The right now or the right camera?

Its my turn (Dave) to share my thoughts, first though a bit about me.

My background isn't strictly equine related, my parents rode while we lived in South Africa and I was left to play at the stables. I grew up with a fascination of wildlife spending many weeks in the Kruger National Park and hunting down chongololo (a millipede) In my garden. In school I developed a passion for photography, this developed in to moving imagery through university with me ending up as a freelance camera operator.

I ended up meeting Sam on a beach on a Scottish Hebridean Isle, Tiree. Not as romantic as it sounds, it was cold and wet, we were covering a windsurfing event for the same client with a different remit. Sam had noticed I was using a DSLR on a particular occasion and came over to ask about it. A friend of his had been producing high end tourism pieces with similar kit, he was intrigued by the results you could get from such a ‘small’ camera. 

On that job I was also using a Sony PMW 500, a more traditional looking broadcast camera. So why was i using the Canon 5D ll on this occasion? Well in short its about using the right camera for the right job.

Im not going to make this a technical blog because frankly too many numbers, facts and figures bores me. 

I am asked often about what camera to buy, both by people entering the stills world and motion picture. The questions are always about the camera very infrequently do I get asked about the glass that is going on the camera. 

When capturing an image, motion or still, the very first thing the light you are recording hits is your lens, your lens/glass will define its journey. You can pick your favourite camera, sort the one with the best specs, choose the one that shot the latest blockbuster, if you put a milk bottle on any of those your going to end up with a poor image. Good glass will carry you far.

Choosing the right camera to buy can be an incredibly tough decision, how do you choose the right one?

Many people in the industry get frustrated with the amount of money they spend hiring cameras, however with the vast array of cameras out there all with different qualities it becomes an expensive hobby to own them all. Hiring is often the way to getting the best camera for the job.

Hiring though isn't always the most cost effective way, it pushes rates up and leaves less room for manoeuvre. Owning the kit is better for the business, what camera will work for the business is a very important question to ask yourself. Is choosing the latest camera on the market the right choice? Do we chase technology and get a camera that has a longer shelf life? 

Im all in favour of pushing technology and striving to achieve a better image, new cameras, new glass and new gadgets are the very reason we have been able to achieve the shots that ten years ago would have been out of budget for most.

My thoughts are that you choose you kit that will suit your clients, and hire in for those jobs that require something else. Only the individual or the company will know what suits their needs, that wont always be the latest camera to hit the shelves. The influences on what you chose will be as wide and varied as the cameras out there to chose from.

Visual Impact

Hi Everyone,

Nathan here,

Unlike my colleague Sam, I'm not a blogger in fact I'm not even a writer, to be honest the amount of time it will take me to write this blog, the next Sea Biscuit could have been made, so bear with me.

My only gift really is talking, well gift is aiming a bit high, but my friends often tell me I'm a great talker, I'm sure it's just a nice way of saying I never shut the hell up, but either way I'm much more confident talking rather than writing.

Now, the reason for the blog is to give you a feel of why I'm passionate about film and horses and why we have combined the two in this company, I don't like to think of us as a company, but more a passion that we get paid for, whatever its is, it’s what we call Equine Productions, EP for short.

In our last blog Sam went into some depth about what EP is and what we do, but before Sam, Dave and I embarked on this adventure together, I want to go into some depth about why I am involved in this dream of ours. 

Without me going into a page long history lesson on the life and love of Nathan Horrocks, to cut a short story even shorter I didn't go to film school, I didn't work in a production house and I haven't ever worked a camera, well, apart from the one on my iPhone, I have had nothing to do with producing moving images until three years ago when I bought a head cam to go skiing.

In a nutshell, I am a movie fan, always have been, always will be, it’s an obsession of mine. I'm the local film critic and it can be any type of movie, drama, thriller, comedy, documentary, in fact my favourite part of most films, are the making of, you know when the DVD always had some extra options on the menu for you to watch and there it was at the bottom, how they made the film. 

I loved every minute of how the director and crew made the images tell a story and it wasn't just cinema, commercial breaks were always great to watch, my Dad would always come out with “adverts are better than some the programmes” and he was right, they were.

While watching all these amazing images, it never occurred to me to get involved into the art of filmmaking, why would it, I'm from a council estate from a tiny village in North Yorkshire, men in my village either became builders or farmers, so film school wasn't exactly on my radar, in fact nothing was on my radar, well, apart from being champion jockey, but that’s another blog.

So why would this love of moving images have anything to do with horses? Well horses in my opinion are one of the most beautiful creatures on this earth, so when they appear on your screens I want their beauty to stay that way. 

At the moment EP is generally known as a video marketing company, we help promote the equine world visually, whether that be in a TV commercial or a feature on Channel 4 Racing. 

