Hospital Films at Circle Bath

Knee, Shoulder and Hip Surgery

Over the past year Halo Films has continued to work in the medical sector, filming a series of films for surgeons at the Circle Group of hospitals.

We have just completed series of films for two of the specialist orthopaedic centres of excellence; the Hip Unit and Shoulder Unit and previously created a series of films for orthopaedic knee surgeon, Neil Bradbury.

The purpose of the films is to equip prospective patients with information about their condition and let them know exactly what will happen to them. Circle’s research has shown that the more people know about what is wrong with them and what to expect in terms of pain and recovery, the quicker and better they recover. Our films are part of that education process. They are around 18 minutes long and take people through the operation step by step. Surprisingly, given that the films show the detail of orthopaedic surgery they are not gory, in-fact they are quite mesmerising.

Screen Shot 2017-06-08 at 14.52.56Cameras in Theatre

Filming in a hospital is a specialist job and for us at Halo a privilege. Although we have to get the footage for the film the most important people there are the patients. We are being given access to them at vulnerable moments in their lives and are always conscious of that. Taking kit into an operating theatre takes careful planning. It has to be safe from falling, wiped down with antiseptic wipes and then we are restricted to where we can move. As you can imagine, hygiene is paramount in theatre. The surgeons and operating staff work in a strictly sterile area and the instruments are on sterile tables around them. We must not go near them or touch any part of their equipment. With that in mind we tend to use more than one camera, meaning we can cover the process form different angles without moving too much. We even have an HD camera attached to the theatre light above the surgeon’s head.

For me though, the special part of filming at Circle Bath is seeing the healing that is done. Patients may have been in pain for years and it is just impressive to see how they can be helped. Being witness to the their surgery is not something we take lightly, something which I hope comes across in our films.

Neil Knee
Watch the Films

You can watch all our medical films here: Medical Sector Films


Team Building With Video

How Building a Video Presentation Can Bring Your Team Together

Working as part of a team is one of the key elements to succeeding in the world of business, so it’s no wonder that business owners and managers spend so much time on corporate team building and events for their staff.

Did you know that a video presentation could be a great way to bring a team together if they’re struggling to see eye to eye or need to overcome anxiety about working with others? Continue reading to learn more.

Tell an Inspirational Story

A video presentation could be the best way to tell an inspirational story that will really tap into the minds and hearts of those who are on a team. After all, humans are wired to understand and recall stories better than lists of facts, and you can utilise videos to present problems and solutions, as well as inspire and motivate others.

When creating a video for your team, you should use a creative story, whether true or not, that will really make them feel the value of one another’s input and talents. Encouraging team building and support in this way will ensure that everyone is motivated to work together to help one another succeed, rather than bring each other down.

Use Humour

Using videos is a great way to illustrate all of the points that you want to make, including those points that prove how valuable working as part of a team really is. But beyond simply illustrating dry facts, you can go a step further and make your video presentation even more engaging and entertaining by infusing it with humour.

Start by showing funny movie clips that are relevant to your overall presentation, or create a video specifically for training your staff on how to work as part of team, but use jokes throughout so that they’ll really retain the information more easily and use it in the future.

Have Your Team Create the Video

In addition to showing your team videos about the importance of being a part of a team, you can even have them work on a project together that will have them building a video presentation of their own. Allow them to have complete creative freedom so they can use whatever location and level of humour they wish to use.

By working together on their own video presentation, these individuals will learn how to come together to get a specific project done. These valuable lessons will translate to skills that they can then use every day in the workplace.

The best part of having your staff work as a team on a project is the fact that they’ll be able to view the final product in the end. In other words, they’ll see the fruits of their labour, and they’ll realise that they did a much better job together than they could’ve done on their own.

In addition to taking advantage of team building events at locations other than your office, you should also create engaging presentations using video technology. It’s easier than you think and the results will exceed your expectations.

Where to Shoot?

Finding the Right Venue to Shoot Your Business Advertising Video

Video is one of the fastest growing forms of content marketing. Millions of people watch YouTube videos every week and for businesses of all shapes and sizes, video advertising is an excellent way to generate extra buzz online. Larger businesses will almost certainly hire a production company to shoot their advertising videos, but for the smaller business with a tighter budget, self-production is the way forward.

