From prototype to the Olympics

The goal for this project was to capture the reality of horseback riding: the hard work, the grit, the early mornings, and the mental stamina it takes to champion a 1.500 pound muscle beast. But also the friendship between the rider and the horse, the community of people and their love for this animal.

From prototype to the Olympics

The island of Gotland is a mythical place in Sweden.

The ferry lands in Visby harbour a Sunday afternoon. I’m instructed to drive south to Hotel Stelor and meet up with Karin, ceo of Ryde.

The Baltic sea and the cold winters has put a stamp on the land. Nature is rugged, harsh and scarred. Spending time here in the summer is a walk in the park. Now in late October, not so much.

When I arrive at Stelor it’s closed down for the season. It’s a bit errie, quiet and deserted. The hotel is located just next to Svältholmen (The Starvation islet), an ancient viking trading ground and harbour.

Svältholmen

I can almost hear the rumble, shouts and commotion from the ships, animals, and tradesmen by the water. I decide to walk the grounds and try to capture the feeling of the hotel and the area.

When the hotel opened in 2011 I designed and built their site. It was run by Karin and Björn, and I’m about to find out that it was the same Karin that is now ceo of Ryde.

30 minutes later Karin arrives and I snap out of my daydream. Ryde has rented the hotel for us to use as a base the week.

Doubts.

I’m really stessed about this project, I have serious doubts that I will come up with any decent material. Why? cos the practicality of shooting horses in an action-filled way is challenging as hell. I’ve done about three years of riding before: in the Swedish armed forces and with my daughter Vilda when she was young.

So beforehand I know the size, speed and power of what I was about to film. A horse is a half ton, tall as hell, packet of pure muscle, über fast, and with a really skittish mindset.

I just can walk or run next to it, or just stand on the side whipping my camera left to right hoping that cool stuff appears on my sd cards.

So compared to the Skistar case I could not hide behind my naivity of «How hard can it be …», plus there is no «Wait, go back, do it again» when they come at you in full force.

A week down to the minute

For sure this is going to be an unusual week. I’m glad I’m here since my part of the project was a no go just a few weeks earlier.

There will seven of us here working über intensely on exploring the brand, its tone of voice, visuals, and feel for a new breed of horse riding equipment.

Karin, Sanna, Patrik, Jennifer, Nicke, Henrik, Hamid

Later in the evening creative director Nicke arrived from Stockholm and founder Jennifer took off from Miami …

A lot of pre planning was spent on logistics and how to capture the horses and riders as naturally as possible.

The second challenge was the sheer amount of shooting that was planned for the week. The schedule was ambitious.

It’s an arm and back killer to carry the 5 kg heavy camera rig for a full day … and I have a fairly compact and light kit.

The prototype and why it’s not an regular stirrup

Packing for improvisation

Shotings like this requires a lot of improvisation. So I try to pack for any non-planned situation that might occur. Mostly it’s some weird rigging that is needed so a lot of issues are solved with velcro, straps and duck-tape.

But for this trip I’ve packed to be able to do:

Trip music

When I have long drives to location I often end up playing a song on repeat. I think it has to do with me trying to plan, think through and visualize as much as possible beforehand … then the same song becomes a catalysator for that. I don’t have to think about the music.

This time aroud the song on repeat turned out to be ”Stockholmsvy” by Hannes.

Day 1

I get up at 5 am to double check batteries, format sd-cards and walk through todays shooting. At 6 we meet up with rider Nathalie at Svältholmen, a toung of land out in the Baltic sea. Svältholmen used to be a viking port and there is definately something supernatural about the land.

Workshops and late nights

Some of the days we filmed were quite long and physical. So it was really good to have some half-days where we stayed at the hotel and workshopped the feeling of the brand, filmed interviews and just created.

The whole Ryde team was gathered this week: Patrik the engineer, Jennifer the marketer, Sanna the inventor, Karin the ceo, Niklas the art director plus we were joined by a bunch of guests as well.

Military protected area

Since drone regulations has beecome stricter in Sweden the last two years I always check the aip sup, which contains information about temporary flight restrictions.

Unfortunately the week of our shooting the airspace over Tofta beach had a no-fly-zone status. The Swedish Navy was test shooting on targets just outside the beach.

But after a bit of back and fourth with the flight control at Visby airport we were allowed to fly if we kept the drone below 50 meters.

