Posts Tagged‘online video’

Are Theatre Trailers Honest?

video post by the BBC questioned the suitability of cinematic style trailers for theatre, like the one below we produced for To Kill A Mockingbird. Critics think theatre trailers using cinematic techniques to entice audiences are misrepresenting the stage shows they’re promoting.

Creating trailers for the stage began in around 2007 following the advent of YouTube with the National Theatre among the first to start producing regularly. Lyn Gardner wrote an article at the time about the exciting potential of the theatre trailer, calling the concept “genius”. Now in 2014 the theatre trailer is a staple of marketing campaigns.

Now that theatres are able to produce trailers with good production values there’s a concern that audiences can’t distinguish between movie and theatre trailers, and so the unique traits of a theatrical experience are left by the wayside. The argument goes that by employing uniquely cinematic tools – such as camera movement reveals and so on – the story is being told in a way that won’t translate on stage.

These claims ignore the fact that cinematic storytelling has been used in advertising for decades, to market such narratively rich and dramatic products as perfume and telephones. It would seem film is far more suited to communicating the atmosphere of a play than the attributes of a perfume you can’t smell.

Apprehension of ‘cinematic’ or ‘concept’ trailers may stem from a deeper doubt held by some theatre creatives: that art shouldn’t require marketing at all. The collaboration required on a trailer is greater than other marketing functions and there will be questions over the communication of core ideas. This is a valid point of contention because it is, of course, paramount that a trailer reflects the director’s vision of the play, and the marketing team’s vision of the theatre brand. The stakes are pretty high.

But if the filmmakers are working closely with the creative and marketing teams on the conception of the trailer it can emulate the atmosphere of the play like no other marketing tool. A theatre trailer can give audiences a flavour of the writing, the performances, and the mood of the piece. What we are trying to do as advertisers and filmmakers is sell the strengths of a show, not recreate the live experience as accurately as possible.

The plethora of shows on offer, particularly in London, means that giving audiences concise, digestible decision-making material is key. A trailer can communicate so much more than other mediums and in such a short space of time. The question most theatres are asking themselves is no longer should we be doing it, but how. 



We have a wealth of experience producing videos for theatres and arts organisations. Our unique sense of style and verve, on top of our ability to communicate brands and tell stories, mean our theatre videos stand out from the crowd.

Get in touch with to discuss your next video production.

Shadow projection_video screenshot

Creativity is More Important Than Budget

“The more money you have the more you can do with it, sure. But the less you can say with it.”

Wim Wenders


In the arts, budget for creative video is always limited, but we have found that innate creativity flourishes when big spending is not on the table.

Non-traditional, or guerrilla marketing, has earned the maxim; creativity is more important than budget. Time and again ingenious low budget efforts are the high-visibility campaigns we read about on marketing blogs. Online video has shown a similar trend; most viral videos are neither branded nor have a high production values, they simply speak to people in a unique way. Here are our four reasons that creativity is more important than budget when producing creative video for the arts.

1. Originality

Low budget means you have to be original; you can’t peg yourself to the production values and generic aesthetic of industry leaders or corporate brands. Plagiarism is not an option. So whatever you do it will have to be unique; see this as an opportunity and a challenge to produce creative video content. This brings out the best in your creative team too, and lets you know if you have the right people on your team.

2. Core Messages

What budget constraints do is steer us back towards the essence of the piece itself, and away from ‘ad-speak’. By removing an easy option we are forced to return to the essence of what we are promoting and strive for creative ways of achieving our objectives with video. Pushing past the superficialities and advertising tropes that big budgets can afford (and tend towards) will force us to more truthfully represent the core messages.

3. Film Language

Film is a versatile visual language that lets us show things in many different ways. It’s not a secret; the higher budget hollywood films are not necessarily the best. Once we have drilled down our core messages we work out how these can be communicated with the tools at our disposal. We focus on what we need to do with the camera rather than what we could do ‘if only we had the budget’. There’s no budget for expensive floating dolly shots so we figure out another way to tell the story.

4. Collaborate

Working without a lot of money you tend to pool the only other great resource available; people. Using the energy and input of a variety of stakeholders when money is tight is often the only way to make a creative video project happen. This is particularly true in the arts where here is so much creative depth in collaborations. This can make the creative video process quite iterative, but it does mean arriving at a product everyone is part of and is happy with. It’s also much more enjoyable and inspiring to collaborate with set designers, writers, directors and marketing teams on a creative video project.

