2018 for Bullet - it's been loaded with activity!

What a year it’s been for Bullet, growing faster than ever before, expanding the team and looking forward to lots of exciting plans for 2019!  As it’s the time of year for traditional ‘round robins’, we thought we’d highlight a few things we’ve been up to over the past 12 months and the variety of work we’ve enjoyed. A massive thank you to all our wonderful clients and partners and we look forward to working with you all over the next 12 months too! 

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First up, at the beginning of the year, was David Philpott's music video we created for his charity single to raise money for Pancreatic Cancer UK. What an emotional shoot that was and a great cause to be part of. 

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We then followed the incredible work that Saints Foundation do in the community and filmed their relationship with the Big Issue, which went on to scoop a Gold award at the Sports Business Awards. Needless to say, we were very proud to be part of that journey! We also filmed a variety of other campaigns for the Foundation, including their ‘Saints Together Week’, ‘Soccer Schools’ and the ‘Big Sleep Out 2018’, designed to raise awareness of homelessness in the city. 

As one of our major clients, Southampton Football Club has continued to be a pleasure to work with. Particular highlights for us this year include the partnership work with sponsor Sure, the Corporate Hospitality promotion and, of course, the recent recreation of the iconic goal with Rickie Lambert as part of the SportPesa Kits for Africa campaign. 

We were thrilled to be asked to work on a mini documentary with Southampton FC for etoro, talking about the best transfers over the years, and we got to interview some Saints legends!

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Whilst on the subject of football, we were delighted to work with AFC Totton to help launch the ‘Football Family’, with a video telling the story of two individuals who have been helped massively by the organisation, which supports football players who don’t quite make the cut into the professional world. What an insight into these youngsters and the opportunities that the Football Family can give them. 

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For something a bit different, we enabled a new musical project to achieve their dream by harnessing the power of video! From an initial film to launch a crowd-funding campaign, they secured enough funds to put on a trial show in London. We then produced multiple social media videos during rehearsals to raise the profile of the project in the run up to the one-off July performance. The event was a sell-out, and, on the back of this performance, we’re pleased to hear that ‘The 43 Club is now securing a slot in a major London theatre. What a great success story and lovely to be able to have been there from the very start! 

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Now onto washing machines and Miele, one of our long-term clients, have kept us busy behind the scenes, touring round all the dealers in the country to make individual testimonial videos for each. We were honoured to join the company on a trip to Germany at the beginning of the year, as one of their partners, to ensure we were all working off the same page and very much part of the ‘Miele team’. We’ve also enjoyed working with local Miele dealer, SLS, on a number of projects, and have seen them grow from strength to strength over the last few years. 

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Other interesting jobs we’ve worked on include the corporate culture film for Highfield Professional Solutions, promoting the fact that it is such a great place to work (and having seen it first hand, we believe it is too!).

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And then, possibly the most fun we’ve had this year is filming for JaJa - a new mobile credit card company that wanted to show some ‘extreme user testing’ of how easy it was to access the credit. We filmed real-life people using the app in extreme situations, which included being shot at by paintballs, speeding down the River Thames and free falling in a sky diving simulator

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Not forgetting of course, our celebrity friend, Iwan Thomas, who asked us to create a different take on his ‘baby reveal’ video. His exciting arrival is coming early next year so we send him lots of best wishes for fatherhood. 

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As for next year at the Bullet studio, we’re having a bit of a refit, including new carpets throughout (but Rusty the dog is not allowed to christen them!) and we are very excited about a new member of the filming and editing team, who will be joining us in January!

We have a bunch of varied projects lined up to reveal in the new year - watch this space for more from Saints and Miele and some interesting launch films for a new dating website. We have some lovely promos for a chiropractor, children’s entertainer and a bridal studio and some great social media content for a new personal trainer launch. We also have the release of a new short film we’ve been working on. 

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For now, it’s on to the big responsibility of filming the Christmas production for Matt's children’s school - featuring reindeer, baby Jesus and of course a few carrots and broccolis thrown in for good measure! This won’t be for public release sadly (and unlikely to feature on our big budget show reel!) but a great memory for parents to keep and a good deed done for the school...Santa, we hope you’re reading this! 

On behalf of the team at Bullet we wish you a very merry Christmas and a prosperous 2019. 

How brief can a brief be? 

We’re not too fussy when it comes to in-depth briefs. Yes they are important to sign off before we start filming to ensure everyone is singing from the same hymn sheet, as it were; but, they are not essential to get the initial proposal underway. We’re more than happy to talk to you and start getting the creative juices flowing whether you’ve got a full-blown script already prepared and storyboarded, or just an inkling of an idea that you’d like to develop. 

We know paperwork can sometimes be a headache - and nothing makes its way quicker down the ‘to do list’ than a briefing sheet that has too many boxes to complete! Our aim is to take the hassle away and help shape a brief during our initial conversations. Don’t worry if you don’t have all the answers yet - is is the job of us, your creative video agency to tease out the important bits, expand on your ideas and help grow your seed of a concept into a successful, effective video.

The main things to consider are: 

  1. What is the purpose of the video? Just a sentence about why you’re making it is fine. 
  2. Who is your target audience? E.g. Internal stakeholders / existing customers / new customers.
  3. Where do you want to show this video? As part of a social media campaign..? At trade shows..? Direct mail..?
  4. When do you need the video to go live? 

An idea of budget can be useful, but this is another thing we can help you shape in the initial conversations. Let’s start with the idea and business need, flesh out the concept and then adapt accordingly, if budget becomes an issue.

At the end of the day, we want to make our clients’ lives easier - so why not bite the bullet and drop us a line to get the ball rolling? You’ll soon have a creative, inspiring video produced - and another thing ticked off your to do list!

The Bullet approach to Event Coverage

Is event coverage simply filming a sports match or a sales conference? Not in our world. We use video to help sponsors and organisers get the most out of their investment in events. 

Imagine if the World Cup was just announced with the first match? No-one would watch it or even know about it until we were approaching the semi-finals! In our opinion, every public event, no matter the size, should be approached with the aim of getting the most exposure and return on investment - and using video is a great way to do this. 

An event is usually something that you want to shout about - and one of the keys to success is to build momentum beforehand. A few social media 15-or 30-second teasers can really help build excitement and engagement in your event. It doesn’t matter if the event hasn’t happened yet, an interview with the organiser, a time-lapse of the event set up, a look back at coverage from the previous year, a drone footage of the site of the event - all snippets like these help to build anticipation and excitement so that your audience is ready to engage as soon as the event goes live. 

When the Invictus Games took place in Orlando a couple of years ago, we went out to capture footage of the pre-games training to build a social media story in the run up to the main event. This gave the organisers great content to use in their marketing and allowed international excitement to gather pace. The thing about live events is that you need to think fast and film quick - and in the case of the Invictus games, we needed to edit quickly too - often overnight, sending footage back and forth across the network, making the most of the time difference so we could release films on a daily basis. 

This was a large scale event, but with any live event, we have to think quickly and act fast. Live events of any sort - whether they’re sporting events or music gigs - are unscripted and usually involve members of the public, who aren’t always predictable! Spotting opportunities for filming, Vox-pop style interviews and having a sufficient team of talented filmmakers in place to capture all the action is key. 

Outsourcing video production?

Bullet work on a regular basis with a variety of marketing agencies, providing outsourced video production services, which enable the agencies to offer video as part of their portfolio of client services. 

Why do marketing agencies outsource video production services?

Usually it’s down to time, budget and experience. Whilst agencies sometimes have an element of their own in-house video production skills, it’s often more cost effective to recruit an experienced production company, such as Bullet, to produce a video as part of a client marketing campaign. With access to all the latest technology, a wide team of filmmakers and expertise in areas such as motion graphics and visual effects, a video agency can offer a broad range of skills to complement their marketing needs.  

The way Bullet work with agencies varies depending on the needs of the marketing agency. Some agencies like to keep the client under the impression that video production is part of their internal offering, and in these situations, the Bullet team are very happy to liaise with the account managers, taking briefs and amends from the agency itself. Communication and clarity is key to ensure all parties fully understand the brief to minimise any risk of ‘Chinese whispers’ when it comes to passing messages between Bullet, the agency and the end client. 

In contrast, other agencies are very open with the fact they partner with Bullet for video production, and in these cases, they tend to trust Bullet to liaise directly with the end client. This is the situation with one of Bullet’s long-standing partners, bandv - an inbound marketing agency based in Southampton who work with clients such as Howler, Lead Forensics and Stannah. They develop an integrated marketing strategy for their clients, and when video is required within this plan, the Bullet team step in to produce the content.  Once the initial brief is given, Bullet communicate freely with the end client to discuss the creative planning, filming and editing of the video to ensure it is delivered on time and on brief.

