In the UK we’re lucky to have so many excellent universities. That does make the decision about which uni to attend increasingly difficult for prospective students. With it being such a big decision, it can understandably be a stressful time.
The School of Humanities at University of Southampton recognised this and tasked us with creating a suite of films that helped promote their flagship BA and MA courses. They wanted to make decisions easier for students by showing them the amazing things that the university has to offer its Humanities students.
These films had to be engaging and concise, but also get to the heart of why Humanities subjects can be helpful to the futures of prospective students. Wrapped up in all of this was the need for the films to speak to students directly and fit in with the kind of content that they might expect to see. As a team of Humanities graduates, this was an idea that we absolutely relished.
From minute 1 we knew that we wanted to break the mould a little bit. We’ve seen so many films in the education space that feel really similar and we wanted these films to stand out from the crowd. The idea that we put forward was to move away from having a central interview with a course leader and some impromptu b-roll. Instead, we suggested going down a scripted route, allowing us to plan for a narrative that spoke to personal and global progress. Not only this, but to plan out scenes that would help tell this story visually. When we got the green light for this idea we were super excited.
We started out by writing 7 (yes, 7) scripts, one for each of the courses or areas that we would be making films for. Each script had to speak to some of the wider topics the school wanted to cover but also the specific points that make each course special. The key here was good conversations with each course leader and collaboration. By working together we were able to achieve the balance we were looking for.
These scripts became full storyboards, which became shooting plans and pretty soon we were knee deep in a crazy production schedule. Working on 7 films at once can be tricky, but we loved the challenge and our producer went into overdrive planning detailed schedules and timelines. The great thing about this project from a production perspective was that everything was planned out. We weren’t shooting what was there, we were filming scenes that supported the story. This meant we could be creative with our lighting, we could use all of the gadgets at our disposal and pack each film with movement and energy. We have to say, these were some of the most challenging and interesting shoots that we’ve been on. Using limitations as a source for creativity was a fantastic experience.
The joy of having a storyboard in place is that post-production runs a little smoother. That being said, we tend to shoot extra bits, so we very rarely stick to the board 100%. That’s part of the fun of what we do! This project was no exception, but because of the clear vision outlined at the beginning of the project and the boards we had we pretty quickly got through post-production for each of the films. Each film had a slightly different approach to editing and colour grading to make sure that each one had it’s own mood (without being drastically different from the guidelines established from the start).
Schedules and timelines
21 Days of production
The films we produced are consistent but different. They speak about the value of Humanities subject, but also to the personal ambitions of prospective students. We like to think they’re about more than just their subjects, they’re about changing our world for the better. The project culminated in 7 hero films and 10’s of social cuts, all of which will be used to promote Humanities courses at University of Southampton far and wide. We’re really grateful to the School of Humanities for letting us get creative and making these films!
Language, Culture and Communication
It has been brilliant working with the team at NOTW Films. They are great at listening and helping us to bring the team's ideas to life. They are very fast workers, very adaptable, always courteous, and the end product is great.