Steve Hill and Paul Richman are founders of the acclaimed video company ‘At Motion’. Their London based video production company specialises in private and corporate events across the UK and around the world. In this episode, James talks to Steve about how he took his skills from the TV and Film industry to create a stand out business that enables him to have the life he wants. Here you’ll find out about the work that goes on before, during and after an event any why video is seen as a crucial part of so many events.
In this episode you will discover:
- What good video means for you and your clients.
- The principles and beliefs that Steve and Paul founded their company on.
- The possibilities that video will have when you book AtMotion.
If you are interested in event videography please visit www.atmotion.co.uk
For Audio Transcript click here
STEVE: It’s changed my life. I feel blessed every day for the extra time I have for my family. It’s a really great business, and I recommend it to anyone.
ANNOUNCER: Toby and James are involved in amazing events all over the world. You’re listening to the Planner’s Planner Podcast. Where top event professionals share real-world experiences and cutting-edge ideas. Sponsored by metropolisproductions.co.uk.
TOBY: Hello and welcome to the Planner’s Planner Podcast, I’m Toby Goodman, and I’m here with James Eager… How are you today, James?
JAMES: It’s wonderful. It’s Sunday, and we’re here in the UK…
TOBY: We are indeed. Today James, you talked to Steve Hill from a company called Atmotion… Tell me about that…
JAMES: Atmotion – very cool videographer or video production company, as they call themselves. Who we’ve worked with a bunch of times. Steve’s one of these really cool guys I could spend hours talking to… I’m going to try and make it through forty minutes without talking techie. I’ll let you judge on the other end whether it happens or not.
TOBY: Right. So, I’m going to ask you one question then having heard you say that… To those who don’t know, what exactly is a DSLR?
JAMES: A DSLR is a Digital Single Lens Reflex camera – which is basically a piece of terminology for a very small camera.
TOBY: Excellent! Cool. So there’s a bit of a reference to what a DSLR is, and they are talking about the cameras. And as we know, Atmotion are a video production company. I really like Steve, obviously we both know well due to the fact that his company ware partly responsible for helping us reposition when I first joined Metropolis a few years back. So, here’s Steve Hill with the interview with James… See you at the other end James.
JAMES: See you later.
ANNOUNCER: The Planner’s Planner Podcast is sponsored by metropolisproductions.co.uk and metropolis-live.com.
JAMES: Well, I’m here with Steve Hill. Steve runs a company called: Atmotion Video Productions. They are a really awesome video production company, obviously. Steve, can you give us a little bit of insight into your back round please…
STEVE: Yeah, Atmotion is myself and Paul Richman… We both met – I think I was about eighteen, Paul was in his early twenties. We were both runners at a film and television company inside whole central London – which at the time, was kind of the center of the universe for film and TV… It’s still kind of is, but it’s not as big a stronghold as it was, you know, it’s kind of moved out to different areas. And yeah, our path crossed throughout our careers at different companies. In my early thirties, I think I just turned thirty – I decided I want to pick up cameras, and start learning a bit more about shooting and the production side of the business. Because before, we were working purely in post-production – so, the editing and the finishing of programs. And, he heard about what I was doing… And, he’s jewish… You know, being part of his community and he told me about these celebrations and weddings that were happening at very big places like Savoy and The Dorchester, week in and week out… And, we decided to team up and try and shake up the event video business in his community.
JAMES: So, what would you say is the major difference between TV – I guess, session, anchor – and the events world?
STEVE: Well, I guess the biggest thing in television and film and commercials is that the job’s scripted… They’re storyboarded so we know exactly what the final product is supposed to be. Sometimes invariably, problems come up and you have to kind of think on your feet and compromise and come up with solutions. In the events industry, what you see is kind of what you get… You have to make the most of it on the day to give yourself the best possible chance of making a great edit out of it. You don’t really get a second chance of having a wedding ceremony, or making a welcome speech, you know… You have to have your work plan, your work flow down.
JAMES: Okay, I want to just go back a little bit… The whole premise of this Podcast is event planning, and this is a pretty fundamental question… But, what does a videographer or a video production company bring to an event? And, why would a client even choose to have it in the first place?
STEVE: When everything’s said and done… The only thing that’s left is photographs and video. And obviously, videos become such a prevalent thing in social media… It’s become such a relevant thing in social media that I think peoples’ attitude and desire to have video has changed massively in the last five years. So I suppose, in terms of having someone to show the end of it – it’s a very big thing. From an event coordination point of view, it’s the most obvious way to sell yourself and promote yourself and promote what you do, and show how you do it. I think everyone involved in events can really benefit from fantastic video, because it’s a great way of showing what you can do and showcasing your skills really.
JAMES: I think, kind of what you’re driving towards there is it’s all about keeping the memories alive. Would you agree with that one?
