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  • ollietristram

#Throwback: Les Mills Tribal Gathering 2019

When I went freelance, back in January 2019, after working full-time as an in-house video editor for the previous 9 years, the Les Mills Tribal Gathering was exactly the kind of project I'd hope to have the opportunity to work on.

Travelling to work abroad

Great looking footage to work with ✓

Lovely team ✓

Decent wage ✓

Just a bit of background: Les Mills is a fitness brand known for it's workout classes with nightclub lighting and loud music. Every year, they invite instructors from across the world for a week-long event, which not only covers the business side of things, but also updates the trainers on the new classes they will be rolling out over the next year.

For 2019, the event was held on the island of Rhodes. You can imagine my excitement when I was offered the opportunity to work in a five star resort in sunny Greece, during June.

The team consisted of Guy Jenkins (director and camera op); Will Carman (camera op); Alex Doherty (producer) and myself (editor). We filmed using Black Magic URSA Minis in 4K ProRes HQ, using some absolutely gorgeous vintage anamorphic prime lenses, which stole the show, to be honest.

Our job was to capture the event: from the arrival of the instructors; the various classes throughout the week; right through to the climax of the final talk. That footage was then edited into a highlights video, shown at the closing keynote. More specifically, my job was to backup and manage all the media coming in from the two cameras as well as edit and grade the highlights video as I went along.

Day one was the only day I got to see any sunshine.

My base was a windowless store room (I am an editor after all). I did get upgraded to one with windows eventually, where I was sat from around 8am to 10pm, ingesting cards and creating selects from one camera op. Just as I was about to put them into an edit sequence, another couple of cards came in from the other camera op. Repeat this cycle until the day before the highlights video was due to be shown on the big screen. It was that tight. I only had about 24 hours to actually create the main edit, let alone do any colour grading.

It was certainly a challenge, but I loved the "we're all in this together" attitude that the team had. Late nights and early mornings - pulling together to create something we'd all be proud of.

I vividly remember the last hour before before the edit was due to be shown. We had to export the video and get it to the event AV guys with little time to spare. I was sweating profusely. Guy might have been crying at one point.

But we did it! It was incredibly rewarding to see our efforts projected onto the huge display in front of hundreds of people, who all got to shout out when they saw their faces on the screen. I've never felt so relieved. The beers that night went down an absolute treat.

Cheers! I'm looking forward to the next one, once this pandemic has cleared off.

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Jan 17

It's impressive how you managed to handle the tight deadlines and pressure, working tirelessly to create a highlights video that would be shown to hundreds of people. The last-minute race to export the video and deliver it to the event AV guys must have been nerve-wracking, but all your efforts paid off when you saw the final product being projected on the big screen.

I can only imagine the sense of relief and pride you felt in that moment. It's those moments that make all the hard work and late nights worth it.

By the way, if you're interested in capturing VHS footage, you may find this helpful.

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