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Video from Iceland

To conclude the series of posts about this summer’s expedition to Iceland, here is a short video I made from the journey.
Video production and editing is the next skill I need to learn, so please do give me any feedback (positive or negative). I’d really appreciate it.

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  1. I watched this a few days ago and enjoyed it very much. Nice job!

    From my point of view as someone also going through the process of learning what makes an expedition/adventure film engaging and successful, it’s clear that you’ve got it nailed in the ‘eye-candy’ department. No question there – a lot of the shots are visually stunning.

    I’m no expert so feel free to ignore me, but I think that if there’s one area in which this falls down, it’s in the emotional engagement factor. Regardless of the scenery and the action and the underlying message, people like people. All the best stories are human ones. It’s difficult to tell a human story with video because so much of it relies on timing, objectivity and flexibility (not to mention battery/storage card capacity), and these are in short supply when you’re undertaking an expedition yourself. Essentially, I will care much more about you capsizing if I feel like I’ve formed an emotional bond with you in the first place. This doesn’t come from depersonalised voiceovers or amazing shots of trekking through epic landscapes, but from watching you go through moments of challenge, frailty, humour etc. and most importantly honesty, developing along the axis of time. If I connect with the characters on this level then their other messages’ impacts will be a million times stronger.

    In practical terms when shooting, this means doing a lot more ’emotional outpouring’ into the camera during situations which you think might constitute sub-stories within the overall story of your trip. If you’re in a pair, you can shoot each other’s reactions – if alone, always swing the camera round. Paint pictures of your inner experience as well as what’s going on around you. Relate it to wider themes and to what’s come before – concrete and abstract. Talk about your hopes and fears for the future of the trip at any given time. When editing, ‘actuality’ lke this – the viewer being part of the moment – work better than retrospectives on events in the form of video-diaries, although that can be useful too when editing the ending section of a story.

    Remember that the mundane to you is often of great interest to the viewer. Trying to warm up numb toes or keep the condensation off your sleeping bag might be a daily chore for you, but we at home can really sympathise with you on this from the comfort of our armchairs and computer desks. It adds a great deal of realism.

    A small final point – with the advent of HDSLRs like the 5D MkII it’s all the rage to use fast lenses and shallow depth-of-field all the time. I feel that this needs to be reigned in a bit – shallow DOF is an artistic effect and it’s not always appropriate. I would say that some of the shots would be better without it – on an expedition like this, the background is a crucial part of the experience and therefore of the image you create of it, so no need to always blur it out!

    You might well have shot all of this stuff and then chosen to edit it differently in the end! I hope I’m not being over-critical, but you did ask 🙂 it’s a great video – just wanted to share a few thoughts.

  2. Sweet short mate, looks beautiful. Can’t wait to see the summer exped…

  3. Some very nice footage there….perhaps being a nature documentary film maker, either for yourself or an organisation like the BBC, could be another solution to sustaining an interesting, adventurous life and still paying the bills. Other than the public speaking, book-writing path which no doubt can be a struggle sometimes…

  4. The only complaint I have is that your lip syncing could use some work. The rest is pretty dang good.

  5. Very good. I thought the opening bit was very good in particular. I also enjoyed your photos and journal of this one a while back.

  6. I came across your site quite recently and just love this video! Definitely want to go there…then again…there’s so many places to visit 🙂



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