Inside Horse Pilot – Shooting backstages!
All year long, The Horse Pilot team works really hard to offer you the best of its textile technologies in horse riding clothes. As any garment, whether designed for sport or not, it first comes out as a sketch or a drawing and it takes a long time before it is being put on display in your favorite riding shop or online on our website.
To display these new garments, at their best, under the limelight, one of the key stages of sales promotion is the photo shooting. And that’s not just taking a pack-shot of the garment; on the day of the photo shoot, we watch the garments worn by the riders, we discuss future collections, it’s often here that new ideas come to life. It’s also a great opportunity to meet photographers and video makers.
at HORSE PILOT, we are used to working with professionals who specialize in sports and outdoor atmospheres but not necessarily with horses! What difference does it make? Do our consultants like to work with athletes of another kind? We decided it would be best to ask them.
Mathieu has been our dedicated video director for a couple of times now.
On our photoshoot days, he is there to make product videos and promotional clips. Here is what he thinks of our 4 legged actors:
HP: are you used to animal photo shootings?
Mathieu: No, not animals, apart from last year’s first experience with Horse Pilot (it’s the second time Mathieu works with us actually), but not with any other animals. I work in Sports a lot, so movement, things like that, I can handle.
HP: So I suppose it’s rather different, or is it really?
M: Unexpected things happen more often than in sports, but I think it is easily handled, it’s not that difficult, it can be quite well controlled by the horse riders, of course.
HP: and what about you? You’re not a horse rider, so how do you know what to see in a horse? Do you feel you need to be guided?
M : I think I have a good grasp of the effort and the postures involved, then of course, it’s always interesting to have the horse rider expertise to understand the subtlety of this sport, but I think I’m starting to understand little by little the small details which make the real difference as far as horse riding is concerned.
HP: we proceeded differently last year, we were outside, now we are in a school, we are working with backgrounds, does it change a lot of things?
M: it is totally different, for sure! Here, the lighting can be managed a lot better, we are not shooting outside, it is a completely different way to work. Both are quite good though, it’s a nice change. Artistically speaking, it’s quite enjoyable. Shooting in a studio is more challenging for me than shooting outside, because I have more experience in working outdoors. Working in a studio is more demanding, there is more staging to be done, but the result is great, so when it comes out well it’s even more satisfying!
Stef uses to work with us also for several years
HP: Right Stef, now you’ve got used to working with us, but were you used to being with animals? Or are you more into Sports?
S.: Well, I would say I’m more the outdoor type for sure. Sometimes it has absolutely nothing to do with sports, but generally it’s done outdoors. Nowadays we work on a kind of mix, I mean, we use techniques which are usually used in studio but we “export” them outside, in order to control the lighting, and do a good and neat job.
HP: what is particular about working with horses? Are there any specific difficulties?
S.: First, when you work with horses you have to be careful of the animal, it is much bigger than us, isn’t it! You have to keep this in mind at all times, control your movements, you don’t shoot without thinking, you get the horse used to the technology. You can compare it to working with a man except it weighs 500 kg, so you must take ten times more precautions. Don’t startle the horse! There is no way you could sort out a mistake if the horse literally starts kicking at the stalls.
HP: We saw you at work, when you were using a black background and saying « mind the flash » several times before actually taking a picture: is it something you’ve learnt to do since you’ve been working with Horse Pilot, or is it a reflex?
S.: I’ve now been working for 20 years and honestly, at the beginning I wouldn’t have thought about it. Moreover, I lived at somebody’s place who trained Iberian horses and while I was watching him work, I learnt that there were some moves best avoided. Still, sometimes when you’re in the heat of the moment, you tell yourself “I must do this quickly” and you make a brusque gesture which might cause the horse to react unexpectedly! Earlier on today, I was unfolding a lightbox in front of this horse, and despite the fact that he was about 10 m away in his own box/stall, he got crazy and wondered what was happening to him! Even though he was safe in his box. So you must never forget that this animal is rather skittish and unpredictable.
HP: As seen through your eyes and your outdoors experience, do you have any remarks or recommendations to give? Has anything really taken you by surprise compared to your previous work?
S.: Of course! When we first started to work together, Horse Pilot and I tried to imagine what the company stood for and what was done in the horse riding business. We felt that Horse Pilot wanted something different, closer to outdoors extreme sports than to the more sedate codes followed by the industry. With this brand, you have a deep strive for modernity, as we photographers perceive it, to a fundamentally traditional sport. (Steph works very closely with our graphic design team). Working with the guys I have come to appreciate in the Art department, has improved our gait. I don’t really know if it’s a gallop or trot, but our gait has definitively changed for the better!!
We would like to call it a gallop, of course! However, our commitment is to offer horse riders quality and high-tech materials. It is a painstaking and long term job, so we would rather say that we are taking marked, calm and firm steps, straight and forward.