Tag Archives: Documentary

Documentary Production at its best

First of all, it’s great to hear that you are looking for Documentary Production services. It’s a great way to tell your story – to the people you need t to tell it to. Video Artisan are a specialist provider of business video services throughout the UK and overseas. Documentary Production is probably what we are best at!

Furthermore, we are especially focused creating well-structured and engaging website video that will add to your SEO efforts. But maybe you also want to develop a series of public information docs – or create a one-off company history doc? Therefore you need to look no further as Video Artisan has the skills and resources to make this happen. Because we understand your needs, we are your obvious first choice!

Documentary Location

Our location is perfect for servicing London, Essex, Harlow and South Eastern England with London tube station, the M25 and Stansted Airport very close to our studio edit facilities on the edge of Epping Forest.

In addition, we offer freelance camera operator and video editing services to client producers, agencies and other video production companies. With various cameras, lenses, camera mount systems, rails, sliders, dollies, lighting and sound kit we can cater for most video assignments.

Video Training

Bespoke Video Training

The continued rise in demand for online video has seen us providing bespoke media and video training packages to all manner of clientele. In the past month, this has included basic one-to-one coaching to local businesses though to specialist aviation industry training as far away as Brunei!

Though online video has been with us for some years, organisations are now really starting to understand how video can drive their business forward. And, for many, buying in video training and doing it themselves is the most logical way to achieve this.

CAT Video Training

A great example of how a Video Artisan bespoke video training package can help a business grow is our relationship with CAT Publications (Conference And Travel Publications). CAT have been creating print, online, educational and research content for the international events industry since 1987. Their editorial expertise and industry knowledge has helped them maintain their position as the most trusted resource for anything “events industry” related.

CAT are not shy about harnessing the power of video though. We have produced many films for them in the past five years – with numerous event documentaries on their M&IT Awards, Agency Challenge and Masterclasses. However, the next logical step for them was to start repackaging their extensive editorial output into a video format. The long-term aim is to create a vibrant online video channel of up to the minute news content and comment on the events industry across several their publications.

Video Training at CAT
Everyone enjoying the video training at CAT

Having already experimented outsourcing the the video element of this with their Intellectual Capitals product, they soon realised the most cost-effective and time-efficient approach would be to invest in the skills of their existing editorial team. They obviously didn’t need any guidance in journalism – but a well-structured video training and support package would enable them shoot, edit and produce compelling content, in-house. This would mean they could get their video content out faster and build even greater engagement with their audience.

More than just Video Training

Apart from the video training element of this service, Video Artisan also helped CAT with their investment in the kit needed for their in-house productions. This included specifying a lightweight camera system suitable for roving reporters, video editing software and all the video accessories needed to create professional looking videos (see notes below on the kit).

The initial training was spread over two days – starting with the principles of creating video interviews, developing a house-style and basic camera craft and sound recording techniques. Practical filming assignments were then followed with guidance on how to package up footage and other media assets using Edius editing software. The final steps included outputting settings and how to share content on social media platforms and achieve the best possible search engine visibility.

This is very much an ongoing relationship with CAT. The initial support package means we are going to be very instrumental in helping them to create their first two or three real pieces of video content. By then they should be well on their way to achieving their goals. However, as their video channel develops, there will be further involvement from Video Artisan that will see CAT evolve into the leading resource of video news and feature content for the events industry.

Your video training needs

Our main strength at Video Artisan is our ability to shape and develop video training services for any application or size of organisation. Through our extensive industry contacts and partners we can offer complete media training solutions – covering technical, creative and on-screen performance coaching to broadcast standards. If you’re thinking of creating your video content in-house, please get in touch for more details on our bespoke video training services. Email kevin@video-artisan.com or call 020 3602 3356.

