In some ways 2004 seems like yesterday but in others it feels like much more than a decade ago. MGL Media started in Leicester when video production was entering its digital age. DVD’s were finally replacing the 30 year old VHS format and cameras were halving in size but increasing in image quality.
Even before they’d fitted locks on the door, we moved into our small office on the 2nd floor, struggling up the stairs with 3 large CRT video monitors, a second hand G4 Mac and camera kit – mostly acquired from local car-boot sales! Excited to be one of the first businesses in the LCB Depot, we watched Curve theatre being assembled brick by brick from our office window, not realising in a few years we would be working with director Paul Kerryson and actor Mark Warren on their production of “Pillowman”.
Looking back, it was a very difficult environment to set up a video production company in. There was no Youtube, Facebook or Twitter. Broadband internet was a luxury to most households, so we produced a mix of Betacam and DVD masters of our films to be played at events, in the board room or mailed out to people’s homes.
One of our early projects for adult learning agency, NIACE, involved 20,000 DVD’s being mastered and distributed across the UK. It’s always a nerve-racking experience, sending your finished film to be duplicated so many times. Did we change that typo? Phew, yes we did.
Just 5 years into MGL’s journey and recession hit the UK. Many clients we had built relationships with were suddenly cutting their budgets. Fortunately, we had grown our network and reputation, leaving us strong enough to find new clients to supplement our existing ones. While the economy was shrinking we were producing our best work to date, being recognised for two IVCA awards in 2012. Continuing our partnership with Indigo Blue Media, we produced a series of projects for the BBC. As well as continuing to grow our corporate video clients, we started making self funded documentaries, fulfilling our ambitions as program makers and enabling us to meet some of our heroes.
We’ve witnessed and become a part of the next wave of video revolution, this time with tapeless media and the DSLR film making techniques. Post Production has sped up, allowing us to spend more time on scripting, photography and sound – continually raising our production values. Mobile phones and tablets have increased our audiences. Online video and higher connection speeds mean we can now broadcast to a global audience. From Peterborough to Peru and everywhere in between, we have YouTube subscribers watching and commenting on our work.
Looking back it’s amazing how far we have come, the miles we’ve travelled, the people we’ve interviewed and the stories we’ve had the pleasure of telling. With our latest documentary being released to mark our 10th year in business we’ve already got some great films planned for 2014 that we can’t wait to get into production. Collaborators, clients and friends in the business – thanks for being part of our story, and here’s to the next exciting chapter.