Telling customer stories for Colt

Whilst we spend a lot of time working to our programme formats – white screen / virtual studio etc – sometimes it’s nice to give the team something different to get their teeth into.

As we say so often, starting with a clean sheet of paper when it comes to video, is one of the hardest things you can do. I was reluctant to take this on at first (as our lovely client will tell you!) however she persuaded me it was doable.

After a LOT of research, a lot of ‘cutting room floor activity’ and a lot of opinion from both our side and the client’s, we delivered what I now consider to be a very stylish piece, telling a customer story in a very different way. Personally, I do feel it’s 30 seconds too long and I would have shortened the script, given the choice,  however agency life is about compromise!

I’d like to congratulate our client for getting this pushed through the business and I’d like to thank my team for doing such a great job and being so patient.

See what you think…

Time for a change

When I started the business 4 years ago, it was me and a camera or two (hence using my personal email address). Today, things have changed a LOT! We now have an incredibly talented team in place and are taking on projects which are more and more ambitious. It’s therefore time for me to change my role slightly… Whilst this won’t happen overnight – the plan is that I spend more time developing briefs and ideas with clients, and let the team focus more on the actual delivery… rather than me attempting to manage the whole process. There’s too much going on now. We’re growing quickly and so it’s time to focus where I’m best.

Once a month or so I’m going to keep you uptodate with what we’re up to – share ideas / inspiration and hopefully spark some ideas. If you’d rather not read my wafflings – feel free to unsubscribe below.

New team members

I’m delighted to welcome Adrian Pike to the team who will be taking a big weight from my shoulders, managing projects both pre and post production. He brings with him a wealth of experience and having been client side for many years, totally gets what clients need. He is already stuck into his first couple of projects and I hope you get to meet the handsome devil very soon.

In addition, Mick Sylvester joins the team as an ex-BBC and ex-Sky cameraman and video producer and director. He is also stuck in to his first project already and will no doubt become a tremendous asset for the team.

A change of role

Many of you know and have worked with Richard Spindler over the last few months. Richard will continue to be involved in our filming projects, however he has also been working hard behind the scenes on managing projects with clients. I wanted to publicly thank him for his efforts and let everyone know he will be continuing with bigger projects over the coming months. It’s become a real passion of his and frankly he’s rather good at it.

Research and development

I’m also excited to announce that one of the members of the team, the ridiculously creative Oliver Truswell is taking a couple of months out to do some research and development. We know how many of you love the virtual studio work we do… We’re aiming to push the boundaries even further later in the year, with more virtual camera movement and more efficient builds to make it look even more like a BBC production. (Think Match of the Day). We’ll be sharing experiments on the 845TV blog over the next few weeks. I’m really looking forward to see what comes from this.

New partnerships and partnerships

We’re delighted to have signed a new partnership agreement with a new IT business in one of my favourite places in the world, Dubai… Cognatio Systems will be selling our video production services around the Middle East – focusing on training in the IT space – I’m really looking forward to seeing things progress… We’ve almost finished our first big project in the region for a large fashion retail chain… 4 hours of customer service retail training will be delivered using video only from March – saving trainers from flying around the region to talk to small groups. Now, their virtual academy will do the delivering for them – wherever and whenever it’s needed. We hope to release highlights soon.

Talking of training – we’re really focused on IP phones at the moment – with two different projects underway… getting users up to speed with complex devices is what we do best… Again, we look forward to sharing when we can.

And finally

I’m really looking forward to getting out and about more, meeting more clients and prospects and doing what I enjoy most – developing ideas. If you want to discuss ideas, need help developing a concept do drop me a line.

Learning and Technologies conference speech

It was a real privilege today to be able to speak to 150 conference attendees at Europe’s largest Learning Technologies conference on the subject of Video in Learning.

It was a very quick overview on some of the practical aspects of producing video for learning.

There is a link to the presentation I gave here and some of the resources I talk about below…

At some point, I hope to be able to stream the actual presentation video itself.

#1 Keep up or be left behind

iPad bed stand

#2 Start small and have a vision

#3 Get it right on paper

Click to download a storyboard – one example module from a 20 module retail customer service course.

#4 Essential hardware

Example softbox lights:

Mark’s recommended webcam:

Mark’s recommended camcorder (for interviews etc)

#5 Essential software

Video editing

VLC media player


Photoshop alternative

#6 It’s all about the audio


Mark’s recommended USB mic:

Mic stand arm

Pop shield


 #7 Start with an interview

Various styles and examples here

#8 Screencams are effective

iCloud video referenced on YouTube:



Camtasia Studio:  (slightly cheaper on Amazon than their own product site!)

#9 Broadcasting to the masses

Amazon S3 –

 #10 Getting noticed

Link to product screen mockup templates

#11 Just start!

File conversion site:

A brand new animation style

Delighted today to release a brand new animation we’ve just developed for the amazing Customer Satisfaction survey service, Customer Thermometer.

As ever, it was scripted and storyboarded carefully and then we produced a set of visuals. When the client was happy with the look and feel, we then went ahead and recorded the voiceover and finished the post-production.

We’re being asked more and more to produce animated pieces – this showcases our capabilities – we hope you agree it’s a great piece of work!