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"Hollywood of the North" gets studio planning boost

LIVERPOOL City Council has received planning approval to create the City's 1st purpose built film and high end TV stages. The green light was given this morning at the City's planning committee to build two 20,000 sq ft sound studios on land adjacent to the famous Littlewoods Building, off Edge Lane. The approval is a huge boost to Liverpool's strategy to cement its reputation as 1 of Europe's premier film and TV production hubs. The City council has already appointed contractor Morgan Sindall to construct the facilities, which will be ideally located being just a 10 minute drive from the City Centre and the M62. With planning approval now granted works will begin this month and the sound stages are expected to be operational by Spring 2021. In July 2020, the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority approved ₤17m to support the new film and TV stages, along with the Littlewoods Film and TV studios. Liverpool City Council's Film Office, which was the 1st of its kind in Europe, is overseeing the scheme and is already in talks with major global production companies over the use of the stages from 2021.

Joe Anderson, Mayor of Liverpool, said:- "I'm delighted we've got the green light to create these new sound stages and I can't wait to see them welcoming their 1st productions. Being adjacent to the future Littlewoods Film Studios, the new sound studios will transform Liverpool's ability to provide the TV and Film industry with a complete support package. Such is the interest in the City and in these new facilities we're already getting calls about bookings before we've even built them!. These sound studios also means the city will have all the right ingredients to be a 'Hollywood of the North' for training, production content and talent in Liverpool; which will lead to more investment and more jobs."

Award winning writer Jimmy McGovern, whose latest project Time; a BBC TV drama; is being filmed in Liverpool, said:- "I love the fact that Liverpool council is looking to build these new TV and film studios. Everyone knows how great the city is in hosting productions, but we can't always complete a shoot here due to a limited studio capacity. These new studios will be a huge shot in the arm for the sector and especially for the hugely talented army of people who make the magic happen off screen, as they will save a lot of time wasted having to travel to other studios elsewhere. It's also great news for young kids in our City and Region wanting to get into the industry and in particular it'll be a brilliant boost for the Kensington community which desperately needs this type of investment and the fantastic job opportunities it presents."

Steve Rotheram, Metro Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, said:- "It's brilliant to see this fantastic project pass its next milestone so that work can progress on these new state of the art film and high end TV production spaces. "In an industry of lightning fast innovation and technological improvement, these new facilities are exactly what the city Region needs to show the industry that as well as our iconic architectural back drop, we have world class filming and production facilities. It's a welcome piece of good news in a challenging year. The Liverpool City Region is the country's cultural and creative capital, known across the world for its music, its film, TV as well as its sport. I look forward to seeing new productions being filmed here to further boost that reputation."

Liverpool is already 1 of the major film destinations in the UK and is currently hosting illustrious productions such as:- Netflix's Munich 38 and Sky's COBRA, as well as recently welcoming blockbusters, such as:- Warner Bros' The Batman, and high end TV drama, such as:- Netflix's The Irregulars and The English Game, ITV's Viewpoint and Sky's Tin Star:- Liverpool.

1 in 3 North West Households Will Embrace Zoom for a Covid Safe Christmas

WITH only 3 households able to form a festive bubble over Christmas, turning to Zoom is going to be the only option for many people wanting to connect and chat safely with loved ones. It's a challenge faced by millions of families this year, even the Royals. According to recent news reports, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will be embracing Zoom this Christmas due to Government rules allowing only three UK households to form a festive bubble from 23 December to 27 December 2020. In a recent YouGov poll for Park Christmas Savings, 1 in 3 UK North West adults expect to embrace Zoom this year. Latest Ofcom figures show that the pandemic has seen a 2,000% rise in the use of Zoom in the UK, with 659,000 users in January this year, rocketing to 13 million by April 2020. But what can the Region's families do to still connect with loved ones and yet stay Covid Safe? The answer, according to UK Zoom Fairy; top Zoom expert Louise Irvine, is to get to grips with video calling NOW so that by the time Christmas comes round connecting virtually to friends and family far and wide will be a fun and joyful experience. While office workers and business have had months to embrace Zoom, getting to grips with it for families and novices is a real challenge says the top Zoom host and expert Louise, who has worked with everyone from business executives and household brands in putting the vavoom into Zoom! 

ZoomFair's Louise, 38, from Glasgow, says:- "Just like the Royals, this year families all over the UK will be turning to technology to safely connect with loved ones. While many office workers have had to get to grips with it for months, millions of ordinary families are still unsure of how it works. I quickly realised that while those who use it for work feel confident with the tech, ordinary families and mums at home, can find it intimidating and yet they want to safely have Zoom chats and enjoy the joy of Christmas. I want to reassure families that with a few tips and a smart set up, anyone can enjoy great Zoom video calls and enjoy a wonderful Christmas get together virtually. This means families can have virtual reunions with loved ones all over the world by video and not just those who they can't be with in a festive 3 household bubble. It's a new and very safe way of doing Christmas and, just like the Queen, anyone of any age can learn how to make the best of it."

Park Christmas Savings, the UK's biggest family festive savings club, has partnered with Louise to offer free support and advice to the millions of families around the UK for whom using video calling will feature as part of Covid Safe festive 'get togethers' and is offering free coaching with 'Facebook lives' and free festive Zoom backgrounds too.

Top 5 Tips for a Zoomtastic Family Christmas...

Laptop or phone camera position; ensure the laptop is high up and the camera lens is in a:- "looking down" view. Clean the lens, you'd be amazed how many people have blurry cameras.

Lighting - ideally choose a position where there is lots of natural light so everyone can see you clearly on screen or switch on the lights and add a table lamp near the side of the camera to boost reflection. Avoid lights from behind you as you will look much darker

Background - for a video chat make sure your background isn't too "busy" or distracting. Pick an unfussy or blank wall near the Christmas tree or curtains. If you like, you can even download a fun free festive digital Zoom background from Park Christmas Savings.

Sound quality - make sure your volume is turned up, says Zoom Fairy Louise. It can help to use headphones, especially if they have a mic on them. If you are in a group keep the space in front of the laptop / phone mic clear.

Interruptions - make sure your mobile and house phone are on silent so that people don't interrupt you. Also, check your internet connection - ensure you are as close to your router as possible and that other family members aren't using the internet at the same time to ensure a really good connection.

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