Where Content Always Shines

Posted by: Jess Chambers - 27.11.23

Need some outdoor lifestyle content to suit any market and any sector? Looking for somewhere with a built-in studio, set-building capability and slick, full-time production team? Want it all in a location where great weather is pretty much guaranteed*, but is just a few hours away from the UK?  

Then Ride Shotgun’s Portugal outdoor production hub can be the solution you’ve been looking for.  

*We’re talking 300+ days of Portuguese sunshine a year.

However, it’s not all sunshine and beers when our team is in action; meticulous logistical planning, hard graft and brilliant product photography is the focus. We borrowed our Production Director, Ben White, to find out how he and the team tick and what makes a good outdoor location shoot.

 

Hi Ben, what do you do at Ride Shotgun?

Hello there. So, I head up the production facilities and production team across Ride Shotgun. It’s fair to say that pretty much anything to do with production tends to come through our hands. 

HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN DOING THIS AND WHO’S IN THE TEAM?

I’ve been lucky enough to have been running shoots in sunny Portugal for over a decade now. I can hear those tiny violins already! I’ve got a 40 strong super star team at our studio in the UK but when it’s a shoot in Portugal we’ll take at least 15 of us across. The size of the team depends on whether it’s a simple 2-day shoot or something bigger like a month-long logistical shoot.

What facilities does the Ride Shotgun production hub in Portugal boast?

We’re well set up with a 6,000 sq ft space and a production office kitted out with high speed internet. We’ve also got a brilliant local team as well as trusted catering partners, a catering kitchen, cut-out booths, a fleet of vehicles including mini-bus vans, forklifts and trailers, logistics partners for customs and a sample centre team with merchandising skills. On top of that we can arrange negotiated prices on hotels for clients, and know hundreds of different locations to suit different types of shoot.

 

What type of products can you shoot there?

A big attraction is our ability to shoot outdoor garden furniture in stunning weather near enough all year round. So that also means we can shoot anything from fashion and lifestyle to TVC's either as stills or in digital video formats.

In short, anything that needs long stints of sunny conditions. Location-wise, it’s really quick and easy to get to, which makes it much easier to co-ordinate the logistics for products than other well-known shoot locations.

 

What benefits does all this bring to our clients? 

Portugal is nice and close, being just a 2.5 hour flight from the UK. So clients will often fly over just for the day. The transfer time for products is 48 hours to 5 days.

The other big bonus is the nice, long shoot days with great light both morning and night. We’ve also got a wealth of different locations to choose from, our local Portuguese team are constantly scouting the area to seek out fresh locations.

All the teams we take are super experienced, mega slick and totally focused on the shoot. 

 

Run us through a typical day for you.

It’s a well oiled machine. After tucking into a 7am breakfast we’re on the crew bus by 7.45am, in our daily studio briefing at 8am followed by a 20 min load time and on location for 9am. We shoot from 9am till 6pm, then de-rig and, all being well, are typically back at the studio for 6.30pm. Then we’ll meet up for beers on the seafront at 7.30pm, usually followed by a well earned dinner of delicious local seafood.  

Logistically how is a shoot planned?  

The crucial bit of paper is the  ATA Carnet form in the UK which allows us to temporarily import a client’s products. Once that’s sorted, our logistics partner has articulated lorries to ship the products to Portugal in 5 days or by express van in 48 hours. On arrival, our team of Portuguese sample handlers are waiting to unload, build and arrange all samples for the shoot. While we’re there we also have a fleet of vans to move products to the locations. At the end of the shoot, everything is safely shipped back to the UK.

 

How important is it to use local talent? 

It’s vital. Not only is it good to give back to the community, whether that’s employing lifters and shifters or photographers and accountants but it helps us tap into local skills and knowledge. They know the place so much better than we do and always add a lot to the mix.

 

300+ days of sunshine is great, but what happens on the rare days when it actually rains?  

Thankfully, we have almost guaranteed sunshine in the peak summer months, but on those odd days when it does rain, we can provide insurance cover to ensure the shoot is completed.

Finally, how’s your Portuguese coming along?  

Haha, terrivelmente (terribly)! But I’m working on it. We love Portugal, especially going to eat at the excellent local restaurants. As you can imagine all that freshly caught fish, local produce and visiting the local markets are always a real highlight. Ah, I can hear those tiny violins again!

Want to see the kind of thing our Portugal production set up lets us do?  Check out our case study about shooting Homebase’s Outdoor Living products, which involved a full rebrand and a suite of assets that needed to be shot in sunny surroundings. 

 

If you’ve got a new product range on the horizon or simply want to find out a bit more, get in touch today.