Video converted to DVD

Like a lot of people offering this service we’ve been inundated with video converted to DVD requests in the past couple of weeks – all leading up to Christmas family gatherings and the reliving of old memories.

VHS video converted to DVD
Read on for details on our video converted to DVD services

Whilst there’s been a fair spread of different formats to convert to DVD, the conversion service that dwarfs all others at the moment is VHS to DVD. There’s literally thousands of miles of VHS tape out there and no one wants to buy a player once their old deck starts to play up. It seems to me that customers are becoming more and more concerned about their precious tapes being chewed up and lost forever if played in an old un-serviced VHS player.

Therefore finding a reliable, fast and efficient company to get your video converted to DVD is very important  – and if you are in the Essex, East London or Hertfordshire area you’d be hard pressed to find a company better than Video Artisan.

Act now to get your video converted to DVD

As video to DVD conversions have to be done in real-time (a 2-hour videotape takes 2-hours to ingest – after which it needs to be authored to DVD) there isn’t much time left in order to get your video to DVD completed before the family arrives. If you are needing your videotapes converted (or cine films, slides to video, camcorder hard drives etc)  please note that our last orders will be taken in the middle of next week (19th December) to ensure we can deliver for Christmas. For details on pricing please see our dedicated page here.

Video to DVD (or other services) in an emergency!

Except for real emergency works, our studio will be closed from midday on Friday 21st December and will open again on 2nd January. Calls to our land line (020 3602 3356) will be directed to our mobile (0777 153 5692) over this period – and we will be monitoring emails ( too if you have any questions.


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 : )


Filming a three-day ballroom dance competition

I have to admit that I’m still in recovery after filming the Supadance National League finals in Blackpool.  Starting on the evening of 30th November and ending on 2nd December, this was a massive filming assignment during which I was filming for more than 15-hours a day and then having to retire to my hotel room to charge batteries and back-up cards.  Needless to say I slept well – and have been doing so ever since!

Filming at the Supadance National League finals
Filming some exceptional dancing at the Supadance National League finals

The original brief was to produce a short 3-minute piece to give a flavour of the event. With all the best intentions in the world plans often change.  By the time I was well into filming the brief expanded to include an explanation of the history behind the event, how Supadance became involved and how participants can enter the competition. In reality this meant two different films (ka-ching!) and what you’ll see below is the longer 10-minute version giving an overview of the event.

Supadance are still to decide on the future and format of the shorter version but I can understand why there is another story to be told here.  Whilst there are some obvious reasons for them to sponsor dance competitions the more subtle benefits are what keeps them as the world’s number-one dance shoe manufacturer.  Meeting and interacting with competition dancers face to face, hearing their wants and desires in dance shoes and apparel, having first-hand experience of the conditions and demands of dancers and keeping abreast of the standards of dance sport in general enables Supadance to continue to innovate and improve dance shoe design and manufacture.

It’s great to work with a British company that still understands these values.  It’s also great to work with a company who understands the need to demonstrate their commitment to excellence by using video!  Of course I would say this, but I think there really is no better way of demonstrating these values than by using video.

Filming ratio

This project has really shown me how things have changed – especially in relation to people’s attention span.  At 10-minutes this is the longest film that I’ve made since launching Video Artisan back in February this year.  The filming:edit ratio on this was quite staggering – even with the longer version.  Cutting around 400 minutes of recording down to 10-minutes was no easy task.

Because a lot of this was shot with a shallow depth of field (DoF) there was tons of wastage.  Shooting a dancing couple quickstep at pace from one end of a dance floor to another whilst shooting with a DoF of only a few inches is not the easiest thing to do.  It looks fab when you get it right though.  More often than not you are letting the couples dance through the focal depth so the ratio of “useful” to “useless” is incredibly high – hence me having so many hours of rushes to wade through.

Other filming challenges on this shoot was the constant colour changes due to horrible sodium house lights that had to be on all the time in order to enable the judges to see every move of every dancer.  In addition to this there was an LED stage lighting rig which really only covered certain parts of the dance floor. The end result was light colour that changed throughout the dance floor.  Why do venues still have these horrible lights?

