How to create a welcome video during lockdown - a case study
Seeing how something that you were part of from the day one comes to life is extraordinary and super exciting.
Over the past few months, we’ve been working with a bunch of talented people to help launch a new online magazine called H&F Circles that celebrates the local heroes and supports the small businesses of the Hammersmith and Fulham borough in London.
As former residents of the borough, we didn’t need much convincing and were thrilled to contribute, lend our expertise and knowledge on the video side of things.
For the launch of the magazine we worked on two content pieces: “Welcome to our circles” and “The Unbeatable Borough”. One which, as the name suggests, welcomes the audience to the site and the other that introduces what H&F Circles is all about.
But let’s go back a little. Our involvement started at the end of March with a call from Marko’s former colleague Katia Hérault, who was somewhat puzzled about what to do after being hit with the lockdown. The thing about Katia is that she is a very determined eco-warrior and the queen of sustainability who always has an idea brewing. So, naturally, she started volunteering and rallying people around her in order to do something good for her neighbourhood.
In a blink of an eye, she had the Hammersmith and Fulham council by her side and an A-team of seven volunteer contributors assembled - journalist-editor Lizzie Cernik, designer Kat Smith, contributors Emilia Bayer and Salwa Alwaili, content editor Deepa Lalwani, administrative volunteer Elsa Nuthall and ourselves.
Website built, designs approved and content strategy in place, our mission was to bring two welcome video concepts to life. Below is a little breakdown of how we went about it.
“Welcome to our circles” video which celebrates the diversity of the borough and welcomes people to the website in different languages spoken across Hammersmith and Fulham was an idea Kat Smith threw in the air at the first team meeting.
The visual concept was to show people saying the word “Circles” in their native language within a circle and at the end of the video zooms out to show the “galaxy” of circles.
Katia, with her natural charm, found 18 participants speaking in 16 languages who were happy to say “Circles” and/or “Welcome to our circles” in their native language.
And then it was our turn to bring this vision into life. To be honest, determining specific words from languages you don’t speak is quite a fun challenge, but Ranno’s linguistic hunch and previous experience in the localization industry became super handy.
Timelines were built, circles were drawn, motion graphics put in place et voilà! We got ourselves a multilingual welcome wagon fit to use on multiple social platforms.
Footage that fell on the cutting room floor got repurposed for Instagram stories because we are sustainable like that and don’t let things go to waste.
The video also became a competition spot. Whoever guessed at least 4 languages spoken had a chance to win a free takeaway drink from one of the local pubs. Some thirsts were quenched and we can merrily say: “Cheers” to that!
“The Unbeatable Borough” is the introduction video of the H&F Circles online magazine.
This one needed a different approach as we were working from a script that was put together from a newly licensed voice-over artist Katia (yes, she is multitasking like no-one else's business). Luckily the script was visual enough to get our creative juices flowing in finding the solutions for visual fillers.
Being creative and producing content during the lockdown with very limited movement possibilities poses its own challenges: Where do we get the footage from? How much should we rely on graphics? Why hasn’t our designer face mask arrived yet? Why is our neighbour’s dog afraid of like… literally... everything? But I digress...
The natural recipe to follow was to combine our already existing footage (self-shot by numerous contributors of upcoming content pieces) with the royalty-free stock footage and blend it with some tasteful and eye-pleasing motion graphic elements.
So Marko got busy making his motion graphic magic while Ranno rummaged through the pexel.com and our own video catalog.
In order to cover anything borough specific, once the lockdown eased a little, Ranno mounted his kick-bike and commuted across the river to capture some signs of the pandemic on the streets for Hammersmith and Fulham. It was a lovely 3-hour ride across the borough (counted as a daily government-approved exercise) and we are proud to present the result of this adventure by drawing your attention to seconds 5-8 of this video.
As mentioned above, the main narrative of this video was to introduce the online magazine, so showing the website in action was the key. We could have just taken some screengrabs and slapped them on, but that seemed a little too easy. So, instead, we ripped the existing (then mock) website that Kat had lovingly built up, to pieces, cherry-picked the elements we needed, and patched it up again for a sleek video presentation that responded to the VO. We sort of built a very handsome Frankenstein and teleported him to a new environment.
We are very proud to partner with H&F Circles and continue producing high-quality video content for them and support the local heroes of the neighboring borough.