NOTES: Video Artisan specified the JVC GY-HM170 compact 4K camera, E-Image EG03A2 tripod and accessories – sold as a bundle through ProAV . Additional filming kit included RODE NTG1 shotgun and Filmmaker Kit radio mic system. This configuration was chosen because its ability to easily shoot in either automatic, semi and manual modes – enabling their journalists to concentrate on the story but giving them the ability to develop their manual camera control skills over time.

Edius Pro 8 editing software was chosen for its ease of use and ability to incorporate source material in a range of formats. This is also the main editing system used by Video Artisan and therefore enabled easy remote support to CAT on future projects.

Video training with Edius
Video training with Edius
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Awards Event Documentary production

M&IT Awards 2017

Yet another Awards Event Documentary

This is the third time we’ve been commissioned to create an awards event documentary for CAT Publications.  It was very special this time though as it was their 30th Annual Awards.  That’s some achievement.  It was also another great reason to create an awards event documentary to remember it by.

This is an amazing event, attended by more than 1,300 key people from the top organisations in the meetings and events industry.  Its purpose is to celebrate and reward the very best across a wide range of categories.  This includes hotels and conference venues, agencies, airlines and banqueting providers.  Like all the best awards nights, the winners are not revealed until the awards night itself to an ever-so excited audience.

Awards Event Documentary A&O

The purpose of this Awards Event Documentary isn’t purely for prosperity though.  CAT use these films as a part of their marketing activities for the following year’s event.  In fact, the film is one of their most powerful tools in sharing the atmosphere and scale of the event.  For anyone who has not attended the awards before, this short awards event documentary will give them a pretty good idea of what to expect.

Furthermore, the film plays an important role in attracting entries in future awards.  As the only awards scheme in the events industry which is voted on by the end user, they are extremely highly valued.  The film therefore had to show the impact that winning an award has on the recipient’s business.  Likewise, the film had to impress the value of brand association for future sponsors.

Production process

The narrative for this awards event documentary was pretty much set in stone.  Shooting was therefore straight forward, with three camera crews recording the general atmosphere shots.  We also had two fixed cameras covering the main presentations.  The main host was TV’s Eamonn Holmes – and along with various guest speakers, provided the main structure to the edit.  In addition, winners were pulled backstage after their presentation to be interviewed by another camera team to captures their elation.  Whilst this was an extremely quick turn round it also gave us the opportunity to ask them their views on the event in general.

The backstage interviews, along with the winner’s stage presentation, were also cut into individual short clips.  These were then sold to the winners post-event for them to use within their own marketing to promote their success.  This enabled CAT to recoup some of their investment in the creating the documentary. (see example here)

Editing the main Awards Event Documentary was made easier by the excellent neon drumming performance by Spark!  They were spectacular on the night and provided us with a dramatic up-beat soundtrack to cut to.

Video Artisan and CAT Publications

This is just one event we work on for CAT Publications each year.  Other events include their series of masterclasses for the events industry – and also the ever-popular Agency Challenge events at which we provide video team-building challenges for the delegates.  There’s another one of these coming up in July.

More information

If you are organising an awards event, or any other corporate event that really would benefit from being made into a short documentary, then give us a call.  You might be surprised at how a little investment in a video film could take your event to the next level.  Call Kevin on 020 3602 3356 or email kevin@video-artisan.com

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How to create great video marketing content

Great Video Marketing

Once upon a time with Video Marketing

The rapid rise of Video Marketing has been good for Video Artisan – but this also presents its challenges. To create content for a truly-effective video marketing campaign it’s no longer sufficient just to create any old video. The novelty of video has, almost, worn off; the stakes have increased.

You’ve now got to be able to tell an amazing story in order to make your video marketing shine through. Thankfully, there’s an amazing story within any business or marketing task. Video Artisan’s role is to help you find it, wrap it in video and tell it.

A video marketing story worth telling

Quite often, finding the story is the biggest part of our challenge. But every now and then a commission comes through where there’s a really good story to tell and a client who knows that a video marketing film is the best way to tell it. The Chris Fletcher ‘Stretcher’ commission was an excellent example.

