Case study Charity

Animated anonymity

We recently delivered this vision video for Interserve, a Christian charity that serves communities in Asia and the Arab World. Alongside a major rebrand, the organisation approached us to produce an explainer video that demonstrates what they’re about. They wanted to focus on the people they work with, which is where ‘Sarah’ came in.

The challenge from Interserve

Sarah (not her real name) has been supported by Interserve, and with their help she has made it through some extremely tough times. Sensitivities around the place where she lives means that her identity needed to remain secret. The challenge, then, was to tell this one woman’s story in a compelling way, without compromising her security. We couldn’t use her voice or image. We couldn’t even hint at her ethnicity. And yet we needed to make the film personal and engaging.

Generally we shy away from animation. It’s not where our expertise lies, and it’s prohibitively expensive for many clients. In this case, though, we felt like animation could be the perfect solution. We searched high and low for an artist who could sketch natural-looking images in Photoshop. It turned out that artist was hiding in our existing network – the brilliant and multi-talented Charlie Barber. Back when Jamie and I worked at Blue Peter, Charlie was there too as an Assistant Content Producer. We sent him a list of ‘scenes’ for the Interserve film, and a series of reference images to explain the kind of style we were aiming for.

To achieve this striking visual effect, Charlie recorded his screen while drawing in Photoshop, then sped it up.

How we did it

Charlie sketched the images in Photoshop while recording his screen, resulting in a dynamic image without the sky-high costs associated with traditional animation. After the animated opening, further context is provided through a filmed interview with Dan Challis, Interserve’s Initiatives Co-ordinator.

A common occurrence for Studio 91 is clients coming to us with a budget and a list of requirements, but uncertainty over how to accomplish what they need. If that sounds like you, don’t panic. We LOVE a creative challenge, and will bend over backwards to find the solution that perfectly fits your needs. Drop us a line and let’s get started.

Video Video content tips

What I have learned as a 24-year-old videographer

Over the last 7 years I have learned something… being a videographer can be mentally and physically demanding at times. From 12 hour shoots, to multiple complex pieces of equipment to monitor. From time management efficiency to creating relationships and developing personal skills with clients. From pre-production to post, the job of a videographer can be tough…but I wouldn’t want it any other way.

As a young videographer, I have learned so much throughout my career and if I can give one important fact to the audience it is this… You will learn something new on every project you do, and sometimes it can be painful.

This is an incredibly important point that has helped me since I first picked up a camera. The reason for this is because videography can be a complex and demanding job and things can easily go wrong. SD cards can break, cameras can overheat, mics will rustle or audio can peak, lighting might not be perfect. Things can go wrong, so it is important to know this early on and be aware of it. Check out my 2014 showreel.

During my first few free jobs as a videographer, I began writing down the pros and cons of every shoot I would work on and how I could improve for my next shoot. This could be a simple thing from changing my f stop for a certain angle of shot, to working on my directing skills and being clearer to the client. I have found this incredibly useful for me over the years and has really helped me become a better videographer. Check out one of my videos from 2017 when I first started using my own equipment.

As a few years passed by, I learned more about equipment and the importance of purchasing the correct equipment to work with other kit. However I learned this pretty quickly, buying the best equipment won’t make you the best videographer. You need to learn how to use what you have got, don’t over complicate things. I really think this was important for me and made me wiser with my visual choices when working on a project.

I believe my creative speciality lies primarily in creating wedding films. I have learned most of my skills over the years, as I am filming a live event, something very different to a staged shoot. This can be both a pro and a con as I will need to be on the ball and have great time management skills. Over the years my skills within wedding videography have sculpted my video skills on other projects. The main 3 skills I have developed over these shoots would be time management, creative style and building a relationship with the client.

I often look at a day’s work and think of myself going into an auto-pilot mode, where I just focus on what needs to be done. I really find this freeing in some way. Please check out one my wedding films I made in 2019. I think my work has really has developed since my first showreel in 2014.

It is important to look at other videographers as inspiration, not as a threat. With this mindset I have been able appreciate other work out there and play with their styles in my own work. For example I watched 3 wedding videographers for years as I built up my portfolio.

