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    This article was originally published in part in Amatuer Photographer back in 2007 and features the exploits of our producer Luke's dad David Cairns - a war photographer covering the troubles in Northern Ireland in the 1980's

    Just after noon on Saturday 19 March, David Cairns was driving to the funerals of those killed at the Milltown Cemetery. Checking his rear-view mirror, he noticed smoke billowing into the sky. At the same time the car radio announced a major incident in the area. 

    David looks a little on edge and hesitates. 'The radio reports didn't say what had happened, so I went to investigate,' he recalls. He found a burning vehicle in a side road, and then heard that two people had been dragged from the car and taken away. With nothing to photograph, David decided to turn around and return to the funerals. It was at this point that he drove into the car park of the Andersontown Social Club. 'I sensed that something was happening because I was suddenly faced with this huge crowd of people,' he says. 'I stretched across the seat to grab my long lens, and by the time I looked up the crowd had vanished. Maybe they thought I was army or Special Branch. All that was left was a black taxi with its doors wide open, two bodies on the ground and a priest. I leapt out of the car and started shooting on my Leica with a wideangle lens. It was scary. One guy looked dead and the other was on his last breath.' 

     At that time David didn't realise the two people were British soldiers Corporal Derek Wood, 24, and Corporal Robert Howes, 23. The pair had mistakenly driven into the funeral-procession route. The two off-duty soldiers in plain clothes were dragged from their car by a lynch mob, thrown over a wall, stripped and searched before being beaten and executed by the IRA. 

    Corporal Wood was shot six times, twice in the head and four times in the chest. He was also stabbed four times in the back of the neck and had multiple other injuries. 

    Though visibly upset, David keeps telling the story. 'After the initial shock of seeing this, my head cleared and I started to think pictures,' he explains. 'I walked back to the road, turned and with a long lens took the picture of Father Alex Reid, the Catholic priest, with the soldier's body. I wanted to isolate them from the background.' 

    By now, David is choked with emotion and fighting back tears. 'I went back in again,' he says, then stops for a moment to take control of his emotions. 'The priest was giving the last rites and looked as stunned as I was. It was a terrible way to die.' David stops to regain his composure and continues. 'The army were circling above in a helicopter with cameras and could see everything that was going on.' 

    The events of that Saturday afternoon in Belfast 18 years ago still affect David. He stops for a moment to take a breath, but apologises as he feels embarrassed. 'There 
    was nothing any man could have done to help them; they were past help,' he explains. 'The priest was doing his job and I was doing mine. It was a horrific scene to come face 
    to face with. I hoped that with time, it would be pushed to the back of my mind. But it returns to haunt me, and then I think about it all over again. 

    'It is hard to explain or for people to understand, but when something like this happens your training as news photographer takes over,' he explains. 'I was in work mode: there were two dead bodies, a priest giving the last rites, a helicopter above and the IRA everywhere. I hadn't a clue what was going to happen next.' He then adds, 'These events have played on my mind. You don't witness something like this and then walk away unaffected.' 
    As soon as the army arrived, David returned to cover the funeral. 'All the other photographers had their films confiscated by the IRA,' he says. 'I didn't want to lose mine, so I got the hell out of there.' 

    David walked through the cemetery and came face to face with Father Reid. David continues, 'As he passed, he recognised me and just said, “God bless you, my son.” He was a good man. A very good man.' 

    David went straight to the airport and returned to London on the first available flight. The picture of the Catholic priest kneeing over the body of the soldier was published around the world, and that year David won Photographer of the Year and News Photographer of the Year. The picture was also named by Life magazine as one of the best pictures of the past 50 years. He sits back and relaxes for a moment or two before reflecting: 'Not many photographers in their lifetime will come across two situations that dramatic within days.' 
    On the eve of the peace talks six years later, The Sunday Times called David's picture 'an image of compassion' and reported: 'What the world did not realise at the time was that this anguished Irish priest – a symbol of the nationalist community ministering in death to a symbol of the British authorities – was already deeply involved in a process that was offering the best chance for lasting peace in Ireland's 300 years of war.' 

    It has been said that David's picture contributed towards that peace process. If that is true, then his bloody work as a press photographer has brought the personal rewards that he has craved for. At last his photography has made that difference

    Bob Aylott

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    Advertising on TV is one of the most powerful and effective ways of getting your product in front of people. However, as with any marketing method, getting results relies on getting things right. In essence, making sure that your process incorporates the following three steps will put you well on the way to success with your advert.

