Good, Fast & Cheap Video Production?

Cheap, affordable low-cost video production. What does that actually mean? What is an affordable video? Affordable to one business may not be affordable to another business. Cheap? We all like a deal and to get our money’s worth. Do we actually want a cheap video though? Is cheap what we’re really looking for or is it just a marketing term to entice a potential customer? Is a cheap video going to do justice to the business, product, or service? Will it sell the culture or offerings in the best possible light? Will a cheap video production give a return on investment or will it look cheap and in turn tarnish the brand it is representing? What about how it makes you feel. Will it feel cheap? Will it cut the mustard in the highly competitive world of business? Maybe in some cases it will, but I highly doubt it would last the test of time.

Low Budget Brand Videos

When you consider some of the rare videos created with seemingly very low budgets for major brands – shot on an iPhone for example- these are generally one-off pieces and the actual budget has been spent on the development, idea shaping and recruitment of the right people rather than the actual filming of the video itself. So, it has likely been a long and well thought out process that has been funded properly. Even though the actual filming of the video hasn’t cost much, the overall project has been well looked after in a financial sense. Video production is like anything else creative. You can make the same video for many different price ranges and tell the exact same story. However, often the difference is how it makes you feel when you first view it (do you continue watching?) and how do you feel at the end of the video. More often than not, the more time and resources spent on a production the more it will resonate with the end user. This isn’t always the case of course as you could video a cute cat chasing an even cuter dog and that could get a load of traction, but in the business world of corporate video and TV commercial production, whether it be live action or animation, usually the more you put in the more you get out. In my opinion quality video production always shines through and that’s at the core of our beliefs and values here at our Manchester HQ.

Quality Video Production

I know there’s an argument for not being too flashy. I totally understand that. Sometimes it is unnecessary to over complicate things with world famous talent and super-duper special effects. Maybe you wouldn’t want to look like you have money to burn. However, there must be a balance. Surely quality video production is important? Working with passionate filmmakers who truly care about each production and understand the science behind the process and psychology behind viewer engagement. People who know what makes end-users take action (a purchase, a positive life change or maybe a business enquiry). Our team in Manchester care about each and every video production we have the pleasure of creating. It’s a pride thing. Our reputation depends on it. We want our clients to be wowed when they receive their corporate video or TV commercial, it means something to us. It’s what puts a smile on our faces and the reason we work in the industry. If we aren’t striving to be the best video production company in Manchester and beyond then what is the point? If we aren’t aiming for excellence and originality, then why do we even bother? Anyone can pick up a camera and learn how to shoot but it takes many, many years of dedication and experience to fully understand the craft behind video production. We feel strongly that video creation is an art form and a way to express ourselves and let our creativity run free. Due to this we always strive to push the boundaries in the productions we produce for our clients because the content we create is always a passion project. There’s an indefatigable urge burning deep within all of us at Groundbreak to always create a better video than the last. To hold the viewers’ attention for longer. To resonate in the mind of the end user long after they have watched the video. This isn’t always possible of course due to the subject matter. But there is absolutely no excuse to not always try and make something powerful and add something special to each and every production rather than just churning something out. What’s wrong with wanting to be the best and want the very best for all of your video productions?

There will always be a place for cheap video production or affordable video production. Just the same way as there are cheap versions of everything in life. However, it’s important to remember that some things can’t be done on the cheap and expect to have the same return as something that is strategically planned, resourced and implemented with love and passion.

At Groundbreak we love what we do and we care about how we do it. That’s just the way it is for us and the way it will always be.

If you’d like to discuss your next video production with a team who want to push your video content to the next level, then please do get in touch.

tv commercial production blog

TV Commercial Production

“TV Commercial Production will become a thing of the past” I am told every single year by all kinds of folk in the world of video production here in Manchester. I’m told TV is dying. Streaming is taking over the world so there is no point in having a standard TV subscription anymore and even less point creating a TV commercial because nobody will see it. This is what I’ve been warned now for many years. Yes, streaming is massive nowadays and especially for the youngsters but that doesn’t mean that TV is defunct, old hat and pointless. It’s all about evolution in my opinion. The way in which we consume our content is evolving. Including our TV advertisements. This doesn’t mean TV commercial production is a thing of the past though. It’s still one of the numerous outputs that can deliver a powerful message, capture the attention of the viewer and help them take action. In our Manchester studio we are still creating a diverse selection of video productions as part of our client’s video content marketing mix and TV commercial production is still often at the core of that.

TV Standard Commercials

I’m certain that everyone I know (apart from my great uncle Humphrey who is a hermit living on the Galapagos islands) has a TV subscription in their house and more often than not still gets a significant part of their viewing fix on a television screen. This doesn’t mean they don’t have laptops, tablets and phones that they also view content on, but they still watch TV on a television screen (for anyone who literally doesn’t watch TV on a television screen I apologise for generalising). Of course, the younger the person the more likely they are to be streaming through their smart TV rather than watching traditional TV on the traditional channels, but these streaming channels also have “TV standard commercials” which I will discuss later in this blog.

Why Do Teenagers Watch Content In Their Bedroom?

