Tag Archives: Event Documentary

Event Documentary Video Production

Are you looking for Event Documentary production services in Essex? Look no further than Video Artisan. We are a specialist provider of business video services throughout Essex and East London region. Event Documentary is what we are all about!

Furthermore, are looking to harness the power of YouTube or website video to improve your search engine optimisation? Maybe you want to develop a series of public information films – or create a one-off company film? Therefore Video Artisan has the skills, resources and creative talents to deliver an imaginative and cost-effective solution for your next company video.

Event Documentary Location

Our location is perfect for servicing London, Essex, Harlow and South Eastern England with London Underground connections, 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.

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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The Story of Common Effort

Common Effort Signing Ceremony
Common Effort culminating in the signing of a community statement

One of the great things about freelancing for Crown Media is the variety of work you get involved in. Whilst much of it is rapid turn-round news simulation or media training for the MOD and NATO purely for internal use, every once in a while you get to create something for a wider audience. Whilst the media simulation stuff is great, and exceptionally valuable to the client, creating content which has to inform and motivate an audience in a specific direction is rewarding on a completely different level.

Dominic Valitis (TV reporter) and I (Camera/Edit) were picked to work on the 1GNC (1st German Netherlands Corps) ‘Common Effort’ exercise by Crown Media earlier this year. Organised by 1GNC, the purpose of these exercises is to bring together military, humanitarian and civilian organisations (referred to as ‘actors’), outside of a crisis situation, so they are better connected and informed to deal with a real life scenario. These organisations will often be working alongside each other in conflict or natural disaster situations, so Common Effort’s goal is to help develop personal links and a framework that will make their individual efforts more effective.

Held over four days in Berlin, Common Effort consisted of a range of workshops and academic sessions where the actors collectively developed plans in dealing with a recent period in history based on the South-Sudan crisis. Using this real-life scenario brought an additional level of realism and historic fact and known outcomes to the exercise – and, to some extent, the benefit of knowing how things could have been played out differently. The event culminated in the signing of the first ‘Common Effort community’ statement – a high-level ceremony involving the German Minister of Defense.

Common Effort Press Conference
Dr. Ursula von der Leyen press conference at Common Effort

Background Pieces and News Packages

Our Crown Media assignment was split into two parts, the first being back in March this year with the production of a “start of exercise” film with David Bennett (one of Crown Media’s proprietors) presenting a background story piece on South Sudan up until a specific date in history. This was carried out at 1GNC’s headquarters in Muenster, Germany and was to be shown to all delegates at the start of Common Effort in May to give them an overview and starting position of the scenario they would be working on.

The Story of Common Effort

The second part of our assignment was carried out at the event in Berlin and consisted of creating three daily news packages which told the unfolding story as the delegates worked their way through the scenario. These were to be screened each day of the main exercise and consisted of a studio link to a report from the field by Dominic with interviews and archive news footage. We were also commissioned to create a story of the exercise film for 1GNC to use post event.

It was this “story” film that was somewhat different from anything else I’ve worked on for Crown Media so far as it was for public consumption. The aim was to give viewers an insight into the event and its purpose but, more specifically, to try and attract a wider participation from civil and humanitarian organisations at future events. Though it was never intended to be used at the event itself, as we managed to complete the edit in time it was also screened on the final day to all attendees as part of the close of exercise session. The reception it received was extremely positive.

This was my first Crown Media job that required NATO security clearance and I hope it’s not the last. Whilst you see stories in the press all the time about civil unrest, natural disaster and humanitarian crisis in which NATO and international organisations are involved, it is extremely difficult to get an understanding of the amount of planning, resources and logistics which are needed to effectively deal with them. I’m not pretending that, from my view behind the camera lens, I understand even a fraction of it – but I’m certainly more aware of the complexity of these situations and the range of actors that are involved.

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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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Filming a Team Building Event

Filming a Team Building Event
The story behind filming a team building event

2014 kicked off with us filming a team building event hosted by CAT Publications – namely the ‘M&IT Agency Challenge’ held at the Landmark Hotel in Central London. As publishers of Meetings & Incentives Travel Magazine, these events bring together buyers and sellers from within the corporate travel industry for a fun-packed day of activities and presentations.

This is the second time we’ve been engaged to film one of these tremendously successful events (see here). Through better engagement buyers get a clearer understanding of the range of services and destinations available to them – whilst suppliers are provided with the opportunity to build better relationships with new and existing clients. Going by the feedback from all attendees and the general atmosphere I think CAT Publications have got the mix of learning and fun in the right proportions – and it was great to be part of it.

