2020 was a whirlwind. Towards the end of the summer, this was especially true for us at 730 Eddy.
With most of our team going full force into one massive project, we had an opportunity to step into another. We were able to tell an awesome story about a partnership between two companies: Haworth and Kvadrat.
Kvadrat, being a textile company, had a long history of sourcing their materials locally from a group of Icelandic grey sheep. We were interested in showing this process.
There was only one issue. This group of sheep, as well as Kvadrat, were located in Denmark.
With this being 2020, we had no options to travel there. So, we called up our Icelandic Grey Sheep expert (yes, we have a sheep guy) and began planning the shoot.
As Director of Photography on this project, I was eager to stretch my legs a bit and try new things, and this seemed like the perfect project to do so.
Because this video had different goals and needs, I was aiming for a completely different look than what we had delivered to this client before. To differentiate it from our previous work, we needed different tools.
During this time, we had started playing around with the Alexa Mini. I was blown away by its perfect color rendition in virtually all lighting environments. I needed to show the product and its vibrant colors as accurately as possible. This video needed to tell the story visually, with lots of colors, textures, and richness. The Alexa Mini could deliver.
The full production called for many different locations. With interiors, exteriors, locations we’d shot hundreds of times, and locations we’d never been to before, we knew it was going to be a challenge. To top it all off, it was all on the other side of the world.
We wanted to show the process of obtaining the wool from these sheep, while displaying the amount of care and old-school craftsmanship that went into it.
So, about two hours away from our office, we found a small sheep farm to shoot this part of the video. While it wasn’t Denmark, it was still the optimal location for telling the story we wanted to tell.
The locations were scouted, the storyboards were made, and the call sheets were sent. Filming began two hours away from our office, at 5:00 am. Ah, the things we do for golden hour.
After building our gear in the dark, we set up our first shot in the open field behind the barn. Once we were all set, we waited for the magic to start.
Twenty minutes later, as the sunlight began pouring over the hills, we placed our farmer and his flock between us and the sunrise. As our talent walked across the frame with his sheep following in suit, I knew we had our opening shot to the piece.
A quick lens swap later, and we got some amazing tights of the sheep in the grass with their cloudy breath backlit by golden light.
Next, we needed to show the shearing process. We moved into the beautiful barn we were working with. As always, I lit for the wide first. We had stunning light coming in through the slots in the side of the barn, but I knew it wouldn’t last forever.
At first, we set up our M18 and genny outside the barn to try and supplement the natural light coming through, but it wasn’t punchy enough.
After bringing it back it inside, and through much tinkering with different gobos to replicate the wooden slots, we finally came up with a solution that threw some highlights into the background of our wide.
Later that morning, I realized the perfect solution would have been a Source Four light with a gobo. Sometimes, the best solutions are the easiest and cheapest.
Lighting for the wide gave me opportunities to move around the space and get different shots throughout the shearing process. After finishing the wide, I moved in tighter to show the details and textures of the wool.
In the last shot of the day, we wanted to show the wool being spun. Personally, these were my favorite shots. The barn was already lit, and the sun was still streaking in through the boards while providing the perfect highlights on the wheel.
The Alexa held up the highlights beautifully. Equally as great was the global shutter on the camera. Without it, the image would have suffered with the spinning of the wheel not being captured accurately with a rolling shutter.
Ultimately, this was a small part of the final video. We had more than enough footage to work with for the final project, but still enjoyed shooting in this location so much. It was too good of a day and location to not take full advantage of it.
Haworth + Kvadrat Partnership: