Video Production Case Study: The University Of Essex

At HSQ Productions, no shoot is ever the same. Our clients bring their own unique aims to the table, and it’s our role to capture them on film. That’s exactly what the University of Essex came to us for…

Our work with them has been very rewarding, resulting in some beautiful clips of the on-site nursery to support their marketing. To tap into what made this project so special, our founder, Adam, took a few minutes out to explain our ongoing partnership with this prestigious educational centre.

Tell me about the client’s video production brief…

We were approached by the University of Essex to promote the university as a whole and their on-site childcare facility, the Wivenhoe Park Day Nursery. By any stretch of the imagination, it was a very exciting task!

One of the University’s directors came across HSQ via a recommendation, which shows how fantastic it is that our reach has grown from Manchester all the way to East Anglia. They liked our approach to production – the speed, and the fact that the person in charge can be sitting right next to us through every edit.

We were there to record a graduation ceremony for the institution’s highlights on the web. Because of the proximity to the nursery, it was a double graduation: one for four year-olds, and the other for students in their early 20s. Actually, this collated into a supremely nice atmosphere; the point was that each are linked by the University’s care for flexible studying provisions.

We shot over two days, a few months apart, and had reams of unedited material left over. By 4.30pm on Day One, the client was saying “It’s fantastic, we love it!” and were already looking ahead to the next shooting day in October.

Were there any particular challenges that arose?

Yeah, of course – we were dealing with children, so everyone had to be DBS-checked. We also had to ensure the kids on camera signed a consent form, or else we couldn’t film them. Some children were interacting in really, genuinely lovely ways to one another – but we had to keep them off-camera.

So, what process did the video production take?

Storyboarding was more important than usual, as were the expectations that had to be managed between HSQ and the University. Communication was key; we had directions for when, where and how we could film each scene, dotting every I and crossing every T.

Some shots we just had to get, whereas others cropped up magically. The children, for instance, were chatting with each other and the Essex graduates. Then in a single moment, they threw their mortarboards up into the air… we didn’t plan for it, but it just seemed right, and very special to capture on camera. 

Tell us about the results…

We were commissioned for a trio of videos in total; however, we ended up doing four, the last of which was a three-minute piece that had to be ready in another two days for an exhibition. So we put the juiciest parts into a single film. The HSQ team were travelling back from Manchester and delivering this extra project at the same time, which was awesome considering the upload speeds en route from Essex to London!

Why did we go out of our way for this client? Because they did the same for us – the communication was so good that everyone, on our side and theirs, was figuratively bubbling after each shoot. “When can we do the next one?” they kept asking us. Which is really what we look for in a video customer: they want HSQ back, and can’t wait for another go-around.

Are there any future plans for the University of Essex?

Well, we’re in the running to work with their food outlets. It’s all quite hush-hush at the moment, but I can say that it involves some roaring flames, a bunch of interesting visual concepts, yet for now…. I don’t want to reveal any more!

Let me take this opportunity to thank the University of Essex for being an amazing client. Whatever you want us to be involved with, in the near future or however far down the line, we’re going to jump at the chance.

Before you go, what’s your top tip for video marketing in the childcare and education sectors?

It all starts very simply: the University of Essex, for example, came to us because they liked the done-in-a-day guarantee. If you’re a nursery, primary/secondary school or higher education institution, why not explore the same thing for own marketing strategy?

Conceive of something that needs to be filmed – in some ways mission-critical, but not overly so – and use it as a test. Then, if the video agency can deliver to the standard you expect, or even go beyond it, you’ll know you’ve found the perfect filming partner. That’s the stage from which you can scale in feasible complexity.

We loved filming with the University of Essex, and are always looking for clients who want to build a long-term creative partnership. Ready to help your own organisation marketing graduate to something beautiful? Speak to the HSQ team today, or for more inspiration take a look at our portfolio.