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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.

Filming in the Time of COVID-19

Posted by Tarryn Paul
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There’s a lot to worry about these days. Revenue is down. Staff are scattered. Budgets frozen. Yet your customers and employees need to stay informed and reassured. Casual Films has shifted to provide COVID-safe productions both remotely and on site. UK Producer Tarryn Paul shares some of her thoughts on shooting in the 'new normal' below.

I never would have envisioned a time where I would turn down the chance to go out for dinner on multiple occasions, where my mental checklist before leaving the house was the mantra 'phone, keys, wallet, mask, hand sanitizer' and where I would go for months without hugging my friends or family. 
 
But of course, none of us imagined it, and yet here we are. Six months into a global pandemic, where it is completely normal to cross the street to avoid someone, (anyone), where our social behaviors have been turned upside down.
 
As we settle into this new normal in our daily social lives, so must we settle into it as we get back into production. And when a huge amount of your work relies on you being physically with people, often in close proximity, this can be easier said than done, especially with constantly changing guidelines. 
 
As the COVID-19 dust has settled over the last few months, a shoot I had scheduled in March was pushed back to August, and I've spent the last few weeks problem-solving how we still deliver an excellent series of films for our client whilst ensuring their safety, as well as the safety of our crew and acting talent.
 
I am sure we're all aware of the many precautionary actions we all need to take to prevent the transmission of the virus, so I won't bore you, but what I will say is that common sense is always the starting point (as it should be) when risk assessing any production.
 
Temperature checks before we start, masks for the crew, social distancing, good airflow, sanitizing all surfaces and props, and regular breaks to wash hands are all things we're ensuring are key in all of our productions. We're also abolishing the use of shared paper - so no more call sheets and paper scripts littering the set. Plus, a huge amount of form filling - Specialized Covid Risk Assessments, Health Declaration Forms and Method Statements, to name a few. 
 
Long lenses, boom mics and reducing crew numbers are also things that we're actively doing for each shoot we plan. I've also arranged to have a green room each day, so that our client can view the action on a monitor without having to be in the same room as the crew.
 
 
Finally, pivoting the creative, where possible, to reduce the contact between actors is something I've been able to do for this particular shoot, so that each actor has their own day for filming. We managed to change one scene from being a face to face scene to a telephone call instead, and are using the subtle dynamic of this type of interaction to further the drama (for example, you can't roll your eyes at someone in person without seeming rude, but you can on a phone call) 
 
This of course isn't always possible, especially for ideas developed in a pre-pandemic era, but as we're developing creatives for new projects, we're always looking at ways to bring the idea to life, whilst still ensuring the safety of everyone on set.
 
Whilst donning masks, and checking people's temperatures will be a very different experience to my last shoot, I am extremely excited to get back on set, and start making content again - here's to the new normal - for now. 

 

 

 

We're here to provide an outlet. A supplier that will hit the ground running with the most proactive and reliable production service around.

We’ll make commissioning a video the easiest part of your day by taking on as much of the lift as we can. 

Our teams are veterans of thousands of briefs from the largest names in business. Our processes have been honed over 13 years of fast paced, high volume video production.

 We will deliver for you. So that’s one less thing to worry about. Contact us today. 

 

Topics: Coronavirus Content

Case Study: Producing during Covid - NowTeach

Posted by Jo Busby
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Working with Now Teach, we created a film to engage with new members of their target audience and ‘prospective career-changers’, inspiring them to want to find out more and to visit the Now Teach website. With a goal that they sign up to an information evening or start an application form.


Now Teach has been set up to encourage late stage career changers, who have had one successful career to retrain as teachers.
Now Teachers are people who have already succeeded in one walk of life and who are ready for a new, quite different challenge. They are excited at the thought of starting all over again. They want to learn a new craft and they want to give back to the next generation.

We interviewed eight Now Teach cohorts, all with different career backgrounds. We captured personal, honest and open sound bites that we carefully edited down to 90 seconds to build excitement, share the motivation for change and to reveal their touching messages of encouragement for those also looking to make that career change.

