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Televisual asks why we made Sonya

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Leading TV production magazine Televisual asked us what was behind our decision to make and self-fund the documentary The Spy Who Stole the Atom Bomb.  This fascinating story of  Ursula Kuczynski, a WWII spy who handed over Britain’s atomic secrets to the Russians, felt to us like a gift.  

With the release of the MI5 files on Sonya, we were able build a more complete picture of her life in the UK than had ever been possible before. And, as we have been producing factual content and digital video for over a decade, we certainly had the capabilities to bring this tale to life using high quality drama reconstruction.  

But we also knew that to cut through as a new entrant in the race for commissions in the UK and abroad would be a challenge….

Read the full story from our Head of Production Hannah Veale on the Televisual Blog.

 

Invisible Strategies at Modern Art Oxford

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The Lubaina Himid exhibition Modern Art Oxford draws to a close this weekend after a hugely successful run.  We’ve filmed a number of talks and events at the gallery, and you can view all the multimedia around the event on Modern Art Oxford Channel.

One of the best parts of our job is having access to so many fascinating events and talks.  Invisible Strategies has been a real treat.  Himid was a pioneer of the British Black Arts Movement and the show brings together her paintings sculptures, ceramics and works on paper. It contains many works shown for the first time in decades alongside pieces never-before seen in a public gallery, this exhibition highlights Himid’s consistently thought-provoking and distinctive visual style.

We’re proud to have been a part of helping Modern Art Oxford communicate the wonders of this show through video.  If you’re in Oxford this weekend you have until Sunday April 30 to see it for yourself.

 

Thank you for being late

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Thomas L. Friedman, New York Times columnist and author of The World is Flat, spoke recently at Oxford Martin School about how the advance of technology, globalisation and climate change are driving forces fundamentally reshaping the world.  We filmed his talk on his book, Thank you for being late, to declare “We have no choice but to learn to adapt to this new pace of change. It will be harder and require more self motivation — and that reality is surely one of the things roiling politics all over America and Europe.” He suggests 18 steps to sustainable growth, and discovering our sense of community as key to the solution.  Watch his talk here

Ben Goldacre talks Bad Medicine

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When the hugely popular podcast Freakonomics Radio ran a three-part series around the science of medicine, we interviewed Ben Goldacre, University of Oxford research fellow and author of best sellers Bad Science and Bad Pharma.  In the second episode he talks about how ineffective and even dangerous drugs make it to market.  He suggests one reason is that clinical trials are often run on “dream patients” who aren’t representative of a larger population. In the last episode he gives some insight into why medical error is the third-leading cause of death in the U.S.  Listen to the whole series here.

Superfast broadband gives us the edge

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ODM Editor Matt Greetham in our client edit suite

Handling data in digital media production today is a complex operation because of the huge volumes involved in digital video, audio, animation and graphics. So when we moved to new premises recently we took advantage of the fast broadband service on offer from regional provider Gigaclear.  The service really has given us the edge when it comes to sharing and storing data.   

Our business relies heavily on the ability to effectively share and store media files.  Huge amounts of data go back and forth between clients and stakeholders while projects are under way.  All of these files are kept on our servers in a RAID storage system which currently handles around 56 Terabytes (a Terabyte is 1,000 Gigabytes).  When finished and delivered, we archive our clients’ projects on tape in a secure, industry-standard format (see our recent post on Archiving).

The Gigaclear service gives us the bandwidth and speed to expand and strengthen our data handling and archiving. For example, we now use an Amazon service to back up all our RAID storage online and this provides incredible reOsilience for storing our clients’ projects in a secure, offsite backup. We simply couldn’t have done this without the Gigaclear bandwidth.

Looking ahead, Gigaclear broadband will also enable us to easily live-stream video direct from our studio.  This will be a valued service for enterprises who wish to run live events in a news studio-style setting.

So watch this space as we continue to develop our service offerings.  For now, the fast broadband service ensures files are shared with clients quickly, securely and without fuss.

Extreme location specialist joins our team

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Location filming specialist Jose Silver joins our growing in-house videography team. He has worked in extreme environments around the world on productions for global brands including Leica, Isuzu, Subaru and Hunter.
“I’m proud to join a great production facility with such an impressive client base,” he says. “While I love filming in the great outdoors, built-up environments present a new and different set technical challenges.  Oxford Digital Media is a team to watch. They work  in a variety of location and studio situations, and have great expertise in live-streaming and online delivery of media content.”

Jose has a First Class Honours degree from digital media college Ravensbourne. He has worked with Teamwild Media, where he filmed field sports, off-road rally championships and corporate videos in countries such as Argentina, Israel, South Africa, Germany and around the UK.
In his spare time, Jose is an experienced horseman, having trained with leading experts in Oxfordshire and completed an apprenticeship in natural horsemanship in the Judean Wilderness in Israel. He also enjoys rock climbing.

