Elevating Startup Engagement: Creating Sunswap’s Film Series
SUNSWAP: STARTUP VIDEO BACKGROUND
We’ve created videos for a number of technology startups, helping to effectively convey what is usually game-changing value and benefits of new products, services or technologies. This can be a daunting task for many companies, particularly when they’re focused on developing brand new technologies and hardware. Sunswap, a venture-backed tech startup on the outskirts of London, UK, faced exactly this challenge when promoting their new Transport Refrigeration Units to fleet managers. Sunswaps TRUs are genuinely innovative technology, using a unique combination of battery power for cooling and solar power for charging, they offer a brilliant and efficient way to transport cold and frozen goods around the country. The logistics of getting cold and frozen goods around the country relies very heavily on a diesel fleet for both movement and refrigeration. Sunswap’s mission is to de-carbonise this cold-cycle. We’ve written elsewhere about the importance of articulating a company’s mission and this one is vital to both the customers they work with, and the rest of us.
To overcome some of the many hurdles in getting potential customers to adopt this technology (at scale) in mission-critical areas of their businesses, we were asked to provide a series of videos that breakdown and respond to some of the FAQs from customers. The videos had to be relatively straightforward and digestible, able to be deployed by advocates within potential customer organisations when needed. They had to be short, engaging and visually captivating. This blog post delves into the process of producing these videos, focusing on video production, video for startups, corporate video and video production in London.
DEVELOPING A STARTUP FILM SERIES
We worked with one of our long-standing regular partners, digital marketing agency Orb, to help define Sunswap’s brief. A lot of our client relationships have survived for years so they were happy to come to us again. Orb had identified the initial requirement and brought us in to develop this into a well-rounded brief that utilised video in the best way for Sunswap. Our aim is always to help client overcome a problem. In this case Orb had helped Sunswap identify the problem. We helped Orb articulate the solution.
Sunswap are genuinely revolutionising the delivery of frozen and cooled products including food and beverages. However, due to the long sales cycle for replacing fleets, Sunswap needed an effective way to address some of the objections that are common to large transactions like these, but also answer questions about innovative new technology, even when those conversations are taking place internally at the client end.
We pitched alongside Orb to explain how a twofold solution would work best here. Interviews with key Sunswap people allowed them to respond in very specific and detailed ways to the more common questions. And simple but elegant motion graphics appearing on screen would reinforce the key messages and demonstrate vital concepts. Startups only get a small number of chances to explain what they do so these startup videos had to be clear and concise.
Before commencing filming, a comprehensive pre-production phase was essential for ensuring a successful outcome. You can see our own creative video production guide here. Here’s an overview of the crucial steps taken:
DEFINING VIDEO SERIES OBJECTIVES
Sunswap meticulously identified the primary objectives of the film series, aiming to address common objections, showcase the features and benefits of their refrigeration units, and establish industry credibility. This was a detailed process that was initiated by us, but could only be completed by the client.
For this kind of film we rarely work to a pre-written ‘script’. Our pre-production phase means we’ve already decided on the content that we need, but it’s necessary to extract these answers from the interviewees. These responses were developed in a range of different ways, each designed to suit the style of the individual speaker. This served as a roadmap, covering all key points and facilitating the development of a cohesive narrative.
Sunswap’s new headquarters, just outside London, served as an ideal setting for the interviews. The team’s experience meant scouting scouted suitable areas within the facility, considering factors such as lighting, acoustics, and visual aesthetics to ensure a captivating visual experience was fairly straightforward. Check out our guide to choosing a video production location.
Technical Expertise and industry knowledge were crucial factors in selecting members of the Sunswap team to be interviewed on-camera. Each interviewee possessed the necessary skills to address their particular area, from a detailed understanding of the electronics and science involved, to the strategic problems that Sunswap’s TRU solved.
The production phase involved only capturing engaging interviews. Unusually for this kind of film there was no requirement for supporting footage or GVs. Here’s an overview of the video production process:
Our experienced production team used a single 4k camera setup, with a high powered lighting setup to offset the large amounts of daylight coming in from the floor to ceiling windows that ran along one side of the room. As well as the necessary sound equipment required for clear audio when working outside of a studio environment. Meticulous attention was given to these areas, achieving optimal lighting conditions and capturing clear, high-quality audio.
Key members of the Sunswap team were interviewed on-camera, providing insightful responses to a range of topics related to the TRUs. If you work in an innovative company then passion for the product is usually easy to find and Sunswap were no different. But being (in the nicest possible way and much like us) huge nerds, does not necessarily mean you’re great on camera. So we always put a lot of effort into working with interviewees to ensure they come across brilliantly. We asked thought-provoking questions to elicit informative and engaging answers. For this kind of startup video production we usually give the interviewees a general idea of what their questions will be but do not provide specifics, instead relying on their expertise to give fresh, insightful responses that we work with them to polish over time.
Of particular interest on this shoot was using different approaches for each interviewee. One person had an autocue to deliver specific answers, another had a list of bullet points visible in their eye line to keep their responses on topic but succinct. Yet another gave freewheeling and comprehensive yet concise answers. We adapted our approach for however each interviewee worked best.
The post-production phase involved a number of different people taking the raw footage, winnowing that down to only the vital points and then turning this into a polished and cohesive final product. In recent times we’ve become particularly expert at managing remote and disparate teams of people in post production. A big shout out to Lucidlink here, which is increasingly a vital part of our workflow. Here’s a breakdown of the key steps:
The skilled editing team meticulously reviewed and edited the raw footage, ensuring a seamless flow, logical sequence, and appropriate pacing. This step is vital in creating engaging corporate videos for startups and optimising the finished videos. It became clear over the course of post production that some of the films could be favourably edited into more than one film. The flexibility in our approach and collaboration when video editing allowed us to deliver more films than were originally briefed, giving Sunswap more video assets to work with.
We then created simple yet elegant motion graphics that were seamlessly integrated into the edited footage, elevating the visual appeal and effectively conveying complex concepts or statistical data. When the interviewee is us
ing phrases like “the cold cycle” planning a graphic like this in advance can short cut a long and technical explanation. This enhancement fu
rther strengthens the startup video’s impact and engagement.
AUDIO ENHANCEMENT & COLOUR GRADE
Advanced audio editing techniques and some AI tools were employed to refine the captured audio.
Some colour correction is required on every video production and this was no exception. We went through ensuring shots matched consecutive shots even though filming over a long day in December meant that lighting conditions outside did change over the course of the day.
Startup video projects usually result in 1 or 2 films, possibly with a few variations in length and aspect ratio for social media. But because of the highly defined aims of this corporate video project we were able to give Sunswap 17, highly effective and engaging videos for use in their sales process.
Feedback from both agency and client has been incredibly positive and we’re already in discussions about follow up video production in London and elsewhere.