There’s a household pecking order to consider. You could call it a viewing hierarchy. In homes following the back-to-front age rule (the older the person the more rights they have to the TV remote control) I can easily see why the narky teenager ends up streaming shows on their tablet in their bedroom. They’ve essentially been outranked. My home is very much 21st century equal opportunities (although I often feel I have the least amount of remote-control clout). We only have one television in our house which is proudly sat in our living room. My daughter gets first dibs without question. Next in line is my wife with little challenge. And when they’re both out at nursery and/or hot yoga I get full control of the remote. The problem is the only time they’re out of the house I’m also out creating our latest video production.

Quality Video Production, on TV or Online

It seems to me that since the launch of social media and streaming platforms like Netflix, slowly but surely “TV commercial production standard” or some similar iteration is a term for high quality video production. Whatever the platform, an advertisement is expected to be of a certain standard. The team at Groundbreak often get asked to create a TV standard commercial for social media. Which essentially means the client wants quality video production, but instead of TV broadcast it’s online output. This brings me to a confusing statement that a TV commercial doesn’t have to be viewed on a TV. Obviously, given the name it would be fair to assume the commercial in question would be broadcast on a TV screen. However, if you just ignore the TV bit and look at it as a commercial it’s the same production, content, crew, talent, campaign, duration and messaging. For us creating these “television” advertisements the only real difference are the settings on the camera to ensure that if it is going to be broadcast on traditional TV then it will playback correctly. I won’t get technical now but suffice to say that it is important to have the right camera settings when shooting for TV broadcast otherwise you’ll run into lots of trouble during post-production. This is the other stage of TV commercial production that is relevant. It’s crucial to have legal video and audio when mastering the final commercial. This isn’t anything that can get you into bother with the police. It’s simply to do with levels to ensure your commercial is broadcast safe. TV commercials need to be approved for broadcast by various bodies who check the legitimacy of any claims within the advert and that the content is not offensive etc. Online ads can be as false and offensive as you like.  

Smart TV Advertising

A major development in the world of TV commercial production is the revolutionary approach to advertising where different ads can be shown to different households watching the same TV show. Examples of this would be SKY Adsmart or ITV’S VOD to name a few of the big players. This form of TV commercial advertising helps businesses of all different levels of financial clout because it’s generally a more cost-effective way of utilising the power of TV advertising. Businesses can hone in on precise target audiences in specific areas to get a more targeted advertisement like this TV commercial we produced for Vodafone as part of a recruitment strategy for their contact centre in Manchester. It showcases the way in which TV commercials are being aired is evolving and their reach is more calculated and smarter.

As much as the internet is taking over the world there is still room for television and television commercials. Maybe one day this will change but as far as I can see it hasn’t yet and isn’t about to. It’s simply evolving rather than vanishing.

Please get in touch if you’d like to discuss your next TV commercial campaign.

interview video

Interview Videos – a Love/Hate thing

Interview Videos Are Not Always Good

There, I said it. Interview videos are not always good. That is a carefully worded understatement. Allow me to address the elephant in the room immediately. Up to this point, the elephant in the room has been simply alluded to. Its trunk is edging from behind the curtain. Sometimes interview videos can seem cheap. Interview videos can be boring. I’m shoving the elephant now. The curtain is reeling back. Interview videos are not modern. I kick the elephant. They’re dull. Too long. Whip! I hate them. A crash of a curtain pole, a gasp of a crowd and the elephant is among us. Addressed and unharmed*.

These things CAN be true of interview videos but don’t have to be. So how can we make sure that your interview video is the best it can possibly be? You’re already on our website so you’ve taken step one. Give yourself a pat on the back, that’s the hard part done.

To get the best out of interview videos we like to offer our clients an alternative route. We still interview their team, but it’s in a more informal way with an unseen interview style. This gets the best out of camera shy folk as the interview is audio only. There are numerous examples of this in our corporate video production portfolio.

Making Good Choices to Create the Best Interview Video

As a full-service video production company, we collaborate with you from the earliest inception of an idea (or even before – oftentimes we know the right video concept for you before you do) there are many things we can do to give you a great interview video.

Firstly, you need to be sure if an interview style video is the right way to go for your message. Is the video promoting a product? Or a service? Or a recruitment drive? Interview videos are best when what you are promoting is about personality or culture. It’s a great way to promote a recruitment drive as you can showcase the working culture and ethos of your brand as well as introduce your team. Similarly promoting a service suits an interview style well as you can get a sense of customer engagement from your brand or even have client’s testifying as to how ruddy smashing you are. The audience can see and hear that they mean it.

Talking Head Interviews Vs Unseen Interview videos

Secondly, and at the risk of making myself vomit, we can think outside of the box. If you haven’t passed out from rolling your eyes too far back in to your head then please read on to understand that I mean. A talking head shot generally sits in an interview video. We always recommend avoiding talking head shots in interview videos. Instead we use a style that we call unseen interview like in this video we created for Jaguar Landrover. With this style, the interviewee’s audio is heard only and the visuals are made up of far more engaging shots of whatever it is that we are promoting be it a workplace, a product or a story (You will see the interviewee at the beginning, in a hero shot). This style is infinitely more contemporary than a talking head, it allows more screen time to showcase what we are promoting, it holds the audience’s attention on the messaging and it means your interviewee can relax and speak well, without a camera pointed in their face.

