The lore of the Australian Outback is something that has slowly grown on me in my time at REDARC. As a marketer, I am constantly exposed to the adventures of others such as our brand ambassadors and customers. Slowly but surely an urge to have my own REDARC inspired adventure like so many others I had witnessed from behind my desk was building inside of me.
So, when the question was asked if I could be a part of the photoshoot for REDARC’s new brand campaign, I didn’t hesitate for a second. It was time to #getREDARCready and prepare for a week in one of the most remote regions in Australia.
The purpose of this trip was to create the imagery which would be used for REDARC’s newest brand campaign. The photoshoot was months in the making, as meticulous planning had gone into developing the brief of the campaign and then transforming our requirements into a creative that could be used in REDARC’s print and digital adverts.
Once we had agreed on the creative concepts, the wheels were in motion for what the photographer described as the most challenging shoot of his career.
The infamous Silverton Hotel, with its resident donkeys
Even if you’ve never been to Silverton, chances are you’ll recognise it. Located 30km’s out of Broken Hill, the former town is a blip on the map. Over the years, Silverton has been shrouded in outback folklore, with countless films, TV shows, commercials and advertising campaigns centred in and around the town. The Mad Max series, Priscilla Queen of the Desert, Mission Impossible II, XXXX Gold and now REDARC have all used Silverton and its surrounding barren desert wasteland as the backdrop for their mediums. Upon our arrival, I quickly understood why.
The baron desert wasteland outside Silverton
We departed early on Tuesday morning with the trusty REDARC Hilux as our vessel for the 600km journey from Adelaide to Silverton. The journey took most of the day, and it seemed every time we stopped to stretch our legs the REDARC Hilux would attract locals and fellow travellers who all “had the REDARC” installed in their caravan or camper. I was more than happy to run them through all the bells and whistles with the RedVision total vehicle management system being the indisputable jaw-dropper.
Upon arrival to Silverton in the late afternoon, we quickly dropped off our gear at our accommodation and headed out to Eldee Station to reccy the surrounding areas for the following mornings shoot.
It wasn’t until dusk when we rolled into the legendary Silverton Hotel for a well-earned brew, unfortunately, I couldn’t have too many as we had an early start pencilled in for the next day.
The drone departing on one of its many trips
Day 1 Shoot
I was quickly reminded that this was, in fact, a work trip at 5 am when my alarm went off. After a quick feed, we were back in the Hilux and off to Eldee Station to set up for the mornings shoot, it was critical that we were good to go at first light to make the most of the lighting.
As mentioned earlier, the shoot was highly technical. We had waited for weeks for the weather to work in our favour. Finally, the day had come, and as the weatherman predicted the wind was minimal, allowing the drone to do its thing without risking it blowing away.
The image below depicts our objective, we needed to shoot each rectangle at a range of heights from 1 meter all the way to 300 meters. My role was to ensure that each rectangle was shot at the same height. Slowly but surely the photographer spent the morning panning the drone around the vicinity calling out the drone’s height with me frantically writing down the height for each grid, ticking them off one-by-one.
By 10:30 the initial shoot was done, it was then I was able to have my first true REDARC experience. Duncan our host and talent for the week presented an espresso machine which we were able to power from the 2000W Pure Sine Wave Inverter in the Hilux.
It doesn’t get much better than enjoying a coffee from the back of the car, in the middle of the desert after a 5 am wake up, one of the highlights of the trip!
Enjoying an espresso in the middle of the desert
Following the shoot, we meandered our way back to Silverton stopping at some ruins, lookouts and other attractions.
The most notable was the Red Hill Hotel, which is a dilapidated ruin in the middle of a salt pan that has been used in several TV commercials over the years.
Upon arrival back at our accommodation, the photographer downloaded all the imagery and started the daunting task of organising them so it would be in a logical order for the editor, this exhausting task was a reminder that a photographer’s job isn’t all clicks and smiles.
Once the morning's photography had been reviewed it was decided that we would need to capture additional images of the surrounding areas of Silverton to add some life to edges of the finished product.
Once the most remote pub in Australia
We headed back off into the bush to get some images of the creeks and encircling mountain ranges. To get closer to the mountains we followed an old track off the path to the only tree in sight to get shade from the afternoon sun.
This shoot was a lot more relaxed than the mornings; we didn’t need to measure distances and heights and the drone just flew around taking as many images as possible. I was able to sit back, relax and enjoy a cold one whilst taking in the vast nothing of the outback, it was a surreal experience.
The day concluded at the most logical (and perhaps only) place with any life in Silverton, the pub.
Day 2 Shoot
The second day of shooting began as early as the first but fortunately this time I was well prepared and rested. Upon reviewing the previous day's footage and shoot, we decided we would attack this day differently. We felt that we had gone a tad overboard with the number of photos we had taken and that the poor re-toucher would have a heart attack when he had to sift through and organise the hundreds of images and piece them together in a jigsaw-like manner.
Like the day before we arrived at the destination as the sun rose and got straight to work. Within a couple of hours, we had all the images we needed and made our way back to Silverton to sift through a significantly more organised portfolio of images.
The rest of the day was pretty much like the first; downloading, sorting and reviewing images. It was decided that we would need to do a final shoot at dusk to cover our backs in case we didn’t have enough filler images.
We had a few hours to kill until dusk so I decided I would go on a solo mission to the ranges surrounding Silverton and put the REDARC Hilux to the test, this was one of those moments which hit home and was a real highlight, I was so far off the beaten track that if the Lux broke down it would surely take a couple of days to find me. But thankfully, that never happened.
On the hunt for kangaroos
This final shoot was different than I expected, creative director Bart truly lived up to his title and set us a challenge of getting some drone footage of Kangaroos hopping through the desert. The next hour or so saw us on a wild goose chase up hills, down tracks which hadn’t been driven on in years in search of some elusive Kangaroos (Apparently the lack of rain had driven them all South).
Eventually, we managed to find one and frantically sent the drone up to follow it through the scrub much to its confusion, we got the shot we were looking for and that was it – shoot complete. The day concluded in the same fashion as the others, knocking back a few well-deserved froffs on the porch of the Silverton Hotel.
The journey back to Adelaide began early on Friday morning and was an uneventful 8-hour drive. The highlight of which was going through a drug and alcohol test in a small town called Oodla Wirra, it seemed that there were more police than the entire population of the small town. The cops were all interested in the REDARC Hilux and we gave them a quick show and tell of the products, with several of them having products in their personal vehicles, it made for an interesting encounter.
Fuelling the flames for exploration
On reflection, it was an amazing experience and I would go back in a heartbeat. There’s something special about the remoteness of the outback, something that words can’t describe. The trip has only seen my interest in our great country grow and fuelled a desire to keep exploring.
On the other hand, it was a great learning experience to see the efforts that go into pulling off such an ambitious shoot. I gained a true appreciation of the creativity of the team and the process and in turn the technical nature of the photographer who managed to turn an elaborate vision into a reality. A big thanks to both for their efforts, work and good company throughout the week and a big thanks to REDARC for allowing me the opportunity to be part of the experience.
I would also like to thank our hosts for the weekend who also doubled up as a talent for the shoot, Duncan and Peta who went above and beyond in making us feel right at home with that type of hospitality you can only expect in a town the size of Silverton. If you are reading this and thinking of heading up to Silverton, I highly recommend staying at their homestay.
And what was the outcome of all of this, you ask? Well, after an arduous process for photographer, designer and advertising team, you can see the result for yourself and hopefully feel inspired to #getREDARCready before your next great adventure.