Tag Archives: Video Filming

Video Filming – surely that’s a contradiction in terms?

It’s true, the term ‘Video Filming’ is a bit odd. It’s either ‘videoing’ or ‘filming’, surely? Well no.  We’ve all now come to accept that the act of recording with a video camera is considered as “filming” – and that’s just what we do. So, if you’re looking for any kind of business filming services then look no further than Video Artisan. We are a specialist provider – servicing clients throughout UK and overseas. Video Filming is our bag!

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

Video Filming Location

Our location is perfect for servicing the UK with TFL connections, the M25 and Stansted Airport very close by.

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.

High-level video communications

Dorchester Abseil
Taking video communications to a new level

Filming internal video communications can often be dull and uninteresting – especially when you are not directly involved in the activity. However, every now and then a video communications job comes in which is rewarding, challenging, exciting and pushes us beyond our usual comfort zone. This job was an excellent example and not only put my filming skills and kit to the test but also tested my nerves and ability to rise (or should I say “descent”) to the challenge.

When Video Communications becomes great PR!

As part of their corporate social responsibility programme, on 20th August The Dorchester Hotel organised a sponsored abseil down the front of their iconic building in London’s Mayfair in aid of Cancer Research. With over 60 members of staff taking part, and under the guidance of abseiling specialists, Eiger Safety, the event was filmed by Video Artisan as a memento for those involved and to provide the hotel with some excellent PR opportunities.

It is not uncommon for an event such as this to pass by unnoticed, but by commissioning a video communications film you get two stabs at gaining as much publicity as possible. This was not only important for the hotel but also for Cancer Research and those members of staff who showed great spirit in making the descent, many of which were taking part in their own time. However, there wasn’t much chance of this event going unnoticed as the abseil was set up on the front of The Dorchester in full view of passers by, guests coming and going from the hotel as well as members of the press who had gathered below.

The right kit for the job

Unlike other video communications jobs this one required some specialist kit to give the viewer a much better view of the action and a sense drama. Apart from the obligatory safety kit (climbing hats, harnesses and other abseiling paraphernalia), Video Artisan had the opportunity to put their latest acquisition to good use – namely a JVC Adixxion Action Camera (GC-XA2BE) which was attached to the climbing hat of the main abseil instructor who was accompanying the volunteers as they descended down the building. The main action filming was carried out using our JVC GY-HM650.

JVC Adixxion
Setting up the JVC Adixxion to film

Having looked at the features and benefits of all the alternative action cameras, Video Artisan chose the JVC Action Camera for a number of reasons. We regularly use the GY-HM650 camera on video communications projects and were looking to add a small POV camera to capture shots that are otherwise impossible. The Dorchester Hotel abseil gave us an excellent opportunity to put the camera to the test and provided us with an abseiler’s view of the activity. Apart from matching nicely with our GY-HM650, one of the main reasons for buying the Adixxion was its robustness. There were lots of opportunities for the camera to get knocked whist the abseilers made the descent down the hotel facia – and the last thing you need to worry about is the camera being damaged or, worst still, being knocked off its mounting and causing a hazard to the crowd below.

We’ve also used the Adixxion on another corporate shoot for a golf tutoring product which required a shot from the golf ball’s perspective (blog coming soon) and it would have been impossible to use anything other than a small POV to achieve this. In the next couple of weeks we’ll also be using the camera’s 5m depth waterproof feature (without the need for any additional housing) on a shoot in the Dominican Republic. With a whole host of mounting options and accessories I can see the Adixxion being used time and time again. The other features that really sold it to me are that it uses a full-sized SD card, has a preview screen built in, can shoot up to 50/60fps in 1920×1080 resolution and has both side and bottom mounting positions.

Keeping video communications safe

There were of course many safety issues to keep in mind throughout the day. The real action was at the top of the climb as the abseilers were prepared to go over the edge, so not only did we have to make sure that I was properly secured but also the main camera and anything attached to it. Filming the climbers’ reactions as they went over was very important, meaning that for much of the time we had to lean right over the edge to catch the action as they made their initial descent.

Keeping it safe
Keeping it safe

 

We also had to film some of the action as they reached the ground (which had its own risks) and meant that we were constantly having to rig and de-rig as we made our way from ground to roof and back again. In these situations it would be very easy to lose sight of your own safety and that of those around you but thankfully the guys at Eiger Safety were keeping a constant eye on all activities whilst making sure it was a great experience for those taking part whilst ensuring that we always had the best shots.

