In 2012 video was unchartered territory for Smith Journal. After establishing a strong identity in print, our aim for a video series was to deliver a visual style to match the Smith brand, and a storytelling vehicle to extend the appeal of the print magazine online.
Working with the Smith Journal editorial team we identified stories with distinct visual strengths and worked independently to bring them to life for the brands website and social channels.
Polarising food blogger Rohan Anderson was the perfect choice for the series initial release. His dogged conservationist philosophy and pioneering way of life a perfect chance to explore the masculine and intelligent sides to Smith Journal’s contribution.
Over three weekends we travelled up to Ballarat to spend time with Rohan and document the build of his smokehouse. In the process we got to know the person behind the signature 'trucker hat', to gain an understanding of what motivated his move from desk jockey to regional pioneer.
This story was soon followed up by a similarly emotive piece with Sydney boat builder Ray Gascoigne.
Having spent a lifetime at sea as a shipwright and sea merchant, Ray's memories and love for ships are made physical through miniatures he constructs with extreme care within old whisky bottles.
In shooting this film we found Ray to be a humble, inspiring and accommodating subject. A lover of good rum, and great conversation. One of the treats of the job is having a chance to understand another person's life, and bring that story to the world.
The response when this series was released was both immediate and overwhelming. Both videos quickly became Vimeo staff picks and blitzed the blogosphere, featuring on leading influencer sites such as It’s Nice That, Cabin Porn, The 189, and Boing Boing, with Bottled History selected for the New York Maritime Film Festival.
The videos brought in an instant following for Smith Journal, helping to increase their awareness prior to international publication. The comments came in thick and fast, bringing new attention to Rohan's emerging character and generating over 500,000 views and a new band of followers within the influential Vimeo community.
As a company the project brings us a lot of pride and fond memories. As one of our first projects, it gave us a taste of what we wanted to do with Commoner, and set the bar for our future promise to ourselves and our clients.