COVID-19 will redefine the way we produce and consume content forever.

So 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.

Oliver Atkinson

Oliver Atkinson
Oliver has 18 years experience in production, having worked across a variety of genres including branded content, interactive film & theatre, VR, studio, documentary & factual entertainment for major brands and broadcasters. He now heads up the Casual Films London office and looks after key accounts including Reckitt Benckiser, Rolls-Royce, Red Bull and Adobe.
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Top 10 Covid-19 Communication Problems and what do do about them

Posted by Oliver Atkinson
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The Corona Virus Crisis has led to some major changes in the ways we are able to conduct business. Business communications are more important than ever but the environment in which we're producing them has never been more challenging. To help you keep your business communicating, our UK Managing Director Oliver Atkinson shares his thoughts on what you can do to overcome some of the major obstacles...

1. Communicating During A Budget Freeze

Communication has never been more important but what do you do when budgets freeze and you don’t have the usual resources to produce your content?

The solution?  You guessed it, time to take things into your own hands. While this might sound scary, just start self-shooting your internal comms and make sure you’re communicating effectively with your team. We’re in a world where things are upside down and there is a high level of personal and professional insecurity, so people will need reassurance and video is the next best option to being in a room with your team.

With a company email, yes, you get the information down but you miss out on non-verbal cues that let your employees see you are dealing with the current situation with empathy and compassion. There may be some hard decisions and conversations during this period, and the more leaders present themselves rather than hide behind press releases and official responses, the better.

No money

If you need to continue producing client-facing content and the UGC or self-made route just doesn’t cut it, then it might be worth talking about a deferred payment option with your trusted suppliers.


2. The Deadline Was Yesterday…

Ok, so you’ve got a reduced team and budget but you still need to communicate. How do you hit the deadlines in a world that is changing daily?

I’m sure you’ve been keeping track of the Covid-19 updates globally, locally and, of course, socially - the memes, the endless memes!

Time fliesThis constantly changing environment means your content needs to be fleet of foot and if you want to release messaging that relates to the unfolding situation, launch your comms after two days or it may no longer be relevant. So, if you’re just about to spend six weeks creating a five-minute animation on your Corona response, you’ve been living in isolation with the curtains shut for far too long.

There are however fast turnaround solutions. Stock edits with a simple and short script, podcasts and spritzing text animations are all excellent ways of communicating quickly whilst keeping the production values high and impactful. Failing that, I suppose you could always create a meme.


3. Can’t Shoot

Lockdown means no camera crews and no shooting on location so if you want to create bespoke content there are a few options:

Dig into your archive to look at what you already have. Stock edits and re-cuts are a fast and effective way to get your message out there and if you’re using a company archive, you’ll be starting with a bespoke, on-brand look to your film.

If you don’t have existing content, there are still alternatives to shooting.  We’re currently ‘shooting’ a virtual round table with actors at home playing out a boardroom scenario and Casual Films NYC have used Adobe Character Animator to turn a piece of home shot content into a fast turnaround character animation.

jakob-owens-FAD3hadLC80-unsplash


4. Corona Content Pollution

Covid-19 response emails have undoubtedly been flooding your inbox. Even without this current crisis there has been a huge amount of content to contend with online, but this global situation has hiked it up to a whole new level. That said, the same rules still apply.

Viral Content

Target your content at the appropriate audience. Make it creative, memorable and keep it on point. Remember, a creative approach doesn’t have to be expensive. You can do it yourself, just give yourself parameters to work within – this could be, delivering the message in one hundred and fifty-five words (which is a one minute duration on screen) or just simplify things making sure you have one key message.  Think to yourself, ‘if I had to write this message on a t-shirt what would it say?’ So, for example my t-shirt would say, ‘Make your film easy to understand’... Thinking about it, I’d probably stick a Casual Films logo on the back as well.


5. The Remote Workforce

It’s hard to keep in touch with a remote workforce, but more than ever, your employees need to hear from you so think about frequent updates from the leadership team.

