We got in touch with our Glug videographer Rob Simpkins to share his story, some lessons he’s learnt along the way of setting up his own company Ohayo Films and what it’s like to film the Glug London events. We’ve also asked him what a Glug event looks like from a video production point of view, and what event is the most memorable for him, and why…
Here we go...
- Hi Rob, can you tell us a bit about yourself and your background and how you ended up doing what you’re doing now?
I’m a filmmaker based in London. I began my career back in the mid 2000’s at digital agency Glue London (now Isobar) within their in-house video department ‘Superglue’. Superglue was an awesome place to kick-start my career as it was a small team focused on creating really high quality video for the web, so I got a lot of hands-on experience and developed a broad range of skills in multiple aspects of video production. Also, having that first-hand experience of how an advertising agency works from the inside has been incredibly valuable as my career has developed.
From there, I went onto work for Agile Films and then a stint freelancing before setting up my own production company Ohayo Films. Aside from my work with Ohayo, I have a real passion for post-production so I also do a lot of freelance editing of music promos and creative projects (www.robsimpkins.tv). You could say I like to keep busy!
- Let’s talk about Ohayo – what’s the background to you wanting to set up your own company? What sort of content do you focus on within Ohayo and what sort of clients and projects do you work with/on?
I’ve had a really varied career within video and when I was freelancing I found different projects were booking me for entirely different roles, some jobs would hire me as a producer, whilst other projects would hire me solely as an editor. I really wanted to create an environment where I could draw upon all these different abilities and combine them into one role, hence why I set up Ohayo Films: where I act as a very hands-on head of production. Dependant on the project, I might still shoot it myself or cut it myself but in general I act as more of a producer/director on most jobs now, overseeing and managing the project from a production and creative perspective.
Ohayo is still very much a start-up production company, so a majority of the work we do is events, music, corporate video and digital content. But we’ve just finished a charity documentary for broadcast TV and are currently working on a few really creative projects, so watch this space in 2017!
- What do you see as the biggest benefit of running your own company in comparison to working for someone else? And on the contrary, what do you see as the biggest obstacle running your own company in comparison to working for someone else and how do you tackle this?
I think when you have you own company; it becomes more of a lifestyle choice rather than just a career one. It becomes all encompassing, so you either love it or hate it. I’m probably a bit of a workaholic and find it hard to switch off from work so it suits me well, but it isn’t for everyone.
For example, when your on holiday you can’t just set an out of office and have someone else deal with it until you come back, you still need to have the business in the back of your mind. It can take over your life a little but if you love what you do, it just becomes an extension of who you are, and the freedom and satisfaction you get from overseeing so many projects from start to finish is unrivalled.
- What would be your number one advice to fellow entrepreneurial videographers out there thinking of starting their own production business? Any key tips you can share that you wish you knew when you started out?
When your starting out, I think the best advice is to learn as much as you can and have a diverse set of skills, not just for when budgets are small and you need to do it yourself, but also so you can talk the same language as the freelancers you’re employing. I personally think having a real breadth of skills is essential, as even if you grow as a company, this diverse knowledge is a solid footing as you go forward.
I also think looking at the bigger picture is key. Don’t approach things on a job by job basis but look at how you see the company growing. Budgets can be tight for certain jobs, but if that project is going to be a standout piece of work then perhaps its worth a taking a hit or doing it on a deal because of what you get out of it for your show reel? It’s important to have a vision for the company and take ownership of that vision, otherwise you might as well just freelance somewhere and have a much easier life!
- You’ve been involved with Glug as our showcase videographer for over 1,5 year now – what made you decided to come on-board back in early 2015?
When Nick and Ian first suggested I get involved, I was super excited. The events themselves always have such a great atmosphere and you get to meet some amazing people. What I love about Glug is the whole ethos, it’s all about celebrating creativity. There’s no sales pitches from the people presenting, just people sharing their own stories and experience. It all feels very natural.
- When you stepped in as our Glug videographer you indefinitely raised the bar of quality for all our video content and we’re forever thankful for this. What key factor, would you say, always makes a huge difference when it comes to event videography?
I think a lot of people shoot events and there only focused on capturing the content, whereas a huge part of event videography is capturing the atmosphere too and keeping it engaging for the viewer.
The first thing I did when starting to shoot Glug was to change it to a two camera set-up, one close up and one wide. It’s amazing what a difference cutting between two angles makes, it just keeps it a lot more engaging and holds the attention of the viewer better. From that, we started adding extra touches like interviews with the speakers as intro bumpers etc., it’s all about finding ways to raise the quality.
In terms of the speaker films: Sound is super important! I’d always recommend doing a recce of any venue and testing the sound before any shoot. A bad image can often be rescued with some clever post-production and colour grading, but bad sound is really noticeable and will ruin even the most beautifully shot video.
For the event montages, my top tip for videographers looking to shoot events is to look for repetition and then shoot that repetition from different angles and different focal lengths to get as much coverage as you can. You’ll be able to build a lot more pace in the edit and it allows the viewer to feel closer to what’s going on.
- Over the last year we’ve had over 50 videos produced from the showcase chapter and you’ve been the main man behind all of these. Does this mean that you’ve pretty much gotten to a stage of having a bit of a go-to set-up, standard equipment and certain editing processes now? What sort of equipment do you usually use?
Yeah, I’m pretty fixed on the kit we use for event work. I’m a big fan of the Canon C300, you can get the same shallow depth of field as you do shooting video on a DSLR but it’s much more of a workhorse with XLR (Pro Audio) inputs etc. It gives a beautiful cinematic image but it also performs really well in low light and is built for run and gun videography so that’s my camera of choice for events.
Lighting is a key factor too, particularly for the pre-talk interviews. We usually use Kinoflow’s or LED’s with a softbox to diffuse them as they give a really gentle look for portrait interview’s whilst still ensuring the image looks bright and engaging.
- From the back of the camera lens – what does a Glug event look like in terms of video production?
A Glug event always looks very busy! When I film events I’m always looking for people interacting, laughing or smiling as that’s the footage that’s going to make it into the edit. The joy of filming a Glug is that it’s so easy to find these moments as everyone seems to be having such a good time. It definitely makes my life easier!
- A final question… What event have been the most memorable one for you and why?
House Of Vans for me all day long, even doing the recce there was so much fun as it’s such a wicked venue. The stage with such a big crowd looked amazing on camera and there are so different rooms and spaces there that it helped the edit look really diverse and interesting. It was such a cool location to shoot in.
- Or, sorry, one more! We always want to explore the new and the upcoming and I’ve got this idea that we should try out and do a 360º events capturing at some point soon. Are you game?
Definitely, I think the most fun thing about digital filmmaking is the exponential rise of technology. What would have cost you a fortune a few years ago becomes achievable due to the affordability of technology. It’s a really exciting time to be a filmmaker and keeps you on your toes for sure!
To see more of what Rob and Ohayo does and produces make sure to check out www.ohayofilms.com! From corporate videography, events capturing to editing of any creative video projects (www.robsimpkins.tv) then make sure to get in touch with Rob Simpkins at firstname.lastname@example.org.