The nature of the healthcare world means that I’m unable to go into much specific detail about past work in public. However, below are brief outlines of three recent projects.
Patient Support DVD - Renal Surgery
Client: NHS Transplant Unit
Aim: To educate prospective kidney transplant recipients and live donors on the kidney transplant procedure, the benefits it brings and the risks involved. To act as part of a support package for patients preparing for the procedure.
This was a long running project, and we were delighted to be involved from day one. Our client had no previous experience of using or developing video resources, so we carefully guided them through the process step-by-step. My team and I handled the pre-production process, explaining things as necessary and working with the client to develop appropriate scripts for the films. We decided to shoot 4 short informational films with unit’s expert staff, and 4 ‘real stories’ films with past patients. We also planned to shoot an introduction with a local celebrity.
During the shoot, I set up a studio in an unused hospital meeting room and filmed segments with a diverse range of staff from the unit, from surgeons, to transplant coordinators, to dietitians. Many of the staff were unused to being in front of a camera and understandably nervous, and I was glad to be able to set them at ease. I rearranged and reused the same location for the patient interviews, and also shot a wide range of scenes around the hospital. We also shot an introduction with a 2012 Olympic gold medallist who lived locally.
The shoot lasted one (very full) week, and my team and I then handled all post production and the authoring and manufacture of the DVDs. I frequently travelled back to my client’s hospital for review meetings. My client estimates that over 2000 copies of the DVD will be circulated to prospective patients in the first year alone.
I have also undertaken a very similar project for a pharmaceutical client.
Series of Short Research Documentaries - Dermatitis
Client/End Client: Healthcare Market Research and Communications Agency/Pharmaceutical Company.
Aim: To communicate the day-to-day experiences of patients suffering with a chronic dermatological condition, and provide the end client with a resource that they could take forward and reference as they developed their product.
For this project I produced a series of six 10 minute films, each looking at one patient who suffered with a particular dermatological condition, which mainly affects the hands. My client and I were interested in gaining insights in as many ways as possible, and so we developed a portfolio of techniques which were employed when shooting the films. In brief, these were:
- In-home interviews – Filmed and conducted by myself, occasionally with one of my clients on set to share the interviewing. These interviews ensured we could cover the project’s key questions, and explore the patients’ answers in depth.
- Video diaries – Filmed by the respondents, on their own, over the 4 days preceding the interviews. I provided the necessary handheld video equipment and user guides, and my client provided a guiding list of questions. These diaries allowed for an intimate and reflective response to the topic.
- Art diaries – Dermatological conditions are often experienced on a sensory and emotional level, causing physical pain and impacting the individual’s confidence in social situations. These feelings aren’t always understood in a strictly rational manner. Knowing this, I wanted to give our patients the option of expressing themselves impressionistically, and so they were given sketch pads and coloured pencils alongside their video diary packs. Some of the drawings they created to explain how their condition affects them were, frankly, breathtaking. These were scanned and incorporated into the films, as well as acting as stand-alone deliverables.
- Ethnographic footage - Knowing that what people say they do and what they actually do often differ, I filmed the patients going about daily tasks after their interviews, to illustrate or gently question what they had said.
- Point-of-View footage – As the project was focused on a condition which affects the hands, I wanted to put our patients’ hands at the centre of their stories. Accordingly, I devised and built a small wearable camera which attached to the individuals’ forearm and could film their hands whilst they undertook various day-to-day activities. This offered key insights into how their condition affected they way they used their hands.
All these sources of footage were incorporated into the stories we ultimately told. The end client was deeply affected by the final films, which they continue to use for internal education and, where allowable, as part of their brand communications strategy.
Series of Video Diary Documentaries Recorded Across Europe - Gastric Illness
Client/End Client: Healthcare Research Agency/Pharmaceutical Company.
Aim: To explore patient and clinician experiences of a particular gastric illness, and the medications currently used to treat it.
This project involved video diaries alone. My client and I worked together to provide video diary packs, translated user guides and translated topic guides to 19 patients and clinicians in 5 countries. Once these diaries were completed, we had a respectable 25 hours of footage in 5 languages.
My team and I worked with translators on our side and our client’s side to have this footage time coded and translated in minute detail. As the edit progressed, the footage was then distilled into 8 key stories, told over 8 separate short films, subtitled in English. My translation partners were then brought in again to quality control the outputs before delivery.
Managing this variety of footage, and editing simultaneously from the transcripts and the source video, required careful project planning and management, and a healthy dose of lateral thinking. Needless to say, the end client’s happiness with the final films was hugely satisfying.
Damien Pollard Ltd
Based in East London, Operating Nationally
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