Year: 2014

Happy Hour’s first UK feature film release: The Allies Premiere

Posted in: Feature Films

 Allies-film-premiere-1

This weekend the Happy Hour team headed up to Derby for the premiere of Allies, the Second World War action film on which we carried out all of the post-production work – from 172 VFX shots, to colour grading, to the full 5.1 sound mix.

The film was directed by Derby-born British Director Dominic Burns with most of the principal filming taking place in Derbyshire’s Peak District, so the East Midlands city was the obvious choice to kick off the Allies general release.

Allies-premiere-cast

The Happy Hour team were joined at the premiere by the majority of the film’s cast and crew, including the Director and most of Allies lead actors, including Chris Reilly (Game Of Thrones, Silent Witness), Steve Hartley (The Bill, Ripper Street) and Edmund Kingsley (Hugo, The Borgias).

One cast member present who drew a fair share of the attention was Matt Willis who plays Private Billy Munns in the film. Willis is arguably most famous for being a member of supergroup McBusted and was accompanied to the showing by his wife, television and radio presenter Emma Willis.

Allies-film-premiere-2

Allies is a compelling story about putting aside differences, overcoming impossible odds and the intense friendships forged in the heat of battle. It was great to finally see all the hard work that went into producing the film pay off on the big screen and the whole gang here at Happy Hour are immensely proud of our first major UK feature release.

Allies is available from November 3rd on DVD from major retailers such as Amazon, HMV, Tesco, Sainsbury’s, iTunes, LoveFilm and Amazon Prime.

allies-film-premiere-3

 

To find out more about the post production work we do here at Happy Hour check out our Post Production page or feel free to send us an email or give us a call on 0117 929 9797.

Happy Hour creates the latest Toolstation DRTV Campaign

Posted in: DRTV

We’re following up last year’s amazingly successful Direct Response TV (DRTV) marketing campaign for Toolstation, with two more ads for the hardware giant.

The new ads aim to drive sales online and in branches by highlighting the many beneficial uses of the Toolstation catalogue. The director, Michael Wright, said “We used a very straight, traditional presenter style ad, but added a strong twist of humour. So hopefully we’ve delivered all the brand’s core messages, while making the ads engaging and memorable – and showing that Toolstation don’t take themselves too seriously!”

Each of the commercials starts with a customer (an upper class mum in one, a building site foreman in the other) talking direct to camera about all the benefits of shopping with Toolstation. These benefits include their catalogue containing over 11,000 items, their cheap prices and free delivery on orders over £10. The choice of subjects reflects the range and diversity of customers the retailer serves – both homeowners and professional builders, from a variety of backgrounds.

Both ads end with a comedic twist where the stars find an amusing secondary use for their Toolstation catalogue as a motivational tool to encourage others to get on with some work. This neatly feeds into the tagline: “Toolstation – a lot more than tools.”

Watch the ads below:

Nicola Tyler from Happy Hour said: “We just love working with Toolstation. As a challenger brand, they let us have a lot of fun with the tone of the commercials and as a result we’re really doing something different in the sector. That in turn is delivering quantifiable success for Toolstation, which we’re very proud to be a part of.”

One of the UK’s largest suppliers of tools, hardware and accessories, Toolstation have over 160 branches around the country and significant sales online. The trade and DIY supplier has experienced rapid growth since it began trading in 2003 and is now one of the leading brands in its sector. A wholly owned subsidiary of the Travis Perkins plc group since 2011, Toolstation is one of the group’s most successful ventures.

Happy Hour Productions have years of experience developing and running successful DRTV marketing campaigns. We’ve worked with everyone from multi-million pound companies to new start-ups, so if you’re looking for a way to boost your business, get in touch today by email or call us on 0117 929 9797.

Dave Gorman’s Modern Life is Goodish Gets an Updated Title Sequence from Happy Hour Productions

Posted in: Animation

A second series of Dave Gorman’s critically-acclaimed comedy show, Modern Life is Goodish, will begin airing on DAVE this month. Each episode will kick-off with an animated title sequence expertly put together by the team here at Happy Hour.

