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COVID-19 will redefine the way we produce and consume content forever.
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We are devoting our Knowledge section to everything you need to know about the ways our industry is changing. If you have any questions at all, or want us to feature something here, please drop us a line and we'll be happy to help you.

Pandemic Production: Product Launch Videos for SweetSpotter

Posted by Lexi Mounsey
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In late 2019 we pitched a concept for a revolutionary tennis swing training device, SweetSpotter. It was going to be a dramatic, high energy film, set in a contemporary warehouse space with multiple talent swinging one after the other. We cast tennis players, secured the location, briefed the crew on the intricate lighting…and then the pandemic hit and quickly undid all our hard work. There was no safe way to shoot this concept while our world was plunged into lockdown.

SweetSpotter Promotional Explainer

By the Summer of 2020, New York had adapted to life with masks, and Casual Films began picking up in-person filming again, albeit with much smaller crews. The SweetSpotter product launch was forging ahead and as our client Yann Auzoux, Founder of SweetSpotter, said “you must find a way or make one”. So we did just that. We needed to pivot our creative to factor in safety precautions for crew, while still maintaining the dramatic tone, slow-motion shots and (trickiest of all) working with multiple actors. 

We worked in close (distanced) partnership to secure a suitable outdoor location, recast talent and rework the schedule to allow rigorous covid safety protocols to be met. While the first in-person shoot back on a cold, windy night didn’t go without a hitch (someone even got their first bee sting!) the result was an incredible feat. Director/Producer David, Production Coordinator Fritz and the highly skilled crew pulled off a shoot that was eight months in the making.

Check it out the product launch here: https://sweetspotter.us/

SweetSpotter Commercial

 

Credits:

Senior Creative: Sybilla Harvey

Director/Producer: David Potvin

Production Coordinator: Fritz Polax

Director of Photography: Nick Massey  

Assistant Camera/Gaffer: Greg Mezey   

Production Assistants: Alex Pukal, Julie Han

Editor: Dan Duvall


If you would like an explainer video to promote your new product, just like this, drop us a line. One of our experienced producers will help make your launch a success.

Topics: Increase brand awareness and appeal, Boost sales and encourage donations

Why do stories matter to communicators?

Posted by Nick Francis
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“Story Story Story”

- Sir Ridley Scott, one of the greatest living filmmakers/storytellers, opening the New Directors’ Showcase at the Cannes Lions in 2018.

Stories are all around us. We use them to entertain, to amuse and to inform. They also form the underpinnings of nations, companies, families, teams and even money. Storytelling has become a buzzword in corporate communications. A search of LinkedIn finds that nearly 800,000 people describe themselves as storytellers, or list storytelling as a skill. But there is good reason for this.

Stories are central to how we define our reality. They define belonging, and the concept of ‘them’ and ‘us’. This is because every cultural arrangement relies (no matter how loosely) on a shared set of understandings. This makes an understanding of stories essential for those interested in creating and strengthening cultures of any kind.

What is a story?

Simply put, a story is an encapsulation of cause and effect. Our brains link facts – A leads to B, B leads to C, and so on. This gives rise to the three-act structure: the ingredients, the reaction and the outcome. The reason this is a more effective form of communication than just giving facts is that it mirrors how our brains have evolved to process information.

Story structure activates the brain in a way that simple facts do not:

“Don’t drink the water, it’s not safe” isn’t as memorable as... 

“Sarah drank from that smelly stream, and she has been in bed, writhing in agony, ever since.”

When we hear the facts linked as a story, we can’t help but visualise Sarah’s experience. This creates an emotional reaction over and above the simple facts and embeds it into our brains. Because of this, information relayed as a story is far more likely to be remembered than the same information shared as bare facts.

Conflict is essential to great stories…

Good stories are about conflict; they include a degree of jeopardy in the achievement of the effect or outcome (i.e. A plus B could lead to C, but it could also lead to D, E or F). The greater this unpredictability or jeopardy, the more powerful the emotional connection, and therefore the greater the impact of the story.

