Belmond – Shooting events the right way



Belmond approached us to shoot a series of events they had planned to promote Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons. Let’s be clear; it’s a special place. Founded by Raymond Blanc as a home away from home and nestled in the Oxfordshire countryside, the principle is simple – great food along with exceptional service. An authentic love of everything culinary, all year round.

‘Authentic’ was the word

Working with a brand like Belmond and Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons is always a great experience. Not only do they understand what they are, or what they want to accomplish, but it feeds through everything they do, from top to bottom. For us, it was integral that we reflected that. When it came to shooting, authentic was the word – there was no space for repeat performances or retakes, all action was happening in real-time, and it was up to us to capture it, to an extent this meant we had to be invisible. Dinner guests and staff needed to feel ‘unobserved’, and for these reasons, we opted to shoot each of the events handheld with the only essential kit.

The Right Gear for ‘blending-in’

Long days of shooting would usually mean a shoulder-mounted camera, and swapping between a tripod and shoulder rig. This wasn’t going to help us ‘blend-in’, nor would it help us in the kitchens. We needed to understand the layout well. These kitchens were big, complex, and maze-like. We had to move and react as quickly as the chefs, assistants, and waiters all working at full speed. Hand-held was the way to go. Rather than shooting on zooms, we selected several prime lenses, famed for their ability to be excel in low light, rich in character and able to offer exceptional quality vs a more traditional zoom option. It also meant we could operate with lighter rigs, have less of a physical footprint in cramped and confined spaces and create visuals that were something truly bespoke and unique.

Small Crew – Large Event

We kept our crew small; it is always tempting to go bigger for events, to ensure nothing is missed. However, in this case, we felt the atmosphere of the event could be compromised as well as the essential mobility as mentioned above – we needed fewer camera ops who were 100% clear on ‘why’, and ‘what’ they were shooting, while being on high alert to their moving surroundings. A lot is happening in events like this, it can be easily confused with people simply ‘standing around’, but in fact, there’s a lot of movement and energy going on, and we needed to capture that in the best way possible, without it feeling ‘frantic’. Shooting the majority in slow motion helped us to create a series of films that had a particular feel and aesthetic; smooth, flowing, events that appeared effortlessly under control, fun, but not at all staged.

Words from our Client

“Palladian created us a visually stunning and sophisticated promotional film. As a team, they fully grasped the brief – working efficiently, and with care to create a unique document of Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons’ 35th anniversary celebrations. They perfectly captured the essence of who we are as a brand. We will certainly be working with the Palladian again.” 
Julia Sutcliffe, Director of Marketing, Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons.

Watch the final films below: