About the author:
Grapevine Communications' producer Michael Smith consults on and creates corporate communications on video and for the web. He has extensive experience in producing effective video programmes for businesses, the public sector and voluntary organisations. While his skills lie primarily in programme creation and production, his direct knowledge of the buyer's side of the process includes a period advising the European Union in Brussels on film and video production issues and on the commissioning of a number of substantial projects. He first worked in media production in a vacation job for a film company, way back before going to university.
After taking a four-year joint economics and social sciences degree with a maths subsidiary and a strong social psychology component, he worked briefly as a researcher for a youth and community work organisation, assisting in the evaluation of community projects, before following a long-term interest in art, design and photography and joining a film studio as a trainee.
Periods learning the basics of editing and sound led on to three years in the camera department, training on 16 mm and 35 mm movie cameras (and on 6x6cm and 35mm stills), and later on the (then!) newly- introduced BVU video format. He eventually emerged as a lighting cameraman, before transferring to join a leading corporate communications producer as an assistant producer, gaining experience in developing scripts to meet specific customer objectives as well as in programme direction. On further promotion to producer, he took on responsibility for a small permanent core staff as well as for building and managing teams on a project by project basis.
In the early 1980s he was recruited by international TV news agency Visnews to run a team of 16 people based in Brussels providing news and longer-form coverage of European Union affairs, with in-house facilities including a multi-camera broadcast TV studio, 2 sound studios, 2 news crews and a videotape archive. During this period his role included providing advice to the EU on a range of production-related issues, as well as acting as a conduit to Visnews' video engineering expertise.
Following his return to England to freelance as a script writer and director, he moved to Cambridge in 1990, setting up Grapevine in 1995 to operate as a specialist corporate communications producer, specialising initially in film and video.
As technological advances made interactive and computer based media first possible and then compelling, he became involved in “interactive video” using laserdiscs and PCs, then in “multimedia” using video on interactive CDRoms.
Building on this exposure to audience response to computer screens and to programming (first through Multimedia Toolbook), it was a natural progression to carry these through using into web design and the web as a platform for video.
For a selection of his production credits, follow this link.: