Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Centrepoint Sleep Out

Thursday 11th November at the Old Spitalfields market.

Handmade colourful jewellery, tasty cakes and pastries, carefully crafted tops and bags, amongst many other items are being carefully wrapped up to boxes and packed away. The mixed aromas of moulded wine, rum cake and freshly made cappuccino also begin to fade. The traders has just finished their day at work, some of them are already on their way back home – their warm cosy home.

Whilst the Spitalfields traders are on their way back home, at the place of their stalls, a fence is being erected and there is a whole army of people wearing white T-shirts with orange circle at the back: Centrepoint, giving young homeless people a brighter future.

Fences, sleeping bags, loads of cardboard, badges, stage, volunteers and sleepers and even space for a Double-Decker bus in between. That is the set up for Centrepoint’s annual fund-raising event – Sleep Out (http://sleep-out.org.uk)

During one night, over 400 sponsored volunteers gave up their comfortable beds to sleep rough in the cold of night. The aim? To raise money and awareness to help a growing community of homeless young people achieve a roof over their head and create stable future.

DUCC member Mac Million took an active part providing video production support throughout the evening, night and morning. A team of volunteers were assembled using a mixture of young people from Centrepoint and students to film and edit the event. Most of the crew involved were first time camera operators and presenters, who with very little training threw themselves at the task.

To compliment the Mac Million team other sponsors stepped in to offer their generous help: Charles Gervais of Both Hemispheres provided still photography, Mike Smith from Alias Smith & Singh provided the video cameras, Nicholas Troen and Frank Yeung of Poncho No. 8 provided seated area and power for the editing suites and Geof Jones from Vueinti installed a Digital Signage system build around cardboard boxes.

After a long nights work the team managed to document entire event, capture performances and interview celebrities such including Lisa Maxwell of ITV’s Loose Women, Sara Cox, Ivan Gazidis the CEO of Arsenal Football Club and goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski, Craig from Big Brother 1 and singers Dan Gillespie from The Feeling and Patrick Monahan the lead singer from Train, as well as Tres B.

The result of everybody’s joint efforts on the evening exceeded expectations and Centrepoint has so far raised over £150,000 to help Young Homeless People!
All the videos from the evening can be found here: http://www.youtube.com/user/CentrepointUK and you can also show your support here: http://www.facebook.com/centrepoint.charity

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Re: Danish UK Chamber of Commerce

Please find my leader below for the November 2010 Newsletter for the Danish UK Chamber of Commerce:

Dear Members,

What an interesting month October was for anyone based in the UK. No-one could escape the over 81 Billion Pound budget saving measures by Chancellor George Osborne, by cutting costs, cutting Quangos and even cutting the iconic Harrier jets. Some doom-sayers would certainly claim that another recession is imminent, whilst others refer back to the time when government budgets were cut by Thatcher, it eventually led to Back Wednesday. Whether right or wrong, whilst businesses in the UK will be facing challenging times it will also offer entrepreneurial possibilities for those who are willing to make that extra effort. As much as the economy might need a respite from people wanting to go to school, be ill or have a pension, this will not change – same goes for the need for a roof over ones head, food, electricity, transport and other necessities. So yes, there will continue to be business opportunities.

And just one of those opportunities was witnessed in the beginning of October when our friends at Scan Magazine opened the doors to The Scandinavia Show 2010 (http://www.scandinaviashow.co.uk). It was an amazing feast of the best that Scandinavia has to offer in design, food, drinks, holidays, technology and drinks. And not least because DUCC was present too with a stand inspired by the wonderful place of Skagen, the most Northern place on the Danish peninsula (Jutland), it was manned by DUCC chairman Mr. Per Troen, office driver Manpreet, myself and the brave people from Team Denmark FC. The end result was that we connected with people that we would otherwise not have met and we even managed to sign up new members to the chamber. For those interested we brought a video production crew (Joanna) from Mac Million, who with Per went around interviewing and documenting the show. You can see the results on the DUCC web video channel (http://www.youtube.com/duccchannel).

