Event Filming is back!

Event Filming is back

Like many other sectors, event filming and videography has taken a massive hit during the Covid19 pandemic.  And whilst we are far from being back to normal, live events and meetings are now back on the agenda.

Event Filming at Video Artisan

Over the past month I’ve been back providing event filming services to M&IT (Meetings & Incentive Travel) who are now part of the Northstar Travel Group.  This included the M&IT Awards at Battersea Evolution and the M&IT Agency Challenge at Wyboston Lakes Resort in Bedfordshire.  And I must admit it’s been really nice.

Event filming is only part of what we offer at Video Artisan. But its a really enjoyable area of work to be involved in.  The attendees at these events are generally there to have a good time or further their careers.  They have a real positive vibe – which always lends itself to video production.

The two most recent event filming assignments are both organised by the industry-leading publications and events media outlet – M&IT Magazine.  I’ve produced a lot of content for them over the past decade. And they’ve used my output to generate interest in future events (see our Showreel for past events).

The M&IT Awards is an annual industry awards gala event held at London’s Battersea Evolution.  Regularly attended by over 1,000 suppliers and agents, they are commonly referred to as the industry’s Oscars.  Our event filming brief is to produce a short highlights documentary to give viewers a flavour.  In addition, we also produce short winner interview clips as they exit the stage having collected their award.  

Watch the 2021 M&IT Awards film

We’re always up for a Challenge!

The other event filming we provide M&IT Magazine with is coverage of their Challenge events.  These are networking meetings with a difference! Geared to specific sectors within the corporate travels and events industry attendees consist of both buyers and suppliers.  Divided into teams these compete in various outdoor and indoor physical, mental and creative challenges.  Spread over three days, buyers are also given formal presentations on destinations and services and have the opportunity to book one-on-one appointments to fully understand the suppliers’ offerings. 

The event filming services we offer for the Challenge events is like the M&IT Awards – in that we produce a short promo film which M&IT then use to promote attendance at future events.  However, in addition we also provide one of the most popular challenges as part of the event itself.  Each team has to shoot a short, funny video on a given subject which we then edit according to their instructions.  These, usually hilarious films, are then shown on the final gala night dinner.

Event filming safety

I can’t honestly say that I wasn’t concerned at all at getting back into event filming whilst we weren’t completely shot of Covid-19.  Gathering hundreds of people together in one venue – from literally all over the globe – could have resulted in a serious super-spreader event.  This was especially true of the M&IT Awards night.  However, my faith in the guys in M&IT to take every conceivable caution in keeping everyone safe was well founded.  Likewise with the Challenge events.  Everyone took the Covid restrictions seriously – but everyone was equally ready for face-to-face networking and made both events a great success.   

Getting your event back on the calendar

If you’re planning your next real-life event – and want to capture it on film for promotional purposes – please give us a call.  We can cater for any size of event from single-camera coverage to multi-camera live streaming.  Event filming has become one of our areas of expertise and we’d be more than happy to talk through your options.

Kevin Cook – 020 3602 3356

SEO Video for Business

SEO Video for your website

We have just completed another short SEO video for a client – this time for Infinity Gazebos.

Not just one SEO Video

In fact, this ended up being five short SEO videos. This includes the full 60-second version shown here – plus four additional 30-second micro-films showcasing the key features of Infinity Gazebos’ Premium range. These SEO videos are being used by the client on their website, social media channels and digital marketing campaigns.

This is a great example of how we can provide exceptional value to clients through detailed briefing and efficient shooting and editing. This entire SEO video commission was completed in three days (budget information available on request) – with filming finished in just a few hours.

Why SEO video works

As a completely new start-up business, Infinity Gazebos were advised by their website developers and marketing consultants of the value of commissioning SEO video content. Hosting these videos on their YouTube channel enabled greater coverage on Google search results. Additionally, each micro-film will be used in future social media advertising campaigns to further increase brand awareness and website traffic.