STEVE: For the couple, yeah. Absolutely. I mean, I always wanted my films to be emotive, to be exhilarating, exciting… And, all that’s doing is just sort of transporting you back to those moments from the big day – because it is a cliché, but it goes in a blur… And, my wedding went in a blur. You know, sometimes you missed certain things or you don’t get to see, spend time with certain groups of friends because it’s all such a whirlwind. And really, a video is a great way of reliving those moments. And maybe, sometimes even being better than you remembered those moments… That’s certainly possible, I think.
JAMES: Yeah. We’d discovered you guys and worked really close to you when we did a re-band a few years ago… And, we’ve loved the style of your films. And they were very, very, very different to any wedding films at that particular moment in time that I’d ever seen before. Can you tell us just a little bit about your style and your inspiration? And, where all that stems from?
STEVE: I don’t know… My style… Apologies, if you can hear some screaming children in the back round. It’s bath time here in the Hill household… [laughing]
STEVE: I just wanted to make cool videos. I wanted to make the kind of videos that I would want to see. I’m the MTV generation… I grew up watching Most Wanted, and The Real World… That’s when MTV was this Pan-European thing. And yeah, I just… Music and Video, it seems to lend itself so well to the events industry. And, just telling stories with weddings really… I wanted it to be cinematic. You know, I love film… I love television. And, I spent a career learning how to finish and polish television and film productions. And really, I just came into the events industry wanting to replicate the disciplines that I’ve been taught really, and the formulas that I knew worked.
JAMES: I think you’re bang on, because from what I’ve seen, you guys are definitely at the forefront of what’s going on with kind of videography – particularly in the wedding industry. Before I met you guys, I’d always associated wedding videos with kind of nineties, soft focus and pan pipes… [laughing] Rather than, I guess a Hollywood kind of feel. Is that true?
STEVE: Yeah. I mean, that was a huge motivation. I mean, it’s not just us that’s done it… The DSLR, the revolution and the technology has been a massive catalyst to change. And, the imagery that you’re getting off cameras – which are very affordable – were suddenly reminiscent of what you’d expect to see in a feature film or a sort of high end commercial… Shallow depth of field and things that we find synonymous with filmmaking and storytelling. And, it just seem the right time to start a company like that and tell the kind of stories we wanted to tell… And, interpret weddings the way we wanted to interpret them. And it’s been a challenge, I can’t deny it. I mean, running against tradition is a very scaring thing to do. Because, people want a certain thing or they believe they want a certain thing… But, you have faith in your own convictions and the product that you’re trying sell. But, when lots of people were telling you that they’re wrong or they really want a certain thing… For you to maybe tell a client that you’re probably not the best option for them, is a very bold thing to do. So, it’s been a challenge… I feel like we’ve come through the other side, and maybe we have a reputation now – which means that our clients are now coming to us for our style of filmmaking. Which helps a lot. [laughing] It has helped a lot.
JAMES: Yeah. I mean, I would say with the events that we’re involved with – I’m talking band here rather than the production work that we do at Metropolis here… Not every event we see has a videographer on it. I large majority do… But, some of them still have just the photographers and people go: “Well, we don’t need the wedding video.” I mean, what would you say to an event planner – because, it’s largely planners who are listening to this – who’s trying to decide if they need a videographer or not?
STEVE: But I think, from an event planning point of view – it’s a no-brainer. Everybody has Facebook pages and Twitter accounts and hopefully, Instagram accounts – because, I think that’s the future of social media. And, that is the most obvious place… Or rather, obvious content to be posting on those accounts. I think, that’s what engages with the customer. I think that’s what inspires and captures their imagination. You know, event planning is a creative job, it’s a creative game. And, there is no better way to showcase that creativity… You know, lighting and production – of course, you can capture that with photo but I think really, video is just a step up… It’s just an improvement on that experience. You know, it’s a way to sort of get deeper and dive deeper… That’s my daughter again in the back round, if you can hear her. [laughing]
JAMES: That’s great. It’s that it happens, that’s what these Podcast are all about.
STEVE: But I think, this is the other great thing that really, I should state… That I got into this game because I wanted to spend more time with my family and work more at home. You know, as we spoke about just before we’re recording… You know, I am moving to a studio which is now just down the road to free up space in my house. But you know, I think that’s the other great thing is that – yes, our lives are kind of compacted into the weekend… But it enriches your life in so many other ways, because it gives you more options outside of that time, to be a family person. I think it’s such a special industry, it really is.
JAMES: Yeah, I would agree with you there. I certainly wouldn’t change it. I’ve watched you guys obviously, with the world of social media, we see your films popping up all the time and we know you guys well. And, we’ve watched you go from where you started in wedding films, I guess, and you’ve moved into the corporate market a lot – which I loved some of the films you’ve done there. What would you say is the main difference between, I guess, wedding videography and corporate videography?
STEVE: Everything needs to be slick. I mean, that’s the same in every line of video work… It needs to be slick and well-presented. In the corporate world, you’re not necessarily needing to be emotive… Exhilaration is something that I think you need to bring to it, you need to bring discipline… I hate it when people try and make something longer than it needs to be. A clip which is too long is never going to be viewed in its entirety by someone. So, it’s just about production value really… The corporate events we do tends to be a lot of festivals, and presentations. So even themselves, they need to be trimmed down. For example: A twenty-minute talk on media buying, or programmatic media needs to be trimmed down to something which is concise and watchable, and bite-sized chunks for a viewing audience. So, they’re different disciplines but you still need to have a very, very keen eye for production value.
JAMES: Is there a difference in the speed that you have to turn around those films?
STEVE: Yeah. I mean, I’ve done award ceremonies where we’ve cut live on the night… So that, we’ve had cameramen shooting the whole evening, and then at the end of the award ceremony they’ll show a film that we’ve actually edited there and then to close the event. So I mean, that’s high pressure. That’s very quick turnaround. I mean, it all depends on what the client wants really… Nothing is impossible when it comes to video.
JAMES: I’m guessing, that’s one these creative things that you can bring to an event planner. I mean, I would kind of associated videography for stuff that’s being kind of something that happens after the event… But there, you’re clearly showcasing that it’s something that can happen during the event. And, not every event planner will realize: “Wait a minute, to make this unique and different for our supplier… We could cut a film as we go.” So that’s, I guess –
JAMES: – a whole new concept that you guys can bring, can’t you?
STEVE: Yeah. I mean, for example: An awards event, or an awards dinner… We can push out interviews the minute they’re recorded. We can have that into a laptop, cut and topped and tailed with graphics and branding… And, pushed that unto Youtube within fifteen, twenty minutes of that interview being completed. So, that’s the perfect way to engage in an audience. When you’ve got an awards ceremony… Often, there is interest right there and then to see who those winners are, and to get reactions. I think, that’s the way that awards organizers should be looking to push their product… You want to get that out there, you want to capitalize on that interest right there and then.
JAMES: Yeah. I mean, everybody in this industry is trying to create new and creative angles, aren’t they, to push it forward and reinvent what they do. And I think, what you’re clearly demonstrating here is the creativity that you guys work to, isn’t it?
STEVE: Yeah. I think, working to pressure and pushing content out that quickly is something that you have to get used to doing. It’s very scary the first time you do it. But, once you’ve delivered and the client’s happy, and that is out there and you can just watch those reviews clock up… It’s a very rock ‘n’ roll thing, you know. It’s as close as I’m ever going to come to walking off stage, having played to a crowd of fifty thousand people. It’s a good buzz, you know. It doesn’t come up that often, but it’s starting to happen more regularly.
JAMES: Yeah, very cool indeed. Okay, I’ve got a couple more sort of logistical questions on the ground… The first one is, how – when you’re working with an event planner – how do you make their life easier? What do you guys do?
STEVE: I remember doing a very, very big wedding last summer… And, there was multiple locations, it was abroad, in high heat, you know… The conditions were difficult. With a schedule like you’ve never seen before… You know, acts from all over the world playing. And, at the end of the event the planner said that it was just such a breath of fresh air to work with someone that just got on with it… And I think, that’s really a key thing for a videographer – you get your schedule, you organize your team, and you just make sure you’re in the right place at the right time. You don’t need to put demands on anyone else, they’ve got enough pressure and enough things to coordinate. Our job is to capture absolutely everything in the best possible way. So that, when I see it in an edit suite, or one of my editors see it in an edit suite… We have this bigger pool of content to pull from, and make as rich a product as possible. That’s all we’re aiming for. So, I really don’t see how what we’re doing should impact anyone else on that event. Once we’ve got that schedule, we just stick to it. If things invariably sometimes, get delayed and stuff… You need to stay in contact with someone like Jamie Paskin, for example, on your most recent episode…
STEVE: You know, he’s brilliant at just keeping you up to speed and involved. You know, you see a lot of these guys week in and week out… It’s the same faces. And, you become friends. So, I like to think that the planners we work with are friends now and colleagues… And they come to us hopefully, because they know that we’re no-nonsense and we get the job done.
JAMES: If you can put your finger on it, what would you say an event planner’s major concern is? On the day, or leading up to it, or afterwards?
STEVE: I guess you need to know that, what, in terms of videography, or?
JAMES: Yeah, generally. I mean, we can talk journalistically. I mean, events are events… We all muck in together, or we can talk specifically on videography. With whatever…
STEVE: All the event planners that I worked with – I mean, we’re very lucky we worked on some big events… And, all the hard work is done ahead of time. You know, all the organization is key… You bring in suppliers that you know are up to the task, and can do the job. And, I think when you have that relationship and that trust in someone… You can kind of let it unfold around you. If you know the band’s getting on early and you know, get the audience participating and really get the party going… And, the caterers can have the main course out on time, and so on and so forth… That’s why you go back to those guys. And I think, that’s why a certain big part of what we can point to our success is that people want to work with us and enjoy bringing us in. And, that’s a big part. Relationships are so key in events, they really are.