This gives nearly all great stories a recognisable structure. Look at any of the great myths – ancient or modern – and you’ll find the personable figure of the underdog, who sets out against great odds to achieve a significant (and almost unattainable) goal. In doing so, they enhance themselves and grow. In his excellent book Into the Woods, renowned screenwriter John Yorke examines the mechanics behind story structure. He argues that, while the subject of the story (the protagonist) might not get what they initially wanted, they achieve the thing that they actually needed, and that is far more valuable.

The reason for the success of this type of structure is that it mirrors an insecurity that lies at the heart of all human beings. Built within our psyches is the belief that we are the underdog facing the challenges of the world. Different types of stories resonate with different target audiences, but the underdog against the world resonates with us all.

John Yorke Into the Woods Casual Films

Story and Memory

The paradox of the online world is that, while it has never been easier to reach an audience, it’s still difficult to connect with them. There is so much noise in modern communications, but great stories give you the opportunity to reach past your audience’s overstimulated heads and reach their hearts. Emotive stories do this. Used effectively, they enable you to get people to take note and remember what you want them to.

The facts that stories lace with emotional connections become far more memorable. Bear with me here… In the early days of Casual, I used to go to breakfast networking groups, to meet and learn from other entrepreneurs. At one meeting, the topic of the conversation was, “What makes great customer service?” As we went around the table, the various business owners present gave their two-cents’ worth: “Well, I think it’s about sharing my mobile phone number and then not letting it ring more than twice when they call” and “I think it’s about sending a card for your clients’ birthdays”. Each business owner took their turn to give their ideas. When it came to me, I had a story about something that had happened recently and was fresh in my mind.

“A good client of ours rang our office at 4pm on a Tuesday afternoon. They had a very important pitch, and, for one reason or another, the film that they had been waiting for from their internal video department hadn’t come. She told me that the pitch started the next morning at 9am, and it would be severely compromised without the video. I told her not to worry and that if it was humanly possible, we would get it done. Four of us stayed and worked until 2.30am, finished the film and sent it over to her. She played it and they ended up winning the business. “This is what I think is good client service.”

About a year later, I was at a conference and I introduced myself to one of the other delegates. I was slightly taken aback when he said, “I know you; you’re the guys who are really good at client service.” He had been at that networking group, and had heard the story I shared. It had stuck in his mind long after the associated facts of the rest of the group had faded. I’m telling you this to illustrate the enduring nature of information that has been made to resonate with a broader narrative.

Making the intangible tangible – brand, values and the ‘foundation myth’

The previous example illustrates another key asset of stories in the business context: they allow the communicator to make relatively intangible ideas – such as customer service, brand or values – tangible. It can be challenging to communicate what is meant by an abstract brand slogan. If the communicator builds that definition out with a story, it gives it a form and context that is accessible and ‘sticky’ (or memorable). In this example, the relatively abstract concept of ‘customer service’ is given a clear form through a simple story.

Apple Big Brother 1984 Casual Films

Apple’s iconic Think Different’ slogan is perfectly encapsulated by Ridley Scott’s equally iconic 1984 commercial for the launch of the original Mac computer (even though the slogan itself didn’t feature for the company until 1997). The spot features hundreds of drone-like, monochrome men in boiler suits all captivated by a large, Big-Brother-esque face on a screen in front of them. From the back of the room, a young woman in running kit, including red shorts, runs in and hurls a large hammer at the screen, destroying it. It ends with a voiceover saying, “Find out why 1984 is not going to be like 1984” – a clear, if implicit, punch at the established order represented by IBM. Anyone who saw that ad could see the essence of what Apple stood for then and what it continues to stand for now. To explain what was meant by the slogan could have taken many hundreds, if not thousands, of words, but video allows it to be captured and understood simply, in a handful of seconds.

This attribute makes the format really useful for internal/employer communications. Every company now has a set of values, which it expects its staff to live their working lives by. These values are far more effectively communicated through a story than a slogan. A value with a story becomes a behaviour. A behaviour is easier for the employee to understand and act on. Saying, “This is what we mean by excellent customer service, integrity, give more, etc.” is a great way to get staff to exhibit those values. Video is an effective way of illustrating these stories to them.

