60 Volunteers, 20 Languages, One Epic Video Production

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Author: Charlie Staindl
Date: August 5, 2021

This week we’re taking you through a behind-the-scenes tour of one of the most special video productions we’ve worked on in recent years. For immersion purposes, we’d prefer you read this in a voice with a charming English accent or any similar documentary-style voice. Just so we’re on the same page, this Melbourne video production spanned four months, 20 languages, 60 volunteers, and one SBS feature,  so if we seem proud, it’s because we are.

The brief

We were approached by North West Melbourne Primary Health Network, who wanted to deliver vaccine information to 20 linguistically diverse communities in Melbourne’s North West. The aim was to reach people who are likely to miss crucial health information. Research has come out backing what we already suspected – that migrant communities were trailing behind other areas of Australia in vaccination rates. For the project, we had to create a compelling health message to reach many diverse communities. Challenging, but not something we’ve shied away from before. 

We also wanted to focus on people’s faces for this project. If you’re based in Melbourne like we are, you’ll know that masks have become almost second nature to us. Add in lockdowns, and many of us – let alone isolated members of foreign communities – haven’t seen faces at all in the last couple of months. So, we decided to focus on letting our community members be seen directly, which also gave a physical picture of our lives post-COVID.

Melbourne Video production creating content for Goodbye Covid
Melbourne Video production creating content for Goodbye Covid

The background

The script was simple, trying to highlight the most important information and what could be reclaimed once everyone was vaccinated. The NWMPHN identified 20 languages that would benefit from targeted medical advice, and we used Language Loop to translate our script into those languages. We kept our script simple and poignant. For this to work it had to be translated perfectly and hit home those universal experiences of Covid. 

Now for the tricky part. The Jasper Picture Company had to locate three native speakers of each identified language, meaning we had 60 volunteers across genders and ages. We also required a community volunteer to check the scripts. By definition these communities were harder to reach than others, so we had to rely on an incredible network of personal knowledge, social media outreach and willing community leaders to find these volunteers. We’d like to shout out our producer Josie who made an incredible effort to put this all together and create such genuine partnerships with these communities. With our volunteers ready, we were ready to get into the thick of it.

The thick of it, AKA filming

The big moment was finally here! We filmed across 4 days towards the end of June, and with such a densely packed schedule we ended up shooting for almost 12 hours each day on the weekend. Our volunteers would arrive, check-in, and practice their lines to get comfortable all before we started rolling. We were lucky enough to use the space down at Bighouse Arts Studio in Coburg, where we could make the most of their recording studio and filming space. The area was fantastic, allowing us to use some seriously impressive sets in which to film the volunteers. 

The scope of this project even landed it a feature in SBS, with two of our incredible volunteers, Mabior Mabior and Nannan Yu, giving even more of their time to this important message. 

We worked like a well oiled machine; greeting, rehearsing, recording and filming each of our 60 volunteers. Thanks to the organisation of our team, and the dedication of our volunteers, we finished up filming as planned on Sunday the 27th of June. Little did we know, filming was the easy part. 

Post-production

We now had hours and hours of footage but needed to put it together. This editing process was long and quite specific, as we had to check the grammar and pronunciations of all the languages, as well as use the best takes from each volunteer. We started with an initial cut of each language, using just the best takes. Then it was checked by NWMPHN, and once they were happy with it, we checked it again using Language Loop to make sure it was linguistically correct. We cleaned them up to just about their final edit and sent them one last time to a community volunteer to get their blessings and advice.

Finally, they were all approved. They were uploaded to the NWMPHN website but most importantly, were given to community leaders so they could be disseminated directly. This was the key, using community members, leaders, and a couple famed singers, meant that these videos were shared directly in their intended groups. Many of them were also uploaded to YouTube, where you can watch a mix here.

The response to our films was incredible. Each community group has come back with compliments, love and support for the videos. We were asked by the NSW government to share them across Greater Sydney and assist with vaccine efforts during lockdown. Our thoughts are with everyone in NSW and particularly south-western Sydney during a difficult time for them.

And that’s how a shoot goes! We’ve left out some of the more arduous details, such as the level of detail in planning by members of our team, as well as some of the more technical work in the filming and production.  If this sounds like something you need help with, contact Jasper Picture Company today and create the right videos for your company and community.

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Made with love by Kreativez
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