What We Do

We’re Pebble Studios a film production company that represents some of the UK’s most established and break-through directing and shooting talent, creating a huge range of films for brands such as L’Oreal, Hendricks, Sony, and Movember. Working across the media spectrum on  everything from lean fast turnaround branded content, to 50-person plus TV commercials, and our professional approach has given us the reputation as one of London’s leading video production companies.

Pre-Production

Considered, upfront planning is one of the most important ingredients in the film production process if you want to create any knockout film. As a full service pre-production studio, our producers will lead you through the production process; this includes budgets, storyboard development, pre-visualisation, script adjustments, sourcing and securing locations, props, cast members and costumes.

Production

Although we’re a UK based film production company we have access to a wide range of directors in our little black book in the UK, US and Europe – from fresh, new talent to highly experienced industry stalwarts; we take pride in matching the perfect director to your film. Ranging from small camera op setups to full crew productions, shooting on Phantom’s, Arri Alexa’s, Red Epic’s or Canon 5D’s; we compile the perfect equipment for your budget and filming needs, producing the highest quality films for any screen.

Post-Production

When we’re fully satisfied with the shots we’ve taken, it’s back to the studio, where we go about crafting the raw footage into the final film. We start with a rough cut for approval, organising the captured footage into a ‘no frills’ working edit for sign off. With this approved, we then move onto VFX, motion tracking, Colour/Grading, VO and SFX required for the film, resulting in a perfectly formed final edit, formatted to your specific requirements and video needs.

Location

So you want to shoot a carnival on a beach at sunset? Wonderful – let’s make it happen! Our film production company is based in London but our proactive location services are right at the top of the industry and we  can work anywhere. We’ve worked with some of best location managers in the biz and our team works tirelessly to help you find the perfect environment for your shoot. Whether it’s the rugged highlands of Scotland, a simple studio shoot, or a tropical paradise,

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Our Complete Guide On How To Plan The Perfect Shoot

To give you a boost up on the pre-production ladder and dazzle your clients or internal teams, we’ve swung together a handy little checklist of bits you’ll need to consider when planning the perfect film shoot.

In this guide we cover:

  • Sourcing a hotshot Director
  • Casting talent & securing the best crew
  • Developing a treatment
  • top insider’s tips

And much, much, more to really help you nail the film shoot planning process!

FAQ SECTION

Okay, so exactly what is a production company? A production company is a company that provides the physical/practical support for a video production, animation production, film production or movie production.

A film production company will handle film budgeting, film scheduling, scripting, talent sourcing, crew and general organisation throughout the pre-production, production and post production stages of a film shoot.

Larger film and movie companies will often utilise a production studio or TVC production house for specific projects, outsourcing the practical undertaking of a given brief to a smaller off-site team with more specialist know-how.

A production team or individual producer will then take responsibility for bringing together the project; which can range from company films and executive video productions to commercial productions, films, animations and even to emerging formats like VR, AR and 360 video.

If you have a project in mind, and want to team up with an industry leading production partner to make it happen, contact us to speak with one of our experts today!

People often turn to a shooting schedule template, a film schedule template, or a shot breakdown template to keep their production on track. However, all the pros know that the film shooting process is unique for every producer and every project.

While each film schedule and movie shoot brings unique factors that a producer must face, there are necessary steps behind the perfect film shoot. So, whether you’re learning how to make your first movie, learning how to make a shooting schedule, or you’re just curious about the professional production process, here’s a crash course on how to plan a film shoot:

Establish budget & timeframe

Knowing how to plan a movie – or how to plan a short film – is essentially knowing how to bring a project together within an established budget and timeframe, so these must be agreed upon up-front with your client. No matter how big or small, shooting movies always comes down to these two elements.

Making sure to cover your entire pre production schedule, as well as your production and post production schedules, you can begin to build the skeleton of your timeframe with a production scheduling spreadsheet or using a production scheduling software.

Film pre production software will help you learn how to make a schedule online, helping to facilitate gorilla budgeting by cross-referencing your entire filming schedule with your film budget breakdown. Once budget and timings are agreed upon and set, you can dive into the specifics.

Source a director

Okay, so you have your script breakdown and your pre production storyboard, your budget, and timings are set – it’s time to source the perfect director.

There’s a lot to choose from, so aim for a specialist in the type of film you want to create. Most directors work with a DOP (Director of Photography), but some also shoot, so make a call depending on who you think will most benefit the shoot and the shooting schedule.

During this process, you’ll find that some directors have crews they work with regularly and they’ll often make helpful recommendations to suit your film. Also, when planning the low budget film, remember that young directors can be a good way to go, as they often bring a fresh approach to your project for a much lower cost.

