Promo Video

This project is to create a promotional video. Immediately below is our finished film.


This is a series of Nike Adverts that Nick showed us in class, the “Nike: Find Your Greatness” adverts. I took a more careful look at is as part of my Research.

As I watched the collection, I was drawn in to wanting to know what the next advert would be, so they achieve one of the aims of adverts in keeping you watching. Another feature that I noticed is the simplicity of many the shots. In the advert where someone is simply running across the screen on a deserted road, the camera doesn’t move and there are no cuts. The way all these adverts seem to work is that they first give you a chance to take in what is happening, then the punchline comes afterwards. As you watch the sequence, you can see the gentle humour. It is not going to make you laugh loudly, but it makes you smile, and want to see more. They are each short, so you have no chance to get bored, again an aim.

Not all of this sequence has simple shots. The one where a game of water polo (I think) is being played has a series of more action-based shots. But this is appropriate since we are watching a fast-paced game in the water. The pace matches the situation, and doesn’t seem to try to do fancy shots just for the sake of it. It gives the impression that someone has really thought well about getting exactly the right shots to make each point.

My favourite one is the “guy with the sword”. We see a guy on a mat in a gym of some sort, spinning around and doing fast movements with a sword. The VO says “if you’d like to tell the guy with the sword he’s not great (slight pause) because he’s not famous (long pause where we see him with spinning around with his sword) be my guest”. It’s only about 15 seconds long. But that’s all it needs to be.

It gets its message across, and in a humorous way. I smiled and very nearly laughed out loud at this one. The longer pause in the middle allows us to anticipate what the VO is about to say. We have an idea of what sort of thing it me, like maybe “go ahead” or “you are welcome to”, but I think the actual choice of words “be my guest” is the most appropriate. “Be my guest” already has undertones of comedy about it, since often if someone says that to another character in a film then you just KNOW that they know something that the other character doesn’t know, that will happen if they do do what ever it is. In the case, the guy has a sword – enough said! The set is simple – muted colours so that you concentrate on the movement of the guy with the sword. Most other people in the room are sitting and watching. There IS some activity going on in the background, but not enough to distract the audience, just enough that you know the guy with the sword is not the centre of attention, he is one of several people there.

All this series of adverts are deceptively simple, but I can imagine that a great deal of work went into achieving that seeming simplicity, to get all the elements just right, and they achieve their aim but making me want to watch them and feel good about them. I’ll be honest, I’m not sure that they would make me buy Nike items, but that’s because I’m not keen on buying branded merchandise if it is more expensive that non branded. But I can certainly appreciate this series of adverts as a great piece of cinematography. They probably go as far as any advert could go to make me want to buy the product, so that’s something. They made me want to watch them, and they promoted an inclusive, thoughtful image of Nike, who are taking the time to think about the message these adverts give.

I found out that these adverts were launched in 2012 to coincide with the London Olympics, and were designed to focus on everyday athletes, or even people who didn’t regard themselves as athletes.

I found this quote online – “The centerpiece of the campaign is a “Find Your Greatness” film that breaks through social media and digital channels on July 25, supported by a global YouTube homepage promotion on July 26. The campaign is elevated by a global Twitter #findgreatness promoted hashtag to ignite conversation around how athletes everywhere find their own greatness. The film will then appear on TV in 25 countries on July 27.”

In the same article there was another fact that I found fascinating:

“Find Your Greatness FilmThe film shows everyday athletes from around the world training, playing and competing, with the common thread that the locations featured are all called London. We first join a scene at “London Gym” where a man pumps out crunches during a workout, then go to a rugby match in East London, South Africa, where a boy breaks the line handing off a larger opponent.   

In Little London, Jamaica, a female boxer works the pads with consummate skill and precision. In London, Ohio, we see a close up of a focused young baseball player catch the ball and throw it to first base in one seamless action. While each athlete defines their own goals and success, they are all connected by a unifying sense of what greatness could be to them.

As the athlete stories unfold, the film voiceover emphasizes that greatness is not simply reserved for the superstar athlete but is inherently a part of what we can all aspire to and achieve. Whether that means finishing a first marathon in London, Canada, or a female Muslim team sharing a celebratory huddle on a soccer pitch at London School, Qatar, or passing under London Bridge over Lake Havasu, Arizona, in the heat of a first triathlon.”

Each advert is filmed in “London”, but a different “London” around the world. This is a piece of information that, once one person know it, can be spread to friends as an interesting fact. It can be spread both in person and on Social Media providing almost limitless free extra advertising. This is clever and adds another layer to the adverts. Layering was mentioned to us in regard to adverts and promos. Sometimes what looks so simple can have many layers beneath it, for those who look.   

