Oh, what a night! Mixing business and pleasure whilst filming ‘The Jerseys’ at Funny Girls

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Three cameramen, five cameras and working alongside 450 people noisily enjoying a great night out – sometimes that’s what it takes to make a 90 second promo video!

The scene was Funny Girls in Blackpool and the event was the opening night of The Jerseys, the fabulous tribute act to Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons who are taking up residence at this famous venue for the summer.

As a crew, we’re used to working at Funny Girls, having already filmed its Icons Show on a number of occasions. However, The Jerseys are the first ever live vocal group to grace the stage here since it opened 25 years ago, so we had to get it right.

As the guys belted out those much-loved tunes, including Who Loves You, Sherry, Let’s Hang On, My Eyes Adored You and of course December 1963, we were busy capturing every move and angle.  Our cameraman Mike had the closest view, positioned on the stage but hidden in the wings, and he got some great close-up footage.

As well as the singers, there’s a dancing cast who are crucial to the show, which has been seen all over the UK including at The Queen’s 90th birthday celebrations. It was a pleasure to film such a talented group and to capture the thrill of the audience too.

At the end of the night, we had the chance to chat to some of the punters whilst filming some vox pops, and the general feeling was that the show was brilliant, hugely entertaining and a great night out.

Anyway, it’s into the editing suite now, to create the final video which will be used by the promoters to publicise the show.

Having been there on opening night, I can honestly say that if you decide to see The Jerseys you’re very likely to sing your heart out all the way through and leave feeling very happy. I suppose you’d sum it up as ‘What a night!’

The Victorian age meets the modern day in our film celebrating a Bolton charity

We recently completed a project which celebrates the remarkable work being done by one of Bolton’s oldest charities to support the children of in the town.

The Chadwick Educational Foundation was set up in 1868 by Dr Samuel Chadwick and his wife Ann. 150 years on, the charity is still making a huge difference to the lives of children in the town, funding school libraries, improving outdoor play areas and providing stage equipment and lighting.

We were asked to produce a video demonstrating some of the recent school projects funded by the Chadwick Trust and it turned out to be an incredibly uplifting experience.

Because we were celebrating the 150th anniversary of the charity, we used actors dressed as Dr and Mrs Chadwick, from the 1870s, and we filmed them visiting eight schools in Bolton. It was an interesting mix of past and present, as the actors in their Victorian dress chatted to the children who are benefitting today from the Trust’s donations.

As we went around the various primary schools, it was really heart-warming to see the joy in the children’s faces as they spoke about their new playgrounds or the new books in their libraries.

The Chadwicks set up their charitable trust after the early deaths of their two children. They built an orphanage and social housing in the town to benefit families and children who were in need.

Although the orphanage closed in 1961, the houses remained the property of the Trust, and trustees decided that the money generated from the housing, and from the sale of the orphanage land, should be used to benefit the children of Bolton.

Children from some of the featured schools are currently putting together a show to celebrate the work of the Trust and we’ll be filming that too, to create a commemorative DVD.

Black Magic Video Assist battery problem resolved

I bought the Black Magic Video Assist 5" recorder some time ago when we were asked to produce our first TV commercial and our camera at that time didn't have the necessary recording format.

However as well as the recording capabilities I was also extremely impressed with the quality of the monitor and have continued to use it ever since just as a camera-top monitor.

My only gripe with it was the battery life which for a monitor of that calibre is particularly poor.  The recorder takes 2 x LP-E6 batteries which were only giving me approximately 90 minutes. I was amazed to find that nobody seems to make a high capacity version of the LP-E6

As a lot of our work involves filming live shows and performances this just wasn't enough.  Even on corporate stuff it was a real nuisance having to keep a constant eye on the battery level.

Of course one way around the problem is to simply plug the unit into the mains, but this simply isn't always possible or practical.

In desperation I contacted Black Magic who were very helpful. They told me about an adapter which allows the unit to be powered via Sony NP batteries which come in a variety of capacities. Whilst these adapters are not certified by Black Magic they told me a lot of people have had success with them.

