Promo Film for #Stylfile

I hinted at having a very important meeting about a promo film commission on my Facebook page a couple of weeks ago.  Sorry for the tease but I couldn’t say too much until the video was complete and out in the open.

The meeting was with none other than Tom Pellereau, winner of the 2011 series of the BBC’s Apprentice, inventor and joint owner of Stylfile with Lord Sugar.  Tom’s offices (and that of the Amshold) are just a few hundred yards from my studio in Loughton, Essex and he was just as chuffed as I was at finding each other when he needed a video production company to help with his latest promo film.

Styfile
Working for Tom Pellereau on the Stylfile promo film

When I say “promo film”, it actually ended up being utilised as one main promo film and then chopped up into several micro promo films covering each of the products in the Stylfile collection.  This includes the S-File, S-Buffer, S-Clipper, Emergency File and the S-Ped – plus the Nailcare Collection.  The above links will take you to the individual product pages and each promo film.

Stylfile Collection
The Stylfile collection of nailcare products

The entire piece also includes an introduction by Tom covering his Apprentice story and the inspiration behind these revolutionary nailcare products…

The promo film shoot

I think this is a pretty good example of what can be achieved in a couple of days (one day shoot and another to edit).  Of course this can only happen when a client has done all the preparation, worked out the story and structure – and is a darn good presenter in front of camera.  Tom did most of the takes first time – which was a real benefit in the edit.  He had also pre-produced the title sequence and selected the royalty-free music score – both of which would have added another 1/2 day or so to the edit.

The shoot was carried out in a local studio but pretty much all the lighting (apart from a back light) was supplied by Video Artisan. To keep things cool I used my Lishuai LED Lighing Kit which was greatly appreciated by Tom.  I’ve written a review on this lighting kit for DVUser magazine and will be posting it here next week.  This promo film does give you a reasonable idea of what the kit is capable though.

This isn’t the end of this story.  In a couple of weeks I’m going to be shooting another promo film for Stylfile on another brilliant new product they are adding to the collection.  Sorry – that’s still hush hush at the moment so you’ll have to wait a couple of weeks for details.

In the meantime I guess I better get myself a Stylfile collection having raved about it to everyone.  Tom really has created something quite amazing and I’m sure the promo film will help spread the word even further.

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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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Filming at High Street TV in Harrogate

Another filming job for BT was signed off in the past week.  This time it was a short film about High Street TV incorporating the Avaya IP Office solution into their Harrogate offices.

Filming in the call centre at High Street TV
Filming in the call centre at High Street TV

High Street TV is a multi-channel retailer selling a very broad range of products through mainstream broadcast TV Infomercials, websites, high street retailers and also through its own Sky channel (648). BT supplied them with a one-stop-shop telecommunications solution – at the heart of which was their Avaya IP Office solution.

This short film reveals the benefits that BT has brought to High Street TV by way of increased productivity, greater reliability and flexibility through using their Avaya IP Office solution and other telecoms services.

This was another great filming commission for BT.  All the staff and management at High Street TV made our job seem easy on the day.  Nothing was too much trouble and they were all well prepared for the upheaval that filming can often create.  This was especially challenging in such a busy environment – and High Street TV are a very busy company.

During this one-day shoot we had to carry out filming in various departments throughout the building – including a few shots within their own TV studio area (which didn’t make the final edit unfortunately).   Our two main interviewees were Sharon Green and Malissa Wong who were both instrumental in specifying and overseeing the installation of the BT Avaya IP system.  Whilst this was their first ever experience of being filmed I think they did extremely well.

The end result…  Everyone was absolutely chuffed with the final film – including me. : )

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Shooting as a freelance cameraman

I had the pleasure of working for Stuart Boreham last week as a freelance cameraman on a film he is producing about the groundworks taking place on the impressive Lots Road Power Station development in Chelsea.