Filming the interviews in a behind the scenes studio set-up, we were able to focus on our Now Teachers from several camera angles, capturing the natural smiles, energy and happiness they portrayed when talking about their career change.

 

Now Teach - Master Film

 

Chef. Banker. Soldier. Author. Now Teachers have had hundreds of careers. They’ve all made the same decision. Now they teach. Start your career-change here: nowteach.org.uk #careerchange #yourexperiencecounts

We also created three 10 second teasers for Now Teach, which were promoted on their social media channels to build the excitement and highlight the key messages from the interviews.

 

Social Cut Three

Social Cut Two

Social Cut Three

 

Coronavirus update: Despite the current situation, schools will still need teachers in September. Now Teach is currently recruiting and applications to start teacher training in September 2020 are open and welcomed! The application is an online form and Now Teach will interview you through a video call. Do get in touch with Now Teach to find out more on how to apply.

 

Are you ‘Ready for change?’ visit nowteach.org.uk to find out more.


It's never been more important to get your message out to your customers and employees. Video is the best way to do that. If you have a project you would like to discuss, or even if you just want to understand some of the safe opportunities that are available, share a few details with us here and we'll give you a call back.

Topics: Attract and retain the best candidates, Talking head, Purpose driven video, Case Study, Coronavirus Content

#ThoughtforThursday: Photography and Video

Posted by Nick Francis
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So alike and so different, video production and photography are children from the same parents.

Photography: more mature, and naturally restrained: the older sibling. More suggestive due to the need to understand why the photographer laid their frame where they did.

Video: the dynamic, boisterous youngster. Noisy, approachable and engaging - in the kitchen at the party. Photography is in the main room with sharp dressers.

With so much time to contemplate the changing world from our home windows at the minute, our global party would be inconceivable without them.

Topics: About Casual, Culture & Values, Coronavirus Content, Thought for Friday

Case Study: USGFX & Sheffield United – Promoting a Partnership of Ethos

Posted by Arthur Briggs
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With the strangest football season in history coming to a close, Liverpool atop the English Premiership for the first time in 20 years, Leeds United back in top flight football after a 16 year gap and newly promoted Sheffield United are nestled safely in the top half of the table for another year. Now you might be thinking, Arthur this is all great but what does this have to do with film making? You might also be thinking Arthur you don’t even like football! Well at the beginning of the 2019 football season we were approached by Sheffield United’s new sponsor Australian brokerage firm USGFX to create a film, and so begins my football film story.

Like most sponsors in football USGFX didn’t have a pre-existing connection with the club, they simply visited the and immediately bought into the ethos. Hard work, dedication and commitment to achieving success connect these two organisations and that is what forged this unlikely partnership.

USGFX Soccer.26.31Our challenge was to weave the story of a newly promoted football club with a rich and long history of sporting success with a financial global powerhouse… easy! We started by speaking with USGFX to find out what first drew them to Sheffield as a potential club to sponsor, what similarities did they see between themselves and the team and what did they want to say to the fans who likely would never have heard of them.

Coming from a sporting background I knew that filming with professional sports people is, let’s say fun! You head to the ground on media day you wait for hours to speak with the players you get 10minutes to interview them and then they’re gone! We also had the challenge of working around a pre-season training plan for the clubs return to the Premiere League after a 13 year wait.

As always, the team rose to the challenge with only two weeks to develop a storyline, shot list and schedule for the three filming days up North. The team worked tirelessly with USGFX and Sheffield United’s media team to plan and execute a flawless shoot. The final product really speaks for itself.

Promo film

As well as the main promotional film we also created shorter pieces of social content which directly linked elements of USGFX’s core principles to the football team. These films really helped to enforce the connection between Sheffield and USGFX from more than just a sponsor to a company that shared and embodied the same values.