They also told me about the facility to power the device from an external V-lock battery but as we don't currently use V-lock batteries this would have been an expensive way forward. Also using these adapters means no cable connections are needed.

Apparently if you know what you're doing when it comes to batteries and soldering etc you can make these adapters yourself quite easily. You can see how to do it here:

http://cheesycam.com/modding-the-battery-mount-on-blackmagic-design-micro-cinema-camera-for-extra-run-time-canon-to-sony-hack

However if like me you are not up to that or can’t be bothered you can simply buy them online from America here: http://www.starvingartist101.com

The cost is $42.50 each including postage, so I was able to buy two for just over £60.00. As we already had several Sony NP batteries lying around this was the only cost.

I have to say I would not usually have dreamed of buying something from a website that looked so basic, but having been recommended by Black Magic I decided to take a punt and I'm extremely glad I did.

These units are solid and very well made. You simply plug them into the battery connectors on the back of the recorder and then plug the Sony batteries into the adapters.

I haven't measured the battery life I get, but since I started using them with NP-970 batteries I have never had to replace or recharge a battery on a day's shoot. This is such a relief as it means one thing less to worry about.

The only downside is it makes the unit quite a bit heavier, which if you're working on the tripod this is not a problem. However because the battery life is so good to save weight I only need to put one battery on at a time.

I’ve also solved a similar problem with our Panasonic GH5 the same way but that’s another story!

I hope this helps.

Brian Hurst

Producer, Brian David Films

Is hiring a wedding videographer a must or a maybe?

You may think that having both a photographer and a video at a wedding is an overkill, or may not have included videography in your budget, but trust us, you'll want to hire a wedding videographer.

For one, the day literally flies by and there are things you'll miss that your videographer will capture beautifully, like seeing your grandmother's emotional reaction as you say your vows.

Also, you have to think of the sounds that can't be captured in a photo, like your "I dos," the reception music and meaningful toasts. But don't just take our word for it. Read some of the feedback from these real brides:

"The only regret I have about our wedding is not having a videographer. The day goes by so quickly, you really miss so much of it. I look back now and wish I would have spent the money for it." - Vikki

"I was really worried that I might regret not having a videographer not only to capture my fiancé and me, but also our family members. I know it's a bit morbid, but I know they won't be around forever and I wanted to capture their voices and mannerisms." - R Friedman

"While we're very pleased with our photographer, I'm now starting to have second thoughts about not having a videographer. There's nothing like having a video to capture the details, people's faces and expressions, the vows, things that I might miss during the day as a busy bride and that don't necessarily get captured in even the best quality photos." - Carmel

"DO IT!!!!! I promise you will not regret spending the money. You may not think you want to relive every minute, but after the day you have been meticulously planning for months flies by in what feels like seconds, you will be desperate for a way to remember it!" - Rachael

"I just got married in June, and we had both a photographer and a videographer. I am so, so, so thankful that we ended up going with the video. It was something we almost cut out to save money, but it was so worth it! When we got the pictures back, there were many guests and moments that were missed and thankfully were caught by the video. I hate being filmed, but I never even noticed him throughout the day." - Megan

"Our videography was the best money we ever spent. It's true that your wedding goes by so fast and you do see things you didn't notice when you see the video. Absolutely no regrets. Our reasoning was that if we're going to spend so much money on one day, don't you want to be able to relive it through video? Plus, we can show it to our kids!" - Hannah

"I regret not having one. I thought that I'd never watch it and I'd have my pictures, but there's a lot of your wedding that, as the bride, you don't get to see. For example, I wish I could see what was going on inside the ceremony room before I got there. I wish I could see how my bridesmaids walked in. The whole thing went by so fast, I'd kill to have more memories of it."  - Dianne

"I'm definitely planning on hiring a videographer. I want to be able to see fiancé's and my expressions when we say our vows. I want to be able to hear how we say them - and I just want to see everyone have a ball at the reception. And come 40 years from now when DVDs are old-school, I still want to be able to watch us on our big day." - Jenny

