Video Killed The Traditional Media Model

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One of my clients, Objekt Films, is developing new business models for companies who need to include video as part of their marketing campaigns. We can all see that the existing model is broken. Here's some of the thinking beyond Objekt's new product launches.

For most brands, whether big or small, taking the step into creating original video for marketing can be daunting. Everyone knows what they need to do but just getting started can be difficult.

Do you make the video in-house or engage with a proper video production company? If the former, you may have the equipment and some in-house skills but will you be able to deliver something good enough? If the latter, where do you start? So many production companies seem so big, scary and expensive. And most of the time you don’t know exactly what you need.

They push you towards big expensive shoots while all you actually need is lots of content and a plan to post it regularly. Even just finding out the cost can be difficult!

It’s obvious then that the existing model is broken. It’s built for a different time and no longer makes sense to the vast majority of modern businesses.

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The truth is that your business needs to be creating killer content to engage potential customers - especially via social platforms. The reality is that getting from this realisation to actually delivering quality content in the quantities needed, can be quite a journey. So it keeps getting put off and off and off… indefinitely.

At Objekt Films we had a similar challenge, but from the other point of view. Potential clients loved our work but when we got as far as quoting prices, they seemed to reach decision paralysis. It’s not that we’re expensive (we’re not) but more that the many options were confusing. They also wanted an ongoing relationship which had to work over a longer period of time than just a one-off shot. So we went back to the drawing board. How could we reinvent the production model for these modern times?

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We’ve now launched a number of packages that we will simplify the whole process. We started from the customer’s point of view and have now announced a Monthly Video Plan that can be bought as is, or tailored to your needs.

Up front we tell you how much it will cost. That’s something that surprisingly seldom happens. You usually get a sharp intake of breath or some talk about the length of a piece of string! With our Monthly Video Plan, we make it really simple. Starting at less than £1000, we make it really clear what you get for your money and work closely with you on what content to make.

We also understand the social media landscape and how to make the best video for each platform. We maximise the time on each shoot to give you enough content for all of your social media profiles for the month. We’ve started doing this for a range of clients in the food and health sectors and it’s really working and getting great results.

Whether it’s 6 videos a month from just £995 or up to 16 videos for £2495, we can find a package that suits you and the story you need to tell. You get to work with our amazing team - you just need to check our website to find out how happy our customers are with what we’ve made for them.

So check out our existing packages online here https://objekt.co.uk/monthly-video-plan/or give us a shout to to find out how we can make these work for your business.

Make video the key part of your marketing plans that it deserves to be. We’ve made it easy for you - and we’re excited about working with you. Stop procrastinating and begin to make that difference your business needs today!

Why Not Now? Director’s Commentary by James Lovick

Back at the beginning of 2017, Objekt Films got in contact to say that Vimeo and Charles Schwab had been in touch to see whether we would like to pitch some ideas for this year’s series of films, Why Not Now?

Last year, we had the pleasure of working on our first commission with Vimeo’s Brand Studio on Charles Schwab’s series, Why This Road? It was an awesome experience to make the film, about my friend Chris Yacoubian’s battle with cancer and his life-changing role with the RNLI. (Watch that film HERE)

  Why This Road?

Why This Road?

The brief this year was to find stories of individuals who regardless of age, have made a change in their life for the better. It was an incredibly open and wide brief that really encompassed anyone of any age who has done something incredible with their life.

To begin with, when you receive a brief like that, the broadness is both simultaneously refreshing and daunting at the same time. Where to start looking? What sort of stories to try and chase? In all honesty, the infinite possibilities and angles to approach the project can be a bit intimidating, to begin with.

What I’ve learnt over the years is that you should always seek out and pitch films that you want to make, rather than forcing yourself into pitching a story just because it fits the brief. I always now ask myself the question, “do I really want to make this film” before I engage with any project. That might seem like an obvious train of thought, but it’s taken me a while to come round to that way of thinking.

  On location, sheltering from the heat in the motorbike trailer

On location, sheltering from the heat in the motorbike trailer

When I work on a project I throw everything I have into making it the best it can be and if my heart doesn’t believe in the story or agree with what it’s trying to achieve then I shouldn’t be making the film. These pieces of work take a great deal of dedication and time to put together, so committing to a project has become somewhat of a more thought provoking process over the last couple of years. This one though was definitely something I wanted to be a part of.

Given the brief was to find stories spanning all ages in life, I decided to focus on finding someone from the older generation. I really wanted to find someone that would challenge people’s preconceptions of what being ‘old’ or ‘retired’ was. I think we live in a world where a classic way of thinking is that once we get to a certain stage in life, that we’re all ‘past our best’. For some, due to ill health that may be the case – but for many in my opinion, the best is yet to come. I for one (although it’s a long way off) certainly plan on spending my retirement travelling the world and going on as many adventures as I can.