    A Clear Objective

    You should know exactly what you want to achieve with your advert, and working this out should be among the very first steps. This plays an important role in guiding the entire creative process, from initial concepts through scripting, filming, and final editing. There are different things that can be achieved with a TV advert, and it should be designed from the ground up to fit the objective that your business has. For example, do you want a powerful sales message designed to make people pick up the phone and call you right away (known as Direct Response TV advertising or DRTV), or do you want a much subtler and more general advert that will simply raise brand awareness. Do you want something in between, like a sales message to push particular products or services? These are all valid goals, but they all require very different kinds of advert and confusion can compromise the overall power of the finished production.

    A Good TV Advert Production Company

    This is vital if you want the finished production to live up to its potential and drive solid results. The standards for TV advertising are high, particularly when it comes to production quality. If you want your advert to make an impact, be taken seriously by viewers, and ultimately succeed in driving new business for your company, then it will need to maintain the same kind of standard. As such, it is important to hire a reliable, professional TV production company with specialist experience in the broadcast advertising sector to ensure that your advert will be produced and edited in a polished and professional way that will fit in with the glitzy world of TV advertising. This will make sure that your advert stands out for all of the right reasons and none of the wrong ones. A good TV advert production company will also be able to advise you on getting the other steps right and generally driving success with your advertising campaign.

    The Right Scheduling

    In order for any advert to succeed, it has to reach the right people. TV advertising is no exception. In order to get a general broadcast in front of a specific audience, you have to think about the slots your advert is going to occupy. Different demographics tune in at different times, and to different channels and programmes. If you choose the wrong slot, then you will either pay more for a larger audience when the extra members will not be particularly relevant or simply reach the wrong audience entirely. If your advert's scheduling coincides with what and when your target market will be watching, on the other hand, then you are appealing directly to the most relevant people and this gives far better results.

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    There are different approaches to advertising on television. All have their place, and all are powerful if used appropriately and crafted with the expertise of a great TV advert production company. However, knowing which approach to use can seem difficult.

    Of course, there are different ways to divide up television advertising into categories. One of the simplest and most important things to bear in mind is the distinction between two types: direct response and brand response. These can both be highly effective in increasing sales and driving new business through your door. However, most companies will be much better-suited to one than the other, so understanding the differences is important in getting good results from your television marketing campaign.

    Direct Response TV Advertising

    Direct response TV or DRTV advertising derives its name from the fact that it urges the viewer to respond directly to the company. Usually, it will also encourage them to do so immediately or as soon as possible. Perhaps the purest form of DRTV is the kind of advert that displays a phone number on the screen clearly and prominently throughout its running time and urges the viewer to pick up the phone right away. However, direct response advertising can also be designed to send people to a website or, more rarely, into a specific physical store. The key point is that they are responding directly to the company in order to procure specific products and services.

    DRTV is extremely effective in the hands of certain companies, and particularly certain industries. It is generally used to sell services, such as legal or insurance services, most often but can also be highly effective as a way of selling physical products. In the latter case, it has traditionally been used to encourage customers to come directly to the manufacturer rather than going through retail channels. Increasingly over time, however, this approach has also been adopted by retailers. In order to be effective, DRTV must be built around a strong sales message and make sure contact information is as clear as possible, making the services of a good TV advert production company all the more essential.

    Brand Response Advertising

    Brand response TV advertising, on the other hand, does not encourage the customers to come directly to your company. Rather, it raises awareness of your brand and encourages the viewer of the advert to engage with that, usually via an intermediary such as a retailer that stocks your products.

    Brand response advertising may focus on specific products from your brand, or it may merely promote the brand itself and encourage potential customers to engage with your full product range. There will be no contact information in the advert, but it will outline why your products are superior and worth buying, and then urge people to take action. Probably the most common action that viewers are encouraged to take is to seek out a product for themselves the next time they are shopping, and put it in their basket so they can try it out and find out what makes it so good.

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    You know you're getting old when the most fundamental rule of cinema, the absolute sacrosanct rule, going back over 100 years is turned on it's head by millenials.

    I'm talking of course about vertical video, the aberration which started when video started appearing on phones in the mid noughties. For some reason Apple et al decided not to programme in a function to automatically flip an upright phones video camera to glorious 16:9 or 1:85:1 or even boring old 4:3 - oh no - we got skinny, weird vertical video instead. Vertical's stranglehold has been solidified by Meerkat, Periscope and Snapchat and it looks like if you can't beat em - join em!

    The fact is, with in the sort of environments where people are holding up their phone to watch video - vertical video advertising works A LOT better. In fact, according to the Mail Online, vertical video ads are watched in their entirety 90% more than correct aspect ratio ads!

    The big brands are now getting in on the action with major brands like Burger King, Daily Mail, L'Oreal and Ralph Lauren using vertical ads on Snapchat and Periscope. 

    Where does this leave the video content provider? Most film maker's I know (above the age of 30) think vertical is the film making equivalent of Donald Trump. But unlike Trump, vertical video could potentially be the first course for a cornicopia of new formats which will tear up the rule book - the most significant being VR - heard of that? :)

    Bottom line is that you can't stop progress - however you can mercilessly take the mick out of it as Glove and Boots do in this cracking video (shot horizontally!)

  5. Some photos of our trip to Woking and Newbury to shoot 3 new TV adverts for Crocodile - this time featuring arguably (a tie with Bob) the most famous builder in the land - Tommy Walsh!


    Gavin "onions" O'Malley - who somehow has been promoted to Production Manager - surveys the first location in sunny Woking


    Tommy pointing out what a silly beard director Evan Pugh has adopted


    Clients Andy and David "Ditz" Ditzel having a chin wag 


    Shooting outdoors in the UK is terrifying what ever the time of year - luckily the black clouds behind the Winter Garden in this shot didnt amount to anything!


    Evan looking a little knock kneed!


    Evan and Tommy chat whilst Andy and Ditz fiddle around with fake candles


    Phil the DoP operates the jib as the Boosh and Evan look on


    Onions decides to play dress up with one of Tommy's shirts - note that Gavin is a LOT smaller than Tommy!


    Evan having a gander on the monitor

  6. tommy

    A sneek scene from our latest TV Advert campaign starring Tommy Walsh

    Video is among the most effective and engaging ways to get the market a business. Despite the rise of new technologies such as online pay-per-click (PPC), TV advertising still remains a gold standard and one of the most effective forms of marketing there is.

    However, TV advertising, powerful and influential though this medium may be, is not exactly a free ticket to marketing success. It is just like any other kind of advertising, in the sense that you need to get your ad right in order for it to bring in new business. This is what a good TV advert production company brings, and the benefits are very real and very significant.

    Professional Production Quality

    This is by far the most important thing that a superior TV advert production company will bring to the table. Standards for advert quality are high in the TV world. Adverts that are not professional-looking and well-produced are rare at best, and even mediocre ones can look cheap and poorly-made in comparison to the slick campaigns carried out by big-budget brands and industry-leading experts. At the same time, however, you don't need the same multi-million budget as these brands in order to create an advert that will be able to deliver real results on television. You just need to make sure your advert is good, polished, and high-quality enough to stand on its own in this crowd and deliver results. This is what you get when you hire a professional, reliable, and expert TV advert production company. They will be able to ensure that all aspects of production and editing meet the high standards required for success on television, and your advert is ready to serve as a powerful driver of growth and revenue for your business.

    Expert Guidance

    TV advertising is a very effective medium, but it can also be quite a specialised one. Companies who have succeeded in other media but are moving into television advertising for the first time can often feel a bit lost about how to repeat that success. A good TV advert production company will be able to provide valuable help and guidance on the kind of advert that will deliver good results for your company and contribute to the specific goals you aim to achieve in advertising on television. They will also be able to provide general help on how to utilise your completed advert for best effect, for example in matters such as scheduling, the process involved in booking advertising space with a channel, and ensuring that your advert reaches a specific and relevant audience. When your business is moving into the sphere of television for the first time, having the help of a TV advert production company that knows and understands the area on an expert level can prove truly invaluable.

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    Advertising on TV is a marketing method that can be both wide-reaching and powerful. When it comes to zeroing in on a specific, targeted demographic or market, however, many people think that this is an area where TV advert production is not so very strong. This is, quite simply, a misconception. TV advertising is not only capable of targeting a specific demographic, but is a very powerful and effective way to do so.

    Targeting a Specific Demographic Through General Broadcast

    The idea that TV is not a targeted advertising channel is not an uncommon one, and is usually found among companies that are fairly new to TV advert production. The image they have of the TV advertising process is this: an advert is set loose into the world on the airwaves, where it will appear on the screens of anyone and everyone who happens to be tuned in at that moment. This gives amazing reach, sometimes getting an advert shown to millions of people in just a matter of seconds, but is also indiscriminate. People of all ages, interests and backgrounds will be shown an advert in equal measure.

