The Week at Cosmic Joke - 5th Feb 2024

The Week at Cosmic Joke - 05th Feb 2024

February already…we know January has dragged for a lot of people, but it’s flown by for us! It was a super busy start to our video production year and we’ve covered thousands of miles to create something like 50 different video assets already. We’re looking forward to keeping the momentum going into February and have a jam packed production schedule ahead of us.

In the meantime, let’s take a look back at everything video production and video post production wise from the last week…

The Hara Live at Satans Hollow - Remembering a huge live music filming production

It’s always fun to look back on past projects and reflect. When it comes to being in the middle of a video production, or even bogged down in the edit and post production side of things, it’s sometimes difficult to see the wood for the trees. That’s why over time, with some distance, it’s a good idea to take a look back at past projects - there’s a good chance there are lessons to be learned and not only that, but away from the stress and mad rush for completion, we often find it was way more fun than we’d remembered!

This is exactly what we’ve been doing this week by dipping back into the production of The Hara Live at Satans Hollow - a double live album and live DVD that we made with The Hara two years ago.

a dvd and cd product image of the hara live at satans hollow
From filming it to delivering the entire live DVD, The Hara Live at Satans Hollow

Rewind to January 2022 and we were working with The Hara on the early conceptualisation of their debut album. The album was recorded, but we needed to work on the visual side of everything - the creation of album artwork, music video planning, social media strategy etc. Looking down the wrong end of all of this work it was decided to record and produce a live album as a stopgap release. The Hara already had a reputation for outstanding live shows, so a plan started to form to try and bottle lightning and condense one of these insane, live experiences, into a product. After throwing around a bunch of ideas, we settled on a one-off, special live performance in the iconic Manchester venue, Satans Hollow. The live show would be open to a limited number of ticket sales and the audio and visuals would be recorded to make the ultimate live album package.

If you’ve never had the pleasure of sticking to the dancefloor of Satans Hollow, it’s a unique venue and therefore presents some unique challenges when it comes to producing and filming a live show. Namely that the ‘stage’ area is circular and surrounded by columns! We decided we wanted to create a live stage production that would offer a special experience for the fans on the night and a show that would stand up as a live music dvd. So the overall production saw the band perform in the round, completely surrounded by their fan base and offering 360 degrees visuals to both the audience and our various camera operators situated throughout the venue. This made for a unique experience on the night and a crazy, frantic live music dvd production to watch again and again.

the crowd at satans hollow shot from behind, looking at the stage with the Hara performing
The Hara, performing in the round at the iconic Manchester venue, Satans Hollow

On the video production side of things, once we’d figured out shooting past all of the columns, our main challenge was not missing a single moment - which is always a challenge when it comes to live music filming. The solution? Lots and lots of cameras! For this 90 minute show, we used a total of 9 cameras in a combination of static cameras and operated cameras.

As with all of our live music filming, our main videography setup was a combination of wide and tight coverage so that we’ve got plenty of options to keep cutting to in the edit and can showcase lots of different aspects of the show. In keeping with the theme of having the band playing in a circle, besieged by their fans on all sides, we also introduced a GoPro Max to capture some 360 degree footage. This added a nice visual hook and another unique angle to add to the mix. For one track, we even gave the lead singer the camera to operate out and about with the audience - another way to increase the variety of the footage we were capturing whilst also enhancing the fan experience on the night. This did lead to a scratched lens and insurance fiasco, but that’s a story for another day…

go pro 360 shot of the Hara live at satans with the crowd in the background
Adding in the GoPro 360 to the suite of cameras really elevated the footage captured for the live DVD

For the stage lighting, it was a similar mix of serving the live music filming, whilst also enhancing the fan experience of the live music production. For us, there was no division between the live music production of the gig and the video production for the DVD - they were one, integrated package. With modern music industry work, the creative team are involved in almost every aspect, which is why we provide a full music industry creative service that is all encompassing. As a result, we discussed and worked alongside the gig lighting engineer on the lighting for the show as a whole. We kept with the circle theme once more with a column of lights in the middle of the stage, flanked by the band - this gave each individual member a consistent look whilst providing a visual anchor point for the centre of the show.

After the chaos of the night itself came the production of the DVD. DVD production is a service we offer, but we also needed to be mindful of social media strategy for the release in general, so as well as making the DVD we also had to think about social media video assets like individual tracks to act as live music videos and trailers. The whole gig was filmed at 4K, 10-bit to maximise longevity and broadcast capability. From here, it was easy to master for web as well as compressing for DVD. The edit itself was relatively simple in the sense that we were aiming to condense everything we captured into one package and not detract from the actual live experience. This meant that whilst there was a lengthy editing process, there wasn’t too much in terms of visual effects, which is a usual part of our post production service. We added some black and white and film noise to try and enhance the grungy, intimate, chaotic feel, but other than that, we tried to let the visuals speak for themselves.

the lead singer of the Hara, josh Taylor, performing on stage at satans hollow
A good live DVD should always make you feel like you were there, even if you missed out!

Overall, the final package came together really nicely. It was a relatively stressful production due to the uncertain nature of filming live music and the size and scope of the multi-platform release, but with a bit of distance, we’ve been reflecting on how great everything looks. The most important takeaway from looking back is that the DVD as a whole really transports you back to that night and, having lived through it, really does capture the sweat and the carnage of the night.

