We’re an independent, world class film production facility for advertising content, based in the UK. From studios to motion control, Alexa to Phantom, edit to grade and everything in between, we have it all in-house, on one site. Use as much or as little of it as you like. Sandstorm are your fast and affordable UK alternative to international low cost centres.
‘WHAT DO SANDSTORM ACTUALLY DO?’ THE (SHORT) MOVIE
‘WHAT DO SANDSTORM ACTUALLY DO?’
CUSTOM BUILT HQ
The search was on to find a more customisable and long-term solution to cater for the digital revolution (not just large scale productions) – the solution was an old dairy farm just by the M4 motorway, which Sandstorm converted into fully equipped film studios and post-production facilities.
In 2012 we moved all production and post from our London and New York offices to the old dairy site and in 2019 we opened our third studio stage and additional offices. Converting an old orchard next door into a 10,000 sq ft facility in just 3 months.
MEET THE SANDSTORM FILMS TEAM
Jen is the beating heart of Sandstorm, she started her career as a freelance production assistant and after a number of 29 hour a day shifts at Sandstorm, was convinced we were the company for her.
Jen’s tireless energy for perfection gives you the studio experience of a life-time, on the off occasion she isn’t at the studio, the entire place falls to pieces.
Jen coordinates all our bookings, scheduling and delivery. She is also Tom’s PA, which is lucky, as he can barely dress himself without the help of an army.
The antipodean set building super star takes a pretty relaxed approach to life… on the face of things at least (although not based on his work profile pic) and then ballistically turns his hand to any studio challenge you can imagine. Kitt has freelanced with Sandstorm for a few years and joined the team full time at the beginning of 2020. This man is tireless, focused and an essential weapon in the Sandstorm arsenal.
Throughout lockdown he personally chose to change his shift pattern to observe social distancing while continuing to build sets and also complete the construction work on Director Club.
Charles’ first experience on set at Sandstorm was at the tender age of 15, nine years on and he has found his niche as our in-house camera assistant. He also has a fantastic knowledge of the TechnoDolly system and is regularly seen running the rig as a motion control robot. He has grown up in the studio with an Arri Alexa at his side and there is very little he doesn’t know about the serious ‘big boy’s toys’ we keep in the kit room at Sandstorm.
When you’re thrown into a kitchen alongside the adonis that is our barista Curtis Read you need to be made of pretty strong stuff… or in Pete’s case, just be really relaxed, hard-working and up for a laugh.
Pete joined Sandstorm in January 2020 to become our first full-time in-house chef after a 15+ career working in proper kitchens.
Chef now works out of the Director Club kitchen in our lovely new building, serving food on shoots, in the Director lounge and in our cafe which is open to the public.
He worked throughout lockdown at Sandstorm as part of our ‘lock-in bubble’ and provided meals on wheels to some of our team working remotely too. What a blooming nice bloke!
We think you’ll enjoy his work as much as we do.
Ayo spent over twenty years in some of the world’s leading creative agencies, producing TV commercials and integrated campaigns – if he hasn’t experienced it, there is a high likelihood that it is simply not important!.
In his agency production role he met Tom and Sandstorm in 2001. The two have worked together ever since, traditionally with Ayo as the agency lead and now, as of 2016, with Ayo as the strategy lead for Sandstorm.
Ayo shares Tom’s vision and way of working, ‘why make it complicated?’ and always look for the best way of producing content.
He was an early adopter of real digital content (well before the word ‘content’ even became a term) and sees every project as a chance to fully understand and deliver every key marketing asset in the simplest and most creative way possible… in short, Ayo will make your work more effective.
Director of Photography
Matt started his career in London, working as a photographer’s assistant, before running his own studios.
His studio merged with Sandstorm Films in 2013 to manage and produce product focused photography and film.
Time and time again, Matt not only proves himself to be one of the most knowledgeable and precise Directors of Photography in the world today but also an unrivalled expert wrangling products. There is no production issue that Matt has not had to solve before.
Tom is a workaholic with an intense interest in all parts of the production process. Very technical and incredibly impatient, Tom likes solving problems, even problems that don’t seem to exist yet…
He is obsessed with cutting smoke and mirrors out and making films without complexity or unneeded costs. You will regularly see Tom directing and shooting, but he is happiest just jumping in on the many different projects at Sandstorm as an executive producer and (sort of) technical advisor to add little bits of advice.
He personally designed and built all the studios (with quite a lot of help from professionals) and has spent his career looking at how you improve the production process, every little bit of it. He has run Sandstorm for over twenty years, from humble beginnings in Soho Square to offices around the world to a comprehensive and complete production facility near the Cotswolds which is the home to an experienced super team, great kit and amazing studios.
Marie-Ann ‘Maz’ Morrell
Maz is the ultimate example of a modern film production hybrid and the embodiment of how Sandstorm operate.
Prior to working at Sandstorm, Maz was based in London as a producer and editor, bringing her versatile ability to orchestrate, coordinate and create everything from global TV commercials to versioning projects to Sandstorm and our clients in 2012. Since then, although mainly focused on producing she is still (in Tom’s opinion) the best story-telling editor he has ever met.