SEO Video for websites
Infinity website

On a more practical level, the additional micro-films were created to give their customers a greater appreciation of the moving-parts of the gazebos. Whilst there are plenty of competitor products on the market, the vast majority rely purely on still imagery to demonstrate their range. The key features of Infinity Gazebos is their mechanised features which are far better demonstrated using video.

This is a major advantage of video. If your product moves – it’s best demonstrated using video. Likewise, if your business is about people and personalities, still images simply can’t compete with the impactful qualities of the sight and sounds of SEO video.

The Micro-Films

Integrated Roof Lighting

Automated Roof System

Automated Sensor Technology

Fabric Side and Front Panels

Get into SEO Video now!

If you’re looking to accelerate your website and online marketing with video content, contact Video Artisan on 020 3602 3356 or email kevin@video-artisan.com

For our location details please click here.

Creating a Quick Promotional Film

Creating a Quick Promotional Film

I was tempted to title this blog ‘Creating a Quick Promotional Film for Free!’, but that is really not possible if you put any value at all on your time (or the time of a company like Video Artisan!).  If you are serious about business, then I am sure you will understand this.  And, if you have ever tried to create a professionally looking promotional film yourself, you’ll understand that it can be VERY time consuming – especially if you have got to shoot lots of original footage in order to tell your story.

However, this article will reveal how to you can take a big slice off that time commitment and get your story out to your audience a whole lot quicker – and often a whole lot cheaper!  I will cover how you can start creating a quick promotional film using purely stock footage and images and share a case study which epitomises this approach.

We are all aware of the growing influence that video content has on SEO for your website and social media marketing, but the recent social distancing restrictions have made the challenge of creating a quick promotional film a little harder.  We are still shooting original footage for clients, and sometimes that’s the only thing that will work, but these restrictions add a layer of complexity and logistical demands that might put some companies off the idea.  Do not let that happen!  Adding video into your marketing mix is essential these days (If you are still not convinced read our in-depth article here).

SEO used in Creating a Quick Promotional Film
Video is at the heart of perfect Search Engine Optimization

Case Study – ‘Haynes Group – The Core of your Connected Future’

This case study is an excellent example of how we helped in creating a quick promotional film – exceptionally quick in fact.  The Haynes Group, who are a structured cabling company, approached Video Artisan at the end of May and 10-days later the final version was signed off and in use.  It does not include a single second of originally shot video – and we did not spend a single moment in face-to-face meetings with the client (or anyone come to that) – so a perfect example of observing social-distancing when it was at its height.

The initial enquiry came about through the MD of the Haynes Group spotting a short promotional video we produced on ourselves called, ‘Local Films for Local Firms’ (watch here ).  This was distributed on our Facebook page (among other platforms) and within an hour of its release generated the enquiry from the Haynes Group asking if we could do something for them.

We then studied website content to get a feel for what they were all about, and then followed this up with a Zoom meeting with their MD to talk though exactly what they wanted the video to achieve.

As the Haynes Group worked on projects throughout Europe, with the COVID travel restrictions in place it was obvious that we were not going to be able to acquire footage of their current projects.  Even without the COVID situation many of their structured cabling projects are within extremely sensitive server centers so it was totally impractical to film anything original within a reasonable time and budget. 

Everything about this project was calling for use of stock footage so we set about researching what was available that would enable us to tell their story.  Thankfully, Shutterstock gave us all the answers and the solution to creating a quick promotional film.  We did look through some of the free stock libraries, but nothing came close to the selection and quality available through Shutterstock. 

We made the client fully aware of the costs involved in licencing this and our fees on top for bringing it all together and we were still under what they thought they would have to spend. And even after adding a voiceover and royalty-free music it brought the overall budget to around £3,500.

Getting Stocked up for Creating a Quick Promotional Film

Though we were unable to tap into free stock images on this occasion, we often do.  Another film created around the same time illustrates just how effective free stock can be and how it can add to the story you are trying to tell. 

For the ‘Smiths of Loughton – At your Service’ film created for a local retailer (watch the film here) we blended original footage with free stock video clips from www.pexels.com. This is another library which I turn to often and has a useful array of more generic footage.  A search on Pexels will also show what is available from paid-for libraries which I guess is how the site is funded.  It also has a great selection of still images too.

