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#HarmonizeNow – the birth of Unify

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Luton Hoo Hotel

Things are crazy at the moment for Big Ant. A big project for M&S, videos for Marketing Derby, The Irongate Group, Optimise Accountants, a large project in completion with Winvic, a promo video for GB Bobsleigh, CGI demos for Tippers and Gen-3… well, you get the picture…

Then the phone rings, and Tim from Siemens Enterprise Communications says that there is a “big” event at Luton Hoo that they need filming – very high profile. Despite being swamped it sounds too interesting to resist. Siemens are always great fun to work with; very focused,  have a clear idea about what they want, and are happy to let you get on with it.
Luton Hoo Unify stage
It turns out that this is THE event for SEC – a rebrand (the first significant one in 160 years!). But more than a rebrand – a complete rethink of how we communicate in this century and how the rebranded SEC will be at the heart of it, changing the conversation through innovation.

To be truthful much as I think Tim, Sally, and the team are great, it did sound like so much spin… until I read and researched more, and discovered Project Ansible. Our huge explosion of communication platforms, applications and channels is losing to fragmentation, yet they all have something to offer in the diverse way they deliver. Ansible can bring them all together to provide a seamless flow of communication irrespective of what applications you want to use.

This struck a chord with me as it seemed to be the thing most people were missing. Companies rushing to bring out the greatest VOIP app, the latest social hub or IM system, but forgetting that true communication is all about linking the strands together in a logical way. We thought the best way of explaining the concept was with a video:

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Camera 2 on 14mm wide lens

The event itself was intense – I have seldom seen so much energy in one place. Everyone was motivated – excited and united – which illustrated the new name perfectly – UNIFY. If those 80 people at the Luton Hoo have anything to do with it unity in communications will become reality.

Eve Aretakis (Executive Vice President – Product Management & Development) delivered a compelling demonstration of how and why Ansible will revolutionise communication, and this was supported by beautiful images and video fed in via a sophisticated media server.

Filming it was interesting – a circular inclusive arena meant precious little space for cameras. Thankfully there was a raised section around the edge which I could place everything on.
The company who designed the set – Aspect – were fantastic. Even though there was a great deal riding on this event, any request I made (for an audio feed, power, change in lighting etc) was dealt with straight away. Not only that they were great fun – we even had time to talk about the latest gadgets (Ashley), or tease about PC’s vs Mac (Simon & Ashley!).

So the actual launch. Unify CEO Hamid Akhavan was (to quote Mike Myers) “on fire”! It was inspiring to watch, and the synchronisation with the complex AV gear worked very well at reinforcing the message. Speeches from Tim and Chris were awesome, and it was also great to meet new faces – Hello Torsten, Helen, Claire, Daisy- and all the other people I met.

Hamid Akhavan - CEO

Hamid Akhavan – CEO

To film the event I settled for 2 cameras – 1 on a wide fast lens, the other on a fluid head and telephoto so I could get the required head/shoulders tracking closeup. As a last minute thought I chucked in a GoPro set on ultra wide and put it on a little tripod. This turned out to be a good move as it was able to get the entire room, and although not particularly clean in low light was surprisingly good. Pushing up the blacks cleaned it a bit, and it’s funny how decent audio takes your mind off differences in image quality.

Wide shot

Wide shot

GoPro angle

GoPro angle

Because this footage was being used to update people around the world I had to bring a compact edit suite – sounds very grand – just a very powerful laptop with SSD’s, an extra screen, plus decent headphones. We edit using the Adobe CS6 suite – great because we do a decent amount of work in After Effects and Photoshop/Illustrator, so the integration is something special.

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Well – the event went perfectly, and from what I understand the other events around the world went great – so now it’s over to Unify. In my opinion they have the moment – the timing couldn’t be better. Unification in communication is the future – and I can think of no better company to make this happen.

Permanent link to this article: http://bigantvideo.co.uk/harmonizenow-the-birth-of-unify