  Talking through shooting the final sequence of the film

Talking through shooting the final sequence of the film

When researching and unearthing stories, finding someone in their older years was surprisingly difficult. It was fairly easy to find characters who had broken the mould and done something incredible in their lives around the 20-50 year old age range, but it took a lot of digging around the internet to find the right story for this year's film. Finding that film that jumped off the page and gave me that magic moment where I thought “Yes, that’s the film I want to make”.

I’d almost given up researching for the day – I had searched through endless articles on pensioners, who had started new businesses or embarked on remarkable feats of athletic endurance… but none had really given me that spark – so I changed tack. I decided to try an image search and see what results that would throw up. There on page 25 was what I had been looking for – Mardelle Peck, a seventy year-old woman who was sat on a hugely powerful superbike. That was what I had been looking for – a character who stopped me dead in my tracks with how out of place my mind thought it was… but why shouldn’t a seventy year-old lady ride a superbike I thought to myself?! Good on her!!!

  The original picture I found online where the idea for the film started

The original picture I found online where the idea for the film started

I immediately typed the story up and sent it over to my producer (and cousin) Bart at Objekt. We agreed that this was a special find and a film that we’d really love to make. We sent the synopsis over to Vimeo and Charles Schwab with a few other ideas and waited with bated breath to find out if our excitement was shared with everyone over in the US. Thankfully, they picked Mardelle’s story and we went into production.

Being an independent British production company was definitely a challenge in the run up to the shoot for Objekt. We knew we would only have the budget and time to fly out to California for a few days to create the film. Planning was going to be key on this. Part of that planning process was for me to map out how Mardelle’s story could be translated across to a short online film. After writing my initial synopsis of the film, I researched visuals to give my production team and Director of Photography an idea of the type of shots and aesthetic I was hoping to achieve. These formed the storyboards that would be the building blocks the film would be based around.

  Storyboard research

Storyboard research

From the finished film, the research and planning at this stage of the process are very apparent – it’s something that I think was very beneficial to the whole team and to me, it was very satisfying to see the development from ideas on paper through to the finished product.

Mardelle was a huge help in the pre-production process – her local knowledge was crucial to knowing what would be achievable and where would be the most suitable and spectacular locations to shoot our film. After all, our visas were in order and everything was planned to perfection (well done Bart!) we set off across the Atlantic to San Francisco before driving the four hours up to Chico, CA.

  DoP – Gerry Vasbenter, Producer – Bart Frank & Director – James Lovick

DoP – Gerry Vasbenter, Producer – Bart Frank & Director – James Lovick

We always work as part of a small self-sufficient team on location. I think that when filming with real characters, in my experience the fewer people you invade someone’s personal space with the more comfortable they feel. The more likely you are to bond with them and therefore, the more likely they are to let down the walls we all build around ourselves as our guard … and ultimately open up and share their experiences with you.

  Day 1, arriving at Thunderhill for sunrise

Day 1, arriving at Thunderhill for sunrise

Day one was an early start, heading out to Thunderhill Raceway Park to meet Mardelle. Up until this point, all our conversations and planning had been done over the phone or online so to finally meet the lady we had been talking about for so long … and had travelled halfway around the world to film with was great. She lived up to and exceeded everything we had hoped she would be. Both Mardelle and her husband, Ron, were some of the most welcoming people I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. I say this a lot… and maybe I’m just lucky, but you do get to meet some incredible people doing this job, who willingly welcome you into their homes and daily lives at the drop of a hat.

  Mardelle being wired up with a walkie talkie so we could give her instructions as they rode along

Mardelle being wired up with a walkie talkie so we could give her instructions as they rode along

At the track, we battled the 100oF heat to film Mardelle doing what she does best, ripping up the tarmac on her Yamaha R6 bike. Damn is she fast! I remember one of our first conversations with her, where I asked her how fast she goes round the track and her reply was “somewhere around 140mph into the corners”… “How on earth are we going to film that”, I thought!

  Mardelle on the track

Mardelle on the track

Our solution, given our budget, was to use a piece of equipment called an Osmo Pro. Built by the Chinese company DJI, more commonly associated with drone tech, we used a miniaturised X5 camera gimbal to capture some the more exhilarating shots from the track. The small and lightweight size of this impressive camera allowed us to place it directly onto Mardelle’s bike as well as other motorbikes chasing and leading her around the track. From a distance, I knew it would be hard to convey the extreme speeds at which Mardelle flew around corners, so the ability to place the viewer in amongst the action was really important to me.

  DJI Osmo Pro X5 rigged to the bike

DJI Osmo Pro X5 rigged to the bike

  Screenshot of the iPhone controls of the camera

Screenshot of the iPhone controls of the camera

I was really impressed how the X5 performed in comparison to our main Sony FS7 camera. Even at 4k resolution, I think the quality from its micro 4/3 sensor was pretty astounding. The camera beams the image to an iPhone app which makes framing, controlling the camera and reviewing footage on the move very simple and quick. All round a brilliant bit of kit and a huge improvement on the original X3 Osmo.