The purpose of this marketing video is to tell the story of former Royal Marine, Chris Fletcher – and how this Afghan/Iraq conflict veteran came about inventing an in-uniform stretcher system to help speed up casualty extraction and save lives. Its potential audience is wide and varied – and hopefully the film carries enough interest to captivate anyone. This includes those who are never likely to need to be extracted from a battle zone. Whilst the roots of the system are in the military field, it could be just as beneficial to those involved in any kind of rescue or emergency service.

But more importantly this marketing video’s role is to help Chris, and his investor, Jon Hunter, to tell a consistent and compelling story when presenting the system to those who are likely to adopt it.  This could be during a formal presentation or simply shared online.

A timely story

One of the challenges, especially for online video, is to compact your video marketing story into the shortest possible time. But sometimes you need to break through that magic 120-second time limit (the maximum duration Google advise for video marketing). At 5 ½ minutes the film is probably too long to be called an ‘Elevator Pitch’.  It’s actually better described as a ‘Pilot’. It sets the scene and tells their story so far, but there’s much more to come from Chris and Jon and they plan to use video marketing to tell the ongoing story too. Keep an eye on it!

The cover price of Video Marketing

Video marketing needn’t be an expensive option. This film took just four days to produce – including setting up a very basic website for the video to sit on. You’ll be able to workout the rough costs for this kind of commission by looking at our Rate Card.

If you’re ready to tell your video marketing story now – please get it touch for a no-obligation consultation and discover how little you might need to invest. Call +44 (0) 20 3602 3356 or email kevin@video-artisan.com

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Handheld Vs Shoulder-Mount Cameras

Shoulder-mount title
A short documentary about the benefits of shoulder-mount design video cameras

When shoulder-mount is the only option

I’ve been shooting with the JVC GY-HM650 for over a year now and it’s become my go-to camera for many assignments. Being of handheld design, the camera is compact yet pro-feature rich, making it ideal for shooting conferences, newsgathering and any event where you need and all-in-one camera with professional connections and performance.

Since its launch the GY-HM650 has been an incredibly successful camera for JVC – a demonstration of which was its adoption by the BBC in 2013 when it purchased over 500 of them for newsgathering in the UK and overseas. But, as good as this camera is, there are still some applications where its handheld design makes it less than perfect. Whilst the camera is light and compact, the handheld design can be very tiring to use off-tripod for any length of time – which is true of any camera in this class.

To address this, at the beginning of 2014 JVC launched the 800 series cameras – namely the GY-HM850/ HM890. The 800 series has adopted all the very best features of the 600 series and designed them into an excellent shoulder-mount solution. All the bits that I really like about the HM650 are included, plus there’s a host of new features which will appeal to a wide range of camera operators.

The GY-HM850 Shoulder-Mount Solution
The GY-HM850 Shoulder-Mount Solution

If you have something to say, say it with video!

Towards the end of last year JVC approached me about creating a short documentary which explains why some applications are better suited to a shoulder-mount camera – and to reveal some of the other less obvious reasons why some camera operators prefer this design type. They also wanted something that would highlight some of the new features which have been introduced into this model to make it even more useful to the professional cameraman.

Once you have used both of these types of camera you’ll have a very good understanding of where one performs better than the other. However, in today’s world of DSLRs and the trend of making cameras smaller and smaller, its not that obvious to the uninitiated as to why a shoulder-mount camera could be preferable. Despite being substantially larger and heavier, the only way you can persuade someone that they are far more comfortable to use, easier to handle and far less fatiguing to operate off-tripod for any length of time is to actually get them to try it out. My challenge for this film was just that – to encourage camera buyers to actually consider the camera design more closely and to explore all possibilities – and ultimately to give shoulder-mount cameras a try. I hope it achieves this!

