Published on 22 Oct 2021
A Series Worth Talking About
Remote Filming Becoming the Norm
With virtual events and Zoom calls (the ‘z’ word) the norm these days, reaching your …Read More
Published on 22 Oct 2021
Remote Filming Becoming the Norm
With virtual events and Zoom calls (the ‘z’ word) the norm these days, reaching your audience over the last 12 months has never been easier. The irony is that connecting with them has never been harder. Like many agencies, we’ve been helping clients get their messages across to their audience in new ways given the filming restrictions we’ve all become accustomed to.
One way to achieve this is by publishing conversations (or ‘Q&A chats’, as we like to call them) where two participants can talk about anything, from challenges to innovation in their industry – stuff that resonates with the target audience. These don’t need to look low budget. Creating an ‘on air’ look that’s consistent with your brand is easier than you might think, and using the right kit and recording techniques will make your content stand out and not look out of place alongside your other video assets.
With this in mind, FICO (our fintech friends) wanted to create a series of films that provide valuable insights to their clients and community while working safely, on a lower budget, and maintaining the same production standards reflected in the films we make for them.
As FICO’s community website producer, Elle Lasher, explains:
We wanted to create a video series that provided a much more intimate view of what happens behind the scenes at FICO. FICO technology has always been best in class but the idea was to flip the traditional top-down communication culture and introduce employee-led conversations.
By giving a voice to our behind the scenes experts and data scientists, we are able to connect directly with our clients who need it most. The Decision Hero Community Chats provide an updated video standard to publish casual yet meaningful content more frequently, resulting in shorter lead times for valuable insights.
The Community Chats have been well received with strong viewership and the Community is planning to integrate this conversational format as an ongoing series in 2022.
Grabbing and Engaging
In terms of boosting your audience online, creating consistent video content is key. An engaging video series will humanise your business and help gain the trust of your target audience. Since it’s a brand’s story told in instalments, or in a variety of different ways, it provides an opportunity to build a more long-term relationship with your audience. As people get accustomed to the series concept, they’ll start to feel more invested in what each instalment will be, and they’ll recognise it when they see it.
Pick Your Platform
There are plenty of platforms to choose from, so it’s key to work out which one has all the best features for you. We use riverside.fm – a welcome improvement to recording conversations on conference calls. It allows you to record each video separately and locally on each participant’s hard drive and then it uploads them to the cloud where you can download them from. What does this mean? Well – the quality of the recording isn’t at the mercy of the internet bandwidth. That’s a big improvement right there.
Getting Ready to Go
Tempted to give it a try? – Don’t underestimate the amount of preparation needed. Not everyone is familiar with the technology involved or the finer details of getting a good shot, so you do need to factor in time to help participants set up their computers for filming.
Framing, eye line, lighting and good sound are all incredibly important. We advise investing in extra kit; HD webcams, USB microphones and possibly a desktop led panel light really raise the standard. On shoots, we’re always on hand to help guide your participants through the whole process, and to save time we created a setup guide to get everyone thoroughly briefed:
The Future of Interviews?
It’s a format that really works and is becoming a growing part of the services we offer as a business. We’ve just started a new project which was commissioned on the back of them seeing our content. 18 videos Q&A videos to be filmed next month. Word’s getting out there. We’re not just recording the conversation, we’re slowly starting to be part of it!
To see an example of one of these films, you can watch it on our website here.
Published on 20 May 2021
Five Things We’ve Learned in Lockdown
A year on and we could never have anticipated the impact that this pandemic has had on all of our …Read More
Published on 20 May 2021
A year on and we could never have anticipated the impact that this pandemic has had on all of our lives. Although it’s brought with it a heavy dose of sadness and suffering for many of us, it has given us a once-in-a-lifetime chance to ‘down tools’ and take a good look at how we work. For a company that traditionally prides itself on international storytelling from the remotest parts of the world, it’s meant going back to the drawing-board.
So here are five things we’ve learned making videos during lockdown, setting a precedent for times to come:
1. Prepare for the unexpected
As any filmmaker knows, when you get to a location to film, there are always last minute decisions to be made on the fly. Our instincts are to look out for those tell-tale signs and put together sequences in our heads on the spot, shaping a particular story as we go along.
So when FIND came to us with an ambitious project to recreate an imaginary world where CV19 still exists AND yet we can still travel freely, to be shown to the WHO in a matter of weeks, there was a fair bit of head scratching.
Behind the Scenes of Normalise
Filming scenes in three countries (Kenya, Estonia and India) without the benefit of travel meant we had to plan down to the finest detail in advance. Storyboarding each shot in detail, sourcing local reliable crews, finding locations, actors, costumes, voiceover, set design; we even had to build props to recreate next generation technology that might exist to allow testing to be as normal as brushing your teeth.
