Friday, 9 August 2013

Early Summer

May was an exciting month which saw big changes for Humanoid which included a
new premises, new equipment and new clients with the promise of very interesting jobs to come.

St. Dominic's Priory School

For this project, we were tasked with capturing children and young people at their most natural with dynamic footage that sent the right messages without seeming staged.
We shadowed a photographer throughout the two days, but video presents unique perspectives and has different requirements.

Posed and coached students, where shoots had been booked and prepped in most cases, showed up, stayed unobtrusive and they soon relaxed.

"Never work with children or animals" - not true, just allow a lot of time! - Tom Down

After the shoot we had 5 hours of footage which then had to whittled down for a 2 minute edit.

The edit was a case of tying together the key messages from headteacher Pat Adamson with accompanying b-roll.

Humanoid discussed the school's values in pre-production meetings with the St Dominic's Marketing team and prepared interview questions.
We knew that comfort, family atmosphere and nurturing environment were of high importance and wove those elements through the video.

In post-production, we worked fast to add the final polish to the video before the open day deadline. 
Tom took care of cleaning up footage and removing distractions such as a fire extinguisher, wheelie bins in the final shot and finally digitally replacing a student who hadn't given filming consent. 

JFE Attridge

New client, JFE Attridge were building up scaffolding for maintenance on Frodsham viaduct.
It was a very long slow process, but gave us the opportunity to produce an extended HDR timelapse.

Timelapses have played a useful role in previous videos. 
We experimented with long exposure effects to motion blur elements, which in turn adds a greater sense of movement.
The challenge with this shoot was capturing the full dynamic range of the scene, so that the details would be visible in both the dark underside of the bridge and the bright sky immediately behind.
Shooting just one frame of every 7 seconds gave us the option of capturing all this data with multiple exposures.
Using the Canon 5d MKII, we took still photos in bracketed sets of 3: one balanced exposure, and exposures 2 stops above and below.

The shoot took place over 2 days and it was fair to say that the weather was not on our side. 
Even with a rain cover and an umbrella, the angle of the camera pointing skyward meant constant checks were required for raindrops on the lens.

In post production, we had over 3514 exposures to merge together.
We experimented with batch processing:  LuminanceHDR and 19lights' Merger.Ultimately settled on doing it the old-fashioned way in Photoshop for the superior "removeghosts" feature.


As mentioned in the previous post, Humanoid have now moved into a new office at the Dunston Business Village, in Stafford.

The office will be our new post-production home, while we still maintain to have our satellite office up at MediaCityUK.

Tuesday, 30 April 2013

2013 so far...


Humanoid launched 2013 by producing a video for JISC’s Course Data Programme Meeting.  The charity offers leadership and support to UK educational organisations at a local, national and international level, and Staffordshire University commissioned a video about their involvement.
The shoot took place over 3 days on campus and featured programme leaders evaluating the JISC project.

This project allowed us to field-test our latest acquisition: 2 Datavision LED-900 HS light panels.  We invested in these lightweight panels because they are compact, portable and ideal for location shoots.

The 900s have a few very useful features, including a dimmer switch that allows us to dial light intensity low enough to point directly at the subject without creating harsh shadows (or dazzling our interviewees!). The panels shipped with a selection of filters that allow us to quickly balance for natural or tungsten lighting.
The 900s have a number of advantages over our existing Sachtler reporter lights, and we benefitted from these over the course of the shoot. LEDs are less power-consumptive than incandescent lights and stay much cooler; this eliminated both the stress of melting colour gels and the down-time needed to wait for the lights to cool after use.
Overall, we were very pleased with the Datavision 900s and the features that they offer. They helped us to produce natural-looking, cinematic interview lighting much more quickly and easily than was possible before.

Salford YFC –

Humanoid were proud to sponsor the Award for Contribution to the Arts at The Salford Youth Heroes Awards at The City of Salford Stadium.
The event was organised by Barry Mason of Salford Youth for Christ and showcased young people who have made outstanding contributions to their communities.
The Humanoid team covered the event and produced a highlights DVD package for the charity.

WJ Roadmarkings –

After a few intense months of post-production, Humanoid premiered the Olympic Lane video blog to WJ leadership at a private screening at Staffordshire University Television Studio.
The team put much blood, sweat and thermoplastic into producing the blog, which followed the road markers around the capital during construction of London 2012’s Olympic Route Network.
Operations Director Martin Webb was impressed with the final product and said it would be a great treat for all involved.
Following the screening, we were straight back onto the roads, filming more promotional footage for the WJ Linkline Group. A location shoot in Dorset and Devon focused on highway re-texturing and hydroblasting projects by WJ South West.
We also captured footage of upgrades to Ambridge Thermoplastics’ automated production line, which was used for WJ’s promotion at industry trade show Traffex.  Humanoid’s Anthony and Martyn attended the expo to promote our involvement with the traffic industry and to network with new and prospective clients.