JAMES: It’s kind of almost a relationship market to a certain extent, I think at times… [laughing]
STEVE: Yeah, definitely. I mean, if someone does not enjoy having you around… Then, do not expect to get recommended. And, if you are still getting recommended… That’s because, there isn’t another option around. You know, you must never rest on your laurels. I mean, certainly we don’t… We know how competitive videography is and there’s some really great companies out there. We want to work at the high-ends, but we’re happy to do sort of all variety of scale of jobs. So, you know, you have to be approachable and you have to be friendly and engaging, and nice to work with.
JAMES: Yeah, I think you hit the nail on the head. So part B of my question from about five minutes ago… How can an event planner make your like easier? So, someone who want to get into this business and wants to make their suppliers have a nice time like we just been talking about… What can they do?
STEVE: It’s always nice to be asked what things affect you or what helps you… It’s always nice to show up to an event and things to be prepared or decisions to have been made to accommodate you. You know, even if it’s simple old things like food, and things like that. I mean, I know that there are guys that don’t get looked after… And, I know that because sometimes by the contention, we’re very lucky… Again, we show up and there’s always food laid on for us and a room laid out for us… And, little things like that are nice. We always show up and there’s always a sound output for us, for our sound recorders… You know, I think it’s just knowing what people come and ask week in and week out. And, being one step ahead of that really.
JAMES: Yeah, very cool indeed. I’ve got a big note on this form, I think it might have been from Toby early in the day… Basically, which says: “Don’t get too techie.” “Because you have a habit of starting talking about lenses, and how to show films…”
JAMES: “And all that kind of stuff… And, this is about event planning.” I could get quite happy talking about how to make films with you for hours, and we have done before… But, what are some of the key video techniques that you use? The term that a planner maybe interested in for their clients…
STEVE: The temptation to delve into the depths of tech-talk is massive.
STEVE: I mean, really… Cinematic is a word coined to easily in this business…
STEVE: But you know, cinema for me is where you lose yourself in what you’re being presented. And, we take a keen interest in our composition – which is the way we frame our shots, the way our colors look, the way our sound is perceived… You know, I want that experience to be really rich. The timings we use…
JAMES: That’s cool.
STEVE: We don’t want anything to overstay its welcome… I think, these are all the kind of techie things which really are fundamentals.
JAMES: But I think, I guess what I was driving at… One of the main ones that I’ve seen you guys do a lot of over the years – which I just absolutely love – is the time-lapse work you do…
STEVE: Yeah. You are constantly moving between points in time. And, time-lapse is just a really beautiful way to transition in that period. It’s a beautiful way to showcase, just people eating… I mean, how else are you going to show people eating, but not bore someone or make someone feel awkward because they’re seeing themselves eat. You know, it’s the aspect of people sitting down together and just that passage of time. And, the way we shoot time-lapse – we do it as stills and then stream them together in sequences. It makes for a much more pleasing sequence on the eye.
JAMES: Yeah. I think the other thing, which is kind of worth mentioning… Is a techie thing in itself but actually makes a very real difference is – that you, and I believe this is actually one of the reasons we booked you guys as well – is that you use DSLR technology… Which makes you guys very low-key and very discreet on events. Can you tell me a little bit more about that?
STEVE: Yeah, I alluded to it earlier in our conversation… DSLRs and the quality of video they can deliver has really revolutionized video production. I mean, not just event videography but event production, video production for a start. You can use interchangeable lenses – which will give you all these various different looks… A shallow depth of field – which is kind of where something in the foreground can be in sharp focus, but everything else in the back round can be blurred… You know, these are all things we’re conditioned to seeing through years of watching film and TV, and now suddenly we’re seeing them applied to our wedding films.
JAMES: Yeah, but I think… I mean, just from an event planner’s point of view – a DSLR is probably a tenth of the size of those massive cameras that you sort of… [crosstalk]
STEVE: Of course. Yeah, that is the other side of the coin, is that it’s a lot less intrusive… You’re not really drawing attention to yourself so much so we can go in. I mean, often guests aren’t really aware of how videos change… So, they just think that we’re shooting stills. So, I can’t imagine what they must think when they see our final clips end up on Facebook and see themselves sort of throwing each other around and having a great time. Yeah, the discreet nature of them is brilliant… The kind of shots you can get with them as well, because they’re so small and portable, has changed. We can get small panning shots – you know, low angle panning shots and crane shots, and all kinds of very creative things with them.
JAMES: Absolutely. And so, you talked about having a crane so you can have all those amazing room shots going around and all that… Basically, it is integrating technology – which, a few years ago was just high-budget TV stuff wasn’t it – actually unto an event.
STEVE: Yeah, exactly. What better way to showcase a fine room, than with this beautifully shot cinematic style that we’re used to seeing on a commercial. But to see it applied to a small event, people we’re blown away by that.