Have been liberating! We’re now thinking bigger and bolder than ever before. Cutting out travel means we can shoot in more locations in a short space of time. This increased preparation required has seen shoots go smoother and edits run faster with more impressive results than ever before.
2. Get Good People on the Ground
One benefit of the pandemic is it seems to have made the world a smaller place.
When we were approached by Health Action International to make a film about the lack of insulin access in low income countries to mark the centenary of the discovery of insulin, we were left wondering who we knew in Mali, Peru, Geneva and… The Wirral! Luckily an old BBC colleague Steve had worked with in Peru years ago proved to be the right woman for the job.
With a detailed brief and script in hand, Deborah wrestled with COVID19 lockdowns, escalating rates of infection (one of our main contributors had to drop out due to infection at the last minute – he’s ok!) and floods caused by La Niña. Against the odds, she still managed to help us get the most powerful story in Northern Peru we could have wished for.
Since the pandemic, we’ve been building on our established network and working with international and regional fixer companies to grow a pool of producers, filmmakers and local talent that we know we can count on.
They’ve been amazing! Rather than sending in people from the outside, we’ve had locals making films about topics that relate to them. It’s created deeper, better access to lives that were otherwise off the grid for us.
3. Stay Firmly In Touch
Zoom can be a curse or a cure for many. For us it’s provided a direct line into people’s lives that we could never have imagined before.
FICO wanted to create a “fireside chat” between two Digital Transformation experts that felt more personal, responsive and of higher quality than a regular zoom conversation. Not an easy thing with two contributors on opposite sides of the US.
Thanks to the ability to connect a broadcast camera to a zoom session, we’ve been able to proactively manage shoots from the other side of the world. We can interview subjects directly as if we were there in the room, or have them talk to each other! It might take a lot more planning, but using this technology means we’re having more live conversations rather than communicating on email.
We’re actually talking to our clients more. We’re able to chat to and see our local partners and there’s generally a much greater sense of collaboration at every stage of the video production cycle. Clients now attend remote film viewings on zoom – the only challenge is to remember they’re still in the room when we have a giggle at the outtakes.
We’ve set up new systems that combine Zoom, document collaboration and regular catch ups, bringing our clients to the centre of the creation process, as we found with our latest project for FIND.
This film featuring a new test for schistosomiasis was not an easy story to tell. The complexities of explaining the life-cycle of a tiny water snail that wreaks untold damage on its unsuspecting victims is not a straightforward task in just over 2 minutes.
Working with leading expert Dr Sarah Nogaro, the local project manager in Kenya, Dr Sammy Ngenga and local cameraman George Muiruri, together we planned the best way to tell the story. Within 2 weeks of filming, rushes sent directly to our editor via FTP, we had a beautiful film that contained all the information and emotion we like in our stories.
We’ve seen more collaboration and co-creativity than even before as our clients provide invaluable suggestions to briefs and shooting scripts. This is giving our clients a real chance to shine. They’re loving it, we’re loving it and our viewers are loving it!
The logistical challenges of lockdowns have thrown up all sorts of roadblocks, so we’ve had to spend a lot of time with our problem solving hats on. This has been true for our clients too, and we’ve found often the best way around it is more collaboration with them throughout the whole planning process, with regular gentle reminders of next steps, as we all have a lot on our plates these days.
World Courier have been working especially hard to deliver vital medicines around the world during the pandemic. They wanted to show what life is like on the ground for their couriers. Showing real human stories is at the heart of what we do, but it’s not practical to sit in delivery vans with lots of different people right now.
Making use of high-quality video recording tools, such as Riverside.fm, sending out ‘Zoom packs’ with a ring-light and microphone, and briefing our contributors how to film themselves, we’ve managed to capture the passion that drives a company like World Courier to deliver against the odds.
Capturing all strata of the organisation from the CEO right through to the delivery people on the ground, you could say the pandemic has democratised our storytelling!
Covid has helped us rebuild our internal and external processes from the ground up. Now as the world starts to slowly open up, all of our sharpened skills in planning, collaborating and using new tech are poised ready to embrace a new era of productivity, creativity and understanding.
Published on 19 May 2021
Our Year So Far in Global Health – Spring 2021
We’ve been making films in Global Health for the past 12 Years, but Covid-19 has meant that suddenly everyone has …Read More
Published on 19 May 2021
We’ve been making films in Global Health for the past 12 Years, but Covid-19 has meant that suddenly everyone has first hand experience of what it’s like to live in the shadow of disease.