As a videographer, I have learned the importance of being pro-active, pushing myself into filming content I haven’t done before. I really believe that making my own content requires many skills and develops my craft.

A last note from me, it is important to go easy on yourself. I am always aware of the things I need to work on, but that’s the exciting thing…to keep working and improving on my skills. One problem creatives all may be familiar with, we sometimes strive for perfection and fail to meet it and we end up not liking our work. That is the mystique of art. I remind myself to pick myself up and create more content. It may take patience but it will be worth it to look back at the art you have created.

I hope you found this personal blog insightful and motivational for anyone working in their own craft at an early stage in their career. Just remember to look at how far you have come already and keep on striving towards your goals.

If you are looking for a great video company to create some inspiring content for your brand, get in touch with us.

Video content tips

3 ways to back up your footage

You have some video content, but you only have it saved in one place and oh no…that hard drive gets lost/stolen/corrupted/accidentally wiped and you lose your content. Unfortunately you’d be surprised at how many people lose video content just because they forgot or didn’t know where to back up their video content. It’s such a simple process but if you don’t do it, you run the risk of losing your footage forever. This blog is a quick guide to three different ways to keep your video content safe. But first, have a look at this video to understand why you should always back up.

Google Photos

Google Photos is a photo sharing and storage service developed by Google. As well as photos, it can store unlimited videos in full HD. Part of the Google One cloud storage service, you can store up to 15GB for free or up to 100GB for £1.59/month.

Google Photos is a great tool for beginner video creators or marketers out there looking to save their content to the cloud. Check out this video below for more information.

You can use the app on iOS and Android devices and on desktop computers through your browser. One great added bonus, especially for video production novices, is its ability to create videos, GIFs and more automatically using Google’s all-powerful AI capabilities.

SanDisk iXpand

SanDisk iXpand is a great tool for backing up footage from your phone, especially if you’re out and about without easy access to cloud services. Think of it as a USB stick for your phone. With prices starting around £24 for a 32GB model, this device is a great piece of kit. It’s available with a Lightning connection, USB-C, or both! The iXpand mobile app lets you manage your data and preview your footage.

LaCie Rugged Mini

Now let’s have a look at a common hard drive brand used by professional videographers. LaCie have a range of drives to suit all requirements and budgets, including a new model which is on the pricier side but is resistant to shock, drop, dust and even water!

These super reliable hard drives are perfect for creators and marketers producing content regularly. They perform extremely well when it comes to raw transfer speeds, and their small size means they’re easy to carry around.

We hope you found this blog useful. Hopefully we have saved you from losing your video content. If you are looking for professional video production partners to make your brand stand out, please get in touch with us.

Case study Video

Kids react to Eurovision

Once upon a time, back in May 2020, I was meant to travel to Eurovision to film social content with the EBU’s digital team. Of course, that wasn’t to be, and 2020 became the first year in the history of the Eurovision Song Contest that the Contest didn’t go ahead.

Thankfully, I still had the chance to get involved in the 2021 edition of the Contest. Sure, I only got to travel as far as Media City in Salford, but it was a lot of fun all the same. The BBC’s Eurovision social media team commissioned me to produce a video of children reacting to classic moments from Eurovision’s recent history. It was part of a wider campaign to pique young adults’ interest in the Contest, and boost its already plentiful viewing figures.

Along with a small crew, we interviewed about 20 children in a day, asking them questions and capturing their reactions to everything from Finnish rockers Lordi to a dancing gorilla. I turned around the edit in a couple of days, in time for the big build-up to the Eurovisional final. It made a big impact on social media, garnering over 200,000 views on Facebook as well as a tonne of engagement. Here it is – enjoy!

Video Video content tips

How are brands using video on different social media in 2021?

There are so many outlets for video these days; YouTube, TikTok, Snapchat, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, just to name a few. But what are brands doing differently on each of those platforms, and why? Let’s take a look at how some brands are using their social channels to really push unique original content.

Patagonia on YouTube

In 2021, Patagonia released a documentary video on their YouTube channel. The film is about the citizen-led community-energy movement in Europe and the visionaries lighting the way. Patagonia have launched a campaign to support community-owned energy across Europe.