As much as we are faced with tough choices in the current economic climate, we must not forget to step up to the challenge of helping others. Not being ashamed of plugging for charity myself, can I please use this opportunity to highlight Centrepoint’s Sleep-Out (http://sleep-out.org.uk) on Thursday the 11th of November in aid of giving homeless young people a future.  There will be a mix of celebrities, chief executives, city folks and others roughing it out for the night at the Old Spital Fields market. I will be there too with a crew with cameras and editing suites documenting events, surprise entertainment and interviewing people to be shown during the night on FaceBook and Youtube. Please get onboard, London’s homeless young people needs you now!  http://bit.ly/agArXb

Thank You

MD of Mac Million & Ducc Council Member

Monday, 9 August 2010

Avid Media Composer 5

We’ve just upgraded our Avid editing software to Media Composer 5! We love new toys and this latest instalment in the Mac Million arsenal is really exciting – ‘the fastest, most powerful editing tool available’. Avid truly is the industry standard and is the platform that most movies and TV is edited on. Between our Avid and Adobe systems, we are now pretty much ready for any project that comes through the door.

Avid have introduced drag-and-drop editing meaning that even a Final Cut or Premiere jRO junkie can benefit from Avid’s brilliant features. Media Composer 5 can work with a huge number of formats without any problems…

Our first project on the Avid is already under-way, it is mini documentary about hat designers for a charity auction in September in the aid of Homeless charities. 

And no more tedious transcoding of video shot on certain digital media. I say ‘tedious transcoding’ only because the general public would find the array of different video formats and the hows and whys of their use incredibly tedious. However to the type of geek that enjoys making a living from modern, digital video post-production, it is anything but. That is why we’re also thrilled about our recent upgrade to Canopus’ ProCoder 3.

ProCoder is the leading software transcoder and can take pretty much any type of video and turn it into another type, quickly and easily. It makes the hard work of dealing with regional formats (differences in size, speed and picture) a piece of cake and is an exceedingly handy tool of our trade.

In the office we have already started dreaming of to getting hold of the Matrox MX02 for HD video monitoring and a HUGE pair of monitors to stick on the wall! Then a new Canon XF305 which can shoot full HD video at a remarkable 50Mbps onto 2 swappable CF cards! After that a set of LED production lights! an HP Z800 with Nvidia Quadro FX5800!…honestly the shopping list is endless!

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Re: Should the UK Film Council be saved? I'm not so sure...

This was originally posted yesterday under discussions on our new www.facebook.com/macmillionproductions page:

I am starting this subject in fear of falling out with all of my colleagues in the UK film industry. However, I am not sure that it is such a bad thing to abolish the UK film council. Please do feel free to disagree.

From my impressions and please note opinions; I don't think that the UK Film Council was set up to cover anything but the "elite" in UK Film-making. Granted, they did rightfully tick some boxes in order to cater for minorities, but more often than not, that only just stretched to short films. And IMHO they completely failed in getting Digital Cinema out to a wider audience in the UK. It took at least 3 years longer than it should have done, and it is debatable whether they in the end choose the right display technology. In any case, the political confusion helped put the breakers on High Definition in the UK for at least 4 years, and we are still playing catch-up. This wasn't helped either by then Chancellor Gordon Brown deciding to get rid of all foreign co-productions by making it near impossible to get co-funding under the new tax regime.

Yes, the UK Film Council has supported some financial successful movies, but out of the £160 million spent and over 900 films supported - how many actually made a decent return on investment.

So I say, scrap the UK Film Council. Encourage more micro budget film making. Only support movies with a strong business plan and bring back the tax-breaks for overseas producers (maybe just the Europeans) - this will help to get English co-productions to a wider audience and thereby bring money back into the industry. And one thing I never thought that I would hear myself say; lets remove VAT on Digital Cinema projection and sound equipment - this will hopefully help to re-vitalize cinemas and UK Digital Film Production. I.e. with the right Digital Equipment investment a micro-budget movie can be in the cinema on a slow Monday evening and out on DVD and download on a busy Friday there after.

Obviously I am a stake-holder in all of the above, but I also think that we shouldn't run to the defence of a film council that by my estimate hasn't delivered a proper commercial nor an artistic proposition to the UK film market.

