Super Slow Motion Horses

Since the first super slow motion video of a horse that I saw while studying for my degree in Equine Sports Science, I was hungry for more. Seeing the racehorse in slow motion gave me more time to really see the muscular and skeletal movement in detail. There’s so much more movement in the lower leg while galloping than you can possible see in normal speed, as you can see in the  video titled Amazing Slow Motion Horse Racing.

While Alex and I were researching for a new camera that offers slow motion, we came across a beautiful video of a horse jumping an upright show jump. Realising how little else was out there of this sort of thing, my brain started sparking with the idea of recording high quality slow motion videos for use in training and as showreels

I first approached Avril Johnston, a professional event rider, at the local Mundole (Moray, Scotland) dressage competition, and filmed her tests and warm-ups. Some of the slow motion videos caught a small mistake and gave insight into what happened and how it could be improved. Others caught some really beautiful work. I particularly enjoyed watching Sandy’s extended trot, seeing his forelegs being flung out and the flick of the hoof at the end in slow motion.

Rebecca Garner riding Frank. Still from slow motion video (below).

Rebecca Garner riding Frank. Still from slow motion video (below).

I also contacted Rebecca Garner, a local eventer, about making a show jumping showreel with her and her horse, Frank. Both Rebecca and Frank were great, working well over the jump as I filmed them from numerous angles. Once he was starting to get tired we called it a day and I headed home to see what I’d got on the big screen.

Pleased with what I had recorded, I started editing straight away. As you will see in the video, I got some great angles. When slowed down you can see so much detail in the muscles and movement. I’m sure, as I do, you will keep finding more as you watch the finished video again and again.

It is so exciting to be able to offer super slow motion to riders. I am really looking forward to creating more showreels that capture horse and rider at their best, as well as training videos that give more time on each movement, from several different angles, to see where the horse and rider can really improve.

So if you are interested in having a video of yourself, please get in touch, I look forward to hearing from you.

Sara

We'll convert your old VHS tapes to DVD/digital format

Skip containing discarded VHS tapes. Photo credit: © 2010 Rob Pearce (© rcp:251010:a0028)

Skip containing discarded VHS tapes. Photo credit: © 2010 Rob Pearce (© rcp:251010:a0028)

Flying Mirrors are now converting VHS tapes to digital download and DVD format. Contact us for a quotation with the number and length of your tape(s), as well as the number of copies you require and the format you want them in.

We can also design artwork for the DVD cover and reproduce as many copies as you need. The covers of both The Real Macbeth, King of Alba and A Tour of the Findhorn Foundation Community were designed by us.

Making: A Tour of the Findhorn Foundation Community

The Findhorn Foundation's famous Original Caravan, as it looked when we started filming in early spring 2015.

The Findhorn Foundation's famous Original Caravan, as it looked when we started filming in early spring 2015.

One of The Findhorn Foundation's famous 'giant cabbages'

One of The Findhorn Foundation's famous 'giant cabbages'

When looking for a presenter we found Michael Mitton to be an ideal candidate for the job. Brought up in the community as a child and currently working at the Foundation, he also had experience with television. He starred in Channel 4's series on the community The Haven (2004) and spoke in Markus Werner's Follow the Rainbow to Findhorn (2010).

The initial idea was that Michael would narrate the tour from a script, illustrated with video and photo. During early spring in 2015 we had several recording sessions, but it turned out that he did not do so well with microphone alone, he needed an audience. Instead, we tried having Michael walk and talk through the community..

Lego Jack Sparrow to the rescue.

Lego Jack Sparrow to the rescue.

The first video shoots happened in spring. There were a lot of takes because, while he had a lot of experience on camera, he was used to talking to an interviewer. Direct to camera was very different, the large lens being was nothing like a human face. It was the reaction from an audience that he relied on. We decided it would be a good idea to have something more friendly to talk to - like a toy bear. So, at the next shoot Michael surprised us with a lego figurine of Jack Sparrow from Pirates of the Carribean which we attached to the top of the lens.

By the summer a rough draft was completed, very similar to the one you will see in the final movie. Temp music was used from Harry Potter (for Cluny Hill) and a lot of music from John Renbourn, who's music worked perfectly for the era the community was formed in.

The showing of the first draft to the Findhorn Foundation management team went well. We nearly called it a finished film in September. However, we thought it might be best to ask a longer member of the community for their opinion. Judy Macalister checked it through and, with her head in her hands, she explained that there were quite a few things which were incorrect. For example, Michael had been saying for years that it was the sweet pea that Dorothy had first 'communicated' with in the early days. We had been searching for days to find sweet peas for the video, only to discover that it was the garden pea. It took a lot of takes to get Michael to say 'garden pea'.

Still: the Original Garden in summer. 

Still: the Original Garden in summer. 

Re-recording happened in the summer, with the Original Garden in full bloom. We got hold of a reflector for the sharp light of the sun, having experienced serious panda eye in the spring footage. In order to have Michael's face fully lit we needed to blind him so, considerate people we are, we decided to compromise, leaving some shadow.

The project came to a halt from late summer to autumn. It was during this period that we were focusing all our efforts on The Real Macbeth, King of Alba in order for its premiere to coincide with the premiere of Macbeth (2015) starring Michael Fassbender in October.

Editing the Findhorn movie tour continued along side other work in late autumn and over christmas - sometimes cutting a single word here or there to remove many of the myths that had made their way into the facts.

For people who's first language is not English we believed that subtitles, even just in English, would be of great help. Since we had a next to zero budget for this movie we decided to take the DIY approach to subtitling. Writing out the SRT files took a surprisingly long time. Watching the 45 minute movie back to check them several times felt even longer and required a lot of focus. We may extend the subtitles to French, German, Spanish, Italian and Japanese in the future.

The DVD body and cover design were designed by us and sent off to be manufactured, arriving a couple of days before the premiere at the Universal Hall which was held on 15 January. We decided to go all out: clowns, balloons, candles and song about bananas. The showing of the movie was followed by a Q&A discussion session with people representing different areas of the community.

Information about this movie and where you can purchase it can be found on our movies page.

Making: The Real Macbeth, King of Alba

Dave Barr at Callifer Hill Viewpoint, taking a rest in the Macbeth costume for The Real Macbeth, King of Alba

Dave Barr at Callifer Hill Viewpoint, taking a rest in the Macbeth costume for The Real Macbeth, King of Alba

Macbeth, murdering villain right? On finding out that not only was Macbeth a real man, he was a good and successful king, and realising that we had Cameron Taylor, a Real Macbeth enthusiast and once named Mr Macbeth himself, living on our doorstep, we decided to take on Michael Fassbender and StudioCanal to present the truth and debunk the myths that Shakespeare created.

Happily for us, Cameron was willing and eager to go on camera to document the life of this incredible man who lived one thousand years ago. Cameron brought in Alistair Murray, his co-author of the book On the Trail of the Real Macbeth, King of Alba, and during one of our early meetings I suddenly found myself agreeing to do a linking voice over as Gruoch, Macbeth’s wife. Unfortunately Alistair had to withdraw due to other commitments, and so it was left to Cameron and myself to carry the story.

Paul Johnson of Carden Holiday Cottages enthusiastically brought his knowledge and experience in promotion to the group, while also keeping us all relaxed, well fed and watered during our filming expeditions.

After a basic scripting for Cameron and a more detailed scripting for me as Gruoch, we identified the locations to film in and set the date of our first filming session.

Starting with a sumptuous breakfast of pork and chive sausages from the local butcher, we set off to start filming in Forres, the picturesque town that Macbeth surely would have known and perhaps lived in for part of his life. Apologies to Cameron for deciding to start with the final scene, it can’t have been easy to sum up everything that you had said in the movie, before saying it! (Note: We re-recorded the end again at Mosset Park, Forres, scrapping the original footage recorded outside the Falconer Museum due to car noise. In the end, Cameron did some up everything after recording the rest of the movie.)

Cameron was such a pleasure to work with and such a fount of knowledge. We had much fun and laughter while filming, as well as learning so much and hearing various anecdotes and stories that unfortunately wouldn’t have worked as part of the documentary. At the end of two fruitful days of filming with Cameron, I was sorry that that part was over so soon, and I was already missing the good natured banter between the four of us.

A sumptuous picnic near Birnie Kirk.

A sumptuous picnic near Birnie Kirk.