Broadcast periodically on multiple channels to make sure you are on topic and updating on the unfolding situation.

This needs to be two way, for example, you could set up a line manager Ask Me Anything hour, live streaming questions from employees, or you could produce a weekly video answering questions submitted by the team throughout the week.

Set a few topics for your team to film themselves while they’re at home. It could be home-exercise, how to keep the kids entertained or simply how to stop going insane… It is a great opportunity to collate a huge amount of content from your employees. Now, not everyone will be up for it and that’s of course, understandable, but I guarantee some will, and you could end up pulling together some inspiring stories to create a morale-boosting employee film. With a little guidance, you’ll be surprised at how many people give it a go.

Washing hands


6. Information Overload

Businesses need to make contact with their clients more than ever, and even though they’re all at home, your audience may still be time poor.

Rather than send out a long piece of comms, you could break it down into digestible pieces of content and release a new episode every day or every other day.

There is every chance this virus will have us all on lockdown for several months so make sure your content is relevant and don’t just splurge all your information out in one big email.

If you need more help to figure out an effective content strategy, we can help, so give one of our execs a call…If you need us, we’ll be… also at home.


7. Inconsistency and Mis-Information

Sharing content unrelated to Covid-19 is important but get it wrong and you could come across as tone-deaf or at worst, insensitive.

Misinformation

Make sure your communication is consistent and doesn’t cause confusion - a small focus group of trusted people within your organisation can help make sure you’re not unknowingly mis-informing your company and clients or omitting anything crucial.

There needs to be one clear voice from your leadership team. A video from the CEO is an easy win and a cost-effective route.

We’re currently working on a brief from a major publisher where the CEO is filming himself (with the help of his family) and sending us the footage to edit. We are also directing the shoot over a conference call to make sure the production values are as high and the tone is appropriate, but all the ‘crew’ work is being done in-house… literally. This is the perfect way of shooting an authentic ‘home’ message while ensuring the semi-DIY production set-up  doesn’t interfere with clarity.


8. Cancelled Events

Events right across the world have been postponed or cancelled but if Elton John can pull off a virtual gig, then so can you! If you still want to go ahead with an event, you can, via virtual panels and roundtables using live-streaming or recorded presentations.

Cancelled events

The benefit of recording your presentation is that you can add additional flourishes like animating the topics rather than speaking through a dodgy set of powerpoint slides. Think of this as your opportunity to make your presentation really sing. You could even add some video clips in as cutaways to illustrate your point (or cover up any awkward facial expressions).

Events optionsStreaming gives you that live element that gets you closer to an actual event experience although you need to take into account bandwidth and connectivity issues as everyone is running their wifi at full tilt.


9. Low engagement

Eventually your audience will experience corona-content fatigue and will be looking for an alternative output to engage with.

You could look around for inspiring films and think about producing content that engages authentically. This is a time for the right tone and behaviour from brands, and if you come across as salesy or pushy you may experience a backlash.

lowie-vanhoutte-y3DqeiADfS4-unsplashInternal or external comms at this time doesn’t need to be policy driven, Covid-19 response, top down messaging… our post-production team created a track using found sounds while working at home. It performed extremely well on our social channels because sometimes people are just looking for something to make them smile. Oh and our resident baby employee Bo, also stole the show in his video on how to keep creative!


10. Clients Have Gone Cold

Your clients may have retreated into a comfortable Netflix hiding hole temporarily, but when this is through we will all need to communicate effectively to get things back up and running.

Shock will subside and brands will start to think about how they can reach their audience again. Listen through social, and seek out the available data to understand how you need to position your brand in this new landscape.

cengiz-sari-PKFs0-0awPU-unsplashThis quiet time is an opportunity to reflect and vaccinate your brand for the future, so call your clients, and keep having conversations to understand how the market is shifting. From history you can see that brands that keep marketing through recessions come out stronger on the other side. Create a plan but try to resist being too fixed in your approach. You may need to be agile and change your offering again, so have a few ideas ready to go.

