Author: Liz Smith

Drip Drip Drip & Be Different

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We’ll be donning our black tie on 8th February 2018 to go to the TES Independent School Awards as we’ve been selected as finalists for “Best Marketing Campaign” for the work we do with Homefield School.

When I first met Homefield in 2015 they said they wanted to do something different to the usual video marketing you see in the schools sector, so I took them at their word and presented a series of creative concepts that did just that. We got the green light and to this day continue to create video content for them.

Was Homefield brave to #BeDifferent? Perhaps. They were certainly right to #BeDifferent. The campaign has worked. Being shortlisted for this award is an endorsement of that but it also validates my key beliefs that,

  1. It is important to spend quality time on developing original creative concepts that can tell the story behind your marketing messages.
  2. The power of those stories will come through if you build a whole library of video content that you publish regularly over a sustained period of time. Drip. Drip. Drip.

This has only been possible to do because of the close collaborative relationship Homefield has fostered with us, because they dared to #BeDifferent and because they have been willing to invest in a long-term relationship.  Thank you Homefield.

In Competition at The Warsaw Jewish Film Festival

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Our feature documentary has been selected to in competition at this year’s Warsaw Jewish Film Festival. It will be screened on 29 November 2017 at 6pm at the POLIN Museum.

Rebel of the Keys charts the life and times of pianist, composer and ‘enfant-terrible’ Andre Tchaikowsky, mixed with a present day journey to the first performance of Andre’s opera on the international stage.


Bespoke Animation

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This latest update to our animation showreel just goes to show how many different ways there are to include animation in your video marketing and a mix of styles demonstrating in a snapshot our commitment to produce truly bespoke work for every one of our clients.

Social Video Ideas For Schools

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Unlike household brands, schools don’t have the luxury of a big marketing department to help them create and push out video content on social media on a daily basis so making Social Video part of your marketing plan may seem daunting. But schools have a natural advantage over many consumer brands when it comes to social media: they already have an invested, loyal community in place – parents, staff, pupils – who can help amplify their video posts.

Scroll through any of your social media feeds and you’ll quickly notice the predominance of video in it. Video tweets have increased by 50% since the beginning of 2016. Facebook’s algorithm favours video, so if you want to cut through, it’s becoming more and more important to make video part of your plan.

Here are three examples of types of Social Video schools can create:

The Cinemagraph: no schools have an unlimited library of professionally shot video to constantly draw upon, but they all have professionally shot stills commissioned for the prospectus. Using those as a base you can make a cinemagraph. A cinemagraph is essentially a still photo with subtle motion. The video at the top of this blog is an example of a cinemagraph. This example also shows how you can use motion text to bring a still to life.

Live: using Facebook Live, Periscope or Meerkat, schools can involve their communities in the action as it happens. Taunton School used live video really well  to involve us in the moment when pupils and staff took on the impressive challenge to swim across the English Channel. Not every activity is suited to “live video” but this event had all the elements it needed to make it compelling watching: drama, anticipation, unpredictability, and with the functionality on these live platforms for viewer interaction, you could ask questions that were answered instantly and send messages of encouragement to the swimmers. Thanks to its real-time nature the Facebook algorithm places a high priority on “Live Video” so it’s a great way of getting seen in news feeds.

The topical tie-in: take a look the calendar, what events are coming up that you can tie your Social Video in to? In this example, we re-purposed this footage shot for a film we’d already made for Homefield School about their sports programme so they could tap into a trending topic at the time, The Rugby World Cup, and share in the celebration of the UK’s win.

Homefield School Case Study

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Video has come of age on social media and is now the most engaging type of post we see in our news feeds. You don’t have to be a big household brand to run a social video campaign, you just need to plan with social video in mind.

Here’s a case study video of how we have been working with Homefield School to extend their video communications onto their social media platforms.

May The Corporate Video Rest In Peace

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In the past we were often getting briefs to make films and when we delivered the finished film(s) the question would come up about how best to distribute them.  Not only did it highlight a need for our clients to have some form of support when it came to distribution, but it also flagged up something far more fundamental: if we had had the discussion around distribution at the outset we would probably have produced different films for them in different forms. So whenever we start working on a new film brief we think about Social Video opportunities from the outset, and we now offer our clients support with Social Video distribution.

The notion of spending 2 or 3 days shooting footage at various locations and then producing a 2 minute corporate film is an expensive wasted opportunity and is only going to be watched by people who are already very interested in your organisation. May the traditional corporate video rest in peace!

These days if you want to create video that is going to engage a wider audience then a corporate video about how wonderful your organisation is ain’t going to cut it.

So the question remains, how can it be done differently?

  1. Change your mindset: set out with the intention of making many videos (it doesn’t have to cost any more than making that single corporate video).
  2. Develop creative concepts for your videos that are adaptable for different audiences and platforms.
  3. Whether you can afford to shoot for 1 or 20 days, make sure you get as much quality video footage out of each day as possible.
  4. Develop a look and feel for your films that you can use consistently. It’s good practice for branding but also more cost effective: re-inventing the wheel each time you make a new film takes time and time is money.
  5. Build up a library of video footage and assets that you can draw upon on an ongoing basis.
  6. Build a relationship with your video supplier that will enable you to produce new films from your existing video library quickly as topical opportunities or new needs arise.

The Re-Emergence Of The Silent Movie

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A recent report states that 85% of auto-play films viewed in Facebook are watched without sound*. It is probably fair to assume a similar trend is happening for autoplay in-feed videos on Twitter as well. This statistic gives further credence to the case for versioning your videos for each platform.

The most effective way of getting your videos seen on Facebook timelines is to upload them directly to Facebook rather than via a YouTube link. This approach means your film auto-plays in a user’s feed as they scroll down.

So this poses the question of how best to approach designing a mute video? After all, the audio on a film plays as important a role in creating mood and emotion as the visual content.

The most common solution is to use subtitles or captions, and while they can’t do the same job in creating mood a soundtrack does, it is a simple solution. The savvier video content makers are all over this and as a result the subtitled/captioned Facebook film is already starting to look a bit too familiar and perhaps a little tired already.

When devising your video concepts serious consideration needs to be taken as to whether there is a version of it that will work well in silence. Maybe it’s time we looked back at some of the great films from the silent movie era to see what we can learn from them?

*Source: various publishers including LittleThings, Mic and PopSugar as well as data gathered by MEC North America from their client base.

Video By Far The Most Engaging Type Of Post

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It is perhaps not surprising that, in a study conducted by Buffer, video came out on top as the most engaging type of post on Facebook. What is remarkable is the extent to which this is the case, out-stripping other types by a country mile.

And this is precisely why we felt we needed to develop a new approach to video production to support organisations wanting to use video on their social media platforms. The traditional approach to video production just isn’t viable and agile enough to answer the demands of a social video campaign, but with a change of mindset and approach it can be.

Who Came Top Of The Class in 2016?

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Video content doesn’t always have to involve a live action shoot, schools can still use the power of video on their websites and social media channels by creating content pieces using motion graphics and data. Here’s an example we created to celebrate the achievement of those independent schools who came top of the class in their A Levels in 2016.