 “ 140mph into the corners”

140mph into the corners”

For health and safety reasons, the only time we were allowed the crew and our main cameras on the track to film was during the midday lunch hour when all other riders were off. This ‘Power Hour’ as we nicknamed it, was very intense. Planning each shot and camera move to the minute so that we could capture everything I needed to create the edit I had imagined. We also had to shoot our drone shots within this hour-long period as well; after getting all our main shots from the ground, the drone had approximately fifteen minutes to get all the angles I’d requested. Drone cinematography is a technique I’m very fond of in films such as these. Used sparingly and at the right time, it gives a unique perspective and I feel lifts the production value to a higher and more cinematic level.

  Drone perspective on Mardelle riding round the track

Drone perspective on Mardelle riding round the track

From the track, we made our way up into the hills surrounding Chico to film the road trip sequence that would form the ending of the film. I really wanted our story to finish on a high note, both literally and physically. To me, every good road trip and journey should end on a high and the surrounding landscape of California certainly delivered on that front. We had scoped out a viewpoint above the forest that had a ridgeway track leading up to it. It seemed like the perfect metaphorical ending to Mardelle and Ron’s story – I kept everything crossed for a good sunset and again, California did not disappoint. It was a very long, but incredibly successful first day’s filming and we all rested knowing that we had already captured a large proportion of what would be the finished film.

  Gerry shooting the end sequence driving shots on a 300mm lens with a doubler

Gerry shooting the end sequence driving shots on a 300mm lens with a doubler

  Drone capturing the final shot of the film as the sun sets over the mountains

Drone capturing the final shot of the film as the sun sets over the mountains

On day two we wanted to capture all of the archive sequence for the film. Whenever I use photographic archive in films, I try to incorporate it into the film in an organic and natural manner. I try to shoot whatever archive we need to tell the story ‘in-camera’ – last year in Chris’ film, I compiled a short list of all of Chris’ photos from moments throughout his life and created a photo album that he could look back through during our archive sequence. Given this year subject matter, I wanted to try something different and hint at the era from which Mardelle grew up in. I found an old slide projector here in the UK and with Mardelle’s help, had some of her key archive material printed onto 35mm slides.

  35mm archive slides

35mm archive slides

There’s something magical about old slide projectors – to me they have an old-worldly quality to them – perhaps its something to do with the clunky moving parts of the internal mechanism – that’s something that has been lost in our modern day machines. Projecting the archive was a great way of incorporating the images into the film – I think Mardelle and Ron really enjoyed looking back at their past in a way they hadn’t for a long time.

In the afternoon we ventured off to another local beauty spot to capture some more footage of Mardelle and Ron for the road-trip sequence. Before this project, I hadn’t appreciated how varied the landscape is in California. From the dry and barren flat plains near the racetrack the day before, we were now winding our way along beautiful river beds with mountainous forests rising above us. We captured so much beautiful material that afternoon that it ended up being one of the hardest sequences to cut down and choose what to include in the edit.

  Riding along river valley of Highway 70

Riding along river valley of Highway 70

On our last day, we met Mardelle and the Peck family at her daughter’s house – on first glance it seemed like your average family home but Jeff, Mardelle’s son-in-law is a man of great skill. He creates amazing sculptures out of scrap metal and machine parts. He has transformed their outhouse into what can only be described as one of the world’s best ‘man caves’ – Elwoods Bar! It was awesome – a treasure trove full of old arcade machines, vintage memorabilia, retro computers and games. It was amazing – one day I hope to get the chance to go back and make a film about Jeff and his collection! It was the perfect location to shoot our master interview.

  Elwoods Bar

Elwoods Bar

I always try and schedule the shoot to interview our contributors on the last day. Having spent a few days together, they have got a grasp of who you are and worked out that you’re not trying to make them out to be anything they are not. You, in turn, have got a grasp on the sort of questions you want to ask and how to tease out the answers you need… even if they aren’t forthcoming at first. The interview with Mardelle took just over an hour – it was like chatting to a friend by the end. She was so open and happy to tell us about herself and her story. She’s incredibly modest and humble about the fact she inspires people and especially young women – I hope us making the journey out from the UK to shoot a film about her makes her realise just how special she is.

  Mardelle’s interview

Mardelle’s interview

Having captured our last few shots to tie the whole film together, we set off on the journey back to San Francisco, even managing to get a classic team shot in front of the Golden Gate Bridge… moment’s after this picture was taken, Gerry’s hat blew off in the wind disappearing out into the Bay!

