Staff training days can only be a good thing

This week Michael, Laura and I took a break from the office and spent a day doing some training at a TV Presenter Taster Day.

Michael Learning

Now, while we may not have any immediate aspirations to be a TV presenter, it was clear from the outset that improving presentation skills would benefit us all, and with this particular course there was the added benefit of us experiencing first hand what many of our clients go through when they are stood in front of the camera.

The course was held by the good people at 01zero-one and presented by Tony Hindhaugh from The TV Training Academy

The day was split into three main sections, a piece to camera, auto-cue and co-presenting. As the day went on it was great to see the confidence of the whole group grow and give some surprisingly professional performances.

On TV Combo

Individual learning aside though, the main thing that I took away from this session was the importance of seeing your colleagues in an environment outside of their comfort zone. At work, we all know each others strengths and weaknesses, but in a different environment you discover new things about each other, some insecurities, but also lots of strengths that you never knew were there and can be brought back into the workplace. Michael was able to knock up a script in less than five minutes and then co-present with someone he had just met. It turned out to be both very funny and also flawlessly delivered!

Michael Duo 001

So, if you’re thinking about doing any training days for your staff, just go for it. You will undoubtedly discover things you never knew and be able bring all of the experiences back into the business. Let’s not forget, it’s ALOT of fun too!

Security, Software and Sustainability… How Rivo Sofware works

Rivo Software called us up having seen some of our previous work. They liked the fluidity of our animation, and wanted to work with us. However, they only saw our clip because one of our team had a shared contacted on LinkedIn. So LinkedIn really works as a way of generating new business.

So if you have a moment to watch the clip, and if you like it, share it with you connections. You never know it might win us another job! And there’s a bottle of champagne to anyone who introduces us to a new client!

What’s interesting about this clip is that we’re using more and more 3D in what looks essentially 2D. Small bits like the cylindrical bits on the spinning globe, the Rivo wave itself, are all made in 3D. They really make the animation fly.

So if you want a software solution to help you manage your safety, security and sustainability, click on the link below to find out more about Rivo Software!

And you can follow us on LinkedIn here.

Why animation is like tapas…

Using animation as a medium for telling a business story, whether that’s for a corporation or an SME, is liberating. You can pretty much create what you want, there’s no limitation on what you can create digitally. You can have a cast of thousands, or jet to the moon – whatever is going to get your point across, with few ‘real world’ constraints you’d have to confront if you tried to film the same scenes. 

However, this doesn’t mean that animation is without its complications when it comes to the financials. I’ve been trying to think of an analogy for how filming compares to animation when it comes to budget spend. And it was only after cooking a few too many dishes from this great Spanish cook book that it occurred to me that filming is like a three-course meal, whereas animation is more like tapas. Let me explain. 

On filming projects, the budget is spent on three key areas. Pre-production is the ‘starter’ a relatively small dish to ensure that your appetite is prepared for the main course. Filming is usually the most substantial part of a project, like the main course of the meal. You’ll need a lot of crew, a studio, cast, all coming together for a great couple of days’ filming. With a main course, once you’ve ordered it, you don’t usually go back for more. You just make do with what you’ve got on your plate, which in any good restaurant is ample enough. With filming, you take the footage you’ve filmed and work it as best you can. Then you have the dessert course, the post-production. While this can still clock up some hours and cost, it’s more contained, and spending easier to predict. 

With animation, it’s more like a wonderful selection of tapas. Rather than the ‘big event dish’ of the filming days, the pre-production merges into production, with each iteration of the sequence improving in quality. And as you go along, new ideas pop into your head, adding another 15 secs of animation here, a more complex movement build there. And like when you start ordering all those delicious dishes at the tapas restaurant, before you know it, crockery is scattered across the table, and the bill’s over £50 a head.

We help our clients manage their spend by starting with a storyboard, so we get the broad ideas down in still form. Next, we do a simple animatic, a dummy voice over read with simple static images We use some stock images so we can try concepts to see if they work without spending a lot of time designing artwork that might not make the final cut.

We then deliver versions of the project, using a world-class video review software. This allows all those involved to make and respond to comments, prompting discussion and moving the project forward swiftly and with a clear consensus on what changes are to be made.