The best idea is the one that can stand out and speak clearly, without any bells and whistles on it. We believe our value is in our creativity, our collaborative working practices, and our ability to deliver a product that satisfies your brief no matter what the budget.

At Impact Video we often discuss long term strategies which are formed around the creation of in-house and professional content. To discuss how we can help you get the most out of your video invesment get in touch with or call 020 7729 5978

Impact Video Production team

Event Video Production: 7 Essential Shooting Tips

Speaker from behind at conferenceEvent video production can be very demanding for videographers. Not least because the initial brief is often very loose: ‘capture the atmosphere’ or ‘film what you find interesting’. The most important thing to remember is; nobody else cares whether you’re getting the shots you need or not. Nine times out of ten you’re there as an add-on, to capture the main event without disrupting anything or anyone. With this in mind we’ve compiled some event video essential shooting tips.

1. Be nice

As anyone in the business will attest to, staying positive and polite will serve you well. If you step on someone’s toes; apologise, keep smiling and keep working. If you get bawled out by someone important, just get on with it – a thick skin is a must. In event video production your job is to blend into the surroundings while being right where the action is, so be gracious at all times. You are much more likely to be granted favours if you keep a smile on your face.

2. Be flexible

You are nowhere near the most important person in the room so be prepared to have your plans and preparations scuppered by last minute changes. The priority is for the event to run smoothly and the videographer should do everything possible to adapt to any on-the-fly requests. Excuses or stubbornness might be justifiable but in the end you will be judged by your final product and how pleasant you are to work with.

3. Be prepared

For anything! Low light, background noise, whatever you have to deal with. Not bringing a versatile kit won’t stand with your client. So find out everything you can about the space beforehand; the light, the ambiance, the run of show. Even if interviews weren’t included in the brief, come prepared with your mic and lights. Be prepared to work autonomously too.

4. Be patient

The biggest pitfall in reactive event video production is shooting too much. When there’s no specific brief the temptation is to get total coverage of the event, but this can result in double or triple the editing time. Consider each shot before you hit record, are you really going to use this angle, or can you get a better one? Editing in your head while shooting is an important skill for event video production.

5. Push the client

Often a client can shy away from capturing a certain moment or scene if they think it’s invasive. It’s your job to encourage them to make it happen. If you can see it will help in the video to get that interview, or get back stage, tell them how important it is. Often they just need a little push, or don’t realise how valuable a certain shot could be to the event video. In this sense you need to lead the client on what is and isn’t worthwhile. Sometimes that means saying no too.

6. Don’t be shy

If you don’t ask you don’t get: as true for event video production as anything. It’s no gig for shrinking violets; when a client asks why a certain shot isn’t in the rushes, the last thing you want is to regret not being more forward.

7. It’s easier to ask forgiveness than permission.   wink


Get in touch with to talk about your next event video production.

EPK video production: 6 ways to build your story

EPK Video Production: 6 Ways To build Your Story

EPK videos are an engaging way to tell your story to audiences and stakeholders. There are goldmines of valuable content to be presented to audiences and press, other than show footage, and exploring different angles is essential in building up a rich narrative.

In this article we look at six strands of  content and explain their value in EPK video production.

1. Interviews with Key Creatives

Creators and champions of the work are usually best placed to espouse its unique selling points (USP); artists, writers, directors, producers and so on. By exploring their motivations, or responses to the work, we give the audience the tools to take more from the work. On film, their responses are more candid and engaging than in print, making it a far more effective way to tell your story. These interviews often function as the structure of an EPK video, which the rest of the content punctuates.

2. Star on Camera

When there’s a big name involved your EPK video must make a memorable connection between that person and the work. They are perhaps the most trusted and respected ambassador you have. Visually associating this person with the branding and story of the work is essential. Photo calls and dress rehearsals are perfect places to film them because your star is in costume or immersed in the environment of the piece. Use these interviews to show off the personality or the talents of this person, but also to dispel the misconceptions you think audiences or press will have about the work.

3. Vox Pops

Eloquent public testimonial is invaluable, not just as an advertising tool to audiences, but as a public stamp of approval to venues and funders. Don’t underestimate its effectiveness, but note the importance of asking leading questions to focus the interviewee on your key messages.

