Beeston Media - 2014 highlights

​We had the busiest year of our 10x year history in 2014, with a good spread of work across our main sectors. While video remains our primary focus, increasing numbers of clients are choosing to commission still images for a project too, shot at the same time as the video, thus ensuring a common look across all media and budget savings.

Much of our PROPERTY work is under-the-radar for private HNWIs, developers and estate agents, so sadly we cannot say too much about it or show the films / pictures, as much as we would like to! However, 2014 work we can showcase includes films for super-prime developers Seqoya, Harrison Varma and Fargain

Worthy of particular mention is the Queens Court, St John's Wood film for Seqoya (see earlier blog entries) for which we were voted Property Videographer of the Year by international real estate blog Photography for Real Estate. We have also continued to produce a range of films / still images for long-term clients and top-end builders Knowles & Associates and London Projects, a client since 2013. 

In EDUCATION, we delivered a suite of films for another long-term client Royal High School, Bath. These included a 9x mins main film and a number of shorter pieces to highlight specific aspects of the school, such as boarding and sport. For our other key education client University of Bristol, we made over 80x films in 2014, including being invited to produce the university's first two MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) with partner FutureLearn. The MOOC topics were Cracking Mechanics - Maths for Engineers and Cultural Studies & Modern Languages and we provided video content of 24x and 12x short video lectures along with trailers / introductions. In Cracking Mechanics we incorporated extensive motion graphics as well as hands-on demonstrations of the science. Other University projects include filming star lectures, introductions to library services and training films for dentistry examiners.

One key advance in 2014 was our increased use of an ipad-based teleprompter for pieces-to-camera. We're really impressed how happily our clients adopted this and how it makes scripted shoots so much quicker and easier, with very little additional cost.

In TECHNOLOGY,  we continued to produce films for aerospace / defence giant Curtiss-Wright with foreign language versions of earlier films and new pieces to showcase their latest video distribution and mission display technology. A new client was Monmouth Scientific for whom we made a company profile film and 2x product demo videos for their new laminar flow fume cabinets. Another new client was veterinary innovation firm Docsinnovent, for whom we have made over 20x films to showcase their revolutionary v-gel anaesthesia system for cats and rabbits.

Finally, the CORPORATE sector is less-defined in scope than the other sectors but covers pretty much anything else we are asked to film. In 2014 we we continued to produce films / stills for UK lighthouse institution Trinity House. We made a series of 8x films to celebrate their 500th Anniversary in 2014 and later in the year added to these with pieces about their new Control Centre and the cutting-edge Lights Laboratory. Another highlight was the coverage of the 2014 Policy & Politics Journal Conference. For this, we shot the 4x plenary speakers' full lectures and also produced a highlights film of the event. We also shot a series of road safety films for Mercedes Benz World.

Do please have a look around the website and get in touch to see how we can help you / your business in 2015.

Property Videographer of the Year 2014

​We are delighted to announce that Hamish Beeston has been voted Videographer of the Year for 2014 by Photography for Real Estate website. 

PFRE is a US-based site which acts as a hub / advice resource / forum for professional and aspirant real estate photographers and videographers across the globe. Contributors come from all areas, with the most cutting edge work (especially in video) tending to come from the USA and Australia.

We were lucky enough to win one of the 'Video of the Month' competitions back in May with our Queens Court Penthouses film for Seqoya (see below for case study). All the monthly winners were then judged by a jury of past winners / real estate agents / property experts for the annual title and we won! 

Competition judge Charlie Dresen. Steamboat Real Estate, Colorado, USA

'Great work Hamish and so well deserved. The balance of your video is spectacular. Your visuals are flawless and your audio crisp. And more importably, you told a sequential story that was so appealing to watch. Congratulation to all – you’re all winners for just making the cut. Cheers to creativity and progress is 2015.'

Case Study: Prime penthouse brand film

The Property:   Queens Court Penthouses (St John’s Wood, London)

The Client:        Seqoya

Queens Court is a 1960s residential block in St Johns Wood. Developers Seqoya bought the top floor with air rights that, with subsequent planning permission, allowed them to create an extra floor-and-a-half above. The result is two luxury penthouses – Hyperion and Vertice – that combine amazing views with first class specification and finishes. Seqoya also refurbished the exterior and common parts of the entire building.

When we were asked to film the penthouses, both apartments had already been sold. So we immediately identified that the client’s requirements were above and beyond a luxury property tour. As well as using high-end craft to showcase the incredible space and finish, this video needed to tell the story of Seqoya’s brand; a brand that leaves investors no doubt that this developer is at the very top of its league, and delivers time and time again.

So how, as filmmakers, do we capture the essence of a brand? Firstly we get to know the client, and the product. We have worked with Seqoya since 2009 so we already had a pretty good sense of what they were about. Yet every property is different, so we also did a thorough ‘recce’ of both apartments, to get a keen idea of bespoke features, layout and light.

This mental mapping is incredibly important for a film at this level. It allows us to start editing the story in our heads before bringing the camera in. We can then develop a strong narrative line to be agreed with our customer.

In this case the chosen emphasis was to capture the expertise of the design and development team. This needed to encompass both the quality of the end result, and the superb project management credentials. With this in mind, a series of interviews with the selling agents should drive the narrative. In films like this, testimony from a client’s CEO has its place, but a third party endorsement is even more valuable.

Visually, we could be less literal than a traditional property tour. We need not show every room. Instead we give an impression of the look, feel and quality of the scheme and the luxury lifestyle it offers. Seqoya deliver the whole package – architecture, interior design and building management  – so the big wide hero shot of the living room, the close-up of a leather-lined cuff-link drawer and the shot of the uniformed concierge must all fall seamlessly into a sumptuous feast for the eyes.