The final challenge

Having witnessed close-up the buzz and excitement throughout the day I simply couldn’t refuse the offer of having a go down the ropes myself. I have worked with Eiger Safety on their promotional video and have filmed in some amazing situations as they carried out their various height-safety services but never actually managed to do any abseiling myself. I can’t honestly say I’m fearful of heights but don’t mind admitting this was outside of my comfort zone. But, having watched so many people who were truly nervous going down for the benefit of others, I couldn’t resist their offer.

Your next video communications project

I like to think I have proved my dedication to helping organisations create excellent video communications – so next time you are doing something which is worth telling others about then I am your man. Any challenge accepted – as long as it is safe!

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Filming exhibition stand interviews at #BVE14

Filming exhibition stand interviews
The story behind Video Artisan filming exhibition stand interviews at BVE

I’ve been super-mad-busy in the past week following my adventures filming exhibition stand interviews at BVE at Excel in London on 25th Feb. This morning I finished editing the last of 11 short films that have now been uploaded to YouTube and Vimeo – and the viewing figures have started to go ballistic!

Whilst it’s not unusual for a video production company to be involved in filming exhibition stand interviews, this particular project was self-generated, self-presented and funded through me selling the service to my old industry contacts who were exhibiting at the event. Essentially, they pay me a modest fee (cough) and I shoot a quick interview with them at the event and then share the film through my various online channels and connections.

My Interview Theme – BVE for the Videographer

BVE is predominantly a broadcast event but it also encapsulates an element of professional videography. Whilst there’s a lot of video content already created by the guys at TVBay who are there every year filming exhibition stand interviews the emphasis of these is really on the broadcast audience. My idea was to create content squarely aimed at the professional videographer.

JVC interview
Interviewing BVE exhibitor who had something for the videographer

This is one of the very few occasions where I’ve tapped into and profited from my past life as the IOV’s (Institute of Videography) Executive Administrator. Having spent 17-years in that role I’d obviously built up a long list of contacts amongst the manufacturers and dealers – so why not? I’ve also maintained a reasonably high profile in this part of the industry too through writing articles and reviews for various publications – as well as gathering a reasonable following for this blog and my social media channels.

The IOV’s executive committee also agreed to help me by sharing the content through their IOV News Stream channel on their website – which in turn gave them some video content to share via their IOVTV channel too. I’d like to think therefore that everyone was a winner!

The IOV also got an additional bonus as the guys at TVBay asked me to gather a panel of videographers together on the second day of BVE for a live chat show presentation from their Broadcast Show studio on the exhibition floor. Within that session, amongst other interesting stuff, my panel members shared their views on the value of being a member of the IOV. The program is 30-minutes long, but it’s time well spent if you are interested in hearing how other people do things in videography. Please note, you’ll have to turn the volume up to hear it properly (unless they’ve corrected it now!!!)

The challenges of filming exhibition stand interviews

Filming exhibition stand interviews is never easy as you don’t have time nor space for niceties such as lighting or crowd control. The H&S guys are pretty strict on that sort of thing at exhibitions. The interviewees, whilst obviously interested in me ending up with something that works for them, are really there to deal with the many customers that have come to see their new wares. Whilst booking a timeslot helps you to manage your time, in the real-world environment of a show these times can slip as events take over and you have to grab your opportunities as they arise. I say this as not all the interviews are as technically perfect as I’d like but, given the conditions and time allowed, the content should soon outweigh any shortcomings in picture quality and composition. I might be underselling them a little here but please don’t expect to see anything near to the usual end results of our other corporate work.

If you missed the individual releases of the interviews, here’s a list along with a brief intro of the contents. They can also be seen on my Vimeo and YouTube channels and are presently featured on IOVTV.

AKM Music – WATCH NOW!
An interview with Anthony McTiffen from AKM Music about their attendance at BVE in February 2014 – and gives an insight into their range of copyright free and royalty free music aimed specifically at the professional video producer and videographer.

DVC (David Vincent Clarke) – WATCH NOW!
An interview with David Clarke from DVC about their attendance at BVE in February 2014. This short film gives an insight into their range of purpose-built nonlinear editing systems aimed specifically at the professional video producer and videographer.

Genelec – WATCH NOW!
An interview with Andy Bensley from Source Distribution about their attendance at BVE in February 2014 and the introduction of the Genelec 8010 studio audio monitor. This short film gives an insight into the main features and benefits of this compact and cost-effective studio monitor which is designed specifically for smaller and mobile edit suite environments.