Matthew Willsher, director of Bullet recognises the importance of trust when working for an agency: 

It’s important to remember that when working with any agency, we are representing them as a member of their extended team. An agency needs to be able to rely on us to deliver their objectives - and it’s important for us, as a team, to earn that trust early on and have a clear understanding of what the end client is trying to achieve.

In any situation, as an outsourced partner it is vital to provide a consistent level of service in terms of quality and delivery. This is what bandv particularly likes about working with Bullet, as director Ross Breckenridge highlighted: 

Matt and his team are first class. Their attention to planning and detail is extremely consistent and the end product is always excellent.

Examples of the work Bullet have done with bandv include creating online video content for Howler - a fire alarm company, who have the regular challenge of making an everyday - yet essential product exciting and enticing. In this example, bandv and Howler came up with the concept; Bullet arranged the shoot, the actors, the make-up and special effects to bring their ideas to life.

It's all about the marriage, not just the first date. 

At Bullet, we believe that the key to any successful relationship is communication, nurturing and understanding - as well as a mutual respect for each other. This is the approach we take to all of our clients and business relationships; we’re in it for the long haul - but never complacent. 

Many of our clients have been with us for years - and we’ve come to know the inside workings of their industry and company, effectively becoming an extension of their team. Examples of these long-term clients for Bullet are Miele, Southampton Football Club and Solent Laundry Solutions (SLS)

Miele is one of the companies who actively view Bullet as an extension of their marketing team, who started as a small one-off job and grew into a major client for the video production company, commissioning various testimonial and promotional product films, as Matthew Willsher, Bullet’s Director explains: 

“We’ve worked closely with Miele from the beginning. We offer them ideas, they include us in their key partner events and we aim to get under their skin to really understand the challenges they face - and help solve some of them through the use of creative videos”. 

Kate Jones, Professional Marketing Manager for Miele echoes this view: “We have worked with Bullet for a few years now and have many videos under our belt. The work has been high quality and perfectly portrayed what we were looking for. Bullet feel like an extension to our marketing team and are always accessible and able to align the videos to our brand direction. I would absolutely recommend this agency.”

Southampton Football Club work with Bullet to produce videos for their internal and social media campaigns, as well as their charity arm, the Saints Foundation, who do such fantastic work in the community. According to Matthew, “what we love about working with Saints is that we genuinely believe in their offering, and it’s such an honour to champion them and their work.” 

Nicole Whitehouse, Marketing Manager for the Saints Foundation, SMTC & Halo at Southampton Football Club kindly reviewed Bullet recently: “We have worked with Bullet on several campaigns across different areas of the Club. They always take our objectives on board and show a real understanding of our business. The quality of work at both the production and edit stage is always high. What's more, Matt and the team approach every project with a can-do attitude, problem solving on our behalf, always focussed on providing us with the best possible product they can. A trusted partner.”

When it comes to SLS, a local laundry installation service, Bullet has a great relationship and is proud to have worked with them on a number of video production projects, including showcasing a prestigious installation at the Savoy Hotel, London. Matthew has particularly enjoyed seeing them grow as a business over the years: “we’re proud to support SLS as clients and have enjoyed growing as a business alongside them”.

Peter Hosking and James Holmes, Directors of SLS also value the long-term relationship: “We have worked with Bullet for a number of years and they have consistently delivered high quality video productions for our marketing needs. Their knowledge and understanding of their industry and the needs of their customers means we have found working with them to be simple and pleasurable. They have been completely flexible in their approach and professional in their delivery. I would highly recommend Bullet if you are in need of the services they offer and appreciate everything they have done for us.”

Whether it’s marketing agencies, budding new musicians, charities or large corporate brands, it’s important to approach all new clients with the respect they deserve. We want to help them achieve great things with their video content marketing, regardless of how small the initial project is. Suggesting new ideas and changes to make the most out of different video platforms is all about what we do.

Face to face contact is key - and understanding client business needs is crucial to developing and sustaining successful relationships. The same applies in marriage (although our clients tend to like us more than our partners at home!). 

Bringing out the Saintly qualities of a football club

Football films - it’s not all about the weekend kick-off or the latest kit launch. There is a huge amount of work that goes on behind the scenes when it comes to football clubs, regardless of their size or league position. Community work and youth training academies, corporate hospitality events and working with sponsorship partners are just some examples of these activities, all of which are opportunities to raise and maintain the profile and reputation of the club in the community. 

