Case Study – Western Front Association PR video

With 2018 marking 100 years since the end of World War 1, the have been a number of events commemorating individual moments, conflicts, battles and acts of bravery. One such event was the Battle of St Quentin Canal on the 29th September 1918 that concluded with British forces breaking through the Hindenburg line and capturing the Riqueval Bridge. Arguably, this single action convinced the Germans that the war was unwinnable and forced them to sue for peace.pr-filming-wfa
As part of the centenary of these events the Western Front Association (WFA), whose role is to educate and inform people about WW1, were dedicating a newly restored memorial to this battle and were looking for some publicity in order to tell a wider audience about this historic battle. Therefore Echo Video, along with our PR partners, Coburn Communications, were asked to attend the event and produce video content for them.

PR video production brief

The aim of the video content was two-fold. Firstly, to create a short video that could go on the WFA’s website and social media channels as a historic document of the commemoration. Secondly, the goal was to create a B-roll package that could then be sent to News organisations such as Association Press (AP), Reuters, ITN & the BBC. The intention was that Coburn Communications could raise interest in the story and get one of these organisations to pick up the story and run it on there news channel the following morning which would provide great coverage and PR for the WFA.wfa-pr-event-filming

Producing the video content

The ceremony itself was quite a small part of our filming day which started at 6am and didn’t end until 9pm. We travelled to France and shot footage of nearby war memorials of all the armies that were involved in that particular conflict – US, Australian, British and German. Then we headed over to the canal and bridge. Some incredible archive footage exists of the bridge from just after the battle along with the amazing photo of the victorious British army sitting on the banks of the canal so we spent some time getting footage of how the canal and bridge looks now as a comparison. We then filmed the ceremony and a couple of interviews including one with the grandson of the man who led the charge to capture the bridge.

Editing and delivering

From the shoot it was time to to get to the hotel and start editing the footage. As we wanted to get the content onto the breakfast news shows it needed to be cut up and sent out as quickly as possible. Coburn had secured a spot on the BBC with a historian who would be interviewed whilst they played our footage in the background but for the other news organisations, they needed interviews as well as the b-roll so we produced around three different cuts within a couple of hours and managed to send it over (via some very slow and dodgy hotel wi-fi) in time for BBC Breakfast on the Sunday.

Our work for the day was done but we still needed to complete the video for use online. With the help of some pre-existing interviews with WW1 experts, we put together a great little video that hopefully gets across the significance of this one small part of the first World War.