After the flood GDS Platform Technology Film

GDS Platform Technology Film

“How do we explain our new IT strategy to both experts and the public?”


Government Digital Service

The Problem

Difficulty of explaining new government IT strategy to non-technical audiences

Our Solution

Our film uses non-tech metaphors to create accessible message


Film shown at key government events and hosted across GOV.UK

“How do we explain our new IT strategy to both experts and the public?”

GDS wanted to explain their technology strategy and introduce the concept of platform technology to those who were new to the subject. We helped them make it human.

The video had to speak to an audience of both experts and generalists within government. It was to be jargon-free, not too hi-tech, not too expensive looking, and made on a modest budget. The video needed to explain the subject in simple terms, ideally with metaphors and visuals that were accessible to all. We wanted to avoid infographic / diagrammatic aesthetics (‘graphicalia’) as that is often used to dress up thin content with a veneer of depth. We had to use a simpler, calmer means of delivery.

Lessons Learned

Storyboarding and script development was thorough given the importance of the message and it was great to work with the writers at GDS on this. The story was designed to be simple and visual treatment followed suit – anything more complex would have needed a lot more planning. The props were surprisingly easy and quick to build – that worked well, but anything more advance would require more time for production design.

The making of ... 


From the beginning, we knew that the film needed to introduce the concepts of platform technology in a way that made sense without the viewer needing to know anything about how they actually work. Early storyboards created a simple narrative and use real life materials to ground some of the abstracts that we were dealing with in known visuals. 

We use storyboards to plan and also as instructions. A well executed storyboard is a blueprint for the film crew to follow, saving time at the production stage.

Our materials were cheap to assemble but we needed a little woodworking to get them working as we needed. The main blocks of the ‘city scene’ were wired to 7V batteries.

These were initially tucked around the back but we decided that blocking the view of the batteries would make too much production overhead.

We had to wire up every block in the sequence – rather than duplicating the effect with CGI which would have been possible but inauthentic.

The ‘second half’ blocks were laser etched to show their neatness as opposed to the tape and marker pen ‘city blocks’. They were then drilled through and wired to smaller LEDs.

All storyboards and moments in film need an impactful shot – as much for drama and attention as for pacing. This scene is the one that shows the full picture of the disorganised state of current things. 

The actual shot is very similar – see how the sketch acts as the blueprint – helping us make the props/set and then directing as how to film.

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