Lights, tape rolling… Avantgarde!

Being a full-service, hard-working, multi-channel agency, it was already back in the late 1990s that Avantgarde established its Film Unit. Based in Berlin and managed by Katrin Mosig, it has churned out great films for many clients as well as our own internal agency needs. We caught up with Katrin to learn more about this vital agency unit.

Could you please introduce yourself to our readers?

This is Katrin Mosig, our Berlin-based film guru
This is Katrin Mosig, our Berlin-based film guru

My name is Katrin, I’m thirty years old and part of the Avantgarde family since 2010.

I completed a three-year apprenticeship as an audio-visual media designer. Afterwards I started a degree in multi-media production at the Polytechnic University of Kiel. During my studies I gained a lot of extra-curricular experience while working for the NDR broadcasting service and other institutions. I completed my studies in Berlin, worked as an intern and was taken on as assistant producer.

After various jobs in areas such as reality-TV, soaps, magazines and television commercials, I decided to apply at the Avantgarde Film Unit in 2010. I was given the job as assistant to the producer. I really enjoyed working here from the get-go. The great team and the immense variety of projects in this global agency suited me very well. Since I’ve become head of the Film Unit in 2012, my love for the work has even grown. It is not a job for me, but my vocation.

What’s the Avantgarde Film Unit all about?

The Film Unit was founded in the late 1990s as one of the many units of Avantgarde. We are a full-service film production unit, working all over the world with a well-established network. We have all the advantages of being part of an agency. Our strong points are direct communication and consultation, clear target audiences, development of ideas right through to the realization of the final product. In addition, we have post-production workstations at our offices in Berlin, which guarantee for a quick and efficient turnaround of edits and animation projects.

Our strong point: We can always pick and choose the right people depending on the project.

Apart from me the team consists of Florian Riegert, our post-production supervisor, Fritz Linz, assistant producer and an intern, currently Lucia Knollhuber. It was very important to me to build a team of people who would compliment each other well. Flo joined the team shortly after myself. He makes sure the post-production workflow runs smoothly and is in charge of our library of filmed/stock footage. Fritz, the newest permanent member, is a UK import who took the academic route into audio-visual moving image production.

We work a lot with freelancers, which is another of our strong points: We can always pick and choose the right people depending on the project (client, brand, task and target audience).

Is there an area of filmmaking that you are particularly good at?

Our scope of projects ranges from documentaries, brand films, live broadcasts, media installations right through to personalized and viral content, from television commercials to music videos. So I would say: everything.

Some of our projects can be found on the Avantgarde website. Sadly, due to buy-out rights we are unable to put most of our work online.

Can you show us some examples of your work?

One of my favourite virals was produced for MINI in Cape Town:

We also produced a very nice online teaser for the Mercedes-Benz GLA audio-book adventure:

Recently we were able to document two great events for our colleagues in Cologne

Our current show-reel can be found here:

What do you consider a highlight in your work?

I personally call projects that challenge me a highlight. One of many was the project “A-Class Roadshow” in 2012.

For the roadshow as part of the launch of the Mercedes-Benz A-Class, where 150 vehicles were offered for test-drives in 21 German cities, we created personalized films for each of the participants. The participants received these films after their test-drive, with German actor Matthias Schweighöfer as their virtual passenger.

This meant that we had to equip each car with camera equipment. Statements by the participants were recorded and sent to a custom-built server. 7000 unique films were created automatically. This kind of idea had never been realized elsewhere, which meant that the team and I were able to learn a great amount of new stuff.

Here are some of the 7000 individualized A-Class Vorausfahrer films on YouTube:

Example 1, example 2, example 3, example 4, example 5

Do you have any advice for clients if they want to receive the best possible result from the Film Unit?

Film is a very specialist field, which requires a lot of experience as well as a strong continuous professional development. Being a film production unit within the agency, we are able to consult and guide our client through the entire film project. Having said that, there are certain things that a client should know right from the idea phase all the way through to the master play-out:  the goal, the target audience and the desired product need to be known. The idea, concept, realisation, perfect location, a suitable crew, all complicated points, such as buy-out, usage, contracts and insurances are matters that we will take care of, but always in coordination with the client.

And finally: In your opinion, which type of moving imagery is not used enough in marketing / our industry?

My personal experience is that in terms of aesthetic style, trends, and technology, the marketing world is sometimes behind the trends in artistic filmmaking. The reason for this is risk awareness. If new production methods or new ideas emerge, clients will only be willing to use them if they are proven to be successful in either low-budget projects or other channels such as cinema, TV or art shows.

Cover photo: Wheelson/Flickr CC