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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.

Remote Filming + COVID-19 Safe Sets

Posted by Sanica Apte
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2020 has been a challenging year. The global pandemic has affected every business. In March, we paused. Through the summer, we waited to see how the situation would improve across the world. But through it all, we adapted to the new normal. We came up with creative ideas to shift the way we work. And now, we're all figuring out how to continue our pre-coronavirus objectives in a new global landscape.

For us here at Casual, that 2020 saga is no different. We saw as the months passed and the COVID-19 situation remained largely unchanged, especially here in the U.S. Out of that, we've carved out two clear paths to continue to create the same caliber of video content for our clients. 

John and Kendall Antonelli, filmed remotely for GoDaddy

Option 1: Remote Filming

Okay, so you mean Zoom footage? 

Picture remote filming and you're probably imagining video call footage that you've grown tired of seeing over the past few months. While Zoom is a good option for some projects, we have lots of avenues for filming remotely. And we can do some pretty nifty stuff with Zoom footage, too! Check out how we spruced up Zoom footage with some animation this HSBC piece

HSBC, Early Careers | Dupe

What are my other options? 

If you're looking to up the quality of your videos beyond Zoom footage we can certainly help with that. We've coordinated shoots across the the US, UK, and Europe by sending people equipment packages. Some of these are super simple: asking people to film on their own iPhones, or shipping them an easy-to-use camera. Here's one example all filmed with iPhones: 

GoDaddy | Roundtable Discussions

Or, we can upgrade the camera package even further to a consumer-grade camera like the Sony A7Rii or a Blackmagic pocket. This GoDaddy Success Story we did with Jane Ko, Austin blogger and influencer, is made up of interview footage filmed on her Sony A7Rii, Instagram Stories, and vlog footage she filmed herself. 

GoDaddy, Success Stories | A Taste of Koko

Option 2: COVID-Safe Sets

BTS from a COVID-safe shoot

Okay, so you might look at the above and think it's all swell. But it's still not what you're looking for? Perhaps you need to film new footage that showcases leadership, employees, or other essential visuals. We got that covered too: we've transitioned to filming on COVID-safe sets. 

This means that we are limiting the crew size to ensure minimal exposure. All Casual Films and client personnel will be asked to disclose travel and any symptoms prior to the shoot. On set, everyone will wear masks the entire time. Everyone will have their temperatures checked when they arrive on set. We break frequently to wash hands, sanitize surfaces, and disinfect. All catering and beverages are individually packaged. We'll scope out the filming space thoroughly to make sure it's large enough to allow for social distancing, renting additional spaces if necessary. We will also map out where we will be filming what throughout the day so the absolute minimum number of people are present in one location. 

Whether your shoot is a multifaceted extravaganza or a simple employee interview, we've got it covered. We're here to make sure that no matter what avenue you choose, the process is easy, simple, and efficient. 

The past six months has really demonstrated how creative we can get given such stringent 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. Contact us today to learn more. 

Topics: Production process, Being a better commissioner, How-to, Project management, Coronavirus Content

How much does a film cost?

Posted by Nick Francis
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Creating content costs less than ever these days. New technology has put the power of production studios in our mobile phones. We are all savvier than ever about how a film goes together. You have everything you need to create and share content right now. Even for professionally produced content these advances have fed a drastic reduction in the time and cost of creating a like-for-like piece of work over the last decade or so.

That having been said, in order to ‘cut through’ to our audience online we should be sharing more content than we ever have before – so it’s just as well that it’s cheaper. Because of this there has been a significant move towards getting as much mileage as possible out of all the content that we create. ‘Content atomisation’ – taking the central piece of content and then reediting and repurposing it to maximise the mileage. The cost of each output has fallen, even if the cost of the overall project is often the same.

How much does a film cost?

Screen Shot 2020-09-10 at 9.52.09 PM

This is one of the most common questions people ask. There are a few different ways of answering it but to save beating around the bush, the simplest answer is that an average Casual Films project for the financial year to 2019 was $18k in the US and £15k in the UK/EU.

The key word there though is project, as often these can entail a number of different outputs and reedits. More usually we will create a series of films that cost more in the $/£60k -100k region. Some projects extend into the hundreds of thousands, but these tend to be many outputs in one.

Can you breakdown those costs?

Screen Shot 2020-09-10 at 9.52.21 PM

Because at around $18k/£15k we begin to be able to add significant value to the project with our proprietary production process. Our pricing is defined by the amount of time that it takes to create each project. Different roles in the process cost differing amounts depending on their experience, expertise and impact on the project. At this budgetary level there is enough budget for two or three days of creative - to get a great idea - some producer time to make it all happen, a day or two to shoot it and then editing, sound design and some animation if necessary. They will be able to create something fairly sparkly, as long as they don't need to work around too many fixed costs - travel, talent, specialist equipment.

I have no budget! What’s the cheapest film you can make?

