Friday, September 23, 2016
It was like being Anthony Hopkins for a day, says Steve Hutin, managing director, as filming is completed for Rope and Sling Specialists’ first corporate video.
Lights, Camera, Action
As Steven Spielberg says, ‘You shouldn’t dream your film, you should make it!’ So we did.
When the videographer turned up I wondered if he had the right place. I was expecting a guy with a camera and maybe a spotlight or two, but when Marc Wilmot unloaded his van it was as though he was preparing to shoot a battle scene out of Game of Thrones. For a minute there I was looking for the green-screen compositing kit. We’re proud to be Welsh but having a red dragon roaming around the yard was a bit extreme, I thought.
Marc put down his cases and looked around the room, as though setting the scene in his mind. He gazed at his cast for the day and zeroed in on Alan Varney, manager of our Bridgend facility, with a furrowed brow. He looked down to his cases around him and back to Alan. What was he thinking? Was Marc about to cast him in his leading role? The moment came and went, but we were to find out later what was on his mind.
I haven’t even see the final video yet—it will probably be only four minutes long—but I’m glad we commissioned its production and I’d urge other businesses to get one made for themselves, if they haven’t already. We waited a long time from getting the videographer’s concepts and quotes to setting aside a day for filming, but I wished we’d have pressed the (record) button sooner. Here are my top three reasons why:
1. Box office
A corporate video is a great marketing tool. Utilising our website, social media and other platforms we will be able to reach potential and existing customers with a professionally produced visual message. Since we revitalised our content marketing efforts at the turn of the year, we have become increasingly adept at tailoring our campaigns to reach different demographics. The exciting thing about video is it will give us a tool to access areas that cannot be reached by other means. Many young people, for example, absorb all of their education and entertainment via social media and video. What a great addition to daily Tweets to be able to link to such content.
Now we have invested time and resources into producing the video, we have a marketing tool that is available to us for multiple use. We can package it up with an email, newsletter or social media post and distribute it to select contacts. We can’t wear it out. Old, new and potential customers will all take something different from it, while we can also drill into key market sectors such as steel, construction and petrochemical.
2. Educational experience
Filming represented a valuable learning experience for me and the staff. While Marc the videographer oversaw the technical elements, we were responsible for making sure the company was represented as we wish it to be perceived by our audiences. It’s quite a challenge to capture everything we needed to get across in such a short period of time. Think of the people, products and end user markets that are the lifeblood to our existence. After reading this, put together in your mind the storyboard for your own company video.
It’s always an education to be taken out of one’s comfort zone and this experience certainly did that. Talking to a rigger on the phone about a set of slings is one thing, having a camera in your face and being asked to deliver a clear message under the spotlight is quite another. I started to relate to Hollywood actors and actresses, imagining what it was like for Wales’ Anthony Hopkins to deliver those chilling lines in The Silence of the Lambs. It was so uplifting to see members of the team take to the challenge with such relish, but it’s worth singling Angela out for special praise, who delivered her lines line a veteran of the big screen.
We also learnt a lot about the videography industry. As I alluded to at the outset, I had some preconceived ideas as to how the day would go, but I was ignorant to the level of expertise required to make a video about a below-the-hook equipment supplier. As Marc explained, in videography, light is everything. As we sat to talk to the camera, in front of us was a large, white canvas called a reflector that apparently produces an even, neutral-coloured bounce light. It might take more than that, Marc, I was thinking in some of our cases!
We all like a good comedy and I’d recommend the video experience even because of how much fun a workforce can have making it. If you’re contemplating an away day or team building exercise, you might consider this as a way of being productive at the same time. If movie stars can fluff their lines we could excuse ourselves the odd mistake in filming, which obviously gave those on the other side of the camera great amusement.
When it came to Alan’s moment in the spotlight, it became clear what Marc was frowning at when he arrived. As the reflector was being positioned and the lighting adjusted, he had to change to a wide-angle lens to get him in shot. Marc said it was purely for cinematic reasons—the lens allows more of the scene to be included in the frame, he said. That old chestnut, everyone else was thinking!
While it was a serious exercise, I’m sure other moments of hilarity will emerge as the video is finalised and circulated among our other depots and industry contacts known for their banter. I’m looking forward to that too.
Rope and Sling: The Movie
The experience got me thinking about who would play the leading characters if Spielberg decided to make a film about us. Perhaps a young Anthony Hopkins or Rhys Ifans could play me. I’m sure there’d be a role for Rob Brydon somewhere. Before our corporate video is released we’ve got to choose some backing music. Who would play the cast of your movie and what would the soundtrack be?
That’s a wrap!
Rope and Sling Specialists Ltd