Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Developing TV

More than any other industry, broadcasters are having to learn to keep up with advances in technology and social media. The computer industry has never before been so significant to shaping approaches to television and expressing the voice of a generation. But there's a lot of rubbish to wade through and a lot to catch up on. So, we thought we’d point you in the right direction with a few tip offs.

A portable aerial that allows you to stream live TV anywhere.
Portable aerials from Aereo (pictured above) are being test run in New York. If it gets past the potentially hazardous legal licencing complications then live TV streaming will no longer confined to living rooms and computers. You could watch the channels of your choice on the train, on the street and in a restaurant on your phone, on your tablet and at your own convenience. Programmes and advertising will have to compete the wider world. 

A secondary device or a secondary screen;
your secondary computer, tablet or mobile device.
Rising secondary device (or ‘second screen’) use also means that TV channels and advertisers can more effectively gage reactions from specific audience sectors. This means that television viewing is now more flexible and group reactions are more transparent. Media producers can harness user engagement to their advantage. Useful reaction overviews are supplied through social TV analytics companies such as Bluefin Labs and SocialGuide. But a simple search on Twitter will give you a good idea of what people are or are not saying about your production.

Shazam will offer its users the opportunity to interact with live TV ads on ITV.
In a further recent development, ITV have begun offering their advertisers Shazam enabled TV spots exclusively within the UK. Their 10 million strong users will be able to interact with enabled commercials. This may span from competitions to free music downloads. 

Simon Daglish, Group Commercial Sales Director at ITV, said: “This exciting and exclusive partnership means that ITV is able to offer customers a real first for UK media and allow brands to innovate their spot campaigns and connect directly with audiences on a large scale.”

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Great new TV commercials

Ikea have revolutionised the television. This is exciting. They have integrated the everyday HD smart television, DVD player, stand and speakers into a singular customisable piece of furniture with hidden wires and one remote control. It also has a five-year guarantee. We want one right now. But it’s launching in the second half of this year. So we wait.

Read more here.

Levi Roots returns to our TV sets with a new ditty and a singing BBQ. But this time he’s shaped in the form of an Aardman character. Singing sausages that are marinated in Reggae Reggae sauce accompany him in the sunny suburban scenery, making us long for the return of the good weather.

Read more here.

Gumtree rolled out a nationwide ‘Quick Conversations’ campaign that’s rumoured to be worth over £1m. Hamish Stone, head of Gumtree’s marketing, said to The Drum: “Our previous ad campaigns really paid dividends for us, driving those looking to buy or sell their goods on Gumtree in record numbers. The new ads are all about bringing people together.”

Read more here.

Have you seen our new Cetaphil commercial yet? Post us your thoughts!

Thursday, 12 April 2012

What do you think makes a great TV commercial?

Following some great reactions to our LadyLucks commercial via Twitter, we thought we’d conduct some market research via business social media portal LinkedIN Answers.

We posed the question, “What do you think makes a great TV commercial?” Below, we’ve logged the results so far:

Humour isn’t a priority for you. What you’re really looking for is something that stands out in your mind. Media that really stands out is almost impossible to find. As soon as it gets published, everyone else and their mother have jumped on board. Nonetheless, as the Cadbury’s 2007 drumming gorilla proved, it’s far from impossible to do.

Does this profile fit you? Keep sending our answers in to us here.

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

The filming of The Robbery, part three

Toast TV’s James Gentle spent a sunny weekend shooting his short film, The Robbery. The piece is currently in post-production and will hopefully be completed at the end of May. In the mean time, we thought we’d treat you to some dark and dramatic details of the shoot in a three part series. This blog details the final day of the shoot and some Tascams that just won’t work.

Follow James's production company @KissTheKerb.

Sunday goes by in a relaxed blur. We head back to the scene of yesterday’s crime with our game faces on. This is merely a meeting point before we head off to our final location. Everyone miraculously has the same energy from Saturday. This is gonna be good.

The sunset is beautiful as we drive half a mile down the road to the Benfleet Sewage works, as the sun disappears our location becomes the seedy meeting point we need. We set our cars, our actors, everyone is ready, Thom has excelled himself again with the first shot, it couldn’t be better. We roll. Wait. What’s wrong?

Alex Martin our new soundman (we get through soundmen like Spinal Tap and drummers) calls cut! I thought I was meant to say that? The Tascams are playing up, so the sound is sporadic. We work to resolve the issue, next take, good. Things are back on track. Wait.

Again, the Tascams are failing, battery life now becomes an issue, even though we’ve had them on charge all day. We go down from three radio mics and a boom to one mic and a boom. Surely this must help. No. More issues. We take a break whilst we go get some AA batteries. We go again, this time with all the mics back on. We get another take. But again the issues return. What? We have to get this done tonight! There is no option.

