BlueStar Streaming – Blog

Working with charities, non profit organisations and the third sector

We really enjoy working with charities, non profits and third sector organisations, whether it’s filming a great documentary, creating rich content and engaging video, providing training or even helping them raise funding to support their video and film projects.

We work closely with all our clients and work in partnership with charity and third sector organisations to support their planning and promotion of their video content, socialising it and getting it out across relevant channels.

We provide pro bono consultancy and design for selected charities and have produced films for Equality Scotland Show Racism the Red Card, The Prince’s Trust Mosaic Mentoring Project, Govanhill Community Dinners and Pink Saltire’s Time for Inclusive Education (TIE) campaign as well as a training programme for Pink Saltire. Have a look at the links below to see more.

Pink Saltire’s TIE campaign – video ad

Govanhill Community Free Dinners

Govanhill Community Dinners

Prince’s Trust Scotland Mosaic Mentoring Project

Princes Trust Mosaic Mentoring Project

These films focused on a range of important and sensitive topics including homophobia in schools, bullying, discrimination and diversity equality and awareness.

We’ve also worked with Dyslexia Scotland on a number of projects.

We produced a series of ambassador profile videos for Dyslexia Scotland which were embedded into their Dyslexia Unwrapped website and also posted on their social channels.

The videos were to show the strengths and abilities of the ambassadors dealing with dyslexia in their everyday life with interviews shot crisp and clean on a whitescreen background in our custom studio in Glasgow. As part of this we also worked closely with the Dyslexia Scotland web development team to produce file sizes for delivery across web and mobile and to embed the videos into their website.

Another very interesting and different project and client was The Willow Tea Rooms Trust– the charity responsible for the restoration and reopening of the iconic Willow Tea Rooms Building designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh.

The Willow Tea Rooms Trust Blacksmith Maker film

We were asked by the Trust to create a series of 11 ‘maker’ films showcasing the work of the craftsmen and women involved in the restoration of the famous Tea Rooms which reopened to the public in 2018 under the new name ‘Mackintosh at the Willow’. The maker films were part of the documentation of the restoration of this historic building and the opening of an exciting new visitor and heritage attraction in Glasgow. The films were shot on site, at the workshops of each of the makers involved in the restoration project in various locations across Scotland and the north of England and were to be used on the Trust and Mackintosh at the Willow websites and social channels. We were later asked to format the films for use within the new Exhibition Centre at Mackintosh at the Willow, to produce a short 360 virtual reality tour of the newly opened visitor attraction, to create some short video ads for social channels and to recut and repurpose a 1 hour BBC documentary about the restoration project with the edit to be used within Mackintosh at the Willow’s Exhibition Centre.

Have a look at one of the maker films here and the short BBC edit is here

Documentary films

Although a lot of our work is corporate filming, the team also enjoy the chance to create documentary style films. Another interesting project was the ‘Educate Me’ documentary.

Dyslexia Scotland documentary

BlueStar Streaming and Dyslexia Scotland worked together to create a short (25 minute), independent documentary film. The film was a year in the making, shot using a predominantly dyslexic crew. The film has been widely watched and used by the Scottish Education Board, by Dyslexia Scotland and by various voluntary organisations and charity groups across Scotland and we’ll be following this up with the next stage starting pre-production later this year.

BlueStar Streaming created this documentary film including all planning, strategy, story boarding and filming which also included studio interviews with many of the participants. It meant a lot to us too – our Managing Director, Trevor Thomson, is dyslexic and positively promotes disability awareness and equality through his role as Media Adviser for Dyslexia Scotland.

This was an independent documentary created for general release supported through crowdfunding – more of that later. This is one part of a 4 part series that will be pitched as a full documentary to broadcasters for additional funding.

Raising funding for your video or film project

Budgets and funding are often a concern and a perceived or very real barrier for this sector but again, as well as effective planning and use of available budget there are also ways to boost spend and to increase value – whether that’s through repurposing of content filmed once that can then be adapted for a variety of purposes, possibly partnering with other organisations to share costs or raising funding through kickstarter or other funding platforms. To create the Educate Me documentary promoting awareness of Dyslexia, we raised funding to release the film through a kickstarter campaign on the Indiegogo crowdfunding platform.

So we understand and can help our charity and third sector clients raise funding as well as how to promote and get the best out of their video assets and content afterwards.

