Behind the Scenes: an interview with VMG Cinematic

In our latest video we take you on a tour of the Ahrens Family farm to show you how Tom and Nick Ahrens raise organic chickens and grow organic grains for Yorkshire Valley Farms. The Ahrens have been farming organically for over 16 years, and are one of Yorkshire Valley Farms’ founding farm families.

To create this video, we worked with the team at VMG Cinematic. Here we chat with Reid Campbell, who along with his brother Mark Campbell, and their friend Nick Haffie-Emslie, is one of the partners at VMG Cinematic.

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Lights! Camera! Action! Organic farmer Nick Ahrens gets ready for his close up.

How did VMG get started? 
VMG Cinematic officially opened up shop in 2007. Two brothers and a classmate from University saw an opportunity to focus on creating video ads for the web.  Back in 2007, most brands weren’t ready to dive into online video yet, but by 2009, things really took off as YouTube gained popularity. The three of us have been involved in video production since childhood.

What are some places we may have seen your work?
We do brand films, viral ads and infographic animations for many fortune 500 companies.  One recent project we did was a music video with astronaut Chris Hadfield and his brother Dave called ‘In Canada’.  It released on Canada Day this year and has received more than 1.5 million views.

Can you tell us a bit more about the video production process? What steps do you go through to create a video?
The first step is to figure out what the messaging is that a brand wants to put out there.  Once that is established, the more challenging part is turning that message into a story that translates well into video in an entertaining way.

Then comes the fun part: Lights, Camera, Action!

The final step involves cutting everything down to short story that keeps you entertained. This project for example had about 3 hours of raw footage which needed to be boiled down to 2 minutes. It can be a challenging process at times!

What is new in the world of video production that has changed the way you work?
The technology is changing so fast, and we’re always making it a priority to stay on top of things.  One area that is specifically becoming more popular is camera movement technology.  For example, there are a few shots in this video in which a drone was used to capture the beauty of the farms.  These shots only a few years ago would have only been possible with an actual helicopter.

Also, another tool that is now at our disposal is detailed video analytics. When a video gets posted on YouTube, we analyze data such as drop off rates.  This means we can tell exactly which part of the video people are finding perhaps boring or dragging out too much and we’ll re-edit accordingly.

Did you learn anything working on this project that really surprised you?
We were really impressed with the passion we saw at Yorkshire Valley Farms. Everyone we met had a strong personal commitment to creating nutritious food that they were proud to put on families’ tables.

We obviously like to talk chicken. Do you have a favourite chicken dish?
Absolutely, butter chicken is quite popular here at the studio!

To see more work from VMG Cinematic, visit


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A drone heading off to capture overhead footage of our fields and barns.


Behind the Scenes: an interview with animator Michael Colligan

In our new animated video, we set out to answer the age-old question “why did the chicken cross the road?” To help us bring this story to life, we turned to Toronto-based animator Michael Colligan. You may have seen Michael’s work on TV or online for clients like Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, TD Bank, or Teletoon. We admit that we’re a bit biased, but we think Michael’s work for Yorkshire Valley Farms is some of his best to date!

To give you a peek behind the scenes, we sat down with Michael to discuss what inspired him to become an animator, what it takes to animate a chicken, and, of course, what his favourite chicken dish is.

In the sound studio with our narrator, YVF organic farmer Nick Ahrens, at the mic.

In the sound studio with our narrator, YVF organic farmer Nick Ahrens, at the mic.

How did you first get into animation?
It all started at the age of 9 with a trip to Walt Disney World. There was an attraction ride called The Magic of Disney Animation. The ride started off with a video of Robin Williams showing the different stages of animation while turning into an animated lost boy from Peter Pan. Afterwards the guests were taken to an observation deck where you got to see the studio first-hand. At that point I was hooked.

Can you tell us a bit more about the animation process? What steps do you go through to create a video?
The great thing about animation is that it offers a medium of storytelling and visual entertainment. So our first focus is to find that perfect story that represents a brand or company. After we design and create a storyboard based on the approved script, we head to the sound studio to find the proper voice for the video. Now comes the really fun part– animating the video! This is where we add the magic to grab the viewer’s attention. Lastly, we add the final touch ups in the editing room by adding special effects or sound effects.

The storyboard maps out the script and the visual flow.

Was animating chickens different than other characters you have created?
Every character has something different to bring. When it comes to animating chickens, it always comes down to the walk cycle. The joints in their knees move in the opposite way than humans, which can sometimes make it pretty tricky.

Did you learn anything working on this project that really surprised you?
What I learnt the most working on this project was how much work is actually involved in raising an organic chicken! It’s really fascinating to see how chickens are raised and fed on a certified organic farm. It takes a lot of work to keep them healthy without using antibiotics.

We obviously like to talk chicken. Do you have a favourite chicken dish?
I would have to say my favourite chicken dish would be fajitas.

We recently launched our frozen all-white-meat breaded chicken fillets. What’s your dipping sauce of choice?
You’ve gotta go with barbeque sauce.

To see more of Michael Colligan’s work, check out his website at or follow him on Instagram @cartoonadvertizing.