The Week at Cosmic Joke - 29th Jan 2024

The Week at Cosmic Joke - 29th Jan 2024

What. A. Week! It’s been extremely busy over here in video production land this week. We’ve been out on the road shooting every day, covering thousands of miles, not to mention churning out something like thirty different videos from our video post production facility in Manchester.

We may have also had a pint of czech beer or twenty…

Live Gig Filming - in Prague

That’s right, we’ve been talking about it for a few weeks, but this week we finally got back out on the road to do some live music filming. And what a gig video to start with - capturing The Hara headlining the 33rd birthday of Rock Cafe in Prague.

Prague’s Rock Cafe is a legendary venue that’s been home to Prague’s underground, counterculture live music scene for over 30 years. Situated on the edge of the old town, it’s the perfect place to sneak away from the hustle and bustle of Prague’s tourist centre and get down and dirty with some live music, indie cinema, political debate and…well…lots and lots of beer (and shots!) So that’s exactly what we did…

A neon sign reading Rock Cafe outside the famous venue in Prague
The iconic and most awesome venue in Prague, Rock Cafe!

We flew into Prague with the band on Thursday evening. When it comes to creating social media assets for bands, you’ve got to think about the huge amount of different assets that you need to create. As a result, variety of content is super key, so doing things like travelling with the band and capturing all of the behind the scenes insanity makes for great additional video content, as well as the usual gig recaps, music video productions etc. It also provides fans with access, and access is central to a band's social media marketing strategy. In these days of Instagram and X, bands can provide fans with access to their personalities, adventures and inner workings through social media video content and it’s fantastic for increased fan engagement.

The next 24 hours were a whirlwind of exploring the best sights in Prague, drinking the best beers in Prague and drinking even more of the best beers in Prague! When it comes to creating video content for bands, especially up and coming ones, we want to try and capture the full story of their journey through the music industry. We always think it’s really important to get out and about in the cities we’re filming in to capture a sense of the place and create content that reflects that. If you can film band members with recognisable landmarks, it’s going to really help to build a connection between the band and the place. It’s also going to reinforce to the fanbase that the band had a presence in their city, which is super useful for building international fan bases and will be even more useful when creating video promos for tours and gigs in that city in the future. The hangovers? Less useful…

And for filming the gig itself, we’re always looking to capture two things - a distillation of the live show that can make fans feel like they’re reliving the experience and then more of a ‘story’ about the night that can show more of the things that the fans don’t see, like backstage, sound checks etc. For us, it’s important with gig videography and gig photography to capture both, as they serve dual purposes. That’s why we start rolling the cameras as soon as we get in the venue and don’t stop until it’s time to leave.

By the time we arrived at Rock Cafe, they were in full birthday party mode - shout out to them for absolutely looking after us, as well as the band, and hooking us up with an excellent night! Limited edition birthday beers definitely helped and we had a great time filming the band interacting with the venue owners and staff whilst getting ready to hit the stage.

After a tricky, Spinal Tap-esque journey to the stage, it was time for the show. Because live music is unpredictable, we like to film gigs with a two camera set up - a wide lens and a long lens, both hand held to deal with mosh pits and big crowds. At this point, trust is really important and that’s why we like gig filming with bands that we’ve built a relationship with. It’s super helpful to know the set list and to try and predict some of the chaos from past experiences. If you and the band trust each other, you’ll have better access and feel more comfortable working together in the heat of the moment…and we had plenty of moments to capture, from hanging upside down from the ceiling to dancing on the bar and a full stage invasion. It was an unreal gig and we captured some excellent material we can’t wait to share with everyone, so check back next week as we plough on with the edits.

The lead singer of The Hara on stage at Rock Cafe Prague
Sweaty times at The Hara's headline gig in Prague - the best kind of live gig filming!

After the gig it was obviously party time…which is probably best left undocumented...But rest assured, a good time was had and we were just about able to hold it together the next day for a bit more filming in the city and the flight home.

What a whirlwind 48 hours! Huge thanks to everyone who looked after us out there and that partied with us - we met some great people! It was a great start to The Hara’s live music year and the same goes for us with our live music filming. We’re looking forward to getting out on the road again later this year and shooting a ton of gigs. In fact, if you’ve got a gig coming up and want some gig filming then give us a shout and we’ll make it look like this:

The Importance of Script Writing for Talking Head Videos

Before we even flew to Prague, we’d been up and down the UK, covering hundreds of miles whilst shooting an NHS project. It’s a real perk of the job that whilst we’re a Manchester based video production company, we get to film all over the UK, and well, all over the world!

