Eastern Promise

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Yesterday I received a heart warming letter from one of our recent clients - Kamal Rijhwani, Director of Sales and Marketing at Radisson Blu Resort Sharjah. I thought I'd share it with you in full here as a blog post rather than a quick snippet, as it's testimonials like these that stay with you for a long while. It makes you realise that going the extra mile always pays off and is clearly appreciated by your clients.

After a tough selection process, we had commissioned Garry Barker to create virtual tours for our hotel and take some new and exciting images of our hotel.  Our objective was to do a complete makeover of our property with new imagery and introduce 360 virtual tours to enhance our image and increase our online hits.  So we gave him a challenge – not only to create the virtual tours which he was brilliant at, but also to make a new mainframe which had not been seen or done before which is connected to social media.   And succeed he did!!!

Garry being his usual self, soon became friends with all the team he was involved with, and this made him popular and the team did whatever they were asked to.  With the the toughest part over,  now to please the upper management - Garry took more than required shots and they show the brilliant creativity that he has!

Since many in the upper team were not aware how the virtual tour will look, he also made a temporary link whilst on site to show case what he had shot.  And we were more than pleased.  Garry is brilliant in what he does and what he aspires to do.  I am very keen to work Garry in any and all future projects related to images, virtual tours and filming.  I will also unconditionally support him always!! Keep it going Garry!!!

Kamal Rijhwani - Director of Sales and Marketing, Radisson Blu, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates

It's very true about the friendship - I regularly keep in touch via social media with Talal, the incredible chef who kept me fuelled on the long shoots, Mohamad Saade who made everything run smoothly, and Nurul, the restaurant supervisor extraordinaire who always had a table ready for me and a fresh coffee whenever needed (strange how everything seems to link to food with me...?).
Last but by no means least there's Kamal himself - a true gentleman who runs an amazing hotel to the finest standards, and who we are now interested in making a documentary with......that's our Eastern Promise.

Pop over to the Radisson website and take a look at the virtual tour and photos.


Cool Milk - A Case Study

We were delighted recently to be asked by our good friends at Redbrick Communications in Nottingham to work with them on a cool project!

Cool Milk are the UK's largest provider of milk in schools, and as part of the new government initiative in schools, the School Food Plan they were asked to submit a case study on the subject. Being rather cool dudes, the guys at Redbrick suggested they do this in a novel way, so rather than just sending in a written article, we helped them make a short film on the subject. It was a real pleasure working with Cool Milk and Redbrick on this project, not to mention the little stars of the show at Awsworth Primary School!

Full Steam Ahead!

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So far, 2014 has been a great year for Buzz Box. We have expanded, and are pushing onwards an upwards, ramping up our TV production capability. We've also met some great new people, from the guys at Eos Education, with whom we are now strategic partners, to the wonderful Vision Development Consultants who we have teamed up with on numerous new ventures. We've filmed with the ice-cool guys Gary Moran and David Clarke at Nottingham Panthers ice hockey team, and are now working regularly with the great Laurie Bryant for Nottinghams premier magazine Inside One.

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We also visited the Great Notts Show 2014 with a full production crew including myself, Sharon Roberts (Vision), Amelia Normanton, Jake Garner and David Lagerberg. Gary and Andy, the organisers of the show did a fantastic job and the 3 day event was the biggest and best to date with hundreds of stalls, exhibitors, and demonstrations from all over the East Midlands and beyond. We managed to catch up with, and interview the people from Macmillan Cancer Support (Ken and Freda, we love you!), Mark Hands from Alea Nottingham - Mark, your support ladies were the most flamboyant we've ever met! We also had a great chat to Faye Rollinson from the Galleries of Justice and heard about the new ghost tours from the graveyard!

Jonny Pusztai from JT Beedhams butchers gave us the biggest breakfast, and the biggest laugh of the day, and the super cool guys at Smooth Radio East Midlands provided some great music to compliment the live bands, and my favourite interview of the day goes to Robin Hood!

Take a look at the highlights programme here Great Notts Show 2014.

In the meantime, as ever, have a great day, and please get in touch for a chat if you want us to tell your story.



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Great news for the new year; we've been back in meetings with our great friends from Eos Education based at Hartsholme Academy in Lincoln last week. The progress the academy is making is extraordinary thanks to the great team at Eos. The new teaching methods in immersive and project based learning are being taken up by schools all over the UK and beyond. Eos Education is a rapidly growing organisation with links to schools worldwide, including the renowned High Tech High in San Diego. We are delighted to have been made a strategic partner with Eos, and we're looking forward to working with them this year on various projects. Oh and were really jealous of Hartsholme Academy - they even have a TV Studio, Radio Station, and each pupil gets an iPad to work on - wasn't like that when I was at school - way to go guys!