JAMES: Yeah, I would agree. What would you say in a situation and you’ve got the enthusiastic amateur who has a DSLR and a copy of Imovie, and you’re presented that challenge of trying to sell yourself in that particular position? What would you say to a client who presents you with that?
STEVE: What, in terms of?
JAMES: What’s the difference between someone who can do it at home – I would class myself as possibly that “enthusiastic amateur…”
STEVE: Right, I see…
JAMES: Compared to you – which has had ten years plus in the industry?
STEVE: Well, I must stress out: I only picked up a camera, three or four years ago… So if I can do it, anyone can do it. But, I suppose you can argue our experience laying and editing… I think you go to a professional if you have a very high-end event and you want a product which is going to reflect that. I think, that’s very important. You know, we spend a lot of time working on those kind of events… And, we know what’s expected and we know how to work in the conditions and to get the best stuff. Everything’s scalable, if you’ve got a huge, big million-pound event you’re not going to get a booker at six hundred pounds… You need to find the right level of supplier for the kind of event that you’re doing. Experience is invaluable, I think, in that respect.
JAMES: Absolutely. I got to be honest, I never realized that you only picked up a camera three years ago… I thought you’ve been doing it for years to be honest with you. [laughing]
STEVE: No, no. My career before in film and TV was purely on finishing’s. So, clients that unbeknownst shooting stuff would come to the companies that I worked at and we would design work flows for completing those programs… So they’d edit in different areas, and then they’d leave with a final tape – which would go for broadcast. So, my skills really lay in editing. I still, to this day class myself as an editor more than a cameraman. As I’ve said, the technology has come down in price to the point now where anyone can pick up a camera and get involved in it. And as I say: if I’ve learned it, then anyone can. In Youtube, in Vimeo – there’s so much information there that anyone can sort of change their career if they’re dedicated enough to it.
JAMES: Wow. Yeah, I would agree with you that just the amount that you can learn from listening to Podcasts – perhaps, like this or generally – is just astronomic. We live in this information world… [crosstalk]
STEVE: Podcasts are amazing. I mean, there is a Podcast for literally every niche you can imagine.
STEVE: You know, somewhere there is a cross-stitching and knitting Podcast that someone tunes into week in and week out. Whatever you’re in to, there has never been a time better for someone with a really niche interest. You know, someone, somewhere else shares that with you.
JAMES: I think it’s actually just worth throwing in at this point… You are actually – which I found quite exciting – a Podcaster yourself, aren’t you?
STEVE: Yeah. I’ve had a Podcast over on AB Forums for about 4 years now… I think It’s running that long. We record once a month, we talk about video games… I don’t really have a massive amount of time to play video games anymore, but the guys I see and chat with are all the reviewers from their website… And, we get a few thousand listeners every month – which is nice. And, we’ve grown it from something which was only picking up [laughing] maybe a hundred listens and downloads to something which is, you know… If it’s late going out, people actually start complaining that we are and asking where it is… Which is nice, you know, it’s a nice problem to have I guess. [laughing] I sometimes find it really stressful and almost a bit of a distraction, when it comes around to record time… But, I’ll then do it and do the edit. And, I’ll enjoy doing it so much I think: “Why did I put it off so much?” Or, struggled to squeeze it in. And then, you know, invariably the same thing will happen the month after. But, they are great.
JAMES: I have to say, we’ve loved putting this Podcast together… We’re only in I’d say, five, six or seven, something like that at the moment. But, it’s just throwing up so much interesting stuff… It’s the most amazing medium possible, isn’t it?
STEVE: Yeah. I mean, you can literally build your own audience…
STEVE: Build it, and they will come.
JAMES: Brilliant. I want to ask you about something else which I only found out about when we were just chatting before we stated this call… It’s basically to do the challenges of events. And yeah, you know what I’m referring to… Can you talk just a little bit about that?
STEVE: Yes, well… I’m sitting here, slightly sore and bruised and battered. Unfortunately, a cameraman and I were on our way to a wedding about ten day ago, and we’re involved in a car accident… It wasn’t our fault, let’s address that… [laughing]
JAMES: Like most of the safe drivers… [laughing]
STEVE: Yeah, absolutely. We were on the A2 on the way into London for a job… And, slowing down into traffic and hit by a BMW from behind – I think they must be going about forty miles an hour and we were pretty much stationary. I mean, it was a shock. And, no one was badly hurt but I’m really feeling it now. We couldn’t continue with that job…
JAMES: This is very relevant, an event is kind of only a one-off thing… I mean, it’s got to happen. How did you deal with it?
STEVE: It can happen to any supplier…
STEVE: Anytime. You know, we all travel to our events… I dare say, it’s highly unlikely that it’s a short walk away from my house and even then any accident could happen. We work at a level where we have multiple cameramen on an event. That event was able to go ahead no problem – we called in some guys that we use and that job went just smoothly…
JAMES: Uh, huh. What you’re saying there… I mean, continue in a sec, but you’re saying you’ve got a network of guys that you control. Because, I’m guessing… Is it from your experience in TV?