Good People = Good Interview

Thirdly and most importantly choose the right people. Choose people or a person (less is more when considering how many interviewees to have) who is incredibly knowledgeable about the subject of the video, who is genuinely passionate and has belief in the subject and who is known to speak well. This seems simple but it is quite difficult. If you are the marketing team looking to make this interview video you should first consider yourself as the interviewee. You have the communication skills, knowledge and promotional knack to deliver a great interview about your product or service. If you don’t have an incredible orator on your team who’s ready to deliver a condensed TED talk on your product don’t panic. We have a team of experienced Producer Directors who have many years of experience making corporate videos so we can make the shyest and stuttering, ill-informed malcontent sound like a poet-laureate. So, choosing the right people means selecting the right interviewee and choosing the right people to make your interview video – Contact us or me directly (link in the author section) now to discuss anything else you need to know about making a great interview video.

*This elephant is entirely metaphorical. Neither I nor Groundbreak condone cruelty to elephants, figurative or otherwise. For more information on our Elephant cruelty policy please see An Elephant Never Forgets – Groundbreak’s Feature Length documentary on the subject.

An Elephant Never Forgets: Trailer
animation-manchester-productions-agency

Becoming one of the best animation companies in Manchester

Animation – Limited By Imagination

Animation, as with most things in the video production world, is an incredibly expansive topic. 2D animation, 3D animation, Stop Motion animation and Visual Effects are four of the main categories. However, within each category there are so many different styles of animation achievable that it would be impossible to count.

The simple reason for this is that animation in this day and age is limited only by one thing, imagination. As Pixar mastermind John Lasseter has stated in their philosophy, “Art challenges technology, and technology inspires Art.” What John is referring to here is that in order to create the next level of animation, whatever that may be, there needs to be the tools available to realise whatever vision the animation team have in mind, therefore pushing the technical side of animation forward to enable these visions. In turn, as new animation techniques are made possible by this technology, it opens doors to the previously impossible, inspiring artists to push the boundaries even further, thus creating a looping cycle of progression and ever-increasingly incredible animation.

My First Animated film

The animation techniques and possibilities we have today are simply beyond anything I would have imagined possible as a youngster, as I took frame after frame of plastic toys and figurines in my bedroom with my ~1megapixel webcam, creating what can only be described as some of the worst stop motion animation created by anyone (we all start somewhere). Now, we can create completely photorealistic animation that is near indistinguishable from real life. Literally creating anything our imaginations can concoct. This freedom to explore and create without boundaries is a sense of escapism in a way, even illuminating a footpath into the inconceivable for many a viewer.

Given the right idea, the right footpath, an animator can choose to completely ignore the laws of physics and the natural world, dazzle with interesting sequences of satisfying nonsense, embrace the weird, even draw tears. We’ve all welled up at the latest Disney feature, and self-admittedly, at the innocent eyes of a particular animated excitable dragon.

Animated Explainer Videos

With all that being said, animation isn’t always completely about being as creative as possible, it’s also an excellent functional medium for explainer videos. Providing an ability to break down complex information in an easy-to-understand, visual format that can often trump live action filming.

Quite often, we also combine the two! Compositing animated sequences with live action footage can bring these scenes to life by giving an additional element of style, or enhancing them completely. This spans from the simplest addition of animated motion graphics to a corporate video, through to creating out-of-this-world CG fuelled Hollywood blockbusters.

We created the animated explainer video below for our wonderful client OurPeople. It showcases how creative, informative and engaging this type of explainer video can be. It’s functional, yet absorbing.

Groundbreak Productions has became one of the top animation companies in Manchester through constantly exercising our imaginations, immersing ourselves in the technologies available, spending hours and hours on a shot or scene only to step back, look at it, and delete everything to start again fresh. Not to mention, perhaps most importantly, collaborating with the best talent available in the country.

Animation in all its forms is a deep, deep passion of ours. We will continue to expand our own limits, push our imaginations, and find clients who share our vision of creating unique and standout video and animation content. This passion and constant immersion is how I believe we have become one of the best video production companies in Manchester. 

You can see some of our animated creations here.

2019-video-production-compnay-round-up

2019 Groundbreak Round-Up

Our Year of Video Production

It’s certainly been a chaotic, rewarding, funny, crazy, exhilarating, challenging and memorable year in the world of video production at one of Manchester’s best production agencies. There have been ups and downs highs and lows, but above all we’ve had the opportunity to create some outstanding video content for our wonderful clients. The great thing about our clients is they give us creative freedom more often than not. This means we get to express ourselves in our video productions. Whether it’s a TV Commercial production, corporate video content, animation or visual effects. There’s always an engaging way to create content if you have the freedom to come up with an interesting concept. As a video production company that thrives off a challenging brief, we just want to create bigger and bolder content that inspires and pushes boundaries. We’ve certainly done that in 2019 and it will be more of the same in 2020!

