Camera kits

Eliana’s Wish To Run: When giving time really means money

Eliana’s Wish To Run: When giving time really means money

Generously giving their time and expertise, independent production company Pretzel Films alongside the staff and pupils of Saint Ronan’s School, filmed a promo to help give a young girl a life-changing operation.
Two year old Eliana was born with Spastic Displegia, a form of Cerebral Palsy that affects motor control of the lower limbs and causes visual impairment. A procedure called ‘Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy’ (SDR) offers the much-needed hope of correcting Eliana’s condition, but it is only available in the U.S. and at a huge price.

The family’s fundraising efforts were supported by the community of Saint Ronan’s, a preparatory school in Hawkhurst, Kent, where Eliana’s older sister is a pupil. The school choir had recorded a version of Keane’s ‘Somewhere Only We Know’ (with the band’s blessing) at which point Pretzel Films stepped in by offering to create a music video.

“The school had posted a photo of the recording on Facebook,” explains Pretzel’s Managing Director PJ Bickford, whose son & daughter also attend Saint Ronan’s. “When I saw it, I rang them up and asked if they’d like us to come down and make a promo for it. It took three days from them saying yes to the video being published.”

When time is of the essence and all funds need diverting to the cause, Bickford knew who to call. First stop was to Pretzel director Michael Ferns, an experienced hand filming promos with kids. With Ferns on board, Bickford turned to VMI.

“I knew that if I went to them at such short notice with no money they would listen,” says Bickford. “Rather than demanding any kit we just crossed our fingers that they’d help. And of course they did.”

VMI supplied a ARRI Amira/Optimo shooting kit accompanied with lights from Sola Lighting.

“The kit arrived on time, just how I wanted it, fully charged and ready to go. VMI are always there when you need them to be.”

Preztel TV makes The CBBC Official Chart Show and is well versed in filming children and lip synching their actions to pop songs.

“We have a lot of experience with kids and creating fast turnaround music videos but I didn’t just want to duplicate the CBBC idea,” says Bickford. “We thought it would be great to film the entire school coming together to gather around one person in love and friendship.”

The staff of the school arranged for Ferns and Bickford to film all 400 pupils over a four hour period in October. Ferns had just 40 minutes to recce the location before jumping straight into the shoot. Alongside the Amira he deployed a drone with a GoPro for some sweeping overheads across the school grounds. While Ferns was editing and grading the footage at Pretzel’s offices, Bickford persuaded leading music producer, Hugo Goggin (Music Supervisor at Felt Music) to freely give his talent to re-record the song for the final version.

Within three days of publishing online the promo had gone viral supported by tweets from celebrities including Philip Schofield and Davina MaCall and generating over 42000 views. What’s more, the video also went to Number 1 in the Children’s iTunes chart.


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