STEVE: Yes and no. I mean, it’s really a pool of guys that we built up over the years from doing events. I only really want to work with the same guys all the time… The amount of events we do dictate that we have to have a large pool of guys to pull from… I mean, even when I direct promos for corporate clients and other products – you know, I only ever work with the same cameramen and DiPs, and soundmen, and colorists in town. And, that’s to just keep a level of consistency… And, it’s no different with our event works. So, our guys know exactly what’s expected of them and what’s required. It’s like I mentioned earlier in the Podcast, we shoot absolutely everything… With the view to having the biggest pool of content to pull from later on. If a client turns around to us and said: “Have you got any more of this or that?” We can say: yeah, absolutely. And, we just delve back into the archive to get it. So, in that instance… You know, the crash was awful. I still made it along to the job… I didn’t stick around, I just wanted to make sure that everything was going on just fine…
JAMES: Uh, huh.
STEVE: I mean, it’s not actually the first time it’s happened to me either. [laughing]
JAMES: Alright! [laughing] You heard it here first… [laughing]
STEVE: Well, yeah. On another event, I’d been away in Barcelona the week before shooting a promo for a racing driver… And, we had some lighting that we had to carry a long distance from the pits to the media center to interview this racing driver. And, I had to carry a lot of gear… And, I’m sure I strained my back a week before and about a week later I was down at The Four Seasons in Hampshire – really fantastic venue, I love shooting there. And, I’ve been with the bride maybe fifteen minutes – shooting her getting ready. And, I reached across my body to pick up a camera or something… And, just a burning sensation tore right through me and I couldn’t move. What had happened was, I tore some ligaments in my back… A good friend and colleague, Pascal of Reportage Photography – he helped me into a chair. He was shooting stills for the family that day…
STEVE: And yeah, we had to bring in one of my other cameramen who were shooting prep in the main party area to come and complete the job with the bride. And, I had to literally be wheel-chaired from the suite and driven home. But, I was out of action for about six weeks after that. And that’s purely just from working too hard, I guess.
JAMES: Uh, huh. But I mean, in both those circumstances you actually managed to complete the job for the client?
STEVE: Yeah! Absolutely. I mean, you can go and see the job on Vimeo and there’ll be nothing to suggest that we ever had any problems on that shoot. That’s just the way we construct our productions and crew up.
JAMES: It’s the same I think here in band world, we can just draw on such a large network. And I think, the thing from the client’s perspective – it just did show us the event is completely safeguarded If you come to an established source like us or with you guys.
STEVE: Yeah. We work in the same way. And, you know, I know my limitations… And, I’ve learned a lot from those first three years. Anyone, who’s had a business in the early days – you work yourself so hard and you never want to turn anything down. And you know, we are all vulnerable to these kind of things. And I think, I pose the question to some fellow videographers: “Do you have a contingency? Do you have a plan B?” Because, expect the unexpected.
JAMES: I mean, I think if you’re an event planner… And you’re, I guess talking to suppliers. I mean, that’s a very valuable question to ask and see how they respond to that, isn’t it?
STEVE: Yeah, definitely. You know, don’t be surprised [laughing] if the reaction is surprise. I don’t know whether anyone really pays that much serious thought to it until something happens… I can’t say I necessarily did, but we run our business in a way where we always have options.
STEVE: You know, it doesn’t hurt to explore those options with people. Certainly no.
JAMES: So I mean, we’ve been talking to our guest for nearly forty minutes… It’s always great talking to you, Steve. But, let’s wrap up with just a couple more questions… I mean, is there just anything now that you wish you knew when you started?
STEVE: It’s a great question… I think our product is organically changed through feedback and time spent with clients over that time… You know, wouldn’t it be nicer to know that stuff early on? Yeah, maybe. I think certainly in my game, you have to be receptive to what people want. And, there’s no shortcuts to that. But also, stay faithful and true to your own convictions. You know, if you really believe that there is a positive change to be made in your area of the industry, and you want to introduce that… You have to go for it and stick to your guns. You know, it’s very hard to be bold… It’s very hard to be going at it alone and reeling against tradition sometimes, but…
JAMES: Oh, if you read the books out there… There’s so much written about change, and how things about going against the old guard… That kind of thing. I think, I watched a film called: Moneyball the other day incidentally – the Brad Pitt one.
STEVE: Yeah, it’s got a great soundtrack.
JAMES: Indeed. So much written about that when you’re trying to progress businesses and move them… Move them forward to the next level.
STEVE: I think, events are so susceptible to trends… And in the past, that’s maybe not been a great thing. I think, where events are now at the moment – it’s in a very good place. I think there’s great emphasis on good production, and great food, and entertainment… It’s a really exciting time for events. And you know, it’s always we’re also culturally on the polls and keeping a keen eye on what’s relevant in the world. Our work and our creativity will continue to evolve and engage the clients.
