Several months ago our client Jewish Care came to us with a challenge to produce an emotive and resonant video for an important crowd funding campaign to raise $21, 530 so they could enhance the lives of children and adults with disabilities by creating a Sensory Room.
The campaign would be called Cents for Senses and it would be running on Chuffed.
Given the amount they needed to raise the budget was always going to be tight, but as always we wanted to create an exceptional campaign video which would not only succeed in its aim to engage, inspire and inform members of the community who could be potential campaign contributors, but also exceed our clients expectations in terms of the videos ideas & concepts, storytelling, production value and the overall quality of the end product.
Creating a successful crowdfunding campaign video is a challenge as the measure of the videos success is evident by the success (or lack thereof) of the overall campaign.
As with all our campaigns the first challenge was to crack the story – how do we appeal to those who may have little or no understanding of the value of a Sensory Room and the experience it would provide children and adults with disabilities?
In developing the script I wanted to create something emotive and inherently visual and struck upon the idea of using the key senses that many of us take for granted: sound, taste, sight, smell and touch and using them to pivot the video to talking about the features and benefits that the Sensory Room would provide to those who can’t take them for granted.
The idea came as it often does through the idea of one key visual…
A girl on a beach who finds a shell and listens to the sound of the ocean.
From that one key idea the rest flowed quickly and we were soon able to present an idea which the client loved and fitted their vision for the campaign perfectly.
Now that we had approval of the concept the next major challenge was how do we produce this idea in the most cost effective manner to fit into the budget that didn’t feel like we had compromised in any way to service the creative concept?
As a director I had many things I wanted to achieve including shooting one key sequence at magic hour, which anyone who knows anything about film making will tell you is really like magic twenty minutes.
I needed five key talent and a dog and I wanted to move the camera and shoot in multiple locations… Oh and I wanted to shoot it all in one day.
Most producers and production companies would think I was crazy for trying to achieve this but I was adamant we could do it we just had to be smart and we had to plan.
I kept the crew small… In fact ultra-small… It was literally myself and my cinematographer Michal Urbancyzk.
We location scouted over one afternoon and then we researched and discussed the best times of day for each location so that we could shoot them at the perfect time of day. We also picked locations which were close together and within a short distance of our studio – this enabled us to move around a lot in one day without losing time or valuable daylight.
We decided to shoot small as well and rather than shoot on one of our 4K cameras we picked the Canon 5D Mark III with the magic lantern hack for portability and freedom but to give the whole project a larger more epic feel we decided to shoot in the 2:35 aspect ratio giving a more cinematic frame.
And being a fan of new technologies in film making we decided to keep the camera moving we would use the DJI Ronin M which is a gimbal system that works much like a Steadicam in keeping the camera level and fluid at all times.
Now that we knew where and how we were going to shoot we were also able to plan our day to get the most out of our time with the talent we had cast. This enabled us to book talent literally only for a couple of hours as opposed to half days keeping our costs low and forcing us to work economically to only get the shots that told the story.
We also organized the shoot during the school holiday period which made getting kids and parents for the shoot easy and by casting through Star Now we got a solid range of talent to choose from who were flexible enough to work the way we wanted to.
Locations were begged, borrowed or negotiated at for the lowest possible cost as we would only need them for a maximum of an hour or two! With our lovely new neighbours at Green Remedy providing us with the perfect café location for our coffee shop scene and middle park beach working a treat for our magic hour scenes.
Because we had created a simple visual concept and planned its execution thoroughly the shoot was one of the most pleasant I have ever had as a director. There was no stress and we walked away with shots we were all proud of.
When we got to the edit room again planning helped us greatly and the edit was executed fast we had decided on a semi-raw look to the vision which took us less time to create in the grade and once we had selected the perfect music track we were half way there.
Because of our very straightforward presentation of concept and the process we created for making the video it was approved by the client on the first edit, which enabled them to have the video earlier than expected so they could start promoting their campaign when they wanted to.
Best of all the video was also an integral part of what became a highly successful crowd funding campaign with Jewish Care raising $21,710 and exceeding their original campaign target within the 30 day chuffed campaign!
We look forward to seeing their Sensory Room completed and thank them for a unique and satisfying challenge that enabled us to craft a successful crowdfunding campaign video that fitted a budget but never compromised on quality.