We also try and be generous to our clients, and not watch the clock too closely. After all, we know how easy it is to tuck into those patatas bravas… 






LinkedIn to remove all product and services pages – and with them the chance to get recommended for your work

We’ve been developing our company presence on LinkedIn for the last six months or so. A really useful feature was the products and services section, where you could list what you do, and clients could give you a recommendation. This might be a simple acknowledgement, similar to a ‘like’ on facebook, or the person could leave some kind words. These really helped us when people looked at these pages, as they gave ‘social validity’ to our work.

The products and services pages are being replaced by Showcase pages. These seem to have essentially the same functionality as the company page, but they’re designed for a sub-brand. That’s fine if you’re Microsoft, and want a showcase page for Office, that makes sense. However, as a small company, we’re lucky is someone follows us on LinkedIn. The likelihood of us gathering a decent following for a showcase page for, say, our Whiteboard animations is slim. Even if we do, there’s no simple mechanism to get a clear recommendation.

I understand LinkedIn has to keep evolving, but removing the ability to simply make a recommendation of a company’s work is shortsighted. You go on LinkedIn to see which people or companies your network is recommending. Without our products and services pages, we can’t show that.

So before they get deleted on April 14th, here are the recommendations our various products and services have received:

Bonnie Chung said:

We worked with Napoleon Creative to bring to life a company tasting session, through a short film. The team were really friendly, understood the brief quickly and executed on schedule. They did not need a lot of creative direction, and delivered a really impressive video that captured the energy and culture of our company perfectly. We screen the film at every pitch meeting, and it has been very effective in engaging our audience with our values and impact on our customers.

Will Kemble-Clarkson said:

These chaps are genius. We asked Napoleon to create an animation to explain a very complicated product in a simple, smart and entertaining way. Not only did they do it, they did it on the first go. Brilliant.

Kate Walker said:

Gavin and his team did a great job for us on an animation for a kids channel, JimbleJam.

Sally King said:

Lewis and the team delivered a number of animated graphics for Sky Living’s “The Spa”. The standard of work was exceptionally high and looked amazing on screen. The programs used were quick and easy to operate and most importantly, looked authentic on the show. I would definitely recommend Napoleon Creative to other shows and wish them continued success in the future.


Three ways to share your Video on LinkedIn

How do I share my video on LinkedIn?

This is a question we often get asked by our clients at Napoleon Creative. After all, together we’ve worked hard to create a great video, so it’s good to share it in as many ways as possible.

  • You can the video share it to your LinkedIn audience
  • You can add the video it to the contacts section of your LinkedIn profile
  • Or you can embed the video in the body of your LinkedIn profile

Here’s a short presentation that shows you how to share your video on LinkedIn.

A decisive step by the BBC towards gender equality?

Last week, Danny Cohen (the BBC director of TV) declared that the corporation would stop producing entertainment shows such as QI and Mock The Week with men-only panels. This brings a whole world of opportunities for women comedians, subject specialists and journalists.

During the same week Eléonore Pourriat’s ‘oppressed majority’, a feminist film depicting a world of inverted gender roles, went viral on YouTube and received almost 7 million hits in less than 2 weeks. It would seem that the issue of gender representation is at the forefront of the media conscience and it got us thinking about how we deal with these issues at Napoleon Creative.

Diversity of representation is really important to us when we are creating our videos. A good example of this the film we did for the Capgemini’s t-Police  offering last year. To illustrate the product, which is used by forces in the States and across Europe, we created graphics based on photos of real police people in action.

After revising our original animation we realised that virtually no women were being represented, because there were so few women in the photo sources. So we replaced some male figures with female ones.

Original animation:

CG Police Section 2 v4

Final animation:

CG Police Section 2 v1

We also decided to give our existing women a more active and authoritative role, as you can see below, she makes the transition from being the passive listener to being the one giving the information.

Original animation:

What if?

Final animation:

CG Police Nick Part 3


This t-Police video is an example of how sometimes at NC we choose to represent the ideal through our work, rather than showing the often unequal reality. Hopefully Danny Cohen’s actions at the BBC and an increased interest in videos like ‘oppressed majority’ are good indicators that we are starting to shift towards this.