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DTW’s summer of film – 20% off for summer 2020

We’re offering 20% off our filming packages for a limited time this summer.

There’s limited availability and it’s first come first served. You have to book by the end of July to get the discount.

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Questions about filming in a pandemic? – Join us for an Instagram chat

Wondering how film and video can help you engage your audience and deliver your key messages? We’ll be holding an Instagram chat with DTW’s film production team where you can get answers to all of your questions.

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Cut! What to do if you can’t film….

It’s not just the TV and film industry that has been impacted by lockdown putting a pause on filming. Capturing content for corporate and social media has also been put on hold. Whilst there’s light at the end of the tunnel in terms of being able to resume filming, DTW Director Pete Whelan looks at some of the ways you can keep your content fresh in the meantime.

The world changed overnight when the lockdown was announced. In terms of communications, one of the biggest areas of impact was filming. We just had to stop overnight.

Even as we start to emerge from lockdown, challenges around filming aren’t going to disappear completely. We will need to take account of things like social distancing in everything we do.

As lockdown eases we’re making plans for filming over the summer months, but in the meantime, we haven’t stopped ‘doing stuff’. Here are just a few ways you can keep creating fresh content for your channels:

Mine the archives

If you’ve got old film on file, repost things which have worked well for you in the past. Don’t over-churn content and remember that videos you have posted previously may have a shorter shelf-life now than they did when they were fresh.

If you still have access to your raw files and footage for film content you created, consider creating new cuts from it. You can update things like graphics, colour grade and music to give this old content a fresh feel.

Don’t be afraid to self-shoot

Lockdown has resulted in is audiences being much more receptive to content being created in a “user-generated” style. Don’t be afraid to have a go at filming your own videos using a smartphone. It won’t be Academy award-winning production values, but sometimes speed is more important.

By investing in a couple of simple tools such as a tripod, microphone and it’s possible to capture a range of shots which you can turn into useable content for your channels.

You can edit this yourself using smartphone apps like Adobe Premier Rush, or have it edited professionally (as we have done for a number of our clients) to add extra polish to the end product.

Switch to animation

Animation and motion graphics can work just as well as film – sometimes even better. It also has the advantage of being an approach that can be delivered entirely remotely.

Since the start of lockdown, we’ve produced a range of animations for our clients, many of which were originally planned as film projects.

Animation also has the advantage of being flexible and easy to update. This will be increasingly important as we move beyond lockdown and into the world of living with Covid-19.

Pause and re-evaluate

Of course, in addition to the above, you can also use the pause in filming to take stock and put plans in place for the future.

The content plans and strategies you had in place prior to lockdown might need to be reviewed and updated. If that’s the case you can take a look at our recent post on this very topic.

We’re already planning for our filming schedule starting up again in July – all with appropriate social distancing and disinfection protocols in place – and we’re very much looking forward to getting back out and hitting record on some great content for our clients!

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Planning for the future – how to make film work for you on a long-term project

Filming – that’s easy these days – you just get the iPhone out and start recording, no need to plan anything. Not true…..

Whilst it’s tempting to think that capturing a long-term project on film is a case of just getting on with it, taking that approach could result in you running into headaches and problems as you get further down the line.

Having worked on a number of long-term filming projects for our clients, I thought it would be useful to share some of the key considerations we think about on day one.

Plan ahead

Planning is the key to any successful project, and this is especially true of film. Think about not only what you want to produce now, but also what you might want to produce in future and why it’s needed. Ensure that you factor your future content requirements into things like the questions you ask in interviews, the illustrative footage you capture and the points in time that you decide to film things.

When working with clients like the Law Society, we regularly capture a range of content in interviews that we can go back and reuse/repurpose for many months (or even years in some cases).

Law Society | Brand Campaign 2019 | Conveyancing | Red Kite Law and Anne

Law Society | Brand Campaign 2019 | Spotify Advert 2019

Having a robust structure in place so you can easily dip into your archive of footage to quickly access a specific series of shots or an interview on a particular topic will be a huge save on time and resources, especially in the case of large projects where you might have hours and hours of interview content on file.

This doesn’t have to be laborious – for some projects, it’s simply a case of setting up and organising your footage by date so that you can cross-reference with a document outlining who/what was filmed on a particular day. In other cases, it might involve taking advantage of advances in technology such as AI-based tools which can transcribe interviews and even recognise objects and context in illustrative footage to give you a searchable archive of your material.

This also extends to having a plan in place to backup and archive your content securely so that, in the case of the unthinkable happening and a hard drive failing, you’ve always got another copy of the files saved somewhere safely.

For our work on the Northern Spire project we took the approach of organising all of our footage into a series of projects based around the key milestones of the bridge’s construction, and then further organised by date, time and camera/footage type (as we were using a mix of ground-based and drone cameras). This meant that when it came to editing the Story of the Project video to wrap up and summarise the entire construction of the bridge from start to finish, we could quickly and efficiently find the specific interview quote or stunning drone shot we needed.