Holdan – WATCH NOW!
An interview with Richard Payne from Holdan about their attendance at BVE in February 2014. This short film gives an insight into the vast range of products from Holdan, including new camcorders from Panasonic and Blackmagic Design – as well as accessories and production tools aimed specifically at the professional video producer and videographer.

JVC Professional – WATCH NOW!
An interview with John Kelly from JVC Professional about their attendance at BVE in February 2014 and the launch of their new 800 series camcorders covering their many features and specifications. John also gives an outline of the range of camcorders JVC have that are aimed at the professional video producer and videographer.

Portaprompt – WATCH NOW!
An interview with Jim Keating from Portaprompt about their attendance at BVE in February 2014. This short film gives an insight into their range of tele-prompting and presenter cueing systems aimed specifically at the professional video producer and videographer.

Production Gear – WATCH NOW!
An interview with Simon Beer from Production Gear about their attendance at BVE in February 2014. This short film gives an insight into their range of new products that were shown at BVE – concentrating on the DJI Phantom UAV, its accessories and the regulations facing UAV use in the UK.

RØDE – WATCH NOW!
An interview with Alex Theakston from Source Distribution about their attendance at BVE in February 2014 and the introduction of the RØDE VideoMic Go. This short film gives an insight into the main features and benefits of this compact and cost-effective microphone designed specifically for DSLR shooters.

Sachtler – WATCH NOW!
An interview with Nino Leitner of Nino Film e.U based in Austria who is a Brand Ambassador for Sachtler. Nino talks about his relationship with Sachtler and reveals what features and qualities he looks for in a tripod.

Sony – WATCH NOW!
An interview with Álvaro Ortiz from Sony about their range of camcorders, monitors and audio products aimed specifically at the professional videographer.

Thear Technology – WATCH NOW!
An interview with Rod Thear of Thear Technology about their attendance at BVE in February 2014. This short film gives an insight into their range of servicing and repair services offered by Thear Technology and explains their ethos and values in providing for the professional video producer and videographer.

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A simple but effective website promotional film

Just before I went off on annual leave at the beginning of September I completed another website promotional film – this time for IT sales recruitment specialists, Robertson Sumner.

Robertson Sumner
Creating a Website Promotional Film for Robertson Sumner

Robertson Sumner is amongst the growing number of businesses who recognise the vitally important role that a website promotional film can play in raising their Internet visibility. In addition to helping to maintain their search engine rankings, this video will also form part of their general marketing activities and used to promote their business through social networking channels.

But apart from the fact that a website with video content will rank higher than one that doesn’t, commissioning a website promotional film can also help businesses of all sizes to augment their brand and communicate their business culture. People buy from people, and there is no better way to introduce potential clients to the key people and values within a business than to get them on-screen with a short personal pitch.

I think this is a good example of how simple and effective a website promotional film can be. Running for just 1-minute 44-seconds, Robertson Sumner’s managing director, Marc Sumner, gives an introduction to their specialist IT sales recruitment business based in Gerrards Cross. It explains who they are, what they provide and why so many major IT companies choose Robertson Sumner as their preferred recruitment consultancy.

Filmed, edited and mastered in just two days, it’s also a great example of just how cost effective and pain-free it can be to commission a website promotional film. Following a familiar production format it was also easy for us to provide Robertson Sumner with an accurate and realistic quotation over the phone – resulting in the film going from enquiry to delivery stages in very quick succession.

The making of this website promotional film

The film was shot at their Gerrards Cross offices. Whilst these were very neat, tidy and professional, Marc Sumner wanted his presentation to be filmed against a greenscreen and keyed over an alternate office background – similar to a previous film we produced for another recruitment company, Hyper Recruitment Solutions. The advantages of this are that we have more control over the finished look of the film and create minimal interruption to their real office in having to move furniture and fixings around which might prove to be distracting to the viewer.

Greenscreen shooting
Shooting Greenscreen for Robertson Sumner

The film was shot on a Canon 5DMkii (running Magic Lantern software) using Canon EF 24-105mm 1:4 USM lens against our pop-up greenscreen.  All post production and keying was carried out using Edius 6.5. The office image was supplied by www.iStock.com under licence and was then manipulated in PhotoShop by adding the Robertson Sumner logo to the glass partition wall and colour grading to match the shot of Marc.

