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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.

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

Ariel Capture: Making user generated content easy for business

Posted by Oliver Atkinson
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As technology has improved, the little cameras embedded in the back of our phones have become a key selling point for Big Tech. They now have large sensors, stabilisation and are perfect for grabbing a snap of your gran doing the splits on her birthday. For all the wizardry, Big Tech still hasn’t solved one big problem... the user.

Ariel Capture Selfie

A weird location with no light, a piece to camera directly up the nose, or the old classic, a thumb over the lens. Yep, UGC or ‘user generated content’ can be a great idea for your next global campaign, but a real pain to execute. The content can be questionable to say the least and sometimes the final edit can end up being a mix of stock footage with the one or two UGC clips that made the cut.  With everyone trying their best, but failing, it’s an awful lot of wasted time and effort.

The solution to these UGBs or ‘user generated bloopers’ is Ariel Capture, a new mobile app from Casual that makes producing user generated content a breeze. To kick off a project your staff just need to download the app via the App store, drop in a project code, and they’re ready to go. Everything is on-screen: bespoke shot lists, questions and on-screen filming tips. Once the footage has been shot and uploaded to our secure servers, our award-winning post-production team will bring your content to life.

Ariel Capture Screenshot

With your workforce at home and a desire to record this exceptional time, Ariel Capture offers a cost-effective solution for not only remote filming, but also for managing your UGC projects in one place. Gone are the days of tracking down the clip named DC000375 from forty emails memorably named ‘my clip’. All your footage will sit in one project on the cloud rather than your desktop, where it’s draining the computer memory and sending your fan into hyperdrive.

Ariel Capture Phone

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

 

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

Webinar: Corporate comms evolves with interactive video for ABinBev

Posted by Lexi Mounsey
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We all need a drink sometimes - this year more than ever – but the harmful effects of alcohol are a problem, and something needed to be done about it.

Casual Films and our interactive video partner WireWax worked with ABInBev and their safe drinking force the ABInBev Foundation, to create an epic Interactive video to Reinvent How We Drink.

ABinBev Interactive

Moderation remains a fundamental factor in consuming alcohol, and ABInBev have spent more than three decades promoting responsible drinking, setting Global Smart Drinking Goals to be achieved by 2025. These Goals are informed by the unique and diverse causes of harmful drinking in the 50+ countries they operate. Casual Films traveled to Zacatecas, Mexico; Leuven, Belgium; as well as right here in New York City to uncover the stories of how ABInBev are bringing this change.

AbInBev beer cansAlcohol free beer: all the flavour, none of the danger!

In a powerful 6 minute interactive video, our interactive production partners Wirewax did an incredible job planning and mapping hotspot technology to reveal a deeper layer of content for the viewer. As you watch, there are 13 additional pieces of clickable content to increase engagement, including videos, imagery, articles and social campaigns. The narrative is neatly wrapped up in the hero film, hosted by ABInBev talent and Directed by David Potvin. Shot on location in a Brooklyn studio over one long shoot day, we were able to create a diverse set of locations as a way to reveal relevant stories and navigate the viewer through all facets of the Smart Drinking programme.

Launching on “Global Beer Responsible Day” - Friday, September 18th as a way to reaffirm ABInBev’s commitment to reducing the harmful use of alcohol, this is a campaign we are truly proud of.


Casual Films WireWax ABinBev WebinarIf you are interested in using Interactive Video, or would like to learn more about the process and some of the key pitfalls to avoid, Casual's Nick Francis is going to be discussing the project with Emily Wallen, Global Manager, Brand and Digital Communications at AbInBev and WIREWAX Co-Founder Dan Garraway on Wednesday 18th November at 12pm EST. You can sign up here.

It should be a fascinating discussion and well worth a listen if you want to know more about making really impactful interactive video content.

Topics: Interactive Video, Case Study, Events, Innovation

Using video to fight knife crime and wasted lives

Posted by Tarryn Paul
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Topics: Purpose driven video, Case Study

Produce One: Plant One - Supporting the Trillion Trees Project

Posted by Nick Francis
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After all the madness of this year, you could be forgiven for thinking that we've lost it. We’re pleased to report though, that we haven’t finally cracked – we will, of course, also make you the project. While we do that, we'll also plant a tree on your behalf. So, not only do you get to delight your audience, you get to leave a mark that will live long into the future.