The pandemic has highlighted our global connection and our busyness in the global health sector has reflected this. These sometimes difficult topics are suddenly much more relatable, and we’ve seen an increase in organisations seizing this opportunity of increased understanding and empathy as an ideal time to tell their stories.
Our core team hasn’t left London, but we’ve been so busy collaborating with talented crews and healthcare professionals all over the world to keep telling these fascinating stories. Here’s a bit more about what we’ve been up to….
HAI – Insulin Centenary
Out of the 420 million diabetics in the world, 80 million do not have access to the insulin they need. Right from the start we felt that this film for Health Action International was a perfect project for us – with Steve being diabetic, the subject is close to our hearts, plus it combines international storytelling, and in the 4 languages that we speak in-house. We worked with local crews in Mali, Peru, Geneva and Amsterdam, collaborating over Zoom meetings.
Having local people film local stories brings a greater authenticity and adds impact to the message. This film will be shown at the World Health Assembly this month to change mindsets and help let people know why insulin access is such a vitally important issue.
See what Steve has to say about working on this project
Nasarawa State – Elimination and Beyond
This forms part of a wider suite of films used in different ways that have told the MDP story over the years. It looks at the success in overcoming onchocerciasis, a crippling disease that has afflicted Nigeria and large parts of Africa for decades.
Filming just before COVID-19 kicked in, we worked with a talented Nigerian crew to get right to the heart of the story. We edited back in the UK and created a bespoke soundtrack to help transport the viewer deeper into the world of neglected tropical diseases.
This year we were absolutely thrilled to be given two awards of recognition by the Accolade Film Festival for this project!
Telling human stories, highlighting the hugely important work of those in the Global Health sector, and promoting equality in healthcare is hugely important to us, so it feels wonderful to be recognised in this way.
FIND – Diagnosis at Your Fingertips
This film tells the story of how FIND are working to transform schistosomiasis detection with a rapid test that will transform diagnosis in low income countries.
With travel restrictions in place we went to our trusted colleague and incredibly hardworking George Muiruri who followed a day in the life with the team running this prototype test for schistosomiasis in Kwale, Kenya.
Innovation is fundamental to achieving elimination of Neglected Tropical Diseases and FIND wanted the drivers of this important project to tell their own story.
The outcome, is a locally shot film told by locals for the wider world.
ALMA – Malaria Councils
We’re currently working with ALMA (The African Leaders Malaria Alliance) to produce a film that will encourage businesses and organisations to form End Malaria Councils in their countries and districts, explain the ways in which EMCs can be beneficial to communities, and rally donor and partner support behind the incredible work that’s already being done across the continent.
True partnership is the way ahead – government, international donors, local business and community all have to work together to see malaria eliminated from Africa.
Working with local crews in four different countries, this project has been a fantastic way to hone our organisational skills and produce a film that really captures the importance of these incredible groups.
Coming up soon for C9M…
UAE-based GLIDE is on somewhat of a global health crusade. Their mission is to advance global thinking and accelerate progress towards disease elimination, particularly around neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) such as polio, lymphatic filariasis, river blindness & malaria. It’s a huge task that requires uniting stakeholders at every level from sponsors to inspiring a new generation of scientists to join the effort; all the more of a challenge at a time when the western world’s commitment to overseas aid has changed for the worse over the last 12 months.
As part of an awareness drive, we’ve been commissioned by them to make 4x 6min ‘webisodes’ for social media that tell the story of disease elimination programmes and the efforts of ridding the world of the ones that still remain.
It’s a project we’ve been hoping to get off the ground for a while and will include interviews from some of the world’s eminent experts on these diseases, as well as local projects in Pakistan, Cameroon and Hispaniola highlighting how close we are (globally) to elimination.
We’re in the process of speaking to contributors to get their side of the story as well as co-ordinating with NGOs on logistics of shooting.
Published on 16 May 2021
Our Year So Far in Arts & Culture – Spring 2021
The films we make in the Arts & Culture always capture our imaginations, and so far 2021 has been no …Read More
Published on 16 May 2021
The films we make in the Arts & Culture always capture our imaginations, and so far 2021 has been no different! We love working with creative, inspiring and innovative people, and the projects we’ve worked on so far this year have definitely ticked those boxes. From brand new approaches to workspace and childcare, to setting up arts projects on the International Space Station, we may have been in lockdown, but we haven’t been bored! Here are the highlights of what we’ve been up to…
Walking Slowly to Space
This film tells the inspiring story of Dr. Niamh Shaw. Her mission is to go to space not as an astronaut, but as an artist and a science communicator.
Our goal for the film is to tell her journey in her words, following her early love of space and exploration all the way to where she is now, living at the Space University in Strasbourg. The project itself has been a really great learning experience for us. With the exception of the interview filmed back in October 2020, the vast majority of the edit has been using archival footage to illustrate Niamh’s journey. We’ve also dipped into remote audio recording to supplement the edit and really tie the whole story together.
Niamh’s story is a beautiful, inspiring one, and we are so excited to be along for the ride with her!
Grenfell Memorial Film
The feelings about the Grenfell tragedy still remain strong – as evident in the graffiti under the Westway flyover near the site. This simple but effective drone piece shows the Grenfell Memorial which is located near the Cloud9 offices in West London. Born out of a collaboration with Hope Gardens and Portobello Radio, we wanted to show the positive community spirit that has been born out of such a tragic event.
International Women’s Day
One of our favourite events of the year is always International Women’s Day because it gives us the opportunity to dive into the archives and revisit some of our favourite stories told by the most inspiring of women.
This year’s theme was #ChoosetoChallenge, so we wanted to highlight women who were resilient and determined in the face of adversity. It gave us a chance to look back at some of our favourite projects with long-term clients, such as the Michelle Obama book launch with Penguin and last year’s International Women’s Day celebrations with Marriott.
We love the opportunity to reflect on how grateful we are to be able to meet incredible women such as these and be able to tell their stories, and how much we are looking forward to getting back out there!
Filmed in lockdown in two sittings (not too far apart before the kids grow) we made this film to capture a brilliant new concept in combining a top-class Montessori nursery with a professional workspace, which allows parents and children to be their whole selves. We all need a chance to develop as rounded people whether we’re kids or adults!
As a taste of what’s to come, soon we’ll be heading to West London to do our first live streamed concert with the Gustav Holst Ensemble. Stay tuned for a full breakdown of how that went, and why we’re so excited to work with artists and musicians on projects such as this!
Published on 14 May 2021
Our Year So Far in Business Comms – Spring 2021
Like many agencies, we started the year thinking when will work return to normal? A year on into the pandemic …Read More
Published on 14 May 2021
Like many agencies, we started the year thinking when will work return to normal? A year on into the pandemic and, as a company that prides itself on travelling far and wide to capture the human perspective, we have had to rethink how we work.
Lack of travel has forced us to develop new ways of doing things remotely and with great success – accessibility and speed have given rise to a whole new way of delivering content, redefining the way we communicate going forward.
When we spend most of our time locked on our screens in zoom-land, it’s important to make sure this is time not wasted. So we’ve been helping our clients use this opportunity to drive engagement even deeper.
Which brings us on to FICO. We’re currently working with them on a series of films that provide their audience with high value industry insights. We’re working on ‘Fireside chats’ between two individuals, recording the conversations through an online video conference interface, converting their iphones to HD cameras, and then turning around edits fast. The video quality is really impressive and given the turnaround needs to be rapid, this is a great way of adapting to the tools and global situation in hand.
Another new project we have for FICO is around stories showing how their customers use their products to make their day to day lives better. Corporate stories are getting more personal. Filming people at their homes encourages us to delve deeper in to their personal connection with the story, capturing how their purpose in work chimes with what they do outside in the real world
If there’s one thing we’ve noticed in business communications since the beginning of the year, it’s the ‘p word.’ No, not passwords – purpose! We’re currently working with logistics company World Courier, to create a film that highlights the ways in which they have facilitated their clients in doing life-saving work in the midst of a global pandemic. What’s different for us is that we are empowering their staff to do the filming themselves, using their own home or office set-up.
We’ve created office streaming rooms for pristine webinar presentations, ordered in, assembled and trained up by local camera experts. Consistency is key, ensuring that everyone follows the same format (that means no filming in portrait!). We’ve shared with them a how-to guide so they capture themselves in the best way possible. Get in touch if you’d like to find out more about self shooting, or watch our tips for filming from home guide here
The upshot is that what seemed like constraints at the start of year are now opportunities to get closer to our clients’ needs, providing new ways of engaging customers and their thirst for content.
Published on 30 Apr 2021
Cloud9Media at ISNTD Festival
In March this year, Steve was invited by our friends at ISNTD Festival to speak on a panel and present …Read More
Published on 30 Apr 2021
In March this year, Steve was invited by our friends at ISNTD Festival to speak on a panel and present on the topic of How COVID-19 has changed the way we communicate about public health. It was a really fascinating conversation, and as ever we loved being part of this event. You can see the full panel discussion here, or watch Steve’s presentation below.
If you’d like to watch the final film FIND – Diagnosis At Your Fingertips, that Steve refers to throughout the presentation, you can watch it here.