 

Converting an aircraft into an air ambulance

By | Blog, Uncategorized

Speed of response for emergency services is critical in preserving life, especially in remote areas.  We produced a video for GVH Aerospace to demonstrate how its AeroStretcher® Mk IV Modular Aviation Emergency Medical System (EMS) enables an aircraft or helicopter to be rapidly converted from utility or transport use into an air ambulance. GVH Aerospace aeromedical equipment is used all over the world, and we produced the film in English and Chinese.  Watch the film here.

Capture your event on video

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We are out filming for events every week. We also make promos and do live-streaming for events which reach out to a variety of audiences. In our experience, the best way to make video work hard for you is to get organised.  So, if you’re planning a conference, panel discussion or talk, we thought we’d share a few pointers to help you get started.

Make a promo The most effective way to guarantee attendance is to inspire people about what’s happening.  More people booking means more will be sharing the event on social media.  Event management platforms such as Eventbrite or Meetup are your friend.  The more content you can post onto your page, the more you will give people to share.

So plan in a 20-second, promo video to excite interest.  Add highlights from last year and a ‘sneak peak’ into what to expect.  Ask previous speakers or attendees to speak out about their experience and tell your audiences what to expect.

As a general rule, aim to have this ready around 4 weeks ahead of your event to build up interest in a short space of time.  Then share, share, share with your online communities.

Event day How best to capture your event on video depends on the size of your audience, how many speakers you have and the style of your stage set.  

How many cameras To capture a session such as a discussion panel,  have at least two cameras. One to be ‘locked’ onto the stage, and another to focus in on the speaker.  A third can face the audience for close up shots of people responding to the discussion and asking questions. Add a ‘roving’ camera to capture highlights of the day and ‘vox pops’ with speakers and delegates. Remember, you can use everything you capture in a highlights video, next year’s promo and for video projects in between.

Lighting  Find out how well you can control the lighting to ensure it is consistent throughout the filming.  The sun shining through large windows can suddenly flood a room with light. Dusk can take lighting down gradually, which will viewers will notice.  So check that it’s possible to cover windows if your event is in daylight.

Ensure your speakers are well lit and that the house lights are high enough to capture the audience.  If necessary, ensure the speakers and cameraperson speak to each other before the session. They need to reach a happy balance on what level the house lights should be at, so it works for everyone.

Sound If you are relying on sound equipment from the venue, find out what audio equipment is available.  Radio mics work best for speakers seated or moving around, and you will need hand-held mics for questions.  Use a podium with a fixed mic for a speaker giving a presentation. But ensure they get some practice speaking into the microphone. For panel discussions, consider table mics so that everyone can be heard.

To ensure the best possible quality sound feed to the camera, ask for an audio desk which connects the mics and gives control of the different feeds.  When there is more than one speaker, the best way to get good sound from everyone speaking is by taking a single feed from the audio desk.

What to wear  Consider the environment the speaker will be in. If for instance the backdrop is dark black or blue, speakers should wear lighter colours to prevent them from blending in. Avoid heavy or loose jewellery, especially if using radio mics.

Branding It’s amazing how often branding is an afterthought.  With planning you can make your brand clear without bombarding your audience with logos. For example, add a simple title screen and the beginning and a call to action at the end to prompt your audience.  And think about how to incorporate your brand into your staging.

Reaching out Live-streaming offers many more people the opportunity to view and share your event.  People can also interact by posting questions and comments to the live feed.  

It’s tempting to post the whole recording to your website.  But think about a highlights video that features key soundbites and inspiring questions.  Plan this by interviewing attendees during the breaks.  Then add in ‘cutaways’ from around the event to capture the atmosphere.

Sounds like a plan? If this inspires you to use video for your next event, we can help you to put it into practice.  Email our head producer Sam Cooper – sam@oxforddigitalmedia.co.uk –  to talk through your ideas.

Meet Jack, our new video editor

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jack-attewell-odm

Video editor Jack Attewell

Video editor Jack Attewell has returned to Oxford to join our growing team. 

Previously a videographer in London’s high end residential market,  he carried out corporate production work for major firms including Barratt London.  Before then Jack studied Multimedia Production at Oxford Brookes, which included a year’s placement with the creative team at Culham Studio handling video production, editing and filming.

 

“I’m really pleased to be returning to Oxford, which is a really vibrant place to live and work,” says Jack. “Oxford Digital Media is an impressive company, and I admire their work in drama and documentary. This additional strand makes them think wider than most corporate video companies and therefore an inspiring, creative team to be part of.”

MD James Tomalin says:  “Jack is an incredibly capable addition to our team. As a successful freelance he has proven his technical abilities in commercial video production as well as an understanding of the business world. He has a real ‘can do,’ creative approach to his work.”

 

 

Infinity series for Radio 4

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history-of-the-infiniteOur contemplation of infinity is explored in this fascinating radio series by Adrian Moore. In ten episodes he journeys through philosophical thought on infinity over the last two and a half thousand years, from why the idea made the Greeks so uncomfortable and introducing us to some of the first great thinkers on infinity, to how the church entered the debate, the arguments that have raged through mathematics and how infinity affects our notion of the universe.  He ends with asking what the concept of infinity tells us about ourselves.

This 10 part series was recorded and edited by Oxford Digital Media for BBC Radio 4. Tune in at http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b07wr1lz/episodes/player