The Zero Day Edit

The Zero Day Edit has become super important in my projects. It’s basically me spending a few hours inthe evening of the first day of filmning. I do a rough cut of the clips from the first day of shooting.

At breakfast on day two, I showed everyone the Zero Day Edit.

At breakfast on day two, I showed everyone the Zero Day Edit.

Why is the important?

It gets the team engaged and involved in the project if they early can see what the end result can feel and look like … or not look like … Without the Zero Day Edit all they see is me running around with what looks like a sub-standard camera rig.

I’ve had team members saying “Now I feel really inspired to push harder”. I’v had mothers of subjects tear up saying that no-one has portrayed riding in this way.

So after showing the Zero Day Edit we are more glued together and works as one unit.

Ryde schedule

Day 0 – Sunday

For sure this is going to be an unusual week. I’m glad I’m here since my part of the project was a no go just a few weeks ago.

There will be 710 of us here working über intensely on creating the brand, tone of voice, visuals, and feel for a new breed of horse riding equipment.

I was the first to arrive at Hotel Stelor. The hotel is closed for the season but has been opened up for us so we have the whole place for ourselves.

I dumped my bags and me and founder Karin went to shoot dressage.

Later in the evening creative director Nicke arrived from Stockholm and founder Jennifer took off from Miami …

Day 1 – Monday

Holy shit, this has been the longest day.

It started 5 in the morning when me, Nicke, Karin and Sanna met up with rider Natalie, her dad Johan and her two horses. We spent the morning filming at Svältholmen.

The idea for the brand video is to reflect what it is to be a rider: the early mornings, the grit, the cold, the rain and the hard work in the stable.

The highlight was to sit at the back of a 4-wheelers to capture the speed of gallop.

Post lunch we were joined by third founder Jennifer who flew in from Miami, and copywriter Henrik. The evening has been filming interviews, brand workshops and improvising a camera-rig that can film the stirrup up close in action.

I will fall asleep fast tonight

Day 2 – Tuesday

It fells like we’ve been here a week already :-) Today Patrik, Rydes industrial designer arrived at Gotland with a fresh pair of stirrup prototypes.

I wish I could show some of the content we have produced, but no, not yet. Ryde is launching soon, but not yet.

Todays started as early as yesterday! Tofta beach at 06.30. It was a mess for me. I had camera issues, drone issues and the horses was not keen on getting into the water.

But after a break and restart stuff just worked out beautifully. I’ve gotten some of the most amazing shots of extreme horse riding.

Post-lunch has been brand workshops, filming interviews and chasing down Sanna and Jennifer in a club car.

I’m off to bed watching «Hela Sverige Bakar». Goodnight.

ps. The clip with the horses in the water, that small black dot in the far right, that’s me hoping to get run over to get the perfect action shot :-)

Day 3 – Wednesday

This was my clown day. We spent a few hours filmning cross country riding. I managed to crash the drone, look like a fool chasing to horses with my gimbal, and get some weird and fun shots of a horse from a frogs perspective.

Day 4 & 5 – Thursday and Friday

The last two days were a bit normal paced. We spent Thursday shooting kids, motocross, ponies and feature shots of the stirrups. In the evening we were joined by neurologist Per Hamid Gathan that spoke about balance, the nerve system and brain damages.

On Friday we shot horse jumping and that wrapped the week. It has bees überfun and really intense … but damn, we have gotten tons of amazing material for the Ryde launch!

Schedule v 43

Sunday: - Arrival - Filming dressage.

Monday:

Väder Mulet mestadels uppehåll, 3-5 m/s

Prepp: - Behöver 4hjuling – kolla med Torbjörn - Drönartillstånd Västergarn-Tofta - Pappa Curt inhyrd MacGyver 6.30-12

Tuesday

Väder Mulet med regn, 3-9 m/s - Hämta Mynta och Hilma 06.00 - Morgon/ förmiddag: Film och foto på Tofta kl. 07.00. Två hästar finns att tillgå från kl.07 till kl. 12.00 - Eftermiddag: Workshop Nicke - Kväll: Interview Hilma

Wednesday

Väder Mulet mestadels uppehåll, 3-5 m/s

Thursday

Väder: Mulet mestadels uppehåll, 3-5 m/s - 10.00 Sanna dressyr i Hejdeby - 15.00 motorcross och ponny i Sanda - Hamid berättar om resan med poc

Friday