The Pursuit of Signage Perfection

Sometimes we get asked what we do as a business, and this is a strangely tricky question to pin down an answer to for a company that’s been going since 1946. You’d think we would have a stock PPL Signageanswer figured out by now right?

Well, we really don’t and the reason for this is that every day we do more and more bespoke projects in hundreds of different materials and techniques – It’s hard to keep track! Now, the guys in the workshop aren’t a showy lot (unless there’s a particular tune on the radio then they’re all dancing queens!) but we thought we would do some showing off for them, because they do some pretty cool stuff.

We make signs of all varieties, from your standard shop to giant banners to window graphics. But over the years our clients have asked for more and more, because having one hub to do all your branded pieces is just so much easier (we’re not biased at all, honest…). As well as Wimbledon Scoreboardsigns, we help create entire events like The Open – everything from the kiosks to the tee markers pass through our workshop. This means we are able to ensure a quality that runs through everything, and it also means we’ve become pretty damn good at a whole host of techniques! If you can think of it, chances are we can design, build and install it. We love working with creative briefs and nothing gives us more satisfaction than seeing our pieces do exactly what they were designed to do.

Recently we’ve decided to shout a bit more about this side of our business to the wider world, so one of our extremely talented Graphic Designers Nick, worked with Signage to create…

The Signage Book for 2017.  Check it out, and get in touch!

If you have a problem, if no one else can help, and if you can find us, maybe you can hire… The PPL Team.

Wimbledon 2016

As the sun sets on another year (and British Champ – YES ANDY!!) at Wimbledon, it’s safe to say that the All England Club have once again produced a showstopper of an event. Being part of something that holds itself to such high standards could be daunting, but there is something about Wimbledon that is different to any other sporting event in the world.

At Wimbledon they have a list, and this list gets rewritten every year. Every year they try and best themselves with the help of all the things they said they needed to improve. It is quite a brave way of working to admit you have done something ‘wrong’, but when you walk through the gates you suddenly understand. You understand how it is the greatest tennis event in the world, and how every year hundreds que and celebrities flock to the stands. It is a truly incredible sight. Not a hair out of place and not a corner left untouched: it feels seamless. Uniforms of all kind wandered through the crowds and from volunteers in their club colours to the unusually tame paparazzi, everyone had their place and their role and were performing it perfectly. I have been to plenty of sporting events, but none like this. The core team from PPL that resides down in Wimbledon every year plays a part in delivering this greatness every year, with the programmes and the scoreboards. Aiding in this production is not a 9 to 5 job, and our Wimbledon team work day and night to curate the perfect programme every day of the tournament, alongside the scoreboard team who keep the crowds up to date with the scoreboards across the grounds.

A little addition to our Wimbledon contribution this year have been the booths for the programme sellers and mini shops. Having been quite an impressive installation in our workshop for a few months, seeing them whilst out and about in the grounds was brilliant. We’ve put together a little something to show them off, check out the video below.

Months of preparation go into the programmes, installations and the scoreboard, with a huge amount of collaboration between ourselves and the team at Wimbledon. There is no lack of blood sweat and tears, and with the British summer time it is never without surprises. From days of rain to 3am printing runs, it is a job like no other but one we are incredibly proud to be a part of.

imageimage

PPL at The Curtis Cup

With the sun shining and team spirit high, the historic Curtis Cup was a fantastic event to be a part of. The team-aspect of this event in what is usually a solitary sport brought a new angle and allowed the team to capture some great moments both on and off the greens. We had decided on a same-day edit format to keep interest and atmosphere fresh throughout the week, and this was a powerful tool in being able to create a real buzz both on social media and at the course.

 

With the volume of footage taken, we also supplied fully edited newsreel clips for the Irish broadcaster RTE four days in a row, which again greatly raised the Curtis Cup’s profile in a really simple way. This is really at the core of what we try to do with PPL Video – with amateur events in particular, they lack the draw for a single mass audience yet have a huge following who are very willing to watch and share quality content. With this in mind we took a modern approach, with less fluffy-mic-to-camera and whispered commentary and more interviews and shorter clips avaleona magilable online on the day. These short engaging clips showcased the personalities and skills of rising stars, their team spirit and the fantastic venue. From what they’re binge watching on TV to their lucky charms, the player profiles proved to be a big hit and something we will definitely be looking to do elsewhere in our video work, and all of which can be seen on the Ladies Golf Union Youtube. 

Getting to know all the girls on the team also made our jobs very easy, so a big thank you goes out to all the GB&I ladies: it’s great knowing you have a friendly face in front of the camera and they were always accommodating in chatting to us and giving us the inside scoop

curtiscup3It was another long week for Team PPL but the support, atmosphere and passion that the Curtis Cup elicited made capturing it all so much easier for us.

 

 

PPL & The Brabazon Trophy

Last week some of Team PPL travelled down to the Kentish countryside for the historic Brabazon Trophy, officially known as the English Men’s Open Amateur Stroke Play Championship. Hosted at the London Golf Club, this 5 day-long event with 156 competitors would prove another test of our creative abilities. Armed with the social media accounts of England Golf, we were planning on Player Profiles, Drive Time, Round-Up clips and Leaders Talks everyday along with anything else that took our fancy.

Like any event (especially in the British summer) it was not without its issues, yet despite storms and delays, we were able to produce a number of fully professionally edited clips per day. Having taken advantage of a spectacular sunset the evening we arrived (that and Matt getting a bit excited to use the drone after such a long car journey sitting still!) meant we were able to supplement our same-day edits with a fully stocked archive of impressive footage.

