If you were walking through the City of London and stopped at the corner of where Cannon Street meets Queen Victoria Street it might never occur to you that the enormous stone building there that takes up a whole city block - Bloomberg’s London HQ - is not an old building, but a recent commission designed to fit in with its august surroundings. The truth is that when I look at it I don’t see the the office that won the 2018 RIBA Stirling prize, I remember the massive hole in the ground that was there in 2013 when the foundations were dug and the piles were carefully sunk to miss the London Underground line and Victorian sewer that run close beneath the site.
I recall the imposing tower cranes that skillfully lifted the enormous sandstone beams and columns, quarried in the Lake District, into their pre-ordained slot in the gigantic construction jigsaw puzzle. I picture the glimmering bronze fins that punctuate the stonework and act as solar shading back where they started out - on the factory floor near Tokyo, being hand polished to a dusty lustre following an ancient and secret recipe. A building is, if you’ve had the pleasure to follow its construction over 4 years, the sum of many materials, processes, skills and man hours. And I should know, I’ve sieved through over 25 TB of video material related to the construction and fit-out of this building. I know it like an old friend and so when I look at its facade I’m aware what lies beneath.
Corporate video production brings variety, and every project I edit gives me something in return for my input. Making videos about other people’s business or endeavours - whether an About Us video, an event video, or a TV advert - elucidates something new for me about the way we trade, live and interact with each other. I enjoy knowing a little about a lot of different types of business - it makes for good pub chat and dinner party conversation - but I can’t say I actually set out to work in corporate video production. I don’t suspect anyone does. I studied film editing in Italy with the editor Roberto Perpignani (Orson Welles’ ‘The Trial’, Bernardo Bertolucci’s ‘Last Tango in Paris’) and my first passion was for cinema, then arts and music. However, I was drawn into corporate video by chance - the Bloomberg building project in fact - and I’ve never looked back. What I like to think is that my love for film, for music and the arts makes me an unconventional corporate video editor with an eye for dramatic storytelling and an ear for pleasing rhythms.
‘The Workplace of the Future’ is a 45 minute documentary for Bloomberg TV that follows the design and construction of Bloomberg’s European headquarters in London over the course of five years - from the digging of the foundations in 2013 to its opening in November 2018. By the time we came to edit the documentary in 2019 the video project consisted of more than 180 hours of material shot all over the world - in the UK, Italy, Germany, Japan, China, Finland, Spain, the USA. The footage included dozens of interviews with key players from Bloomberg, the architects Foster + Partners, the developers Stanhope, the construction company SRM and a multitude of subcontractors involved in every detail of the project, from airline-syle vacuum flush toilets to innovative ceiling panels. To support 50 hours of interview content our crews captured reams of what we call ‘b-roll’, in this instance shots that illustrated the process of design and construction. This could be anything from a GoPro shot at the end of a tower crane, to a drone shot of a stone quarry or a gyro-stabilised jib shot showing staff inside the finished building. Much of this material would not have looked out of place in a feature film.
Between the concrete pour and the ribbon cutting we worked for the Bloomberg Communications team in New York to create multiple standalone films about the building, for their staff and for the public. These 3-4 minute documentary videos covered a range of topics, from the engineering, design and construction of the building and its most innovative features, to the importance of sustainability and community in a city like London, the value of the public realm and public art, and the history and archaeology related to the site. Did I mention that the building is home to one of the most important Roman temples in Britain, the London Mithraeum
discovered soon after the Second World War. In fact, editing videos about the historical context of the site and the incredible archaeological finds uncovered during the ground works - including over 400 writing tablets
- was one of the most interesting and surprising elements in this story. It was especially gratifying to work with archive newsreel footage and stills of the 1954 discovery of the temple and to include stories from people who visited the site then, 65 years ago. Whenever I have friends visit from overseas I take them to the London Mithraeum. It’s a brilliantly conceived multi-sensory museum and, of course, I get to tell them all my anecdotes.
This series of short standalone videos on key topics related to the new building became the backbone of the 45 minute feature documentary. However, while we’d already drawn out the most important stories to include, we needed a way to combine them into a seamless narrative. We explored the use of a voiceover, but then Bloomberg introduced the possibility of filming short sequences with one of their news presenters in their digital London studio. The idea resonated with us. We saw that these presenter pieces could be perfect bridges from once section to another, allowing us to script efficient segues.
The Bloomberg TV studio is absolutely state-of-the-art. It has a very flexible layout that allows the news producers to move digital screens around the set, onto which they can drop the video and stills imagery of their choice. A part of my job as editor was to work closely with the NextShoot director, the Bloomberg Communications team and the London studio managers to block out the set-ups for each presenter piece-to-camera and the positioning of the screens with their associated content in various aspect ratios. I’ve probably made it sound a bit tricky. It was, especially as we pushed the use of the set and the camera movement beyond how it typically gets used for the news. It was worth it though, as everyone was delighted with the results and these pieces slotted into the edit beautifully.
The up and the downside of being an editor is that while your colleagues are traveling abroad together, shooting in the sun and rain, and meeting interesting people you tend to be working from an office. So a personal highlight on this project was joining our director on the Bloomberg studio set in London for the news presenter filming. Given the studio is actually run from New York, it was a fascinating insight into how TV news for a leading global broadcaster is managed.
‘The Workplace of the Future’ has been a truly fulfilling project to work on as an editor, including as it does the fruit of so many videos created over five years. It was incredible to be able to follow the development of such a long project from the start to the finish, learning about architecture, development, construction, history, art, archaeology and craftsmanship along the way. What I loved most of all was the opportunity to collaborate and interact with so many people - my direct team, the wider filming team and the client team at Bloomberg. Like constructing a worthwhile building, assembling videos piece by piece involves a hugely collaborative process involving a broad team of people with hugely different skills, managed by clients and producers who see the big picture while the details get worked out by specialists. It takes creativity, communication and an open-mind. When you work with these ingredients and the right people, work feels like your hobby.
NextShoot is a corporate video production company in London.
We specialise in high quality corporate communications for global brands. As a small video agency our clients get the undivided attention of our senior staff and the experience of a deeply committed team of creatives.
Bloomberg’s European headquarters in London is the world’s most sustainable office building. It scored a 98.5 percent BREEAM sustainability rating, the highest design-stage score of any major office development. Information on the buildings sustainability features can be found on this page.
Video content created for Bloomberg London can be found on the building microsite.