The powerfully aligning nature of narrative is part of the reason that foundation myths hold such a powerful sway in the business world. Yes, the company may now be a global behemoth, but, once upon a time, it was just a small group of people with an idea and a desire to go against the system. These founders faced almost impossible odds (conflict/jeopardy) but overcame them with guile and a belief that what they were doing was right. No matter how large and successful the company becomes, there will always be the underlying narrative, which can be mythologised, and used to engage and motivate staff and other stakeholders.


If you find this interesting check out Nick's book: The New Fire - Harness the Power of Video for Your Business. You can preorder it hereNew Fire Book Image

Contact Us

 

Topics: Being a better commissioner, How-to, Content Strategy

5 Ways To Make Content Go Viral (or at least improve the chances!)

Posted by Tarryn Paul
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In researching this blog post, it became apparent that there are A LOT of opinions out there about the best way to make content go viral.

Some are adamant that all you need to do is follow these ‘simple steps’ and you’re guaranteed a viral hit.
Others are a little more pragmatic and recognise that there is often no telling what is going to capture the world’s attention.

But one thing they all agree on is that there are certain things you can do to greatly improve your chances. So here are five of the best…

1. Refine and commit to your brand personality

Image of nike logo over sweaterTo be truly successful, viral content should be unique to its maker. Your voice, your values, your perspective is what will make that viral content uniquely and memorably yours over any other brand’s.

So, before you do anything else, really refine and commit to your brand personality.

A brand personality should be reflective of its target audience, so think about their priorities, behaviours, wants and needs - what do they respond to?
Now use that as the basis for your output.

Because, at the end of the day, you don’t just want to reach as many people as possible for the sake of it – if you did, you could just film a funny video of your cat and be done with it.
You want to reach the people that are actually going to follow through and engage with your brand.

So don’t lose track of who you are and who your audience is in the pursuit of virality.

2. Focus on the platforms that best suit your audience

phone with social media iconsYour target audience should be your greatest inspiration here – seek out the platforms that they frequent. Don’t make them work to find your content – demonstrate that you value them enough to take it to them.

And, once you’ve pinpointed those platforms, create a consistent campaign across all of them. Optimise the content for each platform individually, whether that means creating versions in different aspect ratios, with or without sound, or with different run lengths.

Making the viewing experience as easy and enjoyable as possible will greatly improve the chances of engagement.


3. Have a strategy

post it notes on the wall
We live in a world that is saturated with content - which makes standing out all the harder.
Your audience’s attention is a precious commodity, so they need to trust that when you release content, it’s going to be worth their time.

One way to ensure that your content has cut-through is to really think about why you’re making it.
Having a strategy means that you avoid making content for the sake of it, and only release content that is meaningful for your audience and purposeful for your brand.

Which is not to say that all content should be planned months, even years, in advance. A spontaneous, responsive piece of content that rides momentum can be hugely effective.

But for the content that is planned, make sure that you’re spending your budget in the most effective way by using it strategically.


4. Think about why audiences share and play to it

eggs with faces drawn on them
There’s a difference between watching and sharing. And viral content gets traction because it’s shared.
So why do we share something?

In short, to make ourselves look good. Whether it’s reflecting our intelligence, our empathy, our sense of humour, our interests… taking a piece of content and sharing it is a public declaration of our thoughts, feelings and values.

Therefore, when making content, it’s important to think about what aspect of it people might want to use as social currency with the valuable people in their network.

When striving for a viral hit, be honest with yourself and ask, ‘would I share this with my network if I had no connection to this brand?’

5. Encourage Interaction

two people on a bench textingIn addition to sharing content, think about other ways that people might engage with it.

Encouraging audience interaction - in the form of comments, likes, UGC, and related tags - can elevate content from being a proclamation to a conversation.

This helps the campaign to feel inclusive, which brings us back to the idea of emotional connections. Everyone wants to feel part of a tribe and if all our peers participate in something, chances are we’ll want to interact with it as well.

So invite comments, encourage interpretations, ask questions, set challenges. Make your content about more than just your brand – make it about your audience as well.