    This seems reasonable on the face of it, but with a slightly more in-depth look at how advertising on television works it is not hard to see why it is flawed. In fact, this image is accurate only for adverts shown in a very limited number of slots, alongside programmes that have an unusually broad appeal. In most slots, the people who are tuned in will not be of all ages, interests and backgrounds. Most shows do not have such broad appeal, and the viewers will be from a specific group or a small range of demographics who find that programme appealing. Naturally, these less general, more targeted groups will also be the ones viewing the advert.

    A Matter of Scheduling

    In light of this, targeting a specific audience is not only possible, but quite simple. It forms part of the process of choosing when and where your advert will be shown. Different demographics tend to watch and different times, and most TV programmes and even some entire channels are very specific in the kind of viewers they draw in. Just about every possible demographic fits in somewhere, so once you have found out which slots have a viewership matching your target market it becomes comparatively easy to get your advert in front of a highly targeted and specific set of potential customers.

    For many companies, this can be better than advertising in a prime time slot. These are the slots that do put adverts in front of a very large yet untargeted group. For products with extremely broad appeal, such as household essentials, this is great because it gets an advert in front of several million people and none of them are irrelevant. For products that appeal to a more specific market, these slots are astronomically expensive because of the number of people watching and many of them will not be good prospects anyway, making a less competitive but more targeted slot a much better option.

  8. DSC_0599

    We were off to Woking and Newbury to shoot Direct Response TV Adverts this week with returning client Crocodile UK, featuring their Winter Garden, Glass Veranda and Garage Door products. This time we had Groundforce and general good bloke Tommy Walsh on presenting duties. Our first day was super long and we didnt get to eat at the hotel till after 10pm - luckily Tommy (unlike Jeremy Clarkson) was cool as a cucumber and didn't punch producer Luke :)

    More photos to follow

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    These days, corporate video productions aren’t used solely to deliver messages in-house, but they can be used to promote services and products to clients and prospects.

    The basic marketing approach of any business includes an online presence in the form of a website and relevant social media presence. However, getting traffic to that website can be a challenge. Through the use of video posted on social media and in an email list through newsletters, it’s possible to get the word out that there is a new product or service available.

    Not only does social media retain a connection with currently clients and prospects, but it plays a major role as a communication medium to deliver important announcements, to engage and stay in the minds of followers. Videos can attract attention and if made well, can even go viral across the internet, bringing back new prospects to the website of the business.

    Corporate video production techniques can also be used to create webcasts of important industry events or meetings. These are powerful at keeping customers on a website for longer and can increase their involvement. They can become engaged in an event through watching video and joining in a chat facility to ask questions and provide answers through polls.

    Overall a video on a website can make all the difference as to whether a visitor clicks off within 2 or 3 seconds, or finds out more about a brand through a filmed introduction. With a video, there’s an increased chance that the visitor will stay as they are engaged by motion and sound.

    Use testimonial videos to build trust

    One of the most powerful ways to build trust is by providing testimonials and reviews from satisfied customers. Prospects can identify with a real person who has used a service or a product and can then make their mind up faster whether something is right for them. It’s in these situations where video has the clear advantage.

    There are many ways that companies can benefit from video production. Businesses of any size can grow their prospect and client list by investing in corporate video production. They can be positively instrumental in increasing brand exposure.

    If you’re interested in finding out how corporate video production services can help your business, give us a call today for a no obligation chat. 


    ev rain

    Corporate video production can deliver some outstanding results, but only if it’s handled by an experienced and knowledgeable production company.

    The majority of corporate videos are produced for a small sized audience of a portion of the company. Perhaps the film will be an induction video for new employees or a general employee announcement. In some instances, a corporate video is produced for training purposes, product or service promotions or even just for information purposes.

    Creating engaging corporate video productions is critical to their success

    When videos are produced by companies who are well established in the corporate video production industry, they have a better chance of being engaging and successful in conveying the message in an interesting manner. They communicate what the client requires in a way that holds the attention of the audience and are more memorable.

    Most often corporate videos are distributed online these days. For example, an employee would be sent an email with permission to access a video either on the corporate intranet. This video might be around the topic of safety or perhaps another type of training. What is advantageous about this type of delivery channel is that it saves expense. It cuts back on travel either by the presenter or the attendee. Corporate videos are excellent for reaching employees without major cost.

    A good video production company can create meaningful videos that can be used for advertising. They can be put online and then optimised for search through the use of relevant keywords so that it can be seen by a larger audience. This can benefit the corporation in terms of clients, sales and brand awareness. The more extraordinary can even go viral across social media.

    If you’re looking for an experience corporate video production company, call us today. We have extensive expertise in creating engaging and communicative videos that deliver messages that stick. All sized businesses have used our services and we’d be delighted to offer you a no obligation chat. 

video production old camera

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