As the co-founder of the Adventure Travel Film Festival and the man behind the hit TV series Mondo Enduro and Terra Circa, Austin Vince probably knows more about adventure travel filmmaking than any other person on the planet. He has watched literally hundreds of independent and ‘amateur’ adventure travel films while curating the line up for his festival and over the years he began to notice patterns in both the good and the bad submissions that came his way. He gradually realised that the art of the good travel documentary is more a ‘skill’ than a God-given ‘art’ so he is coming to the Armchair Adventure Bootcamp to reveal exactly what it takes to make a corker of a film about your trip!
In fact, Austin claims that “any cogent human, with humble gear sourced from Wal-Mart, can make a broadcast quality documentary”. All you need is his top ten tips (actually there’s about thirty seven – which he will reveal in his masterclass) and you are rollin’ gold! To give you a taster of what you can expect in Austin’s virtual Masterclass, here’s 10 quick tips straight from the man himself:
1) Keep the camera still. This includes pissing about with the zoom facility. This single fact gets you 50% to being like a pro.
2) Have a story, however simple and include yourself in it. Add 10% pro to cart…
3) When you get an interesting place, person, experience etc, shoot a proper sequence. Sequences are the meat of your finished show. This means say, twenty separate shots at a given location that tell the story visually. If the story isn’t interesting then put the camera away until you ARE somewhere memorable. This moves you 22% closer to pro.
4) In the edit, back home, after the trip, intersperse your sequences with transitional shots that get you from one location to the next. Drive bys, maps, roadsigns, day counters and local colour all make great transitional shots. Cover this with commentary and music to suit your taste. This augments you by 7%.
5) Keep production values high. Being an amateur doesn’t mean that focus, exposure and sound issues are ‘beyond’ you. This is the ‘grammar’ of television and amazingly, every modern human subconsciously acknowledges it as a result of zillions of hours of watching TV. It’s what they are used to, you HAVE to serve it up this way, the public are not capable of digesting your blurred, wobbly cam, wind-noise-drenched masterpiece. Collect 12% pro credits.
You Must NOT:
1) Move the camera around
2) Ever give a running commentary from behind the camera unless you are Ben Dover.
3) Confuse the fact that your trip was amazing with the idea that the film you are making will also be amazing. These two ideas are totally unconnected. Each needs its own discipline and efforts.
4) Confuse fancy camera HD gear with the solid principles outlined above. Notice how NONE of the principles are related to what camera you own.
5) Underestimate how much time and effort it takes to make even a 20 min watchable film. However, be encouraged, like motorcycling around the world, anyone can do it, you just have to try…
So that’s it! We hope it’s given you a little taster in to what you need to do when planning your own adventure travel films. In general though, it’s just the tip of the iceberg and there is so so much more to learn. Austin will be delivering his live two hour Masterclass in Adventure Travel Film Making at the Armchair Adventure Bootcamp (26th-28th February) so if you want to learn more and ask your questions, that’s where to go! Early bird tickets now available for just £35. Learn more here.
What is bootcamp?
The Armchair Adventure Festival Bootcamp is here to help you go on the adventure of your dreams. With workshops on everything from funding to photography, it’s a crash course on how to make that dream trip a reality, and how to capture the memories when you go.
Hosted by The Sidecar Guys and with masterclasses, workshops and presentations from leading adventurers like Austin Vince, Simon and Lisa Thomas, Sam Manicom and Steph Jeavons this is a ‘must do‘ for anyone who is in to adventure travel. Find out more here.