Develop a treatment

Once the director has been chosen, you need to work with them to develop a treatment – a presentation of how they imagine the final film will be.

There are lots of elements to consider here, it’s not just about the script, storyboard shot list, film continuity sheet, or completed storyboard boxes; tempo of the film, audio, lighting style, crew equipment, talent, wardrobe, props, etc., all need to be considered and brought together to a paint a picture of a template film representative of the director’s creative vision for the project.

Build a shot list

To pull together a great film, you need to know how to make a shooting schedule for each day of shooting. Based on the treatment, you need to create a camera shot list (or film shot list) using your storyboard shot list as a guide to hammer down every nut and bolt of the day of shooting; including set-up, breaks and break-down of the set after wrap.

To help you do this, you can use shot list templates – many of which exist online as free scheduling software – to help you establish a detailed list of shots for your project. The more accurate and detailed this is, the smoother your film shoot will run on the day.

Cast the talent

The key to knowing how to make a film as good as it can be, is getting the most out of your talent. To get it right, there’s a lot to consider, so we’ve dedicated a whole section to it below!

Find the location

Next up, you need a great location that’s within budget and looks amazing! Keep in mind that when filming outdoors you need to have a contingency plan (should the weather fail you), and if you’re shooting far away, be aware that your travel costs/expenses will shoot up.

Also, if you’re shooting abroad, you’ll need a fixer to help you find the right locations and crew.

Secure a crew (on budget)

Your location’s fixed, the Director’s happy, the talent’s been cast – it’s time to finalise the crew. Ensuring you budget for the right people you need on set can make or break a shoot. But worry not! All the technical stuff will be taken care of by your production company.

Hold a pre-production meeting & finalise the details

Before the shoot, there needs to be a PPM. Here you can run through all the finer details and get everyone on the same page before the shoot. The PPM deck should include the director’s treatment, the filming schedule, any mood films (as a reminder), a detailed summary of the crew and a few slides on props, wardrobe, cast, and of course the location.

Finally, make sure the call sheet and risk assessment have been sent out and the catering and insurance have been arranged (for the specifics on film insurance go to ‘What type of film production insurance do I need?’ and ‘How much does film production insurance cost?’, which you can find below).

When prepping for a film shoot, trying to find actors can be one of the trickiest tasks.

Firstly, think about who you need to cast – do you need actors, extras, influencers, or subject experts? Perhaps you just need their voice.

Also, consider where the film will be hosted (which countries? Which platforms? How long for?). You need to pay talent usage fees, and this can have a large impact on your budget. Agents also charge a fee, so be clear if that’s been factored into your negotiations.

The casting process can take time to get right, so make sure you factor this into your timeframe too.

Film production companies can hold independent movie auditions internally for each project to get to grips with the available talent and match up actors to specific roles more effectively than decisions based on CV/showreel alone.

Knowing how to find a film actor with the right talent for the brief requires instinct, and a full understanding of the project – often this decision will make or break a film (of any size).

First up – what is a storyboard?

A storyboard is made up of elements of your video production script and your storyboard images and highlights which visuals coincide with which section of the screenplay (or song, if you’re making a music video storyboard).

While a script’s function is to lay out the who what and where of a film, a story board’s function is to:

  • Establish visual atmosphere / mood / and tone
  • Make it easier for you to share and explain your creative vision
  • Streamline the production process
  • Save time and money

When learning how to create a storyboard, it’s important to keep these functions in mind.

How to make a storyboard

Whether you’re putting together a film storyboard template, a video storyboard template or an animation storyboard template, your storyboard ideas will be presented in more or less the same way.

One of the best storyboarding tips to keep in mind is the importance of planning. Try not to get carried away at the outset. To properly structure and layout your storyboard, there are key planning steps you need to undertake.

First, you need to break down the screenplay to gauge where visual elements will be most impactful. This will allow you to:

  • Establish a timeline
  • Identify key scenes
  • Create a shot list
  • Decide on the appropriate level of detail to include

The difference between script writing and storyboarding

When you turn to the storyboard making itself, your aim is to add as much value as possible to key areas of the script with visuals that you feel best capture your overall creative vision. This is how you bring a script to life in a pre production storyboard and a vital aspect of understanding how to make a short film or even a blockbuster.

How to write a storyboard

A storyboard that shows real strength on the page will present a perfect balance between the script and storyboard elements.

Your storyboard script should be completed prior to the story boarding itself. Then, with your script and your blank storyboard, you can complete each section of your storyboard with script sections in mind to ensure your final story board is a cohesive representation of both your script and your vision.

(Remember, it is because the story board writing itself is not enough to give a full representation of your creative vision that storyboard images are needed in complement.)