This same-day edit format that we were pushing so hard for might seem unimportant to some, yet the power of being able to broadcast the action in a well-edited professional format mere hours after it has happened is so crucial to maintaining a buzz around an event. Amateur events like The Brabazon Trophy do not have the luxury of huge film crews or numerous news stations reporting, so the value of good quality video clips that increase engagement and interest supporters cannot be underestimated. Social media lives for the here and now, so why should the content you put out be any different?

Picture2

As well as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, we decided to utilise the clubhouse televisions to keep players, members and families updated and included, with all the content produced being constantly played on a loop throughout the week. As well as putting a smile on various featured players faces, this also increased awareness and gave a sense of importance and ‘hype’ to the tournament whilst opening up the video audience reach to older spectators who didn’t have access to social media (a fact that delighted the winners – Jamie Bower – Grandparents in particular).

All in all, we had aPicture3 smashing week and met some incredible people over at England Golf and the London Golf Club. Covering a multi-day event such as The Brabazon Trophy comes with some unique challenges but we thoroughly enjoyed being able to capture some great moments and be there 24/7 for all the action across all the platforms.

 

 

The PPL Group Get Their Wings

The PPL Group has approval and PFAW (Permission for Aerial Work), from the CAA (Civil Aviation Authority).

After an extensive training course, exam, Operations Manual Assessment and Flight Test Practical Assessment, PPL’s Digital Manager Matthew Trumble has been awarded the Remote Pilot Course SUAS qualification in compliance with Regulations CAP 722.

The training and examinations were facilitated by RUSTA. Rheinmetall’s Unmanned Systems Training Academy (RUSTA) is the new centre of excellence for commercial UAV, UAS and drone pilot training in the UK. RUSTA is a CAA approved National Qualified Entity for Small Unmanned Air Systems (SUAS).

Paul Kimberley PPL Sales & Marketing Director said, “adding drone footage to our commercial and sport video content takes our clients brands to a different level visually”. He continued, “Getting the right qualifications and permissions is paramount for The PPL Group as drone technology continues to evolve”.

PPL Group Director David Kelly added, “New technological innovations in video production are key to our continued success in this area. Simply turning up with one type of camera for a video production is no longer an option for producing dynamic, impactful and shareable content”.

The PPL Group new Head Quarters and video expansion

The PPL Group (Branding, Media and events), has expanded and launched a video division after a £2m investment.

PPL Sport specialises in the design and manufacture of match day programmes, branding, signage and video for the sports and commercial industry and is moving its Liverpool HQ from Brunswick Business Park to Estuary Business Park in Speke.

The move is supported by Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking, which provided a £1.8m funding package.

The new site will give PPL room to grow, boosting capacity by 20%, and will include a studio with state-of-the-art video facilities.

PPL needs space to accommodate its growing video production department, which it recently launched. It offers same-day turnaround on video shot at sporting events, which it supplies to broadcasters, organisers’ websites and social media.

The group produces match day programmes for major events including the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships, which start today and where PPL also provides scoreboard services, the Rugby Football Union Six Nations Championship, British Athletics and The Open Golf Championship.

The £5m turnover business has 29 staff in Speke, and Epsom, Surrey.

Sales and marketing director Paul Kimberley said: “The new premises has excellent rail, road and air links and the move out of the city means we will be less impacted by traffic congestion. The size of the property will enable us to improve production flow and will increase our capacity, as well as enabling us to grow our range of products.”

He added: “We have seen a growing number of requests for bespoke signage and construction of items, such as kiosks and retail units, which the extra space will greatly assist.

“The move will also support the creation of some additional intern and graduate roles planned for this year.”

PPL also received a Regional Growth Fund grant of £200,000 after being introduced to the fund by Alistair Pike, Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking relationship director.

He said: “PPL is a dynamic and innovative business. I’m sure its new headquarters will give PPL the growing space it needs as it enters the next chapter in its growth story.”

PPL was founded in 1946 by an ex-naval commander and is today owned by directors, Philip Butcher, Carl Biggs and David Kelly.

British Athletics

PPL and British Athletics

Lots of work for The PPL Group and British Athletics so far in 2016. On top of signage and event set-up, PPL have produced/are producing a number of digital assets for British Athletics including 3D Motion graphics.

Below are a couple of same day edit videos we produced during the recent British Athletics  Glasgow Indoor Grand Prix.

British Athletics Glasgow Indoor Grand Prix Setup

British Athletics Glasgow Indoor Grand Prix Event Day

The Grand Prix  is the best indoor athletics meeting in the world and will be staged at the Emirates Arena for the very first time, following its move from Birmingham last year.

Farah will compete in the 3000m, likely to be his only indoor race of 2016 whilst Greg Rutherford will be continuing his preperations for the Rio Olympics, in the best single day of indoor athletics ever to be staged in Scotland.

image001

Latest venue for PPL’s 2015 tour – Royal Dornoch golf club

The latest venue for PPL’s 2015 tour was up at Royal Dornoch golf club, where there was a dramatic end as defending champions Great Britain and Ireland overcame a two-point deficit to level the overall score at 12½ -12½ against the Continent of Europe and retain the Jacques Leglise Trophy. A big thank you to all at Dornoch Golf Club for making us feel so welcome.