Our Values – social responsibility

As a company, we value and welcome diversity and inclusiveness. Our Managing Director Trevor is dyslexic and has direct experience of the challenges and opportunities that brings and is actively involved in promoting equality and disability awareness through his role as Media Advisor for Dyslexia Scotland.

We believe in social responsibility and social care. We like to help young people access digital media skills and develop their confidence and as part of this we provide training for young people in media production, film and video. We’ve run training and taster courses for The Prince’s Trust and Glasgow City Council and we also offer internships and work experience opportunities for students and undergraduates – and we’re always interested to hear from and work with charity, non profit and other third sector organisations. Take a look at our website for more examples of our work.

If you work in a charity, non profit or third sector organisation and want to know how we can help raise awareness and promote your activities and services through great film and video – contact us and we’ll be happy to help!

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Micro videos – introducing cinemagraphs

We’re always looking out for ways we can add value when filming, whether it’s creating a series of 20 -30 second micro clips for use on social channels, creating podcasts, 360 filming, incorporating drone footage or something a bit more quirky. One of our favourite, fun ways to do this is to create a cinemagraph, delivered as a high res micro video for use on websites, social media, digital screens, TV, film screens and elsewhere.

You’ve probably seen cinemagraphs on Instagram and Pinterest, on advertising billboards or in trailers for some of your favourite films or TV series or brands. The technique has been around since at least 2008 but has grown in interest since 2011 when US photographers Kevin Burg and Jamie Beck used it in their fashion and news photography.

Over the last few years the use of cinemagraphs has taken off and moved into mainstream internet content – for advertising and marketing, art and entertainment. For individuals there are plenty of apps available to make it easy without needing to know the technical techniques and details. When we create video for clients we often create a few cinemagraphs from the main footage.

Cinemagraphs are powerful marketing tools, great for incorporating into your social media strategy to increase engagement and linger time and to create a little ‘wow’ and added interest. Done well, a good cinemagraph captures the attention and imagination, makes the viewer linger longer, and brings a little bit of magic.

If you’re not familiar with what a cinemagraph is, the most basic way to describe it is that it’s a digital image that includes both still and moving parts. Sections of the image are still – like a photograph and other sections include small, repeated movements. The moving elements are on a seamless loop, created to contrast with the stillness of the rest of the image. It’s a fascinating hybrid combining two great mediums to offer a different and enhanced visual experience.

Cimemagraphs are useful for direct marketing, for including in blog posts, on social media as organic content, promoted posts and ads, and to increase dwell time on your page. They’re also useful to promote specific products or experiences, or to highlight specific aspects of a product or brand in a subtle and fresh way. Big brands including Nike, Coca Cola, Chanel, Netflix and many others are using this format to create visually stylish and engaging content, particularly for Instagram but across social channels.

Here are just a few of our favourite cinemagraphs including a couple of simple examples we’ve created for clients.

It’s from 2017 but still a favourite – Netflicks’ Stranger Things trailer.

View this post on Instagram

Nothing was ever going back to normal. @StrangerThingsTV season 2. October 27.

A post shared by Netflix US (@netflix) on

Toronto based tech company Flixel who specialise in cinemagraphs have (not surprisingly) some great examples. Here are a couple to get you in the holiday mood!




In case you need to cool down, we like this one by Coca Cola

Travel, food and drink and luxury brands are also getting in on the action.

View this post on Instagram

For the perfect pour, pour a Budweiser. #ThisBudsForYou

A post shared by Budweiser (@budweiser) on



Closer to home, we created a couple of cinemagraphs for Renfrewshire Leisure., as part of a wider video campaign to promote their facilities.

Over 11k views

Over 9k views

Another example was as part of a series of 12 Maker films promoting the work of the craftsmen and women involved in the restoration of the iconic original Charles Rennie Mackintosh designed Willow Tea Rooms Building in Glasgow. This one shows Master BlackSmith Alan Dawson at work.

Looking forward, the future is bright for increased interest in using cinemagraphs and how this format and technique will evolve. With the ease and accessibility of mobile device cameras it’s now easier than ever before to shoot, edit and share photos and video. Micro videos and micro moments have taken off – with the ability to capture a few seconds of video to instantly share. However, cinemagraphs take video further by capturing our imagination and adding a little bit of ‘magic’, allowing us to experience the moment in a way that neither a still photograph nor video does. It doesn’t replace either but is a great added value piece alongside other media or as a standalone piece. The format can be combined with 360 video and virtual reality and other visual applications to create truly mesmerising visuals. The possibilities are exciting!

To find out more about how can use video and cinemagraphs contact us and we’ll be happy to discuss.


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It’s a wrap – Royal Highland Show 2019 roundup

We had a great time last week, filming at the Royal Highland Show 2019 and working with their team.

It was a record breaking event this year with 195,000 visitors over the 4 days of the event. We were on site for 5 days in total including the set up day for the Show – so we can follow up on our pre event planning, make any adjustments needed on site, familiarise ourselves with the venue layout and generally ensure we’re ready for the next 4 days when doors open to the public.

This year we created 14 videos, which all go out during the Show and which so far have attracted over 131.8k views.

Day 01 we produced the following video, as an introduction to the Show.

Throughout the Show we produced a range of videos capturing the experience and showcasing the activities including 2 360 films and a number of interviews. We’ve included links to a selection below and you’ll find the full set on the Royal Highland Show FaceBook page at

Additionally, we created a series of 9 short 20 to 30 second clips for use on social channels, mainly Instagram with total views (for all clips) of 18,969 so far.

Click on the links below to view.

And here’s the final wrap video.

Even better is the amazing footage from this year’s Show can now be repurposed and used throughout the rest of the year and in the lead up to next year’s 2020 Show – which we’re looking forward to already!

So – a great event and great example of capturing, editing and distribution on site and then repurposing footage as well as a great partnership with the client.

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Video marketing – onsite production, editing and content distribution

Hands up, we’ve been away from the blog posts for a while, busy with clients and projects, always a good thing.

For the first of our new regular monthly blog posts we look at on site editing and content distribution during a multi-day site shoot.

We’re looking forward to heading to the Royal Highland Centre just outside Edinburgh for the 2019 annual Royal Highland Show, held each June.

This is Scotland’s largest single event, showcasing the best of agricultural and rural industry in Scotland. Last year, over 190,000 visitors experienced the Show, which has an economic impact of £65 million to the UK economy.

For the last 3 years we’ve been providing the video production services at this fantastic annual event, working with the Royal Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland (RHASS)

It’s a full on, busy 5 day shoot and edit over the duration of the Show. We produce 3 pieces of video content each day of the event to be used across social channels, mainly Facebook, YouTube and Instagram. So as well as the filming we’ll also edit the footage each day during the event, outputting one video in the morning, one in the afternoon and one each evening. We edit the footage onsite, working closely with the RHASS Marketing and Social Content team for planning and delivery onto their social channels.

Sometimes tomorrow is too late – at an event like this and to get the reach and engagement it has to be as the event is happening. So we’ll be busy filming and editing on site, releasing videos as they happen.

We’ll also be creating 360 images and video content. The footage captured over the 5 days of the event will also be repurposed to create 24 x 20 second video clips which will be used to promote next year’s Show. You can see examples of this in the videos currently on the Royal Highland Show Facebook page promoting this year’s 2019 Show, which we filmed at last year’s 2018 Show.

Click on the link below to view the TV ad we created for last year’s Show.

Have a look below at some of the shorter 20 second clips we created (cut from the main footage) to promote this year’s 2019 Show

Because the video clips are going out across multi platform social channels during the event (as well as those that are later repurposed and released in the lead up to the following year’s Show) they’re also a useful and effective sales and marketing tool – encouraging visitors to come along to the Show as it’s happening and increasing ticket sales.

We always look at how we can add value too. For example last year we identified opportunities to create 360 degree virtual reality images at the event which could be shared across the Show’s social channels to provide visitors and potential visitors a virtual tour and chance to experience the event.

Use the link below to see one of the 360s from last year’s 2018 Royal Highland Show.

We’ll be creating more 360 images and video content this year and will also be looking out for opportunities to create some fantastic cinemagraphs too. We’ll talk more about cinemagraphs in another blog post.

Our crew for the shoot includes 2-3 camera people, a Producer and an Editor on site.

