Design and Creative
Flying high: Change of focus for video, motion graphics and drone footage firm captures a new market
Flying into the covid storm as a film specialist film and motion graphics firm with drone expertise it was always going to be hard trying to control the business, but Bexmedia has emergedon an upward trajectory.
This is a story we expect will begin in familiar fashion for many and we hope will provide encouragement to others - of Craig Hellen, and his team who weathered a beating from the storm clouds of the pandemic only to emerge intact, in a different marketplace.
For Maisemore-based Bexmedia, whose most high-profile customer includes cycling legends Ineos Grenadiers (formerly Team Sky), 2020 had been carefully planned, with its core business of video production and motion graphics in demand. And its drone business buzzing along nicely.
Then came Covid-19 and... no, not a story of incredible sales. Far from it.
“When it first hit we had a bunch of work logged, quarter by quarter through the year. One of the members of staff had worked hard to get that data together.
“The news came about lockdown and that first quarter simply dissolved,” said Mr Hellen (pictured above), who founded the company 12 years ago, inspired after winning an entrepreneurial scholarship to the West Coast of America.
What followed was a series of decisions, realisation, support, and sheer will to success that has had as big an impact as the pandemic itself.
First came the help – not from the bank or Government loans, but from an able client in the industry.
There’s is a sector full of firms which rely on being able to link-up with others to deliver on projects far bigger than their individual capabilities, before separating and moving on – until next time.
“That customer agreed not a loan, but to ‘pay it forward’, so they basically bought hours from us to use in the future,” said Mr Hellen.
“Those relationships you build are crucial. You cannot rebuild those in a hurry and they are vital to so much of what we do. So, when we had a chance to return the favour to one or two of our partnerbusinesses we did the same.”
It helped provide crucial breathing space, while the small team re-grouped, realised the indoor events and videos it was planning to shoot were not going to happen, but detected significant upsurge in something else it had it its toolbox – livestreaming.
When we spoke last, the team were preparing for an all-nighter which would see them through to lunchtime the following day.
Being challenged is part of the mindset of the crew anyway. When Geraint Thomas, the Welsh Tour de France winner and Ineos Grenadiers member, did his live-streamed cycle for the NHS through lockdown it was Bexmedia which did the filming.
Not allowed to travel to the cyclist’s home due to the pandemic restrictions, the equipment was packaged, with instructions, and sent to his doorstep. Bexmedia handled it all remotely. Everything went to plan.
Ineos being an unusual, but repeat client for Bexmedia.
And then there was the GFirstLEP video, scripted by Cheltenham marketing and design agency experts Mighty, which sent a flare of positivity through social media about the county across a bleak backdrop of grim announcements from Number 10.
As much as it enjoys the glamour of a Ineos Grenadiers, it is the Gloucestershire clients Bexmedia thrives on.
“It is always good working with GFirst LEP. They challenge us to get creative, which we like, and we always end up coming up with something new together.
“In this case, caps off to Mighty for coming up with that script.”
Which means what began as a complete shutdown, threatening to completely torpedo the business, has all turned around quite differently.
Live-streaming being online streaming of media simultaneously recorded and broadcast in real time. A more difficult art than you might think, ensuring you don’t just know how to film and what to film, but can secure the on-line connections to make sure everything runs like clockwork.
Bexmedia knows how.
“We are incredibly busy. We have actually just hadthe best quarter we have ever had. The pandemic has been a shot across the bows. It shows how fragile micro-businesses can be, but also how adaptable they can be,” said Mr Hellen.