2020 and 2021 have demonstrated how creative we can get given such stringent filming limitations. Casual Films has pivoted to continue to meet our clients' needs even in our new normal. Need to communicate ever-changing strategy? We've got you covered with delightful animations and snappy edits. Absolutely need to show your employees or facilities? Our team is well-versed in all the COVID-safe precautions to make filming in-person both safe and effective. Sound useful? Get in touch with one of our experienced Executive Producers for a test drive...

Topics: Production process, Purpose driven video, Brands as broadcasters, Coronavirus Content, Video production from home

Going Remote with Bloomberg in a COVID-19 World

Posted by Tarryn Paul
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Being able to travel to new parts of the world for work is a huge perk for a lot of us here at Casual. However, the Covid-19 pandemic put a halt on international travel for the most part, in order to keep our crew and staff safe in a world where travel restrictions and Covid-19 numbers seem to change on a daily, if not hourly, basis.

Yet, content still needs to be filmed, and this new world required us to think creatively and problem-solve to ensure a positive outcome for our clients. When Bloomberg came to us needing to shoot in Angola by the end of 2020, we had to think outside of the box.  

Crane lifting palates

Bloomberg have a very strong signature style when it comes to shooting their content. We work with a reliable team who understand this, and often travel far and wide to achieve the right result. So, it's always a little unnerving when that team are unable to be on the ground to ensure that interviews and B-roll are hitting the mark.

Coffee/tea grounds

Problem-solving is what we do best, however, so we wasted no time in scouring our contacts to find a strong recommendation for a local production company in Angola. They had some excellent work on their reel, and we spent a lot of time in conversation with them to ensure they understood the brief and what we needed from the shoot. We also got our regular director in on the project to work remotely with the local crew and put together a clear style guide for the local crew. 

Man looking at camera with crossed armsThe Angola team were able to offer us eyes on every interview by connecting the camera feed to Zoom, so we could listen in on interviews and give our feedback in real-time.  

An additional challenge was some interviewees only being able to speak Portuguese, but the local team rose to the challenge here as well, offering us live translating as the interviews happened. This enabled us to ensure we captured the right content. 

shot of two people in a manufacturing facilityThe most important part of this project was constant communication. As producer, I communicated daily with the local producer to ensure interviews were booked in, locations confirmed, and the schedule was progressing as it should. 

There were setbacks - mainly with contributors dropping out last minute, or going completely AWOL, forcing us to find replacements at the final hour, but having a local team on the ground as opposed to a team only in the country for a short amount of time meant that we could be flexible and rearrange interviews when needed.

woman being interviewed with a field in the backgroundWhile we can't wait to be able to travel freely again, it's been a brilliant learning curve to manage complex remote shoots, and be able to support our clients in these sometimes challenging times.

2020 has demonstrated how creative we can get given such stringent filming limitations. Casual Films has pivoted to continue to meet our clients' needs even in our new normal. Need to communicate ever-changing strategy? We've got you covered with delightful animations and snappy edits. Absolutely need to show your employees or facilities? Our team is well-versed in all the COVID-safe precautions to make filming in-person both safe and effective. Sound useful? Get in touch with one of our experienced Executive Producers for a test drive...

Topics: Production process, Talking head, Project management, Case Study, Coronavirus Content, Video production from home

New City, New Job | Starting at Casual Films in a Pandemic

Posted by Brandon Berezo
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There’s no denying that 2020 was one of the strangest years on record. The COVID-19 virus became a global pandemic and changed the world as we knew it. For me personally, 2020 saw me hitting multiple personal milestones -- none of which were able to be celebrated with friends and family. 

One of those milestones included landing a new job as a Production Coordinator with Casual FIlms, and moving to Los Angeles from a rural town in Southwest Washington. So, what was it like starting a new career and moving cities during a pandemic? Strange. 

skyward image in los angeles looking at palm trees

I’ve been working at Casual Films for two months and I have yet to meet any of my colleagues in person. However, I feel more welcomed and appreciated than I would have expected in an all-virtual working environment. I can’t express how much it means to me to work for a company that values its employees well being. 


The onboarding process at Casual Films speaks true to our name, we’re casual -- but in a good way. In previous jobs, there’s always that initial two week “training” period, where you sit in a room with a few other new hires, for 8 hours a day, and wait to get started on the real work. At Casual Films, it's clear they hire people who possess the knowledge and tools they need to be successful so you can jump right in and get started. So as soon as I was finished with my new-hire paperwork, I was off to the races -- living out my video production dreams. 


So what’s it like moving to a city where COVID-19 cases have continued to explode? It’s weird. Leaving the house to do anything causes anxiety and worry. The most exciting thing we get to do is map out the various restaurants and stores we want to visit once things open back up again. It’s nice to know that these things are just a few blocks away, even if they aren’t open yet.

a dog named max

In a lot of ways, moving to a new city has reset our pandemic fatigue. We're in a new apartment, with new jobs -- there are literally hundreds of new restaurants to order from, and with sunshine just outside the window, life just feels a little easier.


While I wouldn’t necessarily recommend moving to a large city during a pandemic, I have to admit it’s really made us feel like there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Even with not being able to physically interact with new people or make new friends, it’s still a welcome change of pace after the monotony of the pandemic had already set in. Plus, after spending the first 30 years of my life in Washington (and the rain), the consistent sunshine and working in an exciting new role doesn’t hurt either. 

 

2020 has demonstrated how creative we can get given such stringent filming limitations. Casual Films has pivoted to continue to meet our clients' needs even in our new normal. Need to communicate ever-changing strategy? We've got you covered with delightful animations and snappy edits. Absolutely need to show your employees or facilities? Our team is well-versed in all the COVID-safe precautions to make filming in-person both safe and effective. Sound useful? Get in touch with one of our experienced Executive Producers for a test drive...

Topics: About Casual, Culture & Values

Five Films You Need to Make in 2021

Posted by Sanica Apte
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Having wrapped up a year of endless surprises, new normals, adapting and adjusting, inspiration can be hard to come by. Well, here are a couple of films to help get the imagination flowing again...

The great thing about working in this industry is that you can have the chance to be creative every single day. However, even if it's is your main job, there's nothing scarier than creating on a blank page without bounds.

Luckily here at Casual, our creativity is always in lockstep with purpose. What does the film need to accomplish? How can we maximize the clients budget so they get the most value? What new filmmaking techniques fit with the client's brand and their audience? 

Creating within these parameters is an opportunity to make something even better. Imagination without bounds can be exciting, but creating with a purpose is in some ways, even more satisfying. Within constraints, creativity can flourish.

So check out these films to get the creative juices flowing for 2021, and you just might find yourself inspired. 

The 'Recruit the Best Talent' Film

 
HSBC - Early Careers 
 
This film we made for HSBC is a combination of animation and interviews conducted over Zoom. HSBC approached us to create a series of honest, genuine videos that depict a true representation of what the the Early Careers Programme can offer new candidates. These films showcase a wide range of personalities and professional stories so that they appeal to a broad audience of potential candidates. Ultimately, the films were a tool to build awareness and interest in HSBC as not only a future employer but also a future career. 
 
Throughout, we're using the simple metaphor of getting a 'window in' to these employees lives. This is brought to life both through the visuals -- the Zoom interviews are framed as windows alongside the animation. And, in the content -- each interviewee is sharing their honest and true experiences, giving the viewers a peek into their lives. 
 
The Branded Content Film(s) 
 
 
GoDaddy Success Story: Elohim
 
Over the past few years we have traveled across the US profiling entrepreneurs for GoDaddy. Highlighting people who are following their passions and carving their own path, these 2-3 minute mini-documentaries showcase inspiring stories from GoDaddy's customer base. These stories are then pushed out on their YouTube, Instagram, and other social media platforms. This campaign is cultivating a community of people who are committed to the small-business economy and inspiring others to pursue their own side-hustles and follow their dreams.
 
These stories serve as a catalog of content marketing for GoDaddy as well as a treasure trove of customer testimonials. Viewers enjoy genuine, human interest stories with strategically placed product mentions within the context of the narrative. This allows GoDaddy to function as its own broadcaster while also increasing brand recognition and affinity. Not to mention, a simple way to get more recognition for their website building services. 
 
