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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Recent Posts

Creating engaging virtual online events

Posted by Oliver Atkinson
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With the current lockdown we’ve put our heads together with some of the best technical minds in the business to bring you the next level in virtual events. At their most basic, these may be live video broadcasts - trying to move away from the 'death by Zoom' we have all been experiencing. Beyond this there is a whole world of ways to engage, inform and delight your audience in the same way that a really good live event does. Here are some of the ways that we can help you to make your event as good as anything you did pre-pandemic.

The changing nature of events

Pre-C19 why did businesses put so much time and effort into running events? After all, they cost a lot of money, the team is out of the office for a few days and often you find yourself cheek by jowl with the competition vying for your customer’s attention. The effectiveness of events can be tricky to track too.

Strip an event back to the bare bones and it’s essentially a structured presentation of information

- with a good dash of networking thrown in.

They provide marketers with an opportunity to create a brand narrative through the stories they share. Exhibitors get that face-to-face contact to generate leads and gather precious feedback from a target audience. Speakers reinforce brand recognition and new products and services can be tried and tested. Anyone who has hosted an event in the last few years will tell you that the attendees are getting more and more picky. They tend to be super-targeted on the stands and speakers they want to see, and even while watching the presentation, everyone is on social media anyway. The event experience was in need of a bit of a rethink - Coronavirus or not.

Crowded Pre-Tech EventsIt's going to be some time until we get back to events like this!

This seems to be quite a challenge for virtual events to live up to, but with a creative approach and some interactive solutions, a brand can produce an experience that delivers more value. 

So, how do you turn your live event into an engaging online event?  

First up, it’s important to look at the editorial. It’s useful to think of it as producing a live TV show rather than an event. Think about how the event will run and how smaller segments of content spring out from the main show (these would have been break-out rooms or Q&A sessions). Develop a content strategy that is appropriate for a virtual event rather than thinking about your typical daily running order. To keep people’s attention, your broadcast needs a story arc that holds the viewer, and each VT or segment should have a distinct narrative that is relevant within the context of the main show. Our team has the experience to guide you through this crucial part of the process. 

Once you have the editorial locked down, you can think about how to get your content out to your audience:


Live Broadcast

If you want your event to stand out from the thousands of Zoom presentations, get a professional crew in to look after the production. By raising the production values, your end product will be a slick, high definition live studio show which will bolster brand integrity rather than damage it by using low resolution webcams. It can also be repurposed into an on-demand event, increasing return. We would recommend using a streaming company to run the broadcast to make sure you don’t suffer a drop out midway through, especially if you are expecting a high number of attendees. Alternatively, for smaller productions use a professional crew to look after the camera, audio and lighting and then plug into Microsoft Teams Live Events, Vimeo Studio 6 or similar streaming software to go live. 

 

CF_CoronaMessaging_VirtualMeetings_16-9_Subs

 

Live Video Broadcast Example

By using a multi-camera set up you’ll be able to demonstrate products in detail, cut between presenters and locations, and the live element will retain that all-important sense of occasion that you would have had with an event. 

Rehearsals are crucial when shooting live. Block out the camera moves and rehearse the running order and allow plenty of time between segments. Ensure you have talent on screen who can hold your audience and think on their feet. 


Want to talk to a specialist about putting on a live broadcast event? Click here to book a call back from a producer.


360º Video 

While VR has been knocking around for some time, it has remained on the fringes of corporate comms and rarely piques the interest of our existing clients who sometimes dismiss it as too expensive or gimmicky. The headset for one is a significant barrier to virtual reality. After all, who wants to wear a sweaty, heavy headset for a two-hour event? 

360 has limitations when you consider the bandwidth needed to run it effectively, but what these mediums do offer is an immersive environment and an opportunity to create a virtual foyer to display your content. 

VR_Option

360º Interactive Video Example

Shooting 360 is more cost-effective than you might think. We can shoot several locations within a day and the crew size is minimal. Once we have a 360 environment of an office space or an iconic location on film, we add an interactive layer with hotspots that link through to the different segments of content. 

