The Week at Cosmic Joke - 15th Jan 2024

The Week at Cosmic Joke - 15th Jan 2024

We’re trying out a new weekly feature at Cosmic Joke by taking a more detailed look at the video production work we’ve been completing over the past week. The idea here is to give you a deeper creative overview than we can on our socials, talk a little bit more about the kind of video work we find exciting and maybe even share some filmmaking tips and tricks along the way!

Let’s get started…

How to make a Christmas party video stand out and sparkle!

We started the week by picking up right where we left off last year - taking a look at our edit work for the Oliver James Christmas Party that we shot just before Christmas at Firefly [link to Firefly - open in new tab] in Manchester. This was a quick turnaround edit for a Christmas release, but we took the opportunity to share the video this week on our social media in order to wipe away some of the January blues with the glitz and glamour of a party. 

The stand out feature of this event video, from a video production perspective anyway, is that we used a star filter to really bring the theme of ‘All That Glitters’ to life. Everyone’s familiar with the Instagram sparkle filter, but how do you make an Instagram filter effect when you’re using a ‘proper’ camera? 

In this instance, the answer was to use a star filter. We used a Schneider True-Streak 5 point star filter in a matte box in addition to our usual two camera event videography set up. For those that don’t use filters very often, they’re a great addition to your videography gear and a great way to make creative event videos that stand out. For this particular shoot, it took what could have been a bit of mood lighting and elevated it into full Christmas sparkles and shimmers. 

You can see the full glittery video here:

Some quick tips for using a star filter with your camera: always make sure you’ve got direct light sources available, as they give the best ‘streaks’ on camera and experiment with having your ‘subjects’ passing in front of your direct light sources to give more movement and sparkle. In other words, you’re looking for disco balls, sequins, neon lights, spotlights and anything ultra reflective….which is why star filters are a great way to make event videos stand out and a great videography trick to keep in mind.

The best training videos shouldn’t feel like training videos

Sticking with our work for Oliver James, we had a few other major edits on for them this week. We finalised and delivered a video look book for their Astral brand, as well as putting the finishing touches to an episode of their high-end training video series. 

We’re into series 4 of this particular training video series now and with every episode, we seem to be pushing both the production and post production elements further and further. The brief has been the same from the outset: make a training video series that is watchable, engaging and interesting. A high-end corporate video series that feels more like something you’d watch on Netflix, something that people actually want to watch, rather than a boring, dusty talking head piece. 

An image showing a headshot from a high-end training video for creative corporate video filming
An engaging and creative training video still needs a strong guide at its centre. So don't forget to shoot captivating talking head content.

We approached this episode as we did the others - it’s primarily a learning tool, no matter how creative things get, so it needs to have a solid teaching element at the centre. In this instance, it’s a leading figure within the company, speaking masterfully throughout. We shot this content with a teleprompter to make the experience as easy as possible for the speaker, whilst also ensuring the video stayed on message. We shot this to a modern, broadcast spec to try and keep it looking nice and polished. 

To bring some creativity to the proceedings, we leant on the location - an independent cinema. We shot the talking head content in front of the blank cinema screen, which gave us a great canvas throughout the edit for any text, examples or additional footage. Using a bit of rotoscoping, we were able to have the cinema screen populated throughout the 40 minute episode to offer a really creative solution to the training materials being provided. 

Remember, corporate videos don’t have to be boring and there are lots and lots of ways to make corporate videos creative and interesting - something we’ll be talking about in more detail soon. 

Mosh pit! - Back on the road with live music filming this month

We’re super stoked to be getting back on the road later this month with our favourite Manchester band, The Hara. We’ll be joining them in Prague at the end of January to film their biggest show to date in front of 500 people. We absolutely LOVE filming live music so we can’t wait for this one to roll around, especially as it combines some global travel, which is another thing we absolutely love! 

To get ourselves in the mood for being back on the road, we started taking a look back at some of our past live music filming experiences with The Hara. It seemed most fitting to flash back to our last time with them in Czechia, when we filmed them supporting Sum 41, as they kicked off the European leg of their Heaven and Hell tour. This was a particularly crazy one for us last summer, as we had less than 24 hours to…wrap up at Download Festival, get ourselves to Brno for the gig via a flight to Vienna and some crazy autobahn antics…THEN get back home again! All good fun…

An image showing live gig filming of The Hara live in Brno, the lead singer looking at the crowd, with a double exposure of a close up of the lead singer
A great way to sell the scale of a gig is double exposure style effects, layering the footage to give it even more of a lift

We also got reminded of some gig filming from further back, as it turns out we were using this exact week two years ago to plan and prepare for The Hara Live At Satans Hollow. This was a live music dvd that we shot for The Hara performing a special, one off show at the iconic Manchester nightclub, Satans Hollow.

It was a little different than our usual gig filming where we’re looking to capture just the best bits for social media and tour promo. This was all about recreating the one-off, live show experience, so it could be enjoyed again and again. The main impact of this was on the cameras - we needed lots and lots of cameras to make sure we didn’t miss a single moment. So this meant scaling up our usual two to three camera live music filming set up to something like 11 or 12 cameras. 

When it came to the edit and the DVD production, our main focus was on trying to recreate the feeling of the night and package the experience up for viewers at home. With music video editing, we’re usually trying to bring the track to life in a new, visual way - whereas with this project, we were looking to bottle lightning! We’re going to be doing a deeper dive on this process in the coming weeks (after all we’re only celebrating the two year anniversary of the planning stage this week!) but in the meantime take a look at one of the standout tracks below. If you haven’t seen the whole thing, why not treat yourself to the DVD?

Fool & the Thief Live @ Satans:

Looking Ahead...

That covers the majority of what we got up to this past week. Looking at the week ahead, we’re off to Scotland to capture some new food and drink promo videos with our good friends at The Cauldron, so keep an eye out for that excitement. We’re also looking to update and overhaul this site a little bit with some new showreels and video portfolios, so this time next week we’ll probably have even more to show you!

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.