In this particular instance we’re working on a video series to help parents in making treatment decisions for their children after a neuroblastoma diagnosis. From a filmmaking and video production perspective, it’s a relatively simple project that is based around filming talking head videos with a variety of people, from doctors to parents. The subject matter, however, calls for a delicate balance between an emotive topic and factual information. This duality also leads to the importance of nuances in language for each talking head and making sure that the spoken word content is absolutely accurate and perfectly pitched.

For us, it’s a project that’s reminded us of the importance of scripting when it comes to video production work. We know a lot of people like to shoot unscripted talking heads, and sometimes that is absolutely necessary, but when it comes to a high end corporate video production or a video production with very specific messaging, then we can’t stress enough the importance of a script.

When it comes to script work, we really enjoy getting to grips with a client's message and offer a script polishing service, as well as a script writing service. For us, it’s really important to get all of the messaging right before heading out on the shoot - it takes the stress away for us and the speaker, and guarantees that everyone will be happy with the final project.

A talking head subject looking comfortable on camera
With high end corporate video filming, with talking heads, you want your subjects happy and comfortable and autocues will always help

On the shoot itself, we like to use an autocue or teleprompter to make sure we’re sticking to the scripts that have been written and it takes the stress out of the situation for the speaker even further. We find it really useful to have an autocue available for video production, as part of our regular kit, and would highly recommend it to anybody thinking about corporate video production. Not only is it really great for shoots like this where messaging is key, but it’s also really applicable when working with busy CEOs and Directors who might only have 15 minutes available to deliver a single take of a video.

We’re really happy with how the talking head videos have turned out this week and as it’s a video production that’s got a few more weeks left, so we’ll be looking to replicate the same success with scripting over the next few weeks.

Post Production Back in Manchester - Valentine’s at The Cauldron

Back in our post production facilities in Manchester, most of the time this week has been spent working on the videos for The Cauldron that we shot last week in Edinburgh. For those that didn’t read all about it last week, The Cauldron is a magic-themed cocktail bar chain and we’ve been creating all of their social media video assets for their upcoming spring season…and there’s been a LOT of videos to make.

A collection of cocktails from the Cauldron wizard pub
When creating video assets for social media, attention-grabbing visuals are key, especially when there is lots to cover!

As we discussed last week, when it comes to social media video strategy, we need to be making a huge variety of assets to match different purposes. This past week, we’ve specifically been focused on creating video assets, unique to each menu item, that showcase the weird and wonderful drinks that are available. Nothing too challenging from a video post production perspective, but it’s always important to remember to be thorough when it comes to matching each video to a purpose. For example, in this instance, we needed to create a video for each drink that could be replicated for each type of social media (Instagram, Instagram story, TikTok etc) and then be replicated so it can be used for each venue. Nothing too crazy but you don’t want a video going out targeting a London audience that says ‘Now pouring in New York City’. Get everything down on paper, be thorough and tick things off as you go.

We try to do a lot of the heavy lifting for these drinks promo videos in camera, as the whole appeal of the experience is that it really is magic coming to life before your eyes. We don’t want to hide too much behind special effects or after effects work, so there is a lot of lighting and set dressing going down on the day. There were some graphics to be completed for drinks names, and marketing call to actions needed, but that was the bulk of each edit. Later on down the line, we might introduce a little more visual effect magic in some upcoming videos, but for now the main complexity lies with quantity and variety - the usual case with social media video strategy.

On the socials - Music Video Production and Travel Videography Tips

Sticking with social media strategy but turning to our social media we had some nice releases this week. We celebrated the 1 year anniversary of filming the Died In My Twenties music video with The Hara by taking a fresh look at some behind the scenes content.

This was a great music video production in Manchester, this time last year. It was the 5th music video in the ongoing Survival Mode music video saga, which you can view in its entirety here. We absolutely love music video production and we’ll be taking a deep dive into the Survival Mode music video saga on this blog soon, but it was a fun, behind the scenes memory lane to head down this week.

Other than that, it’s been a lot of Prague content. We like to push the travel element of video production as much as possible, as it’s one of the most fun bits of our job and social media travel content always does really well. We kept it simple with a carousel post that showed off the top sights in Prague that we’d visited, and some of the best locations in Prague. The more in depth video content and travel reels are coming this week…

Two Cosmic Joke crew members stood on Charles Bridge in Prague
Cosmic Joke crew out exploring Prague - we love traveling for work and exploring the world

Looking ahead…

Another busy week is coming up! We’re back out filming for the NHS, continuing with the talking head video production project and we’ll also be getting the post production element of that underway. We’ve got a load more Cauldron social media video assets to create and we’ll be filming the first session of a new, alternative club night called Eat You Alive (sounds messy!) We’re looking forward to it so check back in a week to see how it went.

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.