Best Video Production Awards and Nominations

2019 has been a real success for awards. A handful of videos we’ve created this year helped large agency campaigns win prestigious awards. We’ve also had a lot of joy with best video awards directly ourselves. This is always our favourite type of recognition because it’s simply about video production which is what we’re all about. We won ‘Best Video’ award at the esteemed European Office Product Awards for this printer commercial earlier this year which was a great kick start to the calendar. We’ve also attended the Prolific North awards and the MPA inspiration awards as finalists for ‘Best Video’ awards for some of the commercials we produced this year. It’s always a good night out at the ceremonies whether we win or not. We always feel privileged to be there amongst the best video production companies in the UK. Hopefully with a bit of luck, a huge amount of hard work and a touch of creativity we’ll find ourselves at more award ceremonies next year!

Clients old and new

It’s been a great year for partnering with new and exciting clients and agencies from many different sectors, which in turn has helped our video portfolio become even more diverse than last year. That’s saying something as we’re most certainly not a one trick pony here at Groundbreak. Client retention’s been as strong as ever with collaborations with all our key clients at some point in 2019. We’ve even had a few of our older clients who we created video content for many years ago contact us again to work together this year. And as ever, expecting excellence in their new productions. Of course, we happily obliged.

Video Production Needs

Some clients need regular content every month, others need a couple of TV commercials a year. And then there are a few who only want corporate videos every few years because they have a new product or service, they want to show the world. I’ve learned to not take it personally if we don’t hear from a client in a while. They have their own journey to travel just like us. One thing though that always reassures me is that all of our clients come back to us for their video production needs at some point. That’s the great thing about repeat business and it works both ways of course. If we consistently raise the bar in both the video content, we create and the way in which we collaborate with our clients. Ensuring it’s an enjoyable and successful partnership for all then I suppose why wouldn’t they come back? One thing is for sure. We understand that we wouldn’t be here without our clients. They’re the oxygen to our flame. We couldn’t be groundbreaking without them. They give us the briefs and the trust to go out and create something special. So, thanks very much to all of you!

Groundbreak Productions Team and Crew

None of the awards or outstanding video productions and animations would be possible without our fantastic in-house team of original thinkers. I’m incredibly proud of everyone in the Groundbreak team. The hard graft they all put in without even considering what day of the week it is or how long they’ve been creating for. The beautiful end products they create which gives us the strong reputation we have built. Not only are they colleagues but also good friends who are all decent human beings that care passionately about video production, but more importantly the truly important things in life. I couldn’t do it without them, so thank you very much.

Last but not least the freelance crew we collaborate with all year round who devote their time, energy and enthusiasm to help us deliver astounding videos. We create content with many specialists from storyboard artists and sound recordists to 3d animators and sound designers. We always work with the best people and I think it shows in our video content.

It’s been a magical year and I’m excited for what’s around the corner in 2020. We already have some phenomenal video productions in the pipeline that I simply can’t wait to get stuck into. Many concepts signed off and shoot dates booked in and numerous Animations in development. It’s going to get hectic all over again before you know it so enjoy your Christmas holiday while you still can…

If you have any video production needs in the New Year and would like to collaborate with a team of creatives who not only love what they do but are also great fun to work alongside then please get in touch.

Happy New Year!

nativity scene

A Parent’s Guide to Video Production this Christmas

Christmas Videos

It’s the most wonderful time of the year. It’s cold. You’re sick. There is palpable anxiety in the crisp air. Cortisol courses through your veins like the biting wind that knives your cheeks. Weary, worn, weather-beaten you march on. The faceless frenetic crowd, apathetic, brush and bump you. Broken, you look but do not see. Dazzled, dazed, dizzy. Names, numbers, numbness. This is the Boots 3 for 2 Christmas sale. Will my nan actually use a No7 Electric Nights eye palette? Is my niece 4 or 12? Is my brother still with that girl? These are not the only urgent questions that require an answer. Is it possible to shoot a good video of my daughter’s Nativity play without using the best video production company in Manchester?

Capturing a Nativity Video

Social media video has fast become the only widely accepted documentation of verifiably accurate events, so there is growing pressure on parents to capture the hallmark moments of their child’s lives. A school’s annual nativity play, far from being anything that could be misconstrued as enjoyable, is instead a tense test of your video production skills.

Below is a reasonably comprehensive guide to creating the best possible video production to show that you love your child more than other people love theirs.

What Equipment Do I Need For Filming?

Most schools don’t allow cinema grade camera equipment or full-scale video production crews on their premises. I’ve tried but I’ve been turned away and things have gotten physical. Take it from me it’s not going to happen and you’re going to miss two days of your advent calendar locked in a cell. You’re going to have to shoot this thing on your phone.

If you are somebody who shoots video on your phone portrait rather than landscape, then it’s a statistical certainty that you are irreparably mentally ill and you should stop reading this and seek help.

Those of you who are left I recommend setting your camera app to Pro mode so you can familiarise yourself with manually adjusting white balance, ISO and focus. If this sounds dull or alienating fear not. You’ll get good bang for your buck by setting your camera to auto and tapping on the thing you want to be in focus on the screen. Shot composition is more important than your equipment on this production.

