Producing Content During Lockdown

Like all marketeers at the moment, we find ourselves in a strange situation. With the lockdown restrictions potentially being scaled up and down throughout the year, we need to find ways to keep engaging content coming without the opportunity to run full-scale campaign shoots. Of course, as a film and photography production specialist, losing the ability to shoot in a traditional way has affected how we’re producing content and serving our clients, but working under restrictions can lead to all sorts of creative thinking, and it’s encouraged us to try new techniques and up-skill at the same time.

We’re still very much open for business and have been keeping our clients’ projects flowing without using our normal go-to strategies (although we do really miss film shoots!). We thought it would be useful to share the ways we’ve been producing content since we closed the studio. ‘Fix it in post’ has become our new mantra (ssssshhhhhh don’t tell our camera crew!)

Product Photography

Luckily for us, this is one area that’s been more or less unaffected, though we’ve reduced our shooting operation to one-man teams operating at the studio a few days per week (thanks Chris and Emma!). Product photography is a staple of the work we do at the studio, be that traditional e-commerce or creative still life with set design and build. Yes, we’re closed for model shoots for now, but this is still in full swing. We’re keeping contact to a minimum using delivery services to receive products.

Having great product shots is essential for most product-led brands, but having these available also opens the door to a whole new raft of methods for producing content (more on that in a moment).

For hero shots or campaigns, creative still life is the way to go. We’ll place your product in an environment designed to create the high-end glossy campaign feel without running models, assistants and MUAs on set. Of course, having the right set available could be a challenge, but with clever use of props and Photoshop wizardry, we can design something amazing. 

Repurposing and re-editing old shoots

How many harddrives of footage and images do you have kicking about from old shoots? If you’re anything like us, then a fair amount we’d say! It’s time to dig through those RAWs and find a fresh way of reworking what you have. Perhaps you have a different message to communicate now, or want to deliver the same content through a new medium, either way, coming at your old footage with a fresh objective can help you to see it in a whole new light.

Combine your existing imagery and footage with the range of creative tools we talk about in this blog to help to bring it to life in a whole new way. Even simple changes like changing the grade from cool to warm to reflect that we are now in spring can give your footage a fresh feel. 

Gifs and product compilations 

Ah the faithful gif. Who would’ve thought that a medium seemingly designed to help you share clips of cats being idiots could be such a valuable marketing tool. Well, in the micro-content age, gifs can be a great way to showcase products and benefits. This is particularly useful in the consumer lifestyle sector, where Instagram stories are becoming a staple part of the marketing mix. Break out all that behind-the-scenes footage and turn it into something fancy.

Parallax Photography editing.

Parallax editing is used to help create motion elements from a still picture. By separating the layers of the image and using some clever camera movement, you can transform a still image into something really striking. Done well, it can really stand out against traditional static formats.

The motion helps draw the eye, and because you started with a static shot, the parallaxed image can easily be exported in a range of formats to best suit the platform you’re using. Parallaxed shots make for great website hero shots.

Believe it or not, for each product shown in the video below, the foreground and background were created from the same still image!

Just a note on this: We’d recommend only trying this on images of good (great, ideally) quality. Lower resolution shots can end up looking messy, and not all compositions will be well suited to this technique. Still, it’s a great way of producing content from existing assets.

Animation and Motion Graphics

If you’re after something with a little more movement to grab people’s attention, consider animation and motion graphics. We can layer animation on top of existing footage and imagery to call out product features or put a new spin on things, or create something new from the ground up. Your imagination is the limit when it comes to animation and motion graphics.

This option is more costly than parallax images and gifs, but you can relay a lot more information. This is an avenue more than worth exploring considering the current restrictions on video shooting.

Utilising Stock footage 

Yes, we know there’s some truly awful stock footage out there, but with the right concept, script, soundtracking, and editing (paying close attention to grading and filters to make your footage feel uniform) you can do some great things with stock footage.

Take our 2019 project with Unilever. Every year, Unilever runs a Business Integrity campaign aimed at their 155,000 employees worldwide. The 2019 campaign kicked off in September. A key part of the campaign was an emotive video, which we were tasked with creating.

The budget had to be managed, so we knew from the beginning that we’d be relying on using stock footage. Stock footage is cheaper than bespoke footage but restricts narrative possibilities, as you can only use what already exists. To help navigate these challenges, we researched what stock footage was available alongside creating the storyboard. Have a look for yourself here:

It’s worth noting that good stock costs good money! A well shot clip of around 5-10 seconds can be anything up to £100 – and you might need 20-30 clips for even a short video. Make sure you have a budget in mind for both the edit and the stock footage. This is something we can happily guide you through.

Hopefully we’ve given you some creative ideas to help you round that ‘can’t shoot’ block. If you want an expert pair of hands (or three) to help, drop us a line.