Composition
The finished composition after greenscreen keying

Needless to say we have another happy website promotional film customer who is now benefiting from the power of video in their marketing activities.

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Robertson and Co. Promotional and Training Films

It’s obviously getting busier here at Video Artisan as I’ve not found time to tell you about the completion of the promotional and training films I produced for Robertson and Co – the UK’s leading investigation and surveillance specialists.

This was one of those video production commissions with a long lead time.  My first meeting with them was early 2012 where we talked about the benefits and likely costs of producing both promotional and training films.  There were various internal reasons why it took nearly a year to get started but they kept me informed all along and were obviously keen to get the project under way.  Once we got the green light script writing commenced and both corporate and training films were completed in little over a month.

Shooting training films on location
Shooting training films on location

The need for both Promotional and Training Films

Robertson and Co provides a wide range of award-winning investigation, surveillance, claim validation, intelligence and fraud investigation services to a large number corporate clients, insurance companies and public sector bodies. Originally they wanted one film that would showcase their services and corporate values to potential clients – as well as demonstrating the level of expertise and commitment required by those wanting to be employed as Robertson and Co. agents.

The goal for the corporate audience was relatively straight forward – to set out the range of services offered by the company and to inspire new customers to use Robertson and Co. The training film’s goal was a little more subtle, in that it had to help reduce the costs of engaging agents by deterring those who would not be able to deliver the standards of service the company demands. Prior to the video, every year around 1,000 people enquired about becoming one of their agents – from which only around 10 ended up being employed by them for a period of 6-months or more.  Whilst most of these applicants failed to proceed to supplying CVs or progressed to an interview stage, this initial filtering was obviously costing the company a lot of time and resources.

Following our consultation they agreed that trying to produce one film to fit both purposes might have been possible but wouldn’t be as effective as producing two separate films. We were able to keep costs to an absolute minimum by using the same b-roll footage on both films – as well as gearing the interviews with key personnel in such a way that sections of them could be used in both versions.  This has resulted in the two films being not that dissimilar at first glance – but the emphasis on the narration is quite different.  Having said that, knowing that Robertson and Co.’s agents operate to a strict code of ethics and role specific training manuals will be something that potential clients want to hear.  Conversely, applicants watching the promotional film will understand the very important role they will play in delivering customer satisfaction.  This resulted in quite a few passages within each script having very similar wording but with a slightly different emphasis.

The Promotional Film

The promotional film is already being put to use – and will feature heavily on the company’s new website which is presently being developed.  The video is also being used as part of their general search engine optimisation efforts and is already creeping up the search results within Google and YouTube searches for their key words.

The Training Film

The training film is being presented to all of their current agents and will be shared with those enquiring after employment.  Whilst the initial thinking is to keep this for agent enquiries only and not to include it on their new website, this might change once it has been in restricted circulation for a period of time.

Thanks

A really big thanks goes out to my old school chums (Karen Clitheroe, Debbie Snook & Richard Haynes) and not forgetting my good wife (Tiffany) for playing the role of investigation and surveillance operatives/targets.

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IOV Award winning video moment

The IOV has just released the videos filmed at their 2012 awards night – with ‘Supadance – Shoes for Dance’ being announced as the award winning video in the Best Open Category.  I also picked up second place in the Best Documentary Category too.

IOV Awards 2012 – Best Open Category from Institute Of Videography on Vimeo.

It’s not the best coverage of the awards I know but they were struggling with the light sensitivity on the cameras and a dimly lit room.  Still – it’s a nice reminder of the moment when I discovered I’d produced an award winning video.

I went into a kind of PR frenzy in the weeks that followed to make everyone aware of my award winning video. I’ve blogged, Facebooked, Tweeted, LinkedIn’d, updated my website, updated my email signatures, shared the news with my clients, sent out numerous standard press releases, amended title sequences for video, taken publicity stills and (I kid you not!) designed some new ‘Award Winning Videography’ polo shirts.

IOV Award Winning Video
Kevin Cook Celebrating his IOV Award Winning Video

A couple of local media have since published my news story – including ‘West Essex Life‘ magazine (on page 7) and it’s also been on the ‘Everything Epping Forest‘ website.  I’m very grateful to these companies for sharing this info – and any other magazine or website that has also spread the word which I’m not yet aware of.  I do keep looking!

Guess I’m going to have to start thinking about the 2013 IOV Awards and how I can better this year’s haul.  There’s really no magic formula to creating an award winning video – other than always trying to make your next production your best production.  Standard practice really : )

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