The six-part series will go out on Tuesday nights at 10pm from the 9th of September. It features Dave Gorman’s trademark brand of irreverent wit and weirdness as he pokes light-hearted fun at the “misinformation and nonsense we have to wade through daily in this technologically advanced, wonderful – yet flawed – world of ours.”

Happy Hour produced the animated title sequence for the first series of Modern Life is Goodish, so when the show got re-commissioned for a second and third series, we were delighted to be called in to update our work for series two.

The titles feature an animated paper-cut out version of Dave making his way through a paper world filled with various obstacles representing the challenges of modern life. Changes for series two include switching the setting from day to night, a revamped theme tune and a more dramatic ending as Paper Dave narrowly avoids being crushed by collapsing scenery.

Working from the client’s brief, we storyboarded, designed and animated the title sequence using 3D animation software. The end result is a single shot, packed full of character that effectively communicates both the tone and subject matter of the show. One of the key challenges was getting Paper Dave to accurately reflect the personality of the real, flesh and blood, Dave. To achieve this we spent a lot of time working on getting Paper Dave’s facial expressions exactly right. Take a look at the results below.

Dave Gorman is a stand-up comedian, author and television presenter perhaps best known for his previous shows (and accompanying books) Are You Dave Gorman? and Dave Gorman’s Googlewhack Adventure. The idea for Modern Life is Goodish grew out of his recent stage show Dave Gorman’s Powerpoint Presentation.

Happy Hour are one of the UK’s leading animation production companies, having worked on TV commercials, adverts, corporate videos, and brand films for a whole range of household names.

To find out more about our animation production services, please send us an email or call us on 0117 929 9797.

Dave Gorman – Modern Life is Goodish Series 2 – Opening Titles from Happy Hour Productions on Vimeo.

Happy Hour Launches A Global TV Campaign for Amira – with a literal Splash!

Posted in: TV Adverts

Happy Hour Productions has produced a new global TV ad campaign for Amira Nature Foods. Released earlier this month, the advert focuses on showcasing the quality of Amira’s premium rice brand.

Amira is a major international producer of basmati rice and other Indian snacks and oils, all of which are sourced as naturally and sustainably as possible. Fairtrade and corporate responsibility, along with a strong reputation for high quality products, are at the heart of the brand. After a dramatic splash, the commercial shows a gentle swirl of swimmers in white who drift under the water like gently cooking grains of rice. The scene gives way to a close up of freshly cooked rice tumbling onto a plate.

The underwater footage was filmed at Pinewood Studios in their underwater stage by veteran cinematographer Mike Valentine. Mike is reknowned for his underwater sequences, having filmed underwater sequences on Hollywood blockbusters  such as Skyfall, Pirates of the Carribean and The Bourne Ultimatum. As such he was the natural choice for lighting and filming the clear, crisp footage needed to represent both the superior quality and purity of Amira’s rice products, and the prestige of their well-established brand.

Mike Valentine is almost uniquely placed to get the very best shots from any filming undertaken at Pinewood’s underwater stage, as his experience and reputation led to him being consulted during the design process.

Happy Hour produced the commercial from start to finish, completing all the audio and video post-production at their Bristol based facility house.

The advert went live this month, and can be seen below.

If you’re interested in tv commercial production to represent your brand and products, get in touch with Happy Hour on 0117 929 9797.

Amira TVC from Happy Hour Productions on Vimeo.

Happy Hour produces the latest in our Animal Friends TV Ad Series

Posted in: Animation, DRTV, TV Adverts

Happy Hour Productions are pleased to announce the latest in our popular series of stop motion TV adverts for Animal Friends Pet Insurance. This is the sixth advert in our Animal Friends campaign, which has been running successfully for the last four years.

