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National Council for Metal Detecting

An organisation formally recognised by the UK government, The NCMD are responsible for promoting, protecting and encouraging metal detecting for their members and the wider hobby.

To support a marketing campaign aimed at disseminating important information regarding metal detecting, the NCMD contacted us to create five short animations about the hobby and the organisation that supports it. The light-hearted series aims to educate and inform members and non-members about the do's and don'ts of metal detecting and the steps to follow should you discover something of significance.

Here's a snapshot of the series.

Film 1: The NCMD

As the collective voice for all metal detectorists, the NCMD is tasked with all manner of responsibilities, from communicating updates to the public, representing the hobby in government to getting metal detecting recognised as a recreational pastime.

The first video in the series takes a closer look at the NCMD and all that they do for their members. 

Initial sketches of the main character

Final images of the main character

Hand of the artist

By building on a more traditional whiteboard video style, we used hand-drawn illustrations which were brought to life in post-production, adding in the 'hand of the artist' digitally. The hand of the artist can manipulate and interact with the characters, landscape and the paper. They can pick up and move characters, add washes of colour, rub out scenes and even rewind the action, helping us transition from one scene to another.

Film 2: Code of Conduct

The NCMD are responsible for conveying the do's and don'ts of metal detecting. We were challenged with finding the balance between being clear in our messaging while finding humour in the delivery. Here we introduce Robbie, who suffers various shortcomings when (not) abiding by the rules of metal detecting. We use the artist to interact with Robbie as the authority of NCMD, pointing out his mistakes and setting him back on the right path, while the background scenes and secondary characters draw on humour.

Farmyard still

Beach still

Character still

Character still

Code of Conduct has gone down a storm. We had over 1.2k views in the first 24 hours and within the week we had over 2k views. This certainly beats our expectations although we secretly hoped it would be this popular, feedback from everyone has been really positive.
Catherine Lange - Communications Officer at the NCMD 

Film 3: Responsible Detecting

This film demonstrates the best ways of dealing with discovering something unusual or potentially dangerous while metal detecting, for example; bombs or even a body. Due to the important messaging here, we demonstrated the unfavourable outcome for Robbie when not correctly abiding by the rules. When Robbie lands himself in prison for being in possession of weaponry, we see the artist hit the rewind button, resetting the scene and replaying how Robbie should have correctly dealt with the situation. 

We worked closely with the NCMD team to research their members, associated organisations and understand the key messages for each film, which informed the script writing process. We worked with a voiceover artist to produce the English and Scottish variations and shortlisted a selection of suitable tracks for NCMD to choose from. 

Film 4: Treasure Trove Scotland

The fourth video in the series explores the do's and don'ts of detecting in Scotland, as well as the differences in how finds need to be reported there. We set the scene by placing Robbie in the Scottish highlands where he is joined by some iconic characters, including Nessie the Loch Ness monster. Our voiceover artist delivered the narration in a Scottish accent to differentiate it from the other videos in the series.


With a variety of creative transitions to consider, as well as the artist's involvement, it was important for us to carefully storyboard the five animations. Following our initial treatment meetings, we created rough mock ups of scenes which were later developed into more indicative storyboards. Our illustrators then begun the iterations of Robbie's character development and illustrated the scenes and secondary characters. 

Supported by our artist hand photography, our animation team brought these illustration assets to life with the artist drawing in the scenes and manipulating the characters and landscapes. 

Film 5: The Treasure Act

The Treasure Act explores how to identify treasure and how to correctly report it. Due to the important messaging required here, we needed to ensure everything was as clear, simple and engaging as possible. As the date of the item is important for the 'treasure' classification, we developed a timeline that sits behind Robbie which the artist can flick forward and backward between past and present. Humour was introduced by Robbie's clothes switching on and off to match the typical attire of the time period.

Mentor have been great, they made the process really simple for us, with any changes being easy to make. They have delivered a wonderful set of resources that we’ll be using for years to come.

Catherine Lange - Communications Officer at the NCMD