Social Cut 1

 

Social Cut 2

 

Social Cut 3

When the crew headed up to Sheffield on a rainy (it is the North) August afternoon, Sheffield United were simply a newly promoted side hoping to hold their own in the top division, seeing them now safely in the top half of table I feel a strange sense of pride. In our roles as story tellers and film makers you are given the unique opportunity to see things before they happen, the players were optimistic, the club were anxious and the fans were excited and we were able to capture that and preserve it. Don’t get me wrong I’m definitely not a football convert but give me any sport and I’ll be happy enough!


If you'd like to talk to Arthur or any of our experienced exec producers about producing a series like this, share a few details with us here and they'll give you a call back.

Topics: Increase brand awareness and appeal, Case Study

#ThoughtforThursday: Content is King

Posted by Nick Francis
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"Content is King"

- Bill Gates

Content is king, which is why great content is the kingmaker. This is why it is such stunningly big business for those who choose to do battle in this arena. Last year, Netflix spent $15 billion, Amazon $6 billion, Apple $6 billion and HBO and Hulu on $3.5 billion and $3 billion respectively (not with Casual I should add!). That’s significantly more than Canada or Australia spend on their defence!

But then, they are in the content business – it’s their product – so of course they will invest in it. What’s a little less well understood is just how important having the best content is for the rest of the business world. There are of course benefits in having advertising that is so good that your audience choose to share it online - check out our blog on producing viral videos. Beyond this how valuable is it for prospective employees to search out more about your company because of a film for example or to pique the interest of a potential investor?

The follow up which is often used to the idea that content is king is that context is queen. Context makes all the difference – just remember the time you missed that the fancy dress wedding wasn’t fancy dress. The corona virus crisis has changed – and will continue to change - the context for all of us for years to come. The question is just how much, if at all, that will change the value of the content that we all produce, share and consume.

Topics: About Casual, Culture & Values, Coronavirus Content, Thought for Friday

How to Make a Viral Video

Posted by Nick Francis
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Content 'going viral' is regarded by many as the Holy Grail of online marketing. The idea that you could create a piece of promotional material that will capture just the right combination of je ne sais quoi to be shared hundreds of thousands, or even millions of times with minimal spend. It’s a compelling idea, which is probably why it holds such sway.

At Casual, we have been asked countless times  videos to ‘be viral’ or to ‘go viral’ by various clients. It's not always quite that simple though. That’s not to say that there are not examples of incredible success in this area, but they tend to be more through an unreliable accident, or careful planning and execution and usually significant investment to help to give them a good push.

150914.brandvideo

The Psychology of Viral Video

There are of course different levels of ‘virality’. While millions or even billions of views might be good for the ego, you may only need a few thousand of the ‘right’ people to see it to get the result you’re after. You will be better placed to create these campaigns if you understand the psychological effects that makes your audience want to share them.

There are a number of reasons for this, each one driven by a small dopamine release in the brain. The larger the release, the more chance that the audience will share the content. Videos that drive this awe, amuse, surprise, endear, shock, excite, disgust or trigger nostalgia. You can see Statista's analysis of the emotions that drive people to share content online here:

Emotions that Drive Content to Go Viral

 

Beyond this, people share content for the following reasons:

  • To connect over a shared interest.
  • To help others with products and/or relevant advice.
  • To boost their reputation.
  • To look on trend / au fait with the latest events.
  • To be involved in current trends/events.
  • To make a statement about themselves.
  • To be able to socialise offline.
  • To promote a cause they believe in or want to be seen to believe in.
  • To demonstrate their own knowledge or ability.
  • To start an online conversation.

What are the steps to Viral Video then?

So what should you include in your campaign to help it with your audience? Having understood the psychology or your audience there are a number of factors that are worth considering to give your campaign the best chance of runaway success:

1. Personality

Video's most powerful facet is its ability to communicate personality and emotion. Think about some of the most effective viral videos of all time they all include a significant amount of human character. Build your creative treatment around a really engaging personality to help your audience to engage. Powerful personalities bring the message to life, whether you are sharing something touching - as in the Dove Real Beauty Sketches below - or humorous - as we can see in the fantastically successful launch video for Dollar Shave Club...


