For anyone out there that isn’t a ‘horse person’, you may not know Horseland. It’s a national retailer that sells everything horse related. For ‘horse people’, it’s where you go to buy gear, equipment and supplies. Because this was a branding video, it wouldn’t be used to promote any products. Its purpose was more about highlighting Horseland’s place within the riding community.
Conception & Approach
After a few meetings with the Horseland marketing team, we knew exactly what they wanted to achieve. The branding video would be a nostalgic and emotional montage. It would focus heavily on the generational aspect of horse riding communities. It would also incorporate Australian Olympian gold medalist Stuart Tinney and his daughter, Gemma.
We were given access to a library of archival footage that needed to be digitised and included in the video. We didn’t know what it would include, and this meant that our story would mostly need to come together in the edit, once we knew what footage we had.
For the footage we would be shooting, our plan of attack was to capture a broad range of content that centred around horse riding, riders of different ages and also general footage of people spending time around horses. We organised a day to spend at a stable in the Yarra Valley outside Melbourne.
To capture the best footage for this video, we made the decision to start very early in the day and film at sunrise. There are a few reasons this gets great results:
- It gives you a very warm golden light that is flattering and at the same time gives an emotion feel.
- The sky gives you a great backdrop to create interesting silhouettes.
- The direction of the light allows the cameraman to create better images. What I mean by that is later in the day when the sun is directly above the subject, it’s not so easy to get flattering footage and it’s also harder to add depth to an image. Cloudy days make this even worse because the light is so soft that it doesn’t give any shape to an object or person. So by shooting early in the morning when the sun is low, you can use it to backlight your subject and give everything more shape.
In terms of gear, we had the luxury of leaving most of the lights in the car, the early sun gave us everything we needed.
We shot this video using the Sony FS5 and really got our money’s worth of slow motion footage. Recording 10bit colour also gave us a beautiful final image.
On our gimbal we had the Sony A7s and we also used this with a slider.
With such a great backdrop we couldn’t resist bringing out the drone too.
Editing a Branding Video
When it came to building a story we started by looking through the archive footage that Horseland had sourced. This was mostly footage shot between 1995 – 2003. Amongst many hours of dressage practice and a few half taped episodes of JAG we found some nice family moments that would work well with our footage.
Once we began piecing our footage together with the archival footage, it became clear that our story would be told through the perspective of a young girl. We wrote a script to complement the footage and had a young actress come into the studio to record it. We incorporated the olympic part of the story by intercutting shots of the young girl practising with archive footage of Stuart Tinney competing at the olympics.
Music also played a huge part in this video. This is because music would set the tone and give the story emotion. We spent hours looking for the right track and tested plenty before finding the perfect piece. It’s not an easy process but if you’re going through the same thing and need some tips then we put together this post to make it easier.
We’re very happy with how this video turned out. It was sent out through the Horseland email marketing and used as part of a larger campaign to celebrate 40 years of Horseland.
The video won a Silver Distinction at the Australian Video Producer’s Awards 2018.
Here’s what Ty Robinson, Horseland’s head of marketing had to say:
“PERFECT!! There were some tears in the audience. Honestly the brief was as tough as it gets. A lot of pressure at our end to deliver. Complex in so many ways when you don’t come from our industry. Thank you so much. The work reflected the amount of professionalism and commitment that was provided. We really do appreciate the brilliant work you did.“
Ryan Spanger is one of Melbourne’s most respected and sought-after video production professionals. Ryan founded Dream Engine in 2002, and specialises in helping medium to large corporates, government departments, and the non-proﬁt sector to connect with their audience more effectively by using video.