We celebrated the anniversary with a carousel post on Instagram this week. We love carousel posts, as they’re a great way to showcase multiple aspects of a project and share more details than usual with an audience.

If you’re interested in picking up The Hara Live at Satan’s for yourself to experience all the live music goodness, then it’s available here.

Script Polishing Service - Talking head video production for the NHS

In more recent work, we were carrying on with the production of our talking head video series for the NHS, detailing decision making in the treatment of Neuroblastoma. We covered less miles this week, as we did all of our video production in Manchester (yay!) but the project continues to be very involved.

a corporate talking head image of a doctor in scrubs looking into camera
A good and tight script will ensure you're delivering your message clearly and effectively

As we covered last week, the central challenge and aspect of this particular video production project is the scripting. As with any important corporate video production, the messaging is at the absolute heart of the video. What’s being said? And why? Big points to consider when you’re dealing with such a sensitive topic as this one. This is why the majority of the work we’re completing on this series is script based. Whilst plenty of work goes into lighting the talking head videos so they look great, or utilising our autocue teleprompter as part of our production gear, it feels like a good moment to have a quick reminder of our script services.

A lot of companies searching for video production services often only think about the visual side of things: having someone film and edit something to create a ‘video.’ Where a lot of the work actually goes though is in the conceptualisation and scripting of the video. Having an important message and then effectively communicating that message through video are two entirely different things and that’s why, in our opinion, it’s a really good idea to consider the script services offered by a video production company such as ourselves. You know your company and your message, but we know video, social media marketing and audience interaction.

We can only speak for ourselves, but our video scripting solutions range from writing scripts from scratch to polishing existing scripts or casting an eye over scripts written by internal teams to check they work best with video.

a side angle of a corporate talking head of a man wearing scrubs
A good script means that your message will be correct and any additional camera angles can act as a visual interest, rather than a necessity to cover up edited words

It’s been a mix of both for this NHS project, with us polishing a script for the Manchester portion of the video production this week, whilst writing a script from scratch for next week’s shoots in Newcastle. Both came with unique challenges but were absolutely integral elements of this video production as the messaging is so, so key. It’s a really important project to be part of and we hope it makes a difference in the lives of the families affected.

If you’re looking for ways to bring your video script to life, or need some help with a corporate video script, then why not have a look at what we can do?

Eat You Alive - live event filming insanity!

Our other major video production this week was capturing the inaugural Eat You Alive club night. Oh boy, was that messy!

At its heart, this was another live music filming escapade - this time with multiple bands across the one evening, culminating in a return to live music from Kid Brunswick. In addition to all of the live music, there was the ‘club night’ element, which really fell under our more general event videography service.

And what does that look like exactly? Well, in theory, no two events are the same, so the video production needs to be adaptive and reflexive - it needs to be able to handle the rigours of the event in action, whilst also being flexible enough to package what makes the event unique into the finished edit.

a topless singer on stage at a club night with moody lighting
Kid Brunswick performing live on stage at the Eat You Alive club night at The Ramp

In this instance, it was well within our comfort zone - loads of mosh pits, lots of drinking and loads of music. We ducked out before it got too hairy but we think we did a good job of capturing everything with our usual live event video production set up of two cameras and a lot of bravery!

Edit coming this week so keep your eyes peeled!

On the Socials - Reliving the Prague shoot through travel videography

Over on the socials, the majority of the week was spent recapping our recent (and past!) exploits with The Hara. We had a deep dive into our live DVD production of The Hara Live at Satans Hollow, which we’ve detailed above, as well as recapping last weekend's video production adventure in Prague.

If you remember, last weekend we travelled to Prague with The Hara to film them headlining the 33rd birthday of the iconic Prague venue, Rock Cafe. On Monday night, the recap of their performance went out. We’re really pleased with how the edit came together for this, as it really captures the experience of the gig and showcases the band looking their best - all the staples of gig videography.

We continued the theme by sharing a look at the adventure as a whole from our POV. We dipped into the travel videography tool kit for this one - creating an Instagram reel that covered everything, from the drunken debauchery to the sightseeing and ticking off the best locations to film in Prague. We’re really enjoying bringing this personal side of our video production to the front and sharing some of our filmmaking adventures with everyone.

On the client side of things, The Cauldron have begun to roll out all of their new Valentine’s day assets from our Edinburgh video shoot a few weeks ago. Plenty, plenty more to come on this front, but why not check out some of the early assets and see the social media video strategy in action!?

a couple sprinkling ingredients into a bubbling cauldron
Some very exciting Cauldron content coming up for Valentine's Day

Looking ahead…

What’s coming up this week? We’re heading up to Newcastle this week to continue filming our talking head video series for the NHS. We’re also gearing up for Super Bowl Sunday! Some of us are very excited at this time of year anyway, but we’ve also been tasked with creating a series of video promotions for The Super Bowl by a certain favourite drinks client of ours. And by Super Bowl we absolutely mean Taylor Swift, so for the coming week, it’s video production, Taylor’s version (no, we have not got sick of making that joke yet…)

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.