How To Make A Travel Film: Road Trip To Courmayeur
Inspired by groups such as Camp 4 Collective, who make great creative content about their adventures, I have been trying to add videography to my travel writing. So when I was offered the chance to drive Ford's new Kuga to Courmayeur for City AM, I asked if I could bring along videographer Jack Slater.
Given that this was the first time that Jack and I had worked together, we decided to keep it simple. Fortunately, a road-trip is a story in itself, so we didn't have to work too much on that front; the key would be to go beyond: "I went here, then I went there." The City AM article was going to be about the benefits of driving over flying to ski resorts: a simple story-telling devices of "compare and contrast." So we took an objective approach to our trip, always asking questions as we went along, ensuring we captured video of me, as guide, stating the obvious and explaining my thoughts.
Beyond the essential components and Pieces To Camera, which I had already identified for the written article, I left Jack to his own devices and creative skill to capture the footage to illustrate them. I'll let you make up your own mind about the result, but I'm delighted with it. Jack's done a great job of capturing and editing a fun trip, with good pacing, interesting cinematography, and variety of content.
As a learning experience, it taught me that the job of a P/D is to keep focused on the result and tell the cameraman what I needed; beyond that I left composition and content to Jack. Central to this was briefing him well and remembering what the story is about - like most travel, the journey is a story-telling vehicle for a personal journey, however light that journey is. In this case, it was simply the realisation that driving is better than flying to ski resorts, so I just had to check that Jack had got each of the components that would be in my article. I deferred to his experience and asked for his input - Jack has more experience as a cameraman and editor than me, so I would ask him for his opinion on narrative flow and sequencing. Luckily, he's also a true professional and a work-horse, so he shot several options for each sequence, giving him flexibility in the edit.
Overall, a great fun trip, with a nice piece of video content at the end of it. Let me know what you think!