The Brief

MacDuff Medical Practice recently expanded its operation and invited us to create a film that would attract GPs to the area.

They challenge was to create something that would stand out from the crowd, in a space that was already festooned with medical recruitment adverts and promotional videos.

The challenge: Research on their competitors revealed that most medical recruitment videos in the UK were not very well made and to be honest – pretty boring. Here are the main deficits:

  1. Bad audio, bad lighting, mostly talking heads stuck in buildings and offices.
  2. B-roll background video clips of work activity lacking imagination and surprise.
  3. Interviews fail to show the ‘real people’ involved in and out of the work spaces; realness and authenticity were found to be lacking
  4. Background filming often seemed disconnected with the people involved in the film.
  5. This is a big one – the music, sound design and editing really lacked imagination or jarred with the interviews; its as if the soundtrack was thrown on as a last minute addition rather than being central to the storytelling, and emotional impact of the movie.

Our challenge would be to address all of these and come up with a stand out movie; something that would stand out among the competition.

Extra Credits

Aerial Filming: Paul Billany

Marine filming: Malcolm Slater

Music: Josh Leake

The Solution

Make the interviews authentic, vibrant and wow! by doing them outside at play AND inside at work.

Make it compelling by creating a multi-threaded storyline – editing both the indoor and outdoor interviews with a carefully crafted soundtrack – so that all 6 interview ‘stories’ are happening at the same time, throughout the video – a bit like a really short disaster movie but ending with good stuff instead of the disaster.

Location, camera, action… After questioning the team, we came up with a list of locations and activities where we could shoot their interviews both at work and at play. This would give us a shoot list for about 5 locations and activities where interviews would bring out the something of the real person, and give us a much more natural way of telling their story, while showing what the region has to offer in the background.

This, we reasoned, would give the film its essential feeling of authenticity – it should be something that comes from the heart of place and people, rather than from the imagination of the film-maker.

This gave us our shoots list days for interviewees’ favourite places and outdoor activities:

  1. Favourite Canoeing spot
  2. Beach running
  3. Motorbiking
  4. Forest walking
  5. Gardening

Challenges of interviewing and filming fast action outdoors in the Scottish weather was helped by using high grade outdoor mics, outdoor lighting techniques and careful detailed planning. The fast outdoor action shots eg. while running over rocks – definitely a highlight for us, and thanks to the patience of the running doctor involved – was achieved using a gimbal, a strong arm, lots of experience and multiple ‘takes’.

Drone shots were taken by our favourite professional aerial shooters, around each specific location to make sure that establishing shots connected with the outdoor interviews on the ground as well as the medical premises itself. Again – for the sake of making it more real and compelling.

Hit-List of key points were drawn up to make sure the video covered every everything it needed to say about what MacDuff medical practice, and the stunning coastal area it serves, has to offer. Carefully crafted questions were used to trigger the main themes which we wanted to draw out during each interview.

Sound Design is top priority, here at Yellow Tractor – In most films, people will forgive bad video but NOT bad audio. Many hours were spent trawling through music to find just the right one that would connect with the overall message – which we then remix, chop and micro-edit and add sound effects in our music studio to be turned into a soundtrack – timed to the second with each each change of clip and signal each new ‘theme’ addressed by each interviewee, as we move throughout the storyline.

Note: For bigger budget films – we have facilities to create our own soundtrack scores, but as scored soundtracks can often be a very costly addition we use tracks from a group of professionals which are designed for us to split instruments, edit and remix as a base for our own soundtrack – to speed up time and lower cost.

Big ending showing ALL the staff – the ending is as important as the beginning of the movie. They wanted a big ending with a group shot of all the staff.

To get a better feel of the whole place we suggested a larger group of cleaners, doctors, consultants would be better served by doing a series of ad hoc shots around the wards and building of anyone – with their permission catch them at work, having a tea break, going about the corridors etc.

This would do what they want but – in keeping with the rest of their film – make it more authentic and capture laughter, fun, banter from staff, at home in their natural surroundings.

macduff video thumbnail


Their new recruitment video notched up 17,000 views and tons of ‘wow’ comments in their first week up on NHS Grampian Facebook page – and played a key part in their ongoing campaign to recruit Doctors to their rapidly expanding practice.