I was contacted back in July by friends at Butts of Bawtry about producing a Case Study film for them about a recent garage workshop project they had just completed in Sheffield. Why not check out the film below and find out what went into making it!
After an initial phone call to discuss their requirements, we were looking at creating a 2-3 minute film for them from a day’s filming in Sheffield, filming the new workshop and a series of interviews with people involved in the project.
While a lot of my work at the moment is as a Freelance DoP, I have, over the last 10 years, produced many corporate films for clients across the education, charity and private sectors; so I was looking forward to producing again, with the talented Adam Marsden directing and editing the film.
Notably the most important part of the filmmaking process is Pre-Production. Spending time in this phase is really key to getting the most out of the finished film, looking at what’s important, the key message and story.
While I prefer chatting on the phone, I always think it’s a good idea to put some initial questions down ‘on paper’ to allow the client to really think about what they want to achieve with the film, and it also ensures that Adam & I are on the same page as the client.
The initial questions I always start with are…
- Who is the intended audience of the film?
- Where is the film to be used?
- What is your key message(s) for the film?
- Are there any key products/services you want to feature in the film?
- Are there any sound bites you are looking for from the interviews?
The client considered their ambition with the film and wanted to move away from a case study film per-se and focus more on creating an ‘about us’ promotional film. Taking the clients responses, I left Adam to the creative, to come up with a range of filming sequences and questions for the interviewees. Adam was keen to ensure the film had a narrative and story running throughout, to make it as engaging as possible for the audience.
Whenever I combine interviews with cutaways, my thought process is being mindful of visual-literal meaning that connects well with the interviewee’s answers. Being much more literal, rather than just ‘shooting what looks good’, works better for a narrative to come across in a shorter period of time.Adam Marsden, Director
I believe having an open and honest dialogue with the client is key to both fulfilling their brief and managing their expectations; we communicated our plan and made adjustments depending on the clients feedback throughout the pre-production process.
Once we were all happy, Adam set to creating a shot list for each filming sequence and I pulled together a filming schedule for the day, to help keep us on track and ensure everybody was in the right place at the right time!
This is my favourite part of the filmmaking process, Production!
We were shooting with my Cinematic Camera Package, with the Sigma Art Primes lenses. This allowed us to create a really high quality commercial look to the film. Adam and I were keen to create a film that looked ‘glossy’ to tie into the company image and the image of a newly fitted out workshop. We made use of slow motion capture and a track and dolly system to add some slick movement to shots.
I don’t believe in over-shooting and live by the motto ‘less is more’. Once we’ve understood the clients needs, the sequences are already starting to formulate in my head. Being able to do this allows me to be both economical and precise in what we capture on the shoot.Adam Marsden, Director
Adam and I work together so often that we usually know what each other is thinking! When things are going to plan this means we can work quite quickly. When things don’t really work out as expected (which can happen!) it means we are quick to re-think and come up with a new ‘plan of attack’!
The filming day went well and everybody involved enjoyed the experience. I am well aware it can be a daunting prospect appearing on camera, but I believe Adam and I allow people to feel relaxed and informed about what we were trying to achieve. For instance, letting the contributors know when we weren’t capturing audio, so they can relax about ‘making sure they say the right thing!’, or allowing the contributors to understand a take ‘doesn’t need to be perfect’ as we will only use elements from different shots etc.
Adam lead the Post-Production process. Starting first by creating the story with the interviews and then editing together the ‘best bits’ from the sequences to create two separate timelines. He then cherry-picked the sequences to layer over the interviews so the visuals matched the story.
To help create the story, when I’m conducting the interviews I usually have end notes for each question, listing buzz words and key points. As I am asking the questions I can tick off the relevant words and key points as they get put into the interviewee’s answers. Doing this ensure I’ve got the right content to create the story in the edit.Adam Marsden, Director
While the Post-Production process is something we very much ‘just get on with’ behind the scenes, we do involve the client in every stage: from discussing and selecting the music, to providing a client review cut. Ultimately it’s the clients film, and we want to ensure they are 100% happy with what we have created for them.
Once Adam had produced a first draft, we sat together to review the edit and make any changes. Once we were both happy with the cut, I began colour grading the footage. I had setup a basic look for the footage head of the process. This enabled me to quite quickly apply the look to the entire film.
Correctly colour grading footage has a massive impact on the quality and look of the finished film. Take a look at the short film I produced, showing the difference between the graded and ungraded footage from this production.
The client was thrilled with the finished film and has used it extensively across social media.
“I’m very happy with my finished film, Dan & Adam took a very professional approach towards this film. We’ve experienced firms in the past who have sold us the world only to deliver something average. Dan & Adam were very clear from the start about what they can and cannot offer… As our video mentions, communication is key and these gentlemen understand that.”Daniel Bean – Group Sales Operations, Butts of Bawtry
If you would like to discuss us producing a film for you, or would like to discuss anything you’ve read in this blog, please don’t hesitate to get in touch!