Pinewood at 80: What brands can learn from the big screen

Earlier this month, the BBC premiered a documentary on the 80 year history of Pinewood Studios – the UK’s home of cinema and birthplace of classic films including Black Narcissus, the James Bond franchise and this years’ Star Wars production. During the documentary, Jonathan Ross gained unprecedented access to the Buckinghamshire studios, to reveal the magic behind some of the greatest movies ever made.

But beyond the sneak peeks and interviews with some of the studio’s biggest stars, it was Ross’ conversation with Framestore’s Director of Visual Effects, Tim Webber, that stuck most in our minds – due to the parallels it raised between the world of cinema and, surprisingly, the world of branding.

Whilst discussing the balance of visual effects seen on the big screen, Ross suggested that the biggest challenge was “getting the balance right, so we don’t have a film which is all spectacle and no heart”. It’s a view that was echoed by Tim Webber:  

“If you haven’t got a heart in your movie, it doesn’t matter how many visual effects, or how much spectacle you throw at it, it’s not going to be an interesting movie. You’ve got to have some human emotion and some heart in the core of it”.


These statements are true of any great branding project – and they’re views that feed the creative process here at Lantern. By putting the same emphasis on your story, tonality and personality as we do on the visual effects, we ensure there’s an attitude and depth to your business. Tell a story with too much visual spectacle and you run the risk of overshadowing the compelling narrative, emotions and audience connections.

Anchoring many of today’s leading brands are the same ingredients as many of cinema's biggest movies. As Jonathan Ross put it, all you need is "a great story, great characters, believable plot, big challenges, great villains – and just a little bit of special effects". It's something Pinewood – and Hollywood – gets right time after time.