Remember to keep celebrating important milestones and supporting the national effort with the right messaging. We’ll get through this, we just need to Keep Calm, keep communicating and … Carry on… and wash our hands … (oh and stay at home).

Our experienced global team are on hand to help you make your production a success - wherever you are, whatever the constraints. We'd love to talk so drop us a line and one of our team will give you a call back.

Topics: How-to, Coronavirus Content

How to keep communicating

Posted by Oliver Atkinson
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We're still making videos (and podcasts!)

Amongst the constantly shifting landscape created by COVID-19, we understand how important it is to keep your lines of communication open. Be that internally to your staff, or externally to your clients and customers.

Our entire team is set up to work remotely, ensuring we can still produce our films with the highest production values.

In this post, you will find our solutions to creating video content in these challenging times to keep your business running as usual.

Why should you be sharing content now?

  • No one likes radio silence. Be that internal or external, your audience want to hear from you, especially right now.

  • If you thought making a film means having a physical crew on the ground, you’re in for a pleasant (and cost effective) surprise.

  • Reassure your employees and keep them motivated by showing them that you still care about making content for them.

  • Your clients want to hear from you. Everyone is trying to muddle their way through this uncertain time and they want to know how you’re doing and how you can continue to service their needs.

  • There are so many options for creating high quality, quick and cost effective content. See how we can help on the following pages…

 


 

SIIS_Logo

 

Our Say it in Sixty platform is a fast and cost effective way of creating a sixty second video or animation.

 

 

Say it in Sixty Promo

Perhaps you want to reassure or motivate staff, giving them hints and tips for effective working from home. Or you might have a new service that you can’t pitch to your clients in person…

Simply upload a 60 second script, choose your voice over artist and style reference, and then sit back as our team brings your message to life in a matter of days.

 

 

Say it in Sixty - Work Awesome

SiiS Stock

Turnaround time: 2 days

Cost: £3,000 / $3,500

SiiS Animation

Turnaround time: 4 days

Cost: £4,500 / $5,999


Podcasts

Now more than ever, how you communicate with your clients, employees and stakeholders is of the utmost importance. Rather than sending a cold mailer, it is much more reassuring for them to hear your voice. Podcasts are the fastest and most cost effective way of speaking directly to your audience.

Podcast Shout

 

We’ll set you up with the required microphones and recording equipment, sending them to you via post and then helping you to virtually set up the equipment. You would then record your podcast, and send us the raw files. From here we will tidy up the audio, edit as required, and add sound design.

If you wanted to make the creation of your podcast content go even further, we could create shorter 30 second edits summarising the key messaging and use animation to bring these to life as short videos. 

WSP Smart Thinking

WSP | Smart Thinking Podcasts

Here is a series of podcasts that we produced for WSP. They already had their own recording equipment set up, so once they had recorded their audio, they sent us all the raw files and we created the podcasts for them.

Podcasting

Turnaround time: 2 hours

Cost for 5 podcasts: £4,000 / $4,000


Reediting: You already have so much content - why not use it?

Casual Films Different Uses for Video-198749-edited

Ok, so it might not be feasible for us to film on location with you any time soon… but did you know that we hold onto all of the footage we have captured for you previously? This means we’re on standby to create a cost effective repurposed film whenever you need it.

We created films for Rolls-Royce and BMW Group just using existing footage that we held in our archive library.

In these instances, we carefully grade the footage to give it a consistent and on brand look and feel throughout. Watch how we grade our films here.

Alternatively, we could use your existing assets to create an animation, similarly to a series of films we produced for WSP.

But what if you don’t have any existing footage? We could create a bespoke edit using our wealth of online stock footage, communicating your messaging with a voiceover, spritzing text or dynamic typography…whatever you need to get your message out there fast!