Dunston Business Village –

As of April, Humanoid has a new Stafford HQ at the Dunston Business village near Penkridge, Staffordshire.
While maintaining a presence at MediaCityUK, Humanoid’s Staffs office will be dedicated to post-production, housing our editing suites and equipment.
More information and pictures will follow in the next update!

For more information  please visit

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Mr Movember

November was a charitable affair which saw Humanoid participate in a number of events for different charities. 
It was also the month when Humanoid achieved our ambition to work for our neighbours, the BBC.

The month started with the team heading to St Andrew's – home of Birmingham City FC, to capture coverage of the Innovation Factory event hosted by Winning Moves.

The job included recording keynote speeches and workshops along with a 'video pod', where directors from several companies were asked to speak about their businesses.


The next day, the team headed to Stoke Mandeville for a two day shoot to capture one of the few remaining WJ Roadmarkings services for their corporate video.  'Specialist marking' involved painting a netball court, hopscotch grid and snakes & ladders on a school playground. Bad weather halted proceedings on day one, which meant the majority of the filming took place the next day.

After a couple of weeks' profuse editing, the team's next venture was filming a Children in Need event for the BBC.  Humanoid were brought in to film a 'Gangnam Style' flash mob, influenced by the popular South Korean pop artist PSY.  The day was action-packed as Humanoid captured footage from inside Quay House at MediaCityUK, followed by the flash mob and a mascot race!

Later that evening, Anthony Thane, sporting a rather dodgy looking moustache for Movember, took to the football pitch at Trafford Soccer Dome on behalf of The Greenhouse, playing with fellow tenants in the Children in Need Football Tournament.

The Greenhouse played against tough competition including Radio 5Live, but unfortunately just narrowly missed out on reaching the knock-out stages by a single point.

Finally the month was finished off filming in Spinningfeilds, Manchester, for Flannels 35th Anniversary, which involved a charity auction for The Christie Cancer Charity.

The glitzy event featured unique mannequins created by designers including Prada, Dolce & Gabbana, Gucci and Paul Smith that were later auctioned off to the highest bidder. Humanoid were there to shoot proceedings which included live music, Glamour models on display and the auction.

Keep up to date with Humanoids latest projects by following our Humanoid twitter feed and liking our Humanoid facebook page

For more information, please visit the following websites –

Humanoid Productions

Winning Moves

WJ Road Markings

Children In Need

Children In Need - Trafford Soccer Dome Tournament

Flannels Fashion



Monday, 29 October 2012

Summer round up.

Humanoid had their busiest summer to date, as awful weather failed to dampen the spirits within the team.
After the success of the Green House open day — where Humanoid turned out to be 'the buzz word' – It was
back to work as the crew got to their post's in the Staffordshire Television Studios.

The event was for a community of EU-financed dementia experts named STAR. The event was streamed live to an online audience, as expert speakers shared their experiences and thoughts on dementia care.

Once the STAR event was completed, the team headed straight down to Rainham – Essex, to prepare filming for the 'WJ Olympic Lane' documentary that the road markings firm had commissioned Humanoid to produce.

Martyn and Tom stayed down south to capture the once–in–a–life time job for the road markings firm, while Anthony and Chris headed back up to Staffordshire to work on 'Awards Week 2012' for Staffordshire University.

The week included capturing B-roll from each ceremony, interviews with students and Honorary Doctors and finally running the 'Big Brother' style 'Diary Room'.
The event was captured on two Canon 5D's with a variety of lenses at our disposal along with a Jib crane and glide track. 

For the whole week the duo would be working at the picture-esq Trentham Gardens with the University's press team – as well as bringing in extra crew members from Tentacle Media. The Diary Room was a simple set up and was captured on a Panasonic 151 with a røde NTG-2. 

After Awards Week and The Olympic Lane documentary, Humanoid's next job was a bit of a step into the Un-known as the team were tasked of teaching French exchange students the basics of a HD Television studio.By the end of the week, the students had put on their own show and had a taste of what its like working in a Studio."This lecture was awesome" commented student Cyril Rubini-Vidal, "I really enjoyed the course". 

The next few months will see Humanoid take on projects for Stoke Sixth Form College, International Piping Products, Innovation Factory, the opening of UniQ Science Centre and more corporate work for WJ Road Markings.Be sure to checkout our Humanoid Productions website, along with the company's Twitter and Facebook Page for more updates.