4. Exposition

You can build on the shareability and interest of the piece by placing it in a relevant cultural context. This could be through live Q&As, social media campaigns, or user generated content.  On film it can also be explored through a documentary approach to the subject. Belarus Free Theatre made short documentaries about their political activism efforts to accompany Red Forest; their play about man-made destruction and globalisation. The musical Made in Dagenham relied on archive footage of the original strikes at the FORD plant in their EPK videos.

5. Behind the Scenes

Discover the people, the ideas, and the work behind the scenes of a production. This unique insight is valuable to professionals as well as audiences, and it lends an invaluable authenticity to an EPK video that the more glossy promotional content cannot.

6. Show Footage

 If possible, an audio visual teaser of what patrons and paying audiences can actually expect is a powerful asset. However it’s not always possible, and in some cases where justice can’t be done to the real thing, it’s best to focus on creating original supporting content.

Video as a medium is the most persuasive, shareable and engaging way to communicate your story.

EPK videos can bring together various strands of content that combine your key messages from different angles.

At Impact Video we can help you from strategy to concept through to execution.

Get in touch with to talk about your next video production. 

narrative arc in online video blog article thumbnail

The Narrative Arc in Online Video

Essential to good journalism, feature films and novels, the narrative arc is no less important in online video. The arc is the point at which all productions should begin, and return to when things get tricky.

It means planning and structuring your idea around a central thread but does not always mean a three act structure; problem, conflict, resolution. Nor does it necessarily mean fictional storytelling with characters and dialogue.

An arc is simply a direction – it means there is progression and cohesion throughout the video. The Content Marketing Institute neatly refers to it as “editorial focus”. 

The need for a clear editorial focus is often either neglected, or misconstrued as necessitating an epic three act structure (or hero’s journey). A recent Forbes article distinguishes content like customer testimonials, (which they say needn’t have a story arc) from what they call ‘brand stories’ in which story design is integral. But this restriction of narrative arc to a certain type of video is too narrow an application. A narrative arc should be intrinsic to all video content that is intended to engage a user, not merely the problem, conflict, resolution sort. In the two examples below we identify the narrative arc and show how it contributes to the success of simple promotional videos.

This is a short promo by the V&A for their exhibition Heatherwick Studio: Designing The Extraordinary.  It’s very simple and not what might conventionally be referred to as ‘storytelling’, but the video’s effectiveness is rooted in its narrative arc.

The film quickly establishes the subject as a designer at work on a scale model. The pace and editing tell us that we should anticipate the fruits of his labour before the end, immediately giving structure to the film. We are shown the completed design intermittently which tells us that like the video, the exhibition will explore the design process from modelling to installation.

In short the video has a progression; rather than simply showing a designer at various stages of work, we are taken on a cohesive journey about the design process.

In this short by Museum of London, clothing exhibits from the 1920s are explored by way of an imagined night out and some simple motion graphics.

This is much more than a show-and-tell exercise as the head curator puts the items in context and brings them to life through the narrative.

Without any problem, conflict or resolution we have a tight narrative arc that holds our attention in both videos.

Good video content is always memorable and often share-able, and both are enhanced by the narrative arc.

We find it much easier to recall an overarching message or feeling than a series of statements, no matter how interesting at the time. So too users are more likely to share content that can be boiled down to a simple arc.

Finally, the all-important emotional hook is always rooted in the narrative arc.

Creating a satisfying arc is a specialist skill and when scaled up it is arguably as difficult as developing a screenplay. This is why big brands employ teams of experienced writers to script their brand stories. But creating a narrative arc in its most fundamental sense simply means coming up with a strand that gives progression and cohesion to your idea, and should be intrinsic to all online video productions.

Get in touch with to discuss how Impact Video can help you create narrative arcs that captivate your audiences.

Juliet Stevenson through camera monitor

Behind the Scenes of Mayday

We were commissioned to make a behind the scenes promotional video for the Young Vic short film Mayday, a response to the stage play ‘Happy Days’. The production was a two day shoot, one day on the set of the short film and the second at the Young Vic theatre filming the interviews.

The first day on set was by far the most challenging, staying out of the way while capturing quality footage for the promo video is tricky. The short film was shot entirely in a small bedroom so space was minimal for our videographer. These restrictions bare comparison to filming an event video reactively, where you’re always the least important person in the room (read our blog post on event videos here). There’s a fascinating article on Making-Of films at, about Niko Tavernise, who has made multiple such films for Darren Aronofsky.