A few key considerations for multi day shoots with on site edits

  1. Work closely with the event/marketing/social teams as appropriate – develop good working relationships and communication with the client, the crew and other key stakeholders.
  2. Preparation, planning and communication are key.
  3. So is being adaptable, creative and innovative.
  4. Make sure you know the layout of the venue, the timing of key events and the key priorities – often at events it’s a one time chance to capture the moment so it’s not great if a key event is happening at the other side of a large venue and you can’t get there in time to set up or, worse, you’ve totally missed it.
  5. Ensure the crew is fully briefed and everyone understands their responsibilities and the plan for the day/event including locations, set up required, meeting times and places.
  6. Check, check and check again all equipment, leads, lens, batteries, editing software and anything else you might need
  7. Look out for opportunities to create added value content e.g. 360 images, quirky cinemagraphs, short social clips.
  8. Can the footage be repurposed? This can be a great way to use a client’s budget cost effectively – footage used for a promotional film or tv ad can be cut and edited into a series of short 20-30 second clips, ideal for sharing on social channels.
  9. If travel is time consuming or complicated (particularly with equipment) consider staying at/near the venue – it’ll save a lot of hassle and stress and of course allow more time for planning, filming and editing!
  10. Be on your A game, pace yourself, eat, drink (don’t be too merry – avoid the beer tent unless filming!) – and enjoy!

As always, any questions let us know. We’ll be a bit busy this week as we’ll be at the Royal Highland Show creating fabulous video for this year and for next year’s promotions. See you there or keep an eye on the social channels @royalhighlandshow for the footage!

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Live Video Streaming Events

Live Video Streaming Events

With the advances in technology live -streaming of events is becoming part of the norm.

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Previously,  the high cost of live streaming events online meant it was over budget for most companies. Now with YouTube facilitating a lot of the heavy lifting, the cost is lower and the technical support is easier, using their platform as the content delivery network, ‘sharing it with the rest of the world for you and me’.  Sharing through YouTube is an amazingly cost effective way of engaging people in a live event, be it a five minute interview, a band performance at an intimate venue or a large conference watched by thousands of viewers.

Becoming a YouTube partner

In order to live – stream an event, you need to become a partner with YouTube by setting up your YouTube channel and activating it for live streaming.  After that you’re good to go. If you have a YouTube channel set up you’re just a few clicks away from enabling the channel for live streaming.  We can help you activate, brand and manage your content  for your YouTube channel, developing the best strategy for your business model.

Getting the required equipment

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To produce a live video stream event on YouTube you don’t need a lot of expensive equipment. It can be as simple as using your laptop and its onboard camera. Thousands of people are becoming YouTube stars broadcasting from their bedrooms. Ok it’s not quite that easy – you have to spend time and effort connecting with your audience and building up your following and this will not happen overnight .

With larger scale live streaming events the equipment starts to move towards more broadcast standard kit. At BlueStar Streaming we tailor the equipment to meet the needs of your event, from a one camera interview to multi camera large scale conferences and events.

Managing a live event can be tricky. The specific skills required are usually found in completely different industries. At Bluestar Streaming we have expertise in both areas. Technical knowledge of the web,  allowing us to manage the websites, servers and encoding needed to deliver a seamless live stream , in tandem with film and video production skills to produce high quality video into your stream.

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BlueStar Streaming has over 20 years experience with web technology and film and video production and this puts us in a perfect position to produce high quality live video streaming events.

Live streaming an event around your brand can help your channel grow.

A successful live stream works with a creative concept and can have a massive effect on your channel. Compelling video will engage your viewers and allow them to take part in your event and feel part of the brand, building trust, loyalty and engagement through real time interaction.

While no strict rules govern content creation on YouTube, ten fundamental principles have emerged as the most important guides to a successful creative strategy.

The 10 Fundamentals of a Creative Strategy on YouTube:

1 Shareable content
2 Collaboration
3 Discoverable topics
4 Accessibility
5 Consistency
6 Targeting
7 Sustainability
8 Converse with viewers
9 Interactive content
10 Authenticity

Bluestar Streaming has been working with CalMac Ferries, one of the UK’s largest ferry operators, to help them promote their innovative YouTube Channel Calmac Culture.

We recently produced a three camera live stream for CalMac Culture Music competition. The live streaming event took place at the famous Glasgow music venue, King Tuts Wah Wah Hut.

View the live stream below.

Link to Calmac Culture channel.

Fell free to ask any about live streaming events. We’d be happy to answer your questions.

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