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Experience Melbourne – A VISA Campaign shot with the Fujifilm X-T1

Brother Wolf Barber, Image Workshop - Melbourne advertising photographer

Where’s the best spot in Melbourne for a haircut? A VISA tourism campaign shows you where the locals go…

Wowzers – 2015 has kicked off with a huge start for us, and we can’t believe that it’s March already and we’ve been slow to post up details about some of the cool stuff we’ve been up to.

We’re stoked to have been involved in an advertising campaign run by VISA China over the summer to encourage Chinese tourists to come and experience Melbourne (using their VISA card, of course!) and discover the city’s various attractions, both ‘iconic’ and ‘off the beaten path’.

Read on for details about the shoot and our experience using the Fujifilm X-T1, or head over to our folio gallery to see more images.

St Paul's Cathedral, Melbourne advertising photography by Image Workshop

From the grand interior of St Paul’s Cathedral…

Butterfly Club, Melbourne Advertising photography by Image Workshop

…to the intimate and eclectic surrounds of The Butterfly Club.

The Visa Campaign

The campaign was run by BBDO Asia and Godmother Productions in Shanghai, and also coordinated and produced with Hub Productions here in Melbourne.

The idea for the campaign is pretty cool. VISA set up a rental booth of bikes in Melbourne’s Fed Square exclusively for Chinese VISA cardholders. The bikes come with a GPS unit that lets you search for different things – Art, Coffee, Food, Bars, Shopping, etc. – and recommended places in Melbourne that also accept VISA show up, with photos and brief information describing each location. Select a location and the GPS shows you the way as you meander there on the bike – it’s like having a local recommend their favourite out-of-the-way spot and then taking you there.

The campaign had 3 digital components to it:

  1. Viral video featuring a popular Chinese blogger experiencing Melbourne by VISA bike (jump to the bottom of the post to see the video).
  2. Online advertising and website in China that simulates the in-person cycling and discovery experience using a mix of POV video clips and stills photography showcasing the unique Melbourne destinations. Choose destinations to visit and plan your perfect Melbourne holiday.
  3. GPS units mounted on bikes in Melbourne, which allow you to browse photos and descriptions of potential destinations and get cycling directions.

Image Workshop was commissioned to create the stills photography showcasing all the retailers and attractions featured on the website and GPS units. Our mission was to showcase a selected list of Melbournian destinations and experiences waiting to be discovered, like a locals or insiders’ guide to the best spots in the city.

(Left) Getting client approval – working fast and light means no tethering on this shoot.
(Right) Talking image strategy and filming POV video clips.

The schedule was hectic but we had a blast working with a great team put together from representatives from both China and Melbourne. Showcasing Melbourne is one of our favourite things to do – we love this city and revealing its fun pockets and hidden secrets to newcomers, so it was a really fulfulling campaign for us to to be part of.

Greville Records, Image Workshop - Melbourne advertising photographer

Hang out with Melburnian vinyl enthusiasts at Greville Records

Cocktails at Loop Rooftop Bar, Melbourne advertising photography by Image Workshop Photography.

Cool off with a refreshing cocktail at the Loop Rooftop bar

Fifth Province pub, Melbourne advertising photography by Image Workshop

5-star dining at an Irish Pub? You’ll find it at the Fifth Province in St Kilda

Mamor Chocolates, Melbourne advertising photography by Image Workshop

Fancy an indulgent chocolate experience? Head for Mamor Chocolates in Collingwood.

Mamor Chocolates, Melbourne advertising photography by Image Workshop

Working with the Fujifilm X-T1

Despite being a huge client, there were still budget and time constraints in play. The timeline to the campaign launch in China was incredibly tight, and as a result the schedule was very aggressive; we needed to shoot 34 locations in 3 tightly planned days.

We knew that we’d have to use minimal lighting and work in a way that would allow us to be highly mobile and efficient in each venue. This led to a key decision to leave our usual Canon gear at home and instead go out armed with our Fujifilm X-T1 kit. The X-T1 is smaller, lighter and more nimble, allowing us to work fast and efficiently whilst also having excellent low light performance – pretty critical for shooting quirky details inside Melbourne many dark hidden-away bars!

We’ve been fans of Fujifilm’s X-series cameras ever since we got our hands on the original X100. Since then we moved up to the X-T1 and are very impressed with it as a smaller form factor camera that can still hold its own against DSLRs. We’ve been using the X-T1 for a lot of personal work and travel imagery, but this was the first major test for the little guy on a commercial shoot.

Our Fujifilm X-T1 kit for the shoot:

  • Two X-T1 bodies
  • XF10-24mm f4
  • XF14mm f2.8
  • XF23mm f1.4
  • XF56mm f1.2

Image quality straight out of the Fujifilm X-T1 is excellent, and the LCD screen is superb and makes it lightning fast to check focus. The ability to review images by looking through the electronic view finder rather than at the back of the camera (we call it ‘ViewMaster mode’) is also fantastic, especially when you’re in a bright environment – although doing this often gives the impression that you’re taking a photo of your feet :)

Perhaps the most noticeable difference to shooting with a DSLR is the light weight of the X-T1 kit. This was especially noticeable when you multiply the carry weight across three 10hr+ shoot days when you’ve got a camera in your hand near-constantly.

Overall the Fujifilm XT-1 was a hands-down winner for this project, and we’re keen to use it to shoot more client gigs.

Art at the NGV, Image Workshop - Melbourne advertising photographer

From High Art at the NGV

Hosier Lane, Melbourne advertising photography by Image Workshop

To Melbourne’s iconic street art scene.

Modern Times, Melbourne advertising photography by Image Workshop

Shopping for colourful objects at Modern Times

Suga candy, Melbourne advertising photography by Image Workshop

Indulging your sweet tooth with colourful candy by Suga

The Viral Video

The video production team had similar constraints with a tight schedule, small crew and the need to use minimal lighting. Matt Scott has posted up an interesting write up about their experience with this shoot and shooting with the SONY A7S to tackle the low light requirements.

Client: VISA
Agency: BBDO China
Director: Ben McNamara
DOP/Colorist: Matthew Scott
Production Company
: HUB Productions (Melbourne) & Godmother Productions (China)
Producers: Simon Hoy (Melbourne) & Teresa Leong (China)

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