Trillion Trees charities

Trillion Trees is an inspired venture between Birdlife International, Wildlife Conservation Society and the WWF. Once upon a time, the world was home to six trillion trees, over the years, human impact has reduced that number to just 3 trillion. Trillion Trees aims to replant and protect a trillion trees by the year 2050. It’s a hugely ambitious goal but one which will go some way to reducing the amount of carbon in the atmosphere and creating a rich and vibrant natural world for the future. We are all so proud to be able to contribute toward such a worthwhile goal.

You can find out more here.

Topics: Purpose driven video, About Casual, Culture & Values, Sustainability

The lasting effects: video production sustainability during a pandemic

Posted by Maria Salcher
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Casual Films were recently commissioned to produce a brand-new film for BMW showcasing a sustainability strategy driven by their leading message: ‘We don’t do sustainability at BMW, we make BMW sustainable’. 

BMW is committed to ensuring sustainability at every level of production, reducing it’s CO2 footprint significantly. From the supply chain through to the final use phase ensuring they become a benchmark for sustainability within the automotive industry.

With this sustainability focus in mind, I wanted to see how this translated into the video production industry. Even now in the midst of a global pandemic, what can be done to ensure that the process has as little impact on the environment as possible whilst still adhering to government health & safety regulations.

We have all seen the vast amounts of barely consumed water bottles being thrown away after a day on set or have been told to avoid excessive printing ahead of shoots. What does it really mean to be a sustainable production and how do you keep your carbon footprint as low as possible? Especially when working practices in light of Covid-19 can appear at odds with a lot of sustainability measures that are supposed to be put into place?

Most of the planning to make a project ‘green’ starts in the very early pre-production stages. It’s important to realise that even small changes will have a big impact in the grand scheme of things and that it is our responsibility to ensure we are looking after this planet for future generations. Eco-friendly decisions can be a big win for both the production budget and more importantly the environment.

There are a lot of things to consider but here are some key points and sustainability tips I have picked up during on-set productions before and during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Plastic water bottlesPLASTIC WATER BOTTLES:

Something so apparent and simple but often forgotten!

With plastic bottles impacting not only the earth's resources but the personal health of the people who drink from them, switching to reusable bottles is definitely a decision everyone should make.

It is estimated that approximately 700,000 water bottles are being thrown away every day in the UK.

Plastic-free shoots are on the rise in the industry and utilising water urns in combination with reusable water bottles are a great way to help make a large impact. Look out for a note on our call sheets reminding people to bring along a reusable water bottle on the next shoot!

PLASTIC UTENSILS:

It is now more important than ever to reduce single-use plastic wherever possible.

While there are cities like Seattle that have banned plastic drinking straws and utensils altogether it’s still too easy to fall into the trap of purchasing easily accessible cheap plastic cutlery for video shoots.

It is important to flag that there are fantastic eco-friendly alternatives listed at the same price as their plastic counterparts making them a go-to on all shoots.

food-bank

CATERING AND FOOD DONATIONS:

'Support your local businesses' has been a big slogan coming out of lockdown so why not apply this same principle to catering.

Sourcing local and seasonal produce wherever possible will not only reduce the overall carbon footprint but also support local business owners during a time of uncertainty.

With all meals having to be individually packaged to adhere to Covid-19 regulations it’s vital to ensure consumables are environmentally friendly. Cleaning products, especially within the current climate, should be biodegradable and non-toxic.

We are ultimately going to move back to buffet-style catering on film sets and donations of leftovers to food banks should be factored in on a daily basis.

Jurassic World, which was partly shot in the UK, started a food donations program to manage daily leftovers which in total represented 145 kilos of food which would otherwise have gone to waste.


Avoid the classic production pitfalls!

If you have been thinking about a project, make sure you avoid the common mistakes with our Ten Commandments of Effective Video. You can download it right here.


RECYCLING:

Recycling conserves natural resources, saves energy, protects the environment and reduces landfill. Various recycling bins should always be made available where possible to ensure waste can be processed as effectively as possible after a shoot. 

