posted by Glenn Barton

Capturing a country fair

Sparkly Light was approached by Dominic Reid (Director of the Holkham Country Fair), to create an engaging promotional film that would appear on their website. The brief was to capture the 'magic' of the Fair, and to create an engaging film that would help Dominic promote a key development of the event - a development that would set it apart from previous years. This is that from 2013 the Fair is to become an annual event - no longer bi-annual.

So how to set about capturing the atmosphere and wonder of Holkham Country Fair (HCF)? How do we show it as being different from other fairs? We took the approach that this fair was no ordinary country fair. It was Norfolk through and through - right down to it's amazingly evocative location. Set amid the grounds of Holkham Hall, we instantly realised we had stumbled upon a gem.

The HCF experience begins as soon as you turn into the Holkham Hall estate. You are met with a mile long driveway, where you head towards a giant obelisk in the distance. Not until then do you see the Hall, it's grounds, and the Fair laid out in front of you. Without even reaching the Fair Sparkly Light knew straight away that location was as much a character of the film, and selling point of the HCF experience, as any of the stalls. This was something we had to reflect in the film.

And then as you delve in amongst the stalls, the have-a-go activities, and the grand ring, it becomes obvious that as a visitor you are surrounded by - and immersed in - traditional Norfolk country fayre on one side, and modern country activities on the other. A true eclectic mix. Again, an important element to reflect in the film.Sparkly Light had organised to 'interview' 4 of the exhibitors. We had specifically asked for characters - those people who you would instantly want to listen to, and had useful things to say, and a wealth of experience of attending the HCF. It was important on one level that this film would appeal to potential exhibitors of the future, so they had to be able to tell us why the HCF was important to them as a business, and why it compared so favourably to so many other fairs across the UK.

But Sparkly Light also realised the video had to appeal to customers too. So we set about vox popping members of the public while we were there. Some of those comments are included in the film and are extremely useful in conveying just how good a time visitors have at the fair.

But back to location. We were invited to take an early morning stroll outside of the grounds and came across some of the most beautiful and panoramic beach scenes this country has to offer. Sparkly Light realised that the geographical position of Holkham on the Norfolk coast was a selling point, and added a beautiful introduction to the film.

One of the major decisions that was taken was actually in the post-production process. It is normal, and often assumed to be the correct method to add music to promotional films. Music adds character, and can bring a film to life. However, when we had the film cut, it soon became obvious that the natural audio bed of the HCF was sufficient, and actually more powerful than any music track. The peaceful, tranquil hubbub of the HCF added yet another layer of character to the film that aided in selling HCF to potential visitors and exhibitors.

Sparkly Light are delighted with the end result, and below are a couple of quotes from a very happy client:

Dominic Reid: "I think it is a terrific film...It absolutely catches the mood and atmosphere of Holkham Country Fair, and it is a great asset going forward."Suzanne Reid: "Sheer genius. Makes me want to go again. Thanks for coming up and communicating so brilliantly what it's all about."