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StepChange is an initiative that helps individuals and small businesses to make changes and upskill so they can be part of a fulfilling, productive and supportive work environment.

”It’s about providing the right support, whether someone is at the start of their working life, or getting close to retirement. It’s about addressing barriers associated with mental health, age or gender to create more opportunities.” – STEPCHANGE


With 9 businesses and organisations (Delivery Partners/DP) across two subject-areas (EWS – Employability Wellbeing Service and HWiW – Humber Women in the Workforce) to visit and capture across Hull and East Yorkshire, editing each one into a ‘case study’ and creating visual assets (images, animations and PowerPoint slides) for each individual Delivery Partner, ERYC requested that Astor take care of the full production.

We assigned one of our staff as a ‘remote producer’, enlisting them with the task of contacting each delivery partner and booking them in for a ‘filming slot’. With very little time, we had no choice but to have multiple shoots in one day for a total of about 2 weeks – this ‘bought us time’ which allowed us more time for editing.


Stepchange BTS_2.3.1

In a span of merely 4 weeks, the team at Astor planned, shot – at multiple locations throughout East Yorkshire – edited, reviewed and delivered a suite of case studies covering the two sectors ”Employability Wellbeing Service” and ”Humber Women In the Workforce” – to then run the design and production of 2 seperate live events for each sector of the STEPCHANGE scheme.

A two-man crew (Kris and Rob) would visit each DP and capture A-roll (More often than not, this is footage of somebody speaking about the topic of a video, usually shot with 2 cameras to allow for seamless editing when/if somebody fluffs their lines or interrupts the interview) – accompanied by ‘B-roll’ (footage that is overlaid over A-roll to convey the content of a story i.e. Establishing shots of a location, activities, facial expressions).

For the first time, we used both our flagship RED V-Raptor camera alongside it’s younger brother, the Komodo, to ensure we had a consistent look across all the case studies. The colour-depth and high-dynamic-range of these cameras used in a pair was instrumental in being able to tone the image in post-production to achieve a consistent quality due to un-controllable lighting at the shoot locations, despite the use of our own highly-colour-accurate lighting on site.


Stepchange BTS_4.21.1

Meanwhile in our studio, we had 2 editors (Tom and Lewis), simultaneously making the footage from each DP into a case study, with the other editor creating still and motion-graphics for each DP for use at the 2 separate live events.

One thing we wanted to innovate on with this project was the live event production design/aesthetic.

 Stepchange is a very colourful brand, with bright colours in their logo and a positive ethos, we wanted to convey this via the style of the animations and graphics used in the case studies and live events. Lewis was tasked with creating –

. Impact Reel – A slideshow of footage playing on a loop showing general imagery from the topic-area (EWS or HWiW).

. Countdown Timer – This was a visual cue to ensure the audience are seated in time for the event.

. Event Intro IDENT – A short video which signalled the start of the event, using engaging cinematic music and a ‘sizzle reel’ of footage to give the presenter time to get on stage.

. Speaker Introductions – A 10-second clip for each person who would be speaking on-stage  – triggered as they make their way on-stage.

. Powerpoints – A collection of descriptive info, imagery and statistics to supplement the host and speakers delivery.

. Case Study Intros/Outros – A short animation introducing the delivery partner featured in the case study with their logo.

. Refreshment break IDENT – A short clip to signify an interval in the event

Live-Event Production

EWS Event_1.3.1-min

There’s no use shooting video on a camera package with a combined cost of £60,000 for it to be displayed on sub-par screens in a room with low-quality lighting affecting the viewing experience and an un-optimised sound system tainting the mix we did. This is where our relationship with HPSS really comes into play, with HPSS having experience in providing lighting and sound for not only live events, but also broadcast. In broadcast, you have standards for sound and video – the brightness of an image and the level of a sound mix are very much policed to ensure a consistent quality when experienced on a good audiovisual system. We wanted the attendees to feel truly engaged in the event from the moment they stepped into the venue. HPSS blacked out the windows, improving the viewing experience, placed remote-control lighting which projected the StepChange brand-colours on the walls around the room and built a stage complete with a podium for the presenter and a ‘confidence monitor’ for them to view PowerPoints from on-stage. With Bart wearing a show communications headset at the side of the stage giving verbal/gestured cues and a progress clock on a large screen at the back of the room, we were able to effortlessly bring talent on/off stage without any interruptions, maintaining a professional feel to the events.

Working with our trusted colleagues at the esteemed audiovisual and events-supplier HPSS Ltd, we transformed a small space in Hull’s MKM Stadium into a cinema-like cabaret venue for the ERYC and STEPCHANGE team to present the fruits of their labour and shout about the achievements of the scheme.

Rob worked closely with Bart from HPSS to establish a plan for the 2 live events including room layout, technical requirements and refining the proposed schedule from paper into something that would flow smoothly when in-practice.

Stepchange BTS_2.57.1-min

Our Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Cameras are just-as-at-home in a live video production environment as they are on-set, with on-board tally-lights, the ability to control them remotely and great performance in low-light situations thanks to the dual-sensor design, they’re a great fit for the project. With our Blackmagic ATEM Extreme SDI ISO video mixer as the brains of the video engineering rig, Rob was able to ingest video feeds from multiple cameras, a ‘VT/Video-Tape’ playback computer and a PowerPoint computer, allowing him to essentially do a live edit of the video on location, whilst also being able to route the video feeds to multiple screens around the venue for the audience to see an intro to who is on-stage, watch the case studies, and have a legible view of the PowerPoints. We could have also live-streamed the event if we so wished, with the ability to do this directly from the ATEM video mixer itself, but ERYC wanted this to be a solely-in-person event – with the purpose of recording being that people can watch it back post event or catch-up if they weren’t able to attend.

The Results

By using our live video production package to edit the live events on location, we we’re able to save the client costs on editing and deliver the videos technically-speaking….instantly.

Post-delivery, ERYC now have a wealth of case studies, 2 full-length videos from each event and a package of high-quality still images extracted from the footage to use on their website and social platforms – allowing them to engage with more potential applicants and delivery partners alike to continue upskilling and providing opportunities for people suffering with mental health or unemployment in East Yorkshire.




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