Dollar Shave Club

One of the most famous and successful online promos of all time was the “Our Blades are F***ing Great” spot produced by Dollar Shave Club. The video features the founder/CEO walking through the company warehouse delivering an informative and hilarious piece to camera. Launched in March 2012, the video inspired over 12,000 orders on that first day alone and drove the successful launch of the company. Dollar Shave Club was acquired by Unilever for $1 billion just four years later.

This is a brilliant example of the power of video in the Internet age. It was viral in the true sense of the world, and, at the time of writing, it has nearly 26 million views. Its budget of $4,500 is often touted as a reason for businesses to be extremely cost conscious in the video they produce. It’s not quite as simple as this, though. Michael Dubin, the founder/CEO and star of the video had spent years working in the marketing industry, and even had some acting and improv comedy experience. It’s estimated that to create a similar film, without this background or these skills, a company would need to spend around $40K. This is still a comparatively small amount next to the revenue and valuation it was able to drive.

From the outset, Dubin used his branding experience to make all of Dollar Shave Club’s products and marketing the perfect match for its target market. The ‘Blades’ video and the variety of other similarly toned content that it has shared over the years, sets the tone for a brand that people want to be a part of.


2. Think about the Audience

We really bang this drum a lot at Casual but the originals are often the best: tailor your content to your audience. Do the work to understand who they are, what they find interesting and what some of their cultural references are. This will help you to create content that resonates with them and which they're more likely to share.

You can learn more about identifying your audience in this blog here.

Old Spice were particularly effective in nailing their audience targeting with with their 2010 'Man your man could smell like' ad - featuring the rather dishy Isiah Mustafa. They realised that the majority of mens toiletries are bought by their partners. Armed with this, Mustafa's good looks and good amount of irreverent humour, they produced this hugely popular ad:

 

 

Old Spice - The Man Your Man Could Smell Like

3. Make the production extra ‘tight’

To stand the best chance, your videos need to be lean - shorn of any flab which will damp the impact. Give the script, edit and sound design an extra pass through to make sure that only the most essential elements are there. People get bored easily. If you are going for barnstorming success (which you are), you don’t want any filler at all in there. This can be a lot harder than you would expect - particularly if there are a number of stakeholders feeding into the process.

4. Brand

Of course - if you are going to pay for it, it is important that the people who see it understand who made it. There is a deft tight rope to walk to not turn the audience off by being too brand heavy. or sales. This is certainly not the time for an overtly salesy pitch. It's more a time for you to share something which your audience will feel aligns with their worldview and values.  This is something that Dove gets absolutely on the button with this touching spot which reflects Dove's concept of purity perfectly.

Dove Real Beauty Sketches


 

Allianz #MyCarStory

Brief

Our brief was to revitalise the ongoing #MyCarStory campaign that had just launched as a TV campaign. The campaign contained content around sporting events, as Allianz are sponsors of many sport associations including Formula One and the British Paralympic Association. Allianz wanted new video content that would resonate with their online audience, especially female viewers. Our challenge was to come up with a cost-effective way to produce multiple pieces of content that featured interesting contributors.

Target Audience

The target audience for this campaign was female audience members on YouTube and Facebook.

Idea

Our idea was to get two car-owning families to share unfiltered memories of their special journeys. We filmed three unscripted stories with each family, allowing natural conversations, emotions and opinions to flow freely. The stories were captured from different angles on in-car camera rigs as the families drove around the area associated with their memory. Each story was cut into a 60-second video and shared as an individual film across Facebook and YouTube.

 

Creative Execution

After speaking to over 20 potential sets of contributors, we cast two families: The Hamers and The Kirks. The greatest challenge in the creative execution wasn’t rigging the cars with GoPros, but recording sound on a loop so that the Director, following in the car behind, could speak directly to the family. The Director and Producer team would encourage the families in real-time to discuss certain topics, redo takes and generally direct them remotely.

