- Insights: summary
- Why video sells
- The cost of video
- Controlling first impressions
- Grabbing attention
- Evaluating finished videos
- Golden rules: food + drink
- Golden rules: property videos
- Golden rules: school videos
- Importance of a script
- Importance of light: sunshine
- Importance of light: artificial
- Importance of editing
- Importance of music
- Importance of endlines
- Importance of sound
- Pitching and tenders
- Bye bye ITV
School Video Productions
School video production has become critically important for independent school marketers. Here are some of the best examples.
This is one of our school videos for St Helen and St Katharine School (known as SHSK) in Abingdon, near Oxford UK. SHSK is one of the best girls’ day schools in the UK. It is consistently in the top 20 for academic results and sends an impressive proportion of its sixth form to Oxbridge.
Becky Dougall is SHSK’s dynamic Head. She briefed us with a perception of the school that was strikingly different from other conversations we’ve had with Heads at other schools. From the start of our first meeting she made it clear that she sees the school as no more than a stepping stone in the life of each of its pupils. This may sound obvious, but many schools are more institutionalised and insular in their outlook, seeing their role as guiding pupils up to A Levels and then their job is done. Becky’s view is that each SHSK girl needs to develop her inherent talent to the maximum and be given the confidence to fulfil her aspirations throughout her life. She points to the remarkable and diverse careers of the schools’ alumnae, including Samantha Cameron and she wanted our school video production to reflect this.
From this information we realised that our story had to include women that had left the school and we selected four: an artist exhibiting all over the world, the Team GB Olympic figure-skating team doctor, a High Court judge and the Head of PR at CERN in Switzerland.
Getting permission to film the last two was particularly difficult. It is illegal to film in a court room or a judge in robes. However, we were able to film (with special permission) at the Court entrance hall and within the judge’s chambers. For CERN we were given just a one hour slot to go deep underground and film one of the five massive detectors which was about to be closed up for a year after maintenance. We haven’t seen any other school promo video given filming access to CERN.
Linking these disparate careers together was a branding device that we developed so that everyone was linked back to the school. This was a special SHSK fountain pen with the school badge engraved on the nib. The line of ink and writing became the continuum that expressed a timeline, from what was learned at SHSK to the pinnacle of their individual careers.
Filming something as small as a pen nib is technically challenging so a large model was constructed: 20 times larger than real life. This allows the camera to give an apparently huge but beautiful-looking close-up image: something rarely seen in a school promotional video.
Another technical challenge was filming lacrosse in a way that looked fast, dangerous and gritty. A gyro-steadied camera was mounted to a sledge which could be pushed at full speed across the lacrosse pitch, keeping up with the very fast play, which was then orchestrated around the camera. A real injury ensued by accident (no harm done) which made the cut into the finished film as Becky Dougal was keen to show the girls “getting down and dirty”.
And reaction to the finished video for the school? SHSK told us “you’ll be pleased to hear that when the film was shown at the Parents Evening last night, there was about three seconds silence after the film ended, then ecstatic applause – which was just so lovely! It’s a winner!”
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