NORTHERN SPIRE | HOW THE BRIDGE CAME TO LIFE

Don’t forget about your audience

Often, the temptation when you have a mountain of fantastic content at your fingertips is to dive in and mine it for all its worth, producing and releasing tens or in some cases hundreds of outputs in one hit – it’s something we have all been guilty of at one time or another in the past.

The key question to remember – and this goes back to my first point about planning – is what you want to communicate to your audience and what action you want them to take as a result of that. Based on that, you map out what your content strategy is and how many outputs you need. This might involve producing the same 60 second video for use across multiple platforms or could take a bespoke approach with specific edits produced on a platform by platform basis.

You might just need one really good piece of film to make an impact – don’t over complicate the process or lose sight of the messaging and purpose by switching focus on too many different outputs.

For our work with the Solicitors Regulation Authority on their campaign to launch their new Clickable Logo, we produced specific pieces of animated content for each of the channels we were using as part of the campaign based on a single core narrative – you can see some examples of these below.

SRA | REGULATION CHANGE CAMPAIGN | MIDROLL

SRA | REGULATION CHANGE CAMPAIGN | INSTAGRAM STORY

Of course, each individual project will have its own quirks and idiosyncrasies which is why working with a supplier who is used to planning ahead and spotting issues before they become a problem is so important. If you want to find out more about how DTW can help you plan and deliver your next film project, whether it be long or short term, drop me an email at pete@dtw.co.uk.

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Droning on about bridges

There’s nothing we love more than working on a stunning new infrastructure project, especially when we get a chance to get some amazing drone footage.

Our video team has been out and about recently – capturing some incredible drone footage on two really important transport projects we’re involved with – the Mersey Gateway Project in Halton and the New Wear Crossing in Sunderland.

The Mersey Gateway film follows the route of the new bridge from north to south – starting at the north approach viaduct as it crosses the saltmarsh and Widnes and moving across the River Mersey and Manchester Ship Canal to the construction of the new Astmoor Viaduct in Runcorn.

For the New Wear Crossing, we’ve used drones to get some incredible footage for a series of set piece events for the project – culminating in the raising of the centrepiece of the bridge – a 300 foot pylon on site.

The results are amazing, but you don’t get them without proper planning.

Here’s our top tips

  • Keep safe and don’t break the law – CAA licenses, landowners’ permissions, an understanding of what you can and can’t do is critical – the dronesafe website is a good place to start.
  • Tell your story – make your footage meaningful and make sure the visuals reflect the story you are trying to tell. If you are flying from multiple locations or it’s a ‘blink and you miss it’ event, camera angles and flight paths really matter. If you just ask someone to turn up and say “please film that”, don’t be surprised if it doesn’t live up to expectations.
  • Remember the context – you know every last detail about whatever it is you are filming – your audience probably doesn’t – remember to give them some context.
  • Check the weather and have a contingency – if it’s raining, you’re not flying. If your event is taking place anyway, what’s your back-up plan? Ground footage can add value too.
  • Go social – you can plug in Facebook Live and broadcast direct from the drone via your Facebook channel – but it has risks and needs planning.
  • Share the joy and build your own comms infrastructure – it’s lovely to have great footage but you need to be able to share it – don’t be shy – provide it to the media and use your own channels.
  • Think strategically – how can you use the exposure this can create for you to get your messages across to your audience? For example, for Mersey Gateway we need tens of thousands of people to register with the tolling provider this summer – so we included relevant links. At some level your organisation will be trying to influence perceptions or shape behaviour – don’t lose sight of that.

Finally – a big thumbs up to Mark at I-sky – our drone pilot of choice. These are all two-person operations – a pilot and a camera operator. Mark – we couldn’t do it without you – thanks.

If you want to talk to us about drones, or any other filming requirements, we’d love to chat. Please call Pete Whelan on 01287 610 404 or email pete@dtw.co.uk.

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New year, new clients

Read how we’ve helped the Law Society with their national solicitor brand campaign in Hayley’s blog on the Law Society website.

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The joy of flight

Earlier in the year we hopped over the back wall of DTW Towers into the grounds of historic Gisborough Priory in order to conduct a test flight of the new DJI Inspire drone which our aerial filming partners at iSky had just got their hands on.

With the help of our friends at the Gisborough Priory Project, we’d successfully negotiated the labyrinth of permissions and approvals needed to fly on English Heritage land – aside from needing a CAA license to operate commercially there are a whole host of other checks and paperwork that should be completed if you’re going to do this sort of thing by the book (we’re planning a future blog post on this very topic) and on the day we were blessed with a lovely clear, sunny day which made for some spectacular views of the Priory and surrounding area.