The Fascinating Explainer Animation
 
 
IFF - Responsible Sourcing 
 
Animation is a simple tool to making any complex concept easier to understand. It's infinitely editable and manipulatable -- making it friendly to any piece of content that is evolving constantly or needing to be segmented out for different audiences. The endless possibilities of visuals from characters, icons, maps, to charts can spice up any technical concept. 
 
This film we made for International Flavors and Fragrances (IFF) takes you through their responsible sourcing supply chain initiatives -- framing a primarily process-oriented change in a visually interesting, engaging way that ties it back to broader environmental goals. 
 
The 'Who We Are' Film (EVP) 
 

 

BMW Careers

We love this BMW Careers film because it demonstrates how effective video can be at illustrating company culture. It was produced from the large amount of footage that BMW already had. This was combined with some library footage, motion graphics, and a punchy soundtrack, to deliver an effect that is eye-catching, memorable and effective.

The Films that Make a Difference
 
 
Amplifier | We the Future - Amanda Gorman
 
This week's US inauguration left us with emotions that we haven’t felt in quite some time: hope, relief, and optimism. There is much work to be done still but it's a joy to embrace togetherness, unity, and positivity.

Inaugural Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman’s speech was a true stand out. A few years ago, we had the honor of interviewing her for Amplifier's We the Future campaign. She inspired us then, she gave us goosebumps today, and there’s no doubt she’s one of our leaders of tomorrow. 
 
Documentary-style films like these profiling activists, artists, and change-makers is a simple way to align a brand with the right side of history. Consumers are drawn to brands that stand for something -- it's more than just making a good product or providing a great service. People are voting with their dollars and putting their backing behind companies they can be proud of. In times like these, there's nothing more important than doing your part for the greater good both as an individual, and as a business. 
 

Amplifier is a non-profit design lab that builds art and media experiments to amplify the most important movements of our times. Learn more about the We The Future campaign at www.amplifier.org. 

 
 

2020 has demonstrated how creative we can get given such stringent filming limitations. Casual Films has pivoted to continue to meet our clients' needs even in our new normal. Need to communicate ever-changing strategy? We've got you covered with delightful animations and snappy edits. Absolutely need to show your employees or facilities? Our team is well-versed in all the COVID-safe precautions to make filming in-person both safe and effective. Sound useful? Get in touch with one of our experienced Executive Producers for a test drive...

Topics: Being a better commissioner, How-to, Innovation

Case Study: Avery Dennison In Plant Printing Solutions

Posted by Emily Lay
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With COVID-19 restrictions limiting our ability to shoot live action footage for our clients during lockdown, animation is an evergreen solution to communicate your company's message in a clear and engaging way.  

Animation has the power to be the most agile and future proof piece of communication in your armory

When working with animation, we are not bound by what was shot on the day - animation is infinitely editable.  With the knowledge your messaging may need to change in days, weeks or months, you can create an animation in a style that can be updated with minimal impact. This means your content can remain current and relevant without producing additional media.  

Screen Shot 2021-01-06 at 7.23.09 PM

In the fall of 2020, Avery Dennison approached us to create a video that features how blended solutions maximize supply chain flexibility and responsiveness, by offering customers globally consistent labels via a combination of ordering from Avery Dennison service bureau and printing via in-plant printing solutions at their factory floor. 
 
 
The Casual Films Solution: Avery Dennison wanted to show and explain the process in an exciting, storytelling way using a black and white whiteboard style animation. We advised that a 2D vector style animation would be much more aesthetically pleasing, opening up greater opportunity to create an engaging storyline with bespoke characters and assets, whilst using the Avery Dennison colour palette. 
 
We were thrilled that the stakeholders trusted our solution and agreed for us to go ahead with the colourful 2D animation!
 

2020 has demonstrated how creative we can get given such stringent filming limitations. Casual Films has pivoted to continue to meet our clients' needs even in our new normal. Need to communicate ever-changing strategy? We've got you covered with delightful animations and snappy edits. Absolutely need to show your employees or facilities? Our team is well-versed in all the COVID-safe precautions to make filming in-person both safe and effective. Sound useful? Get in touch with one of our experienced Executive Producers for a test drive...

