So we went on an adventure. After 6 days we came back, with lots of footage, pictures and pain in our feet and legs… I don’t have the right answers for this thing, there is no right way to do it, only your own way, but in steps i can tell how we did it. Here you can see the film (about 5 minutes) and after this you can read how we managed to do this in just 30 hours.
Step 1 – GEAR
First of all the gear you have is just 50%. Bring what you think is good for your purpose. We wanted to film, but also make pictures for the blog you are reading now. We brought 3 video/picture devices, I brought 1 and Henk 2.
Henk took a Gopro Hero 3 (good for quick pictures and film), a Nikon D3200 with an AF-S DX 18-55mm VR II lens and a long tripod. I brought my canon 60D with an EF-S 18-200m f/3.5-5.6 lens (good for beautiful scenery video’s). Next to this i took my mini tripod, which is easy to set up and very light weight. I didn’t bring my big tripod, as Henk took his. So if you go with a partner in crime, make sure that you don’t take double stuff, to limit the weight! A microphone could be handy too, because the mics in most camera’s sounds like a tin can. There are some pretty good, cheap and light weight mics available. I would definitely take one the next time! Before you leave, check the battery, check the camera’s and if your tripod is good. Imagine standing at the beginning of a 3 week adventure, and you figure out the battery is still in the charger at home…
Step 2 – WHAT DO YOU WANT TO TELL?
In the end it’s not so important that you bring the top notch stuff. Nice images look nice, but the main thing is the point of your story. What do you want to tell the people, and how do you want to show it? In most cases of adventure telling the gear is inferior to the story you want to tell. There are good travel movies made with just a gopro, or even a 8 year old handycam.
For us it was a bit of searching to what we wanted to show everybody with our adventure. We knew directly we wanted to give people something, not just make a “look at us” video. The best would be to really know what you want to say with your film, writing or pictures about the trip, but sometimes this changes or you just dont know what you want to tell. That was our case. We knew we wanted to do it, but why…? This we figured out at the next step.
Step 3 – PRE EDIT WORK
We came home after 6 days, and a couple of days later we both went on vacation with our girlfriends for 3 weeks… Way too long to exactly remeber what we thought at crucial moments, what we filmed and how we felt during the trip. We found the perfect solution to this problem. Take a beer, look at the footage that you shot and take your diary. (Extra tip! It’s always good to have a diary during adventures.) Just a whole evening of talking, making jokes and digging up memories and drinking a little. But we made sure we took our mind off it once in a while. It helps your mind to relax and then the ideas flow in! Late in the night, while drinking a beer and talking about random stuff it came to us: Aren’t we just 2 normal guys in search of an adventure? Yes we are. So now it’s time for the next step.
Step 4 – EDITING
We woke up, had a champions breakfast and… No clue where to start… Writing your main goal on a piece of paper and stick it to the screen helps you to find the way when your are lost. Also writing a small set-up of how you want your movie to be works pretty good. It can just be a couple of sentences, but it keeps your focus on the main storyline. This is what we did. Because of this, we forgot ideas that were not so good, and the really good ideas we wrote down to use.
I also think its a good idea to use good editing software. It takes a little time to learn how to work with good editing software, but its worth the time. Youtube is full with tutorials, so that should be no problem. But even when you know the software from inside out, it can take a long time… We started at 3 in the afternoon and finished at 4 in the night. The next day we started at 4 in the afternoon and finished at 6 or 7 in the night. So be prepared for some late night work!
We worked in the “pressure cooker” way. In this way you take a certain amount of time to finish your product. We just had 2 days to finish our movie. This is 48 hours. Because of this time limit we had to make decisions quickly, and we couldn’t stand still at problems for so long. Also because of the time, some things couldn’t be done. But this is just how it is, and in the end we are happy with what we did in these 30 hours. And our square eyes were happy the 2 days were over…
EXTRA TIP: KILL YOUR DARLINGS! Some things you really would like to show, it made a real change in the trip or it was a personal turning point or… But if it doesn’t fit in your storyline, just leave it out. To just quote some famous words: “It is like sculpting an elephant: you chip away everything that doesn’t look like an elephant and what’s left is an elephant.” I guess its the same with editing. Take everything away that doesn’t tell your story. What is left, is the story.
Step 5 – ONLINE WARFARE
For us the goal was to reach as many people as possible with our film. We wanted to inspire people to go on an adventure and show that we are just ordinary guys, no athletes or supermen; we could be your neighbors, including loud music till 6 in the morning! To reach lots of people, we put it in lots of groups that are: or movie related or adventure related. Then you directly find the people who are interested in it. Use groups, ask friends to share and after 2 weeks post it some more. Send it to people you think they would like to see it. Are you interested in survival, did you make a survival video and is Bear Grills your idol? Send it to him.
Some time ago I made a short documentary about my first long distance biking trip. When I sent it to Tom Allen (a top adventurer/cyclist) he asked me to write a guest post on his blog. Because of this my film still gets hits a half year after it was put on. And next to it I’m pretty proud to write on his blog. You never know what will happen when you put your piece of artwork in the world and show it to the ones you think would be interested in it.
Step 6 – ENJOY
And now for the nicest bit: sit down and show your mates. Ask for criticism, ask what they liked, and listen good what they say. This is somebody who has no clue about the story you wanted to tell. If they get it, it means you did good! If not, you still did good, you made a personal film! When i heard people say: “Oooh, i would like to do that too” I knew we did good. We wanted to inspire people to just go. And if there is just 1 person in the whole world who really goes i’m happy. If there is just 1 person in the whole world who thinks about going i’m happy. If that person is me, the maker of the film, than i’m happy. It seems that i found something I like, and that is the most important about making and adventure film.