Launching this series of adverts during the London 2021 Olympics also provided a great contrast between

Elite athletes and the “unknown millions”. A statistic that I found online is that it was the “most talked about campaign during the games, driving $506million in revenue growth”. It really was a well thought out, successful, advertising campaign.

When I researched what a promotional video is, one explanation that I found is “A promotional video is a business video with the intent to promote your products and services to customers and prospects.”

I tried to find out if there is a difference between a promo video and what I think of as adverts like you see on the TV, but what I found was many different opinions and definitions. There seems to be a general consensus that promotional videos maybe don’t attempt to make you go out and buy a specific product in the same way as many TV adverts do, e.g. for toys at Christmas and M&S food.

When I asked a few people generally if they thought there was a difference, most people weren’t sure, but felt that a promotional video was often like a tourist board video or travel video for a whole country rather than for a specific company. People also suggested that a lot of adverts were much less subtle, and more “in your face” than promotional videos. On the whole, I think that people are becoming a bit tired of adverts pushing them to buy things using what they see as psychological advertising tricks. and treating them “like idiots who can’t see through all that stuff” as one person said. Some people said they would prefer it if adverts just gave them “the facts” and showed what the thing was. Those people preferred what they thought of as promo videos because they felt they were less of a hard sell and indeed did show photos e.g. of the country or place. But these were informal comments with various people, rather than a survey of a lot of people, but they were useful as Qualitative Research.

Looking at the brief, we are being asked to make a promo video for a town, rather than a specific company. I looked up some promo adverts that related to “places” and found 2 that were of personal interest to me as well. They are both promoting the 24th World Scout Jamboree in 2019, which I applied to go on, was selected for and went to. I am one of the target audience for both these videos. I can say that both videos accurately represented the jamboree and the emotions they evoke are accurate too.

WSJ 2019 Promo Video

This is a general promotional video for the 24th World Scout Jamboree in 2019. At 2 mins 46 seconds it is significantly longer than our promo should be, and I do feel that maybe it does go on a little bit too long. However, I remember seeing it before I went to the World Scout Jamboree in 2019 and it did make me want to be there, so it achieved the aim of a promotional video.

24th World Scout Jamboree – Oxfordshire Unit Advert

This is a shorter WSJ 2019 promotional video (1 min 25 secs) specifically from the Oxfordshire Scouts, to encourage scouts in their area to submit an application to be selected to be part of the Oxfordshire Unit going to the World Scout Jamboree. It is a cut down version of the WSJ 2019 Promo Video above, with different music and different titles on it. At the end it also has details of how to apply to the Oxfordshire Unit. I was selected to be part of the Buckinghamshire/Hertfordshire Contingent. I saw various videos like this, before I applied, and they made me really want to apply.

In both these promos I think they are effective by showing lots of images of what the World Scout Jamboree will be like, and all the activities you could do there. Although I had read about it, words on a page didn’t do justice to it, whereas both these videos do, especially to the scale of it. However, if either of them had just been a series of images then I don’t believe it would have kept people’s attention in the same way as these 2 promo videos do. To do this they use filming and editing techniques such as a variety of appropriate shots, some close-ups showing people’s happy faces (implying that we will be happy if we go there), very high angle shots, probably by drones, which show the scale of the event, making us go “Wow! That is amazing!” and want to go.

I think both of these promos were necessary because many people still think of a scout jamboree as a lot of scouts sitting around tying knots and whittling wood, and both these videos show that is not so. A Jamboree is a vibrant, exciting event, with lots of exciting activities like climbing, zip wire, skateboarding, sailing etc. Both these promo videos achieve the aim of this accurate and exciting portrayal, and showed me that we need to think about the tone of our promo video and use images appropriately to evoke the emotions that we are being asked in the brief to evoke.

Both these videos use music to capture that excitement successfully. Again, that shows we need to tie on our music choice with the image we are trying to portray and the emotions that we want to evoke.

Something that I feel is particularly effective in the second promo is the simple but direct way in which they show some of the facts like “45,000 Scouts” and “150 Countries” with simple titles, placed just before images of huge numbers of scouts. This gives you a context for what you are then looking at. Just the figures are hard to relate to just how many people that looks like, and just the images doesn’t let you know how many people it actually is – who can count 45.000 people? But the combination is what works, making sure that the whole promo video is cohesive and tells the same story.

