220 years in the making - video brings Ordnance Survey to life

Screen Shot 2015-07-28 at 16 27 44It’s easy to do what’s expected, to take the simple option.

But by instead challenging and following that strange, fizzy tummy feeling you might end up with some of your greatest work.

That’s exactly what happened when we were asked to create a video for Ordnance Survey (OS).

We were briefed to create an inspirational video to launch the new OS logo. It had to improve brand understanding by explaining to staff and business partners how and why the face of OS is changing to reflect its continuing evolution into a modern, fast-moving information business that is about more than paper maps.

Specifically, the video had to highlight OS’s new digital focus while simultaneously reminding viewers of its founding heritage and experience: a combination highly relevant to the ongoing challenges of day-to-day living and business.

OS warned us this was a challenge. They didn’t want any old corporate video - luckily, we didn’t want to make one.

We grasped that challenge with glee. We had an idea, and a good one at that.

We proposed having a central character effectively walking through time, using significant snapshots of the past to tell the 224-year story of OS, from early origins to high-tech present.

The running theme of the OS logo would be innovatively framed at each scene – on a book or a tea saucer, for instance – revealing both the pedigree and powerful development of the organisation though the centuries to benefit the general public, government and commercial organisations.

Great, right? The client thought so too!

But (and there’s always a but) we now had a month to deliver this ambitious project. With the brand launch just round the corner, we got our game faces on.

Work started in the first week of January to develop and agree, within days, both the script and storyboard. It took just 10 days to secure locations, extras, a main actor, costumes and props; this also included in-depth research to ensure accuracy and identify OS’s key milestones to feature in the film.

On top of this we also recruited OS staff to become extras in the video, cementing their role in the brand refresh and giving them a sense of ownership in a project that they helped to produce.

We’re not going to lie, it was hard work. We planned for two days' filming, so any location needed to be easily accessible in and around the immediate area.

Our first point of call was the National Trust. "They’ll have loads of old nik-naks we can use," we thought.

Wrong. January is pretty much when all National Trust properties are thoroughly cleaned.

But after a bit of gruelling research and multiple recces we had sourced the locations for every scene, ranging from a Georgian property to an old train.

We purposely went lightly-equipped so we could operate quickly and nimbly without consuming limited time and budget on set-up. This pace continued into the post-production stage with the first draft of the edit supplied five days after the first shoot.

The film was colour graded, with every scene getting its own look. All the sound was mixed and mastered and everything was set to a bespoke soundtrack.

The soundtrack was another tricky area; the film had so many different scenes, each with their own distinct feel. It was obvious off-the-shelf music would not do the job. So our sound designer got his teeth stuck into writing a piece of music that would work and evolve for every scene.

It was a tough month, but the final film was supplied ahead of deadline to ease OS’s brand launch workload.

The film has the highest number of views of all OS’s YouTube videos this year. Staff are delighted with the video and proud to use it in their own external presentations.

Melanie Osborne, Ordnance Survey Corporate Marketing Manager, said: “Yet again Remarkable have exceeded all expectations and have elevated an initial idea into something inspiring for all at OS.

“The video not only re-enforces and educates the historical journey OS has been on as a company and brand, but it also shows that we have always been pioneers and innovators and always embraced cultural and technical advances.

“This has inspired our staff, who are not only proud of the new branding but also proud to be part of the continual journey and investment for the future.”

So, take a look and let us know what you think....


Want to create great video content? Take a look at our video content at our video pages to get a snapshot of the types of video you could chose from.

Arthur Lewin  -  (1b) Arthur Lewin Head of Film

digital, Ordnance Survey, Remarkable Content, video, Brand, video marketing