There are many things to think about when shooting advertising videos: finding the right equipment, choosing a theme, writing a script and the post-shoot editing are all important considerations, but one thing you really need to think about before you start shooting is location.

The Right Location is Crucial

Location is the key to a successful video, but the picking the right location will depend on what direction your video is going to take. Say, for example, that you intend on filming a short interview with a key member of staff, who will be talking about a new product. You could shoot your video in an office with some marketing screens as a backdrop and it would probably work just fine. However, if you have plans for something a bit more sophisticated, it will pay dividends if you spend a bit of time scouting out the perfect location.

What’s Your Theme?

Before you embark on a venue search London, look closely at your script. Videos tell a story, so what story are you looking to tell your chosen audience? Nail this and it will give you a location scouting starting point.

Permission to Shoot

Commercial premises will normally be OK if you book the venue for a business video shoot, but if you choose another location such as a privately owned building, you may need to request permission before you are able to start shooting your video.

Lighting Conditions

To shoot a good video, you need lots of light. Artificial light can be created using lamps, but natural light is always best, so once you have drawn up a shortlist of suitable venues, look at the available light and consider whether there is anything you can work with. Don’t forget that existing lights can be improved upon with the addition of extra bulbs, curtains can be opened up and, depending on the time of day you shoot your video, sunlight (or lack thereof) will be a factor.

Power Outlets

Shooting a video requires extra support services such as power. If you only have a small, portable camcorder this shouldn’t be a problem, but if you plan on taking along a laptop and extra lighting equipment, you will need power outlets. Check whether there are suitable outlets where they are needed, and if you are planning an outdoor location shoot, find out whether power can be supplied.

When scouting for locations for a business video, make lots of notes of the pros and cons of each one. The location might not be right for this particular shoot, but it could be useful for a different shoot in the future.

Is Online Video The Future of Content Marketing?

Online video is growing in popularity every day. Reading a web page takes time and time is something most of us don’t have. Online video content delivers the same information, but in a more satisfying way. Online video is often a combination of entertainment and factual content, so it is not surprising that people choose to browse popular websites such as YouTube when they want information.

Most experts agree that video is the future of online content marketing. Many companies are slowly waking up to the power of video content, but small businesses tend to be the ones who have yet to take advantage of the power of video marketing. Unfortunately, ignoring video is not a good idea.

A Global Audience

More than a billion people visit YouTube in any given month. That makes YouTube almost as popular as Facebook, so posting a video on YouTube gives you access to a vast global audience. Obviously you can’t guarantee everyone will watch your video content, but if you produce something worth seeing, you are guaranteed a piece of the action.

Viral videos are a powerful thing. Once a video hits the right spot, it is possible to achieve millions of hits in a short space of time. People love to share online videos with their friends. If they watch a piece of video that is funny, interesting, or just plain weird, they immediately click on the share link and post it to social networking websites or their email contacts. Uploading video to a website means visitors will spend longer browsing and viewing content, which in turns helps them to engage with your brand better.

Video Content for Small Businesses

It is hard enough for a small business to build a good website, let alone create great online video content. There is a lot to think about when building websites: content, SEO, and finding the best unlimited web hosting being three of the things on the tick list. But before you dismiss the idea of producing online video content for marketing purposes, remember that production costs are no longer huge and there are lots of great apps out there for businesses with tiny budgets.

Target Audience

You need to know who your audience is before you start creating video content. Any video you produce must be relevant or it will fall flat. Think about what your customers want to see and produce content to suit. For example, if you sell plumbing materials, have a go at creating simple “How To” videos. This type of content is incredibly useful and if you create a piece of video that is short, succinct, and helpful, it will be watched, shared and bookmarked.

Promoting Video Content

Video content should be shared across multiple channels for the best reach. Social media is extremely important, so make it really easy for viewers to share your content. Video should also be optimised for mobile devices, as mobile now has a huge market share of the online audience.

Always try and be creative when producing online video content. The more creative you are, the more successful your video content will be.

