Crow’s Eye Productions: Bringing The Past To Life

Crow’s Eye Productions, based in Sudbrooke, are a mother-daughter-duo bringing the past to life on a tiny budget. They are the makers of the “Getting Dressed In…” series on YouTube which explores how people dressed in the past, giving historical context. These videos are enormously popular and boast viewing figures in the millions.

Nicole Loven established Crow’s Eye Productions in 2005. She is a filmmaker who has worked on a vast number of projects from documentary and wildlife films to period dramas and music videos. Pauline Loven, the other half of Crow’s Eye Production, has 30 years of experience in period costume-making and 20 years of experience in design and making of costumes for film.

They don’t just produce material for their YouTube channel, they also work with museums producing media content for exhibitions and displays and have clients from The National Archives in London to our very own The Collection in Lincoln – arguably the birthplace of Crow’s Eye Productions. “One day Pauline and I were in The Collection” explains Nicole, “and she was creating costumes for them based on the illustrations in The Luttrell Psalter – a Lincolnshire made medieval manuscript from the 14th century – and I looked at the pictures and said ‘that looks like a storyboard for a film’ and so we started to work together to try and get some funding through the community group WAG Screen (Washingborough Archeology Group) for the project and we found that wonderful things happen when we work together.”

The birth of their YouTube series, ‘Getting Dressed In…’ happened after they were commissioned by Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool to create a video of an 18th century woman getting dressed. Nicole explains how the pair discovered that the video had been put online and had gone viral. “We thought, let’s see if we can get lightening to strike twice, and made a video about a working-class 18th century woman getting dressed for the channel and that also took off and went viral – over a million views – and we haven’t really stopped since.”

Their YouTube channel is continuing to grow, with their video ‘Getting Dressed – Queen Victoria – Christmas 1848’ boasting an astonishing 18 million views. There is no large production team, every single step is done in-house from their home in Sudbrooke. “It does surprise people when they find out what is going on here” chuckles Pauline, “we have built a film studio on the drive, there’s a massive costume store, there’s a workroom, there’s an editing suite – it isn’t like your average house!”

Nicole and Pauline have found a completely unique way of connecting people to the past. “The approach of something that absolutely everybody does – getting dressed – gives you a fundamental experiential view of history” says Nicole, “We want to explore a new perspective and create this history of human civilization though clothing that will open people’s minds to just how greatly humanity has varied throughout time.” Pauline adds, “but the fundamentals are still there – we still had to get up and get dressed.”

Pauline has a wealth of experience as a costume historian, costumier and heritage film producer. She recalls the spark that ignited her passion, “I’ve been sewing since I was about 5, and I’ve loved it for equally as long, and one day when I was living in Colchester I spotted a poster for somebody teaching how to make period clothing without patterns and thought ‘oh that looks interesting’ and it was like the world seemed to collide – it was just a beautiful combination of my creativity and my love of history and it just seemed to be the perfect way to explore both. I went on that course, and I honestly never looked back.”

During the pandemic, the team had to halt production temporarily on their videos, so Nicole explains how they found another way to continue their work. “We just started experimenting with submitting photographs for book covers. Throughout the process of filmmaking, I take lots of pictures which meant that there was a huge backlog of photos that are actually rather perfect for historical novel book covers – so I shifted my attention to uploading as many of those pictures as possible. The book cover photography is really starting to take off so that is a very exciting avenue.”

Nicole has recently been nominated for Cinematography in the YouTube Streamy Awards and will find out the results this December. Crow’s Eye Productions continue to go from strength to strength, and as they grow, they want to be more inclusive with diversity of cast and crew. “If there is anyone out there who is an aspiring actor or model who would love to be involved either in photography or film then please do get in touch through social media” says Pauline.

Crow’s Eye Productions are an inspiration to aspiring creatives across Lincoln, and you can keep up to date with their future projects on Instagram @crowseyeproductions and @periodwardrobe or you can visit their website www.crowseye.co.uk