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Publishing for Animators and Video Editors

Last week we went to the Inside Bloomsbury: Publishing for Animators and Video Editors event and we had a great time! We even got to view the video created for the 20th anniversary of Harry Potter and The Philosopher’s Stone!

On the panel was Head of Digital Marketing Trâm-Anh Doan, Anthony and Jason from Robot Ninja and chaired by Senior Marketing Manager Rachel Wilkie.

The panel discussed the campaign for the 20th anniversary, why they chose Robot Ninja to be the animators, how they worked together and why it was so successful.

The Campaign

Trâm-Anh told the audience that the aim of the campaign was to bring back the feeling of nostalgia and make people feel emotional again. The team decided that the best way to do this was through animation by bringing back the focus to the words and the books. They used social media for fans to send their favourite Harry Potter quotes that are used in the video.

Why Robot Ninja?

When deciding who to hire as the animators, Robot Ninja shone! Robot Ninja opened their pitch with puns and GIFs to show that they are fans and want to be a part of the franchise. They added more creativity to the brief with 20 memorable moments that people could share as GIFs.  

What were the next steps?

Storyboards and google sheets were created and fans were asked for their favourite moments. Trâm-Anh is used to seeing designs in a finished format, when being shown unfinished proposals and storyboards with lines and sketches the panel laughed at her `what is that?’ responses.

Robot Ninja worked with existing illustrations by Jim Kay. Working with existing artwork did take some time and Photoshop was often used. They wanted to bring out words individually and move away from faces, how else to represent Dumbledore? His cloak!

When creating the sound Anthony and Jason thought back to the times they sat in the office making funny noises into the microphone. They did not like Trâm-Anh’s choice of music; instead, they went with a slower track to allow for the up and down emotions in the video to breathe.

How to make everyone watch it?

Franchise partners shared the video; they were set up to post when it was released. Facebook featured the video on their creative hub. The video was posted at 8am in the morning, for people to be able to watch on their commute. By 10am, the video had 1 million views, which then reached 11 million!

Loop able GIFs were released throughout the year to keep engagement levels up. The aim was to make each moment interesting on its own and be able to loop it repeatedly.

It is important to remember that a video could have one life, but this life can be extended!

Beyond Harry Potter

Animation is an amazing way to highlight a great cover. It is a great moment for the author to be able to share something that is not just static and not just text focused.

A cover reveal that is not just static makes a statement on social media, especially because video performs so well on social media.

Something as simple as animating text can perform really well.

Bloomsbury Modern Classics, a list of 10 books, the covers of each designed by a different artist have been animated to bring new life to iconic covers.

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ALPSP International Conference 2013

It was another really enjoyable and educational session at the Belfry hotel in Birmingham last week at the ALPSP International Conference (that is the Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers in case you’re wondering!). The awards dinner and quiz were great fun as ever and I was lucky to be on a very entertaining and relatively successful table, coming a respectable joint 3rd!  Here’s my summary of the useful bits I picked up, but I’ll be checking out the slides of the sessions I missed too and suggest you check out the ALPSP Blog.



“Was it something we said? (Or something we didn’t?)” was a fascinating panel session on communication that gave sound advice for scholarly publishers but could equally be used for any industry.

Grace Baynes, Head of Corporate Communication at the Nature Publishing Group gave a great top 10 outline of her best tips including ‘make all employees your spokespeople’ and ‘keep messages simple’.  Helen Bray, Director of Communication, John Wiley & Sons quoted Jack Welch that ’if the rate of change on the outside exceeds the rate of change on the inside, the end is near’ – again true for us all!


“Publishing practicalities”, chaired by David Smith from the IET looked at new trends and issues affecting the publishing landscape.

Alan Hyndman from Digital Science gave his views on Google Analytics and why he thinks it’s a great tool to improve your marketing. We probably all use it but don’t forget to set goals so you can see the improvements.  It’s free & comprehensive but it should be just one tool in your arsenal.
Jason Hoyt from PeerJ gave some great tips: Identify your customer and their top needs; Throw out anything you’re not an expert in; Throw out anything that your customers don’t care about – focus on what they do; The cloud is for organisations both big and small.


The session “What is the publisher now?” was fast paced and insightful.  Ziyad Marar, Deputy Managing Director and Executive Vice President of Global Publishing at SAGE Publications questioned what scholarly publishing needs to consider? Accessibility, sustainability and excellence are a good triad to start with.  We need to: Understand, Engage, Enable.

Timo Hannay, Managing Director at Digital Science advised that as publishers, we have to suppress any sense of entitlement and listen, learn and adapt.  We’re here to create and disseminate information and how we fulfill this mission is changing.  We need to think about functionality and not just content.

Victor Henning spoke very clearly about his experience as the founder of Mendeley and subsequent work with Elsevier.  He asked, “Is it possible to stem the flow of technology or should we surf the wave and join in?”  Heads of publishing houses need to come together and find a solution.

Louise Russell, Principle Consultant at Tutton Russell Consulting, commented that we’re heading towards information overload (how true!) – as a result of the increasing amount of content available it will become more chaotic for researchers to find information so we need to improve this.  Publishers will be experimenting with new digital strategies and working with digital natives who will think differently – the landscape is changing.



“Negotiating with governments: in search of pragmatic public access policy” was a detailed and fascinating rundown of policy in the UK, Europe and the US.  Check the ALPSP blog for more detailed info.


Steven Hall, MD of IOP Publishing, gave a comprehensive and clear outline of the history of open access up to the very latest updates following the House of Commons report last week. See the Finch Report for more background.
Eric Merkel-Sobotta from Springer Science+Business Media outlined the situation from the EU which seems to be having mixed success and Fred Dylla of the American Institute of Physics gave an overview of the US open access policy.


As always at conferences there is lots going on and you can’t attend every session, but I feel that I’ve come away with a good insight into where the scholarly publishing industry is and caught up on some important policy updates.

It was also good to catch up with some old contacts and make new ones.

Looking forward to next year!

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