Earlier this year an interesting mission arrived at Riley Towers.
Create a portfolio of films for a client who had just landed the contract to host the international Ironman event.
We needed to make 3 thirty-second teaser films that showcased each of the event elements, swimming, running and cycling. We also needed to show some of the environment where the events would be taking place. The client wanted the films to be eye catching, exciting and full of anticipation. The films were to be used as teasers prior to the official announcement of the event. We were also tasked with producing a 90 second montage film that would showcase all of the sports together. Creative direction came from Geoff Dodd. Geoff is an amazing talent and I really enjoy working with him on projects like this.
So it was that we found ourselves leaving a hotel in Staffordshire at 4.30 am. We had spent the previous day doing a recce and had a pretty good idea of what we were doing. I was directing and shooting all of the land and water based shots while Chris was taking care of the aerials. I made the decision to use our Sony FS700 camera for all of the land-based shots because of its slow motion abilities. Action looks great when shot in super slow motion and there is always the option to speed footage up if a sharper edit is required. I used the Metabone Speedbooster with a selection of Canon lenses. Mostly shooting on the 16-35, 24-70 or 70-200 F2.8 lenses. In addition I was packing a Canon 5d Mark3 in a waterproof dive housing and a GoPro Hero Black Edition with various mounts and accessories.
The drone was equipped with a stabilised Panasonic GH3 and Zuiko 12mm lens.
We moved through each of the films over the course of the day, alternating between ground shooting and aerials. All of the athletes were amazing and helped us brilliantly by advising on each of the individual elements and giving us a real insight into their sport. We called “it’s a wrap” on the final film just after sunset at about 10PM. We went through our usual process of packing down all the kit and backing up data before leaving the location and heading for home!
The editing process was very fast because the client needed a quick turn around. In addition to the 3 x 30 second teasers we produced a 90 second compilation of each of the sports for the client to use at the News Conference where they announced the good news. We used quite hard grading to give the films an edgy look and licensed royalty free music.
I love working on projects like this. They are always extremely hard work and consume 100 percent of my mind body and soul. But that is almost cathartic and I find the process almost meditative because there is no room for any other thoughts or worries. The films were well received and have gained many views during the campaign launch. Thanks to everyone involved. Especially to Geoff who is the best Creative Director I have ever worked with.
Below is a link to each of the films and a little bit of info about each one.
This was the first film of the set, shot at Chasewater and with the amazing Jude as the swimmer. There was lovely early morning light and we capitalised on this for our walking on and detail shots, I wanted to focus on the dive into the water and shot the same scene from several points of view. The water shots were gained from a RIB using my own invention camera mount to get the camera into position! Jude really is an amazing swimmer and keeping up with her was a challenge all by itself! The drone was massively helpful in getting a point of view that showcased the location.
The cycling film was challenging because we had to change location halfway through and because the weather had clouded over and we lost the good light we had been blessed with for the swimming film. Filming on a busy road proved to be too hazardous so we switched to a private estate where some of the race will be held. This enabled us to really put the drone through its paces and resulted in a couple of epic aerials. Again a home made invention worked a treat for gaining some car to bike shots as the cyclists powered down country lanes. The problem with shooting on such a tight deadline is that if the light goes or there is a problem there really is no room for manoeuvre.
We started filming the running film at about 6pm. The location was the beautiful Shugborough Hall. We had been working for over 12 hours non stop and I was particularly worried that again the light had faded to grey and there was not much sharp or dramatic light around. We had a bunch of athletes for this shoot and again they all proved to be wonderful, doing everything I asked without hesitation. Luckily the condition were right for the drone and again we gained some dramatic aerials that really help to show the environment. Another homemade invention of the Masai Spear Camera mount and gymbal stabiliser came into it own and with a mixture of slow motion footage I think we managed to create something that works really well.
Here we created a 90 second compilation of all of the sport elements. It was particularly tricky to keep everything in order but dramatic enough to remain eyecatching. I love the end reveal of the athletes on the steps and the bloom of light at the end was an amazing way to end a very long day.