PRINTING AND PAPER USAGE:

Deforestation is estimated to be responsible for about 12% of greenhouse gas emissions and with the average office worker using approximately 10,000 sheets of paper in a given year, it's clear things need to change. Excessive printing should be avoided at all costs and if possible, documents shared digitally.

Facemasks

FACE MASK:

It almost feels like we are slightly moving backward ever since hitting a global pandemic which presented the need for face masks, with most of them disposable and non-recyclable.

More and more images are currently emerging online showing face masks ending up in our oceans and conservationists warning that the coronavirus pandemic could spark a surge in ocean pollution and endangering marine life.

Given the above, it seems a no-brainer to switch to re-usable face masks that can be washed and used over and over again with the added bonus of saving you money in the long run. While it’s Casual Films duty to ensure the safety of all crew on set, with full PPE supplied, we encourage each person to bring along re-usable face masks where possible.

Casual Films have always put the environment at the forefront of its work and are therefore passionate about keeping carbon emissions as low as possible. When creating Statements of Work we have Low Carbon stickers to help highlight the ideas that have the least impact on the environment and are therefore highly recommended by us:

Low Carbon Stickers

We feel it is essential to educate our crews on sustainability matters so each individual can implement them within their own homes or on future productions to make an impact.


Whatever you are trying to achieve with video, our experienced team of producers are on hand to get you there. To get started, share a few details here and one of the team will give you a call back.

Topics: Production process, Being a better commissioner, Purpose driven video, Culture & Values, Sustainability

Animation Case Study: UNHCR Nansen Refugee Awards

Posted by Emily Lay
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We are lucky enough to get to produce all sorts of work for all sorts of causes around the world. Every so often we get to work on a project which really hits us and reminds us just how powerful the medium we work with is. Our latest work for the UNHCR Nansen Refugee Awards is just such a project.

The UNHCR Nansen Refugee Awards, recognise individuals, groups and organisations who have gone above and beyond to protect refugees, displaced and stateless people.

Live action profiles were usually played at the awards to celebrate each winner, however due to the challenges of filming during Covid-19 the UNHCR approached us to help produce impactful films in a Covid friendly way.

Using a combination of live action, documentary footage and animation we were able share the journeys and incredible achievements of each of this year's inspirational winners. 

 

"[Casual] did everything perfectly. It was a very easy, smooth process. Because of the nature of the work, I wasn’t expecting it to be so easy. I can’t sing their high praises highly enough."

- Will Davies, Producer for UNHCR

 

The team at Casual developed a style and created bespoke characters for each of the awardees.  These were then animated, transporting viewers to the challenges that had been faced by the winners and refugee communities.  This was later combined with UNHCR footage which had been shot by local crews and edited by the team at Casual to show the reality of the winners' achievements. 

 

This year five inspirational women have awarded the honour, they are:

Mayerlín Vergara Pérez 

The Nansen Refugee Award Laureate, who frees children from the bonds of sexual exploitation:


Tetiana Barantisova 

 

The Europe regional winner, who led thousands of refugees to safety and helped displaced Ukrainians living with disabilities find support and security: 

 


Rozma Ghafouri 

 

The Asia Regional winner, who has transformed Afghan children's lives through sport.

 


Sabuni-Françoise Chikunda 

 

The Africa regional winner, who overcame personal trauma to champion other refugee women in the Uganda:


Dr Rana Dajani 

The Middle East and North Africa regional winner, who created the ‘We Love Reading’ program that has inspired and empowered thousands of refugee children:


The films were streamed online at a special ceremony on Monday the 5th of October and are currently displayed on the UNHCR website.  Social edits are regularly shared across Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. 

 

"Right at the end of the project, we had to completely change the language of one of the films from Russian to Ukrainian. They were able to do that and turn it around really quickly. They were very good about cost as well. They never tried to charge extra. They stuck to budget very well."

- Will Davies, Producer for UNHCR

 

It was a privilege for the team at Casual to tell the stories of these amazing women. To find out more about each of each of the winners you can visit the UNHCR Nansen awards here.  

 


If you'd like to learn more about Animation at Casual Films you can check out this post also by Emily:

Animation NOW AND THE FUTURE


Or, if you want to speak to Emily or any of our excellent Executive Producers, you can drop us some details here and we'll get back in touch.

 

Topics: Animation, Purpose driven video, Case Study, Coronavirus Content, Events

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