The story of the trip
So to get from idea to movie, next up was the shot list. Think of a pure brainstorm of dream trip shots, and you’re there. Luckily for us, Lewi had plenty of fantastic ideas beyond the old gallop shot, and his eagerness to make it a truly collaborative project helped shift the concept from someone’s first impression of Mongolia to a reflection of ZT’s philosophy of travel: close-up, unfiltered, supportive, friendly, caring, personal, gritty, gorgeous, poignant, local, reflective, willing to go the extra kms for the authentic experience. We all actually spent a lot of kilometres riding through the mountain-steppe considering just how to boil down everything that Mongolia, and what we do there, means and how to get it across. Good thing we had a pro along to help it be more than my standard “landscapes with tiny horses” shots. Not that there’s anything wrong with that! With ten ZT riders along, as well as our company’s most experienced local pro-team, everyone’s enthusiasm, patience, and ideas inspired constantly and helped make the shots happen along the way, even at a cold, windy mountain-top crater lake.
We did go for plenty of gorgeous horse and landscape shots, however, never fear. Because film-pro Lewi Haskins not only shot the trip, but immersed in it for the first time himself, he fell in love with his paint horse Aleg along the way (whom you’ll see featured lovingly in the piece). I am glad to say that’s an experience a lot of us can relate to. Acclimating those Mongolian horses to drone shots, closer and closer overhead, however, proved an early challenge. Getting some late trip close-follow drone shots of the wranglers and team riding, however, made all the evening flybys and tests so worth it.
And best of all, it gave the team a chance to practice their drone skills. Another bad-ass move: driving the drone into your own hand to catch it, to help protect it from a dirty or damaging landing. That is definitely not how my uncle in Florida does it. Who knew.