It goes without saying that 2020 was a very challenging year for so many people. But it hasn’t been bad news for everyone. Studio Giggle, an events, film and animation studio based in Bristol, ended the year on a high.
Studio Giggle predominantly creates immersive animated and filmed content for events. But in March 2020 when the lockdown was announced, like many in the event industry, Studio Giggle watched all the work that they had lined up for the year disappear overnight.
“It was an incredibly difficult time for us. We sent our crews home in March not knowing when or if we would return to the studio. Just before the lockdown was announced, we suspected that Steve Garratt, the founder and creative director of Studio Giggle, had covid. He was unable to work and is still affected by his illness now.” Says Jonathan Brigden, Studio Giggle’s managing director.
But after a lot of hard work and focus, the team at Studio Giggle were able to adapt so that they could survive. The first aim was to use this newfound time to gain more official training in new technologies. Studio Giggle turned their attention to motion capture and created a short film using NOITOM Motion capture suits. The film, called Isolation. was based on the idea of the 5 stages of grief that people might be feeling in insolation and was captured remotely. Studio Giggle’s digital artists filmed themselves, sanitising the kit and then cycling it over to colleagues how to repeat the process. Isolation has been featured on various platforms but we were very pleased that we were on Film Shortage’s Daily Short Pick.
But Studio Giggle realised that if they were going to survive in the long term then they would need to adapt and focus. Whilst many in the event industry were having to furlough their staff, Studio Giggle worked incredibly hard learning new skills, new software and new ways to create events. The end result was a fully operational XR Studio for virtual events. An XR Studio allows the user to combine virtual and real-world environments and realities, so a user can exist within a virtual world and interact with it as if it were real. XR is part of the AR (augmented reality), VR (virtual reality) and MR (mixed reality) world of modern technologies.
Studio Giggle’s XR stage provides a way of raising the virtual event production value. It is an extremely elegant way of presenting information or to entertain clients and investors. The interactive nature of the XR studio means that it is now possible to have live panel discussions that take place with panel members calling in from all around the world via a super-fast internet connection into the studio.
The XR stage has since been used to produce numerous virtual events. The most successful event to date was Studio Giggle’s collaboration with their client CVC Capital Partners for their annual investor meeting in September. The XR stage and presenter were based in central London and were being filmed and streamed live. Studio Giggle was then able to ‘beam in’ the US CEO from New York live to interact with the speaker on stage.
Following on from the success of the CVC event, Studio Giggle won a contract to produce Manchester United Football Club’s partnership events. Studio Giggle created a bespoke platform for them to host events for their sponsorship partners. Each event, split into three sections, allowed the partners to interact with a Manchester United ‘Legend’, watch exclusive content and live interviews.
The success doesn’t end there. Within the business itself, there have been 4 new hires, including an Account Director and a Technical Director, taking the small team of six into double figures, but the team is growing again as Studio Giggle are now recruiting for a Junior Digital Artist. Studio Giggle has also managed to double their turnover in the 10 months since March.
Founder of Studio Giggle and Creative Director, Steve Garratt said “We never could have predicted how the world changed in 2020, everything that we thought we knew changed, it was an incredibly strange time. But I’m really proud of all the hard work our team has put in and we’re somewhat optimistic about 2021.”