The second production day for the promo video took place months later and was more pre planned. We watched a screening of the finished short film with the Director Natalie Abrahami and star Juliet Stevenson, then they chatted on camera about the genesis of the project and the filmmaking process.

Mayday is part of Young Vic Shorts, a program of short film created with the Guardian in response to each Young Vic main house stage production. Read our blog post on the use of short film in digital storytelling for theatre.

Get in touch with to talk about your a behind the scenes video production.

Screenshot from promo video for Harlem Dream at The Young Vic Top Stage Videos Mention

“South London will soon be swinging to a sexy New York beat if this trailer for A Harlem Dream is anything to go by.”

We were very pleased to see one of our recent video productions had been featured on the Guardian website. A promotional piece we shot for the Young Vic Theatre’s upcoming show by Dance Umbrella, A Harlem Dream, was included in a list of the best stage videos. Here is the segment:

Across the road to the Young Vic where south London will soon be swinging to a sexy New York beat if this trailer for A Harlem Dream is anything to go by. Part of the London-wide Dance Umbrella festival programme, Ivan Blackstock’s BirdGang choreography matches contemporary hip hop to the sounds and stylings of 1920s Harlem. Our dance critic Judith Mackrell is looking forward to a “new spin on a familiar form” when the show opens in October – read her full assessment of Dance Umbrella’s new direction under Emma Gladstone

Watch the trailer below and check out the other picks in the full article.



Impact Video Arts Show Reel

We wanted our Arts show reel to speak about the breadth of video work we do while shining a spotlight on the dramatic and the cinematic.

The creative license afforded when scripting and shooting this type of content is what spurs our passion for film-making. Long term relationships with theatre companies like Clean Break and The Young Vic Theatre allow us to experiment in this genre and stay at the forefront of the industry while not costing the earth as a production company. At Impact we work simultaneously in video production and online video advertising, which means we are always in touch with what type of content is and isn’t successful. Below the video is a list of clients whose work is included in the Arts show reel. Thanks to all our wonderful clients and thank you for watching!

Young Vic Theatre, The Roundhouse, Clean Break, Mahogany Opera Group, Imperial War Museum, Menier Chocolate Factory, Sound and Music, The Courtauld Gallery

Screenshot from interactive video

The Rise of Interactive Video

Interactive Video (IV) will become relevant to anyone creating or using online video.

IV is the next dimension to traditional linear video. Viewers can influence the content and narrative of a video using touch, gestures, voice or clicks. The viewer is presented with on-screen options at various junctures within the video and have the ability to shape their own experience. Forrester sums up the evolution of interactive video.

“Turning video from a lean-back to a lean-forward interactive experience redefines what is possible with the medium.”


The format has been successfully pioneered in music videos – one of the biggest success stories was Dylan’s Like A Rolling Stone in 2013 – but it’s gaining traction in branded entertainment, online shopping and other marketing communications. Check out these two examples, the first by Interlude for Subaru shows how interactive video can take over a narrative ad. 

subaru ad click

This second piece by Ben Sherman shows how an online shop can be integrated seamlessly into video – what they’re calling ‘shoppable video’.

ben sherman clcik

Why Content Creators are waking up to Interactive Video

IV is a customised experience where the user leads the way, meaning higher user engagement and satisfaction. At the same time advertisers are winning by gaining more actionable data based on more detailed user choices. This is a snowball effect of increasingly relevant and accurate communications from marketers to consumers. Data from recent campaigns by Rapt Media showed that, compared to linear video, viewers are more likely to re-watch an IV, more likely to click on it, and less likely to drop off (completion rates of 90%).

How do I create interactive videos?

There are a number of slick hosting and production platforms for creating IV, from free setups like Popcorn Maker to $1000 per project and hosting from It’s common for the big players to offer a full service from creative concept to aligning your website with their video player. These guys are doing everything they can to remove the barriers to adoption like costly site building and new production methods. Indeed, interactive video still demands much more from its creators than linear video. Anthony Mullen at Forrester advises:

“Treat interactive video as a microsite and use it across the whole customer life cycle. Interactive video can be a container for any media on the Web and, as a result, requires a more diverse team than the standard content marketing personnel.”

