Trials and tribulations of 2020

Steve Lamb

With the dust of 2020 finally beginning to settle, we can certainly afford a moment to sit back, take a sip of coffee and reflect on the challenges we faced throughout this historic stinker of a year. I for one am so proud of the team I work with and what we have been able to accomplish in these last 12 months. As a relatively small video production company based in Leeds, I think the odds have been stacked against us – particularly as many of our clients have had to scale back their marketing budgets. Nevertheless, we’re still going strong and ready to turn our attention to 2021.


When the first lockdown was announced we needed to adapt quickly. Not only were we split up as a team having to work from home, but we had a number of projects at various stages of production that faced uncertainty. Our priority was communication and providing reassurance to our clients that we would work things out. We take real pride in our business relationships at Manto Films and I like to think we helped ease some of the noise and confusion around that time. As months passed, it became clear that we would need to change our approach to video production and think of new ways to keep ahead of the game and keep work rolling in.


Providing Post-production and animation are great ways to remain at home and socially distanced, so as 2020 progressed it became clear that we would need to shout about these services a little louder. We took the opportunity to learn new skills during downtime and further build our knowledge of the equipment we use. A highlight for me personally was when we directed a series of short cooking films for one of our clients over everyone’s favourite video communication app of the year – Zoom. This meant getting the most out of camera phones, basic sound gear, and clever lighting techniques to ensure the end results looked professional and high quality. Certainly, this wouldn’t be the preferred approach going forward but proved we were capable of adapting.


Upon being given the green light to shoot again we had a series of precautions in place to ensure both clients and our team were kept as safe as possible. Equipment was wiped down, social distancing was observed and crew kept to a minimum. Looking back, we actually ended up shooting some of my all-time favourite projects. Between getting Kalvin Phillips of Leeds United to do kick-ups with a Yorkshire Pudding to trying to tame a 12-week old puppy to sit still long enough to get the shot we needed, we certainly have some fond memories to look back on that don’t feel as if they were affected too much by the limitations around us.


I believe we have set ourselves up nicely as we head into this year. We’ve shown we’re able to adapt to constantly changing situations and our client’s confidence in us to achieve their vision is higher than ever. Sure, there’s still a lot of horrible uncertainty surrounding us, but I have faith that between us at Manto Films we will be able to take on anything that is thrown our way.