Working as a Freelance Cameraman
Working as a Freelance Cameraman – photo by Stuart Boreham

This was a massive privilege for me as I’ve been a great admirer of Stuart’s video and photographic creations for many years.  As well as being a winner of a number of IOV Awards I think his body of work speaks for itself (take a look at his Vimeo channel).

This one-day shoot was just part of year-long project Stuart is working on for Careys who are carrying out the groundwork on this £500M development.  The entire site is being developed by Hutchison Whampoa and will consist of 13 separate buildings including two multi-story luxury tower developments.  With part of the development in Kensington & Chelsea and part lying within Hammersmith & Fulham, the site has not been without its planning challenges.  Now finally under way it will eventually become one of the most impressive Thames waterside features.

 

My freelance cameraman services were required to capture part of the action as a steel bridge was lifted over a creek separating the two sides to site. In addition to me filming on a Sony EX3, Stuart also had another freelance cameraman shooting on a DSLR doing the funky slider shots as well as filming from a cherry picker once the bridge lift was taking place.  Stuart had also located a couple of GoPro cameras, plus a Sony EX1, to capture a range of timelapse sequences of the movement. Whilst all this was going on Stuart was taking stills of the proceedings.

Even though there was a lot of hanging around waiting for the action, once things did get started it was all hands on deck and meant dashing from one side of the creek to the other in order to get the bridge being lifted into its final position.  I don’t mind admitting it was exhausting work.

I hope this is the beginning of more calls from Stuart for my freelance cameraman offerings.

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Filming customer references

Filming Customer References

Why you really need to start filming customer references

One of my most exciting and promising contacts came in towards the end of 2012 with an approach from a local agency on filming customer references for a number of blue-chip clients.  One of their largest and more prolific clients that use their services is British Telecom.

The agency specialise in producing a mixture of marketing collateral based on interviews and interactions with their client’s customers.  These marketing tools can be brochures, website content, fact sheets and/or videos – which are ultimately used to help their clients sell more of their products or services.

Filming customer references for BT

My work for them started with a edit-only job on a short film about ABM Rexel in Spain outsourcing their world-wide telecommunications infrastructure to BT Global. Filmed in Spain by a separate film company, the first task was to transcribe and then translate the customer interviews from which the agency produced a paper edit for me to follow.  Two versions of this film were eventually produced – one with and one without English subtitles.

The second commission was a short film about the John Taylor Hospice who had adopted BT’s N3 Mobile Health Worker technology into their practice in Erdington, Birmingham.  This was partly finished project which required additional and more up to date footage by way of filming customer references and BT representative interviews at the hospice. In a nutshell, N3 Mobile Health Worker is a system which enables health workers to instantly access patient records in the field – and also to enable collaboration with other health workers involved in their care.

The original footage supplied by BT was taken roughly a year before my involvement and consisted of interviews with various health workers who use the technology in their work.  These were all filmed in standard definition so I had to be a little creative in using them against the new high definition interview material.  Insetting these shots into pictures I took of the the mobile device overcame this problem quite well.  I also think the benefits of the N3 Mobile Health Worker technology to the hospice and their patients is very clear from the final film…

The task of filming customer references

Filming customer references and case studies are relatively straight forward filming challenges.  However, the work that goes on prior to filming is key to their success.  The agency are incredibly skilful word-smiths who understand their client’s needs and know how to capture the messages that will result in their clients achieving their goals.  They also fully understand the video production process and the best ways to get the message over using video.  Every shoot is therefore tightly storyboarded and planned – but at the same time they realise the benefits of using creative professionals such as Video Artisan to help direct and craft the content into something with purpose.

I’m now in the middle of the third film for this agency and BT Global which is in the final approval stages.  We’ve also started planning another film which is due to go into the filming stage mid-April – so it looks like this is going to be a regular stream of work for Video Artisan.

I’ll be adding these films to my showreel as each one gets signed off – so keep an eye out for them.

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