Video Outline

After an initial consultation with JVC I presented them with a short treatment. Following a few tweaks the format was agreed and I worked on developing the script and coming up with ideas on how to achieve the objectives.

Whilst it would be simple for me to simply talk people through the camera’s features I really believed that we needed to get some other people’s comments and views, so I planned a visit to the Kit Plus event in London and door-stepped a few of the delegates there to get their views on why the shoulder-mount design still has it’s place in video production. Apart from giving the viewer a break from my own on-screen performance, I thought it was extremely important to get other real users to reveal the important and less obvious benefits.

Production Notes

I’ve produced a number of this type of film before here at our studios in Loughton, Essex – so finding the location to shoot the pieces to camera and the studio pack shots wasn’t a challenge. Every shot you see in this film was shot using my GY-HM650, with the only exception being the one shot of the GY-HM650 which was created using the GY-HM850.

HM850 on set
Shooting video cameras with video cameras

The only other material which was not actually filmed with the GY-HM650 was the GUI screen shots. These were created by capturing the camera’s HDMI output via the Intensity Pro card directly into my Edius edit suite.

A huge thanks to JVC for commissioning this film, and also to those who volunteered their time at Kit Plus London to be interviewed.

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Broadcasting of an Event Documentary

Event documentary broadcast
Video Artisan’s Event Documentary to be broadcast!

News release – event documentary to be broadcast

It’s taken some time to release this news but this week I’ve had confirmation that my short event documentary on the 2013 Same-Sex Dance Festival is going to be broadcast on the Community Channel on 7th June at 9:45.  Sponsored by dance shoe manufacturer, Supadance, this event documentary tells the story behind this unique Ballroom and Latin Dance competition for same-sex dance couples held in the Spanish Hall at Blackpool’s Winter Gardens.

I’ve produced five films for Supadance now but this is the first event documentary which has been spotted by a broadcaster.  The Community Channel describe itself as, “Broadcasting original programmes that showcase the work of new directors and community filmmakers, as well as the very best of terrestrial TV, Community Channel is the place for real-life stories” and is a registered charity owned by the Media Trust.  Same-Sex Dance Festival was chosen by the channel for its human interest appeal for both dance and same-sex audiences.

Broader Audience for an event documentary

The online version of this film has already reached more than 20,000 viewers through YouTube, Vimeo and social networking platforms since it was launched in October last year.  It has also been downloaded and shared throughout the world by those interested and activity participating in same-sex dance.  The Community Channel, which its average daily reach of 160,000 viewers (according to www.barb.co.uk), should push the event documentary out to many more people and give them an insight into this fascinating area of social and competition dance.

The Community Channel is broadcast 24/7 on Virgin 233, Sky 539 and Freesat 651, as well as on Freeview 63 and glorious Freeview HD. Community Channel is also available on BT Vision and BBC iPlayer. You can also watch their “on demand” output on their website and on their YouTube channel (CommunityChannelTV).

The benefits

Whilst there is no monetary advantage for Video Artisan in having this work broadcast there are other, very significant, advantages in this event documentary going out to a wider audience.

Firstly, Supadance are obviously extremely pleased as their products and their involvement in the event are heavily featured in the documentary.  Produced initially as website video content to help with their search engine optimisation, this event documentary will now expose their brand even further without any further investment.  Equally, the event organisers for the Same-Sex Festival are going to gain more exposure than they could have dreamed of – which not only benefits this particular dance festival but also same-sex dancing in general.

Finally, I can’t deny that there’s a certain amount of kudos to be gained from having one of your films noticed and output by a broadcaster – albeit not one of the more mainstream channels.  It should also mean that I can add a legitimate credit to the IMDb database (www.imdb.com).  More importantly though, it’s another demonstrable example of where I’ve been able to deliver far more than promised to a client.  Not every event documentary has this potential but, when it does, Video Artisan can develop and deliver the right kind of content.

You can read more about the making of this event documentary on my earlier blog HERE.

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