TIME TO DIVERSIFY
TIME TO DIVERSIFY

03 August 2014

The energy sector is undergoing huge change right now as the UK (and the world in general) wake up to the fact that fossil fuels are a finite resource and the CO2 emitted from the burning of them is a large contributor to global warming. Of course, as the UK has to import much of our energy from Russia and other volatile areas of the world, it’s also in our best economic interests to generate our own energy.

The old energy landscape – coal mines, power stations etc – are being replaced by cleaner greener methods of generation – wind, solar, tidal and nuclear. This change brings huge opportunity for people working in the sector. However, the energy sector workforce is predominantly male, especially at board level. In fact, only 12.5% of directors on energy company boards are female.

Percentage of Female Engineers

Our brief, from the Department of Energy & Climate Change, was to create a film highlighting the situation using high profile speakers to tell the story. The film was to be played at a major event in London to launch the POWERful Women campaign which seeks to advance the professional growth and leadership development of women across the UK’s energy sector. We had 2 weeks to get all 9 interviews filmed as well as shoot enough B-roll and source additional archive footage to make the film as visually compelling as possible.

Tight deadlines are commonplace for production companies but our advice to companies or agencies looking to make a film is to always allow plenty of time! Often it’s the logistical side of things that can take the time rather than the production itself. For example, we needed to film at several high security facilities such as Hinkley Point and National Grid. Permits needed to be completed, equipment lists signed off and a host of other administration needed to happen before any cameras started to roll. When we eventually arrived on site the equipment had to be searched, PAC tested and then checked for radiation levels!

Radiation Check

From the outset we had a good idea of how we wanted to put the film together. This meant that we were able to film specific sequences knowing how they would be used in the final edit. For example, in the intro of the film we wanted to use the soundbite “It’s just nuts to leave out half the population if one’s looking for talent”. To illustrate this we came up with the idea of making two women disappear from a meeting leaving just two men. Four National Grid employees kindly agreed to be the stars. We shot the sequence with all 4 people, then the women very carefully left the scene with the camera still rolling. They were briefed not to move their chairs as they left or move anything on the table otherwise the effect would not be so smooth. The men had to continue working as if nothing had happened.

National Grid

Knowing what the final film will look like before you start filming does allow for greater creative scope. You are able to set up types of shot to achieve specific effects that otherwise would not be possible after production. At Spellbound, where the situation does not allow us to storyboard first, we’ll always try and shoot interviews first as this forms the narrative/script for the film. Once you have this, you know what other elements you need to film. If you leave the interviews until the end of production you could be faced with a situation in post where an interviewee is discussing a subject that you do not have any footage of.

A final note is regarding delivery of the film. We shoot everything in high definition and soon that may be increased to 4k. However, many clients request standard definition DVDs (not Blu-ray) as their preferred deliverable format. We advise clients where possible to choose a quicktime file instead of a DVD as their delivery format. This allows the film to be seen in its higher resolution state with image quality being far superior to that of a DVD. In most play out situations it’s just as feasible to connect a laptop to a projector or television than a DVD. In addition, it’s far easier to share a quicktime file with friends or colleagues.

We were delighted that the film was received so well by all concerned:

The video clip looks fantastic! Baroness Verma, Maria and I have just watched it together and we are absolutely thrilled. Exceeded expectations and will be a great tribute to the group.
Team Lead, POWERful Women

The event went really well thank you – the video was so well received! It’s going up on our website and we are sending a note to all attendees encouraging them to share it – thanks again for all your hard work.
Team Lead, POWERful Women

Loads of fantastic comments about the video. Thanks so much!
Director, POWERful Women

For further information please visit POWERful Women.org.uk

comments powered by Disqus