Video Campaign 'Renewal'
This project started with an artistic vision. Marketing (at it’s best) is about inviting positive change, and content should always strive to be visually compelling. One of today's creative challenges is in delivering cut-through video content which holds audience attention long enough to deliver messaging. I'm always looking to play with that.
I also wanted to make some films with people in animal masks. Guilty. There’s something about that whole aesthetic which invites wonder, and asks deeper questions of audiences. I figure we live in a time when we should be rexamining our relationship with nature and questioning the order of things. I wanted to use the power of these visuals to grab the audience and invite the idea of change.
Then there’s the Generation Z thing. All of the (paid) 'actors' in this film - basically my amazing daughter (fox 1) and her awesome friends - belong to a generation who need things to change. This is the Covid generation. The generation who had to deal with having their exams cancelled. The generation that have grown up with a backdrop of climate change and unfathomable political leadership.
We shot everything before lockdown so I can’t claim I was trying to make a film with all that in mind. However during the edit we ended up making three separate films entitled New, Change, and Revolution, and the latter with it’s positive empowerment vibe, feels like it’s for Gen Z. Happily my daughter’s friends seem to like it, and that's probably enough justification for making it in the first place. We also had loads of fun putting it all together..
From Masks to Characters
I have lots of talented artistic friends but didn’t know where to start commissioning animal masks. Fortunately I came across Wintercroft. I love their work and they’re such great people. We downloaded some of their mask plans and did some test builds and we were hooked straight away.
What I love about their masks is that they combine natural and geometric forms. I figured that if we did a good job on the builds, then we’d end up with imagery which combined something ancient with something right out of the 21st century - which is perfect for the messaging in the films.
The more we played with building and painting the masks, the more confident we got. I began thinking about what kind of characters we were creating. Humans tend to attribute our own behavioural values to animals (strange but true) so I wanted to play with that a little. This is why we ended up with two cunning foxes, two boxing hares, two athletic rabbits, two work-like badgers, three serene bears and a spritual stag.
Once we brought in our actors for wardrobe and mask-fitting, the characters started to develop, and I started thinking about how they would act on camera. Lots of thought went into ensuring the masks would stay fixed during the action, and that our actors could actually see what they were doing!
Where can I hire an owl?
I liked the idea of introducing an owl because they represent wisdom. They also have a certain majesty. I wanted our protagonists to interact with the bird and ‘tip their hat’ to the idea of worshipping nature. Once I’d found an owl sanctuary and a suitable wrangler, I began looking at the practical implications of filming with the bird, which helped dictate the location and setting for the film.
Luckily one of the bird’s natural perches was set in a clearing adjacent to a forest. This meant that I had all the backdrops I needed to tell the visual story:- We open with the animals invested in their own individual activities, deep inside a forest, and once the owl arrives they are triggered with inspiration, and make their way to a clearing, where they feel re-energised and empowered.
The whole thing is a metaphor for change. I wasn't attempting to advertise paganism and I definitely wasn’t interested in RE-remaking The Wicker Man! For that reason I lightened the production with props and tried to drive the action towards 'fun' and away from 'ritual'.
2 x Camera, 1 x Gimble, 8 x Confetti Canons..
We shot it with 2 x Canon 300 Mk2’s with a variety of lenses. We mounted one camera on a gimble so we could float around the animals, walking towards them while they ran through the shot, which we knew would be effective, especially when shooting at 100fps. For extra atmosphere I took along a bunch of orange confetti canons and fired them into the shot, as our protagonists encircled the owl’s perch. (No owls were harmed during the making of this film as we had the wrangler remove her before firing the canons!)
The Edit and the Grade
Back in the studio we looked at the rushes and two things were clear - Firstly the images were really powerful and secondly it was going to take a bit of thought to turn them into short films with clear messaging. It felt like there was an omni-dark-scandi-folk-horror waiting to burst out, and the images needed taming. The pace and the music and the grade were therefore really important, because the images were trying to take over. We shall let others decide if we won or lost the battle.
The Final Message
This is a rich and fertile time for video-content-led digital marketing. Producing video content for ourselves means we get to experiment with ever-changing social platforms and channel optimisation. This builds know-how which ultimately benefits our clients. Other than that, all we were trying to do was have a bit of fun with production and perhaps deliver a postive message of change.
Cheers, Dave Brewis, Director.
Enjoy the films below and don't forget to subscribe to our blog > https://ten80.com/blog
CREDITS: And HUGE thanks goes to..
Rachel Hope - Props / Wardrobe, George Cooper - Camera/Grip, Dave Scott - Edit/Grade, Louisa Jackson - Production assistant.
Lisa Brewis - Fox 1, Evan Heal - Fox 2, Maisie James - Hare 1, Emily Longstaff - Hare 2, Louis Wild - Bear 1, Sarah Davidson - Bear 2, Sam Henderson - Bear 3, Ruben Hope - Stag, Lucy Tinion - Badger 1, Edan Barker - Badger 2, Emily Robson - Rabbit 1, Lola Jackson - Rabbit 2, Mark and the staff at Falconry Days, Everyone at Wintercroft
Posted on Oct 23, 2020