WHAT TO SHOOT, WHAT TO SHOOT....
Traveling is always daunting, maybe you don't know the language, maybe you're afraid of getting lost, maybe you've seen "Taken" one too many times. But at the end of the day the stories that come out of traveling make it all worth it. You come home and get bombarded by people asking you how the trip was, almost salivating waiting for the details.
Being a photographer is an added layer of stress when traveling. The people who come up to you and ask for the details don't trust your verbal depiction of the trip anymore, they know what you can do and expect some visuals to back up your stories. A picture can tell a story so you don't have to, but there's still an element missing from it.
This is where video comes in. Being a filmmaker and traveling adds ANOTHER layer of expectations for when you return. With video you can add movement to those pictures, music to drive how people are feeling, and most importantly you can tell a story far greater than one picture can.
WHAT AM I GOING TO DO DIFFERENTLY?
My goal when I was preparing to go to Lebanon this time around was to try to capture the culture, the beauty, and show outsiders what Lebanon looks like from the inside. I said I was going to do this last year but the videos I made all fell flat. Sure they were pretty, but they weren't dynamic enough. Everything was static, the vantage points were all from my point of view, it just didn't translate the way I wanted it to.
WHAT MAKES YOU THINK YOU CAN DO BETTER?
Now I know that blaming one's creative shortcomings on their gear is a big faux pas, but hear me out. My gear last year was completely different. I was using a 5 pound monster camera with a big tripod and a 30 lb backpack on my back. It definitely was slowing me down and limiting what I could do.
Over the past year I've upgraded my camera to a lightweight mirrorless camera and a more On-The-Go setup for shooting. I also added a drone to my arsenal which I think was extremely necessary in communicating the beautiful terrain of Lebanon to viewers. Let's run through the benefits of my new lightweight setup.
There's nothing threatening about a white dude with a small camera around his neck in a scenic area. What IS threatening is when that small white dude was carrying what looked like a bazooka on his shoulder throughout the cities. You'd be surprised at how much trouble I was getting in when I had my big cinema setup. I was getting chewed out by locals demanding I erase footage of them, soldiers were stopping and questioning me, and when people were on camera they were stiff and completely aware of my presence. Once I got rid of that, the clips on my camera all exploded with authenticity and natural expressions.
Next up is my physical limits. I won't lie I'm in pretty decent shape, but if you throw 50 lbs on my back and neck, I'll be panting at every corner. Once I lightened the load I was excited and ready to move around and get way more shots than I was previously able to.
Lastly and most importantly is camera movement. Before everything was stuck on my tripod and the most interesting thing I could bring out of it was some pans and tilts. But after shedding that weight I was running around with dogs, chasing my little cousins, and bouncing all over the place getting those sweet sweet Cinematics. Moving the camera in real life allowed me to draw from the movement in my transitions and make a more epic and cohesive story that couldn't have existed on a tripod.
WHAT TOOK YOU SO LONG?
If you read my first blog post (You haven't? awkward....) you'd know that I returned from my trip to Lebanon a couple months ago. Now I've been working since I got back so that took some time but the biggest thing was going through all the footage. In total I had around 5 1/2 hours of footage from Lebanon, and I knew I wanted the video to be less than 5 minutes. So choosing my moments was probably the part that took the longest but I'm glad I took my time with it.
WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR? SHOW THE VIDEO!
Alright alright alright here it is, I hope you like it!