Publishing this video on YouTube has proved successful, with over 299,000 views in just 8 days. The documentary is a perfect fit for YouTube as the video is long-form content. A video of this length might struggle on other platforms to get the same reach. The clothing brand can utilise its modern aesthetic style to attract its target market of young people.

Vessi on TikTok

Waterproof shoe designer Vessi decided to go bold and adventurous on TikTok with their brand. Instead of sitting back and leaving consumers to find out their effectiveness, Vessi went all out to show how much damage the products could take.

In their videos, Vessi shoes undergo ‘quirky’ testing from consumers jumping in puddles, to walking in dirt, to pouring wine, green beer and coffee on their shoes. And guess what, the shoes don’t suffer.

Snappy, self-shot and straight to the point, this type of content sits really comfortably on TikTok. The ‘wow’ factor of seeing the shoes in action gives viewers a reason to share the videos and to seek out the next Vessi experiment.


If you happen to spill green beer on your Vessi Weekends today… admire those dry socks & pop them into the wash😉🍀 #vessiweekend #stpatricksday

♬ original sound – Jessica P Creation

Nike on Instagram

Nike have utilised the importance of promoting beautiful storytelling to their audience through their Instagram channel. The short-form video pieces use a variety of contributors, from household name Nike athletes and younger athletes starting in their career, to everyday people who wear Nike clothes. Through their content, the company promotes the importance of equality and diversity within the world of sport.

Nike’s video content on their Instagram channel isn’t to sell specific products, it is instead designed to make the audience feel part of the family. Note the minimalist use of text graphics, and the way the content is enhanced by audio without relying on it too heavily. It feels beautiful and cinematic, yet social native at the same time.

Mashable on Snapchat

With 11.4 million subscribers on Snapchat, Mashable targets a dedicated audience who are passionate about gadgets, smartphones and social media.

Mashable is the go-to place for the latest news on tech, gadgets and more. Their Snapchat distills their website content into quick, digestible stories. They stand alone, while also drawing users to the website to read more.

This is Engineering on Twitter

In recent years, there has been a dramatic shortfall in students pursuing a career in engineering in the UK. However, the #ThisIsEngineering campaign is seeking to combat this rising problem.

The campaign showcases video content of engineers speaking about their passion of engineering in areas like sport, technology, and design. And thanks to Twitter’s emphasis on discussion, the video content becomes a jumping-off point for engagement between students and the brand. The video content utilised on Twitter highlights a great way for an organisation to target an issue that is currently spreading across Britain.

Searchie on LinkedIn

Searchie is a recruitment platform based in Dubai. Searchie are a cool example of a brand using their LinkedIn page specifically to target their professional audience with a regular stream of video content released on their feed. The aim of the content is to give the company a strong reputation for being experts in the field of recruitment.

Searchie also offer LinkedIn live knowledge sharing sessions by exploring the opportunities and methods included in the broad subject of their space. Executives and leaders in their brand are regularly interviewed and their episodes are broadcast on a regular schedule.

We hope you found this blog useful and insightful. When it comes to social media video production, we really know our stuff. So if you want your content to make a real impact, we’re here to help.

Video content tips

How to achieve better framing and focus in your video content

With modern-day phone cameras, it’s really easy to achieve high-quality video and with just a few quick and easy tips, you can really start to make your content look and feel even better. It’s harder than ever to spot the difference between professional and amateur video footage these days. The difference usually lies in how an interview is lit, or maybe the quality of the sound. These can be tricky elements to master and a lot of the time, have a monetary value attached to improving. Framing and focus are two areas where you can, in some cases, vastly improve your picture quality and it won’t cost you a penny.


Good framing is something that can start to make your content look and feel professional, and once you know the fundamentals it is something you can start to have fun with. Good framing looks like this:

1. Headroom

This is the amount of space between the top of your subject’s head and the top of the frame. The great thing about this is that you can give as much, or as little as you like depending on your personal preference. What I would say is to keep this consistent across your project. If, for example, you need to cut together multiple interviews, then make sure you’re giving the same amount of headroom in each shot.

