Web & Social
Since the Covid pandemic we’ve made a number of recruitment films for various NHS health boards – it was a humbling experience to work with NHS nurses in London.
We worked with Cardiff and Bristol-based advertising agency, SBW, to produce one hero film and four hub films for Barts Health Board in London, aimed at recruiting more critical care nurses. The concept of the hero film was to hear real nurses’ voices over portrait shots and footage of them at work on their wards.
Although none of these films were intended to act as television commercials, we wanted to put as much of the budget as we could on screen, which meant hiring in the same high-end camera and lenses as we would for a commercial.
This kind of equipment generally calls for a larger crew, but we had to keep ours to an absolute minimum for this shoot, not only for the budget’s sake but also due to the nature of filming in real hospitals – you just can’t cart a large film crew around a working hospital during the tail end of a pandemic.
We also needed to be nimble; nurses are busy people so we had to shoot when and where we could. We’d set up for our interviews and wait on tenterhooks for our nurses to arrive, only to find out they’d been called to an emergency. Understandably, this is part of the day-to-day when working with on-duty NHS staff.
The other major challenge of shooting in London hospitals was the scale of the city: shooting in two hospitals a day, for two days, plus travel between locations and loading in and out of the hospitals meant every second counted – luckily our combined experiences of documentary filmmaking allowed us to be quick to respond and find time-efficient creative solutions.
As we made a number of films for this project, we split post-production between editors, with one editor tackling the hero film and the other working on the four hub films. The SBW creative team wanted the hub films to have a “story book” feel and start with a photo album opening to reveal moving pictures of the nurses and their hospital.
Despite the challenges of working in real hospitals in London with only a small crew, talking with the nurses was a humbling experience and we feel privileged to have been involved in this project for the NHS.