The Week at Cosmic Joke - 21st May 2024

The Week at Cosmic Joke - 21st May 2024

It’s been a while since we’ve had the chance to check in and get you caught up with everything we’ve been up to in video production world…that’s because we’ve been busy, busy, BUSY! We’re actually out on the road at the moment and will be for at least another 10 days, but whilst it’s raining outside, and we’re hiding in our hotel room after a corporate video production earlier today, it seems like as good a time as any for a whirlwind overview of some of the projects we’ve been working on.

So, in no particular order, here are some highlights from the last couple of weeks…

Monthly Video Updates: Corporate and Commercial Videos to keep you updated

It’s probably because it was the start of a new month, but we were working on a couple of videography projects a few weeks ago that are now shaping up to be monthly regulars. Monthly video updates are a great way to engage customers and staff when people’s expectations are high in terms of visual content. There are also tonnes of different types of monthly video updates that can be filmed and created, so no matter how diverse your video messaging is, it’s guaranteed that there’ll be a creative solution available.

In terms of the monthly video content we were delivering for our clients this past week, we couldn’t have had two more different filmmaking situations...

Let’s start with a more standard monthly video update first and some corporate videography. On Thursday the first, we were back with Oliver James in their Manchester head office to shoot the pilot episode of a monthly video update series that will be rolling out for the rest of the year. We’ve talked about this approach a lot in the past, but when it comes to corporate videography and long form series, we can’t stress enough the importance of working together on a pilot episode - it’s an essential way to make sure that everyone is happy with the workflow and finished product before you start rolling something out on a big, and regular, scale. It’s a great time to test out the pre-production process, for example how easy is it to pull a script together and workshop that into a 'filmable' episode? Alongside this is the actual production process, for example, how much time will be required each time you want to film an episode? Lastly, it’s a great opportunity to work out some of the post production elements such as motion graphics and create what is essentially a set of brand guidelines that can be easily replicated over the course of an entire series.

This particular pilot episode was relatively simple from a production standpoint, as it was a talking head corporate video update. As with any video like this, we advised for it to be scripted, that way we can use our in house autocue or teleprompter to be able to get through the shoot easily and on message. It’s great to script corporate videography projects and shoot them with an autocue, as the level of control over the messaging that it provides is second to none. Plus, you can work out any and all issues ahead of the shoot, which saves everyone time on the production day. This is especially important when it comes to the speaker's time, as usually they’re someone extremely busy in the company - in our case the CEO! We talk about this a lot, but we can’t recommend enough how working with a video production company on a script and utilising an autocue for corporate videography will make the process streamline and high end!

We went for a simple two camera set up and we filmed in the office environment to make sure everything felt busy and alive - this is a monthly update about the business, so having it set right at the heart of the business itself made perfect sense. We had a naturalistic lighting set up and used a wireless lav mic to capture audio.

a smiling man sat in a busy office environment looking and speaking to the camera
The MO of the video was to deliver a monthly update for the business, so where better to set the video than in the heart of the office?

For the post production process, we built out some custom graphics and established the look and feel for the video series as a whole. We also had to weave in a conversation element that was captured over Microsoft Teams, as this was the extra ‘segment’ that helped to make the video feel more like a magazine show and less like a stuffy corporate video. With that being said, Microsoft Teams isn’t the best software to be recording video in so we spent some time cleaning the video up and bringing it to life with a split screen.  

a split screen with a man on the left looking up to a screen off camera and a female on the right, wearing a headset, they are both speaking on a microsoft teams call
To give the video a more relaxed vibe, the client wanted to go with more of a magazine show feel, complete with a standalone, different looking segment

Further afield from Manchester corporate videography, we also made our now monthly trip down south to work on some creative video content for our friends at The Cauldron. Every month the cocktail witches & wizards at The Cauldron create a new seasonal menu for the month. Our task, each time, is to capture a video overview of the new menu - each individual drink, the process that goes into making it and also the ‘selling point’ of each drink. These aren’t just your standard gin and tonics, so they always need a little bit of an extra kick when it comes to the commercial videography side of things. Our job is to use some creative set design, art direction, lighting and visual effects to bring these magical drinks to life.

This coming month’s seasonal menu is Pride so thinking of visual motifs to bring these drinks to life was nice and easy - we went for a full summer pride party with plenty of rainbows, disco lights and bubbles. Seeing as this is a summer menu, we also had a play with some creative lighting to give a summer feel using lots of warm white LEDs and going for a sunset look with some orange washes.

a behind the scenes shot of a man pouring liquid into a cauldron, the background is themed to pride with lots of rainbow colours
There's no better way to film a Pride cocktail collection than by adding a LOT of rainbow colours...and then some more for good measure...

As with previous shoots for The Cauldron, we were able to replicate a format that we’ve nailed down over the last few months: a way to capture as much varied content as possible in the quickest time possible. This is because along with creating a real sense of what the new menu is, we need to be selling this across social media, which means multiple video assets that all look and feel different to grab people’s attention. And with that in mind, we filmed everything vertical too so as to easily turn all these different videos into a well organised social media video advertising campaign.

Monthly videos are a lot of fun - it’s great to have replicable formats that can be easily adapted each month to make a new video series using a tried and tested formula. From an audience perspective, it’s always great to have something new to look at and to regularly hear from your favourite brands. So…do you want some help with your monthly videos? Then get in touch!

Live Event Videography in Manchester: Art Galleries to Tech Startups

We’ve had more than a few live event video shoots this month, but let’s take a look at a couple of the biggies…

three women standing in a white gallery exhibit space, talking and laughing together
Opening night of Jude Wainwright's Face/Off exhibition was a huge success!

First of all, we had the opening night of Jude Wainwright's fantastic new show, Face/Off in Manchester’s Northern Quarter. This was a solo gallery exhibit which you might remember we created promotional materials for earlier in the month. Well, the show has been a huge success and we had a great time filming the opening night for a social media marketing campaign during the show’s opening weekend. As with anything destined for social media, and in need of a very quick edit, we filmed this event vertically, but other than that it was a very simple, single camera video shoot. Our sole purpose was to give an overview of the bustling opening night party without giving too much away about the show itself in order to make sure future attendees didn’t have anything spoiled. The gallery looked great, the artwork was fantastic and the wine was free; an easy video production all things considered! You can see the final results for yourself here:

In a very different vein, but sticking to Manchester, we also spent some time filming over at the HQ of Digital Gurus where Capital Enterprise had an event launching the first cohort of their Turing Innovation Catalyst. This is an AI accelerator programme that looks to further AI tech startups in Manchester through funding and connections. From our perspective, this was another fun event to film and a relatively simple set up. The event featured a variety of activities, from roundtable discussions to networking. Our task was to capture everything, so we reverted to our usual two camera set up to make sure nothing was missed. We also captured a bunch of talking head interviews with attendees and stakeholders to add some context and event feedback to the visual content. Talking heads are a great addition to live event videos like this one where there is a clear message and user experience that needs to be conveyed.

The video turned out great and you can see it over on Capital Enterprise’s LinkedIn here:

One Take Music Video: Bob Vylan - Humble As The Sun

Our latest music video production dropped online the other week for Bob Vylan and their lead track from their new album, Humble As The Sun. This was a very simple video production that came together whilst we were out on the road with them earlier in the month. If you remember, we were out on the road filming their record store tour to promote their new record. This was a three day tour around Rough Trade venues in the UK and featured the band doing a live set, as well as a record signing and a bit of a Q&A. Our job was to follow the process on the road, film everything that went down and then do some seriously quick video editing for a 12 hour turnaround that enabled social media video recaps to get out to fans the next morning.

It was a great week to spend with the band and we had a great time capturing all the action and getting to know each other. As is always the way when it comes to building a relationship with a band, we soon started talking about ways we could expand the creativity and output whilst filming together. And from this discussion, lead singer, Bobbie Vylan, suggested we create a simple music video that would really distil the magic of being out on the road promoting the new record into a single video asset. The idea was to film a one take music video in Rough Trade East before the doors opened for the fans - and it couldn’t have been a better idea and we couldn’t be happier with how it turned out.

a man standing in a record shop with praying hands performing a one-take music video to the camera
Simple and yet highly effective - a one-take music video can mean many things, but this one is one of our absolute faves and didn't require a massive budget and production!

The final result was super simple, it’s just a vocal performance delivered to camera, walking from the stage after soundcheck, through the record store, and finishing at the poster that was promoting the album and event. What’s special about it however, is that it perfectly captures the simple joy of this time in the band’s lifespan - out on the road, meeting fans, sharing their new music and being in the moment. The video was shot entirely hand held so it’s super naturalistic and there were only two takes so the performance is as raw and real as possible.

One take music videos are a really great way to keep music video production costs down on a low budget without sacrificing creativity. Provided you’ve got a good location, capable camera operating and an engaging and confident performer, then you can really create some simple magic out of nothing. Here’s the full video to enjoy:

On the socials - Star Wars Day, Live Music Filming and a Mystery Project

Over on our social media channels, we’ve been covering all of the above! We also celebrated Star Wars Day with some bespoke motion graphics and animation as well as a little look back at the commercial video we made for The Cauldron and their lightsaber shots. You might remember a few weeks ago we discussed the filming of these videos and how we would be using some low budget visual effects to bring them to life. Well, we did just that, by creating some custom lightsaber video transitions and Star Wars text. We added in some lightning effects when it came to the Sith specific cocktail (because why not!?) and, well, you can see the results here…

Along with all of that we’ve been promoting our live music filming with a look back at being on the road around Europe with The Hara this time last year, and then building some hype for their upcoming UK support tour that takes place this week. We absolutely LOVE touring with bands and can’t wait to get back on the road again. It’s such a good opportunity to see different parts of the world, and more so than just filming gigs, it’s also a great chance to capture additional content with the band to help build out their online presence and social media video marketing. Plus, we can’t stress enough how much we enjoy road tripping, drinking beers and filming live music…it really is a dream come true!

Lastly, we teased a very, very special and new project that we filmed last week. We absolutely cannot say anything about it, but we did release a behind the scenes still from the shoot whilst we await the chance to go public. Let’s just say it’s going to be super exciting and was a great video production to carry out.

two men stood in a derelict looking space, one holding a camera and pointing off into the distance
We shot something exciting, but what was it??? Time will reveal all!

Looking Ahead…

As we mentioned at the top of the page, we’re out on the road at the moment shooting a video production every day for 10 days…great fun! In that space, we’ll be working on corporate videography, some commercial video projects and lots and lots of live music filming. We’re down in London, Portsmouth and Bristol and then back up north in Wolverhampton, Manchester and Nottingham. A lot of miles to cram in for a variety of video productions, with exciting highlights including filming The Hara supporting Ice Nine Kills on their UK tour and covering both days (and locations!) of Dot to Dot Festival with some live event filming. Lots to get stuck into, so check back here next week and beyond to get the lowdown. In the meantime, we’re going to brave the rain…at least long enough to get to the pub…and head out!

If you’ve stumbled upon this post by accident, or like what you’ve read and want to know more about us, then we’re Cosmic Joke, a film and video production company based in Manchester. We specialise in music videos, live event filming, commercials and bespoke branded visuals. We create engaging short form and feature length film content that has screened around the world and you can learn more about everything we do here.