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

 

Shoot a Wedding Video… Me?

When I first launched Video Artisan I didn’t really expect to be asked to shoot a wedding video.  I have nothing against this avenue or work – and have total respect for those who can turn out a well crafted and original wedding video – but my eyes and creative desires are firmly fixed on my corporate and documentary work.  But as I often say to others… “never say never!”

And when the request comes from the boss (Mrs. C) it wasn’t really something I could say no to!  Having been invited to the wedding of one of her work colleagues (that of Clare & Tony) in Ibiza on 7th September we decided to make a short break of it and stay for the week in nearby Es Cana.  We hadn’t been back to Ibiza since our own honeymoon (nearly 20-years ago) so it was going to be a trip down memory lane for us too – as well as a fab place to celebrate the union of this lovely couple.

Clare and Tony Wedding Video
Fantastic couple – fantastic wedding video location

Anyhow, Mrs. C’s hints kept getting bigger and more frequent in the weeks leading up to the trip. “Are you taking your DSRL on holiday?”, “Don’t you think it might be nice to get some pictures, and maybe video of the trip?”  I knew where this was all heading and, to be honest, if it’s a “no pressure” deal and I can do what I like I actually enjoy making a wedding video for close friends and family.  I did warn them though that I’d not be shooting on a tripod and the final film would be less than 10-minutes.

The last wedding video I produced was for my nephew Paul and Louise – which included a performance of the BBC’s version of ‘Perfect Day‘ – and that was great fun to do.  As this was a small wedding, in a really cool location (check it out.. Pura Vida Beachclub & Restaurant, Playa Niu Blau. Just outside Santa Eulalia) I knew this was going to be fun too.

Anyhow – here’s the short.  The final DVD we gave them had an additional chapter which just had the uncut speeches on it.  I apologise now to anyone who can actually play the guitar as they will immediately spot from my opening cameo performance that I can’t! The music track just seemed to cry out for some visuals to link it all together.

Do you want a Wedding Video?

Would I shoot another one???  Everybody has their price!  There’s a whole load of work that goes into making these things professionally (and iron out the corners in the above).  If this had been a proper commission I’d have taken out a whole load of additional kit with me, along with another camera person and probably someone to do the inevitable running around that Mrs. C was doing on the day.  I’d also have spent more than a couple of days putting it together.

So – yes I would happily take on the right commission at a fair rate of pay – and what that is would depend on what the couple wanted.  If you are interested to know what your wedding video might cost please get in touch.

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Another Video Artisan website video goes into action

One of my recently completed website video productions was put into action this week. It’s always nice to see your work at work – but even more so when it was produced for that very talented and charming bunch of guys at N2 Visual Communications.

Website video for N2
The website video takes pride of place at N2 Visual Communications

The making of a Video Artisan website video

Every website video job has its challenges but I think this is a good example of what we can shoot in one day and edit in two.  There was no script or storyboard to work to – but we did get a good brief from N2 with a clear idea of what they were trying to achieve.

The shoot basically started off with interviewing the MD and the heads of the three main divisions within N2 – namely N2 Print, N2 Display and N2 Digital. These formed the main narrative – and from there we shot various scenes and pieces around their two Hoddesdon, Hertfordshire factory sites (conveniently located a few doors away from each other).  It was a fair bit to cram into a one day shoot, and I don’t mind admitting that I was spent at the end of it – but they were more than happy with the end result.

This website video was shot in full HD (1080 25p) on a Canon DSLR and edited on our Edius Broadcast suite in Loughton. It took a day to log rushes, audition music score (see below), produce graphics and get a rough shot list on the timeline – and the second day to tidy things up and master.  There was a little additional work that went on after this but in total about two days in post production.

The music was chosen from AKM Music‘s range of copyright free tracks (Album: ‘Cut to the Beat 7’ Track: ‘Light Edition’). The reason I mention this is that clients will often ask to have specific “Commercial” music on their website video.  Without being rude, this is nearly always beyond most company’s budgets as the royalties demanded by the record company and the music publisher is normally astronomical – especially when used in broadcast or website video.  There is no hard and fast rules on these costs but they like to start talking around the £20,000 mark.  As I said – rarely a sensible way to blow your marketing budget.

Ballpark budget on this kind of job is around the £2k mark. Enjoy!

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Cine Film and Slides to DVD

Our marketing efforts on our cine film and slides to DVD services have really started kicking in now.  I know that some people don’t enjoy doing this kind of work but I think its a real honour to help preserve and restore my customer’s precious memories this way.  I also find it incredibly interesting!

Cine film converted to DVD
8mm and Super8 cine film are the most common types around

Cine Film and Slides to DVD

When I started Video Artisan I wasn’t going to be pushing this side to the business too hard, and don’t pretend to be the cheapest company around, but I’ve been finding a lot of customers that were initially interested in our VHS to DVD conversions were chuffed to find out that we can convert pretty much any format to any other format.

Anything and Everything Converted

Family collections of cine films are without doubt the most popular – but recently I’ve converted slides, camcorder hard drive contents, prints, PowerPoint slides, 8mm videotape, Betamax tapes, DV tapes, DVCAM tapes….  Having been in and around this industry for over 25-years now I’ve made many, many contacts and I don’t think there’s a video or film format that I couldn’t lay my hands on (or know a man that can) and get material converted to something more up to date.

Give me a try!