Topics: Being a better commissioner, How-to, Innovation

Get inspired for 2021: Some of our favorite films of 2020

Posted by Sanica Apte
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2020 has been a year for the history books. We learned, grew, adapted, and persevered. We bonded, we took endless Zoom meetings, and now we're here at the end. This week on the blog, let's take a look back at 2020 through some of our favorite films (to make) of the year. 

December has always been a month of reflection. People slow down, take some time off, and take stock of what all they accomplished this year. But in 2020, that looks a bit different. We're all just glad to have made it through. It's not a year to traverse the cliffs of success, it's a year to buckle down, try your hardest at the things you can control, and lean on each other to make it through the rest. 

For Casual Films, we count ourselves as extremely fortunate. You don't have to look too far to see how businesses across the world have closed, employees been furloughed, and people just generally struggling. Back in March of this year, we went through those same motions, those same worries. As difficult as this year has been, it's been extraordinary that we are all sharing such a common experience. 

As we stand here at the end of December, we just want to say thank you. Thank you to our staff of 45+ across London, New York, and Los Angeles who have persisted in creating for our clients. We launched our Ariel production system. We figured out how to film remotely, film UGC content easily, film on COVID-safe sets, and keep making great films no matter the circumstances. We played team-bonding games, we bantered on Slack, we bonded (virtually). 

We're grateful for the relationships we've built to see us through these tough times. We're thankful that we can look out for each other, lean on one another, and begin 2021 with a bit of hope. Here's to the New Year being kinder to us all. 

In the spirit of reflection, let's take a little trip down memory lane & see which films Casual-ers most proud of in 2020. 

UNHCR - Nansen Awards

 

Often videos that deal with weighty topics are overwrought and can feel melodramatic. The relative intensities of the subject matter and the visuals were well balanced here. - Edward Beresford, CFO | London 

This year's Nansen winners are truly inspirational people and learning about the achievements of these incredible women put a lot of things in perspective. Projects like this don’t come up too often at Casual and felt very lucky to work on the series with a group of very talented people. It was great to see the team go the extra mile to deliver the films and to see the reaction of viewers, who were equally in awe of these amazing ladies! - Emily Lay, Executive Producer | London

HSBC - Technology and Innovation

 
My favourite film to work on this year was 'Technology and Innovation' for HSBC. When working on a film comprised of stock footage and client supplied content often as an editor you are very restricted by the content you have to work with, and the quality of the film can suffer as a consequence of this. However HSBC were able to supply fantastic video content and were very open to a more creative visual style and trusting of our ability to do so, allowing us to add our creative flare to the project and thoroughly enjoy doing so! - Dan Hankinson, Head of Post Production | London
 

Google - Global Site Tag

A fun animation project that demonstrates an intangible digital product. Simplifying the more technical language using abstract shapes and sound design...even a pinball machine! Bet you didn't know you had that going on behind the screen. - Lexi Mounsey, Executive Producer | New York
 
Haringey Council - I'm Out
 
 
It's strange to think that exactly a year ago we were shooting these films, and only finished filming in February 2020. I know I keep going on about this project :) but I do think it was an amazing example of our team coming together to achieve something challenging, and wonderful. The added bonus was that we worked really closely with both the client and the young people who the issue affected, and involved them in the whole process which was so rewarding. The limited budget, the timescales, the sheer anount of organising needed to film a fight scene (with a knife!) on an estate, and all of the post work, including composing music and fantastic sound design, a lovely (but challenging edit) and a beautiful colour grade, I could go on... was a huge testament to everyone giving their all for a project that we were passionate about. - Tarryn Paul, Producer | London
 
GoDaddy, Roundtable Discussions 
 
 
 

My favorite film of the year was the 'Roundtable Discussions' series we created for GoDaddy. Filmed remotely in the height of lockdown, these discussions featured Black entrepreneurs across all industries, sharing their experiences, advice, and thoughts on finding success as Black-owned businesses and helping others in their community.

The films were some of the most urgent, topical ones that we made this year - publishing in step as the U.S. (and the world) had a national reckoning on our perceptions of race.