The campaign follows the adventures (and misadventures) of Girlie the cat and Cracker the dog, offering a humorous insight into the types of insurance Animal Friends offer and the great work they do supporting animal charities around the world. The use of stop frame animation has allowed us to pack each ad with a ton of character while easily whisking our animal stars around the globe – allowing them to visit a friendly Moon Bear in Asia and a cheeky baby elephant in Africa, all without leaving the studio.

The latest advert finds Girlie and Cracker at the vet’s following clumsy Cracker’s mishap with a treadmill. Thanks to Animal Friends, Cracker’s been fixed up with a cast for his leg and a (rather unwelcome) cone around his neck. Unfortunately for Cracker, his foolish attempts to shake off the cone soon land him in even worse trouble.

Animal Friends is an award-winning company started in 1998 by Elaine Fairfax as a way to raise money for various charitable causes. Offering cover for cats, dogs and horses, they also support 297 different charities and have donated over £1.7million to good causes so far.

Nicola Tyler at Happy Hour said: “AFI are a great, creative company to work with; since advertising on TV they’ve seen over a 155% increase in new business and response is up 80% over previous years. We hope to see the same cracking results from the latest ad as we have done in the past.”

Animal Friends are just one of the many companies Happy Hour work with on TV commercial production. To find out how our award-winning team can help promote your brand, get in touch by sending us an email or calling us on 0117 929 9797.   

Our latest Animal Friends ad is currently airing on terrestrial and digital channels or you can watch it below.

Animal Friends – Conehead 10% Percent Discount – 30s URL Only from Happy Hour Productions on Vimeo.

Happy Hour Produces New Comedy Feature Film

Posted in: Feature Films

Post-production has begun on Kicking Off, a new feature film being produced by Happy Hour Productions and Red Card Media.

The comedy centres around football fans Wigsy and Cliff who plot to kidnap a referee after a questionable decision on the pitch assigns their team to the relegation zone. After a nightmare season, the referee’s intervention in the final moments of the pivotal match pushes the fans to take drastic action to avenge the fate of their beloved home team.

The film has attracted attention from the national newspapers for featuring real-life football stars, including World Cup hero Sir Geoff Hurst. Sir Geoff famously scored the hat-trick that secured England’s World Cup victory in 1966, and remains the only person to have scored a hat-trick in any World Cup final. Gary Lineker’s wife Danielle also stars in what the Daily Mail called a ‘stunning’ underwater dream sequence. Danielle overcame her fear of going underwater to create the scenes in which she sinks underwater in a bridal gown. The footballing cameos are a treat for dedicated football fans, but the comedy elements ensure that Kicking Off will also appeal to a wider audience. Actors Warren Brown and Greg McHugh also star as the kidnappers Wigsy and his reluctant accomplice Cliff.

Happy Hour is best known for its work on TV commercial production and animation production, but has been branching out to work on more feature length films. Kicking Off is the fourth film that Happy Hour has produced or co-produced, other feature films in progress include World War Two film Allies, Psychological thriller ‘The Haunting of Ellie Rose’ and ‘Feed the Devil’, a horror film shot in Canada, as well as several other films that are still in their pre-production stages. Animation sequences and commercials are still at the core of Happy Hour’s work, with new TV commercials being worked on such as the 666Bet.com commercials which star another football legend Harry Redknapp in a campaign which is well placed to take full advantage of this year’s World Cup.

Kicking Off is due for release in early 2015.

666Bet.com appoints Happy Hour for TV campaign World Cup launch

Posted in: TV Adverts

Happy Hour has been appointed to produce a TV advertising campaign for the launch of new online betting site 666Bet.com, which specialises in sports and casino betting. The brand is looking to make a high-profile entry into the UK market, with Harry Redknapp as their frontman.

The ads depict a series of comedy moments between footballing legend Harry Redknapp and his ‘agent’, played by Vas Blackwood of Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels fame.

Tom George, owner of Happy Hour said “it’s great to see a brand being brave in this market – the creative is really funny, and we got the best out of Harry and Vas in terms of performance. We know the ads will have great cut-through in a cluttered market and 666Bet will be well positioned to take advantage of the World Cup this year.”

