I am always looking for ways to raise the quality of the work I do. I never want to settle or be content with the final product. As an artist I always need to be pushing forward and each short film, wedding video, corporate video, music video or whatever else I’m working on needs to be better than the last. This is my golden rule. Each piece I create, needs to be better than the last and I need to keep working harder to make this happen. As spinal tap would put it, “turn it up to number 11”... everytime.
I was working on a project for Broadway Church’s summer interns program where we were looking to convey the idea that we are all ‘searching’ for something, to have meaning and purpose in what we do. We thought about having a few young adults in a forest, lost, wandering and ‘searching’ for something. As I thought more about his idea I knew that I wanted to captivate the audience. Whether it be visually or story wise, I always try to push the creative elements. In this case, instead of merely having a few people running through a forest we decided to have one person (Jasmin) riding a horse through the forest. The second aspect that we decide to change was to choose a specific time of day, where the sun would be low and create dramatic lighting. These two decisions drastically changed and enhanced the final piece. Here is a little info on shoot itself.
Horses are such beautiful animals and I was awestruck with Kaden’s (the horse) beauty before we even started filming. I shot a few takes of Jasmin riding Kaden with the 70-200mm with the Panasonic GH4 on a tripod. I zoomed all the way in and did a long pan following the two. This creates the illusion that Jasmin is riding faster than she actually is. I then filmed a wide shot, medium shot and close up. I also did the closeups of Jasmin, Kaden’s hoofs and his head. Once I had my bases covered I then jumped onto the Ronin for the more creative shots, with movement. These were clearly more fun to shoot. We did some tracking shots of Jasmin riding towards the camera and a few of the camera following the pair. We then used Chris’s jeep for some more complex tracking shots. The last shot was one of them. I was standing in the back of the jeep, with the camera and Ronin hanging out by the tire. As we drove away Jasmin rode up to us and stopped. Chris kept driving, making it seem like we were on a long dolly. The actual shot that I used in the piece Kaden was getting a little antsy of doing the same thing over and over as you can see him swing his head and tail around. I thought it looked pretty epic, so I used it.
We choose to film early morning, at 6:15am sunrise. This meant we were up at 4:30am as we were filming at a friends farm out in Aldergrove. We arrived and set up the DJI Ronin, and the canon 70-200mm on a tripod. We were early, and had to wait a few minutes until the sun was casting enough light through the trees. The result was simply beautiful. Jasmin and the horse were beautifully backlit, creating epic silhouettes and helping Jasmin and the horse pop out of the trees. I was super glad that we got up early for this lighting, but we had to shoot pretty fast as the sun rises quickly. We needed the lighting to be consistent throughout the film.
Here is the finished piece.
The whole shoot took us about 2.5hrs, for a 70 second piece. Now we could have filmed a few people wandering in a forest at a convenient time for everyone, but we would not have finished with this beautifully captivating and cinematic short film that draws you into the beauty of the horse. I am a firm believer that being a filmmaker isn’t just about telling a story, it’s about telling a story in the most creative way that you can.
Here are a few more photos of the shoot. Big thanks to Donny Fung for the photos. Also on a side note, this piece was shot with the Panasonic GH4 before I had picked up the Sony FS7.