JAMES: Do you get a bit of a buzz out of the event world? Where, I guess because it’s so on the edge, isn’t it?
STEVE: Oh my God, I love it… I mean, wedding – I am party to peoples’ happiest days of their lives week in week out, you know. You’re being invited and have a front row seat to these guy’s most intimate family moments, you know. Moments that will stay with them forever. And also, the responsibility is yours to deliver a product where they can relive those moments. So it’s a great industry, I love being part of it. No event is always the same… Yeah, also there are very reassuring familiarities every time!
JAMES: [laughing] Cool. Alright, I’m just wondering… What’s next for you guys at Atmotion? What’s going to happen?
STEVE: We really found a big swing towards corporate work… We have some big corporate clients that put events on all over the world that we provide video services to now. So, travel has gone crazy, insane – which is really exciting and really fun. You know, I’m seeing the world with the business, which is great. We’re growing with staff… I only want to work with good, talented and young editors and try to help them improve and improve our work. So, we’re growing… The level of work is growing…
JAMES: Atmotion Training Academy for young videographers? [laughing]
STEVE: I don’t know… I mean, I’ve done training with people before… It’s kind of a common thing for videographers to sort of reach a certain stage and then try and do classes. People requested it… I think really, what we offer… What I could offer to someone would be, some insight into our editorial work. We have a lot of fun in the edit suite, and I think it’s shown in our work. We love to edit, it’s really where our flair can be shown…
JAMES: Uh, huh.
STEVE: I think, it’s a fantastic art. Even if you’re just a hobbyist, cutting stuff with family stuff… You know, editing – it’s magical.
JAMES: Yeah. Great. And I mean, talking about the travel… I believe you said to me the other day, you’re off to New York on Friday, Thursday, sometime…
STEVE: Yeah, we’re off to New York for a wedding on Thursday… I’m going to try and squeeze in a couple of days to shop… Either side of that – which is my other love in life. And then, we’re back for a couple of weeks. Then, off to Singapore for a big media festival which we’re covering. So yeah, we’re busy. I wish I had more time. I’m trying to sort out this studio and build a new workstation.
JAMES: Yeah. But, it sounds like it’s a really dynamic, exciting world that the kind of events industry has given you now…
STEVE: It’s changed my life, you know… I feel blessed every day for the extra time that I have for my family… The diversity of the work, and the people that I meet. It’s a really great business, and I recommend it to anyone.
JAMES: Cool. Well look, let’s leave it there. What a great way to end. Steve, it’s been great catching up with you… Let’s do it again soon.
STEVE: Brilliant. Thanks for having me, I really appreciate the opportunity.
JAMES: Absolute pleasure.
ANNOUNCER: You’re listening to plannerspod.com.
JAMES: So Toby, we’re made it through to the end… I think there was very little tech talk in there. What did you make of it?
TOBY: There was a tiny bit of tech talk, but I think the main thing was making sure everyone knows what a DSLR was. Yeah, great interview, James. I really enjoyed that one… A lot of info about Steve and his position in life… A lot of empathy listening to him trying to deal with talking to you and the kids having a bath time. I totally understand where he’s coming from and why he’s created the business he has. Because I think, their journey as a company kind of really echoes a lot of what we’ve done. So first of all, that. What else? I think his target market he identified when he left the TV industry in Central London and started up the company – he did a great job of identifying and really focusing on one thing… And now, it seems that they’ve grown. So, that’s an incredible lesson to learn I suppose for someone who’s looking to get into the events industry – is to just focus on one area first, and then obviously, expand from there. What amazed me was the stuff about on the job editing, if you like… You know, being able to turn around a film during an event – because they’ve got enough people and the appropriate technology to make that work. I think that is amazing, it’s obviously something that happens in corporate events a lot. But I suppose, it will happen more and more in private events as that technology becomes easier to use or cheaper to use, I don’t know. But, that to me is really impressive.
JAMES: Yeah, I completely agree with you. They are obviously, kind of [unintelligible] cutting-edge with what they’re doing and how they’re trying to progress the company. One thing that I really empathize with, was actually: I love their films – the cinematic nature of them. I always had trouble saying that word. But also, there’s obviously and old guard in their business – which really one of the old-school style of films. And, they’ve had to push hard through to kind of get the new stars through – which I think, is something that we really resonate with. We’re trying to put a new approach to a lot of the marketplaces that we’re working in, aren’t we?
TOBY: Yeah. Well, things can be better… Things can be different. Things move on. And yes, exactly! That has happened to us. We’re always looking to improve the experience and give people a choice. He’s done that, they’ve done that together at Atmotion – that is hard to say. And again, these things keep coming up… The same message about trust, working with suppliers, the people you use, how versatile they are… It all comes down to that one thing – if they listen hard to their customers’ requirements. Sometimes, they’re brave enough to say: “Look, it this is what you want, then we’re not for you.” And that, again is a really big lesson. And, it’s nice to hear someone say that as well – because I know, we’ve been in that position a lot too. I think it’s great. I think, the other thing about Steve is just, he’s very ethical, honest character… And, that really works for me on an emotional level, I suppose. I know he’s in it for the right reasons… And I know that, the primary reason for that is he’s really passionate about what he does… He’s got a fresh angle on the industry he went into. And, he cares deeply about being with his family. And to me, those things… They’re just exactly what makes someone a good guy… You know, when you hear someone say stuff like that. And, the way he talks about the events, you know. Business, they’re in the business of capturing the most important moments of other peoples’ lives. And, he genuinely feels like that’s like a humbling experience. And, he really appreciates where he is. That’s why you get the kind of quality of work from Atmotion… Because, he really cares, he really cares about it. And, that stands out. If you go to their website, you’ll see that. And, we’ll put the link on the end. Yeah, that’s great.
JAMES: I can really concur with you there… I mean, he’s a really sort of Philanthropic kind of chap.
JAMES: I remember him saying on emails to me a few years ago, “Look, if you’ve got any questions… Just ask me.” And, it happens every few months – I would just send him some kind of question and it comes back. So, I’m guessing, if you want to know anything about the events industry, or videography… In the events industry, he’s a great character to catch…
JAMES: I’ve got his website in front of us… It is: atmotion.co.uk. I’m sure if you send him an email through the site, he’ll get back to you and answer any kind of questions you have there. So, let’s wrap up there Toby… Where can people find the Planner’s Podcast?
TOBY: The same place they always can, James… Plannerspod.com. They can always find it on Itunes app. If you search for Planner’s Planner, remember to put the apostrophe on Planner’s… You’ll see that there, leave us a review. Yeah, check out Atmotion – amazing characters and really worth checking out. It’s just the quality of what they do… I know that you guys talked about the cinematic stuff. It really is cinematic… You look at what they can do, it’s amazing. So yeah, great interview again, James. Thanks very much and we’ll see you next time.
JAMES: And, I just thought… I’m going to find one of their films and embed it in our website as well, so you can even watch it there. So, okay. Cool!
TOBY: Alright, cheers mate! See you later.
JAMES: See you later. Buh-bye.
ANNOUNCER: You’re listening to the Planner’s Planner Podcast. With Toby Goodman and James Eager. Visit plannerspod.com.
00:40 – Intro – Who are At Motion?
01:11 – What’s a DSLR (If you don’t know, you’ll need to know this for the interview to make sense).
02:10 – At Motion’s background. Find out where Steve met Paul before they set the company up.
03:08 – Where Steve and Paul identified their target market.
03:42 – The differences between working in the ‘TV world’ and in the live events industry.
04:20 – Why workflow is critical.
04:50 – Why would people want to book a videographer and why people will benefit from hiring video.
05:50 – How Steve likes to present video.
06:30 – Find out about why style is so important to Steve.
07:30 – Steve talks about how he moved his tv and film vision into events.
08:30 – Why a DSLR has revolutionized the industry.
09:00 – The challenges of convincing people that going for something new and unknown is ok!
10:15 – Find out why having video is a “no-brainer”.
11:20 – Discover why Steve became self-employed.
12:25 – Steve explains some of the differences between wedding and corporate events and why short is good.
13:40 – Find out how fast At Motion can ‘turn around’ a film.
14:20 – How video can be delivered not just after but also during an event!
15:50 – Where Steve get’s his ‘Rock ‘n Roll’ feeling from!
16:40 – Find out the key thing At Motion do to make clients lives easier.
17:30 – Find out what Steve is aiming for in the edit suite.
18:00 – Where work becomes social and fun.
18:28 – Planners, Clients main concerns regarding videography. Find out when all the hard work is done.
19:30 – Relationships and people!
20:50 – What At Motion love at an event.
22:00 – The techie part… James gets geeky and asks about specific techniques!
22:30 – Why cinema is such an inspiration to At Motion.
23:15 – Find out why time-lapse is a great way of showing things that might be perceived as boring!
24:22 – Find out more about DSLR!
22:50 – Discover what. a shallow depth of field is.
25:20 – Why a DSLR won’t get in the way.
27:00 – Why you should employ a professional.
28:30 – Where Steve’s core skill lies and why anywhere can change their career.
29:20 – Find out why Steve thinks podcasts are amazing!
29:50 – Steve tells us about his podcast.
31:30 – Find out how At Motion approach things when the worst happens.
33:20 – Who Steve likes working with, within the industry.
34:00 – Steve reiterates why content is so important.
35:00 – Strains, planes and automobile.
35:30 – Steve mentions a top photographer Pascal from ‘Repotage By’.
36:00 – What contingency plans mean for planners and clients.
38:10 – Steve’s key learning since founding the company with Paul. Why there are no shortcuts. Why being bold is important.
39:00 Find out more about why Steve loves his job!
41:00: What’s next for At Motion and how the business has changed in the 3 years it’s been established. Including what’s magical!
43:40: Closing comments with Toby and James.