Creative in association withGear Seven

EP+Co + General Mills Roll-Out First Staged Production Shoot Via Virtual Technology

Advertising Agency
Greenville, USA
Concepted and built in house, the virtual video village enables direct client access to any video production

EP+Co recently launched an innovative new technology streaming platform to help its clients rethink how we approach live-action production and content creation. Concepted and built in-house at the agency, ‘V3’ (aka ‘Virtual Video Village’ and formerly known as ‘CoVillage’) enables direct client access to any video production – most importantly the HD Live-stream, playback, shot list and scheduling, and live chat client interaction – all remotely and without requiring a physical on-set presence.

Developed in response to Covid-19, EP+Co has been working with select clients to test the technology for small-scale content shoots. But now, as the industry begins to start thinking about getting back to its new ‘normal’, EP+Co successfully rolled-out its first staged shoot utilising the proprietary V3 technology with its client General Mills. The agency worked closely with the brand to determine how they could get back to creating original content in the current climate, while following recommended CDC safety guidelines. 

The V3 technology was employed for a production of General Mills Yogurt Brand ‘Oui by Yoplait’ to capture :15 broadcast spots and :10 social films for its ‘Tastes Like 5oz. of France’ campaign. This first production took place in EP+Co’s 20,000 square foot studio and prototyping facility, CoLab, in Greenville, S.C. where the agency is headquartered. The in-house studio offers an ideal venue to stage a responsibly sized, socially distant shoot. Shot over two days, and with a limited number of personnel on set, the agency was able to provide the crew of nine with individual ‘home’ work zones which were dedicated and sectioned off for all roles including a food stylist, hair, makeup and prop stylist. Strict guidelines were put in place, such as one-way traffic on set, masks and gloves at all times, individual pre-packaged meals and a standard of seven foot social distancing.

With both agency creatives and General Mills clients dialled in via the V3 platform, everyone was able to effectively work and communicate like they would on a ‘normal’ shoot: set design and propping, wardrobe and food styling, camera framing/lensing and of course, talent performance.

Nicole Greibrok, brand experience manager, Yoplait at General Mills: “When EP+Co approached us with V3 we were certainly intrigued and obviously very eager to get back to some kind of ‘normal’ production capabilities. While the current climate is not easy to navigate for any brand, being able to facilitate virtual productions and content is a huge step forward and gives us the ability to stretch our creative messaging. The V3 platform was incredibly easy to utilise and we were blown away with how seamlessly the EP+Co teams were able to build and shoot the sets, and make this feel like a true production.”

The shoot was the first official live-action production incorporating the V3 technology and gave the agency and client the ability to move quickly without sacrificing the involvement, feedback and approvals needed to turn the work around efficiently. With various-scale shoots lined up for the coming months, EP+Co believes this is a big step towards the future of content production and a much-needed return to what ‘normalcy’ looks like:

EP+Co’s Danny Miller, SVP, director of content production, said: “With the production community still figuring out how we get back to creating original content safely, this was a major leap forward for our agency and our immediate capabilities. Utilising our seasoned internal production personnel and facilities, along with some much needed outside support, we were able to shoot/direct/interact and capture content incredibly effectively. While we’ve been fairly limited throughout Covid-19 in having to utilise existing footage, animation, motion graphics, etc., we’re now able to start pushing new content capture ideas to our clients knowing that there’s a safe and manageable way to bring them to life again. There’s still a long way to go, but there’s light at the end of the tunnel and it will be exciting to see what we can pull off next.”

Work from EP+Co