A sensible approach is to write your script according to the stock footage available – especially when the budget is limited.  You might find that you have to tweak your script to make the pictures work more effectively for you  But don’t go too far with this otherwise you will lose the story you are trying to tell.

You might even find that searching through these libraries inspires you to create even more stories.  I certainly found this when we create a series of short social media video adverts for our own business.  With a bit of imagination, and some skilful editing and use of words, you can craft a whole new meaning and life into otherwise inert stock.

And do not rule out looking in your own archives.  If you have created videos before there is a surprisingly good chance that some of the footage could be used again – especially if your story tells something of your history or how things have changed over time. 

Feel like Creating a Quick Promotional Film?

If you are interested in seeing what could be created for your company or organisation from stock footage – or maybe a blend of original content combined with stock – then please get in touch.  We will work with you on developing your story and creating it in the most cost-effective and creative way. 

Creating a Quick Promotional Film can be an extremely rewarding and profitable experience – and we would really love to help you along the way.

Kevin Cook
+44 (0) 20 3602 3356

Local video production

Local Video Production

Hear how Video Artisan is demonstrating the power of local video production as an effective marketing tool.

What is the benefit of using a local video production company?  The answer, pre-COVID, was, “not a lot, really!”.  We were all used to travelling, casting our marketing nets further and looking beyond our local business community for business and services.  I dare say some of this was price driven.  We all believed we could, “get it cheaper elsewhere”, and that “elsewhere” could be many miles away. 

I think it was deeper than that though.  We had all broadened our horizons and travelling habits.  We had become entrepreneurial globetrotters – and loved it! Then COVID lockdown hit and our world collapsed. Many companies in our industry were, and still are, extremely nervous and could not see a future for local video production.  Now we must.

No hiding away – Local Video Production is here to stay!

I will mention this now as it must be mentioned. There are many businesspeople that see it as poor publicity to even mention the word ‘COVID’ in any marketing material or conversation.  It is a bit like Harry Potter’s Voldemort – ‘He Who Must Not Be Named’.  Well, here you go… COVID, COVID, COVID!  Writing about it and talking about it is not going to make you get it. It is a fact of life that we must deal with.  The alternative is to roll over and play dead – and we are not going to do that.

I too was a bit in shock for a while after seeing about 80% of our business disappear almost overnight.  Our two main areas of income were derived from the corporate events industry and large-scale military exercises.  Both gone – in the stroke of a pen.  We soon realised it was time to go back to our roots and serve the demand for local video production services. It is there; you just have shorten your sights.

Local video production in Kenya
Filming in Kenya – A while off yet!

Moving back home

When we started Video Artisan back in 2012, I spent some time looking at what businesses were in my local town – Loughton in Essex.  I trawled through local business directories, drove around all the local business parks and commercial zones noting down address and company names (both physically and virtually using Google street view) and built up a database of local marketing targets.  I drafted a letter, addressed to ‘The Busiest Person in the Company’, because I didn’t have an actual name, and posted out about 250 letters announcing the offerings of my new local video production company. 

Within a couple of days, I had picked up a handful of clients that kept the business going through the first three years.  I am not claiming to be any kind of marketing guru, but that one single activity got me through what are often the most challenging years for any new business.  It was my ‘zero-to-hero’ moment and the COVID crisis has brought my focus back to my local community today.

Local films for local firms

Within a few weeks of lockdown we was starting to plan our return into the local business community.  Of course, we had never really left it but all our marketing efforts up until then been on a much wider scale.  That made sense pre-COVID, but like any marketing the wider you spread your message the thinner it becomes.  Local video production marketing is a lot more intimate and directed – and relatable to your intended targets on an otherwise difficult to achieve level.

Our first task was to make sure all our online efforts had a strong element of “local” about them.  In practice this means you’ve got to make sure your website content is location centric.  In the longer term, when we are all dashing about the globe again, this will not be wasted effort as your location is still an important part of your business make up. 

