Client: Pizza Express

We were approached by UNITY who were working on a new Autumn campaign for Pizza Express. The campaign was titled ‘Pizza Express Moments’. The intention was to highlight Pizza Express as a venue for special moments, from a place to share a meal with a loved one or a friend to holding parties and celebrations.

We were invited to pitch a series of ideas for an online video promotion that would be sharable on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Vine and Instagram. We came up with the concept of using a magician posing as a Pizza Express waiter to give unforgettable experiences to normal Pizza Express customers, providing the ultimate ‘Pizza Express Moment’.

Pizza Express loved the idea and we set to work under a very short deadline to produce and deliver the content. The first step was to shortlist and audition possible magicians, someone who easily blended into the role as a waiter and wasn’t too recognisable so as to not ruin the illusion!

After settling on Damien O’Brian as our magician and deciding what tricks he would perform to our unsuspecting customers we had to find a way to film the magician at work without the cameras being seen or arousing suspicion. We decided to use small micro 4/3rd’s cameras as our 3 primary cameras to get the best possible quality within the smallest package that could be hidden easily. Using the Panasonic GH4 gave us the ability to shoot in 4k giving us effectively 6 angles from 3 cameras as we could crop into the frame in the edit without losing any quality from the 1080p Full HD delivery resolution. In addition to the 3 primary cameras we also used a GoPro mounted in the ceiling to get a birds eyes view of what was happening.

We were given a shortlist of restaurants in which we could shoot from Pizza Express and after visiting them we decided on the Bankside restaurant by the Thames in London. It provided light, space and enough opportunities to hide cameras!

After finalising the kit that would be required and confirming the tricks that would be performed we chose a filming day a week before the release of the film in which to set up in the morning and film customers for the rest of the day. We had a table in the restaurant which had the cameras focused on and when customers arrived they were led to the table to being their magician experience!

In total we covered 4 sets of customers resulting in over 18 hours of footage! After setting up a Multicam edit we were able to see all the cameras in sync and choose the best reactions much quicker than having to scrub through each camera separately. This allowed us to form a rough edit to show the client within 2 days, after a couple of changes in order to get it under the target of 60 secs we had our final film.

We set out to create a film that would be different, engaging and sharable whilst being representative and faithful to the iconic Pizza Express brand.

The film was released online and within less than a week it hit 1 million views and went on to total over 2 million views across digital channels. We blew the 50k target out the water!