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Clifton Suspension Bridge filming

After two other aborted filming attempts the good weather held out long enough for us to get all the shots we needed at the Clifton Suspension Bridge in Bristol.  What an amazing experience – and yes that is me pictured on the chains!

Clifton Suspension Bridge filming
Don’t look down… Too late!

The bridge was designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel when he was just 24 and was his first major commission.  Work began on its construction in 1831 but was stopped in 1843 as a result of financial and political problems leaving only the two towers on each side of the vast Avon Gorge that it was to span.  Unfortunately, Brunel never saw the end result of his work as he passed away in 1859 at the age of just 53-years.  The bridge was finally completed as a memorial to Brunel some five years later – and what a memorial it is!

Filming Eiger Safety on the Clifton Suspension Bridge
Its a long way down – and across!

The filming assignment was to capture two different aspects of Eiger Safety’s work – namely latchway testing and re-fitting.  Atop the bridge chains there’s a latchway cable running their entire length (land-to-tower each side – plus the central long chains) so that the regular maintenance team can safely do periodic checks, cyclic painting and change light bulbs.

The testing was carried on the first day whilst the bridge was still open to vehicle traffic.  The footpath was also kept open but restricted to one side – depending on which chain was being tested.  The land-to-tower chains on the Leigh Woods end of the bridge were going to be replaced on the following day so these did not have to be tested.  Replacement is a lengthy process and cannot be carried out whilst the bridge is open so it’s costly for the bridge authority and is usually organised alongside other planned closures.

In this occasion the planned closure was between 18:00 and 24:00 hrs on 12 August to coincide with final event at the Bristol Balloon Festival which is held just the other side of the Leigh Woods end of the bridge.  During this event the bridge is shut to avoid damage that could be caused by around 120,000 participants trudging their way back across the bridge to central Bristol at the end of the festivities.  Despite its timeless design, Brunel’s bridge was only ever intended to carry 19th century light horse drawn traffic.  Whilst today it handles 11-12,000 motor vehicles crossing it every day, the swaying effect of foot passengers can have a catastrophic effect on any bridge – as witnessed with London’s famous wobbly Millennium footbridge across the Thames which didn’t originally avoid this phenomenon despite its modern design and construction.

Eiger Safety on the chains at Clifton Suspension Bridge
You have to be comfortable at height to do this – believe me!

Eventually all the latchway cables will be changed but this might be spread over a number of years and, of course, planned closures.  In the meantime Eiger have given the original latchway system a complete bill of health so that the bridge maintenance and use can continue safely.

I had thought this was my last day of filming for Eiger Safety but it’s going to carry on for at least another day – this time at one of their sites where they’ve installed and maintain a roof handrail system.

Yep – probably another day on top of some spectacular structure somewhere.  It’s hard work, but someone has got to do it. : )

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Eiger Safety promotional film continues

It’s been a little quiet for the past couple of weeks on the promotional film front at Video Artisan (unlike my #VHS-to-DVD service which has been going bonkers).  I don’t think I’m alone in this respect as the Olympics have taken over the lives of most people in the UK.  It seems that those who are not watching the Olympics are going through their VHS tapes and realising their VHS doesn’t work any more. It’s kept me busy anyhow!

But the promotional film work is all kicking off again this week starting with a two days of filming for Eiger Safety – the first of which was at the Force India Formula One Team Wind Tunnel on Monday.

Eiger Safety installing systems at Force Indian Formula One
A sneaky shot at the model in the wind tunnel

Before all the Formula One fans start getting excited about this blog entry there wasn’t a great deal to see on the day.  The wind tunnel itself was not in operation as there were various refits and upgrades going on whilst we was there – in addition to mention the numerous latch-way and staircase installations being carried out by the guys at Eiger Safety.  I was hoping to get inside the actual wind tunnel itself to do a mock up shot of the guys doing some work in there but that just wasn’t on the cards.

Force India Formula One Team Wind Tunnel during promotional film for Eiger Safety
Atop the Force India Formula One Team Wind Tunnel

The main aim of the day was to set up a time-lapse shot of the construction of a steel staircase leading from the ground floor up through the centre of the ‘U’ bend in the wind tunnel area to a mezzanine floor on the level of the rolling road.  But what with the restrictions of the other works in place, plus a lack of a good vantage point to set the camera going for the three days of the installation, the time-lapse shot was scrubbed too.

This was not the best outcome but it didn’t stop me getting some material of Eiger Safety doing some of their steel fabrication work.  Having designed and fabricated it off site, the staircase arrived in kit form on the back of a truck.  The next couple of days would consist of putting this big-boy’s Meccano project together.  They were also installing various latch-way systems to enable safe access to the top of the wind tunnel – so there was plenty to film.

Steel staircase construction by Eiger Safety
The Meccano kit arrives

Right now I’m getting my kit together for two more days filming for Eiger Safety at the Clifton Suspension Bridge at Bristol.  This will be at least our third attempt at getting this location in the can as the weather has been against us on all previous occasions.  Unless there’s a weather front that we’ve missed, tomorrow should be about filming the guys testing the safety systems on the chains. Then, on Saturday night, we’ll be back on there in the darkness to film them installing some new safety systems.

Until then, I’ll just carry on getting this VHS-to-DVD work turned over!   I need to start clearing the decks for another BIG promotional film that should go into pre-production planning the week after next.

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