However, I'm more interested in your opinion? Don't hold back :-)

Tuesday, 20 July 2010


We are always eager to look for ways to make Mac Million a little greener. That’s why we signed up with The Laundry (www.thelaundry.biz), to collect our recycling every week straight from our offices.

The Laundry is also set to take away our old IT equipment, which in an attempt to claw back a bit of office space. We are sadly having to cast off several items, including a beautiful, vintage flatbed scanner and a modernist marvel of a laser printer whose drum doesn’t quite follow the beat, have been up for sale on our website for several months without any takers.

So this is your last chance to bag yourself a real bit of design history before they are taken away and environmentally bumped off – check out http://www.macmillion.com/forSale.htm.

The Laundry is the perfect solution for our recycling needs, making the whole process very easy. They supply us with colour coded bags that, once full, we leave outside the front door to be picked up. With regular collections and most of central London covered, being green is not a problem. On top of this, since you pay a single, reasonable price for a single, empty sack you avoid costly contracts, making it really cheap too! Enough said about their great rubbish collection.

We are well on our way of hitting the 95% recycling target we’ve set for ourselves. By also undertaking a thorough review of our energy consumption and CO2 emissions, Mac Million’s environmental-policy is not only saving us and thereby our client’s cash but also the planet!

Thursday, 29 April 2010

Naked Bond on the River Thames

Helen does it again! Champagne reception at the London Eye Millennium Pier followed by a Bond style speed-boat race ending with Mel offering to jump in naked - what a great evening!

My latest Blog on the BNI Elite website

Re: Racing on the Thames

23 April 2010

By Mads Nybo Jorgensen

If one ever was to fear a boring Friday evening, fear not; our very own special party-maker Helen Wakeman-Jones arranged the perfect night out including spades of sunshine, a quiet cruise down the river Thames followed by a bit of mellow jazz music with an open bar.

14 members + 2 Elite partners in crime met early for a champagne reception on the Millennium Pier, underneath the London Eye. The champagne was chilled to perfection and so was the pier security - which was desperate to find out who had given permission to serve alcohol on their watch? Before they could react and impound our glasses, we had drunk the apple juice and so the evidence magically disappeared.

The group were suitably kitted out with windcheaters and lifejackets supplied and dresses by the lovely people from the London Rib Voyages company. Strict instructions were added that not at any time was one to pull the cord, unless in the water and the self-inflation mechanism found not to be working i.e. you're drowning!

Two Ribs were summoned to carry the group enlarged by a few tourists. I happened to find myself next to Mel with our backs to the steering and loudspeaker. Followed on by our kick boxing champion Lisa and Stephanie, Linky and Elizabeth, Richard with wife Judy and Alan and Sarah. I am guessing that the rest of the group went in the other boat.

Once boarded, safety checked and signed the disclaimers we raced from the eye up to Canary Wharf. Only slowing down for the Wapping Water Rats station - otherwise known as the Thames law enforcers. Once passed those guys, the Bond music was turned on full blast and the race between the boats was on - check out http://tinyurl.com/37aluqv for a full description of the boats - I can testify that if at enough speed, they will jump the waves.

Check out the pictures here: http://tinyurl.com/3ynkckh

On the return Louise, our Whitechapel based River guide talked us through all of the see-worthy sights on the River and the Houses of Parliament including the legal smoking room. My favourite was Belfast and that it still has the capacity to bombard the M1 - if we didn't already know that? http://tinyurl.com/3amqsof and the glassy building covering the view to the monument is originally build by an Italian Window Cleaner - yep, Louise was a wealth and inspiration of knowledge.

We also learned was that the River Thames is the cleanest Big City River in the world. Mel did later in the evening offer to change this through a promise of walking into the Thames without wearing any clothes - I want to use this opportunity, even at the risk of upsetting certain parts of the Elite chapter, to decline Mel's offer which was given under serious duress.

Upon disembarking the Ribs, we walked to the nearby Archduke for a treat of pub-grub, Jazz and a generous amount of wine. I have to confess that I never got to listen to the Jazz, which I think was the same for most, just too many people to catch up with outside of the usual 60 second fried egg and bacon setting. This was another superb event arranged by Helen Wakeman-Jones - Thank you very much! Let us all go and get her some referrals!!!