Q&A with The Gate Films as it discusses its rebrand to focus on integrated advertising production
Production company The Gate has rebranded in order to reflect the ‘evolution’ of integrated advertising production. Company directors Steve Byrne (SB) and Simon Lewis (SL) discuss what the re-brand means for the outfit going forward.
Why has the re-brand come about?
SB: It’s been a long time coming. The new people within the company and the breadth of services we now deliver for our clients means we have a very different offering to that which we had even 3 years ago and the old logo had been with us for nearly a decade.
So how are you different from what you were three years ago?
SB: In the past clients briefed us predominantly about pure Broadcast TV and everything was very channel focused. Since then we’ve developed the skills of our producers in the online space and brought in key figures such as Wez Crozier - our creative technologist - to re –energise that briefing process. The result is that many clients value our input at a much earlier stage in the campaign planning and TV briefs are tackled with a much more integrated approach.
SL: That’s true but equally the filmmaking craft that has served us so well these last 15 years is still the same and just as important as ever. We’ve simply got more screens and devices upon which to deliver, and the new people and technology we’ve invested in allow us to realize that potential.
Another big change is the sheer growth of The Gate. We’ve just had our best year ever and doubled the size of the team. It’s allowed us to make investments in our infrastructure in response to what our clients want from a production partner.
What’s been the biggest investment you’ve made in the time?
SL: Sustained financial growth has allowed us to invest in our own facilities. 4 Full HD Edit suites running Smoke, Nuke, flame and Da Vinci, means that we can continually be testing & refining commercial content – a key tool in response film and video of any type. Is it working? How do we sharpen it? Soften it? Make it younger, older, sexier, yummier… Our clients can access post production facilities quickly and respond to changes in the market ahead of the competition.
A lot of production companies produce online video content, how is what you offer different?
SL: It’s not necessarily different. There are a whole host of film companies out there working in what is a really exciting space - some good, some not so good. It used to be that Production and Post Production were at the end of the line but I think the whole industry has re-evaluated this due to the proliferation of the moving image, meaning that as experts in selling via film & video, we are now able to influence thinking much earlier in the campaign process.
SB: I think if you asked our clients, they come to us for the Strategic Thinking and Technology that sits on top of the Production Craft. We understand film / video consumption across different channels and the way in which that evolves across devices.
In terms of Technology, we’ve developed GatePlayer to ensure that all online video campaigns can take advantage of Interactive Functionality, Social Integration, Live Analytic Reporting and are visible across every device. It’s a technology platform that opens up a huge amount of potential for brands alongside their presence on public platforms like Youtube and Vimeo.
Do you still regard yourselves as a TV commercial production company?
SL: We’re certainly a company that works in TV but we see ourselves as specialists in Integrated Advertising Production.
SB: We still work on pure broadcast TV briefs for some clients and after 15 years genuinely love the craft and creativity that goes into every job. We take pride in being asked to deliver what is still rightly regarded as the pinnacle of most ad campaigns.
Tell us about some of the campaigns you’ve been working on?
SL: We worked recently with TBWA in Dublin (Cawley Nea) on the biggest campaign for the Irish Times in its 153 year history. “The Story of Why” ran across TV, Cinema and Online with 30, 60 and 120 second versions. All planned, shot and delivered within 4 weeks. We’ve also just finished work on a McDonalds TV campaign with them and our new comedy Director Chris Balmond.
SB: We’ve been working with the team at Missguided since the start of 2012 developing their TV and producing increasing amounts of video content to drive engagement on social channels and conversion at point of sale. The work has delivered a 140% increase in direct traffic and 15% rise in new visits. A bold, brave founder and marketing team who are a pleasure to work with.
Are your plans to work increasingly with brands or agencies?
SB: Both. We’re expanding all the time and continually looking for the best talent to service our clients be that agency or brands. We’re naturally aware that a number of agencies and networks have brought film production and post production in house – be that broadcast or online video – but we still see the value in our creativity, craft and experience and trust we’ll continue to collaborate for the long term.
SL: Partners. Collaboration. That’s what great filmmaking has always been about. Name any truly great piece of film where the Studio, Writers, Directors, Producers and Actors have not all worked together in harmony to deliver something amazing? Where we are contracted directly by the brand we’re inevitably working in partnership with a number of agencies across the marketing spectrum and so there’s no real change in the way we’re working creatively.
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