Shot List for the Best Christmas Video Production

Framing is key. Instinctively you’re going to crane and contort yourself in an effort to have your child front and centre of your frame while doing as much as you can to not compromise the shots of rest of the crew (other parents). In all likelihood you won’t have arrived early enough to secure spots on the front row. The pushy stage parents camp out the night before, anyway. Your child is already quietly baffled that everyone is now calling the dinner hall Bethlehem and, while children are merrily compliant enough to go along with this conceit so long as they get to put a tea towel on their head, the whole construct may fall down when they see their entire family sat in a row forcibly grinning, menacingly nodding and grotesquely mouthing a song that everyone else is actually singing. So, the front row is not advised. File in somewhere within rows 3-5 and aim for something central. The aisle is good but be mindful that there may be processions down the aisle during the performance. This would leave you with a very sharp pan* to follow the action from behind you, all along the aisle and on to the stage as I found out one disastrous harvest festival.

Being a little set back from the stage and relatively central is going to allow you to concentrate on capturing two key shots. One is the mid-shot. Frame your child up from the waist with a little head room at the top of shot. This squarely places your child as the focus of the shot but leaves plenty of clearance to ensure that you capture any erratic movements or over-zealous gesticulating. If your child is in one of the minor roles which I’ve seen range from the traditional donkey, through to the post-modern badger, you can crop in for a close up. In my experience the children who make up the wider cast of non-human mammals tend to be largely stationary except for the big musical numbers during which they may walk ill-rhythmically in a circle around the presumably terrified baby Jesus.

The second shot for the perfect nativity video production this Christmas is the wide. You should aim to capture the whole stage during the big set pieces that include all of the children. Used sparingly this shot gives a sense of the mise-en-scène as well the scale of the production which when watched back in the following years will be awe-inspiring or humbling for your child depending on the budget of the production.

For the Best Video Only Shoot the Best Bits

With either of the above two key shots there is something, or rather someone, to be aware of. He – it is usually though not always a boy – is pale faced with manic eyes, the teeth of his grin are as spaced out as his demeanour and his hair is brushed forward. You’re going to want to identify this child within the first few seconds of the play. Spot him before you spot your own child. It will pay dividends.

This child is what makes a nativity play. He is a key stage 2 psychopath. He is the wild maverick who, unfettered by the script or innate rationality, will lash out and create the moment that everyone will remember about the production. It is your job to keep him in shot where you can or have one eye on where he is at all times ready to frame him up in a split second. When he becomes restless and irritable is usually a good indicator that he’s about to go nuclear. It’ll start small. He’ll shout to the other children using their real name instead of their character name, he’ll tell the wisemen to “hurry up” when they’re following the star or he’ll loudly repeat that there is “no room at the inn” even though we’re well in to the third act and he’s playing a cow. But it will build.

He’ll start to wander around the stage aimlessly. Seemingly innocently. This is the moment. As he stalks through Bethlehem he will come to a natural pause. His gaze will fix and an eerie calm will swim across his smile. This is the moment. Train your camera on him, check your battery levels and steel yourself because this is it. At a minimum he will bounce a tambourine off a teaching assistant’s head. I’ve seen this shot made at 30 yards. Thrilling.

If you’re lucky he’ll take the baby Jesus and use him as a space hopper, singing his own re-written versions of Christmas songs that tell the story of his stepfather’s infidelity rather than that of the “Virgin” Mary. This is gold you cannot afford to miss. Ideally you will have a second roaming cameraman to focus solely on this boy. If your production crew is skeletal or you don’t have a second camera seriously consider buying the school’s DVD version of the Nativity and using your own resources to exclusively shoot this child. You’ll have the same wide, shakily shot version of the Nativity as all the other parents who didn’t read this, but you’ll have a viral video on your hands. Guaranteed.

Editing a Christmas Nativity

Any video production is made the best it can be in post-production. This is a video for social media. You want the edit to be snappy and eye catching. We may have to consider trimming some of the fat of the narrative.

No room at the inn, gold, frankincense and myrrh and the birth of a deity are the bankers. Those scenes have to be in there. The debt-slavery, the 18-year age gap between the 14-year-old Mary and her betrothed Joseph and the infanticidal scenes can be left out. They’re not Gram-able.

If you’re in town you can head into our Manchester office or contact our team and I’ll personally take a look at your rushes and explain how we can help with your Nativity edit. Unless yours is the pale-faced maniacal child. Then there’s nothing we can do to help.

I’m not actually aloud to share the recent nativity play video I created due to copyright and legal reasons. However, you can check out some of my other creations here.

Merry Christmas.

*A pan is a lateral rotation of the camera from a fixed point but can also be used as a substitute for ANY movement of the camera or re-framing of the shot such as a tilt, roll, zoom, dolly, jib or truck depending on how cool you are.

happy man

How Did I Get Into Video Production?

Do You Want a Career in Video Production?

I most certainly didn’t plan a career in video production. The thought never crossed my mind. The truth is I had absolutely no idea what I wanted to do when I grew up. Not a clue. All I was interested in as a teenager was sport and most importantly, creative writing. Whether that was poetry or prose, it didn’t matter. I just enjoyed the process and the escapism. Absolute freedom. Putting a pen to paper and writing whatever the hell I wanted was liberating. My handwriting was and still is the laughing stock it deserves to be. To say it was difficult to read would be an understatement. It needed an interpreter. Who cares though? It was the words that mattered as far as I was concerned. I never professed to be a calligrapher like Maeve, our creative director who annoyingly has incredibly elegant handwriting. Thank goodness for computers and fonts for folk like me. More importantly, thank goodness that bad handwriting didn’t hold me back in my video production quest.

Poetry and Mental Health

Some of my poems, especially when I was younger had a dark and abstract theme. Maybe a little too dark at times. I had quite the fight with mental health when I was a teenager and didn’t understand what was going on in my own head. I now look at it as a beautiful, melancholic moment in life that I overcame. In fact, I’m certain it made me a stronger person. Throughout the tough times my pen and paper were always in my pocket and they rescued me from myself. I’m sure many teenagers have issues as they progress through those heady and often cruel years and I was no different, although at the time I was convinced it was only me. I felt alienated and didn’t realise it was all part of the journey of growing up that would eventually lead to happiness. At that point of my life I certainly didn’t entertain the thought I would spend a sizeable chunk of my working life at a fun loving, award winning video production company here in Manchester. Not in my wildest dreams. Poor mental health has a cruel way of sucking all of the ambition and excitement out of you. It stops you dreaming big. It lowers your expectations. It dampens your soul. You can overcome it though!

Why We’re Passionate About Quality Video Production

By my late teens I had done every type of low paid, run-of-the-mill job imaginable. You name it (within reason, of course) and I’d done it. Some were better than others, but when I look back none of them rewarding or particularly enjoyable. They just put a bit of change in my back pocket and paid the rent. I do remember great anxiety in my teens regarding the age-old question of what am I going to do with my life? What is my ambition, my plan? I always responded in the same way. ‘I want to be happy’ and I meant it. That always raised a slightly irritating eyebrow. As if I was supposed to want more. Teachers often asked this question, never my parents. They let me be, and were calm about the big picture. Or at least that was the persona they exuded, but I don’t remember feeling any kind of pressure from them. I think the true relentless pressure always came from myself. I wasn’t particularly bothered about my teachers. I’m incredibly good at giving myself a hard time and expecting the world. I’ve always strived for perfection in whatever I do. Whatever the job, I’m the kind of person that thinks if you’re going to do something then you might as well do it properly and be proud of it. I think that’s why I’m part of one of the best video production companies in Manchester. Our drive at Groundbreak for quality video production stems from my own passion for excellence. Things just mean a lot to me. If I’m involved in something, then it just needs to be great otherwise I’m not interested. Here’s one of our award-winning TV commercial productions ‘crystals’ commercial. I hope you can see the love and passion we put into this for our client. This is what the Groundbreak team are all about. Putting our heart and soul into our productions.

https://vimeo.com/319013539

I didn’t know what I wanted to do in the long term career sense, so I decided the most sensible course of action would be to study English and Creative writing in university. This was a bit of a cop out because I didn’t think it would lead to much, but at least it would give me some direction. I didn’t even know what type of writing I would like to specialise in. When I was forced to choose, poetry was the front runner. Once I’d declared this, I was warned that I’d likely have to move to the Russian federation if I wanted to make a proper career in poetry. Apparently, they take it much more seriously out there. I still don’t have a clue to this day if that is true or not. Maybe they wanted to get rid of me…

Scriptwriting at University

At Uni I was introduced to film and theatre script writing which changed everything. I found to my surprise that I loved them equally as much as poetry. I decided at that moment I’d be a feature film screen writer or staff writer on an awesome prime time TV production as soon as I left uni. I was wrong of course. I did however manage to get my foot in the door of a major broadcaster soon after I graduated. For the first few months I was a glorified brew maker, which wasn’t ideal for a future Hollywood screen writer. I was super enthusiastic though and just got stuck in and because of this my tea making skills were noticed and I started making my way up the ladder. Along with mastering the art of the perfect brew I learned every aspect of video production and television programming during my time as a runner. Finally, I felt like I had a purpose. I was certain this was the industry for me. I flittered around for many years between different broadcasters and video production companies writing, producing and directing. Most importantly, I was learning off some incredibly talented people along the way, many of whom remain great friends to this day. Around this time I had a lot of success with my first indie documentary and that gave me the confidence to take the plunge and form my own Manchester based video production agency. And as they say, the rest is history.

Why We Love Video Production

Everyone has their own path. We all find our own route one way or another. Fortunately, I stumbled across the world of video production and it gave me the opportunity to express myself. I wake up every morning knowing that creativity is going to be an overriding theme of the day. It means everything to me that I’m plying my trade in a creative industry. Having that freedom to think and create on a daily basis. Surrounded by other creatives who all have their own aspirations and personalities but ultimately love creating video content in a fun environment. There can of course be restrictions on the videos we’re creating. But in order to be the best video production company it’s important to find creative ways of getting around the restrictions and challenges. At Groundbreak we all love what we do and treat our work as a vocation. If you can find that vocational mindset then I think it can help you on your way to finding what it is you’re supposed to do. We love all aspects of the production process. From idea shaping an incredibly exciting concept, scripting our latest corporate video production, storyboarding an immersive 3d animation that we have the pleasure of bringing to life, or online grading using the world renowned ‘Da Vinci Resolve’

We will do everything to get the perfect TV commercial look or simply editing a brand film or social video after a long but rewarding shoot. There are certainly more serious and important jobs out there, that’s for sure. However, as a creative, finding something that you enjoy and has endless opportunities in originality and imagination is utopia as far as I’m concerned.

In a way, video production kind of saved me in my adult life just like script writing saved me in my teens. Fate has a funny way of opening doors at just the right time. That’s why I love video production. If you’d like a creative team of decent human beings to work on your next video content project, please bear us in mind or give us a call.

pop art film camera

Video For Social Media

Social Media – Content Is King

What can social media video do for you? As of this year, the average person spends more time browsing social media than catching up on TV and honestly, I was surprised to find that statistic wasn’t true years ago. It’s now more important than ever to be advertising your brand on social media and here at Groundbreak we’re experts at producing social video content that’s optimised for just that!

What Makes Great Social Media Content?

That’s too much of a broad question to answer easily but there are some basics that all film makers will follow to create the best social media videos.

Social media is a fast moving and exciting place, which means the video content we put out has to reflect that. Shorter, visually stunning video content grabs people’s attention. Nowhere is it more important to keep viewers engaged with interesting and exciting videos than on the many social media platforms. By showcasing your brand or product with the best social videos, you create a credible and trustworthy presence in your market.

A Social Media Video Campaign

We recently teamed up with Colab to create a product video for their social media campaign #MoreThanJustPretty. They came to us looking for a fun advert that would not only reflect the attitudes and values of the brand, but also grab the attention of their followers on social media. Take a look at the commercial below. We received amazing feedback from a very happy client and it was a great project to be part of.

Social Video Production Values

Nowadays it’s not unusual for our clients to want us to create a social media video with the same production values as a prime time TV commercial or high-end corporate video content. Just because the output is on social media rather than television it doesn’t mean the end user doesn’t expect quality. A well crafted, slick social video gives off the feeling that the business in question is taking their content seriously. Highlighting that they care. Of course there can be certain occasions were production values don’t matter for social content. Although this is more for friends sharing funny videos of cats and dogs wearing sun glasses or juggling. Rather than businesses sharing their product videos. I’m certain the level of quality video created for brands on social is increasing all the time. It certainly is in my experience anyway. In the future, end users will likely be put off by social videos shared by businesses if they don’t look the part and have a bit of wow factor. The reason for this is that viewers are already inundated with video content and if it doesn’t float their boat immediately then it’s swiped away. In addition, if we’re already overrun with video content then I can only imagine it’s going to increase. This is why so much thought goes into the first 5 seconds of a social video in order to grab the attention of the viewer and hold it. It’s stiff competition.

How Does Engagement Work on Social Media?

Regardless of how many followers you have, quality content can reach thousands, even millions of potential customers if it gets good enagement. How? Well every like, comment, share, Retweet etc. allows your video content to be seen by not just your usual network, but the extended network of the person who has engaged with your content. Each click is opening the door for a whole new audience. So never underestimate the power of social media. We’ve all heard that at least once before, right? Whether we’re talking about someone being reunited with a long lost relative, or a rescue dog finding his forever home, we’ve all seen examples of how these platforms allow us to reach a much greater audience and social video content for your business is no different! You’re only a like away from your next sale!

If you want social media video content for your brand, contact our team today!

Video Production Manchester 0161 962 5455

flame engulfed microphone from a brand film

What Makes Good Corporate Video Production?

Manchester Video Production

In Manchester, video production is highly competitive and there is some outstanding video content being created every day. However, often when people think of corporate videos they assume they are boring health and safety videos, training videos or cheap corporate films that the viewer stops watching within 10 seconds. Maybe that is the case in some corporate video productions that lack creativity and invention. It doesn’t have to be this way though. When you’re lucky enough to work for one of the best video production companies Manchester has to offer then you do things differently. We pride ourselves on delivering exactly what our clients are looking for, while always striving to think of a new angle or perspective to ensure the end viewer watches the entire video and even more importantly, remembers it.

Corporate Video Production, that’s not so Corporate

Granted, some subjects are dry in nature and it can be a challenge to add something a bit different. However, it could be something as subtle as getting more interesting takes of the same question in an interview and coaxing a touch of personality out of the contributor. Afterall, sometimes the most confident and gregarious individuals get nervous when a film camera is shoved in their face. On the other end of the spectrum it could be an abstract concept that subliminally resonates with the audience in a highly creative way. There are many ways to create a video idea. You could have the exact same brief and concept, but a totally different creative approach. Sometimes this comes down to budget but more often than not it doesn’t. It’s simply a matter of being brave with the execution. Don’t assume a video has to be a certain way just because that’s how most people would create it or imagine it. There is always an original way. Always a more interesting route. Sometimes you just need to be bold and try something new. At Groundbreak we’re always trying to do things a bit different which is why our portfolio is so diverse.

