Rebranding film for The Principal Edinburgh Charlotte Square

In-house filmmakers Diego Almazán and Juan Martos were asked to produce a video for the formerly Roxburghe hotel on the lead up to its rebranding. Here we discuss some of the intricacies of the production.

Bridge IV Films. Rebranding a firm must present some challenges. What was the message that the client wanted to send across and what type of audience did they have in mind?

Juan. The Roxburghe, now The Principal hotel, asked us to make an internal video for their employees so that they could screen it as part of their ‘Team Appreciation Week’ as well as using it for inductions and other training purposes. More than a message I would say that they wanted to cultivate a sense of belonging among the staff. The challenge was the timeframe and adapting to the changing circumstances of a face-paced environment such as theirs. Luckily we are up for challenges!

BIVF. On this particular project efficient time management was essential. Can you tell us how did you approach a project with such short notice? (In terms of shooting days, editing, pre and post production)

J. The delivery deadline was a week from start to completion. The project implied working long hours to meet deadlines, maintaining fruitful conversations with stakeholders before, during and after the process, re-scheduling and re-shooting until we had everything we needed for the edit. As a matter of fact, we started editing in between shoots to save up time and have a clear picture of what was missing.

BIVF. Elaborate on how you established the narrative structure of the film having the client's brief as a starting point. Also, can you elaborate on the exploration of the space through the characters?

J. As I mentioned earlier, emphasis was put on the value of teamwork and cultivating a sense of belonging among the staff. Our aim was to establish a coherent narrative with strong visual elements that would enhance these elements, so we took the brief and the week’s schedule and opted for fictionalising a client to navigate through the spaces mixing it with actual footage of the events. In this way we not only honour the ‘appreciation week’ and shared moments among the staff, but also showcase the beauty of the premises with precision. The characters, the client as well as the employees, serve as a the guiding thread to the emblematic rooms of the hotel; well conveyed by Diego’s low-angle wide steadicam moves.

BIVF. Discuss what technical decisions were made given the tight schedule of this project.

J. On my experience filmmaking requires a good degree of problem-solving skills. I would even go as far as to say that adaptability is the primary skill to have. You go to the film shoot with the homework done, but you have to be ready to give it all up and work with what you have. In this case, we had to adapt to changing priorities such as staff with limited time to attend our petitions or talent not showing up. These are the usual challenges of working in fast-paced environments. Acknowledging the situation helps to come up with creative solutions rather than feeling frustrated or discouraged. We had one instance in which we could not film everything we had planned. We went to the office, checked the rushes, identified what was missing and went back in the best possible light conditions to re-shot the scene and even develop it further. Had we not have a set back, the result wouldn’t have been as good.

BIVF. Can you talk about how efficient the film was once screened? The fact that this was a private corporate film with a very brief lifespan probably does not allow for much follow up.

J. We are aware that the film was appreciated among the staff and certainly the client was satisfied to the point of suggesting an online launch to reach wider audiences. For what we know, the video achieved its purpose by uniting the team on the lead up to the rebranding and that fills up with pride. On a side note, we filmed enough as to adapt the video or parts of it for online content and that possibility is still under consideration.