Results

Over the course of the five week campaign, the films were viewed by over 2.5 million people. 1.5 million of those viewers were in the first few weeks alone.

The film was able to effectively engage the core audience of female audience members. A majority of the 67 comments left on The Hamer's ‘Labour’ video posted on Facebook were from mums sharing their own labour stories. ‘Flying the Nest’ was also popular amongst female Facebook users who commented about their own families. The films posted to Allianz UK’s YouTube channel also performed exceptionally well, garnering an ‘off the scale’ view completion rate of 88%. The traffic to these films was also completely organic, shooting the series to the top of the channel’s most viewed content.

“The results are some of the best that the YouTube team at Google have ever seen… The videos’ view completion rate of 88% is ‘off the scale’.”

- YouTube


5. Marketing - be prepared to give your content a 'push'

No matter how good your content is - and by now I'm sure it's incredible - it's vanishingly unlikely that it will be picked up and shared widely if you don't invest to get it seen by the right audience.  There are a number of different channels you can use to share your content:

Earned Paid Owned MarketingOwned media

These are all the channels for which you own the control. They include your website, social pages, intranet and internal staff communications. The information here is what your brand says and what people say to you. Around 90% of online conversations about brands do not take place on their own pages. This means you have to get out there to influence these conversations.

Earned media

Your earned media are shares of your content, and articles and blogs written about your channels. This is what people say about you. You earn views here by creating content that people want to engage with and share.

Paid media

Your paid channels are, unsurprisingly, the ones you have to pay for. They include paid posts, traditional advertising and programmatic marketing...

 

Programmatic Marketing

This is using software to buy advertising space in real time. This has made a process that used to take a significant amount of time almost instantaneous. This is useful to you because it allows you to accurately target your audience with your content. It’s successful because it’s efficient and it reduces the amount of money that gets spent on showing content to the wrong people.

The system also allows you to continually optimise the targeting, so that it improves over time. It also allows different types of content to be shown to a specific viewer, depending on which pieces of content they have watched or interacted with in the past.

It’s not perfect, though. There have been a number of scandals which have led to major advertisers reducing ad spend from YouTube as it emerged that the platform had displayed their commercials alongside distasteful content. There have also been questions around ad fraud and the amount of budget that goes on showing content to bots.

 

Dynamic creative optimisation (DCO)

Another element of programmatic marketing is dynamic creative optimisation or DCO. This takes the same understanding of the audience that programmatic retargeting does but uses it to serve content that is optimised to engage them. For example, there are two people who are interested in buying a car. One is a successful, single woman in her 30s, and the other is a father of three in his 40s. DCO would allow the same company to advertise directly to them both, with content that is designed to pique their interest. It could do this by serving the woman an ad for a two-seater convertible and the father an ad for a people carrier. This makes the content far more effective, and it’s a step towards the full personalisation of marketing.


6. Post effectively

The way that you upload and label your content can play a significant part in the how successful it is online. This will define whether people find it and click on it in the first place. While these are not going to save a project that has gone awry they can really help you to improve your videos engagement.

i. Make thumbnail image perfect

First impressions count. The first thing your audience will see is the title and thumbnail, so they are almost more important than the content itself. This means they need to be eye-catching. Generally images with people in them get better response rates than those without. It is also useful to add the title onto the thumbnail so that the viewer can see quickly what your video is about.

ii. The name should be impactful / match what people are looking for / their search intent

For example, ‘How to Change a Road Bike Tyre’ or, ‘Change Bike Tyres Like a Pro’ is going to get a lot more hits than ‘tyre_ video_ final_ v.5’. This raises another point. The title that you have been using in production should be changed before you share the video. It looks really sloppy, and is not searchable or clickable.