We decide to wrap this location and head back to the house to recharge the tascams, and head to our second location of the evening. Fortunately this doesn’t require sound. Slightly deflated we plough on, but by the end of this scene we are happy again. Our actors are safely ensconced in one of the cars, food and drink by their side.

We wait for Phil and Thom to return with the Tascams. Crunch time. What seems like an age passes. They eventually arrive, I rush over and hold my breath. ‘We’re on’ says Thom, ‘but we have to be quick.’ Action stations, we hurriedly return to our first scene, set up as quickly as possible, stick the Tascams onto charge again (you know, for a boost) and get some scenes done which aren’t sound important.

The moment comes and we plug our mics in. We set. We go. It works! We’ve lost at least two hours but our collective will to get this done persists. The actors pull out performance after performance. Thom pulls out shot after shot. Alex pulls out good sound after good sound.Our final shot is with a glide cam. The Tascams are now almost exhausted. I call cut. Everyone gathers. I take a moment, and relish the words. “That my friends, is a wrap!”

Sitting in the edit suite here at Toast Towers looking back on that weekend, I can’t honestly believe we achieved so much in those three evenings. Thom, Phil and I can’t thank enough everyone who was involved in this film. Our fantastic actors Dan O'Malley, Edward Walters and Tom Coombes. Our wonderful friends who played extras for the evening. Millie Scalchi who was indispensable. Lewis J Clark and Alex Martin for excellent sound and determination in the face of adversity. To everyone at Toast TV and BigBalls Films for the kit, and helping us pull together this first venture of ours.

James Gentle

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Our producers' showreel for 2012

Here's the latest copy of our showreel for 2012. Read more here. Enjoy!

Thursday, 5 April 2012

Google's Goggles set to change the landscape of smartphones, for good

Forget about phones; Google Goggles are the smart new gadget for 2013

Google will test their revolutionary new goggles this summer on members of the public, as part of 'Project Glass'. Wearers of the glasses will be able to access computer programs and mobile phone functions through eye movement and voice commands. Currently, Google's Goggle function is available for download on Android phones.

The glasses use Android software, which adds small translucent icons onto the surface of a user’s reality. Functions will include improved search functions, video messaging and interactive mapping. Disturbingly, the promotional video also showed the wearer being alerted to friends who are within close proximity.

The search engine giant received criticism in the past for jumping onto new ideas too quickly. This then lead to the abandonment of a number of smaller new online functions, such as QR codes in Places, to focus on their current range. Civil liberty concerns about the glasses have already been raised by experts. But everything looks set to go ahead as Google’s glimpse into the future gets set to change the landscape of mobile content for good.

Vicky McNaught-Davis

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

The filming of The Robbery, part two

This blog details things getting dark on the second day of The Robbery shoot. Click here for part one. Follow @KissTheKerb for updates.

I spend the day chasing shadows, buying more props, more food and more beer for the set and more things for wardrobe. Eventually, I arrive at the house location with casting director and shoot facilitator Millie Scalchi. I’m exhausted and I haven’t even begun.

The house is buzzing. Our kit has gone from backbreaker to stage setter. Thom and our soundman Lewis are busing themselves with Tascams [] and radio mics. Phil is working the barbeque. The other two main actors are here, along with more or less everyone else. The process is intoxicating.

Phil, Thom and I have made this. Everyone is here because of our dumb idea to make a short film. It’s incredible. After mingling, we turn to the matter at hand. There is a film to be made. The actors are in costume, fully rehearsed and ready to go. Thom has the extras set. Camera, lights and sound all ready. There is nothing left to do. The moment has arrived.


The first take is a doozy. The second, third, fourth all reel off without a hitch. This is excellent. We switch positions, again, it’s perfect. This film making malarkey is easy. An hour or so later and our first recorded scene is done. Wrapped. Finito. We take a break to soak everything in, say goodbye and thank all of the extras for their brilliant work.

But, we still have lots to film. The actors, Dan O’Malley, Edward Walters and Thomas Coombes, crack through all the scenes effortlessly, as do Thom and Lewis, Phil and myself. Our wrap time passes but we are still in good spirits as we head ever closer to the end. A few brief words with the crew, a check of the script and our work here is done. Our energy spent, evening has become morning, and we head for home.

James Gentle

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

LadyLucks ‘enjoy the moment’ commercial is live!

Our new LadyLucks commercial aired yesterday. You might have seen it last night on ITV2, while watching the Shawshank Redemption. We wanted to capture all the fun of mobile gambling in a new and exciting way. 

We put together this tongue in cheek piece using creative work from Us London. The 30-second film shows a string of everyday people celebrating their betting victories in true slow-mo style. The still above depicts a man who discovers that he's won his bet and enjoys the moment as a bus opens its doors to him and then closes without him boarding.