary – you can imagine I was stunned, ecstatic and bursting with pride. Yes – Video Artisan is now an award winning film company!!!

Supadance – Shoes for Dance

Winner of the ‘Best Open’ Category – Please click the title above to watch the film
I’m so grateful to Supadance for commissioning me to make this ‘award winning film’ (and the other three films I produced for them since). Without clients like them it would be impossible for filmmakers to practice their craft. There were some exceptional films entered in this category so I am more than proud that this was recognised as being the best.

IOV Award Winning Film - Best Open 2012
Left – IOV Awards Presenter, Philip Hilton – Right – IOV Executive Member, John De Rienzo

Bees & Wasps 

2nd Place in ‘Best Documentary’  – Please click the title above to watch the film
As a hobby beekeeper I’ve been longing to make some short documentaries about honeybees and beekeeping. This was one of the first ones I’ve attempted and to gain second place is just amazing – maybe not actually an award winning film, but one that I’m particularly proud of anyhow. Hat’s off to category winner Anna McPherson. I’m looking forward to watching her entry so I can beat her next time. : )

IOV Award Winning Film - Best Documentary
Left – IOV Awards Presenter, Philip Hilton – Right – IOV Executive Member, Steven Abrams

The making of an award winning film – tech notes

Both of these films were shot on my Canon 550D running Magic Lantern (loving it – though also loving my 5DMkii even more). Lenses – Canon EF 24-105mm f4, Canon Nifty-50mm cheapo f1.8 and Tokina 11-16mm F2.8. Edited on Edius 4.6.  Music by AKM Music

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Google AdWords for Video by Video Artisan

They do say that you should put your money where your mouth is – so this week I’ve been doing just that and created a couple of Video Artisan video commercials to use on our Google AdWords for Video campaign.

The original Google Ads took off like a rocket when they were first launched and still attract an enormous amount of revenue for Google.  Why??? – Because they work – simples!  Google is mankind’s chosen way to search the Internet so what better place to invest a sizeable chunk of your marketing spend?  People don’t say, “Look for it on the Internet with a Search Engine”  They simply say, “Google it!”

Well… Google advertising is now so much more appealing with the introduction of Google AdWords for video.  Video is much, much more engaging than standard text ads, static banners or even animated banners.  With a video ad you can make them laugh, cry, inform and educate them and more effectively motivate your audience in the direction your want them to go.  Combine this with the ability to target and serve your video content to specific socio-economic, geographic, gender, age and interest groups and this is surely the best marketing tool to be introduced since the Internet itself.

You can define budgets with click-rates and daily-spend levels, easily pause and schedule campaigns, embed and edit directed links – and combined with Google Analytics and you’ve got something which is totally traceable and accountable – which will keep those bean-counters happy too! : )

Google AdWords for video
See what Google AdWords for video is all about (image copyright of Google)

Video Artisan and Google AdWords for video

Google AdWords for video is also pretty good news for us here at Video Artisan.  We are helping our clients to create compelling, well-crafted video commercials and content that will help them profit from this marketing activity.  We also help with working through the often confusing set-up on YouTube and Google to ensure their video content is linked up properly and working in conjunction with their social networking efforts.

Whilst we have purely selfish reasons for creating our own video commercials and set up a Google AdWords for Video campaign – the other reason for doing so is to allow us to demonstrate just how simple these video commercials can be.

Here’s a little background on the two video commercials we created this week…

Video Artisan Promo Video

With an ever-widening body of work under our belt since our launch in February this year I thought it was time to showcase the range of productions we’ve produced and worked on.  It doesn’t include everything we’ve done but it does hopefully, in a little over 60-seconds, give the viewer an understanding of what Video Artisan can deliver.

Video to DVD Commercial

We seem to be doing more and more videotape and digital video conversions and copying here these days – much of which is made up of VHS to DVD conversions.  We don’t profess to be the cheapest but we do offer businesses and members of the public a quality service topped off with a bit of traditional customer care.  We aim to be a company that customers enjoy doing business with.  This 21-second teaser is meant to represent the state of mind of most of our customers who find themselves with VHS tapes everywhere and nothing to play them back on. (Contact us to find our just how cost-effective this type of video commercial would be to produce!!!)