Final Final v.2

Another point you may already be aware of is never call an output ‘final’, ‘finished’, ‘last output’, etc. I’m not particularly superstitious, but I know that there is a powerful natural force that strikes down such hubris with previously unseen, time-consuming errors. In the thousands of films we have made, and the tens of thousands of different edits that have been output, I am not aware of a single ‘final’ version that ended up being that.

iii. Don't share clickbait - the name must reflect the content of the film

If your audience can’t find it because the name is too obscure, or if they do watch it but find that the title has misled them, they will let you and other users know about it. You don’t want to get a load of negative reviews because your audience feel like you’ve duped them.

iv. A/B Testing

Just as you can optimise the content of your videos, so you must optimise the title and thumbnail. You must see which combination is the most effective at engaging your target audience. A/B testing entails sharing two or more different concepts/titles/images, and then judging which is the most effective. You do this by reviewing the responses you get from your chosen audience. For example, you may find that when you use the title, ‘Top 5 Ways to Target the Tech-Savvy Grads with Video’ you get a better response than when you use ‘Recruiting Tech Grads – A Guide to Video’.


If you are interested in discussing a campaign, a video, or even just want a little guidance on anything video related, our team of experienced filmmakers are on hand to help. Drop us a message here and one of the team will get straight back to you.

Topics: Increase brand awareness and appeal, Being a better commissioner

Video: Still communicating - Using still images to make video

Posted by Dan Duvall
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Casual can make a lightning quick, cost-effective film for your company or client, using just stills. This can be particularly useful at the minute as it's a bit harder than it used to be to get crews out shooting than it was pre-covid. Here, New York, Editor Dan shares how you can make effective video easily using still images.
 
The trick to making your videos really eye catching is in adding a little editor wizardry. This makes the film feel polished and helps to deliver your message effectively. In this video, our editor Dan shows us a couple of simple techniques. Photographs or stock imagery are all that’s needed, you can leave the rest to a pro like Dan.
 
Once complete, we can also resize your film so it’s the best format for the channel. One size does not fit all – not for social! – click here to learn more.

Topics: Production process, How-to, Postproduction

What's going on in VR/AR in 2020?

Posted by Matt Alani
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With much of the world in coronavirus lockdown, now seems as good a time as any to look at some effective examples of Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) experiences. With physical events (at least the kinds we’re used to) looking unlikely to return any time soon, more and more companies are turning to the virtual world to provide brand awareness, marketing and information to both consumers and clients.

VR has seen rapidly increasing adoption over the last couple of  years. The number of installed VR headsets is estimated to grow to 37 million by 2020, up from 14 million at the end of 2018. When we look at the adoption of AR we can see the huge impact that high end smartphones have, with an estimated 1.7 billion mobile AR users in 2020. By 2023, the global virtual reality market is expected to top an enormous $34 billion.

The last couple of years have also seen important advances in VR headset technology, making high end immersive experiences that were previously only achievable with a powerful gaming PC and an expensive headset far more accessible. Of particular note is the Oculus Quest. Released in May 2019, it’s a standalone headset that doesn’t require a PC to function. It’s able to run intensive 3D games and experiences in a much more streamlined and user friendly manner than is possible with older headsets. One of the key steps forward that this headset has taken is losing the need for base stations (sensors that the headset needs set up in the room in order to know where itself, and the controllers are).

CASUAL FILMS VRAR EXPERIENCE REVIEW 2020-2

The Oculus Quest

Most people don’t want to install sensors in their rooms to use a headset so advances like these are essential for greater adoption of the technology. From B2B, to online music events and more, VR has secured its place as an important tool in communication and entertainment. I’ve selected a few of these experiences that show how varied and effective VR can be, across all platforms, from high end gaming PCs to simple AR apps on phones.


Lost Horizon Festival

Although VR music events have been around for the past couple of years, in Coronavirus lockdown they’ve really started to come into their own, with some big names getting involved to help push them more into the mainstream. Lost Horizon was a virtual 2 day live music festival created by the team behind the Shangri-La stage at Glastonbury and hosted on the events platform Sansar.

Lost Horizon Festival

Lost Horizon Festival

With customisable avatars and voice chat, the festival was much more sociable than the usual VR experience. With DJs playing live at specific set times though it was also more ephemeral as it could only be enjoyed in real time. This made it much more similar to being at a real festival than watching back a recording of a Glastonbury set, and really gave you a feeling that you were experiencing something unique. It’s clear that a lot of care and attention had been put into creating an event with an authentic look comparable to Glastonbury's Shangri-La.

