What are the predictions on production?

The pandemic has taught us to question many things, and to find ways of doing things differently. Learning curves have been swift and vertical. What was an occasional ‘work-at-home-if-we-absolutely-have-to philosophy’ has quickly become ‘well, that’s not so bad, is it’?

In short, if there’s a will, there’s a way, and when it comes to production, this is equally true.

We have to be nimble

Advertising production has traditionally had a fairly rigid structure and process. Coronavirus has taught us that we need to be more nimble, thinking outside the box on how to craft and deliver good creativity and working under restrictions that could previously have brought production to a complete stop. Workarounds have become the norm. Using pre-existing footage in new ways, judicious use of stock video or even animation has provided avenues to continued production. Creative production using people and space effectively (and quite literally, in the case of Tom Cruise’s new proposed movie), or even with green screen and virtual sets, has made writers, producers and directors raise their game. As long as restrictions exist, and are factored in from the start, good creativity can always find ways to work within limitations and even excel under pressure.

Remote production is possible, and may even be better.

Streamlined remote productions are not only possible, they’re in some ways better. Rather than having voiceover artists, agency staff and clients travel to one place to oversee a recording session, everyone staying at home and dialling in is surprisingly easy. For radio, which has rocketed during lockdown, this has made production a lot simpler and could be a way of working which will be adopted post-Covid too.

As a multi-disciplinary agency team, we miss those big round-table meetings (well, some of them) but we now have the chance to challenge whether they are really necessary, or whether our now de-rigeur digital tech smarts mean we can save getting together just for the times when it’s really necessary (and when the restrictions eventually allow us all to be back in the same room!)…or for a party…if we dare to dream!

Lo-fi is just fine

Remember glossy, expensive television ads? Well, Coronavirus has taught us that actually we can use mobile phone footage for advertising, no problem. Stills used in an attractive way can also make a decent commercial. Zoom calls can be recorded and put out as interviews, podcasts or streamed live, where once a crew would have been dispatched to record the speaker. In the ever-accelerating arms race for more and more picture quality (8K anyone?), conversely, viewers have now decided that they’re ok with low-res images, bad sound and glitchy content. As long as it’s real. As long as it’s authentic.

One of the biggest changes we’ve seen is an increasing use of UGC, or user generated content being used in productions. Bringing this onto the more traditional advertising platforms has been a revelation, and struck a chord with audiences who were seeking emotive messaging and connection in a time of uncertainty.

The art of animation

When footage-based video shoots became untenable for a while, people looked to other mediums to fill the void. What better way than animation? Simple, effective, informative motion graphics quickly provided content that could be used anywhere, from broadcast to social media, and then graphically on print and outdoor. Without the need for cast, crew and locations, animation gave us an alternative that allowed cost-effective creative production to continue and clients to talk to their audiences. We think this will continue to be a trend, particularly with ongoing restrictions around video production.

So, there you go, as ever the shape of things to come is being driven by the shape of things today. In a time of crisis, people pull together and find ways to get things done – that’s innovation. What remains the same is that we will always, always, find a way to reach people with great creativity.

If we can help with any of your production needs, contact kirk@asgandpartners.com

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