Getting the Medical Video Message Right

One of our latest medical videos is a 17 minute, in depth look at a total knee replacement operation, in all its surgical detail. The film was commissioned by consultant orthopaedic surgeon and knee specialist, Neil Bradbury and aims to give his patients a clear understanding of what happens when he operates on them.

Research has shown that the more patients understand about what is going to happen to them, the quicker they recover and the better the outcomes. Amazingly, in America a video showing a knee replacement has had over a million views on YouTube! Neil wanted his patients to be able to see the whole operation as well as hearing him tell them what he is doing, why he is doing it and also how knee surgery has evolved over the years. He is one of the most sought after and respected knee specialists in the UK.

To get the final film to do all that Neil needed took a fair amount of planning. We had actually filmed with Neil before; he was one of the contributors in a documentary about the patients’ experience of the main hospital he works in, Circle Bath. We filmed an interview and a knee replacement operation but when we looked back at the rushes, the operating theatre material was quite generic. It looked great but focused more on the general feeling of being in an operating theatre rather than on the specifics of the operation itself.

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For the total knee replacement video we needed another approach, the only way to get all the visual information we needed was to cover the complete operation in a close up…. Not for the squeamish! We had already filmed a sit down interview with Neil where he talked us through the operation as well as the background to how people’s knees get to be so worn out that they need replacing. In the operating theatre itself we had three cameras; a mini Go Pro camera attached to the operating light above the table and two moving cameras. We then filmed two complete total knee replacement procedures. The first time the main camera filmed Neil talking us through the operation as he went, while the second camera was hunting for those all important close ups. On the second operation the main camera got more of the close ups while the second camera got some wonderful wide shots and images of the rest of the operating team.

Once in the editing suit it was obvious that this film was going to be something special. I spent 10 years in the Science Department of the BBC, working on medical programmes for much of that time and I had never had such detailed footage of an orthopaedic procedure. Neil’s ‘in’theatre’ commentary was informative and engaging, while the close up detail of something very few of us ever get to see was completely mesmerising.

The finished film is faster than real time but shows people exactly what happens when your knee is replaced. As medical videos go I feel it has moved us on. The descriptive close ups enable the viewer to truly understand what is going on and although at first it might be hard to watch, after a while it becomes fascinating. In some ways it begins to show just how remarkable the human body is but mainly it shows how special the surgeons and teams are that can fix us when we go wrong. You can watch the complete film here: Total Knee Replacement Surgury

Thanks for reading



University Lecturer for a Day

Its not often you get the chance to talk about the theory behind what you do but that is exactly the opportunity I had during a lecture to Bristol University MA Television students recently. Knowing something about video production in Bristol, I have, over the years been asked to talk to groups of potential newcomers to the television and video production industry. This group were on a production module, learning about the mechanics of making video films; sorting out the story, finding contributors, looking for locations, preparing shooting scripts, filming and editing – all the things that go to make a film.

The students were in the middle of the Production and Business of Televison unit in their MA and I was asked to talk about the intricacies of working with clients. When producers and directors think about television they might not always think they have a client but in my opinion, they do. In fact, I feel that unless we are making a film purely for our own purposes then we will always have a client and this is a good thing.

The main point of thinking about having a ‘client;’ is that it makes you think about two important aspects of making a film: who your audience is and what is your message? In television that means thinking about what channel you are on and what time your programme might go out. BBC1 is not the same channel as BBC4 and Sky1 has a different audience to Dave. Time also matters because of the watershed. A programme going out at 8:00pm will have a different set of editorial concerns and constraints compared with one going out at 10:00. A few years ago I was one of the producers on an 8 hour landmark documentary series about the human body (The Human Body with Professor Robert Winston), the amount of blood, gore and nudity we had in what was a science series about the biology of the human body was influenced heavily by the watershed.

The message of a film could be the advertising message for a promotional film, the things people need to learn in a training film or the almost existential question for TV; What is your film about? It’s amazing how many times people will set of to make a film and not really know what their film is about and what they are trying to achieve. Just getting pretty pictures in my opinion is not always enough.