Re-edit of existing footage

Turnaround time: 8 day

Cost: £6,00 - £8,000 / $ 6,000 - $10,000

Stock edit

Turnaround time: 1 week

Cost: £5,000 / $7,500

Typography-led animation

Turnaround time: 4 days

Cost: £5,000 / $5,000


Virtual meetings & event solutions

103020220_800x346During this unprecedented time, many planned meetings and events will be happening remotely. But there’s no reason why you can’t share them with a wider audience.

Using the latest tech, we can remotely capture video chats and virtual round table discussions from anywhere in the world, allowing you to bring your speakers to your audience, wherever they may be.

Once captured, we’ll edit and package the footage. This could be a full version of a round table discussion, or the key takeaway points from a Skype call. We can animate power point slides in time to your presentation, or even bring the content to life through animation, similar to this example.

So if you’re thinking of cancelling or postponing an event, meeting, pitch or presentation, get in touch and we will find a way to make this possible virtually when you can’t be there in person.

Skype or Round table discussion - record & edit

Turnaround time: 2 days

Cost: £4,000 / $5,000

Skype or Round table discussion - animation

Turnaround time: 6 weeks

Cost: £12,000 / $15,000

Powerpoint presentation animation

Turnaround time: Project dependent

Cost: £8,000 / $10,000 for 15 minutes


If you want to discuss any of these techniques - or anything else that we can help you with - please either drop your Exec Producer a line. If we haven't met yet - hello! - get in touch via our contact us form and one of the team will give you a call back.

Our team are standing by to offer you any assistance we can, to help you through this challenging time.

 

Topics: How-to, Content Strategy, Coronavirus Content, Video production from home

Case study: Red Bull Changemakers

Posted by Oliver Atkinson
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If you think of Red Bull TV what immediately springs to mind is a heart-stopping air race, gritty dirt biking or someone in Speedos performing a triple pike off a cliff and promptly plummeting towards the water 500 meters below. They do sport, they do it extreme and they do it well. So, when they approached us with a brief for a mini-series about social innovation it piqued our interest, to say the least… 

Amaphiko - Inspired by the Zulu word for ‘wings’ - is a programme to help Social Entrepreneurs create innovative and sustainable change in their communities and Red Bull wanted to create a series of short, global films featuring some of the people who have made changes for the good within their community.

After nearly a year of wrangling contributors, shifting schedules and of course, lugging equipment across continents we are pleased to announce that our mini-series have recently been broadcast.


Each film captures unique stories from six 'Changemakers' from around the world and how they turned ideas into projects that have changed the lives of people in their communities and beyond.

Check them out on the Red Bull site here.

 

Ep. 1 - Steel Warriors

Ben Wintour created Steel Warriors to counter the rising culture of knife violence on the streets of London by melting them to build outdoor gyms to offer youth a healthy community.


 

Ep 2 – Beats, Rhymes & Life

In Oakland, California, Rob Jackson is using the power of hip-hop to encourage young people of colour to engage in therapy. It's a second home for teens in the area who are vulnerable to mental health problems.


 

Ep 3 – SheFighter

Lina Khalifeh started SheFighter, the first self-defence studio for women in the Middle East, to help bring an end to the problem of abuse against women. Since its founding, the organisation has expanded to 35 different countries.


Ep 4 – Africa Yoga Project

Paige Elenson created the Africa Yoga Project in Nairobi to provide leadership opportunities for young people in struggling communities by making the practice of yoga more accessible.


Ep 5 – B360 Baltimore

Brittany Young started B-360 Baltimore to change negative perceptions of dirt bike culture in her community by teaching STEM education (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) that will help them secure meaningful career opportunities.


Ep 6 – Refettorio Felix

Massimo Bottura opened the community center Refettorio Felix in London to provide free therapeutic services and three meals a day to people struggling with poverty, hardship, sickness, and distress.


Is your company making great stories happen? If you want to share them in the best way possible you should get in touch with one of our team. Our experienced producers who will be happy to bring them to life with you. Make a no obligation enquiry by email or right here.

Contact Us

 

Topics: Increase brand awareness and appeal, Purpose driven video, Brands as broadcasters, Case Study

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