Screen Shot 2020-09-10 at 9.52.32 PM

The lowest that we tend to start a project is around $/£8k, although if we have an existing relationship then we can and do go a little lower. We tend to not compete for projects at the really low end because there are lots of smaller producers and freelancers out there who do a decent job at this level. We’re not able to add the same value we are when the projects have a little room for a bit more creative thought and sparkle.

As a rule, if this is your first question we’re probably not the right company for you. We compete on being able to create things happen for your business with video – optimising for return on investment rather than being as cheap as possible.

Can you work to my budget?

Screen Shot 2020-09-10 at 9.52.39 PM

The process of filmmaking is creative, so the budget becomes an additional constraint that the creative thinking needs to work around – like the timeframe, branding or specific messaging. Because of this, it can be extremely flexible – it’s possible to fulfil the same objectives for significantly different investment levels. On the other hand, quality, in-depth thinking and delivery take time, and time costs money. If you need to shoot in a number of different locations or include significant amounts of complex animation these are hard costs which are challenging to work around.

Promoting your content

For years, there has been a disconnect between where marketing money gets spent and where the real potential lies. In studies, researchers have found that the quality of creative messaging is responsible for up to 75% of a campaign’s success. In spite of this, as much as 90% of the overall spend is often still focused on the media budget.

"75% of a campaign’s effectiveness is defined by the quality of the creative messaging"

- Google

Traditional television marketing became so successful largely because of how strong the metrics that were available to support it were. One of the major challenges that online content has faced over the years is the challenge of showing direct causation between money spent and the return on that investment.

But this isn’t necessarily about spending more money on marketing than you already are. Creating and executing a comprehensive and effective content strategy can be about redistributing the money you’re already investing. Why, for example, are you spending hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars on the production of TV commercials when the vast majority of your audience watch them for the first time as a small image on their Facebook feed, momentarily pausing before scrolling onwards, and paying very little attention to them?

DOWNLOAD COMMANDMENTS

The past six months has really demonstrated how creative we can get given such stringent 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. Contact us today to learn more. 

Topics: Production process, Being a better commissioner, How-to, Project management

Case Study | GoDaddy: 301 Permanent Redirect

Posted by Sanica Apte
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Last month, we worked with the GoDaddy team to edit a series called 301: Permanent Redirect. The episodes were all filmed by the GoDaddy team in isolation, and the whole gang sure got creative! 

You may be asking, 'what does 301 Redirect mean'? It's actually quite clever: the name is inspired by the HTTP response code 'Error 301' which means that a URL has been permanently redirected. This series hinges on this metaphor -- creators, developers, and designers are at a critical inflection point. It has gone way past learning to cope with the COVID-19 situation, it's a permanent shift in the way we do business. Remote working has changed the nature of the industry, seemingly putting a limit on the type of creative work that can be done. Or, so you may think! 

 301 Permanent Redirect: Kitchen Sink

In this episode entitled 'Kitchen Sink' -- GoDaddy enlists Anthony, their Lead Photographer and Kyle Nutt, Tik Tok influencer. Both were sent a mystery box of everyday items, and were then challenged to take the most creative photos they could with whatever they had around the house. Together, they show that you can take the most normal, mundane everyday objects and make them shine. Armed with items like scrubs, brushes, hammers, and Rubik's cubes, their creativity is unleashed as they make the everyday exciting and artistic. With everything being filmed in isolation, our challenge here was taking a myriad of DIY footage: Zoom, vlog style, photos, and turning that into an engaging, fast-paced piece. Check it out! You might be surprised at how much you can do with so little. 

301 Permanent Redirect: Ad Hack

In the second episode we edited, 'Ad Hack' -- the GoDaddy team kept this challenge-theme going. They enlisted three developers at Over by GoDaddy to design advertising that would make people click through to their client's sites. The three participants had varying levels of experience in web design -- and used both new and traditional tools to pull it off. Want to create a mood board, logo, or visual consistency? These devs tackled it all head on -- with great success!

Lastly, a big shout out to the LA team that worked on this project: 

  • Darren Will, Editor
  • Katie Wade, Editor
  • Myke Dodson, Producer
  • Sanica Apte, Producer

The past six months has really demonstrated how creative we can get given such stringent 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. Contact us today to learn more. 

Topics: Explain or promote products and services, Increase brand awareness and appeal, Purpose driven video, Content Strategy, Brands as broadcasters, About Casual, Coronavirus Content, Video production from home

#ThoughtforThursday: Seven Billion Boiling Frogs

Posted by Nick Francis
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[Photo - San Francisco from Tank Hill - 11am September 9th, 2020]

Last year, 259,823 acres of California burned. This year (already) over 2,300,000 acres have burned.

