The Guest House – In Living Color

Slow walks through lush greenery, airy breezes and sweet floral scents. Once-in-a-lifetime views of majestic landscape, turquoise water and grazing animals. The enticing texture of a simple lemon paired with the tart, fresh aroma that radiates from an overflowing orchard.

These are the experiences that abound on The Ranch, and a creative team has captured this deeper essence of nature through filmmaking.

Where can you see it? Stop by Sendero’s Guest House where Rancho Mission Viejo has debuted this one-of-a-kind film.

Through drone and helicopter photography combined with ground-based filming, a team of talented storytellers came together to create a film for Rancho Mission Viejo that would showcase the wonder of The West, display the land’s natural beauty and allow viewers to luxuriate in the captivating imagery of The Ranch.

Here’s a behind-the-scenes look into this groundbreaking project that shows you how 4 days, strong creative vision, and some pretty advanced technology culminated in the ultimate synchrony of nature and filmmaking.

Meet The Production Team

Greenhaus: Chief Design Vision

Emota: Video Agency

Chris Karcher: Director

Bekah Christie: Executive Producer

Marco Jimenez: Producer

Andy Kuepper: 1st Assistant Camera

Dan Comrie: Production Assistant

Ivor Shier: Helicopter Pilot

Marty Zimmerman: Helicopter Camera Operator

Taylor Chien: Drone Camera Operator

John Pacitto: Composer

The Vision

Rancho Mission Viejo wanted to showcase The Ranch in a pure, unedited and untouched fashion. Under the direction of Craig Fuller, the Creative Director at Rancho Mission Viejo’s advertising agency Greenhaus, the film began to take shape with the simplest of production ideas.

“The film didn’t need information; it didn’t need copy; it didn’t need a voiceover,” said Craig. “It just needed to show people the best of the 23,000 acres and make connections to California history and the American West, but in a poetic way.”

Craig’s vision ultimately came down to what he wanted the viewer to experience as they stood and watched nature captured before them.

“I wanted people to stand there quietly and feel the expanse, the light and the sense of being in the midst of an ultimate experience without anybody tell them anything. This was to be pure sensation.”

With a team of skilled artists and technicians, Craig’s vision came to life.

Day 1

While the grass was still damp with dew and twilight was just fading away, the team headed out to The Ranch to begin filming. However, this wasn’t your typical point-and-shoot camera with a tripod filming. Instead, the team employed an on-site helicopter, advanced RED camera and sophisticated filming equipment that achieved incredible aerial shots of the land.

A RED camera is a state-of-the-art digital camera used in many Hollywood feature films. This kind of technology allows cameras to catch high-resolution shots. And, when we say “high-resolution,” we don’t mean your typical HD. These cameras have resolutions up to two times greater than what you watch on HD at home. Combined with slow motion effects, this photography allows you to watch the flap of a bird’s wing and buzz of a bee as if time has slowed right before your very eyes.

Craig explains that shooting from the helicopter was much like playing a video game with someone manning a remote control that manipulated the zoom and swivel functions of the camera. The helicopter hovered high above the land while the RED camera documented the images with crystal clear clarity.

Day 2

With towering aerial shots in the queue, the team set out on day 2 to catch a different kind of aerial shot: a much more intimate view from the air. The team’s initial vision was to give viewers a look at the land that they’d never be able to see. Using a drone, much like a miniature helicopter, the team achieved just that.

“The drone was for more intimate views with a slightly higher elevation than you’d be able to see otherwise,” explained Craig.

With two team members manning the drone – one at the navigation controls and one in charge of the camera’s functions – the drone was able to capture scenes of and movement through the landscape unlike any other technology.

“The advantage of the drone shooting, beyond what the helicopter could do, is that it could get much lower to the ground without disturbing the trees and grass,” said Craig. “Images in the video going past the windmill or between the sycamore trees, and anywhere where the space was tight or the elevation was pretty low, those were filmed from the drone.”

Day 2 wrapped with some incredible motion imagery of The Ranch, lending the sense that viewers are hovering above and flying along the contour of the land.

Days 3 & 4

Day 3 was filled with on-the-ground shots of the mainstays at Rancho Mission Viejo. The team visited the lemon and avocado orchards, catching great imagery of picking and harvesting, and then headed out to cow camp, where the cowboys were at work.

These shots were filmed with quiet ease and a calming air. The slow motion shots at Cow Camp allow you to appreciate the tiniest details and delicate art of working on The Ranch.

“I wanted people to have a sense that part of what The Ranch is about is to slow down, clear your mind, breathe a little easier and have a lighter, more natural sensation,” said Craig. “I wanted to make this thing feel visually slow, more poetic and let it play out in a soft, romantic way.”

The team capped off shooting with an evening on The Reserve on day 4, accompanying a tour group on a docent-led walk through nature. As pinks and purples bled into the blues and blacks of the darkening sky, the team captured the mesmerizing evening through their lens, forever documenting the mystique of The Reserve at night.

The Final Cut

In production, each scene was cut into the next with expert transitions and an emphasis on storytelling. You’ll feel the film seamlessly carry you from one piece of imagery to the next, as if the entire film is one ethereal experience designed to transport the mind, body and soul into the heart of The Ranch.

To complete the transformation from camera to screen, a custom music score was written for the film, now fully encompassing the feeling of nature.

Rancho Mission Viejo is excited to take you on this journey across The Ranch! Please enjoy this film as it takes you to literal new heights and senses.

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