Lost Horizon Festival Floating

“Fully customisable avatars will transcend gender, colour and the limitations of the body...”

for some this meant they could finally be floating toast, or something.

To get the most out of the experience a powerful PC with a headset was essential, however you could also observe the stages through virtual cameras using any internet browser, or use the app and control your avatar with a mouse and keyboard. One big positive is that the event was free with an optional paid premium pass, unfortunately the app only runs on Windows, which certainly limits the number of potential attendees.

Having multiple stages and lots of disconnected conversations happening at once could lead to quite a confusing experience but the chaos made the festival unpredictable and surprising. It’s clear that the technology is still in its infancy, but Lost Horizon was an interesting experiment showing what future VR music events could be.


Half-Life: Alyx

Half Life Alyx

Half-Life: Alyx is a Sci-Fi/Horror game from Valve Software and is a showcase for their Index headset (though it will also work with others). The Index is the most advanced (and most expensive) headset currently available and features controllers that accurately track fingers. The interaction with the game world is advanced enough that one tech savvy teacher used the game to conduct a maths class, streaming his experience to students.

 

 

Charles Coomber teaching maths in VR

The immersive nature of VR makes for a very intense experience once you add in horror and action, fumbling to load shells into a shotgun whilst being chased by zombies is quite the nerve wracking experience.

Whilst a great showcase for the current cutting edge of VR, the price of the headset and need for a powerful gaming PC puts the experience out of reach for most people. However, the advances made by Half-Life: Alyx are sure to filter down to more accessible forms of VR over the coming years, so at least we have some fantastically realistic wine simulation to look forward to!

CASUAL FILMS VRAR EXPERIENCE REVIEW 2020

Virtual wine on Half-Life Alyx


Red Cross - The Right Choice

The Right Choice is an interactive 360 video experience for Google Daydream, it can also be viewed by holding your phone as a ‘magic window’. The flim is intended to give you an insight into the hardships faced by families in Syria, it’s short but effective, providing the viewer with one key choice to make.

360 video in general is much more accessible than VR, as well as being more cost effective to produce. The Right Choice is available as a free app that can be run on a phone, which gives it much further potential reach than a headset only experience. Whilst the interactivity is basic, it prevents the message getting bogged down in gimmicks, freeing up the viewers attention to focus on the action on screen. 

Red Cross The Right Choice

The Syrian family in ‘The Right Choice’


Veryx Food Sorting

We usually think of 360 video and VR experiences as purely consumer focused entertainment products, but they can also be used as tools for education, training and marketing in the b2b space.

Key Technology is a food processing technology company. For their latest product, the VERYX food sorter, they produced an animated 360 video that lets the viewer see inside the machine whilst a voice over explains it’s functions and leads them through the experience. Whilst this is 360 video and it’s most basic, providing no interactivity, it means that the video is much more easily shareable across platforms such as YouTube and Vimeo where it is viewable both with and without a headset.

The VERYX food sorter

The VERYX food sorter


Gucci - AR Trainers

Whilst headset based VR is great at providing truly immersive experiences, it’s hard to beat the immediacy using your phone to access augmented reality experiences. The fashion industry has been an early adopter of the technology, where the main benefit has been in letting consumers try on clothing and accessories virtually.

One recent standout has been the AR implementation in the Gucci app, which allows you to try on different styles of trainers by looking at your own feet through your phone's camera. A key advantage with phone based AR is that the experiences are ready made to be shared across users' social networks, increasing engagement.