All-in-all, it was an awesome shoot with some very hard working and talented people. Mardelle was so inspirational to spend some time with and get to know. I really hope to be as active and daring in my old age as she is.

Watch the finished film HERE

VR: The Future of Storytelling?

This week we checked out the latest in the virtual reality world. Although expectations may have been that I would end up in an embarrassed crumpled mess on the floor – like this poor guy:

… the resulting experience was dramatically different.

What we witnessed is tech that is on the brink of being able to create a totally immersive way of consuming content. The possibilities for the gaming market are obvious and already being explored to a certain degree. What’s intriguing is the ways we can explore narrative storytelling and other areas in the “non-fiction” space.

Documentary

The ability to get up close and personal not only with a subject of a film but the ability to explore their world through “your own eyes” gives another dimension for an audience to learn about a character and their story.

News reporting

This could be a game changer. What is it like on a boat full of refugees, being shelled in the heart of Aleppo or stuck in the jungle in Calais? It’s very difficult to honestly put yourself in these people’s position, VR has the ability to change that and drastically increase the impact ‘the news’ has on individuals.

Live performance

As referenced in one of Samsung’s TV commercials this year, the ability to “be at” a concert or gig is quite remarkable and as artists opt for professional VR production of their gigs the popularity of this will grow. However even more powerful is the ability for a fan to be in the studio with their favourite artist, or have an individual performance being sung only to them, one on one.

Celebrity access

As we grow more invasive and the audience demands ever increasing access to celebrity’s lives, creating VR content has the ability to transport any fan to be face to face with their idol. This has huge potential both for the celebrity and/or brands associated with them.


I think it is still a short way off becoming everyday mass market technology for film – the cost, size, comfort and audio of virtual reality would suggest we are a couple of product cycles away. I feel it is a chicken and egg situation with VR content producers and the VR audience. Would a brand/broadcaster/producer pay millions of pounds to create amazing content for a limited audience? Will the audience adopt VR if there is a lack of engaging, entertaining film and video?

Although the tech is certainly impressive and increasing possibilities to create captivating content I feel for the next year or two VR will remain predominantly for short form video and as an additional feature on larger projects. However with the rate at which things change and develop I think we will know by the end of 2017 if VR really is going to be the next big thing.

Internship (Paid Job Opportunity)

At Objekt Films we really value our interns. We see them as a way to find the next influx of employees, help us grow our company and deliver work we’re proud of.

As an intern at Objekt Films you will have the opportunity to develop and learn a variety of skills.

We are looking for people who are excited about a role that challenges them, and who’ll embrace the opportunity to work at Objekt Films.

We want people who share our sense of commitment to the projects we run, and who are willing to go the extra mile to deliver the best possible work.

The internship is aimed at anyone who is interested in a career in branded content, production, film, TV or agency land.

You don’t need a degree or to know people in the right places to work at Objekt Films but you do need to be hard working, passionate and driven AND possess the following skills:

Required Skills

The perfect intern fulfils most of these key skills

  • Can come up with ideas and enjoys thinking creatively
  • Excited about being part of a team and getting stuck in
  • Comfortable with juggling a variety of tasks simultaneously
  • Understands the importance of deadlines
  • Can follow a brief
  • Attention to detail
  • Enthusiastic and proactive

The right person for this role will have passion for creating amazing video, and an appetite to learn more about the production process. Ideally, they’ll have some experience with some aspects of video production, e.g. camera work or editing – but also be keen to expand their knowledge in different areas.

The work will vary significantly from taster tapes and mood reels for pitches, to films, online TV shows and campaigns that reach millions of people. From pre-production brainstorming, logistics and planning, through to working on set, and then finally putting everything together in the edit, we work across all stages of video production.

There will be opportunities for our interns to get experience of a range of different roles in production and post-production – camera operation, sound recording, editing, motion graphics, sound mixing and colour grading.

To apply please send a CV, examples of work you think best represents your skills and a covering letter saying why you want to work with us to makenoise@objekt.co.uk.


About Objekt Films

PUNCHING THROUGH IN A NOISY WORLD

Objekt Films is a creative studio of dynamic young filmmaking talent. We are:

  • Bold – we say Yes & love the New
  • Noisily Entertaining
  • Great to work with

We tell stories on screen which people love to share.

Bringing a wealth of experience to our business is our Chairman, David Frank (RDF Media, Zodiak Media, TRX).

In short, fresh young ideas combined with extensive production experience.

Cannes Lions – Why This Road

We are delighted to announce that Charles Schwab (the client for our latest film – Why This Road: Chris Yacoubian) has decided to enter the Why This Road series for a Cannes Lion.

Objekt Films were an integral part of this series – producing the short documentary piece: Why This Road: Chris Yacoubian. This film has been extremely well received in its opening two weeks – amassing over 650K views (the most in the series).

We are extremely happy and proud with this film and cannot wait to release our next piece of work.