2. Objects in your frame

Be very deliberate about what’s in the foreground/background of each of your shots and if you have the time, think about the symmetry and balance of what’s inside your frame. If you have a coffee cup in the shot, then make sure it’s clearly identifiable whilst not obstructing your subject. Place objects left or right of frame and experiment with how close/far away from the camera they are.

3. Lighting

Use whatever lighting you have available to you to help pick out your subject. This will help you draw your audience’s attention to where you want it. If you’re filming outside, take a moment to consider the angle your shooting at. The sun is a great source of natural light and a slight change of angle can make all the difference. If you’re filming inside, then experiment with all light sources and if you have a panel light or light ring, then experiment with distance/intensity. You really do notice lighting if it’s wrong, so it’s definitely worth taking the time to get right. 

On the other hand, this is what bad framing looks like…

1. Headroom

At first glance, leaving a ton of headroom doesn’t look that bad, but it can throw off your eye line if this isn’t consistent between shots. If you do decide you want to negatively frame your shots, make sure that that’s a running theme throughout your project as this is something that is really noticeable if not consistent.

2. Objects in your frame

Make sure that there’s nothing in frame that distracts from the story you’re trying to tell, i.e an open bag on the table behind, or a plant that’s obstructing your subject a little too much. Like I stated previously, make sure the things in your frame are an improvement, and are identifiable without being a distraction.

3. Angle

This is something that becomes more obvious when viewed on a laptop or a TV, a slightly skewed angle on a phone screen or camera monitor can look a lot worse when viewed on a bigger screen. A really easy fix for this is just to turn on the gridlines in your phone or DSLR camera settings. This really helps with making sure you’re shots are lined up properly, but also helps identify what works/doesn’t work within the frame itself. 


Focus is something that phone cameras are great at doing automatically but if it’s not right, you really notice so it’s always good to check this before you press record! It really does affect how professional your content looks and if your subject is ever so slightly out of focus, it can bring down the quality of your project quite significantly.

With these quick and easy-to-apply steps, the video quality will really start to improve. This can get a lot more complicated depending on what you’re shooting though, so if you’re looking for someone to come shoot and edit professional-quality digital video, then check out our work

Video content tips

Best settings for recording through Zoom

We’ve all had to contend with dodgy Zoom video quality in some way shape or form over the last year. Whether that be through a bad internet connection, a terribly framed shot, or just some bad lighting. These are usually just inconveniencing at best, but that all changes when you need to use Zoom to record video content and there are a few really simple steps you can take to optimize recording through Zoom that I’m here to share with you… 

Zoom is a great tool for recording multiple people at once, but depending on how you have it set up, you’ll get massively inconsistent results when retrieving any footage you’ve recorded through there, so we’re going to layout the best settings to have turned on, along with some general tips that should improve your Zoom recordings. There are different best practices depending on whether you’re going to edit the footage or just upload it straight away and hopefully, this article helps you decide the best settings for exactly what you need.   

Video Quality

So there are a few really easy options in setting for you to get the best possible video quality back out of Zoom while using your built-in webcam. The first being to make sure Enable HD video is ticked in your options. You can find this by going to Zoom > Settings > Video > HD and making sure it’s ticked. While you’re here you might as well make sure your other video setting are right for what you need i.e. if your video seems a little dark, try ticking ‘adjust for low light’ or if your subject is appearing a little shiny, you can enable the ‘touch up my appearance’ setting which then gives you a slider so you can choose how much to apply. 

I’d say the main thing to think about before changing/applying any of these settings is what do you need to get from the footage? Do you want the participants’ names to be visible? This is easily changed by ticking the ‘Always display participant name on their videos’ and can’t be removed later, so it’s important you get this right up-front. Another setting in here that you might want to have a play around with is ‘Hide non-video participants’ which will change how your Zoom looks from a formatting perspective. This can help you manage participants that either don’t want to be on camera themselves, or that you don’t want/need on camera yourself. If you’re editing the footage, you probability want to have your Zoom in gallery view as this format allows for greater flexibility when editing. If you’re putting the footage straight online then you’ll probabily want to have Zoom set to paticipant view. I’d say just have a play around with this until you find the right format for your content. 