On a day to day basis her main focus is keeping our post-production team on course as well as coordinating productions with Jen.
Although Maz may look like a 25 year old model her years and experience are far in advance of that, she’s just very lucky (unlike Tom) to have incredible genetics!
Director Of Photography
Dann is a regular Director of Photography and Cameraman at Sandstorm, he is incredibly inventive and has a great eye for composition and visual storytelling. Though we always encourage a bit of healthy competition, it is not uncommon for Dann and Matt to partner up on shooting projects where Dann’s more organic location experience teams up brilliantly with Matt’s uncompromised ability to light a product or a set.
Peter ‘Pedro’ Morrell
Pedro started his career in Soho before joining our London office in 2008. Today, based at our studios on the edge of the Cotswolds, he heads up our post-production department as well as directing and assistant directing high-end commercials and content for some of the world’s leading brands.
His hybrid skillset is second to none and there is very little he hasn’t had to handle on set.
He is never satisfied until every pixel is perfect, and he fights to make sure projects get as much time and attention as they deserve. What is best about having your post handled by the man who was your assistant director or director is pure continuity. There is never a grey area or confusion in post if Pedro is involved.
Senior Editor & VFX
Ed spent over a decade working in post-production departments around the UK before joining Sandstorm.
You can spot Ed’s work a mile off, because it’s bloody brilliant.
His creative flare spans most areas of post, though he specialises in online and grading.
Frazer is the ultimate example of a go-getter. For anyone wondering ‘how do I get into the industry’ his example is paramount. His first experience with Sandstorm was when he was just 13 years old and telephoned the studio to see if he could come in and shadow our team, at 16 he joined as an apprentice, after successfully qualifying he joined our post-production team full time.
Five years on and he is mostly found creating superb visual effects or putting unprecedented layers of lens flare onto films. There are very few projects that go through Sandstorm without the Frazer touch – his natural eye for detail and ability to always think of a creative solution to any problem has made him an invaluable asset to all Sandstorm productions. Through lockdown he was part of the live-in team who stayed at the studio, which gave him a great chance to learn about construction and set building, as well as lighting. Full commitment and flexibility make him a fantastic asset to every production.
The most common joke you’ll hear about Mark in the office is that ‘he never has anything to do’… Mark has worked as a freelancer for Sandstorm for over 15 years! Yes, he really is that old. He started full-time in 2018 and his ‘Sandstorm bow’ has a whole lot of strings.
From CGI to DIT, edit to VFX supervision, he’s also a licensed drone pilot, very good at VR, pretty nifty with the TechnoDolly software and knows a few things about a camera. If you need to know where he’s been in the office you follow the trail of empty Diet Coke cans.
Cam joined the Sandstorm crew straight from University and the speed at which he climbed the ladder is unprecedented… he is very tall after all.
His first day on set was a memorable one for his boss, who recollects the speed and ability to anticipate what was coming next combined with a natural eye for lighting that was advanced of his years.
Cam was part of the team who stayed at Sandstorm throughout lockdown so we could keep shooting without breaking any rules. In which time he not only lit every project, but regularly set built, ran the camera, autocue and live streaming. He epitomises the energy and enthusiasm of a great crew member, combining a fast can-do attitude with detailed and tireless execution. Put simply, he absolutely loves lighting sets and finding neat, beautiful ways to do it – and he always comes out smiling… usually with a beer in hand.
With youthful looks and long hair that Tom can only dream of having, Ollie is a young energetic pair of hands on the stages and around the studios. Regularly working in the props department and also on lighting with Cam, he’s great fun to work with and will put his hand to anything. He joined the company by pulling a (very) short straw and having to paint the exterior of Studio 3, it took eight weeks and 500 litres of bitumen paint… and it’s still not completely finished (Jan 2020).
Ollie also personally curates our props store. If you need to know what is on those shelves (and there are a LOT of shelves) he is your man. If he doesn’t have it he will find it and he will make sure it’s on your set and accompanied by a few variants, just so you know you’re ready to shoot.
Barista & Social Media
Curtis is a swiss-army ninja – the man who is likely to welcome you to the studio, he is one of the most outspoken individuals you’re likely to meet… in truth, you’ll be lucky to get two words out of him, but what he lacks in words he makes up for in actions – and will make you one of the best coffees you’ll probably ever taste. When he’s not serving up latte art masterpieces he is likely to be attempting to post on our social channels (if Tom ever lets him – N.B social media is banned at Sandstorm).
Katie came to Sandstorm as lead massage therapist in our Director Club… genuinely she did! Yes, we’re a film production company, but everyone who knows us knows we do things differently here. If you’re on a shoot you should be able to unwind as well as make a film – it’s that simple and Katie is here, on hand, full-time to help you do just that.
Katie came to us from Bowood House Spa & Hotel, which in this area of the UK is regarded as the best 5* spa – well apart from us of course. In short, you’re in very safe hands (excuse the terrible ‘dad’ pun). From Thai-styled massage to hot stone therapy, aromatherapy and reflexology to specialist skin and beauty treatments Katie has you covered.