Anyway, next year you might see us take a completely different approach to covering this event.  The amount of interest from the contestants in obtaining a copy of the video has been quite staggering.


Off to film another ballroom dance event documentary

Event Documentaries on Ballroom Dancing

I’m heading north in the morning for another documentary shoot for Supadance at the home of ballroom and Latin dance – #Blackpool.  This time it’s the Supadance National League being held at The Norbreck Castle Hotel (Queens Promenade, FY2 9AA).

film another dance event documentary
Shooting another dance documentary in Blackpool

The Supadance League is a series of regional team-based ballroom and latin dance competitions carried out between dance schools. Aimed at those who want to bridge the gap between social and competitive dance the competition culminates in a grand final each year. It’s obviously a bit more involved than that and far better explained here.

I’ve yet to witness any of these league events but understand that the atmosphere is electric. With around 600 participants there’s apparently a lot of lively and energetic support from the audience. It’s a crammed schedule too – starting on Friday evening with a grand parade and ending on Sunday evening when the winners of the various classes will be crowned. They’ve got a Facebook page if you are interested in following the action as the competition progresses

Anyhow – bags are now packed and we should be there early afternoon to start on the documentary.


More medical conference filming

I was conference filming for Dilip Patel of Double-Barrelled again at the weekend.  It’s always a pleasure working with Dilip – but I found myself sucked in by the subject matter more than ever this time.

The event was being run by the Merseyside Family Doctors Association at the Lace Conference Centre in Liverpool.  We wasn’t covering the whole event but rather concentrating on capturing a keynote presentation by Prof. George Freeman and Dr. Alison Hill entitled ‘Continuity of Care’.  We were also to film a short interview with them both following their presentation in one of the breakout rooms at the venue – with questions being put to them by the lovely Bryony Wolfendale.  Dilip was also filming other pieces to camera with Bryony to introduce the event and top-n-tail the video.

Conference filming in Liverpool
Working with Dilip and Bryony was a pleasure

As I was only providing a Canon 5D Mkii and tripod (as an emergency back up and to catch some cutaways) it seemed wasteful for me to drive all the way of from Loughton, Essex to Liverpool – so I found myself once again catching an early train from Euston.  I was at Lime Street station by 9:20 and at the venue about 15-mins later.  If it hadn’t been for a little London Underground “experience” first thing it would have been a completely stress-free conference filming experience.  But hey ho – by the time I arrived I was suitably snoozed and ready to capture some great footage.

The main presentation was filmed using two Canon XF105s which were on hire from the ever-so reliable Hireacamera.  Dilip and I had used these super-simple cameras on the Cardiff job earlier this year and their performance then suggested they’d be perfect for this job. This time it was an even simpler set up with each camera recording in isolation and Dilip cutting the footage in post.  There were also two additional cameras recording the action in the main hall – both 5D Mkii’s (mine and Dilip’s).  One was capturing a very wide shot from the back and the other was capturing a shot from behind the speaker looking out to the audience.

Conference Filming at the Family Doctors Association
Conference filming a reverse shot to give Dilip something to help him “cross the line”

The subject matter of the presentation by Prof. George Freeman and Dr. Alison Hill was really about explaining the benefits of, and encouraging GPs to provide, continuity of care to patients.  They also revealed how they are trying to educate government on the benefits of this approach and getting it adopted on a much wider basis.  Whilst continuity of care is achieved through many different techniques and approaches, the issues that I could relate to were that patients like to see the same GP (or at least someone from a small team of GPs) who appears familiar with them and their medical history.  The session outline some simple ways to make patients feel like they are more than just a medical record on a computer – and went on to explain how this approach can benefit patient health, the workload of the GP and the healthcare in general.  It was extremely encouraging to listen in on.

Whilst my mind was firmly on my conference filming brief, it was great to be involved in something that was relatively easy to understand.  More often than not these medical conferences are very specialised and therefore hard to follow.  Sometimes it’s as if they are being delivered in a foreign language!

With the interviews complete, and Bryony’s reverse questions, glances and noddies all in the can, I was back at Lime Street station to catch the 15:48 back down to London Euston.  I was back in Loughton by 18:45 so not much different from a normal day at the office.

Looking forward to the next one Dilip! : )