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Behind the Video: Red Rose Awards 2020

by Tom Stables

At 3manfactory, we take care in producing work that not only fulfils and exceeds a brief but also allows us to feel pride. Work we can’t wait to show off, like this video we produced for Lancashire Business View and the Red Rose Awards 2020.

I’ll let you into a little secret though – what you’ve just watched was created entirely from a mobile phone. Planned, shot, edited and post-produced, from a handheld device. However, this wasn’t just an exercise in point n’ shoot; this was a carefully executed project that we knew was going to fit the brief perfectly.

Setting the Scene

We’ve worked with the Red Rose Awards team for a number of years now and they set the bar high in everything the awards deliver on – scale, venue, entertainment, catering – it’s all of a notable lofty calibre, and 2020’s event to celebrate its 10th anniversary was no different.

Each year, the ceremony has a theme to which we adopt a style to suit that year’s video. Whereas 2019 had a retro 80s vibe and 2018 followed a more Saturday night TV show presenter feel, 2020 was to focus on the achievements and impact of the Red Rose Awards and celebrate the people involved.

Our initial idea was to crowdsource footage, to let the event literally speak for itself with the finalists and guests filming and sharing their own experiences from their phone. Videos accrued would be bolstered by our own footage, to ensure that the narrative flowed and progressed to tell the Red Rose Awards story.

An image of a shotlist being checked on a phone

Planning the Shoot

As we developed our storyboard, one thing became clear: if we were collecting peoples’ mobile footage, then we should retain that authenticity and shoot from mobile ourselves. Furthermore, we’d provide equipment for guests to use that we could capture more candid moments. After all, we’re adept in devising creative and innovative ways to communicate brand stories, and we’re experienced in shooting on mobile to document events. It was time to ratchet it up to the next level. 

Where Creativity Meets Technology

Let’s be clear: shooting from mobile demands as much planning, consideration and expertise as when shooting traditional digital video. The speed of development of mobile technology has democratised the playing field, making high-quality capture possible for more than ever before, whether everyday users or professionals. 

One key differentiator is in the choice of software, accessories and peripherals used. For the Red Rose Awards shoot, we used lenses (wide, tele, fisheye) that mount the phone’s camera, apps that provide more manual control over the phone’s camera, robotic gimbals to ensure slick and steady motion sequences, handheld rigs with attached LED lighting and microphones and specialist rotators to capture panning timelapse scenes. However, this kit is compact, which means we’re able to get it to more places, more quickly and more readily. 

The other key differentiator is in the creativity and ability applied to the shoot, from making sure you’re in the correct position at the correct time with the best framed shot (to capture a winner’s response for example), to working with the nights’ entertainers so they strike the pose that will clinch the shot. It’s imperative to stick to the shot list, though it’s equally as crucial to adapt to the spontaneous, unexpected moments –  it’s why we used in-ear radio communication between our team if any of us spots an opportunity.

Ready for Remote

With the event wrapped up and its 1000 guests home, it’s time to sort, grade, label and edit the hours of footage, which we set to automatically sync with the cloud. Such preparation helped us with what happened just days later: lockdown. Though our focus and priorities shifted dramatically in response to the crisis, the approach to the Red Rose Awards film remained the same – we’d inadvertently already established practises that allowed us to work remotely, work smart and work effectively. 

A screenshot of the Red Rose Awards video being edited in an app

The film was edited entirely on an advanced editing app – from sound mixing and onscreen graphics to colour grading and scene editing, the processing capabilities of the phones are such that it could manage all of this to output 4K video with ultra-high 150Mbps frame rates.

The outcome is something that we can absolutely say we’re incredibly proud of, and not just of the end product but of the planning, process and execution of it. We got to the very heart of the brief and we knew exactly what we had to do to get there. And my gosh, what a journey, and what a night!