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  • Writer's pictureTalus Films

PROJECT PROFILE: Osprey Packs - Through Her Eyes

Here at Talus Films, we're adventurers at heart. We've been hiking, camping, and backpacking our entire lives and love life on the trail. We believe in making the outdoors accessible for all, recreating responsibly, and giving back to our natural world. We're also visual storytellers. Which means we're uniquely poised to bring outdoor brands to life through video marketing.

This is why we set out to make an authentic, documentary-style spec commercial for a brand we already love and look up to - Osprey Packs. We knew we wanted to create an emotionally compelling marketing video that celebrated the accessibility of the outdoors alongside the gear that makes that accessibility possible.

Osprey Packs Poco® Child Carrier being filmed for a commercial

Our piece, Through Her Eyes, is a speculative commercial featuring Osprey Packs Poco® Child Carrier and real-life mother/daughter duo - Madelaine & Cora. It explores the adventure of motherhood and discovering the outdoors through the eyes of a child.

The Making Of Process

Step 1: Selecting Our Brand

For this project, authenticity was key. We knew we wanted to tell a real story focused on real people where the gear played a supporting role and allowed the characters to access the outdoors. Our first step was to narrow down a brand followed closely by finding our main character(s). Osprey Packs is a brand that the Talus team has admired for years. Their gear has accompanied us on our own treks around the world - from Peru, to Patagonia, to Italy, and to more state and National Parks than we can count. Their dedication to social responsibility, sustainability, diversity, equity, and inclusion, and outdoor education - especially for the younger generation - is inspiring.

Step 2: Selecting Our Characters

Once we had our brand, we set out to find real life people with an authentic connection to the brand. And as it just so happened, Talus Films creative director, Madelaine, and her daughter, Cora, fit the bill. As an outdoor lover and new mother to 9-month old Cora, Madelaine had already begun introducing her daughter to the wonders of the natural world in a myriad of ways. Cora went on her first hiking and camping trip at 3 months old and loves being outside any chance she can get. And as Cora has gotten a bit older, Osprey’s Poco® Child Carrier has become an essential part of their outdoor adventures because it makes it so easy and comfortable for both mom and daughter to experience nature together.

A woman and baby in a hiking baby carrier being filmed for a commercial

Step 3: Crafting Our Story

Now that we had our brand and our mother/daughter duo, it was time to stitch together our story. At Talus, we have a unique approach to our documentary-style work. We conduct a Pre-Interview with all our featured characters. During the session for this piece, our director - Jordan - spoke with Madelaine about her experiences in the outdoors, how those look now that she’s a mom, why she wants to share the outdoors with Cora, what she hopes for Cora’s future, and more. We recorded this Pre-Interview and edited it into a version that we hoped to emulate when we actually began filming and recording the voiceover for the piece. We stay away from scripting our documentary pieces and rely on focused interviews shaped by our Pre-Interview process to allow for truly authentic storytelling to emerge.

Step 4: Picking Our Location

Next up was selecting our filming location. We shot this piece in mid-November in the Midwest. And if you know anything about late fall in this area of the country, you know it might be snowing one day with bright sunshine and warmth the next. It can be unpredictable, to say the least. And the fall color may or may not still be sticking around. We wanted to select a location that was visually interesting on it’s own, could be enhanced by fall colors or less than ideal weather (if it presented itself), and a place where Madelaine and Cora would actually go to hike. We chose the beautiful Matthiessen State Park in northern Illinois. We also lucked out on our filming day and had a beautiful sunny, late fall day accompanied by what was probably the last of the crisp, vibrant fall yellows.

fallen yellow leaves floating on water being filmed for an outdoor commercial

Step 5: Hiring our Crew & Filming

Alongside selecting our location, we also began hiring our key production and post-production crew members. When we film on location and in an outdoor locale as rugged as Matthiessen, we like to operate with a small, skeleton crew and lightweight gear. Jessie, our cinematographer, has worked in conditions like these many times and regularly captures stunning imagery. We knew he was our guy. The rest of the crew was rounded out by our director (Jordan), our assistant camera (Ryan), and our grip (Stephen). These four folks made our day run smoothly, which made the shoot a ton of fun. And they were accompanied on our production day by Madelaine, Cora, and Mark (Madelaine’s husband/Cora’s dad who took on the task of child wrangler for the day). And as for gear, this project was shot on an ARRI Alexa Mini with Lomo Square Front Anamorphics lenses. We relied mainly on natural light - with a reflector from time to time - which allowed us to keep our gear package small and nimble. We all arrived on location mid-morning, filmed in various parts of the park, and wrapped filming by mid-afternoon.

Step 6: Post-Production

With all our footage captured, we started on the post-production process which included editing, color grading, voiceover recording, sound mixing, and music selection. The post-production process was highly collaborative, like on all our projects, and we went through several different rounds of editing to ensure the best version of our story was coming to life. While we were on set, we captured footage but not audio. So a key part of the post-production process was recording Madelaine’s voice over interview, Cora’s lovely - albeit often dinosaur sounding - noises, and atmospheric sounds all of which really go a long way in enhancing the final video. We even had a fun session at Madelaine’s home where we recorded some silly Cora giggles while she was gleefully playing with her best friend Olly (a big black lab). Once the edit and sound were in a good place, the color grading process was completed and the final project was exported and ready for distribution.

All in all, this project took about 2.5 months from conception to completion. And was crafted by a total of 7 very talented individuals - many of whom wore multiple hats throughout its journey.

Our Director’s Thoughts

With a project such as this with an intimate and authentic story to tell, the right director makes all the difference. Jordan, who is also Talus Films business director and head of production, stepped into the director role for this piece. Here are his thoughts on why this project, this story, this brand.

“This piece was a really fun challenge to create. I’ve been wanting to direct a proper spec commercial for awhile now, and I already dig Osprey Packs - so making a spec for them was a really exciting opportunity. The story was also an easy find, as Madelaine is the perfect subject for a story like this. Finding the right parts of the story to tell however, took some time and some back and forth between Madelaine and myself.

A lot of effort went into how to capture the spirit of what we were trying to say while filming at Matthiessen State Park. We were asking ourselves questions like “how can we try to capture this from Cora’s point of view?” and “what’s something you would actually do if you were on a hike here and not just something you’d do for the camera?”

At the end of the day, it’s something I’m really proud of on behalf of Talus Films, it tells a real story that’s charged with values that we actually believe in. I think it works equally well as an Osprey commercial, as well as a mini-documentary."

Learn More

If you’re interested in learning more about our work for Outdoor Industry brands, check out our website. And if you’re interested to learn more about the video production process? Check out our other blog posts:

When you’re ready to start your own production, take Talus Films with you on the video production adventure - CONTACT US anytime!

We've also got a free guide just for outdoor brand marketers. To download, click below:

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