Business Culture Videos

Below is an example of one of our corporate video productions that is all about the culture of a business and the people that make the company tick. This is a quintessential corporate video that isn’t very corporate at all. I doubt you’ll have watched many corporate videos that feature a burning microphone or a martial arts champion showing off his moves.

Our client was determined to showcase the people behind the scenes. They all have their own personalities which combined is what makes the business a success. They wanted the world to see who they are and what they’re all about. Above all, the owner wanted potential clients to know why they do what they do and why they love what they do. Anyone who commissions them to build a studio knows they are in very safe hands- Not just that they’re experienced which is important, of course- but more than that. Clients can now see how much passion they have for what they do, highlighting that it’s more than just work. It’s a vocation and everyone in the company has a musical background or keen interest in music. That’s why everything works in perfect harmony.

Our client was blown away by this video and said it had gone way beyond their expectations. This was a lovely compliment for the Groundbreak team because we truly care about our video productions. It means the world to us to receive that kind of feedback. It’s also of high importance that the videos we create make a difference for our client. We want them to walk away with a corporate video that they’re proud of. Something they want to show to the world because it delivers the message that they want to share. It shows their potential clients who they are and why they are someone you’d want to do business with. Finally…results. The video needs to reach the exact target audience it is aimed for and open their eyes. Maybe make the viewer feel something that isn’t tangible, but highly positive. What better way to achieve this than to create a video that not only resonates and instigates an emotion, but lingers in the persons mind long after they’ve watched it.

(RED) Weapon of Choice

In order to capture the stunning pictures required we decided the perfect camera for this particular video production was a RED camera. There’s a clue in the header above to the exact camera we used for any DOP’s or camera geeks like us reading this. We needed to shoot in hi speed (slow motion) for numerous shots in order to achieve the effect and style we were aiming for. This camera is an excellent choice when you want to keep resolution but shoot a slow-motion scene.

In my experience corporate video is a loose term. It can mean a range of video content from social videos, brand films, promotional videos, animation explainers, product adverts and everything else in-between. Essentially, it’s a video that is created for a company or brand as some form of promotion, education, information or advertisement. The only thing that really matters is how the corporate video is executed, how engaging it is, and that it nails the brief.

If you’re looking for a corporate video or simply a chat about how you could implement a video content strategy. Please do give us a call and we’d be happy to help contact us.

2d animation production for television

The Groundbreak Autumn Round-up

Celebrating Manchester’s Best Video Production Companies

Here at Groundbreak we can’t believe we’re edging closer to the end of November. What an autumn it’s been already here at Groundbreak HQ. We spent an evening at the MPA inspiration awards last month as one of the best video production companies Manchester has to offer, nominated for best video. We were pipped to the top spot by a BBC collaboration in the end, but still very proud to have one of our commercials up against the biggest players in the industry. It’s two consecutive years now we have been an award nominated finalist at the MPAs for television adverts we’ve produced from concept to final delivery. Video production in Manchester is thriving and here at Groundbreak Productions we are in the thick of it and loving every minute of producing outstanding corporate and commercial videos.

Video Production For Global Brands

Another great achievement this autumn for Groundbreak has been working with a multi-billion-dollar client from over the pond for the first time. Our new client has impeccable standards and expect quality video and perfection with all of their commercials. It involved a large green screen shoot directed by our in-house Director Geoff and produced by our very own Creative Producer Sean along with the rest of the Groundbreak team. We needed a 35-person crew, a RED Helium 8k and two Arri Amira cameras all shooting in synchronicity. Fortunately, the team at Groundbreak like pressure and thrive under that kind of environment. It’s all top secret at the moment but watch this space for the commercial’s release in the new year.

Animated Videos

It’s been a hectic autumn for our post-production team too. We’ve been creating numerous animations both 2d and 3d. We’re putting the finishing touches to a magical 3d animation imagined and realised by our talented Head of Production Matt  for another wonderful client which will be polished and mastered just before winter arrives. Animating this piece was great fun with it being a highly satisfying and captivating style. However, the most fun part was the sound design. We locked ourselves away for a good few days in our post-production studio and created hypnotic sounds that we’re certain will blow the audience away.

One of the many other animations we have recently created is a fun 2d TVC we produced for another client which has just been broadcast. This is a product animation highlighting an exciting range of security products in a fun style that even briefly includes a fire breathing dragon (no, not the John Lewis Advert!). Due to our client’s positivity towards the final video animation we’ve no doubt it will deliver excellent results for them and we look forward to creating the next one.

Winter – A Busy Time For Corporate Videos

We’re always crazy busy at this time of year because many of our clients want to shoot their commercial, corporate or social videos just before their Christmas parties as part of their marketing strategy for the new year.

See you soon and here’s to a fun and productive winter season that’s just around the corner.

Enjoyed this round up? Have a look at our other video production blogs, including behind the scenes stories, equipment reviews and general video production hints and tips !