Since shooting the film we’ve used the Inspire to shoot aerial footage in two “live” projects – some road safety videos for the 95 Alive Road Safety Partnership and a soon to launch recruitment project for North Yorkshire County Council.

If you want to find out more about using aerial filming, you can drop me a line at pete@dtw.co.uk or give me a call on 01287 610404.

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The power of animation

We’re a multi-talented bunch here at DTW and we’ve had great fun creating illustrations for, and animating, our advert for the Law Society’s ‘Use a professional. Use a solicitor’ campaign.

The advert, which launched on ITV Player in March 2015, highlights how wills are not just for old people – everyone should have one!

(Turn up your sound)

We wanted to capture the attention of all of those people who don’t yet have a will, or whose circumstances have now changed making their will invalid, and highlight the importance of making a will and using a professional solicitor.

We created an engaging and thought-provoking animation that promoted wills to a younger audience in a fun, creative and eye catching way. By combining clean line drawings with injections of colour and using cute animated characters, we created a stunningly simple but highly emotive advert that resonates with a younger, as well as older, audience.

The 30-second advert was part of a larger campaign DTW worked on for the Law Society as part of its Consumer Campaign. Integrating PR, social media, video, online advertising, out of home advertising and ITV player advertising, 2015 marked the second phase of DTW’s work on this national campaign, pointing consumers to the Find a Solicitor website to search over 140,000 legal professionals to find the best solicitor to suit their needs.

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All off to Meerkat?

Live streaming is one of those technologies social has had a hard time harnessing for its own uses. Yes, Skype and Facetime exist for video chats and have achieved the biggest market saturation and name recognition while apps like Viber offer similar options – there has been little in the way of live streaming just for social.

Google have made a good fist with Hangouts On Air, allowing 10 people at a time to take part in a video chat. It will also link to YouTube allowing an unlimited number of people to watch the stream but it somehow doesn’t feel as instantaneous.

Enter #Meerkat. A new app for the iPhone and iPad, Meerkat crosses video chat with the disposability of Snapchat letting the user live stream from their device to their friends or anybody with a link while it is streaming. Once the stream has finished then that’s it, over, gone – literally watch it live or not at all. The technology isn’t new but the opportunity to reach the audience through Twitter with its proven ability to spread trending items quickly is.

Less than a month old, Meerkat is already getting a lot of attention – particularly from media organisations, journalists and savvier brand-builders like Gary Vaynerchuk – who realise it’s a cost effective way to reach a potentially huge audience quickly.

This implication has been grasped by Twitter who bought a rival service, Periscope, and has immediately sought to limit Meerkat’s ability to use its service. The fierceness of this competition, literally only weeks after one was launched shows that they understand the potential free, widely accessible video has.

Smart brands and agencies will already be thinking about what they can stream, (or Meerkat or Periscope – you can tell how successful a service is by the time it takes to become an adjective) especially when tools to embed and curate the streams become available. #TeamDTW have already been experimenting with Meerkat so watch this space!

Sadly, this could have been the killer app Google Glass needed to become a mainstream success – the tech equivalent of Charles Goodyear shutting his tyre factory because of low sales the week before Henry Ford launched his Model T.

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#Winning

Following last night’s PRMoment awards in Manchester, we’ve got another item to add to the #TeamDTW trophy cabinet.

We won the award for the Internal Communications Campaign of the Year jointly with Coast & Country Housing for the “I am Coast & Country” campaign, based around the video we created for Coast & Country Housing.

Award winning internal communications campaign
DTW’s very own Pete Whelan with Katie Anna Harding from Coast & Country Housing with the PR Moment award

The “I am Coast & Country” video has been used extensively as the centre of Coast & Country’s induction programme, internal communications and in broader external communications work. Coast & Country Housing is the largest registered provider of accommodation in the Redcar and Cleveland Borough, owning and managing over 10,000 properties.

 

Our 'I am Coast & Country' video has been used as the centre of Coast & Country's induction programme and broader and internal communications work
Our ‘I am Coast & Country’ video has been used as the centre of Coast & Country’s induction programme and broader and internal communications work

We were also shortlisted for our work with Hartlepool Borough Council. The “Hartlepool – A Vision for the future” campaign used video and mixed photography with futuristic artists’ impressions to create an image of how eight different sites across the town could look following development. In just five months, the Vision project has led to the direct creation and safeguarding of 300 jobs in Hartlepool and attracted £1.75 million of new investment.

The Hartlepool Vision project created or safeguarded 300 jobs and attracted £1.75million of new investment to the town in just five months
The Hartlepool Vision project created or safeguarded 300 jobs and attracted £1.75million of new investment to the town in just five months

The PRMoment awards celebrate excellence and recognise and reward outstanding campaigns and exceptional talent in the UK PR and Communications sector. The awards attracted over 650 entries from 200 companies from across the UK.