If the existential threat that climate change represents was in another form - physical, more tangible, more immediate - every able body would be signing up to do everything they could to come together, fight and overcome it. Governments around the world would be on a global war setting, spending may times GDP on beating a foe many times more deadly and damaging than Covid-19, or any rogue nation.
We are frogs, slowly boiling alive as the temperature rises imperceptibly. Every so often a bubble rises in the pot - a new report, another climate record broken - that should remind us of the situation we're in. Each time though, we just carry on. We need to do everything we can to sort out our planet, so that we can pass on the same incredible gift that we received.

It's possibly already too late.

Topics: Purpose driven video, About Casual, Culture & Values, Coronavirus Content, Thought for Friday, Sustainability

COVID-19 Safe Filming: on set from the comfort of your own home!

Posted by Sanica Apte
Read More

Filming in the time of COVID-19 looks a bit different than it used to. We've implemented new safety precautions to make sure that all the shoots we do are in line with state and local regulations.

Whether you're doing a remote-filming set up, a socially distanced set, or dialing into a shoot remotely, we've got all your video production needs covered. 

Filming these days doesn't mean that your options are limited to just stock edits, animations and Zoom footage. While all those are great options for some projects, sometimes you want to be able to interview your own employees or film bespoke content.

To achieve this, in the 'new normal' we're all living in, we are able to shoot on socially distanced sets. This means that we'd limit the crew to include only essential personnel, and all client stakeholders can dial in via Google Meet or Zoom. 

How do we do that? Via live feed, of course! 

 

This set up means that everyone dialed in to the call can see exactly what the camera sees, and hear everything that's going on. Clients can watch the live feed just like they would on set, and easily share feedback. 

The only person required to be there in person is the interviewee. With a minimal crew, safety precautions are front and center while still being able to capture the content that our clients need. Need us to film your product as well? Ship it over! 

The world's been changed forever with the pandemic but we're at the ready to tackle all the same needs as before, just with a few safety tweaks.

Shout out to the team that worked on this: 

  • Filmmaker: Cara Gordon
  • Editor: Cara Gordon
  • Executive Producer: Felicia Jamieson 
  • Producer: Phi Thi Thach

 

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

Our experienced team will make commissioning your video project the easiest part of your day.

Click here to get started and find out what makes Casual so special.

Topics: Being a better commissioner, Coronavirus Content, Video production from home

COVID-19 Remote Filming: HSBC Case Study

Posted by Maria Salcher
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Working with the HSBC Early Careers team, we produced a series of films to educate recent graduates on the various different career paths available within the HSBC group. But in the time of COVID-19, we had to shift to accomplish this remotely. UK Producer, Maria Salcher shares her approach to this remote production below.

The aim was to create honest and genuine videos that showcase a wide range of personalities and professional stories that would appeal and resonate to future grads.


With COVID 19 shutting down all on set productions from mid-March, but graduate programmes still going ahead from the beginning of September, it was essential to find a way to still deliver a series of films in time for the new academic year.

We opted for a virtual interview approach conducted via Zoom with the intention of demonstrating the authenticity of the subjects’ stories.

With each participant located in a different area of the world, it was important to complete preparatory technical calls to establish suitable video set ups, lighting considerations and to advise on the best areas for optimising sound quality, while minimising disruptions. Each contributor was then booked in for a one hour virtual interview session to run through a number of questions based around their individual experiences on the HSBC graduate programme.

Directed by the Producer, each one of the interviewees was then given advice on talking points and responses to guarantee the best possible end product. This was also to ensure that some of our more nervous participants were made to feel at ease and guided through the process as comfortably as possible.

With Zoom enabling HD recording via the app, we were able to send the footage straight to our editors who would start the fine-tuning process immediately, ensuring an efficient turnaround. Once the initial narrative had been agreed by the client, the films were handed over to our animation department who started working on creating 2D animation illustrative flourishes that would work in harmony with the contributor’s responses throughout the interview. Bold on-screen text was also used to elevate key points within the interviews.

HSBC - Early Careers, Nieves

Going for a ‘window in’ approach, footage was laid against HSBC’s red background integrating new branding as well as animated end cards showing the brush stroke logo to complement the final footage.

HSBC - Early Careers, Adrian

The end result is a number of well conducted hero films with 30 second cut downs to promote key messages on HSBC’s social channels.

Zoom recording can offer a great alternative to on set filming in times like these and with the right approach, open up a variety of options especially when conducting interviews. One thing to note is that the audio quality that’s achieved via Zoom is still not good enough for most outputs so with that in mind, it’s advisable to use an external recording device to guarantee uninterrupted audio.

HSBC - Early Careers, Dupe

Pair that with a stabile WiFi connection and the sky is your limit! And, a big shout out to the whole team that worked on this: 

  • Animators: Jon Gallagher, Chris Dudley, Neil Kainth
  • Editors: Dan Duvall, Dan Hankinson
  • Sound Mix: Matthew Alani
  • Producer: Maria Salcher

 

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

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
Read More

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

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