Hanging from a rope with a £10,000 camera

Hanging from a rope with a £10,000 camera

Video man Scott talks the outdoor challenges of shooting for Merrell.

Outdoor lifestyle brand Merrell presented a new challenge for Mediablaze – especially our Tinderbox video studio. We caught up with filmmaker Scott Hutchins to discuss the methods… and see the results.

MB: What were the key messages of Merrell, and how did you manage to get them across in all the video work for the client?

SH: I think the key messages were centred on being active, exploring, and bettering yourself through adventuring in the great outdoors. We conveyed these by featuring active sport and leisure activities at the core of our videos with gripping narratives, and then setting the videos in locations of extreme natural beauty, such as the trails of New Zealand and Dolomite mountains.

The videos hopefully inspire the viewer to get outside themselves… though hopefully not until the video finishes, of course!

MB: Shooting for an outdoor brand is clearly quite different than the indoor shots you do for tech clients. What sort of challenges did shooting in the Dolomites present, for example?

SH: The biggest issue was hanging from a rope with one hand, holding onto the £10,000 camera with the other, whilst trying not to fall off the rock face, and capture the shot! That was as far from shooting a mobile phone in the confines of the studio as you could possibly get, but extremely good fun.

Another challenge was planning the shoot before seeing the location first hand. We were writing our treatment around locations I hoped to find whilst out there, so it was quite flexible to a point. While I was there it was a case of finding the ideal locations as we were climbing and hiking trails, unsurprisingly we weren’t short on beautiful locations in the Dolomites.

MB: You also produced a series of six-second Vines with ‘hiking hacks’. Are they more challenging because you have to fit in so much into so little?

SH: The challenge with these was essentially to create something both informative and visually stimulating. There are so many great six second ideas on Vine that it can be difficult to stand out from the crowd, but we created videos that appealed directly to a specific audience, that informed their area interest, and were fun to watch.

Planning six seconds of iPhone captured stop animation was tricky at first. Creating the video ‘waterproof your backpack’ involved me repeatedly ending up in the shower with the backpack getting absolutely soaked whilst trying to establish the ideal spacing of movement between frames to have the backpack look as if it walked into the shower.

MB: Which was your favourite video to shoot, and which do you think came out best?

SH: I think the Dolomites video really captured the energy of the Merrell brand, it was the perfect length to keep the attention of the viewer, but also packed in a lot of content. We got some great soundbites from the protagonists that were unscripted, and reflected a genuine passion for the mountains.

It was a real pleasure to climb the Dolomites, and I was very lucky to be doing it as part of a video project. I achieved a personal goal, in terms of creating a style of film I had always wanted to have a crack at, I also feel we delivered a film that achieved everything asked of us by the client – and that showed in how happy they were with the finished film.

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