Focus: Communications - Three minutes with... Mehran Mehraban; co-director, Ignite Creative

What do you do?

I am a director at a not-for-profit video and production company.

I used to work for independent companies, but I realised some companies were charging extortionate rates. Hardware and technology costs were coming down, but these savings weren't always passed on to charities. So we decided to set up our own company and use the surplus funds from corporate productions to subsidise our work with charities.

What kind of work have you done with charities?

We have worked with Age Concern, for example, and produced a DVD about age discrimination for health professionals. Sometimes the charity asks to write its own script, but it usually ends up as a collaboration because charities don't tend to think visually.

Which video are you particularly proud of?

We made one for Cord, an international development agency, which showed its work in Afghanistan and Zambia. We used footage shot on location and the images were great - very poignant.

When you have footage like that it's easy, but you can still get results if the charity is engaged in work that seems less 'video-friendly'. For instance, we are working with a community group in Coventry that works with truants. We have spent quite a lot of time with the children, so when we ask them questions such as how they feel about school, we get honest answers. Good music, good graphics and strong editing always help.

Are charities making the most of film?

I think a lot of charities are still scared of film because in the 1980s and 1990s the costs were prohibitive and some companies charged unacceptable rates. But it's something more should consider. You get much more out of it than you do from print because it tends to be more emotive.

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