Smart Docs Film Production

With the odd exception, every film we make has to do three things:

  • Enrich your work
  • Enhance individual and institution profiles
  • Attract funding

You may have other goals as well, but if the film doesn’t do these jobs, it has probably failed.  These are the benchmarks by which we can judge the success of a film because they speak to your core business.  This is what we mean by making film respond to your priorities, rather than to those of the film industry. Productions still have to be of the highest quality, but they need to address these values.

At this level, our aims don’t change because we only work with academic, medical, and cultural institutions.

A fourth, extremely important aspect is time, which we know is always in very short supply. Feeling your way to a film with a non-specialised film maker can take hours or days longer than it has to.  We save you time by taking you through a three-step process from planning to execution to refinements.

(To save a substantial amount of time, we need to look at the institution’s infrastructure and the way it leverages media; an entirely different intervention and something we love to talk about.  Have a look at our consultation page.

Film Type

We help you to choose and plan the right kind of film.  We have identified over forty types from legacy films to promotional films, from lecture recordings to scrollytelling.  We’ll walk you through the options we think will meet your goals.

Process

We look after every stage of production for you, helping you plan the film and make sure that we don’t miss anything out.  Even if you’ve never commissioned a film before, we have workflows and structures for every step so that the process is transparent and efficient.

Quality

We make sure that every film is of the highest quality, looks the part, and meets your Impact, engagement, and other goals. A film has to look the part, serve a wider project context, and have a strategic goal.

Refine

We take you through three, structured rounds of refinements (structure, specifics, and sign-off). We’ll agree on what success looks like and make sure the film meets those standards.

Delivery

We will deliver and help you put the finished film into a context that meets your needs. This could be as simple as twitter, or as complex as a Scrollytelling or a screening.

Details

We will guide you through any other details such as transferring copyright to you, creating archives, transferring raw footage to you, creating thumbnail images, and so on.

Film Examples

Title: Encode (Dance of the DNA)
Type: Promotional and Explainer
Institution: Nature Publishing Group

Note: For the journal Nature; a dramatisation (in dance) of the transcription of DNA to RNA.

Title: The House of Usher
Type: Museum Film
Institution: Science Museum, London

Note: A museum film looking at a model of a steam plough, the design of which has been traced to the Usher family. Mark Usher and Stuart Emmens of the Science Museum speak about its significance. The film is part of the Family History series of films for the Science Museum.

Title: Early Days (of a Better Nation)
Type: Legacy Film
Institution: Cultural Institute at King’s College London

Note: The Political Sciences Department at King’s College London work with Coney, a Theatre Company to produce a project where an audience is challenged to build their own government. The film draws out the project’s societal impact.

Title: Reflections on Sextants
Type: Object Film
Institution: Imperial College, London

Note: A short, rough film documenting the exploration of sextants by Nina Baker (former Merchant Navy Deck Officer) and Jim Bennet (visiting Keeper at the Science Museum). The film shows the difference between the ways a practitioner and a historian approach and address an object.

Title: Heart Attack Simulation
Type: Event Documentation and Pathway film
Institution: Imperial College, London

Note: Filmed at the Big Bang festival, Birmingham (UK) in 2012. The event is a simulation of what happens when someone has a heart attack. The event and the film take the viewer through the treatment pathway.

Title: Encounters on the Shop Floor
Type: Grant-Securing Film
Institution: V&A Research Institute (London, UK)

Note: A milliner, a jewellery maker, a magician, a surgeon, a weaver, a sculptor, and a selection of academics from different disciplines explore the idea of being a maker and the dichotomy of cognition and affect. They discuss knowledge construction in an workshop and practice-sharing session.

Title: Tom Aspirer: Blindness
Type: Lecture Recording
Institution: London Interdisciplinary Discussion Group

Title: Straight Flush
Type: Museum Film
Institution: Science Museum, London

Note: A film focusing on objects in the museum’s collection that have personal histories. This example is of the first flush lavatory.

Title: Miss Sarah Minter on King George VI’s Lung Operation
Type: Interview
Institution: King’s College, London

Note: An excerpt from an interview with the retired Theatre Sister Miss Sarah Minter talking about her experiences operating on King George VI.

Title: Karabots Junior Fellows
Type: Promotional
Institution: College of Physicians of Philadelphia

Note: A promotional film about the ‘Karabots Junior Fellows Program’ at the College of Physicians of Philadelphia. The programme educates young people from disadvantaged backgrounds in the breadth of healthcare careers available, and helps them to start their career.

Title: Philip Pullman: Nicholas Hawksmoor: Architect of the Imagination
Type: Documentary
Institution: Royal Academy of Arts

Note: One of three short documentaries for the Royal Academy of Arts. Various experts talk about the importance of the architecture of Nicholas Hawksmoor.

Title: Hidden Resources
Type: Collaborative Film
Institution: Talk Lab

Note: An excerpt from the Talk Lab Better Conversations project (www.talklab.nhs.uk). A film co-produced with doctors, patients, carers, and academic leads.

Title: Generic Robotics Pitch Video
Type: Pitch Video
Institution: Generic Robotics

Note: a robotics company translated their research into a commercial company. This pitch video is designed to attract supporters. (There is also a version without music!)

Title: King’s Fund Film 5
Type: Film for Presentation
Institution: Talk Lab

Note: a silent film for playing in a conference presentation showing a ‘trust’ activity at a Talklab workshop.

Title: Richard Milner’s Introduction
Type: Interview
Institution: Heide Hatry (artist, New York)

Note: an example of something delightful and unexpected drawn from the raw footage of the film ‘Not a Rose’ made for Heide Hatry in New York.

Title: Brightfield
Type: Proposal Film
Institution: Cultural Institute at King’s College London and 3FF

Note: King’s College London, and 3FF collaborate on a project about Brightfield sites, sites that we love, visit, and that make our lives richer. The film was made about the project in its early stages. In this film, the collaborators think through the central notion of a Brightfield site.