The ads are directed by Jason Edwards and are currently airing on terrestrial and digital channels.

You can watch the ads here:

Also view:
666Bet – The Costume – Matched Deposit

If you would like to find out more about our TV commercial production experience or would like to talk to us about your own advertising needs then do give us a call on 0117 929 9797 or get in touch here

Announcement: Multi Award Winning Director Mark Lawrie Joins Happy Hour

Posted in: Team News

We are delighted to announce a new member to the Happy Hour team, internationally renowned director Mark Lawrie. He has led a fascinating career, spanning a multitude of genres from music videos and theatre to feature length films and award winning TV commercials.

As a company that prides itself on world class TV commercial production, we’re always looking to bring in people at the peak of the industry. Tom George, Owner of Happy Hour says “We are delighted to have Mark joining us on our roster of talented TV commercial directors. Mark’s work immediately grabbed us, he has an exceptional eye for comedy, and has a very impressive understanding of visual effects, all combined with a storytelling flair that has attracted big brands such as Coke, Pepsi, Ford, and Smirnoff. We are thrilled to have Mark join the team and add to our portfolio of talented directors. We look forward to a long collaboration together”.

Mark initially got into film as a photography student, filming local 8mm cult classics in Berlin and Barcelona. He then turned his inventive eye to the world of music videos, directing such historic moments as the “Rainbow Nation Concert” live in Johannesburg in 1991, attended by the late Nelson Mandela and Bishop Tutu.

His work with music videos has earned him several prestigious awards such as numerous OKTV Octave Awards and a Gold from the Emzimtoti Music Awards, as well as helping to launch the careers of many famous South African musicians.

He then moved on to directing commercials for TV and cinema at The Gladstone and then Velocity Films before moving to the UK in 2009 to pursue his career as a freelance director in both TV commercials and feature length films. Since then he has worked worldwide including countries such as France, Nigeria, Dubai, Czech Republic, Japan, USA and China amongst many other places whilst racking up awards. They are too numerous to mention but include Best Advert, Best Director and Best Campaign accolades from Cannes Lions,  London International Advertising Awards, New York Advertising Festival and the Directors Circle.

We hope this is set to continue as he becomes part of the Happy Hour commercial production team! Watch some of Mark’s past work on his director’s page featuring some of his best special effects and humour based TV commercials.

For more information on our TV commercial production check out the website, or give us a call on +44 (0)117 929 9797 for Bristol or +44 (0)20 7100 1320 for London, to discuss how we can help.

Another Happy Customer! An Interview with Enercon.

Posted in: Team News, Video Marketing

We spoke with Daniel Hughes over at Enercon about their experience of working with us. We wanted to find out why they decided to choose our ‘outstanding’ corporate video production and animation services. The answers we received were fantastic:

Daniel, why did you initially choose to work with Happy Hour?
We decided to work with Happy Hour predominantly because of the quality of their work. After meeting with their creative team we felt they clearly understand what we were trying to achieve and that they would be able to deliver it in an exciting and innovative way.

How have you found Happy Hour’s post production services?
The audio and video post production service has been brilliant. They never had a problem working to our tight deadlines, making any amendments at short notice and translating it into six different languages.

How have you used your new corporate video?
We’re using the corporate video in various ways – both online and offline. We’ve successfully used it in our social media campaigns, including on LinkedIn and Twitter, and it’s gained a lot of attention. It can also be found on our website and YouTube channel.
Offline, we’re using the corporate video on promotional USBs to hand out to customers, and it’s a key feature on our stand at trade exhibitions which catches the attention of passers-by.

Is there anything about your industry that usually proves difficult to market? How did Happy Hour work with you to find solutions?
Induction heat sealing and the science behind may not initially appear to be the most exciting or interesting topic, but from the start Tom and his team looked at the project with completely fresh eyes and helped transform what could have been a dull, technical corporate video into an absolutely stunning piece of promotional film.

