Q&A with Here Now Films co-founder, Ed Smit

May 14, 2024

Here Now films is one of London’s leading video production companies but the journey has been a hard fought path with a lot of learning along the way. The following is a Q&A with Ed Smit, one of Here Now’s founders and their current head of production. 

  1. Can you tell us about the journey of establishing your video production agency in London?

Here Now films actually started about 5 years ago when me and Ollie (my co-founder) finished uni. We both knew we wanted to make films but had no idea how to go about landing clients or even how to put a good film together. We both had day jobs working in hospitality and began making films in our spare time and at weekends. It was a crazy time but eventually we got our first paid clients and things started to take off.

I think the key here was that we didn’t try to rush things, it all just came naturally. We didn’t quit our day job until we were about a year into the portfolio building process. We were already working with great clients at this point but we just hadn’t made the leap to full time.

Our big break came when we’d volunteered to do a free project for a local explorer who’d been almost killed by COVID. The final film we made was picked up by the BBC and led to us landing a £10k budget for a short documentary for their BBC World channel.

This was huge and to be honest, we’ve not looked back since.

  1. What sets your video production company in London apart from others in the industry?

It’s a great question! I guess we like to think of ourselves as a brand film and micro  documentary company for brands looking to tell authentic hard hitting stories about who they are. Unlike your usual commercial video production agency, we get under the skin of who and what clients are to create hard hitting films that connect on a deeper level with their audience.  Our heritage is in documentary video production and I think we’ve carried that across into a lot of the work we’ve done for London’s biggest brands.

On a more personal level, as a team we’re interested in the world and the topics we tell stories about. We’re avid book worms, environmentalists and passionate business storytellers who’ve fallen for film. Sure it sounds lame, but that’s kind of the thick and thin of it.

  1. How do you ensure the quality and creativity of your video campaigns for national brands like Airbnb, Domino’s, and the Tate?

Great quality content comes from to things:

  1. Listening to what the client wants

  2. Understanding the industry and process well enough to know what’s possible

  3. Having the imagination and creativity to create content that blends both of the above points.
  1. What role does your company play as the official video partner for the Tate, and how does this partnership contribute to your agency’s reputation?

Our work with the Tate started about 2 years ago just as the world was heading out of COVID.

They were on a mission to turn all of their gallery spaces into immersive experience films that their members could watch without the stress of leaving their homes.

The first film we made for them was a huge success and led on to more and more conversations about the rest of the work they do!

Finally, the Tate approached us to become their ongoing video partner for all their artist profile films and has spun 4 films in total in 2024 alone.

  1. What challenges have you encountered as a video agency in London, and how have you overcome them to achieve success?

One of the major challenges facing any video production company is finding the best talent to help you deliver shoots. People are everything when it comes to delivering high end creative content like this and if you’ve got the wrong type of attitude or approach, then you’re in a real problem. We’ve always worked with everyone we hire for at least a year before we hire them… this means we get to know people, what they are like and whether they are right for the team as a whole.

Today, we have an in-house crew of 4 and have a big team of freelancers that help us deliver our productions to the standard we expect.

  1. How do you stay updated with the latest trends and technologies in the ever-evolving landscape of video production, particularly in a dynamic city like London?

Video production in London is at the heart of a huge tech revolution across the whole of the creative space.

With high end cameras becoming so much cheaper and powerful laptops doing the same the ability for a production studio to deliver high end content at cheaper and cheaper prices is eye opening.

This married up with the fact that AI is now making content creation even quicker is adding fuel to the fire.

To us, this is one of the exciting things as a production company in London. We’re one of those agencies that’s riding the wave of these different forces coming together.

We own the newest high end new generation cine cameras and are collaborating AI into all aspects of what we do to lower the cost and increase the efficiency of the process.

  1. What advice would you give to businesses seeking a reliable video production agency in London, based on your experience working with renowned brands?

There are lots of ways to see if an video production agency in London aligns with you as a company. One of the first things you can do is head straight to the reviews a company has to see if other people have enjoyed working with them. I know it sounds like a small detail but it’s really important.

The next big thing you can do is check their portfolio, have they made work that aligns with what you are trying to achieve. 

  1. Looking ahead, what are your aspirations and goals for the future of your video production company in London?

We’re really excited about our work as a film crew for hire across the UK, this has exposed us to some amazing projects with some of the US’s biggest production studios. What’s exciting about these projects are the scale of the work involved which is really exciting.

Alongside the crew for hire work we’re also setting up a creative agency alongside what we do. This agency will act as the top of the funnel and will channel people into the filmmaking process in a much more seamless way. This is a super exciting next step for us but it’s something that has to happen slowly. There’s heaps of competition for creative agencies in London and it’s something we are looking to chip away at over time.

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