The pandemic has caused huge changes across the TV, Film, and Advertising industries. With productions back up and running, and trying to navigate filming amidst Covid and ever-changing rules, we spoke to some industry friends about how things have changed for them.

Here’s what Ceri Forsdick, Head of Client Services at S3 Advertising Agency in Cardiff, leading advertising campaigns for clients such as Clogau Gold of Wales, National Farmers’ Union, and Rutherford Cancer Centres, had to say:

What were your plans for the year and how has Covid affected them?

Our plans at the Agency always revolve around Client Marketing work. Usually, the Spring/Summer period is the busiest time at the agency. Once Covid hit and the country went into Lockdown, our ability to create advertising campaigns via AV Creative was halted because of the rules around shooting.

Have you been able to work at all?

Yes, the agency was up and running throughout the time period. We actually found that during that time more than ever, support was needed for our clients to ensure their marketing plans could continue, evolve and adapt to the strange times. We have actually still been through one of the busiest Summer periods to date at the agency, despite everything.

How has Covid altered your normal working practice?

We had to adapt our working practices. In terms of video production, we have created some advertising campaigns entirely via animation – so no ‘real people’, at all. We also created a ‘lockdown’ advertisement for Clogau Gold of Wales, which used photography from a local Welsh photographer, who was taking photographs of the community on their doorsteps, to reflect the mood of the nation at the time. https://www.clogau.co.uk/tv/

Have you had to diversify your normal working practice in order to work from home?

Yes, we have. We have quite a unique, funky office, in the heart of Cardiff, which was a hub for our creative team. Working from home technically, we were enabled straight away, but we have had to get used to doing everything over Microsoft Teams instead of in person. In an industry where so much of what we do is about creativity and collaboration, it has not always been easy, but we have adapted, and we have had very successful ideation and brainstorm sessions over video calls even.

How has Covid affected your normal working practice in the office / on set?

We have to adhere to the guidelines and keep up to date with them as they are ever changing. We have had to have less people on set, and we’ve had to put more time and effort into organisation before the shoot itself in order to cover off the new practises which need to be instilled. We have had to shoot from a distance, instead of using closer shots which means our concepts have had to change a little, and therefore the output has changed too.

In your experience, how is the industry overcoming the boundaries put in place by Covid?

The industry will adapt, and now we are able to shoot once more, that is the main thing. Creating great content will always be a priority, so we will find ways to ensure that happens via creative thinking and putting in place the extra processes that we need to.

To take an example with EastEnders and how they are using new techniques in order to be able to carry on making the show; using forced perspective so that cast members can appear to be in close proximity, and using dummies in place of the actors for close scenes between the two actors, and using Perspex screens for actors who have to be in close proximity and lighting it in such a way that the screen is invisible!

Have you found budgets have been affected by extra protocols?

Yes, we are having to add in additional layers of budget in order to meet the extra protocols.

With Wales coming out of Lockdown 2 did you put any specific measures into practice this time round?

We haven’t conducted any shoots during this lockdown, so as to adhere to the Welsh lockdown guidelines strictly. We managed to reschedule shoots before the lockdown started, which was lucky. Clients are understandably feeling nervous about conducting activity during a lockdown period, so we have to respect that while also trying to do the best work for them. As this lockdown has a set time period attached to it, it is much easier for us to pause for the duration and look to schedule work once the lockdown lifts.

Has Covid shifted your focus?
It’s made us more adaptable, for sure. We have to be able to respond to changes quickly, and come up with alternatives quickly too. Focus is on creating the best work for our clients, and so we will do whatever we can to deliver that. It’s our responsibility as an agency to offer reassurance and to be the experts and so now our areas of expertise have to grow into new areas but our core role stays the same.

www.s3advertising.agency