There are a couple of other settings that you might want to have a look at if you’re editing the footage you get out of Zoom. Firstly, if you go to Zoom > Settings > Recording: you’ll see an option to ‘Add a timestamp to the recording’. I’d suggest unticking this unless you need this information burnt into the footage. Next go to Zoom > Settings > Recordings: and tick ‘Optimize for 3rd party video editor’. This just lets Zoom know that you’re planning on editing this footage and makes it easier to export out in a format that will be acceptable in most editing software. 


Now lighting is something that even the most experienced video producers have a hard time getting right, but there are some really simple tips you can use to get better natural lighting on you or your subjects through Zoom. 

Firstly, have a play around with locations around your house (or wherever you’re setting up) as some rooms/angles will just naturally have better light sources. I’d suggest trying to use all-natural light or all artificial light as a source as I find it’s quite obvious when you have a mix of both. I’d suggest experimenting with the direction you/your subject is facing as even just a slight change of angle can make a huge difference to how you’re lit. 

Alternatively, if you’re experiencing problems with not having enough light on a subject, you can go to Zoom > Settings > Video > and tick the ‘Adjust for low light’ box to see if that helps. If your video is still too dark and there are no easy lighting options to hand, try turning your laptop screen to its brightest setting and try changing your ‘Adjust for low light’ setting from ‘auto’ to ‘manual’ as that will give you a slider which allows for more control. 


Now, sound is probably going to be the most inconsistent thing you get back out of Zoom, so it’s definitely worth taking the time to get this right. Consider how many people are on the call. Is it appropriate to ask everyone to wear headphones? This way, you eliminate any background noise/feedback which can be difficult to work around in post-production. 

Depending on what you’re shooting, wearing headphones may not be an option so make sure you go to Zoom > Settings > Recording and tick the ‘record a separate audio file’ box. This gives you full control over each participant’s voice e.g if the subjects are all speaking at different volumes or talking over each other, you’d have the ability to edit this later on. 

Remember, some of these settings will work better if you’re planning on editing the footage and some will work better if you’re just uploading it straight away. I’d suggest taking the time to plan out exactly what you need before you start recording anything. Don’t let yourself get to overwhelmed with this either. We’ve edited a lot of Zoom content here at Studio 91 Media, so don’t hesitate to get in touch if you need help with your project.

Produced properly, and edited well, Zoom recordings can be dynamic and engaging. Here’s one we edited for the Institute of Engineering and Technology.
Case study Educational

Mental health resources for schools

Recently we’ve been working with The Lily Jo Project to produce some brilliant in-depth video content for schools. The aim is to create resources that appeal to children and young people, and that don’t shy away from tricky mental health topics.

Ben was a pleasure to work with, his calm nature put me at ease and his turnaround times were quick and exactly what we had set out in the brief. I was blown away by the quality of the shots, and I would recommend Ben and team to anyone needing media services.

Lily-Jo, founder of The Lily Jo Project
The ‘Be The Change’ series focused on racism, empathy and how we can make a difference.

Lily Jo is a singer-songwriter and mental health professional. She started The Lily Jo Project because she’s passionate about talking to kids about mental health. Her unique skill is bringing a wealth of experience and expertise to the table, and delivering it in a clear, non-patronising way.

Each month, The Lily Jo Project puts out a new series of mental health resources based around a different topic. So far we’ve filmed and edited over 2 hours of content for them. These have been on the subjects of racism and creative expression, and how they relate to our mental health.

For each series of mental health resources, there are alternate versions for different age groups. This clip is aimed at Key Stage 1 children, whereas the clip from Be The Change is for Key Stages 3 and 4.

Before the COVID pandemic, Lily Jo and her team focused on face-to-face teaching in schools. In 2020, they pivoted to a video-first approach, and it’s led to them expanding internationally. They now deliver mental health resources to schools as far away as Canada. We’re really proud to have been part of this journey, and to be working on something that will genuinely improve young people’s lives.

From mental health to classical music to parenting, we’ve got a lot of experience producing all sorts of educational content. If you’d like to work with us on something like this, drop us a line any time.

Video Video content tips

How to use slow motion to create emotion

Slow motion video has been a phenomenon for years, it’s not something new. If you go way back to the early days of film and flick through different films, documentaries, sport broadcasts etc… you will find glorious and impactful slow motion scenes.