My vision isn't just promotion. One day I would like EP to get into making documentaries or even feature films, I know I'm aiming high, but I truly believe that when it comes to creating beautiful images when involving the horse, we can get that shot. 

Now, I am a huge extreme sports fan, not because of the danger of what these people put themselves through, but the way that extreme sports is shown to us visually, it has that high energy, cinematic, cool engaging look, the stuff that makes the hairs on my neck stand up. 

So when I see the way these sports are shown to us, I'm always wondering, why isn't the equine world shown in the same way, is this the reason why our sport is looked on by some as elitist? 

So I ask myself on a regular basis, how do I inspire people visually when it comes to the equine world, what if we filmed horses in the same way extreme sports is filmed, what if I replaced that motor cycle rider or snowboarder with a horse and rider, how would our audience react by showing our love of horses in the same way extreme sports is shown visually. 

Would we inspire a different audience, or even a generation of kids to look at our sport and say “how cool was that?”, “How do I get involved?” “Horse riding is cool” which to all of us who have ever ridden horses, it is cool, it is exiting, so that’s what I bring to the table, a different outlook of how we show horses visually.

One production company that I’m a huge fan of and has inspired me more than any other is a company called Brain Farm http://www.brainfarmcinema.com, they are based in Jackson Wyoming, they have brought the art of film making to the extreme sports world, with the use of cinema cameras and high end production values, they have put themselves on the map as leaders in filming snowboarding. 

Brain Farm is run by a guy called Curt Morgan, now he started out like me, a person that was involved in the sport he is now filming, for me it was horse racing, for Curt it was snowboarding, but after an unfortunate accident Curt broke his back and had to hang up his snow boots and pick up a camera, as for me, I got sick of the taste of hospital food and tired of looking up at St Johns ambulance men while lying on the ground, I decided to hang up my riding boots. 

So when I saw the film Art Of Flight http://youtu.be/kh29_SERH0Y, a snowboarding film made by Brain Farm that was my eureka moment - that’s when it came to me to try and show the world of horses in the same way this film has shown me snowboarding. 

Anyway hopefully you haven't started snoring yet with the boredom of my blog, I hope it’s given you an insight to why some of our videos have a certain look, I have to say I have enjoyed writing this even though its taken me hours, unfortunately for you our next blog is from the Welsh wizard, our very own Dave James.

Nathan

Exciting times

Sam here. Apologies for this being a little bit self-indulgent, but I just wanted to write a quick line on reflecting on how excited we are by how things are progressing for us, and for the video production world generally. 

When we started this company in the spring of 2012, it was borne out of a joint vision of growth. I'm not even sure the phrase "a joint vision of growth" really means anything, so let me try to explain.

Three things were the case at that time.

  1. DSLR video production was growing, creating beautiful, filmic content that was within even the most modest of budgets
  2. Video online was growing rapidly generally
  3. The equine world, generally speaking, was a little bit behind the game in terms of quality and quantity of content

If we could only marry these three things together, we felt sure we could be onto a winner. So, driven by a love of wanting to show our passion, our pursuit, in the best way possible, and try new things, we set upon our journey.

By the end of 2012, we had produced promotional videos for a string of racing trainers, several promos for different organisations and even made two TV commercials. The vision was beginning to pay dividends. 

In 2013 we took out a stand at BETA International (http://www.beta-int.com) and continued to grow, travelling internationally for our clients while we pushed out as far and wide as we could. In this year we moved into bigger offices as things began to get really serious. 

And here we are half way through 2014, and things are thriving. Our client list reads like a who's-who of horseracing, and we are thrilled to be working with some of the biggest equestrian brands in the UK as well. Our work is being shown regularly on Channel 4 Racing (thanks to our work with the QIPCO British Champions Series), and we have adverts running on Horse & Country TV and Racing UK. At Royal Ascot 2014, our work was being shown to tens of thousands on the big screens. Really, sometimes we have to pinch ourselves.

All the while, we are continuing to innovate, always trying new angles, rigs, cameras and techniques as we look to push the boundaries as far as we can, while always, always keeping horse-care central to everything we do. 

We've moved again into bigger offices as our team grows, and we have massive plans for the future. The economy widely is continuing to improve, demand for video online is booming, and more and more equine firms are realising the importance of advertising on TV. We're producing more content than ever before for a brilliantly wide range of clients. There is a realisation now that video content is something that can make a brand, really sell a facility, or can translate a personality, like no other medium. Crucially, within the equine world we're in, there is also a growing thirst for quality. A "that'll do" attitude is almost a thing of the past. We're not there yet, but we nearly are. 

So, as the title says, we're in exciting times. Roll on the future.