Get moving with your Google AdWords for video campaign

Video content is and always will be king – and it’s the first thing that you are going to need in place to start tapping into this fantastic marketing resource.  You may already have suitable video content so it could be just a case of getting it properly and smartly converted for YouTube delivery – which is something we are happy to do for you at our Loughton studios (just on the edge of Essex and East London).

We can also take your existing content and edit it into perfect shape for Google AdWords for Video.  Or better still let us create some completely new, original and engaging video content for you. Our script-to-screen service is not going to cost as much as you might think!

Contact us today for more information on how we can help you to start capitalising from Google AdWords for Video.

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Event Videography at the Same Sex Open

There’s one thing for sure, when you provide event videography and other video production services no two days are ever the same!  One minute I’m hanging off the Clifton Suspension Bridge – the next I’m freelance filming at medical conventions or nosing around a visual communications company.  Variety is truly the spice of life!

Having produced three films for Supadance already (and about to film another at the beginning of December) the call from their Chairman, Barry Free, about filming the Same Sex Open at the Spanish Hall in the Winter Gardens, Blackpool on 27th October was completely out of the blue.  The call was totally unexpected but very welcome – and it turned out to be an amazing event, organised and attended by some wonderful people – and some quite brilliant dancing.

Event Videography at the Same Sex Open
Top notch dancing at the Same Sex Open in Blackpool

This was the first ever same sex open ballroom and latin dance competition in the UK.  It was presented by Richardz Dance Promotions in association with Sören and Bradley Stauffer-Kruse (AKA ‘The Sugar Dandies’ – famous for their appearance on Britain’s Got Talent), and with the support of Marketing Blackpool.

As a United Kingdom Same Sex Dance Council (UKSSDC) sanctioned event, the Same Sex Open in Blackpool followed the UKSSDC Competition Rules.  Whilst some might assume that “same sex” means gay and lesbian (I too thought that before my enlightenment), it is actually open to dance couple regardless of their sexual orientation.  Whilst originating from within the gay and lesbian community, it’s aim is to provide an open dance competition of the highest standard that is totally inclusive.

Event videography in the Spanish Hall at Winter Gardens
The fabulous Spanish Hall at the Winter Gardens, Blackpool

With such a short lead time there wasn’t a great deal of discussion about brief for the film, which I guess is a compliment as Supadance obviously trust me to come up with something that’s going to promote their interests.  Basically I was left to organise the shoot with Sören and Bradley who were fantastic to work with and obviously brilliant event organisers.  And as you’ll remember from Britain’s Got Talent – they’re exceptional dancers too!

Sugar Dandies with Barry Free of Supadance
Barry Free and the Sugar Dandies

Event Videography – the 2012 Same Sex Open

This short film will give you an insight into the event and includes an interview with Supadance Chairman, Barry Free about his company’s support of this new sphere of competitive dance.  For the techies out there it was shot on a Canon 5DMkii using Canon EF 24-105mm 1:4 USM lens and edited on Edius 4.6. It was shot in a day and edited in two. Enjoy!

My thanks go to everyone involved in the event and Supadance for funding the production of the film.  I’d also like to thank Martin Baker who acted as my assistant on the day.

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Freelance writing…. me?

Ever since moving on from my role as editor of the IOV’s Focus magazine I’ve continued to make a fair proportion of my living from freelance writing services. Only this week I’ve had an article published in the new RedShark online magazine on the rising opportunities in video production.

Freelance writer for RedShark online magazine
Sweet Spot – a short article on the opportunities within video production

I’m in no way holding myself up as some kind of modern day Shakespeare – or indeed someone who knows all the finite rules of grammar, punctuation and spelling – but I do like to think I can communicate on subjects that I have some knowledge of or an opinion about.  I also think I can ingest new information and spit it back out on the page in an understandable format which the layman can understand.

I’ll not share the silly sod’s name, but my old English teacher would be dumbfounded to discover that one of his most disappointing pupils makes even part of his living through the written word.  He got so despondent with me in the end that his advice was that it wasn’t worth me taking my GSCE English exam. Oh well – you can’t be right all of the time sir!

35-years on and the freelance writing opportunities still keep coming in.  Today I’ve submitted a short piece for DVuser magazine who have asked me to be the guest editor on their next edition.  I’ve also been submitting content and photography for Focus magazine since my departure which has found favour with its new editor – albeit that this was on an old-times-sake voluntary basis.

