The London Metropolitan University ‘Do something you love’ film has been a great experience for me as producer as it is not only a stunning film I am immensely proud of, we have also seen it go from broadcast to broader online use, digital television and cinema audience and is now back on air this summer.
Working in partnership with London Met’s media planners VCCP Media and creative agency, Hunter Lodge, Spectrecom Films has delivered separate versions of the film for distribution across multiple platforms, including Facebook carousel and YouTube In-Stream, a run on Video on Demand on All 4 and broadcast on Sky Adsmart, and the film saw a London-wide theatrical release this year too. This August and September, the film will be broadcast again on ITV1, Channel 4, London Live, E4, Kiss, Comedy Central, MTV, Fox.
So what are the processes from our end needed to make this happen?
Getting the content right
The journey starts in pre-production – as we are producing advertising content intended for broadcast, we need to receive script approval from Clearcast who confirm we are complying with BCAP (The UK Code of Broadcast Advertising) and check all claims are legally justifiable, usually requesting some substantiation. The script needs sign-off from Clearcast (let alone the client!) before we can go into production.
We then confirmed our cast, crew and locations for the ad. All our contracts and permissions were retained on all-media buyout meaning the client was able to reuse and repurpose the footage as they wanted to without paying extra royalties down the line.
All our cameras shoot to a broadcast spec and we picked a UHD Tier 1 FS7 with Zeiss Compact Prime lenses and shot the film in 4K to capture superb detail.
We also shot the footage in Cine EI mode, using SLOG3 gamma – this can be disconcerting for playback on set as the footage looks almost greyed out and very desaturated.
However, we were in fact capturing a higher dynamic range in camera which means richer colour information that once we took the film in to the grade (colour correction), we were able to enhance the beautiful colours our camera and lighting team had created on the shoot.
Gilding the lily
Once our rough cut edits have been signed off by the client they need final visual approval from Clearcast (they need to check again that the script matches the rough cut). We then finalised the film by doing the online edit and getting the professional voice-over recorded (up to the point of sign-off we would use a guide voice-over – in case of last minute script changes).
The online process entails a grade where each shot is first calibrated and then enhanced in a consistent manner across the piece. We then finalised any graphical elements and text. The film finally needs a broadcast limiter applied to ensure the brightness sits within TV standards.
The sound mix is where the various audio components – the voice over, music and sound effects – are balanced against each other and then mixed to comply with the relevant platform’s standards (these are all different for TV, cinema, online).
Before the films can be trafficked, we need to ensure the film has the correct unique clock number and each export is adhering to the correct tech specs for the specific channels.
And for the big screen
The process for cinema is a little more complicated (and fun). Firstly we needed to have our ad cleared by the CAA (Cinema Advertising Association) and BBFC (British Board of Film Classification) who confirmed we are following the advertising codes and give the ad the certification – things have simplified this year however as you now only need certification form the CAA for cinema ads.
Once we received this approval the film needed to be prepared for cinema and as it will be played out in a surround sound setting – the VO, music and SFX needs to be split / mixed over 5 channels where you need to have a Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound audio mix carried out. The audio then gets sent via the Dolby transfer bay to the cinema distribution agency. We export a frame by frame sequence of high res stills – the distribution agency then package the audio and picture together in to something called a DCP (Digital Cinema Package) and send the ad off to the cinemas.