From rambling to robots: recent video projects

Two stand-out projects of 2018 were videos I produced for the Danish manufacturer Universal Robots, and for the well-being app, Calm.

Universal Robots makes small, industrial robotic assistants, or “cobots”. They designed these devices to work alongside humans, and with conventional industrial equipment. The programmable robot arms can load machines, pick and pack products and even blow up balloons.

Using robots to automate manufacturing is hardly new, but Universal Robots’ equipment is used by small companies, as well as industrial giants such as Nissan. We visited B-Loony, a Home Counties SME; they’re using the cobots to ramp up production for its promotional products, such as bunting and the little flags that go in hamburgers.

Shot entirely on location in 4K, the video mixes a voiceover with interviews with B-Loony staff. Working in an industrial location brings the usual challenges of mixed light, health and safety and, of course, noise. But we feel the result captures the essence of what B-Loony does, and how the cobots help.

Our project for Calm could not be more different. Filmed in a beautiful private woodland in Oxfordshire, the piece introduces Calm members to Phoebe Smith, “sleep writer in residence”. Phoebe writes sleep stories, or “bedtime stories for grownups” for Calm. And she’s a pioneer of extreme sleeping: hanging a hammock off the side of a cliff or a tall building.

Phoebe is, of course, a travel writer and journalist, and a former features editor at Trail magazine. She is no stranger to TV appearances. We wanted a location, and a style of video, that complemented her own footage. We used a mix of Sony cameras – partly for their slo-mo features – a gimbal and a drone to capture the b-roll and the interviews. An additional challenge was to shoot in a way that allowed the video to be re-formatted in a square aspect ratio, for Instagram, 9:16 vertical for Facebook, and for subtitles. And we had to work around a herd of cows.

The links below are to the clients’ versions of the videos; both projects also involved capturing stills photos for the websites and blog posts. Feedback, as ever, is welcome.

Author interview with Phoebe Smith, for
Vimeo version of the video, see how it appears on the client site here.

Main photo credit: Adam Plowdem