• Frederick Jewson | Oxford

Oxford City Council x Indie Oxford

Recently I worked alongside Independent Oxford to help produce a series of videos about some of their members. The videos focused on how each business dealt with the start of Covid, how they adapted and how they are aiming to continue to adapt and tackle the holiday season.


It was very meaningful to jump around all the businesses and hear their stories, personally, the Oxford business community has been very important to me and hearing the challenges certain indies had to overcome was very thought-provoking.


The production itself was very full on... We had one day and 10 businesses to film, each getting their own 3 min video! Typically we spend one whole day filming with a business, but here we needed to capture the stories of them all to get Oxford City Council's message across. This is where a formula comes into play, a set list of questions asked to each business and a series of similar shots to be captured at each business, all within about 30 mins per business!


Not only did we have some time constraints, we also had the challenges of social distancing. As we were going from one business to another I had to take extra measures to ensure the safety of those around me and those we were due to film next... We shot each interview in the most open space possible. This in itself posed a problem... noise!


We couldn't mic people up as that would involve passing equipment between multiple people and therefore posing a contamination risk. Instead, the microphone was mounted on top of the camera (there was no room for a boom op due to social distancing!). There's nothing wrong with popping the mic on the rig, I do it rather a lot for any "run and gun" work, although it does mean there will be a little more background noise than ideal. In this case, as we were filming each business owner in their respective premises, the background didn't pose too much of a problem... For some it even helped with adding a little atmosphere!


When it comes to lighting, I had to make do with what the location had to offer. Without having an assistant to help (social distancing), nor the time to set up lights, I had to rely on my skillset and knowledge to get the best natural lighting from each scene as possible. Thankfully, this is an area I'm extremely confident in. Obviously, having a lovely large soft light and a hair light would have been great, but in these circumstances I think I've managed to maximise how each interview could look!



Myself and the Indie Ox team managed to wrap up the shoot with perfect timing - which was really rather impressive! Needless to say, the day went very well and all those involved did a terrific job. The only thing left was to edit all that footage... in the same amount of time...


It was a real pleasure to help share the stories of these indie businesses and to help give a little back to the local community.