When watching a video, do you ever stop and notice the frequency and way slow motion is utilised for certain shots? This is because slow motion is a great and simple way to make a video or scene more impactful, dramatic, intense and artistic. It’s pleasing on the eye and it draws viewers in. With slow motion, time is almost frozen and you’re taken along for the ride. It’s an amazing tool – use it! To whet your appetite, here are some great examples of slow motion utilised in cinema:

Is slow motion just for Hollywood?

Well, no! Thankfully we are blessed with incredible tech these days. Slow motion settings are compatible on almost all camera, phone and tablet devices! You don’t need to go high-end and purchase the most expensive camera out there. It is true that the higher you search you can find more cameras with a higher frame rate…but the specs we see on most mid-range devices definitely do the business! Which means you can create stunning slow motion video content on a budget. From your GoPro to your DSLR to your phone, chances are you’ll have access to a high frame rate camera that will deliver the slomo goods.

Let’s get technical…

Humour me for a second while I talk about the numbers. If you film at normal speed with the native camera app on your phone, chances are it’s shooting 30 frames per second (fps). That means that every second, the camera is capturing 30 images. When played back, these 30 images create smooth motion in real time.

When you go into slomo mode, either in your native camera or a dedicated video app, you’re increasing the frame rate. You might be shooting in 60, 120 or even 240 fps. When that’s played back at 30 fps, each second of what you captured becomes 2, 4 or 8 seconds long.

As well as looking cool and a bit ‘arty’, slow motion is an easy way to make handheld footage appear more stable. As well as slowing down the subject, you’re also slowing down the movement of the camera itself, which can smooth things out and cover a multitude of sins.

Slow motion is best used sparingly, for scenes that really portray emotion. Examples of this could be a group of people celebrating and dancing, or a person in despair running towards the camera. When there is a lot of action or fast movement, slomo draws the viewer in and shows them more detail.

Used correctly, slow motion can leave the audience feeling inspired, drawn in and focused on the scene, which is something every creative wants to bring to fruition…powerful, enchanting story telling.

Apps that will aid your slow motion filming

For most people, the slow motion mode in the native camera app is more than enough to capture great artistic content. 

However, once you’ve mastered the basics, consider going a step further. Apps such as Filmic Pro, Moment Pro Camera or MAVIS (iOS) give the video maker manual control, which can really spice up video work and make it look more professional. As well as frame rate, these apps let you change the aperture, focus, shutter speed, picture profile and so on.

We hope you found this blog insightful and enlightening, and we’re here to help if you need to bring the professionals in for your next slow motion masterpiece! unique creative slow motion spark in your video content, please with us!

Case study Charity Impact Video

Thanking Bury’s heroes

Bury Council have been really interesting to work with, because we’ve been producing video content for them throughout the pandemic. Think back to April 2020. The early days of the first national lockdown. That’s when my path first crossed with Nicola Appleby from Bury Council’s comms team. She mentioned that she had come across my guest blog for Mike Pye + co about how to film yourself using a phone. She had adapted it to send to councillors. Suddenly these people had a need to film themselves that had never really been part of their jobs before.

By the end of the month, we were editing films for Bury’s social media. The content used footage shot by various staff and volunteers, thanking “#TeamBury” for all the amazing work they were doing.

We’ve produced several films for Bury Council since then, using a mix of user-generated content and professional footage. The latest piece of work involved two videos. The aim was to thank volunteers and carers, and mark a year since the pandemic was declared. I spent three days travelling around Bury with Nicola, gathering footage, and Will spent the weekend editing the footage.

As many of our contributors pointed out, there are many of people in the borough who are carers but don’t even think of themselves in that way; they simply get on and do it.

The result is two pieces of content we’re extremely proud of, featuring some truly inspirational people. People like Tina, who is risking her own health to run a food bank, the lovely smiley volunteers at Trust House in Whitefield, and retired nurse Elaine who goes above and beyond to care for her husband.

We love producing video content that tells real stories, with clients who want to make the world better. This project in particular is one that will stay with us for years to come. It marks a period in history when times were hard but when staggering numbers of people stepped up to look out for those around them.