ROB DURSTON PHOTOGRAPHY

Posts Tagged ‘van’

Rental car review (hire car) Ford Tourneo

Its been almost five years since my last rental car review, not that I haven’t rented any over the past years. Anytime I have a big shoot or need to travel longer distances, I prefer to put the miles on someone else’s vehicle. Since most of my rentals are for longer distances, I like to rent diesels when available. They are usually hard to come by and I only happen upon them by chance. The difference in fuel economy can be almost double depending on the car.
For a recent project I was back on the phone to my local hire spot. I didn’t want to spend much as the budget was barely covering the mileage. Due to some unforeseen circumstances I also had an extra body coming along for the ride (a model), so I really couldn’t just opt for an economy tiny car. I called up my rental guy and booked a “small” car. Not thinking much more about it, I started running through the project in my mind about what gear was going to be needed on location and it quickly escalated into much more than a small hatchback might handle.
It was right about then, when the phone rang. The car hire place couldn’t supply a small hatchback but they could offer me a diesel Ford Tourneo van instead. . . hmmmm, let me think for a minute, “uh ya”.

2015 Ford Tourneo

2015 Ford Tourneo

2015 Ford Tourneo

2015 Ford Tourneo

The Tourneo is an eight seat van based on the Ford Transit; basically a Transit converted to a people carrier, with insulation, proper seating, controls, ventilation and windows. This particular van was a 2015 model and with relatively low miles on it. The big bonus for us, travelling in it with all the added cargo space besides what the seats we were going to occupy. I was able to pack away my cameras, back ups, laptop system, tripod and any extras without any trouble.

HUGE rear tailgate, can be used as a picnic shelter

HUGE rear tailgate, can be used as a picnic shelter

Lots of cargo space

Lots of cargo space

Getting up and into the driver’s seat is a bit of a jump if you are used to driving around in cars all the time but once you’re up there. . . . you’re really up there. The added height of the driver’s position is a great thing; allowing you to look further down the road and over smaller cars. The steering wheel feels more car like than the Transits I have driven; it gives it a much more automotive feel to the drive than the UPS/FedEx feel of a regular Transit. Once in the seat, you have the view of most modern Fords, with an easy to understand layout of gauges, vents, cubby holes and entertainment system.

Clear instruments & full info displays

Clear instruments & full info displays

Center pod cubby hole, holder for a phone

Center pod cubby hole, holder for a phone

Overhead cubby hole

Overhead cubby hole

Driver's side cup holder & cubby hole

Driver’s side cup holder & cubby hole

For the passengers we have two rows of three seats each behind the driver’s seat to choose from; both with independent ventilation controls. So many seats to pick from you could have five people in here and still be able to stretch out in one of the rows for a nap. I’m guessing this Tourneo had its seats covered in extra durable cloth for the rental market. Its still comfortable but I would probably take the next upgrade from this option.
With all this decent comfortable seating, the Tourneo is a great long distance people/production mover.

Pick a row of seats and get comfortable

Pick a row of seats and get comfortable

Now with the mileage we cover on projects, the stereo is probably the most important piece of kit outside of comfortable seats. The entertainment system is reasonably laid out and easy enough to understand as long as you follow along with the digital display above it. It took me a while to find the USB plug in, its located in a secret cubby holes above the steering wheel. Inside, there is also a 3.5mm jack and a 12v cigarette socket. I did have a few problems every now and then, getting back into the van and plugging in my iPhone to the USB only to have nothing coming out of the stereo. I know the cable is good(the phone showed the charging symbol) so it was then a matter of switching over to Bluetooth. The phone system works great in the Toureo and I was surprised at how seamless taking and dialing calls was.

3.5mm, 12v and USB sockets are hidden above the steering wheel

3.5mm, 12v and USB sockets are hidden above the steering wheel

Entertainment system uses the Ford SYNC system

Entertainment system uses the Ford SYNC system

The front seats were good and decently firm; I could easily drive for a few hours without numb bum however a little bit more of side bolstering would be nice, even if it was a bench seat, at least for the driver. The door pull is not very well designed in my mind since you have to twist your wrist to grab it and pull. That might just take a while to get used to but it seemed every time I hopped in the seat and went to pull the door behind me, it always felt awkward.

Telltale evidence of a roadtrip and a poorly designed door handle

Telltale evidence of a roadtrip and a poorly designed door handle

Room up front for 3 messy adults

Room up front for 3 messy adults

As well as the large accessible front doors and the MASSIVE rear tail gate, the van also comes with a sliding side door on each side of the vehicle. They open wide, wide enough to slide a large Plume 140 soft box in without dissembling it.

Doors wide enough to drive a blimp through, okay maybe a Jacobson Blimp

Doors wide enough to drive a blimp through, okay maybe a Jacobson Blimp

And lets talk about that rear tail gate, did I mention it was MASSIVE? Be prepared to hoist on it the first few times you open and close it; this is not your mother’s Mercedes’ trunk lid here. Once open you can easily stand under it for shelter in inclement weather, which we might have a little bit here in Northern Ireland.