Onwards and upwards in 2014 - bring it on!


BIG Data Week

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Another fantastic week has flown by in the Buzz Box arena! Last week we went to Imperial College to broadcast the Big Data Week event in association with media140 and the Guardian media network. Key note speakers from around the world, seminars, debates, workshops and interviews all happening and captured by Buzz Box.
The beauty of our set-up is that it's totally portable - we took a 4 crew team by train to cover the event with 3 cameras, AV mixer, Comms and high end encoding laptop.
The usual "will we have enough internet speed?" was blown out of the water on this one with a 350 Mb down and 250Mb upload speed! We can only dream of that sort of connection here.

All went very smoothly on the day with setup on site by 8am and tested and streaming by 9.  In total we broadcasted 7 hours of footage throughout the day with live switching and titling, and was viewed by hundreds of people in 27 countries, including The Falklands, China, UAE and Bulgaria to name but a few.  The event was recorded in real time too and is now showing on the Big Data Week website.

This is just one example of a relatively large and complex set-up, BUT don't let that fool you - we are ALWAYS interested in the smaller events too and technology has made this very cost effective with live broadcasting starting at just £300. Call me on 07837 836 840 for a chat!

Cheers

Garry

Arthuirs Seat

Well we're back from the sunshine and have been busy processing the images taken during our holiday, (cough) I mean commission out at the Radisson Blu in Sharjah. The photos and virtual tour are now up and running on the website here Radisson Blu Sharjah and its great to see they are using them on both Facebook and Twitter too! We have become great friends with the staff there, especially the Director of Sales and Marketing Kamal and Nica, and with luck, we will be going back out to the UAE again later this year for other commissions (can I get the suitcase out yet?)

On another very exciting note, we are delighted to congratulate another client of ours, Carl Jarvis on getting Hartsholme Academy to Teaching School status, along with becoming a National Leader of Education, and gaining National Support School status - big slap on the back Carl!
Excitingly, this means we can now progress further with Carl and develop some new ideas we have been working on - more on this soon.

Even more amazing is that Hartsholme Academy have also won the Innovation School of the Year Award this week - do they ever stop?!

Also this week we've been working on the promo film for BDL Hotel Management. Working closely with the wonderful Dawn Cameron, the film we shot in Edinburgh at the Princes Street Suites is almost finished. Its the first time I've worked with bagpipes as a soundtrack - an interesting challenge, I can tell you!

Piper

We might be a bit pre-occupied this week as we've just taken delivery of some new high-end laptops, enabling us to do more work, more quickly (once we've finished playing with them), and also they will ramp up our live broadcast capability. We can now handle a 4 camera set-up at any one time, and at the end of March we will be taking delivery of some of these bad boys from Teradek - Vidiu
This will enable us to transmit a HD stream wirelessly over the 3G/4G network with just one operator! And if you have an iphone or ipad, you can monitor the feed locally too. (It will also stop Joel tripping over the cables!)

In a nutshell exciting times ahead for BB - please get in touch if you are interested in a chat about what we can do for your business, or look us up on Twitter

Enjoy the weekend and check back soon!

Garry


Sharjah Bound

altWarm sea, soft white sandy beaches and 30 degrees in the shade.......in November. Sound ideal? It did to us too, so when we were commissioned by Kamal Rijhwani, Director of Sales and Marketing at the Radisson Blu Resort Sharjah, to go and produce some new images and a virtual tour, we were delighted to say the least! We won the contract over a host of other local (to Sharjah) and international companies. We were told that what sealed the deal for us, was the quality of our work, our competitive pricing and our flexibility. BIG THANKS to Kamal for his selection!!
We set off from a cold Birmingham with the superb Emirates airlines and landed in Dubai to a very nice chap waiting with a sign board and an air conditioned car right outside. The short drive to the Resort was a great opportunity to see the sights (including the Burj Khalifa) and within half an hour we were settling into our Business Class room with a a fantastic sea view. Kamal and his team at the hotel were, simply.... fantastic. Everything was organised to perfection with a 3 page, timed shooting agenda, and the team were kept very busy arranging wedding set-ups, conference set-ups and everything else you can think of.
The food at the hotel is second to none (BIG THANKS to Tala - Executive Chef) for keeping us fuelled (and sometimes over-fuelled - who can resist a chocolate pudding?). I have to mention some other names including Ashraf, Walid, Nica, Charou, Saeed, and  who all helped make things run smoothly and Basel, the General Manager for his warm hospitality. Alas it was over too soon and in 4 days we had comleted the shoot with just 2 hours spare to hit the beach - a mighty fne 2 hours it was though. Many thanks and a big hello to everyone at the hotel and we hope one day, to return.
Please keep an eye on our website for the final results shortly!




