Within the stable area, in a calm spot on the side of two warm-up arenas, the FEI media team has built a studio with a green screen, lights and all necessary equipment to capture the essence of each participant. It takes a big green screen to accommodate a horse in full and the athletes arrive in full competition gear for their photo, meaning tails with all the ornaments from previous achievements.
The photographers Mehmet Akdag and Jonas Franke has several people to help out. It is not always an easy task to make horses “smile” for the camera – meaning prick their ears forward and get that attentive look on their face. One assistant plays a sound, a horse neighing is the most popular one giving the best result. The athletes are much easier, very aware of how important it is to look their best – after all, this photo will be shown for millions of viewers while streamed and broadcasted for the world.
All day and for several days the riders and their horse queue up as well as officials, chef d’Equipe’ and team veterinaries. Outside the temporary photo studio, the horses can have a snack of grass or just check-out teammates or the competition.
The end result is photos, cleared of background and surroundings, used on the big screens in the arena presenting each rider and horse combination. The broadcast production teams also use the photos in different ways.