Freelance writing for Focus magazine
Reviews and Articles for the IOV’s Focus Magazine

My penning talents are not just limited to reviews and articles though.  Where I think I shine best is on freelance writing commissions for video scripts, website copy, brochure content and other promotional literature.  It doesn’t have to be connected to video either as in recent months I’ve found myself writing on a hugely diverse range of subjects – including abseiling, ballroom dancing and beekeeping.

Go on – try me out on your next freelance writing challenge and see if I can give you some words of wisdom.

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Freelance Cameraman for hire

I’ve just finished packing the kit away after three fantastic days working for Dilip Patel of Double-Barrelled as a freelance cameraman at the European Congress on Epileptology at London’s Excel.

Dilip and Kevin on Set
Greenscreen Freelance Cameraman for Double-Barrelled at Excel

Apart from hearing many, many words I’ve never heard before (and still don’t understand), this was a really interesting and engaging few days.  The job at hand was filming presentations to camera delivered by various key people involved in the diagnosis, treatment and research of Epilepsy.  With around 4,000 delegates from all over the world this was a major event.  By the end of the three days we had over 20 presentations and promotional vox-pops about future events organised by the ILAE (International League Against Epilepsy) in the can – and of course a very happy client!

Dilip originally approached me about the job earlier on this year at which time the plan was not to necessarily use me as freelance cameraman but rather as the operator of the tele-prompt unit that was going to be used by many of the presenters.  I would of course be expected to jump on the camera if needed – but the original client brief did not include a 2-camera shoot. Whilst Dilip asked me to bring along my Canon 5D the original idea was that this was only there as a back-up for his 5D.

I have used various tele-prompt units in the past (and have my own tiny mobile phone prompter system) and each had its own peculiarity in the way it imported, edited and run scripts.  This didn’t really phase me as there would be time on site to get familiar with it, but the news that Dilip was going to be building his own system for this job did make me a little apprehensive.  I needn’t have worried though as Dilip’s engineering skills are way, way, way beyond that of your average DIYer!  I don’t think he has any plans of doing this but I think it’s only a few refinements away from being equal to any of the top-notch prompters on the market.  If you are looking to hire the services of a prompter system and operator then do give Dilip a call.

Tele-prompter from Double- Barrelled
Dilip and his brilliant prompter system

It was soon clear that most people were not going to need to use a prompter to deliver their presentations (they really were top people in their field – and very comfortable in front of camera). Others chose to run a PowerPoint presentation as a reminder which Dilip fed back through the prompter so they were still looking straight down the lens.  They were also being shot against a green-screen backdrop (also available from Dilip if you need one!) with the idea that when they referred to certain PowerPoint slides these could be keyed on the screen behind them.

Still, there were a few presenters that felt more comfortable running their entire script through the prompter but it was clear that my time would be better spent getting additional cutaway footage.  We also had a couple of guys on hand from the ILAE who were more than capable of operating the prompter.  This left me free to shoot some big “dirty” close-ups (“dirty” as they showed the lights and parts of the set in the background) that were shot on a Dutch tilt with an occasional pull-focus, light flare, zoom and pan. You know – that style that seems to annoy the old school TV boys!!!  This at least gave the editor something to use to break up the otherwise static ‘down-the-lens’ mid shot that could be anything up to 5-minutes long.

I do find this type of work tiring – but at the same time very rewarding.  I think some of the fatigue comes from spending three days stuck in an artificially lit box in the depths of a conference centre – not to mention the added tensions that comes from having to constantly think about backing up memory cards, keeping batteries charged and ensuring that we maintain a safe working environment for a constant stream of presenters.  However, the rewards come from continually having to think of how to create better and more engaging images – and from being able to work with some very talented and gifted individuals in front of and behind the camera.

I hope I’ll be working with Dilip again in the near future.

Freelance Cameraman for hire

If any other production houses are looking for a freelance cameraman then please do give me a call.  Happy to work with or without kit – and anywhere you care to send me.  For this particular job I was able to be at the London Excel conference centre in about 30-minutes using public transport from Loughton – so nice and light on the travel expenses!

 

 

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