The 4G Revolution

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Well its been a long time in the making but 4G is finally here....well almost. So why are we so excited about it? Let me give you a little background info. The streaming technology we rely on to transmit our video broadcasts has, up until now, been pretty much tied to a hardwired broadband connection or somewhere within range of a very good wifi signal. In short we need a good, fast internet connection to transmit the huge amounts of data that a video broadcast entails. And it's not a fast download we're interested in; it's the upload speed that counts for us i.e pushing data to the internet, not pulling from it. Traditionally 3G upload speed were about 0.3mbps - not really enough to shove all that data back to the internet and deliver a useable video stream. Now 4G speeds of 5-8mbps are being touted (drool...).

We use T-Mobile for our mobile telephony and data. They have now become one with Orange and are phasing in a new venture called Everything Everywhere or EE for short. They have just upgraded us to a newer version of 3G bumping our upload speed from 0.4mbps to 2 mbps - more than enough for a HD video stream where the signal is good. 4G will bring us even more later this year!

So if you need a multicam, live HD broadcast from a field in the middle of nowhere, you know where to come!

In other news we are delighted to have been invited back to Hartsholme Academy for another year of filmmaking workshops with the super-enthusiastic children. Not only that but we have been asked to set up a TV studio at the school, and start Radio production training too. We really are raring to go and are looking forward to a great Autumn/Winter term, thanks to the head Carl Jarvis and his top team! We are looking at starting a regular TV and Radio show from the school and hopefully spread this out to other schools in the area next year.

If you know of a school that might like to look at doing something similar, please get in touch; we'd love to hear from you!



Wahey - it's our Birthday!!!!

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Well, how did that happen? 365 days packed into a month, or thats how its felt! A great year for Buzz Box with new clients such as Holiday Inn, The National Trust, Colin McFarlane Produtions, BDL Hotels, Hartsholme Academy and My Heritage to name but a few. Later this year we will be working with Radisson Blu too so we're a bit chuffed to say the least. This isn't going to be a long blog about us, because its all about you, our supporters and clients so a MASSIVE thanks to all of you and as for the next 52 weeks....BRING IT ON!



School Buzz!

altBack to school for us and this time we're looking forward to it. After filming part of the Making History documentary last year at Hartsholme Academy in Lincoln, we were lucky enough to get to know the one-man-dynamo of a Head, Carl Jarvis. Carl and his amazing staff (or team as he prefers) are working hard for his academy to become a centre of excellence and was therefore keen for his pupils to gain skills in extra-curricular (see we are learning the terminology already) subjects such as film making. Enter Buzz Box stage left. Following a recent meeting with Carl we were asked to go into school on a regular basis and teach film making to the kids (yay...we can finally be amongst people with a similar sense of humour). We have also purchased new equipment for the school to set up a small TV studio, from which we will soon be broadcasting regular TV style shows to other schools and the local community via the internet. It really is a dream come true for us and we are told we have a very excited group waiting for us when we start with yr5 this Friday. We chose Friday as this is their regular World Of Work (WOW) afternoon, where the children learn all about and run their own businesses - (The entrepreneur in me thinks hmmm.......maybe we can learn a thing or two from them, whereas the cynic in me says....be careful Garry...these kids are smart, I can see a takeover coming on!!). Seriously though, BIG thanks to Carl for allowing us to no doubt cause mayhem around the school from this day on...no-one will be safe from the lens.
Here's an excerpt from Hartsholme Academys website which we think sums it up very nicely:

Hartsholme Academy is an exhilarating place! We were graded ‘Outstanding’ by OFSTED in 2011, describing us as having ‘taken up the pursuit of excellence!’ We want all our children to feel happy and secure in school and every effort is made by all the staff to create a happy atmosphere where each child is shown respect and care, allowing them to develop their personalities. We strive to create a learning environment where every child is able to reach their full potential and achieve the highest of standards. The staff at Hartsholme, are caring, dedicated and experienced! They try to achieve the very best from your child, whether it be educationally, morally, spiritually or physically. The fulfilment of this aim will be seen in the children, who will be well behaved, respectful, have good manners and have an excellent attitude to work. We have just moved into our new 4.5 million pound state-of –the-art school building. The vision for this new building encompassed one priority; that it would be designed with the children’s learning opportunities at its centre. We wanted a building that would match our amazing curriculum; one that would be inspiring, enlightening young minds and opening up alternative possibilities and ways of thinking.  We feel that we have succeeded in this vision and beyond! The ethos of the school is built around three words; Respect, Empowerment and Belief. These three words are connected to everything we do at school; ensuring that every child reaches their own personal goals and most importantly their potential.  It is our aim that every child is able to look back on their time at Hartsholme Academy with affection and pride, having the confidence to achieve anything in their future life.
Carl Jarvis - Head Teacher

Boy, have we got a lot to live up to!!!!!!!!!


Off to the Workhouse!

altGruel and grindstone - that's our fate next week. Well, ok not literally, but we will be working with the National Trust for the 10th Birthday celebrations at the Workhouse in Southwell, Nottinghamshire. Rachel Harrison, Property Operations Manager at the Workhouse has commissioned us cover the event with a short film and photography of the day. We are delighted to become a National Trust Approved Supplier and looking forward to the events on the day, which will include an elevated group photo of 250 people, and video of the award ceremnony and planting of a time capsule. As most of the events will be taking place outside in the beautiful gardens at the property, everyone here has everything crossed for sunshine! Our footage and images will also be used on the NT website to promote the property and we will be doing all we can to help and support the venue.
Here's the official press release from the National Trust Press Office:

Anniversary celebrations at The Workhouse, Southwell begin in earnest on 13 March 2012 which marks 10 years to the day since the property first opened its doors to the public. Saved from the threat of development into residential flats by timely intervention by the National Trust, the property has since been visited by more than 350,000 people.

Over 250 specially invited volunteers and staff, past and present, will be attending a birthday party to be held on the day. Dame Fiona Reynolds DBE, Director-General of the National Trust, will be presenting 40 volunteers with long-service awards. ‘Without our volunteers we would not be able to run The Workhouse; they bring it to life for our visitors through their research, expertise and enthusiasm,’ says Rachel Harrison, Property Operations Manager. ‘We are delighted that Dame Fiona Reynolds has been able to join us to acknowledge the vital contribution made by our volunteers’.

‘From research to room guiding there are over 15 different volunteer roles to suit all interests and new ones are always being created ’ says Annette Hambidge, herself a volunteer who mixes the contrasting roles of volunteer recruiter with that of costumed Matron on living history days. ‘Volunteering here is such a rewarding experience’, adds John Twelftree, ‘in my ten years at The Workhouse I’ve had a go at most roles but mainly give guided tours. I enjoy the challenge of adapting to the needs of different groups to help them to get the most from their visit. The support we are given by staff and other volunteers gives the place a real sense of community.’

To mark the 10 year anniversary Dame Fiona Reynolds will be burying a time capsule which will record how the Trust has developed the site during its first decade of custodianship. It will contain a range of items including a photo of staff and volunteers, copy of the audio guide, events leaflet and gruel bowl from the shop.

Visitors this season will be able to see the old drying room which Dame Fiona will be opening, not by cutting the customary ribbon but rather a washing line resplendent with pauper aprons and ‘unmentionables’.  The paupers will be performing some tales with a laundry theme and singing a special wash-day song.

Look out for a number of special events which will be happening to celebrate the anniversary year, in addition to the many of the regular favourites like Graft, Gruel and Good-for-Nothings days. Please see the website: www.nationaltrust.org.uk/theworkhouse  for more details.

BFI Buzz!

Well, what a busy month December was for us! Loads of filming for the Making History project, along with editing and preparation for the finale at the British Film Institute (BFI) Southbank. On the 14th December our films, along with stories put together by the students form the 5 schools on the project, were screened at the BFI. As seems to be the norm in these fly-on-the-wall type documentaries, editing was taken right to the wire, with the last film finished by our editors at 4am on the day of screening!! Special thanks go to Chris, Rich and Jonny for their dedication to get the editing finished.

The day ended with a prize giving of Ipods for the students, presented by Dr Nick Barratt (TV - Who Do You Think You Are) and Laurence Harris of our principal sponsor, My Heritage. The following reception thronged with a very real sense of acievement by the students and team, in what they had gained from the project.

It was a very moving experience for the invited audience, with some very interesting discoveries and stories coming to light. Come back soon to see the short video we filmed of the days events.

Even more exciting for us, is that this is just phase one. We are already planning for the next phase in spring with some interesting twists!