The struggle with 360 has always been creating a clear narrative. Once you’re in the space it becomes an open world where the user picks their journey or the content they want to consume. The most effective use of interactive 360 we have seen is in virtual tours where the narrative is less of an issue. As well as tours, 360 is a fitting replacement for an event with multiple speakers as it gives the virtual delegate the choice to select different sessions or content streams. To direct the attention of your audience when using 360 you can use visual cues and ambisonics, but bear in mind this works best using a headset.


Want to talk to a specialist about putting on a 360º interactive video event? Click here to book a call back from a producer.

 


Interactive Video

Interactive film provides a high level of engagement, comprehensive video analytics, and the ability to choose a narrative. This makes it a good candidate for a walkthrough of an exhibition space using interactive hotspots that lead to supporting pieces of content, product demos, Q&A sessions, or even filmed keynote presentations. 

Everyone has sat through a webinar while simultaneously working on a document, and let’s be frank, it’s a waste of time. A creative execution combined with an interactive platform keeps your audience engaged throughout and can provide a huge amount of information on how your virtual delegates are interacting with the content. It provides clear data and we would argue it is more accurate than counting the number of tickets sold at a conference, especially considering the number of delegates you see on Facebook while a speaker delivers the speech of their life. 

Interactive option

Interactive Video Example


If you provide a sense of occasion and limit the accessibility to your virtual event you can create a world where the audience feels they are attending an exclusive ‘live’ experience. If you want to take this further you can even have a live virtual Q&A session or have your team online and ready to chat with the delegates. 

The issue with the current situation doesn’t affect construction or hiring an event space, so to make the experience feel familiar, hire a space, build the exhibition stands you would have used at the cancelled event, and then film a walk-through covering a services pitch from your team or any products in detail. Using shoppable interactive, the viewer could even purchase in the moment or download a PDF for more information. 


Want to talk to a specialist about putting on an interactive video event? Click here to book a call back from a producer.


Virtual Events

A gaming platform or virtual event is as close as you can get to the full freedom of movement you would have at a real-world event and with major festivals (Glastonbury, The Happy Place, San Francisco Design Week) going virtual, they are becoming ever more mainstream. 

The flexibility of these platforms is a huge draw - as well as having Q&As, polls, online networking, surveys, and even a games room. Once you have the event space set up, it can be reused for different events delivering a fantastic return. Like interactive, a virtual event will provide detailed analytics so you can review the data and update the experience to improve engagement. 

 

Gameplay_Option

 

The good news is that the cost to develop these immersive platforms has dropped significantly but the slight drawback is that you need a desktop app to run it. If you decide to use a desktop app, make sure it is easy for your delegates to download and install. While downloadable software enables greater scope for creative flexibility, it stands true that the fewer barriers you have in place, the higher the engagement. 


Want to talk to a specialist about putting on a Virtual Reality event? Click here to book a call back from a producer.


Build it and they will come: Using Programmatic Targeting

Given the volume of webinars and virtual conferences online, your event must stand out from the crowd. Ads need to be attention-grabbing and seen by the right people at the right time. To do this we would recommend using programmatic advertising. This works by taking audience insight and using that data to target the appropriate demographic with creative, memorable content (don’t worry, we can help with that). 

The attendance data for a traditional event or trade show is readily available, so by using programmatic to target potential delegates as well as a wider audience, you could yield higher engagement than a real-world event. Our digital partners use programmatic targeting and retargeting across all digital media to drive traffic to your site.

A good example of how effective programmatic can be, is a campaign we ran for Breast Cancer Now, which set out to achieve 600,000 video views but by using programmatic we surpassed that target by over 1000%. 


This is an opportunity to put your brand at the forefront of event disruption and digital innovation. After all, these event alternatives will provide you more data, more leads, more brand recognition. Online you can already run speaker sessions, networking, product launches and Q&As, but by using the emotive power of film or the limitless possibilities with animation you can really engage your audience. Pull this all together in a 360 or virtual environment and you create a memorable experience that brings an online event to life.


We'd love to discuss your event with you. There are many ways to use video to make your next event the best ever. Give us some details here and we will give you a call back shortly.

Topics: Content Strategy, Case Study, Coronavirus Content, Events

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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