Would you recommend Happy Hour’s production services to other companies?
We’d have no hesitation in recommending Happy Hour to other companies looking for corporate videos or other promotional videos. Working with them has been a great experience. The final film was beyond anything we had envisioned and the reaction we’ve had from customers has been even better.

As previously mentioned, induction heat sealing is not always exciting to people, but everyone at Happy Hour was incredibly enthusiastic, which was great to see. They produced a script which was compelling and powerful, and then matched it with an outstanding video production, that featured great looking footage and motion graphics animation. 

If you’re interested in any of our corporate video production services or if you have some further questions for us, please contact us on 0117 929 9797 or alternatively you can e-mail us at info@hhour.co.uk 

Producing DRTV ads: Behind the scenes at Happy Hour

Posted in: DRTV, Team News

DRTV ads are a great way to boost business and by utilising modern filming techniques, they’re becoming all the more impressive. We’ve been working on a series of DRTV ads for QuickQuid set in a laboratory complete with a mad scientist and special effects. They are great examples of how good DRTV ads can be, with an inventive concept and high production values. They go to prove that you don’t need to be salesy to be persuasive and this approach can end up giving a more familiar and positive feeling towards the company.

We’ve interviewed the producer of these commercials, Tamsin Wiley-Scott, known as Tiggy, about what goes into commercials like these to give you an idea of what you can expect from a high spec direct response advert with Happy Hour.

What is your role as a producer?

“First the client discusses the brief and objectives with Happy Hour and the DRTV team come up with concepts for the adverts. The route is then chosen and detailed scripts are written, which all get approved by the client and their legal team. Then it’s my job to make it happen! I ensure we have good actors, the right location and that everything is well organised so the work is done within budget and to schedule. People are always surprised by how many people are involved in the making of a commercial, but every crew member has a specific role – it could be all over the place if it wasn’t organised properly!”

How does it work on set with 3D animation and other computer generated effects that will be added later? How do you accommodate them?

“There is always a Technical Director on set to make sure we have everything we need for the editing process – and how the 3D animation and computer graphics will fit with the live action filming. They will always take lots of photos and use reflective items as a guide for lighting on set – they then know how to create the CG element so it blends perfectly in with its live action surroundings.

With the “Jet Pack” advert for QuickQuid, we used a lot of computer graphics – the actor is actually on a harness. When we cast for the part, all of the actors had to be comfortable with this work and the actor we chose had actually worked for a circus before.”

What is the casting process for a part like that?

“It was in the brief that they would have to be comfortable with aerial work, so a casting session was held in London. Actors went through a couple of rounds of call backs before we sent a selection to the client.”

This series was all shot in a bottle factory in Bristol. How do you go about finding the perfect location?

“I’ve been working in Bristol for a long time, so when it comes to finding a location that’s local, I often know the perfect place – but often we’ll use a Location Manager to find and recce locations that fit our brief, or if we really can’t find it we’ll build a set that’s fit for purpose.

I’ve worked at The Bottleyard before, so I knew it would work really well. There are still old bottles lying around which make it perfect for a laboratory. It’s a large space to work with so it’s very important to have a good art director to get it looking right.

For the latest laboratory series of adverts for QuickQuid, we only had one week to be on location. So with art direction, pre-light and de-rigging there was only 2 days of filming. In this time we shot the footage for four 30 second videos and four 10 second videos. This kind of fast turn-around would have been impossible without an experienced crew!”

The laboratory commercials are very light-hearted, do you think this is a good approach for DRTV?

“I think humour works really well because people like to be entertained. If they want to find out all of the details and facts about a company, they would visit their website. With a commercial people want to watch something they can enjoy.”

The new QuickQuid commercials will be airing on national and digital channels from 1st April.

We produce commercials in a variety of styles, always with original ideas that drive response. If you’d like to talk about your own DRTV commercial, give us a call on 0117 929 9797 or drop us an email info@hhour.co.uk