The word ‘seamless’ is key here. It’s only seamless because behind the scenes we work tirelessly to get it right, and use many years of experience to use workarounds when conditions are less than ideal. The fantastic views you see only came after a patient wait for the dew to clear from the glass balconies, when the London sun was being particularly reluctant. We filmed it three times before the perfectionist in us was satisfied.

To present rooms perfectly involves a dance you must play with light, stylists and a host of tradesman each with their own agendas, tool bags and ladders. As is often case with property of this type, there was a narrow window for filming between near completion and handover. The finished film shows a graceful gliding shot. In reality you’ve only just managed to frame out the trailing wires of the AV guy, dodged a French Polisher and are only half a room behind the cleaner.

Our estimated two days filming was spot on for this shoot, and allowed us to showcase both apartments during the day and night, plus some great lifestyle shots of the surrounding St John’s Wood. The result was five hours of footage to make a four minute film. Five hours sounds a lot (is a lot!) but it’s all shot for a reason. It’s crucial to have options to craft a smooth, flowing film. Pans and tilts must go both ways and then stop cleanly at a certain point. Track and dolly gliding shots must be exactly the right speed and smoothness. And all shots must be perfect. If they’re not, we’ll repeat them until they are. That’s what it takes to make an expertly crafted film of this calibre. A film designed to reflect and enhance the standards of the product and the client it serves.

Rob McGregor, MD, Seqoya:

"Firstly having used Beeston Media for our previous property marketing movies, and corporate movie, it seemed the right course of action to use them again. The brief for these luxury high end apartments was quite simple, in that the movie should make them appear as fantastic as they did in real life. To this end Beeston Media have exceeded all our expectations and we truly believe that the movie created was excellent. 

"Moreover their method of asking the right and most pertinent questions of the interviewees extracted unprompted commentary that clearly exposed how the marketing agents truly felt about these properties. Once again we are thrilled at the result and we look forward to working with Beeston Media on our future projects."

Property Video Production? Stick the Vs up.

​From a client’s point of view, commissioning a video can be a risky business. Where do you go? Via your regular marketing agency, directly to a video production company or to somebody’s cousin, fresh out of film school? And how do you avoid falling prey to an indecipherable ‘creative vision’, or a production you could have shot yourself on an iPad?

Well the good news is, when it comes to video you know a lot more than you think you do. You know good TV when you see it and you know how to connect with your clients off screen.  Take that knowledge and then consider three very important Vs that will take the pain out of choosing the right supplier for you:

Viewability 

For a film to entice and retain viewers it needs to look good and have a strong narrative. That narrative should complement and enhance your existing strengths. If you’re known for sharp architectural detail and finish, get your video producer to show you examples of how they’ve crafted films to bring out these attributes. If the personal touch is your thing, how about going in front of camera yourself to connect with clients?

Never be bamboozled by creative jargon. A good producer should have a strong portfolio that you like and understand. Just because somebody used to work in feature films or boasts an award for a groundbreaking viral ad campaign, it doesn’t qualify them to make the right property video for you. Don’t be afraid to fire up YouTube and say ‘we’d like something like this’. Your producer’s response will be a great indicator of whether you should be working with them.

Value

Budgets can vary widely, from a £500 wave-the-camera-about tour to £50K plus for agency-driven shoots involving actors, helicopters and foreign locations. Ask tough questions about what you’re getting for your money. How many filming and editing days are involved, and what equipment is being deployed? Find out who the key talent is. You don’t want to pay top rates only to find out office juniors are running the shoot. Be clear about schedules and the scope for changing things if you’re not happy. Commissioning a film should be a relatively stress-free and enjoyable part of your job.  If you’re not clear on anything, ask for transparency. If you don’t get it, run a mile.

Versatility

We used to think of property videos as the film version of a brochure: self-contained units that could sit on your client’s desk.  The digital age has shown us they’re so much more versatile than their paper equivalents. Getting your film produced is just the beginning. Consider whether you need just one version, or would be better breaking it down into mini films. Do you want to show potential clients everything at once, or do you want to tease them with work-in-progress to build momentum? It’s also worth thinking about international versions. Closed-caption subtitling is very cost effective, and, along with video tagging, is an increasingly important part of an SEO campaign.

The most flexible approach is to think of your footage as a collection of video assets. Re-edit it and add a few interviews to produce a company profile. Offer it to approved websites to help drive your traffic, or tie it into a topical debate. Or just release select tidbits to a highly exclusive and potentially profitable audience. Above all, make your video work hard for you. Unlike a glossy book, feel free to disrespect it, chop it up and throw it around. It’s your versatile workhorse, not a producer’s vanity project.

Corporate video shot on iPhone - video snobs look away now!

A professional looking corporate video means big cameras and lots of money, right? Not always. New client Bonovate approached us with a new invention that needed a demo video, but they didn't have the budget to get a crew out to film them. Instead they shot their own footage on iPhone, and got us to package it up for them.  Now the DIY approach isn't something we'd usually recommend, but we're no video snobs, and in this case it was a great idea.  

So just how did the client make it work for them? Firstly they were pretty clued-up and wrote a clear script outline. Secondly, they were happy for us to give remote direction and re-shoot things that simply weren't working. Thirdly, they let us add music that they didn't initially want, but sound recording from phone footage is usually poor, and it really helps to cover the joins.

So with just half-a-day's video editing they got the perfect video for 'Hound Surround' to use as a sales tool. Not too glossy, but wonderfully fit for purpose for an audience of vets looking for practical collars, not frills!

If you're thinking of making your own web film or news piece based on your own phone footage, why not give us a call to discuss what might work for you?