Our brief – “Don’t Move to Amersham”
In our group of 90%Bloopers plus Charlie G we looked at the brief shown to us by Nick. It was to persuade Londoners to move out of London and come to live in Amersham. Research was showing that due to Covid-19, many Londoners were wanting to move somewhere more rural but still with many amenities that they enjoyed on London like good train links.  This brief asks for a humorous approach, which we as a group like and feel is a strength of ours. Going with this brief, rather than making something up from scratch, would allow us to concentrate on the creation of the promo video, putting together the shots, music, cuts etc, rather than having to start from scratch and come up with something to promote. It is also more representative of real life, in that an organisation would come to you to ask you to make a promo video for them, rather than you just creating a random promo video about something.

We liked the counter-intuitive requirement, this is a fun and gentle humorous approach. Counterintuitive messages are something which we haven’t attempted yet. It is a humour created by the combination of the images and the words spoken, by showing opposite images to the words. When the words state “It’s got terrible traffic problems” you show an image of a lovely quiet country road. We realised that we would need pleasing images so that that is the image left in the audience’s mind, and making them smile when they hear the contradictory words. This gives us a good opportunity to explore a different linking of images to words to when we would usually try to make them match. We decided to use this brief and the prepared items like the script.

We discussed our ideas for shots for the promo, based on the script. We all worked on the preproduction documents, having done both independent and group research. We discussed which roles we each should have. I was allocated Director, which is a role I enjoy and my eventual preferred career direction. I was also Assistant Camera. I would like to work towards becoming a Director by taking a technical cinematography route, so I was very pleased with these roles.


We agreed our individual roles. I have discussed my role as Director in my Promo Video Journals and in my Promo Video Evaluation

  • Gareth – Director / Assistant Camera
  • Adam – Sound Engineer / Behind the scenes / Tech
  • Ellie – Cinematographer / Camera / Assistant Director
  • Harley – Editor / Second Unit
  • Charlie – Soundtrack / Assistant / Actor
  • Jack – Actor / Props / Graphic Design

Proposal Presentation to Nick
After we had discussed the brief and come up with ideas, we did a Proposal presentation to Nick as the pretend client. Here is the recording. I have discussed this further in my Promo Video Journals.

Shot List and Locations
We wrote a shot list based on the VO Script and then made a list of locations numbered by the best order to visit them, which we confirmed on our location scouting day.

Ellie made the notes and drew up a storyboard based on our plans.

Risk Assessment
We discussed the Risk Assessment, being sure to include Covid-19-safety and Adam put it together and sent it to our tutors.

Kit List
We drew up a kit list for both out location scouting day and our main filming day.

  • Canon 700D (Adam)
  • Canon E60 (Gareth)
  • Tripod (Gareth)
  • Mic (College) (Adam)
  • Mic Boom (College)
  • Mic Cables XLR (College)
  • External Recorder (College)
  • SD Card x2
  • Cleaning Equipment
  • Planning Papers
  • Reflectors (College)

ISO, Shutter Speed and Aperture PowerPoint that I made
Here is the PowerPoint that I made to show Ellie about ISO, Shutter Speed and Aperture and how they are inter-related. We had a very useful discussion about how to use this information to get some adventurous shots, and it worked well

Location Scouting
On the day before our intended filming day, a team of Ellie, Charlie, Jack and I (Gareth) went to scout out our planned filming locations. We had a successful day, and here are some behind the scenes photos of the day.

We had to delay our shooting day, due to Covid-19 restrictions. We ended up filming the week after our Location Scouting Day. It was a successful day. We got all the shots that we had intended to and had time to also do some experimenting with shots. As Director, I wanted to ensure that we had all the shots that we intended to get to complete our story, including many of them needing several takes. I also wanted to try out some additional shots that Ellie (cinematographer) and I had planned. I discuss some of them in my Promo Video Journals.

Here are some behind the scenes photos of the day.

In my Promo Video Journals there are more behind the scenes photos of the other days that just Ellie and I went to get some other shots, and when I went on my own to get the replacement opening shot panning down from the sky to an “Amersham twinned with…” sign.

Post Production
Here is the initial edit that Harley (Editor) did, before we realised the misunderstanding about the counterintuitive aspect. It is well edited, but due to the misunderstanding it doesn’t get the desired message across. I discuss in Promo Video Journals why this is so.

Here is the Final edit that Harley (Editor) did, with the alterations that we discussed and the additional footage that Ellie and I, and also me on my own, filmed.

 Harley’s (Editor) Adobe Premiere Pro Timeline

Reviews we collected for potential use in our promo video.

I think the final version achieves all the objectives. It has a light, humorous counterintuitive vibe, the pacing is appropriate, the shots and editing are glossy, and when I showed it to friends and family they smiled an got the desired message. I discuss it in much more depth in my Promo Video Evaluation. I discuss the whole process in my Promo Video Journals.