Case Study Films – using real people’s stories

By September 18, 2015best charity video

Case study films are a big part of charities video output but sometimes they’re not as creative as they might be… these films all show how you can make really personal stories that are watchable and warm. And they avoid relying on ‘talking heads’…

1. LAST WORDS: British Heart Foundation

Beautiful visuals and devastatingly precise storytelling make this film a masterclass in using real stories.

This film from the British Heart Foundation tells the story of the last words people spoke to someone who died from heart disease. It’s made up from 4 or 5 individual case histories and what’s really clever about the film is that each contributor tells us a little bit about the person who died, along with clever use of home video or family pics, so that we really feel we get to know the person who died. Only then do they share their last words. Very moving and very well done.

 

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2. ASHLEY’S STORY: Macmillan Cancer Support

A fresh and compelling insight into the effects of cancer that shows what’s possible with planning and creativity.

What’s striking about this film from Macmillan (made by Kartoffel Films) is the effort that’s been put into planning the visuals: it’s not simply a ‘talking head’ video. As Ashley explains the impact cancer has had on his life we see images that help to show that – so when he’s talking about family life, we see his family, or when he’s talking about the effect on his business, we see shots of him at work. They’ve also put effort into shooting a lovely sequence of Ashely and his son cycling and chatting. None of it is tricky to do but this is well planned and done with a light touch.

 

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3. ASHLEY’S STORY – WAITING FOR A TRANSPLANT: Cystic Fibrosis Trust

This films shows how to deal with the challenges of shooting with someone who may be ill and immobile.

Sometimes it’s a challenge to make a case study film because the condition of the contributor makes it very hard to do anything other than shoot a simple interview. This film from the Cystic Fibrosis Trust gets round the challenge by filming Ashley in her home with her husband and child and makes great use of family pictures. The stand out scene for me is the sequence of Ashley putting on her oxygen mask – it’s an eloquent and visual and shows  exactly what her life is like.

 

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london video production companyJeremy Jeffs is a documentary film maker with 15 years experience of directing films for BBC, Channel 4, National Geographic and PBS. He’s recently finished work on a history of China, with broadcaster Michael Wood and his recent feature documentary, Bette Bourne, was shown at the London Film Festival, Sheffield International Documentary Festival and the V&A. More about Jeremy

london video producersMagneto Films is an award winning production company that specialises in working with the charity sector, not-for-profits and the public sector. We specialise in telling real stories, working with casestudies and real people to make films that move people to action. More about Magneto Films

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