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Bullet has enjoyed a long standing relationship with its local team, Southampton FC and has worked with the club to produce a number of different videos and films to help them demonstrate the work that goes on in the background. Here's just some of the work we've covered with them:

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The Saints Foundation

This is the official charity of Southampton Football Club, who aim to fulfil the potential and change the lives of children, young people and adults at risk across Southampton and the surrounding areas. They deliver targeted programmes across six key themes: Employability and learning, health and wellbeing, education, Saints4all, schools and community, and football sports development. 

For the last two years, the foundation has run a ‘Saints Together’ campaign, releasing daily social media films over the course of a week to show the different aspects of their investment in the community. Bullet created these community interest films, visiting the different locations - from nursing homes and schools to drug rehabilitation centres, filming activities in action and capturing interviews to tell the story from individual people’s perspectives, all of whom had benefited from the charity’s work. Each video received in excess of 20,000 views and helped spread awareness of the charity.

2017 Saints Together Highlight Film

2018 Saints Together Highlights Film


Sponsorship Support

Sponsors are a vital source of funding for a club - so it’s important to make the most of the relationship on both sides. Bullet has worked with SportPESA, TLC Bet and most recently Sure in creating videos for Southampton FC that promote the partnership. 

 

SportPESA - Kits for Africa

TLC Bet Sponsorship Film

Sure - Talking pressure with goalkeeper Alex McCarthy


Youth Academy Training

The Southampton Cup is an international youth academy tournament that Bullet were asked to film to demonstrate the energy, vibrance and fun that that the teams have in the tournament. Boys and girls of all ages visited from America, Africa and Europe to take part, and filming took place over the course of a week; Much of the filming took place at Southampton's Staplewood training ground. 

The Southampton Cup Highlights


Corporate Hospitality

When it comes to match days, corporate hospitality packages can mean big business and this video was created to capture the quality of this premium product and introduce a new menu for the 2018/19 season. 

 


“We have worked with Bullet on several campaigns across different areas of the Club. They always take our objectives on board and show a real understanding of our business. The quality of work at both the production and edit stage is always high. What’s more, Matt and the team approach every project with a can-do attitude, problem solving on our behalf, always focussed on providing us with the best possible product they can. A trusted partner.”
— Nicole Whitehouse, marketing manager for the Saints Foundation, SMTC & Halo at Southampton Football Club

How can I get the most out of a testimonial video?

No-one sells your company better than a satisfied customer and harnessing their endorsement can be a very powerful marketing tool.

Focusing on the story of one or more customer’s experiences can help to set the scene for your business, and give other potential clients an insight into the service they might experience with you. Testimonial videos tend to take the format of interviewing customers in a conversational style and using this to narrate the visual footage of the product in use. 

Top tips for creating the best testimonial films:

1. Find an enthusiastic client; one who genuinely has a great experience with your product or service. 

2. Don’t force the script! The beauty - and beast - of testimonial films is that you are dealing with real life humans, not professional actors, and they can sometimes crumble when the camera points at them. Don’t panic, an awful lot of magic can happen with editing to remove the ums, errs and stutters in post production! The important thing is to keep your subject relaxed, talking as naturally and freely as possible about their experience. 

3. List the USPs that you want included. Allow the interviewer to know the key points you are trying to get across, so they can try and tease these out of the customer in conversation.

4. Think about where your product can be seen in action or displayed in its best light. Allow the film crew access to behind the scenes locations to give viewers an insight into how things work. E.g. the product being delivered into the warehouse, opening the packaging and showing the product or service in use. 

5. Keep it short - 2-3 minutes end film time is plenty. And from the main footage it is a good idea to create a 15 or 30 second teaser with key soundbites, which is great for inviting people to watch the full film. 

As an example of a testimonial film, here's one for Solent Laundry Solutions who install specialist machines into small laundry establishments. We interviewed customers about their experience and key individuals from the management team to talk us through the process. 

 

Another example of a corporate testimonial film is this one, created for Adam Knibb Architects, which showcases a project they did for a client. This shows the full 1.5 minute film and a 15-second teaser.

 

How can I use video in my business?

Demonstrating your product or service in action is a great way to use video to promote your business. Do you have a customer who would be willing to explain their experience of your company? A testimonial film is a great way of building trust about your brand and showing others about the level of service that they are likely to expect. A promotional product film can quickly show off your products features and benefits in an aspirational way. A brand film can sum up your business personality in a succinct, visual way. 

Next we look at some examples of different types of films, and the top tips for getting the best out of them...