Monday, 18 December 2017

Burghley Horse Trials 2017: Cross Country Day

Heading Out
Dee Hankey and Chequers Playboy
4K Photo ©Harveywetdog

Memories of what will be, for now at least, my final trip to The Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials. 2016 at Burghley had been great despite the rain but 2017 topped that especially with Oliver Townend going on to win.

The day trip to Burghley is a huge investment for me and I find access through the large crowds and videoing at some fences difficult, hence my decision to say thank you and leave it off my schedule in 2018.   

The key to a successful trip to Burghley is preparation: everything you see in the videos has been thought out beforehand, the dash cam shots of sunrise and sunset (especially the windmills), the volunteer and crowd scenes and GVs in the morning, where I would start cross country coverage from to avoid the crush on the Lion Bridge, where I needed to be around the course as the competition progressed and where I wanted to be at the end of the day. New this year were the press pens at The Trout Hatchery and Discovery Valley. All that and I even managed to complete a shopping mission at Horse Health and a quick chat with Robert LeMieux!

Action from cross country day at the 2017 Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials.

To make sure I got off to a good start around Burghley Park I began videoing at Fence 6, The Lakeside Corners. I then proceeded around the course working to a very strict timetable because I knew that with a field of 60 it was going to be a challenge to get all the way round before the finish.

All the fences are shown although 2, 3 and 4A together with 33 are not shown being jumped. I've also tried to illustrate some of the alternatives with the GVs I took in the morning. Possibly disappointing is the sound. I tried a different microphone to try and get over the wind noise on the course. That was partially successful but I was left with the sound of the camera zoom motor on some shots!  

Luckily I was back in the start finish area to see competition winner Oliver Townend set out and return. It's good to watch the end of the course with the teams of helpers (and the occasional hanger on) washing down the horses and sending their riders off to talk to the media. Although I was pleased to see Oliver win, I was pretty gutted for Tina Cooke who ended up having a run out and missing out on a top placing after being held on course for an age. Of course it had been Oliver two years ago thumping himself after a similar mistake so perhaps there is some justice!

Tina Cooke and Calvino II miss out
4K Photo ©Harveywetdog

The Agony!
Oliver Townend and Armada in 2015
4K Photo ©Harveywetdog 
The Ecstasy!
Oliver Townend and Ballaghmor Class 2017
4K Photo ©Harveywetdog

As I've indicated we were very lucky to be provided with new photographers' pens at the Trout Hatchery and at Discovery Valley to complement the busy pen at the Lion Bridge. I'd had a great time in 2016 in Discovery Valley keeping a piece of string between me and the horses and it was good to see this spot recognised with a formal pen. As the course cuts through Discovery Valley twice I was very strict on how I used the video I shot there and the surplus went into the show reel.

Back Through Discovery Valley
Louisa Milne Home and King Eider
4K Photo ©Harveywetdog

At the end of the day I recorded the full press conference after cross country at The Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials in 2017 with Oliver Townend, Izzy Taylor, Gemma Tattersall, Captain Mark Phillips and organiser Elizabeth Inman.

The Press Conference was perhaps not as emotionally charged as the 2016 conference after what had been a particularly trying day, but interesting nevertheless especially as Oliver's comments later became the subject of social media debate and controversy.

2017 Press Conference Participants
4K Photo ©Harveywetdog
I knew exactly what I wanted for the show reel and that it would be black and white and widescreen (21x9). The two versions are slightly different, apart from the music, and I played a little trick on the audience by running the waterfall backwards so that the water appears to come out of the lake and into the spout.

Because I wanted to keep the cross country video to ~25mins I was able to hold back some of the cross country competition video to supplement this video.

The Coldplay version:-

Finally, and for those of you who've been stuck in long traffic delays through Stamford on Burghley cross country day, here's my 3 min journey in at about 07:30AM with the music of Solas. It would have been quicker but I forgot where I'd put my ticket, in fact I forgot I needed a ticket so it could have been £30 on the gate! Luckily as I sat there I remembered there had been a ticket in the media envelope and luckily I'd brought it with me.

So that's it; not sure if or when I'll be back but for now I can't thank Carole Pendle and her team in the Media Centre enough for their help over three superb years and hope that my videos do justice to what is undoubtedly the Number One 3 Day Event in the world!

Home Safely
Dee Hankey and Chequers Playboy
4K Photo ©Harveywetdog

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