Video has become an increasingly important aspect of the marketing pantheon when it comes to online content. As broadband speeds have increased and attention spans have waned, consumers have become more accustomed to more focused online video content. That’s why we decided to put the company spotlight on Lambda Films this week.
Lambda is a high-end video production and animation studio based in Norwich, Cambridge and London. They’ve worked with everyone from HSBC, BT and Nike to eBay and the University of Cambridge and their video production is always stylised and highly-cinematic. The same is also true for their animations and whether it's a simple corporate video or exciting branded content, their process is entirely design-led and created with original illustrations and characterisation.
We spoke to Ryan Stone, Creative Director at Lambda, to discuss everything from structure and background to where they see the business (and the creatives industries as a whole) moving in the coming years.
How was your company born and where are you based?
Lambda Films was founded by myself, and Alex Morris while we were finishing our Film degrees at the University of East Anglia, Norwich. We were then running the student TV society, and wanted to continue that passion beyond graduation, and ideally…to be paid for it.
During our time at University, we had seen the birth, and growth, of social media sites, and multimedia capabilities online, and so we specialised in our approach to produce video and animation content for online use.
What was the biggest challenge to the growth of your company?
At the time, online video was not considered the mainstream marketing tool it is today, and social media hadn’t really been adopted by older business owner. Communicating where our industry was headed, was our biggest challenge.
Which was the first huge success that you can remember?
While we were still a relatively small company, we won competitive pitches for BT and eBay within the same month. It was great validation that our ideas and production standards were at a level for such brands, and they were the first, truly ‘big brands’ that we worked with.
What’s the biggest opportunity for you and your company in the next year?
We have an amazing roster of clients who are really pushing forward with sizeable, and interesting projects this year. It’s a welcome return following the last couple of years and should set the stage for huge growth for the company.
Can you explain your team’s creative process? What makes it unique?
We enjoy a flat, creative structure at Lambda. Everyone is welcome, and encouraged, to take part in creative meetings and put forward ideas for new projects. For projects that really require out-of-the-box thinking, we do have our own process that involves large drawing spaces and a lot of brightly coloured felt pens - but the details of that process is what keeps us unique!
How does your team remain inspired and motivated?
I think we’re lucky that for us, every project is different. We don’t specialise in an industry or a technique - just solid, cinematic filmmaking. That does mean that we work with so many different types of people and industries that each project feels fresh.
However, we do recognise that client work sometimes just doesn’t scratch that creative itch, so we encourage team members to launch their own passion projects - a fully, creatively-controlled project with no end client that allows us to experiment, or push standards without limitations.
Our project, Rising Tide, is one such example of a passion project and was recently featured on the homepage of Creativepool. It’s a short narrative film that raises awareness of oceanic pollution; a cause that we as a company wish to support.
How has COVID-19 affected your company?
It had initially given us the breathing space to reappraise how we can approach projects, both in terms of processes and in final outcome. It’s allowed for a bit more experimentation and we have found that matched in client’s briefs too during and since. Moreover, the move to virtual meetings allows us to better service clients more readily wherever they are in the world.
Which agencies do you gain inspiration from? Do you have any heroes in the industry?
In terms of video production, we don’t necessarily gain inspiration from agencies, but rather talented individuals in specific fields such as DoPs, Editors or Directors. We love to see unique personalities in people’s work.
What is one tip that you would give to other agencies looking to grow?
Client work does not always allow you to reach your full potential, so spend time (and money) developing your own style, and demonstrate it through passion projects.
How do you go about finding new clients/business? (Pitching, work with retainers, etc.)
We’re lucky that we have a high-volume of referrals and repeat clients - some have been working with us for 8 years! We find a lot of new clients come to us having seen our work out there in the world.
What’s your one big hope for the future of the industry?
We hope that the industry becomes fairer and more understanding of the creative process. We try to ensure a healthy work/life balance for our team. but we know that’s not a priority everywhere and talent, especially new talent, is exploited.