Monday, 8 October 2012

Olympic Lane Documentary

Humanoid's Documentary Of The Olympic Lane  

Humanoid's involvement with the Olympic Route Network was a once-in-a-lifetime experience and a window into a different world.  It was the first time we'd attempted documentary-making on this scale: the extended 4-week shoot in London brought all kinds of logistical challenges and demanded a completely different approach than the corporate projects of the past three years.
As a two-man camera crew, we followed the action, riding with a different supervisor every night and standing by to jump out of the vehicle whenever a situation developed.  We worked shift-for-shift alongside the road workers, beginning before sunset and staying out on the network until 6am, then backing up files and reviewing footage in a hotel room before sleeping.
Staying mobile meant keeping equipment to a bare minimum: a single camera with one lens was used for 99% of the footage we recorded.  An external microphone with wind shielding was controlled separately to collect clear audio amid the roar of traffic and machinery.  We made the decision to record from the mic directly onto the camera's audio feed, to pre-empt synchronising hours of footage in the edit.  This required the camera and sound operator to be tethered by an XLR lead at all times, which added to the challenge of keeping up with the fast-moving road crews.

Humanoid's Voigtlander Nokton lens came into its own during night shoots: the huge 1.0 aperture captured a massive amount of light, allowing us to record a clear image in near-darkness.  The camera-mounted Rotolight we discovered at BVE North gave us a portable lighting solution for filming in a complete blackout.  For vehicle-mounted external shots of the road and drive-by shots of scenery, we relied on our ContourHD action camera, which delivered some great footage of the Olympic rings in place on the network.

Humanoid's unique access to WJ Roadmarkings' equipment and crews caught the attention of Dow Chemical, who manufacture the additives that dry the painted rings.  They asked us to shoot some promotional material for their marketing campaign, so we returned to our corporate roots, trading the freehand video blog-style setup for smooth tripod, Glidecam and jib-mounted shots.  This meant transporting extra equipment down from Stoke-on-Trent, where the other half of Humanoid were filming Staffordshire University's awards week at Trentham Gardens.
By the end of the shoot, we'd recorded over twelve hours of footage.  Editing is underway and the video will be released later this year.  This production is unlike anything Humanoid have delivered before - don't miss it!

Monday, 2 July 2012

The Greenhouse Open Day

A crowd of familiar faces descended upon Salford Quays this week to celebrate the 1-year anniversary of Humanoid’s move to MediaCityUK. Dozens of VIP guests joined Humanoid’s directors at The Greenhouse for a party that was the talk of the day. Among them were clients, collaborators, actors and long-time supporters. Managing Director Martyn Lomax toasted the assembled guests in an impromptu speech, saying “this is a very proud moment for us as a company. You are all our VIPs and have helped us out on our amazing journey - for that we are eternally grateful. I envision Humanoid becoming a top player in the corporate video sector over the next couple of years.”
Visitors were treated to drinks and a spread of Greenhouse-themed appetisers, as well as guided tours of Europe’s largest TV studio. “The atmosphere was superb,” said guest and professional actor Peter Brown, “so much energy and enthusiasm! Humanoid had the busiest unit in the building by far, I can’t wait to see what’s in store next for the team”.
Humanoid’s first year at MediaCityUK saw the arrival of the BBC, accompanied by a huge and diverse community of creative professionals. With the Quays still in Phase 1 of development, the site’s importance will continue to grow as ITV and other media giants take residence. As Humanoid continues to grow, so too does MediaCity. It’s the perfect location to be based, and the company’s MediaCity address has already made possible a number of key connections.
“I was really pleased for the Humanoid team to have such a successful and enjoyable open day – it reinforced just how far they have come in such a short space of time. The MediaCity is a “must” location for companies in their field and the opportunities for such a talented team are endless” – Paul Morris – MD Addmaster (UK) Ltd.
Humanoid are looking forward to celebrating many anniversaries to come. With the bar set so high, Humanoid’s next landmark promises to be unmissable!

Thursday, 7 June 2012

April Showers..

The weather was nothing short of abysmal in April. Luckily for the Humanoid team the showers stopped briefly as more filming commenced for WJ Road Markings, this time outside the Tate Modern Museum in London.
The road-marking firm will be completing many jobs outside iconic locations in the capital city — in preparation for the Olympic Games in summer 2012.
Humanoid will be shadowing the crews as they work through the night laying down temporary markings for the Olympic VIP Lane.

Judging duties 
April also saw Martyn and Tom invited to judge student work at Newcastle-Under-Lyme College.
The duo were invited by Paul Tanner — a former tutor for Martyn and Anthony —  to give insight and feedback to current students who had created Flash animations as part as their studies.
Martyn and Anthony have also been invited back to judge a series of short films made by students at the North Staffordshire College for their annual 'Heat Wave film festival'.