HUGE rear tailgate, can be used as a picnic shelter

HUGE rear tailgate, this one is available on AirBnB

In conclusion, I’m a fan, there are some things I would change for sure but overall its a great production van.
Pros –
Diesel mileage
Large cabin/storage/seating
Great visibility
Entertainment system

Cons –
Large overall size
Door handles
Inconsistent USB connection


Anatomy of a Campaign – Sangers

Its coming up to a year since I shot this little campaign for Sangers Pharmaceutical. It was definitely a fun one. Chris from Fire IMC (RIP) approached me with an idea of different locations around Northern Ireland, showing the diverse landscape with one of their vans driving through it. He had a pretty good idea of which regions he wanted to use but that was pretty much it. He left it up to me to find exact locations and scenarios for the vans. Normally for a automotive shoot you would have lighting set up; HMI’s or in the least some big strobes but because of the budget and size of this production it was decided all of that would be staying at the studio and it would be just man and camera scenario, well with an assistant or two to spot for me so I didn’t get run over by any random traffic.

Derry/Londonderry – Of course we had to have the wall in the shot, to place it as being in Derry. We could have just had it running parallel to the wall but it would have been just too two dimensional. I would have liked a real “in yo face” image of the van driving straight for the camera, through one of the wall arches but we wouldn’t have been able to see the branding on the van and more so, I’m sure the PSNI wouldn’t have approved of me lying on the road, directing a 2 tonne van towards me with traffic and pedestrians everywhere. We ended up after scouting around on a reccy day, deciding on the Ferryquay Gate for the van to be coming through. On the day of the shoot everything worked out as planned; the van was backlit, we had a blue sky and traffic was low, making for a great contrasty image, really showing off the van and the branding on the side.

Sangers Pharmaceutical in Derry

Sangers Pharmaceutical in Derry

Glenshaine Pass – This proved to be one of the more difficult locations just for the sheer madness of the wind howling up and down the pass on any given day. It is also not any easy location to make the landscape shine as well as have your product in the foreground, attempting to be the hero. The beautiful rolling hills and valleys in the Glenshaine are all just a little too far from the road itself but we found a few locations that lent to a tidy compromise. As well as the two or three stationary set ups we also ventured to try some moving shots, car to van. I can’t say they were really that successful with all the traffic flowing through the pass, as it made it difficult to get a clear shot at any one time. It did prove humourous though when I spied off in the far right of the viewfinder a PSNI police car zooming up the pass towards our Audi A6 chase car; I’m guessing he didn’t spot me, hanging out the window with my upper body contorting out and over the white lines of the road and into the other lane. The image they ended up using was one of our static 15 foot ladder shots with the van passing in front of the rolling hills.

Sangers Pharmaceutical in the Glenshaine Pass

Sangers Pharmaceutical in the Glenshaine Pass

Fermanagh – The brief for this one was simple, show some elevation, the van and some water. All said and good but its near impossible, at least I never found a location on a road where you could place a van and still see the lakes in the background. Oops, I take that back, I did find one location like that, on a bend in front a farm, unfortunately though the client didn’t like it. I spent two days scouting around the area when I finally came up with a suitable option. Looking up and over a small dock area, towards a bridge where we could have the van drive over. At this point though we were starting to run out of time and acceptable days to shoot on. Taking what we could get weather wise, after the long drive out to the location we set up the camera, moved a few boats around and radioed over to the driver to make a dozen passes over the bridge, changing his lane positions slightly to give us a better view of the side of the truck.

Sangers Pharmaceutical in Fermanagh

Sangers Pharmaceutical in Fermanagh

Belleek – Here we are in beautiful Belleek. We end up with a beautiful sunny day for this one. Good too, since I didn’t get a chance to scout this location because we were picking it up as an option to one we had shot in the Mournes that didn’t really scream “Sangers” for the client. Since we’re in Belleek what do we have for landscapes or recognizable landmarks? Why the huge Belleek Pottery building of course. I tried a few different angles on the building, placing the van around its outer perimeter. The most picturesque was the van coming over the bridge. Again we waited for the sun to backlight the van slightly and had the driver make a couple of dozen runs due to the heavy spring traffic coming through.
I wonder if anyone can tell me geographically what’s wrong with this picture?

Sangers Pharmaceutical in Belleek

Sangers Pharmaceutical in Belleek

Belfast – Belfast proved to be the quickest and one of the most fun locations to shoot. Hanging out of the window of the A6, zipping around Belfast City Hall, first thing on a Sunday morning, swapping lanes and dodging early morning pedestrians we finished before the major church going traffic appeared. We didn’t really have a whole lot of options here. A static shot, even from the 15 foot ladder didn’t do anything for the van or the building. It needed some movement. Chris manned the driver’s seat and we sliced through those empty Belfast downtown streets, chasing down our van driver in a unrehearsed game of cat and mouse. No options when it came to lighting, sun position etc, so we just went for it, knowing that any changes or extras we wanted would have to be added in post. We were lucky that for the most part, the several selects were all spot on and the final pick just needed the sky brought down slightly.

Sangers Pharmaceutical in Belfast

Sangers Pharmaceutical in Belfast

So there you have it, another short and sweet campaign brought to you by Rob Durston Photography, thanks for reading.