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Different Perspectives at Take One Productions

Take One Productions

Published on 4th May 2017

 

Visitors to the Horsham Museum website can take a fascinating 3D tour of the building and exhibitions. Using the arrow keys or a mouse, you can take a virtual walk through the entire museum. Unlike Google’s Street View, the tour takes a step-by-step approach, so you can see most exhibits, often in detail.

You can read the Jacobs & Co biscuit box in the shopping gallery, get close to the acid bath murderer’s cell door and take a  glance at other items including William Albery’s saddlery, fossils from the Horsham iguanodon, a narwhal horn in the cabinet of curiosities and the fascinating Dog of Fo statue from China.

This intriguing 3D tour was created by Take One Productions, a digital creative agency based in Horsham. Nick Webber, Director of Take One Productions, spent a day capturing every nook and cranny of the medieval building, before creating interactive views of every room. As well as encouraging visitors to the museum, Nick hopes that this will showcase the new technology to local businesses. We spoke to Nick to find out more about Take One and the opportunities presented by new technology... 

When was Take One Productions formed?

We started in 1996, so last year we celebrated our 20th anniversary. Previously, I worked in video production, producing internal films primarily for the Civil Service. When I established Take One, I used my contacts at various Government departments to gain a foothold in business. Initially, 80% of my client base came from the public sector, whereas now, most comes from private business clients.

What happened to the Governmental assignments?

A change in government spending meant that we needed to find more work from the private sector. It was a difficult period, but we successfully made the conversion. We kept our overheads down and maintained as many skills as possible in-house. Now, whilst we require some specialist support from freelancers, perhaps for script writing or special effects, we have an experienced team of all-rounders skilled in filming, editing and production. We’re fortunate to have the knowledge of fellow Director Steve Platt and together we run a well-oiled machine.

Do you work with any household names?

Cisco Systems was among the first businesses we worked with. At that time, CISCO was the acronym for the Civil Service Catering Organisation, so when I was asked for a quote by Cisco Systems, I hadn’t realised who the client was! It was only when I turned up at the company’s London headquarters that the penny dropped. For eight years, we recorded conferences and presentations for Cisco Systems. On occasion, we would film for 12 hours a day without really understanding what was being discussed, because the IT and network talks could be so technical.

You must have seen major changes within your industry?

In the early days of corporate video, we recorded on to a U-matic format. This required us to use a huge shoulder-mounted camera attached to a large portable video recorder by a thick cable. The old linear-editing method meant transferring snippets from one video tape on to a master tape and you gradually built a programme up by adding snippets. Some of the industrial video players were the size of a washing machine! When non-linear editing was introduced with computer software, it was a huge breakthrough. The progress has been astronomical. Our first non-linear editing suite had nine Gigabytes of storage, which was impressive at the time. We now have over 45 Terabytes! 

Has such advancement made it difficult for video production companies to survive?

Take One has survived because we've been agile and steered ourselves through different sectors when we’ve needed to. As software and equipment became more affordable, some companies started to produce video content in-house. We recognised this and offered additional services and specialised in areas where we had particular experience. We made many films for the Department of International Development, travelling to 40 countries for a wide variety of assignments. We have filmed things such as African farmers adopting new technology and films showing how UK aid money is spent overseas. 

Have video sharing channels such as YouTube had an effect?

YouTube has not done the industry any favours. It has effectively dropped the standard in terms of quality of video production. There used to be an industry standard and companies required the services of professional production companies. Now, some businesses seemingly find footage by someone waving a mobile phone around acceptable. If I had shown a client something I filmed on my Handycam or mobile phone a decade ago, they would have said ‘that's completely unacceptable and I'm not paying you.’ Now, people will sit and watch it. So, from that point or view, YouTube hasn't done the industry any favours. 

Is the focus on 3D technology another change of direction for Take One Productions?

Investing in Virtual Reality and 360° video equipment and software offers exciting opportunities and  adds a string to our bow. We’ve been producing videos for 20 years and whilst we’ve introduced special effects - such as animation and CGI - over the years, this is perhaps the most exciting development in our history. 

How specialist is the new technology?

The 360° Virtual tours we offer were developed by a leading tech company in the US. We were one of the first UK companies to offer this to clients. We researched many different systems and in terms of quality and interactivity, this is exactly what we were looking for. The tours are created using a specialist camera that has in-built scanners which revolve and capture the whole environment. Duringfilming, the camera operator moves  slowly, so the camera can pick up every angle. You need to hide around the corner an awful lot so you’re not in the shot!

How is this different to software like Google’s Street View?

Google offer a ‘Business View’ that has similarities to ‘Street View’ and from that you can create a virtual tour. However, it’s not a software I particularly like, as it gives you a Star Wars style time-warp effect. As a viewer it's easy to lose your bearings when you're exploring an internal space. Also, our tours have fantastic picture quality and better user interactivity.

How did you come to produce a Virtual tour of the museum?

We wanted to promote this amazing new service, so we approached the museum as it’s an interesting place to film. We had positive feedback and from the moment the museum staff saw the ‘Doll’s House’ overview of the tour, they were impressed. It’s on the museum website and I hope it’s helping to attract visitors.

Have other businesses asked for 3D Virtual Tours?

We produced a tour for Targa Florio cars in Chichester, which is on the home page of its website and has racked up over 30,000 views already. We find that the Virtual Tours encourage people to use a website for longer, which can help improve its Google ranking. We’ve also produced tours for hotels, care homes, a brewery, an ambulance and we even filmed the inside of a corporate jet. Another project we’ve done was to make a Virtual Tour for the Royal College of Anaesthetists which showed 18 different test booths used for training. The idea is that trainees can take the tour before they take an examination, so they can familiarise themselves with the environment.

So 360° Virtual Tours are quite flexible?

Yes, although it requires a bit of vision from a business to see its potential. We’re receiving enquiries for all sorts of purposes. One company, which finds locations for film makers, is looking at using 3D tours so that producers and directors can see different sets, giving them a full idea of colour and lighting. The possibilities are limitless; we canproduce a 3D Virtual Tour of almost any space or environment.

Is the 360° video a similar idea?

It is another idea that presents new opportunities. For example, you could put the camera on stage at a gig and you would be filming the entire venue – the band and the audience – simultaneously. When watching it back, you can scan around whilst the music is playing in real time and enjoy every angle. That is something that can be great fun when you have sound and movement and another reason why it’s a very exciting time to be involved in video production.


INTERVIEW: BEN MORRIS

IMAGES: TOBY PHILLIPS

To experience the Horsham Museum 3D Virtual Tour visit www.horshammuseum.org/virtual-tour

For further information and to discover how a Virtual Tour could benefit your business, visit www.3dtours.media

Take One Productions
Take One Productions
Take One Productions
Dolls House of the Museum