More than just filming a team building event

Filming a team building event presents its own challenges, but in addition at these events we also supply video camera kits for the teams of delegates to use in one of the many challenges which they have to complete during the day. The video challenge this time was to create a 30-second commercial based on any one of the supplier presentations given on the day. If that wasn’t challenging enough, they only had 30-minutes in which to plan, script and shoot it!

Thankfully for them they didn’t have to edit it too. That was left to me and meant that I had to complete the edit on all six team videos only an hour or so after the last team finished filming so they could be judged and then screened later on in the evening during a gala dinner.

Whilst I was tucked away in a separate break-out room for much of the day either editing or briefing teams on how to use the cameras, my wingman for the day, Dilip Patel, was doing the ‘filming a team building event’ bit. This was far from filming entire coverage of each and every presentation and team challenge but rather gathering enough b-roll material so that I could cut together a 3-minute short documentary of the day.

Filming b-roll
Dilip filming b-roll

The narrative was achieved by filming an opening and closing piece with Martin Lewis, the Managing Editor of CAT Publications. Luckily Martin is a natural in front of camera and he also acted as interviewer at the end of the day to capture some of the feedback from delegates which helped us tell the whole story.

Video Challenges

The video challenges were staggered throughout the day, with either one or two teams doing this challenge at any one time. This started off with me giving them a very brief introduction to the cameras they’d be using. Once again we’d relied on Hireacamera to supply Canon XF105 cameras which were configured in full-auto mode to free up the teams from having to learn how to control focus, exposure and sound levels. Once they’d started creating their films I would then follow the teams to make sure they didn’t have any technical issues and, at the same time, capture of few shots of them creating their films to add to my b-roll. Thankfully these cameras are extremely easy to use in full-auto mode and didn’t present any problems for the teams who were working to an extremely tight deadline.

I’d installed my backup desktop Edius edit suite in my breakout room and, thankfully, none of the teams presented me with too much of an editing challenge – although not one of them managed to stick to the 30-second duration. This was one of the criteria the films were being judged on so no one managed to get an advantage in this respect.

Once the judging was completed I had to then get the files out in a format that the staging company could play out later that evening. There were one or two challenges with this but we got there in the end. The result was it created a fun opening to the gala dinner that evening where each team got to see their own film, and the other team’s, for the first time.

Kit used for the event documentary

Canon 5D DSLRs are great for filming a team building event but even they struggled under a range of challenging lighting conditions. In the main presentation area the staging company were using those wonderful blue LED lights to create a wash of light around the room – and this was coupled with natural daylight from windows and mix of tungsten and fluorescent house lights. No matter how hard you try it’s impossible to get a really accurate white balance under those conditions. During the evening events we had to work pretty much under candlelight alone. Other than that it was perfect!!!

Filming a Team Building Event lighting
Working with available light

Happy clients

Will we be filming a team building event for CAT Publications again? You bet! Plans are already underway for another one in the not too distant future. Like anything in life the more you do something the better you get at it. Whilst we managed to tick all the boxes for CAT Publications again this time we’ve got some ideas on how the video challenges can be improved further.

If you are thinking of running a team building event or corporate away day in the future and are looking for a fun and productive way in which to engage your delegates – and at the same time capture the event on film for future promotions – then please give us a call.

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The making of an event documentary

25-years of Supadance National League
The story behind this event documentary

The making of the event documentary

It’s been a great year for Video Artisan and it couldn’t have ended better than by releasing the event documentary celebrating 25-years of the Supadance National League.

The brief for this Video Artisan film was straightforward… ish! “Produce a short event documentary to celebrate its 25th anniversary, convey the spirit of the event and the positive aspects of competitive ballroom dance, show the benefits of participation for competitors and dance schools and, ultimately, promote wider participation in Supadance National League.” Oh, and of course, I had to make sure that Supadance Shoes got a really good plug too!

Obtaining a clear brief is quite easy really and starts with a simple two-part question to the client, “Who is the audience – and what do you want them to believe after watching the film?” You’ll probably know the answers before they reply but you need to draw this out from them and then come up with a plan or treatment on how you are going to achieve it within a given budget.

dancing at the Supadance League
It’s all about dance

I’m not going to share the actual amount Supadance International invested in this event documentary but I will break it down into man-hours and kit for the way I produced this film. It consisted of a two-man crew for 2-days filming mainly on DSLR cameras followed by 3-days in post production – plus a day in pre-production. I say “mainly on DSLR cameras” because I was also testing out the JVC GY-HM650 camera which I was delivering a workshop on the following week and there are a couple of shots from that which are included in the final edit.

Pre-production and Archive Research

As the film was to celebrate the history of the event my first thoughts were in locating video or stills of previous years that would help tell the story. Thankfully, one of the league’s directors had a video of the very first event – albeit that it was 3rd generation VHS. A shout out through the Supadance National League Facebook page also brought in a handful of photos – so I had as much archive as I needed for this brief part of the documentary.

The history was interesting but lingering on it wouldn’t help me fulfil the remainder of the brief. Addressing these really had to come from capturing the thoughts, hopes and dreams of three groups of people involved at the event – namely the event’s board of directors, the principals of participating dance schools and the dancers themselves. The messages you should get from these interviews should complete the brief – plus of course the all-important plug for the sponsor which I hope doesn’t drift too far off the storyline.

Shooting the event documentary

Prior to the event the directors helped us spread the word about what we were trying to capture by way of interviews. They also hand-picked some key personal from dance schools and other officials who could offer a valuable contribution. They also helped us on the day by encouraging contestants to take part in the interviews.

Recording the interviews therefore became our focus over the 2-day shoot. It was virtually impossible to set a proper schedule for these as the organisers were busy organising and the dancers were busy dancing – so we had to take our chances where we could.

We managed to capture a handful of interviews on the first day plus the grand opening ceremony that evening. We spent the morning of the second day capturing b-roll footage of the dance action and general atmosphere shots. In the afternoon we had a separate interview area set up and grabbed people when we could. This went on all afternoon and finished around 9:30pm. When there was no one to interview we carried on gathering b-roll – even though we probably had enough by then!

Interview set on Supadance League
Ready to start recording interviews

It’s the second time Supadance International has sponsored me to make a film about this particular event. Last year’s film was a little less complicated in its brief, being a general introduction to Supadance National League – so I had plenty of general dance shots to fall back on if needed. But fashions change, people get older, become better dancers… so we knew we would need additional b-roll footage of the current event too.

Shooting Kit

It was pretty much a standard shoot stock for Video Artisan. A Canon 5DMkII and 550D – both running Magic Lantern. Lenses varied between the 24-105mm Canon, a vintage 55mm f1.8 Fujinon and an 11-16mm Tokina f2.8 cropped sensor lens (which I also used at 16mm here and there on the full-frame 5DMkII). There are a couple of slider shots where I used the Varavon slider (see review here) and though I did take a mini crane there simply wasn’t a safe opportunity to use it.

The interview audio was recorded using the Tascam DR-60D mixer/recorder (see review here). I wouldn’t go anywhere without this fantastic bit of kit.

Lighting was provided by my Ianiro 3-head kit with a 2-foot softbox. This worked well except for a couple of interviews where 3 or 4 people wanted to be filmed together rather than separately or in pairs. Despite my attempts to keep them within the lighted area they tended to drift apart as a group the moment they started to talk. I should have anticipated this really and created a bigger set – or simply took the time to re-light. But at that point we had a line of people waiting to be interviewed so were pressed for time.

In post

I spent the first couple of days in post picking the story out of the hour and forty minutes of interviews (Edius 6.5). The aim was to get it down to around 10-minutes – or less if I could. The first rough hack ended up about 12-minutes after taking out repetitions of the same point, getting one interviewee to finish off the point being started by another interviewee – plus a couple more brutal hacks. Final tweaking, giving it musical breathing space here and there (AKM Music again) and topped and tailed with graphics brought it down to its current running length of just under 9-minutes 30-seconds.

Opening ceremony
Opening Ceremony filmed on JVC GY-HM650

Launching the event documentary

A timecoded first-draft was supplied to the customer, signed-off a couple of days later and released on YouTube and Vimeo on 17th December – 10-days after filming was completed. By the following afternoon the film had been viewed over 500 times – plus additional views on a version which Supadance International released via their own Facebook page (which I don’t know the viewing figures on). Most of the views followed an announcement on the league’s Facebook page – which has been a massive bonus for reaching out to the audience. It will also be shared permanently by Supadance on their website and used by them at other dance events as part of the exhibition marketing efforts.

The real value of this event documentary will probably not be realised for some time. In the short term it should attract more schools to take part and, of course, ultimately make dancers think ‘Supadance’ when it comes to buying their next pair of dance shoes. But I also hope that in the longer term it will stand as a valuable historic document about a significant period in the league’s history.

Bring it on – I love event documentary commissions!

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