We also made sure our Social Media content and connections were inline with our local targeting. If you are selling local video production services, you want to make sure any search engine results include you when the term “near me” is typed in by a user (a very common thing users type into Google… “XYZ near me”).  Google My Business settings, the Facebook and LinkedIn Groups you belong to etc all should reflect your local ambitions and interests.

Local Video Production Show and tell

We then needed a piece of marketing collateral to hang our ‘local video production’ message on and the only logical medium we could use was a short video entitled ‘Local films for local firms’.  We had to put our money where our mouth was, and it was less than 24-hrs after releasing this through Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Twitter that we had three strong enquiries. 

At the time of writing this blog two of those enquiries have been converted into completed films (turned around in a week).  The first was for a local retailer, and the second a local structured cabling company (see two videos below).  The third (a prospectus for a local school) starts in production at the beginning of July.

And this success has not stopped there.  We are now talking to a further three companies about their local video production requirements. 

Your turn to look more closely at Local Video Production

If your business is local to Loughton – or anywhere within Epping Forest and the surrounding areas – and want to explore ways we can help you to raise your profile through video, please get in touch.  We are sure we can introduce ideas into your marketing that will help you do more business locally too.  See our showreel here.

Please contact Kevin Cook on 020 3602 3356 – or email kevin@video-artisan.com

Key benefits to doing business locally

1 – Supporting local business helps the local economy, creating healthier financial surroundings for your own business to trade in.  What goes round, comes round!

2 – Supporting local business means less travel pollution and is kinder to the environment. Full stop!

3 – Local businesses will understand many of your business challenges more intimately.

4 – Local businesses form networks with other local businesses are more likely to trade with their connections. Get yourself connected too!

5 – Working with local businesses promotes and develops business intelligence for future employment.

Video Artisan Service Announcement

COVID-19 Service Update

Videotape to DVD/USB conversion service during COVID-19 period

First of all, we are very appreciative of the continued interest in our video conversion services during the current COVID-19 pandemic – and for our customers’ patience during the stricter lockdown period where we have had to temporarily withdraw this service.

To maintain the safety of our customers and ourselves, we will be introducing some additional measures to help ensure we avoid any contamination and unnecessary close contact. 

Our system for processing this work for the foreseeable future is as follows:

Step 1 – Dropping off tapes, cine film, slides and other media

Customers should at first contact Video Artisan by phone on 020 3602 3356 to arrange a suitable time (which can include evenings and weekends if required).  This will be to our home office address at 174 Roding Road, Loughton, Essex IG10 3BS

Please bring your tapes or films in a carrier bag, box or other suitable container – and include your name and contact details inside – and a brief note on what you want them converted to.

Once at the drop off location please call 020 3602 3356 and we will personally accept your package – observing the government’s 2m social-distancing advice.

If customers would prefer to send in their media by post or courier, please ensure these are sent to 174 Roding Road, Loughton, Essex IG10 3BS – and include your contact details as mentioned above.

Step 2 – Quarantine

The scientific advice suggests that the COVID-19 virus can remain active on some surfaces for up to 72-hours.  We will therefore hold your media in storage for this period of time before handling and carrying out the conversion.  We will also take additional measures to clean external surfaces of media (ensuring this does not damage recordings) and use appropriate PPE wherever practical or advised by the authorities.

Step 3 – Completion and Payment

Once your media has been converted, we will contact you to arrange collection, and include a digital invoice that will include our online banking details.  Unfortunately, we will not be able to take cash during this period.  Once we have received confirmation that your payment has been made, we will contact you to arrange collection or postal delivery back to you.

Step 4 – Collection of DVDs/USBs and your original media

Collection will be carried out in the same manner as dropping off – in that we will observe the same 2m social-distancing advice.  Collection will be from Roding Road address at a mutually convenient time.

Further Information

We hope our customers will appreciate our approach to reintroducing this service during these difficult times.  If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact us on 020 3602 3356 or by email to info@video-artisan.com.

Our prices and terms remain the same as those published here .

In the meantime, we look forward to helping you preserve and enjoy your precious memories for years to come. 

Kevin Cook
Proprietor, Video Artisan