Why Isn’t Interactive Video Everywhere yet?

The share-ability and compatibility of IV platforms has been a focus of developers and the fact that YouTube and Vimeo do not offer these kinds of creation tools won’t be a problem for long. However, the cost of hosting and build on top of video production costs will be enough of a preventative for some. There are also some buffering issues on mobile for such a heavy bandwidth format. Finally, IV is a novelty at the moment, hence repeat views and high audience retention, but if every second video we come across online is interactive, that 90% retention rate could diminish quickly.

If these issues are resolved, IV offers undeniable opportunities for marketers to deliver more tailored and relevant content to their customers. The ability to interact with a mandatory pre-roll ad could drastically improve engagement.

Person filming with phone

User Generated Video Content – Part 2

In Part 1 of this post we looked at the rise of user generated content as a facet of a good content marketing strategy. We also discussed the future role of user generated video and the barriers to this. Here we explore some starting points and guidelines to user generated content.

Redefine the meaning of ‘quality content’

Think of quality content as anything that fosters community around your brand, anything that is shared avidly by your fans, not just professionally produced video or photography. Authenticity and sentiment are more powerful than production value. Moving past this hang up is the main difficulty for a lot of organisations. First up take a look at this innovative campaign by Lexus using user generated photography to put together a film frame by frame. The photos were taken on various phones and users were asked to edit them however they wanted before uploading them, giving the final video a very cut and paste feel.

Give your audience context for creation

People want to create but you must lead them toward your objectives for the campaign. The more parameters you can set them, the more quality interaction is likely. Ask them something specific, set a time limit and make the call to action clear. Conveniently Vine already constrains us to 7 seconds of video and Instagram to 15. Incentive will almost always play a part in your brief; the more to be gained the more effort people will put in and the higher quality content. Of course the gain for some groups could be purely recognition or personal satisfaction, other groups might need something more tangible. A great example of how to set context and constraints is Nissan’s #VersaVid campaign. Users were asked to create a Vine video with a 3d paper cut out Nissan, which was downloaded and printed from a specific website. By giving the resources, the subject and the time constraint (along with a $1,000 Amazon voucher) Nissan ensured high engagement. Here one of the winners.

Empower the real over the professional

There’s nothing more convincing than an independent review or testimonial. In the swamp of marketing communications, consumers value real experience. Empower your fans to bring the ‘authentic’ to your brand. How do they live with and interact with you on a day to day basis? Find and highlight that point where their lives meet your brand. Rather than only pushing your idea of how you’d like them to see you. Some of the best examples of achieving this have been in retail fashion by GAP, Burberry and Urban Outfitters. GAP ran a campaign in 2013 where customers were encouraged to share what GAP’s signature blue denim meant to them and contribute to their What’s Blue To You campaign on Tumblr with gifs or pictures. Adding a different and genuine angle to the very much ‘in-studio’ look of their usual advertising. Here are some of the winners.

"What’s Blue to You?" Tumblr contest winner  Chasing blue skies. Back to Blue. GIF by Landon Williams.               "What’s Blue to You?" Tumblr contest winner <br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /> Painting blue moves. Back to Blue. GIF by Erica Anderson.

Consider how your objective will influence what you ask for

If you are hoping to get the broadest level of engagement possible from your audience, then a simple task or a huge incentive is necessary, as in Lynx’s Apollo Space Campaign or Queensland Australia’s best job in the world campaign (which now has its own Wikipedia page). Whereas if you’re aim is to acquire a small number of high quality submissions and use these to spearhead a campaign, you should think very clearly about who those people are and about how to incentivise them. Ironically the best creators may not always be your biggest fans, but of course this depends on the reach of your brand in the first place.

How can it be valuable for those not directly participating?

Make sure the content that’s being generated doesn’t end with you and the creators. Explore how it can be shared and exhibited online to reach those non-participants engaged with your brand. Think of content as pieces of a puzzle of bricks of a building that combined will be visible to wider audiences. As with the GAP Tumblr campaign mentioned above, where the Tumblr attracts not just creators but any fashion conscious users.  Adam Vincenzini at states that in a successful campaign “all parties (host, entrant and participant) are part of a mutually beneficial experience.”


Your customers are out there and they want to create. Why not let them? If you missed part 1 of our post on user generated content, find it here.




How can we help you create great videos?



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