"I did not think I would be so excited to watch our wedding video, but the day went by so quickly! I want to see our ceremony and cocktail hour, which I missed. Though I may only watch it a few times, I definitely think it was worth the money." - Nikki

"We barely even considered hiring a videographer and were confident in the decision not to have one. But after the wedding, I really wish we'd had one. We really underestimated how much we would want to relive the day and see things we missed. Our photos are wonderful but video still captures something photos don't." - Sophie

"I was anti-video, but I bit the bullet and got one anyway. We don't watch it very often, but I love having it there for me to watch. We had both the ceremony and reception filmed, and I love being able to see everything that I missed the night of my wedding." - Emma

"I had my wedding last month and I regret not getting a videographer. I thought pictures would be enough and most people don't watch their videos anyway, but your wedding goes by so fast and you miss a lot of things. Plus I feel like I was in a blissful daze for a lot of it and would love to have the important things captured in video. Pictures just don't capture everything." Sharon

by The Knot

Why Video?

In case you haven’t been watching, over 6 billion videos are viewed on You Tube every month. That’s almost an hour for every person on earth (and by the way, they’re not all cat videos). 

Videos are a valuable, powerful way to tell your brand’s story, to showcase your product or service, and to engage with your target audience. We’re not talking infomercials here, we’re talking about compelling, interesting, and emotionally engaging storytelling that can make your business come to life online. 

And that’s what we do. We use stories to make your business come alive.  We transform your product or service from a string of boring text into a three-dimensional solution that customers and clients can connect with and that they realise they need.

Video if done properly can make your business unforgettable. We do video properly by understanding your business, your business goals and your target audience. Then we decide the best kind of video that will resonate with that audience. It could be a documentary-style production, it could be humorous, or emotional, it could involve you, some actors, your customers or a spokesperson.

It’s all about finding the right way in so you get the most out of your investment.

Talk to us today.

Video Will Rule the Roost

Mark Zuckerberg said, “I think video is a megatrend, almost as big as mobile.” 

Video marketing in 2017 is expected to explode. Forecasts predict that 74 percent of all traffic in this year will be generated by video.

In addition, 52 percent of marketing professionals worldwide name video as the type of content with the best ROI. Not sure where to start? Check out the following places to incorporate video content:

1. Landing pages. Unbounce reports that including video on a landing page increases conversions by as much as 80 percent. Use video to address the target market’s major pain points, present your solution, and close with a compelling call to action.

2. Resource center videos. Does your company’s website have a resources page featuring white papers, case studies, and other types of educational content? If so, add some video assets. For example, tutorials and how-to videos are great additions.

3. Email communications. Are you communicating with customers or prospects through email marketing programs? If so, include video to drive greater impact. Research shows that video provides a 20 percent lift in email open rates, in addition to higher click-through rates.

4. Promote special offers. Customers and prospects receive an overwhelming amount of promotional emails each day. Video makes it easier to cut through the clutter.

Read more at http://www.business2community.com/brandviews/act-on/5-content-marketing-predictions-2017-01758790#zv84z6bm0eDOEgGr.99

Quick to criticise, slow to praise

Have you ever noticed how we love to criticise?

Could be anything, the driver in front, the driver behind, the woman at the cash desk, the late delivery of an item, the meal not being hot enough, etc etc.

Whenever something's not right we're onto it like a bull in a china shop, ranting and raving, making irate phone calls, sending emails and texts - and sometimes rightly so.

But how often do we praise when things go right? When did you last send an email to a company thanking them for their prompt and efficient service or send a testimonial to a firm to thank them for their fast delivery etc? If you did you're certainly in the minority.

As a company, we wanted to attract customer reviews to help improve our position in the Google rankings so we asked some of our clients if they would be kind enough to leave a short review for us. Only three obliged.

Now it may be because the others didn't rate our service highly enough, but frankly I doubt that. More likely they were either too busy or simply forgot.

We all like to feel appreciated, so why not be different and show your appreciation when things do go right - and they do go right more often than not.

Not only will you be doing them a favour, it'll probably make you feel better too.

Maybe an idea for a New Year's Resolution?

Just a thought.