What a storyboard looks like

For a new storyboard creator, the easiest way to understand how to create a storyboard for a specific project – or how to storyboard in general – is to know what a video storyboard should look like on the page.

Your storyboard frame size is dependent on the aspect ratio of the video you’re producing. For TV – the frame size should be around 4” x 3” (reflecting the normal aspect ratio of 16:9), however, this would differ for a widescreen movie storyboard or a social media specific story board animation. As the interplay between the text and the images is so important, we usually go for just 3 frames per page (leaving plenty of space beneath for writing), however, 6 frames per page is also fairly common.

Storyboard drawing techniques can range depending on the storyboard film. In general, a visual story board needs to be clear and consistent, yet detail is not necessary. As long as you signal how each frame will be composed, include key elements of the shot, and add transition cues in the adjoining text segments, your story board movie will come to life in no time.

There’s quite a big variation in price depending on the type of space you’re looking for and how large it needs to be to meet your needs. However…

In general, we suggest allowing for around £2500 for a home location for a full shoot day. However, for some home locations, a given film location agency could ask for a minimum of £3500. Also, it is possible to find home film and TV locations that are considerably cheaper, however, finding people who are putting up their houses to rent for filming at these lower costs, generally requires some quite extensive digging

Film location hire costs for a studio can run anywhere between £700 and £2700 for a full day.

Film companies and TV companies looking to hire hospitals and other niche locations will be ready to pay around 2-5K per day.

Roads depend on different councils and whether you have a crew over a certain number.

Some road location hire costs can be as low as a couple of hundred pounds, however, if you need to lock down a road then this price can grow exponentially.

Ultimately, it all depends on the hours, crew size, and space that you need. When working out costs for a full day of filming on set – and you know you shoot will require a unique location – it’s best to call around a few agents/locations in order to work out rough costs. With this information, you can properly cost your project and select the best location for your film.

All film production’s in the UK require insurance, and there are various types of insurance needed in order to be fully comped before the shoot can go ahead. Unfortunately, whether you need movie insurance or short film insurance, there’s never a simple answer.

Each film shoot will require a range of cover from the following types of policy (as outlined by the British Film Commission):

  • Employers’ liability insurance– This is a legal requirement, and insures employees in the event of bodily injury, disease or death arising out of their work and must be referred to in an employee’s contract.
  • Public liability insurance– cover for your production in respect of injury or property damage caused by the production’s activities. It is common to have cover up to £5 million.
  • Negative insurance– protects against additional production costs incurred through the damage or loss of stock.
  • Errors and omissions insurance– covers a producer in the event that a production is sued for libel, slander, breach of copyright, invasion of privacy, unauthorised use of trademarks and slogans.
  • Props and sets insurance– particularly important if you are filming in a historic building or hiring props and vehicles.
  • Hired equipment insurance– required if you hire any equipment. Without it, you will be expected to pay for a policy arranged by the hire company.

As well as the producer, a good film insurance policy will protect the property/locations being used, the personnel involved (from film crew to talent), and all production gear (this is film equipment insurance that covers all hired cameras etc.).

There are lists and lists of film accidents that can occur, meaning acquiring comprehensive film shoot insurance is a large part of the job of movie producer.

As producer, the majority of responsibility at a film shoot falls with you. If something goes wrong and you aren’t covered, this can have huge financial and legal implications. So make sure you do the necessary research to ensure you get properly covered.

These sites make it easy to search for specialist film insurance companies:

Working with a film production company removes any of this pressure from your shoulders. Arranging film insurance is an every-day part of our job and we’re more than used to sorting out all the nitty-gritty aspects of a film shoot for our clients, making the often-complex filming process a walk in the park.

The price of film production insurance will vary depending on the nature and scale of the film shoot but shouldn’t add up to too much of your total video production costs.

However again, to the question ‘how much is film insurance?’, unfortunately, there’s no simple answer.

You cannot obtain a video production insurance policy without an entertainment insurance broker. Having an entertainment specific broker is essential. They will be set up to facilitate immediate cover, which is vital in light of the last minute changes natural to the film production process. And, as you can only take on one insurance broker at a time, choosing the right one for your needs is very important. Here can find lists of all the top entertainment insurance brokers:  NY411 and Variety 411.

Next, you’ll need to consider whether you need short-term production insurance or annual film production insurance. Whether short-term or annual, basic cover will most likely cost around 2.5% of your budget, however, this can quickly increase depending on the nature and scale of the project. So again, individual research will be required to properly budget film insurance costs for a given film shoot or for annual cover for certain types of film producers.

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Location of Pebble Studios
Pebble Studios, The Frames, Unit 113, 1 Phipp Street, EC2A 4PS