The documentary I CAN SAVE THIS HORSE was produced by Camila Shannon for her 8th grade Capstone project at Boulder Country Day School (BCD). The Capstone Project is a year-long, mentor-based project completed by all 8th grade students and allows students to explore an interest or passion. Students work with a faculty advisor and an adult mentor to develop their project over the entire school year, with an April presentation to the school and families.
I am making a documentary at a horse rescue that I aim to use to help raise awareness about horse abuse/slaughter and helping mistreated horses in need. I chose this because I absolutely love horses and am passionate about saving horses from the horrible abuse that many of them fall victim to. I am working with my mentor, Amber Herrell, who is the owner of Shiloh Acres Horse Rescue where I’m filming. This project has opened my eyes to what really goes on in the horse world, often things that either not many people know about or are misguided/misinformed about. I want to open other people’s eyes to the things that I’ve learned with this project.
Here’s the equipment she used:
- Canon T3i
- Canon EF 100 mm used for only a few shots such as horse’s nose
- Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 used for 99% of the video because the results are always beautiful
- Canon VIXIA HF R30 used wherever you see a zoom in or zoom out
- Manfrotto 475B Pro Geared Tripod with 502 Video Head MVH502AH
- ProAm USA Orion Jr DVC50 4 ft Compact Camera Crane / Jib for opening shot of Tosca and Shiloh Acres
- Sony PCM-M10 Portable Linear PCM Voice Recorder for Camila interview in the barn and some ambient sounds
- Rode Smartlav Lavalier Microphone for iPhone for Amber’s interview
- Sony Vegas Pro for video editing
Camila’s dad taught her how to use the gear and she ran with it!
When Camila came up with the idea of doing a horse rescue video, she went to Google and found the Shiloh Acres website and promptly fell in love. Her dad was unable to convince her to find a rescue operation closer to home. Shiloh Acres was over an hour away but Amber and her animals made every trip worthwhile beyond words…
The first video shoot was done in November and the weather report showed warm sunny weather. On arrival, the wind was blowing around 20 mph and the temperature was mid 30s (°F). It looked like the day would be a total loss because there was no home or office to get away from the wind noise for the interview. But Amber saved the day by cleaning out an old trailer full of tack/supplies for the shoot. It turned out remarkably well because that little trailer had a small square window on both sides of where Amber was sitting and in the ceiling above her. Sometimes you get lucky!
Fortune smiled on Camila again one day when Amber canceled a video shoot at the last minute. The car was already loaded so Camila and her dad drove up to the auction house, marched into the office and asked for permission to wander around with their camera “for a school project about a horse bought here a few years ago by a friend”. The office manager said yes. About every 10 minutes an employee asked if they had permission to be there with a camera and Dad just kept saying ‘yes, we stopped at the office and…’
Another formidable advantage Camila had in making this documentary was the treasure trove of photos/video of horse rescue cases maintained by Amber. She provided great high resolution materials that made telling her story easy — thank you Amber!