September 30, 2016 by Nicole Sijbers
LS Productions is the largest service production stills and motion company in the UK. It is a one-stop shop for any shoot. You name it – they will deliver it. The Scottish company owns a database of 120.000+ professionally shot images and 1500 unique locations.
With multiple awards in their pocket and a client list of well-known brands and names such as Range Rover, Harper’s Bazaar, Vogue and Florence + The Machine, LS Productions is ready to rule the world – and the secret behind their success has a lot to do with human values and collaboration. These were reasons enough for us to do this interview, so we could get to know them better. We spoke with Marie Owen, the CEO of LS Productions about their success, challenging requests and future goals.
Production Paradise: LS Productions has grown a lot in the last years. Today you have a team of 15 hardworking people. But how did it all start, how did you come to the idea to start working in the visual media industry?
Marie: It all started around my kitchen table 10 years ago. My husband is a fashion photographer and had recently moved to Scotland; he was so impressed with the locations, the landscapes, the light and the opportunities that he just couldn’t believe that more people weren’t shooting up here. We quickly realised that there was a gap in the market for a service company to assist these companies and brands, not only with locations but everything in between – from people, to kit, permits, accommodation, power to Nespresso’s – it just needed someone to pull it all together. From that idea LS was born – and here we are, 10 years later!
Production Paradise: Scotland has become huge in the advertising industry, everyone wants to shoot their campaigns there – what is the secret behind this success?
Marie: Scotland is a small but diverse country that is often underestimated. Not only do we have historical, stunning architecture, traditional Scottish locations and incredible scenery and landscapes but we have the unexpected, too. I think we constantly surprise people with what’s on offer; our locations library has truly allowed us to showcase the extent of what Scotland can present to the global market. Having the ability to find a cross section of these aesthetics in pockets across the country means that, where possible, travel time can be kept to a minimum and we’re able to offer really strong, cost effective shoot packages. There’s a lot of talent here, too – excellent crew, talented producers; this has really helped Scotland shout out to the industry.
Production Paradise: With a database of 1500 unique locations you can tell that LS Productions has been all over the world and knows all the hidden treasures. Can you reveal a secret location that nobody is aware of? And can you tell us why it is such a special place?
Marie: I can’t tell you about any secret locations (I don’t think that our Location Manager, Amy, would be too happy with me!), but I can tell you that we’re building a collection of really special locations that, happily, are coming on as exclusive. Our first was Glen House, a fantastic Highland Double within easy reach of Edinburgh. It has a multitude of shooting areas; a stunning main house, beautiful gardens and grounds, a charming boathouse and loch… It’s a very special place, and we’ve developed a close relationship with its owners Bill and Tessa. We’ve just taken on another fab exclusive location, too – more details of which we’ll release soon.
Production Paradise: As a production service company you probably receive some difficult requests for productions. What was the most challenging request you ever had? And how did you manage it?
Marie: Production is all about facing challenges – we always have a plan A, B and C (and D, E, F…) Over the years, we have been approached with all sorts of requests; interesting conversations take place at our production desk every day. A lot of sheep requests – sheep are very popular. For sheer comedy value, we once got asked for a beaver on a surfboard – it’s one of the office favourites.
Production Paradise: LS Productions works both for photo and moving image productions – do they require different skills from production companies?
Marie: Yes, of course. Different jobs have different requirements and needs; it comes down to the skills of the people we hire. Our in-house team manage expectation and deliver a project. We’re lucky in that we have a good mix of people who are talented in different areas, each bringing their level of experience and perspective to the table.
For me, the true proficiency of this job boils down to being able to look after people. This is where a good producer is truly skilled, in listening to what our client wants to achieve, working out logistically and financially how we can deliver that in the most time efficient way, and sticking by your word. If you say you can do something, then you do it. Being nice to people, working well as a team and getting on with the job in hand – these are all things that are important.
Production Paradise: With offices in Edinburgh, London and NYC it is clear that LS Productions is going global. How do you see LS Productions in the future? What are your future goals?
Marie: LS Productions has grown and diversified across its 10 year history, I think as a result of us not shying away from opportunity. Nothing stays the same forever, but clients still do value trustworthy, honest and effective relationships and partnerships. It’s made sense for LS to grow in the way it has – expanding from stills production in Scotland to stills and motion across the UK and beyond. It all comes down to having the right people in your team, with the right attitude and ethos. With that we can’t fail to continue to grow. Ambition wise, I’m looking forward to the launch of a new side to LS Productions that will be announced in the New Year, as well as developing our global offering in line with new partnerships. Collaboration is the future.
Production Paradise: You are one of the most loyal members of Production Paradise – when did you found out about the website and why have you kept promoting your work through it?
Marie: Yes, I found out about the website fairly early in our career. I’ve always believed in investment in marketing for growth; Production Paradise website offered the perfect platform to do this. Being so visual, the online gallery allows us to continually update with our newest work and locations, and the Spotlights are a great way to market certain areas of our business. It’s a marriage made in production heaven.
We would like to thank Marie for taking the time to speak with us. You can browse shooting locations offered by LS Productions and other companies on our Location Finder. You can learn more about LS Productions on their website and on Spotlight and Showcase magazines.
If you want to show off your latest work to the industry in the next edition of Production Paradise’s Spotlight or Showcase magazine, contact us now at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.