We also produced these in the height of lockdown. Without being able to film in person, we shipped iPhones and a small tripod all around the U.S. so folks could film themselves easily. A simple, useful filming technique we've since used for several other clients. - Sanica Apte, Producer | Los Angeles

New York State Dept. of Public Health, Wear A Mask PSA

One of my favorites this year was our Wear A Mask PSA for the New York State Department of Health. A project our editor, Aaron, put together in May that sort of marked the beginning of our “new normal”. 
Also, shout out to us receiving an honorable mention from the State on this–whoop, whoop! - Fritz Polax, Production Coordinator | New York

 

 

Topics: Being a better commissioner, How-to, Innovation

How Do You Make Stock Footage Look Good?

Posted by Dan Hankinson
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With COVID restrictions limiting our ability to shoot live action footage for our clients during lockdown earlier in the year we had to get creative with our offerings and champion our in-house postproduction talent. 

Stock video and user generated content (UGC) became the most cost effective and engaging way to communicate our client’s messaging. More than ever businesses needed to communicate with their audience, and we were able to support them every step of the way.

Say the words “stock footage” to a video editor and you may ordinarily be greeted with a very long yawn in return. Often what people envision with stock footage is endless clips of alpha male business handshakes, overly enthusiastic office meetings and beautiful people with perfect teeth turning to smile at the camera, all with an extra helping of cheese.

So how do you make stock video look cool? I hear you ask. At Casual Films we have access to a range of stock footage and image libraries that offer a brilliant variety of appropriate and “fromage free” content that fits most needs. Our editors are well versed in bringing this content to life and finding innovative ways to present it, cut it and link it together to perfectly deliver on a chosen narrative, mood and pace. The great thing about stock footage is that it only requires a small team, keeping costs down, and opens up a variety of options for your film that are easily corrected or updated at a later date should your messaging need to change with the ever-changing business climate.

Below are two examples where we’ve married together stock footage, motion graphics and UGC/existing footage.

HSBC - Technology and Innovation
 
The first example - HSBC Technology and Innovation delivers the key message of innovation within HSBC through a dynamic and stylised edit. Each contributor recorded a voice over which we cut between, intertwining each voice to create a sense of both diversity and togetherness. This narrative is then brought to life with content of the contributors provided by HSBC and carefully selected stock footage.
 
HSBC - Technology and Innovation

 

Plan Zero - A Mitie Initiative 

Plan Zero – A Mitie Initiative is another brilliant example of how stock footage, simple graphics and sound design can be combined to create a fast paced, slick film that helps engage an audience on important, information heavy subjects, that may ordinarily lose interest. 

Plan Zero – A Mitie Initiative

Bold, clear typography gets the messaging across quickly and effectively whilst quick match cuts and clever shot compositions are brought to life with bespoke sound design, this then acts as a common thread that ties the film together. 

Sound useful? Get in touch with one of our experienced Exec Producers for a test drive..

Topics: Being a better commissioner, How-to, Innovation

Happy Thanksgiving, From Your Friends at Casual Films

Posted by Sanica Apte
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As Thanksgiving rolls around each year, we are reminded of all that there is to feel grateful for. 

As we turn the corner into 2021, there's no doubt we'll all go into the new year having learned something - about ourselves, about our communities, about the world. 

We'd like to take this opportunity to take stock, and give thanks. To inject a little optimism into this time of year. 

At Casual, we're grateful for our team. Through strange times, our staff of 45+ across London, New York, and Los Angeles have persisted in creating for our clients. We figured out how film remotely, film UGC content easily, film on COVID-safe sets, and keep making great films no matter the circumstances. We played team-bonding games, we bantered on Slack, we bonded (virtually). 

Empathy is the keyword of this year. Stressors extend beyond just work-tasks. We're all cooped up in our homes, worried about loved ones, feeling a range of emotions. We're so thankful for how supportive our teams have been to each other.

We're grateful for the relationships we've built to see us through these tough times. We're thankful that we can look out for each other, lean on one another, and take this Thanksgiving holiday to rest and reflect. 

Topics: Being a better commissioner, How-to, Innovation

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