Monday, 21 February 2011

Back from Budapest

We're back from Hungary where we've spent five days shooting and editing a promotional film for a new masters degree programme in European Youth Studies. The M.A. will eventually be delivered by a group of universities across the continent, including staff at the University of Glamorgan, here in Wales.

Before the full M.A. programme gets going, a group of students and academics met up in Budapest to road-test some of the course content and teaching methods. Our brief was to film this short course and create a video that would promote the idea of a Europe-wide postgraduate course that is really revolutionary in both content and the way it's delivered.

Challenges included a fast turnaround (we started shooting as the particpants arrived and we had a finished film to show them on the last night); multi-lingual interviews with translation, subtitles etc and... a very tight budget.

Fortunately, "corporate videos" needn't cost a fortune. We can shoot and edit ourselves, which keeps costs down if required. We used a Sony Z7 camera and edited on Final Cut Pro. We also work as unobtrusively as possible. The sequence at the youth project in central Budapest was actually shot on a "Flip" handheld camera. They cost less than £100.  Using the Flip meant we could work in a very small - and dark - office without bringing in lots of lights and equipment. And that meant we didn't get in the way.

Whatever the budget - and whatever technology we use - we want our films to be editorially strong, so Penny worked hard with the clients to develop a script that gets the main messages across.

Take a look at the film - and if you think your organisation could make use of a promo video like this, please get in touch. We'd love to hear from you!

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

From Russia with...

Our former Wales Today colleague Kevin Owen has mailed us from Moscow where he is now a presenter for Russia Today. "I think I must have riled my guest," he says. Spasiba, Kev... Captions, anyone?

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Our feedback

At the end of every media training course we run, we ask for feedback from our clients. So far it's been really encouraging. Here are some samples. All come from senior managers in the public sector.

“This was the first taste of media training I have had. I found that the event was highly professional and very useful. It made me feel much more comfortable regarding media matters, has given me the thirst for more training and also the belief that such training should be made available to as many managers... as possible.”

“I thought the training day was very well presented and provided a good balance of providing helpful information about how the media works, and practical tips to improve our ability to get our message across.   The practice interviews put us under pressure and were extremely realistic. The constructive feedback really helped give me confidence and allay some of the fear of being interviewed in future.”

“Having training provided by experts in the media allowed our senior staff to better understand the journalist’s position and added gravitas to the event. The content was interesting, relevant and well delivered. The practical element of interviews, editing and ‘broadcasting’ the final package as it would be on the evening news was something that could not be delivered by internal media training alone. I would definitely recommend this training to other  communication professionals.”

Friday, 17 September 2010

Rob Finighan joins Tower Media as an Associate

We're delighted that Rob Finighan has joined Tower Media as an Associate.

Rob is a broadcast all-rounder with UK network credits as an executive producer, series producer and director.

Rob began his career as a local radio reporter in South Wales and spent time "shouting the news" (as he puts it) at stations in the Midlands, before moving into television as a news, sports and promo director. He moved to London and worked as a senior news director on shows such as Business Breakfast, Working Lunch and Newsround.

For the past ten years Rob has also run his own television production company. Specialising in high quality factual programming and corporate productions, he has won many awards, including a Bafta Cymru for the BBC2 show "So What Do You Do All Day?" presented by Adrian Chiles.

Rob is now working as a training consultant for the Al Jazeera network in Qatar and travelling the world making documentaries for BBC World.

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Tower Media and Coleg Glan Hafren

We've been working on a film for Coleg Glan Hafren, one of Wales' most successful F.E. colleges. The college has 8,000 courses and 13,000 students. Chris Seal and the marketing team wanted to highlight the close links the college has with local employers, which give students hands-on experience in the workplace. Employers also benefit from sending their staff on bespoke training courses to develop their skills and expertise.

We spent two days filming around the college and met some really great people. One of them was Eric Couturier, the college's catering lecturer. Eric trained as a chef in his home town of Le Mans in France before marrying a Welsh girl and moving here to start a family. Now he runs a professional-standard kitchen at the St Mellons campus, teaching both cooking and front-of-house skills. Students and staff can take advantage of great food at bargain prices in the Seren restaurant (Penny had the Welsh lamb and loved it).

We set out to make a film  that didn't look and sound like the usual corporate video but instead had a "newsy" feel that would keep people watching.  Have a look at the clip and see what you think - and find out more about Tower Media by visiting our website.  Finally - thanks to everyone at Coleg Glan Hafren for all your help.

Thursday, 20 May 2010

Too many men on the box?

Why were there so few women on television this general election? A very good question to ask as I've been having the very same conversation with many of my female friends in the past week. And we come back to the same point - actually, the journalists who 'shone' for us in the campaign period were women. Take a bow Laura Kuenssberg, Rita Chakrabati, Joanna Gosling, Julie Etchingham and Cathy Newman. They were all delivering edgy, authoritative journalism day in, day out. But what struck me about the opinions of me and my friends is that none of us cared much, if at all, for the many men being wheeled out to anchor election programmes, nor for their rather bullish style of interviewing. Watching the media conference in the Downing Street garden the day after the coalition was signed, sealed and delivered, I thought, 'um, every major UK media organisation has sent a man to ask the questions.' Unwise, then, for those same news hacks to start asking questions about gender balance in the new cabinet, surely?
If you want to know more about how to handle different types of interviewer, and what to do if you're faced with a reporter who's asking very hard questions when they've been up for 18 hours, then come and talk to us at Tower Media. We can work with you to develop your confidence as an interviewee, and help develop your emergency media response strategy.

Emma Gilliam

Sunday, 16 May 2010

Emma Giliam on UK radio listening in 2010

It seems everyone's celebrating the latest radio audience figures. And with good reason. Apparently radio listening is at an all-time high. Did you know that 46.5 million adults tune in at some point in the week? Or that a third of the UK population now owns a digital radio? Quite impressive in these days of social media, iPlayer, Sky+ to think that The Archers can still gain listeners. But of course we don't have to rely on the small box in the corner of the room nowadays to listen to our favourite programmes, or keep up with the news. The latest stats also show that radio listening on mobile phones and through the television is on the up, too. Many eyes were on Chris Evans' first showing in the figures at the helm of the Radio 2 Breakfast Show - would his style jar with Wogan fans and see them tuning away in their droves? No. He's added well over a million listeners. And look at BBC 6 Music - threatened with closure, the digital station has come back fighting and seen a 50% rise in listeners - a record one million people.

Across the UK stations are celebrating these increases. Local Radio (both commercial and BBC) have done well and that may be because the survey period included the snow in January - local stations traditionally do well when there's adverse weather, which always seems a shame to me because there are some fine presenters out there.

Station management will be looking at the figures in detail in the coming days and weeks - crucial programming and scheduling decisions will be made on the basis of them.

And we'll be looking at them here at Tower Media, too. Every bit of knowledge you can acquire about the radio landscape is essential for the success of your media planning. We're happy to share our experience, skills and know-how with you. We can work with you to develop your radio strategy. After all, if radio's good enough for almost every adult in the UK, it should have a place in your plans too.