One of the great things about working at a startup in London is the variety of challenges you find yourself facing on a daily basis, besides getting everyone to agree on where they want to eat.

Behind The Scenes (plus an update)

You may have seen a video advertising Pipster dotted around the web recently. What you may not know is that we put it together ourselves. Start to finish. Scripts, storyboard, shooting, location scouting, acting – the works.

We wanted to go for a different style than most our videos, which are predominantly animated, whilst still incorporating elements which were recognisably Pipster. This meant having an actual shoot. For those of you who aren’t aware, there’s a lot of work that goes into it. Hopefully it shows and you guys like the finished product. For those of you who know the craft – how did we do?

Final Product

Planning Stages

Deciding on a theme we liked took a while. Many different promo videos were trawled through in order to come up with the right vibe.

An early draft of the the promo storyboard

After that Chara, having experience with editing and the like came up with a storyboard with a breakdown of the shots we’d need to get. A script was cobbled together that would both show off some of the app’s best features and hopefully get people interested in our product. After everyone agreed on that we had to choose the right voice along with the music . We ummed and arred over several different combinations before we found the right one.

I just noticed where it says yeah boi!


The shoot itself was mostly done over a single day, with a few scenes done a few days later. We were lucky we knew a few photogenic people who were happy to get involved. Plus our offices are located close to Shoreditch – home to some choice scenery you may recognise in some of the clips.

Camera Setup

Some specs on the camera setup:


Canon 5d Mark III


70–200 F 2.8

24–70mm f2.8

16–35mm f2.8

50mm 1.4


Manfrotto Be free and Sirui Carbon

Team Effort

Chara was the director. She also did our editing, mostly on a program called Adobe After Effects and animated all the images you see pop out from the shot footage. Petar and Sophie were our actors. We filmed Petar’s part in the morning, and Sophie’s in the afternoon, in order to get the most out of the uncharacteristically good weather. As there was a fair bit of camera equipment, including various lenses and a tripod, Adrian acted as our caddy for the day. Dani came along to take pictures that we could use for various marketing materials.

Memorable Quotes

Some quotes from the team that day:

Bejan – “Tripod!”

Petar – “Where’s my trailer?”

Adrian – “Are we there yet?”

Urban Exploring

Despite the team almost having too much fun, the whole shoot went pretty smoothly. It proved to be a nice change of pace working outside the office and gave some of us a chance to explore the neighbourhood.

How many people does it take to set up a shot?

Post Production

As at the time of production we didn’t have a working prototype to use, in order to get the app to appear on a phone we had to use some clever green screen trickery, provided courtesy of an app we found, along with a spot of stage direction on where to press on screen. Be honest — if we hadn’t said anything could you have told the difference?

By far the most time consuming part was post production. The various shots had to be stitched together, filters, animations and transitions added along with all the voiceovers and music put in the right places. Many a computer was pushed to its limit with all the rendering and processing going on and it would be safe to say that the office was more than a little toasty.

All in all there were 17 different versions rendered before a final product we were all happy with was up and ready to go. Needless to say, despite all the pride we have in our work, we were all very happy when it was done and dusted.

Rob Brockington drops by the set

What Else is Going On?

There are a few things that have happened since the last update, along with a few things lined up. Rob attended an event in Cyprus called IFXexpo. Apparently there were mermaids there too. Bejan braved his fears of both flying and injections in order to join our development team in order to help smooth things along. More on both those things in upcoming posts. We’re also doing some compliance training tomorrow and hope to be able to soon share a couple of juicy morsels from the app itself. Also Ally scored a personal best at crazy golf…

Hole 4 was especially memorable