When Cameron asked for permission to film on the Burghead headland, Joan Megson of Burghead Visitor Centre was very welcoming and highlighted the upcoming Burghead Viking Festival, complete with a small scale replica Viking longboat. We had great fun filming the festivities on the day and the Glasgow Vikings were incredibly friendly and helpful, mocking up some fighting and charges especially for us. We made this video for the Glasgow Vikings in thanks for their willingness to pose for us.

All we needed now was someone to be Macbeth, and our website designer, Dave Barr (BARRD Web Development) pointed out that he had a scar, a celtic tattoo, and most importantly the right facial hair for the time. So with Cameron’s replica sword, axe, helmet and cloak and a trip to Forres Fancy Dress Hire, we had our Macbeth. After a full day of filming Dave sitting, walking, attacking the camera with weapons, running up a hill, marrying me and gazing off into the distance, we had lots of excellent footage and one happy Dave proclaiming that it had been the best day of his life. I’d consider that a resounding success. Alex created the video Dave Goes Berserk. A Comedy Trailer for The Real Macbeth with some of the footage of Dave testing out the weapons and armour.

Before filming Dave, we had been thinking that it would be good to find other people to be some of the more minor roles, helping flesh out the documentary to make it more visually interesting. So when a friend of ours joined us on Califer Hill (where we happened to be filming Dave) showing his friend Ormungandr Melchizedek the sites, I think I gave Ormungandr a bit of a surprise as I asked if he would be willing to be my husband. He had the right facial hair; what can I say? Anyway, as his face lit up and he asked “Can I wear the helmet?” I guessed that my luck was in: we had found our Gille Comgain. We really appreciated his willingness, especially when asked to lie on the cold stone and pretend to be dead.

Our experience with Ormungandr opened my eyes to the possibilities and I started seeing men with the right facial hair everywhere. Friends and strangers alike were roped in and I was delighted by the willingness everyone showed. We really appreciated how they all contributed, and with the hill fort graphics created by Josh Johnson they made the documentary really come alive.

Sara taking in the view at the top of Dunsinane Hill, Perthshire, where Macbeth was defeated in battle.

Sara taking in the view at the top of Dunsinane Hill, Perthshire, where Macbeth was defeated in battle.

To bring it all together and get it ready in time for the premier of the StudioCanal film,  Alex was finding himself needing to work around the clock at times. Prior to one showing to the crew he ended up working a full 36 hours straight on editing, and was still able to function when being asked questions or given suggestions at the showing.

Finally everything was in, the music approved and purchased and the credits complete and correct. It was time to send it off to be made into DVDs. Our premier was booked for Forres Town Hall and was starting to take shape, with the Northern Scot running an article on it and Eventbright filling with bookings for tickets.

It was very exciting to see the boxes of DVDs arriving, then coming to the Town Hall on the night of the premier, and it all started feeling real. It suddenly hit me, my dream as a kid had come to fruition without me even really realising it: I was in a film as one of the main characters. Seeing my face blown up to the size of the big screen was quite strange and surreal, yet also a very good feeling. We were overjoyed at the number of people who joined us for the premier. We ran out of seats downstairs and people had to start filling up the balcony, so we estimated that about 180 people had come to see our documentary. What a feeling of elation.

The audience certainly seemed to enjoy the evening, with exit polls giving a lowest rating of 8/10, and many books and DVDs being sold.
We would like to thank again everyone who was involved in any way for the time, enthusiasm and commitment that was shown again and again, resulting in the excellent documentary that we produced.

Dave Barr, who stars as Macbeth (Mac Bethad) in the movie, dressed up in full 11th Century armour and weaponry.

Dave Barr, who stars as Macbeth (Mac Bethad) in the movie, dressed up in full 11th Century armour and weaponry.

Burghead Norwegian Weekend.

The Glasgow Vikings, preparing to charge at our camera.

The Glasgow Vikings, preparing to charge at our camera.

A viking ship, viking tents, dancing puppets, live music and live battles,  Flying Mirrors attended and filmed the Norwegian weekend at Burghead, which was remembred the brave nem of the Shetland Bus who made journeys by see to and from Gernman occupied Norrway during World War II . The footage is to be used in a movie that we are currently creating about the real Macbeth, as well as a short video for the Burghead Visitor Centre about the event.

We are very grateful to the Glasgow Vikings for being willing to pose for photos and video recordings during breaks between the pictish-viking battles that occurred in the fenced off arena on the Saturday.