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The 30 or so people in the room seemed to take this on board but for me it is not just an intellectual concept. The reason for asking these questions is that it gives you the ability to do your job and most importantly make decisions. Many times in a production ideas will be put forward that are great in themselves but they don’t fit with the brief. Knowing who you are targeting and what you are trying to say means you can make decisions about what not to do. This is vital because it means you can be efficient in terms of time and money and as well as making sure that it does what your client needs it to.

So did I enjoy being a lecturer for a day? Absolutely yes. As the years go by we don’t realise how much we all know about what we do and getting the chance to pass some of it on is just a great thing to do.


Halo Part of a World Event

Halo Makes a Film for World Book Day

Thursday 5th March 2015 – World Book Day   And we have a film that is part of it…..

At the end of last year The Welsh Book Council asked us to make a small film as part of their contribution to World Book Day. They exist to support the publishing industry in Wales and are passionate about books, reading and the power of reading when young. They wanted a film to show how books and reading can make emotional connection. How you can lose yourself in a book, how books can move you to laughter or tears and then how that same book, when read out load, can connect with others.

Our film follows a man absorbed in his book. He leaves home early in the morning, reads continuously as he walks across the Brecon Beacons, blindly traverses a moorland style, ignores his friends, misses a train and then doesn’t even notice when his lunch goes cold. By the end of the day he has finished his book and arrives at his destination; a Welsh language book club at the Wales Millenium Centre. It is here the film turns and he reads out loud the book that has so moved him to 15 or so under tens. Within seconds the children are engrossed and through reading he has emotionally engaged with them.

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The film was shot on location in rural Wales and Cardiff city centre. Shot beautifully on the Canon 5D the Halo team took a simple idea and turned it in to a powerful and moving film. Angharad Tomos, on behalf of the Welsh Books Council, said: ‘This is the first time for us to create a film to celebrate World Book Day. It’s a short film, just two and a half minutes in length and celebrates the power and pleasure of reading.

You can watch the film here: Where Does Reading Take You?

Thought Leadership

I happened to be coaching at a media training event for Birkbeck College a few weeks ago and it suddenly dawned on me how interconnected all forms of modern communication are. And therefore how powerful video communication can be in creating a personal brand.

I was there as part of a multi company team with one of Halo’s sister firms, Golden Idol Films. Golden Idol specialise in creating all sorts of media content about and for people in the heritage sector. We were teaching PHD students studying various elements of Middle Eastern Medieval History how to communicate their particular areas of science to the outside world and by definition, a wider audience than they are used to. Getting a PHD and becoming a Dr of something is not an easy task. These people came from all over Europe and were studying what, lets be honest, most of us would consider to be pretty esoteric stuff. But, as part of their course they had to learn how to communicate their work to an audience beyond their peers.

My thoughts on any form of video, radio or writing is to know who your audience is and make what you are saying talk to them. You do that by making it relevant to them. So… the challenge for my students was to find out what it was in their area of interest that would make me and my 76 year old mother (not an academic by the way…) sit up and take notice. I think it’s simple, just tell me a story about what you want to get across, which in this case was what they were studying.

For example, one of the students was studying the political systems of the Middle East in 1400-1500. Supposedly it was a very important time that had a massive impact on all political systems that have come and gone since. They described in the driest terms; ‘I study the changing political systems of……”  It didn’t grab me. So, with a little tweaking we got them to say: “Did you know that there was a small town in Iraq that once developed a political system that changed the way every other political system has worked ever since. And did you know that it did so in the period of 1457-1476 in a town of just 2600 people.’

I was now grabbed. The student was telling me a story that affected me and that I was interested in, job done. But when we recorded it on video something else happened. Displayed on their new web site they sounded like and had became experts in their field. We had helped them tell their story and then the power of video took over. By telling their story they became the expert in it. As is the nature of PHDs the students probably know more about that particular topic than any other person alive. They are leaders in ideas and thought, they are the thought leaders.

For me, this is the key. If someone has something to say our process of helping them say it helps them refine their argument. We can help people communicate with a wider audience and in the process put them out there as the leader in that topic. In business films this can be a very powerful process. Halo Films specialises in interview based films. We ask people questions and help them give answers in an honest but more importantly, informative and engaging way. Done well, our interview films are thought leadership pieces that can be part of building a powerful corporate and personal brand.


Best wishes and thanks for reading.