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Case study Charity Video

Video memorial service for St Ann’s Hospice

We’re really proud of our work with St Ann’s Hospice, one of our longest-standing Stockport video production clients. It was an honour to produce their annual Light up a Life service. Every December they help people remember and celebrate their loved ones in a really beautiful way.

Normally there would be multiple live events in different parts of Greater Manchester. Given the pandemic, the charity decided early on that a pre-recorded video format would be the best alternative. It meant the service could be available to anyone who wanted to access it, but would hopefully feel as special and important as it would in any other year.

We first got involved with St Ann’s Hospice in 2019 – sometimes filming and editing, sometimes repurposing existing footage. The Light up a Life service was a mix of both approaches. It combined pre-recorded video messages with professional footage shot in the Haven, a multi-faith chapel at the Heald Green hospice. The pre-recorded messages came from various public and religious figures, including Andy Burnham and David Walker, the Bishop of Manchester. There were songs from amateur choirs, and carols sung by a chorister in Manchester Cathedral. In the beautifully decorated Haven, I filmed video messages from the chaplain and hospice staff. As always, I grabbed plenty of ‘b-roll’ shots to help me piece the whole thing together.

“You’ve captured the feel so well”

I’m really pleased with the resulting video, which you can see below. Here’s a lovely bit of feedback I received from the St Ann’s team after they watched my edit:

Thank you SO much for bringing our service to life. Everyone who has watched it has absolutely loved it – there’s been quite a few tears! You’ve captured the feel of our Light up a Life service and the hospice so well, it feels really Christmassy and warm but also poignant and a special time of remembrance, whilst still being hopefully and looking ahead. 

Everyone has asked me to pass on their thanks to you, and Pete, Jo and Rachel especially for making the filming so smooth and making them all feel a lot less daunted than they thought.

Head to this page to watch the service or join in with the appeal: sah.org.uk/get-involved/fundraising/light-up-a-life

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Case study Charity Video

Remote editing: the new normal

Throughout my career, I’ve always done a combination of filming my own content and editing what other people have filmed. Right now, the latter is pretty much all I’m doing. The big challenge for me hasn’t been the editing itself, it’s been the lack of creative and technical control that comes with it.

When I worked for the BBC, producing digital video content for brands like Blue Peter, there were often times when I would be sent a video that a presenter had filmed on their phone, or given a piece of GoPro footage from the cutting room floor. My job was to assess whether it was worth using, and if so polish it up with a slick edit, some tasty graphics and a bit of music.

In the world of non-profits and businesses, there are always times when remote editing is the most suitable option. For one thing, it’s generally a great way to save on filming costs if a client already has existing footage, or has had professional photos taken that can be reworked into a video. It might be that a charity wants to promote an annual event, and has mobile footage that was shot by their staff or supporters.

That was the case for St Ann’s Hospice, a hugely important Stockport-based charity and one we’re very proud to produce video content for. Their Manchester Midnight Walk is a massive annual event, attracting thousands of walkers and raising millions for the charity. They approached me early in 2020 to create a suite of six videos for them, each aimed at a different type of supporter. They didn’t have any professionally shot footage of previous events, but they had plenty of material that people had filmed on phones, as well as professional still images. I’m a bit of a control freak, so part of me is always a bit terrified when I have to edit someone else’s footage, rather than shoot it myself or with my team. But still, there’s a lot of fun to be had finding ways of taking whatever I’m given and creating something that feels genuinely polished and professional.

The secret sauce in this particular case is my bespoke motion graphics, based on the event branding created by the charity’s design team. These give all the video content a cohesive style, even though each individual video feels distinct. As well as the one above featuring Mr Motivator, there was a video focusing on the fitness benefits, one focusing on the difference the funds raised would make, and so on. The stills, footage, copy and music were slightly different on each piece of content, to make sure it would resonate with the intended audience.

As the pandemic loomed, the event ended up being postponed til June, so I reversioned the video content with the new date. Within a few short weeks, though, it became clear that the event could not go ahead. Instead, the ‘Manchester Virtual Walk’ was born, with participants walking their own 5K route in their own time during the month of June. I went back to the existing edit and created this, the (hopefully!) final version of the video.

If you’re interested in our remote editing services, please drop us a line. For some tips and tricks for filming yourself with a phone, read this guest blog about self-shooting that I wrote for Mike Pye + Co. And of course, if you’re able to, please do join in with the Manchester Virtual Walk and support the fantastic, essential work of St Ann’s Hospice.

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Case study Charity Video Video content tips

Why phones are sometimes better than professional cameras

St Ann’s Hospice, one of Manchester’s biggest and best-loved charities, approached me recently with a problem. They had lots of footage shot on phones of their supporters at various fundraising events, but they were worried that the quality wasn’t good enough. There were wobbly shots, lots of background noise and varying degrees of picture quality. They wanted to know if I could stitch them together into one snappy video that would somehow look professional and on-brand.

Naturally, I was happy to help; editing clients’ footage is something I do on a regular basis. I love taking raw materials and crafting something polished. By hand-picking the best soundbites, creating bespoke branded graphics and adding some upbeat music, I was able to create a fun video that encourages people to get involved with the charity.

In fact, the phone videos weren’t just useable, they were better in some ways than professional footage would have been. There’s a level of authenticity from the self-shot style that we might not have got from a more traditional filming approach. It’s also a massively cost effective way of doing things compared with sending a videographer to several different events.