Virtual Gucci Trainers

Virtual Gucci trainers


Looking Ahead

Although we’ve seen steady progress in the right direction, the cost and bulkiness of headsets are still major barriers to entry for most people looking to get into VR. Many brands utilisation of VR has been limited to set ups at events and conventions, where a headset can be provided and an expert can guide attendees through an experience. In order for a VR campaign to be truly effective you need a much larger install base, you need people to become familiar with the technology and purchase their own headsets.. Companies such as Facebook/Oculus are putting their considerable resources behind solving this problem by researching lightweight headsets in more familiar packages. They recently showed their proof of concept holographic VR glasses, which point to a much less cumbersome future VR experience.

Facebook Reality Prototype

Facebook's latest prototype


We’re still in the very early days of VR as medium, but given the level of support shown by both content creators and headset manufacturers in investing in the technology we can be optimistic about its future adoption.

If you're interested in VR or AR or just want to talk through some of video options on offer, pop in a few details here and one of our experienced producers will get straight back to you.

Topics: Being a better commissioner, Case Study, Virtual / Augmented Reality

#ThoughtforThursday: Have a Great Independence Day

Posted by Nick Francis
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Whether or not a ‘special relationship’ exists at an international level, it has always been a pleasure as a Brit to work, socialise and, for some of us, live among our American cousins. There is a shared respect which underpins our relationships. As Brits, we admire the energy, positivity and ambition of our US friends. For Americans, there is the history, creativity and worldliness of those from Britain.

Whatever the challenges we face, at a personal level there is still so much to celebrate and be thankful for. As we mark the birth of the US this weekend – a birth achieved through our separation - we hope that companies that straddle our nations like Casual Films can continue to show what we’re capable of when we all work together. And long may that continue. Most of all though, we’d like to wish all Americans a cracking - and safe - weekend!

Topics: About Casual, Culture & Values, Coronavirus Content, Thought for Friday

Case Study: GoDaddy Black Lives Matter Roundtable: Episode 1

Posted by Sanica Apte
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A couple of weeks ago, we worked with the GoDaddy team to put together this BLM roundtable, featuring a panelist of guests to talk about Black entrepreneurship, culture, and history. 

The 45-minute conversation features four amazing panelists: 

  • Andrea Lewis -- Canadian actress, filmmaker, and founder of Jungle Wild Productions
  • Xavier and Lynisha Henderson -- co-founders of SoulfulofNoise
  • Joy Brunson, actress and founder of Tee2Tea and The Joy of Acting
  • Ashten Fizer, GoDaddy Employer Brand Manager, and DJ 

This video is an education on how to be better allies, how to be anti-racist, and insight into the distinct challenges that face Black entrepreneurs. The discussion covers the importance of black buying power to the importance of group economics within the black community. The roundtable also covers when to use the terms ‘POC’ vs ‘Black’, and the significance of the ‘American Dream’ and if that idea still is indeed a reality for black communities in this country.  

The full conversation was originally broadcast on IGTV:

GoDaddy Black Lives Matter Roundtable

In the coming weeks, we must keep our foot on the gas. While our Instagram feeds are no longer 100% focused on the Black Lives Matter movement like they were two weeks ago, protests are still happening. Injustice is still happening. People are still dying. Being an ally means that we think about these topics even when it’s not trendy and cool. Being anti-racist means that we have tough conversations in the workplace. We push our friends and colleagues on their viewpoints and encourage them to learn and grow. Being anti-racist means that we speak to our parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles and ask them why they hold their perspectives & help them expand their worldview to be on the right side of history. 

If and when life ever goes back to ‘normal’ we have to keep calling our representatives and senators and demanding that they represent our values. It means that we all vote in November and not let a plurality dictate the lives and fates of the rest of us. 

Not all of these things are ‘social media friendly’ and that’s fine. Doing the work means that it’ll be a slow, arduous process. No one can undo 400+ years of institutionalised racism in a few weeks. There’s so many blocks to dismantle and a lot of us are just starting. 

So keep going. Keep reading, keeping learning, keep calling, keep protesting. Keep improving. This is not a moment, it’s a movement. Being anti-racist is a habit we must develop for the rest of our lives.  

Topics: Train and develop staff, Increase brand awareness and appeal, Case Study, Coronavirus Content, Diversity & Inclusion

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