So we had the amazing opportunity to make over 100 films with WOW Airlines over the summer, which taught us so much about how to produce content on the road. Lotsa people asked us what the experience was like winning such a contest, and how we were able to make so many films in such a compact time.
The simple answer is not sleeping.
There was actually a lot to it, so we made a quick vid to answer some of the questions we got and what the day in/out was liker. We hope it helps those just starting out maybe not make the same mistakes we made (you definitely don’t need slider on the road, trust)
I also made a separate video on our blog called “Travel Like a Travel Writer” that goes more into detail about the type of gear and a few tips/hacks I use when going on location.
Here is a little breakdown of what we discovered:
Step One: Research
Finding the places you want to visit will lay the foundation to a solid production. For us, it was super important to find experiences that weren’t vlogged about to death online and were fresh and unique. We would search blogs like Travel&Leisure, Thrillist, Time Out, and even Atlas Obscura to find out what each city had to offer and what people were interested in, but our real secret weapon was going on social media and reaching out directly to our audience who were all locals. Asking locals where they go on a wednesday night for a drink, or where they think the best street food is always gave us places that were authentic and mostly only known by locals. It also let us meet new people and connect really to the heart of these cities.
Step Two: Plan your attack.
Now that we had a list of places we wanted to go we had to figure out how to do them all in a short amount of time. For this we would build a google map with each experiences listed and labeled as either a food, nightlife, museum, oddity, or cultural experience. Laying them out on a map was an easy way to see what we could physically cover in a day, and while we were on the road made it easy to see how to go from one location to the next. We kept all our notes in the maps, like opening hours or contact information so it was always easily at hand. We would also reach out to any restaurant, museum or cultural experience and let them know that we wanted to visit and make a film about them. This was super important as well because it often got us access that normal travelers would never get. Private tours and access to interview the people that create these amazing experiences, like documenting the Michelin Star restaurant Nobelhart & Schmutzig which doesn’t allow cameras inside. This makes all the difference between just sightseeing and crafting a journalistic story.
Step Three: Shoot.
Everyone’s style will be different here which is great; it’s where creativity comes in and separates us from one another as artists. For us, we wanted to keep the look and feel honest, authentic and fun, and be more docustyle then cinematic. To produce polished cinematic work is time consuming, and while beautiful and subversive, we were more interested in letting our audience experience what we were experiencing. We relied mostly on a Sony A7RIII with the 24-105 f4 zoom lens. This was a great camera for beautiful stills and fantastic 4k video. The camera also makes proxy files on the fly so editing could be swift. Beyond that we had two Sony Lav mics to get good, clean audio in interviews. Having good equipment is important, but remember, just make whatever you have work, that’s the key. Your content will always trump your quality. Except audio. You gotta have good audio. (If you want more info on my must haves for travel check this out https://cineclast.com/2019/04/01/travel-like-a-travel-writer/)
Step Four: Cut.
Editing is the most time consuming, but fortunately I’ve been cutting for nearly 20 years now, and can say you can get faster with practice for sure. We would back up the footage and bring everything into premiere and seperate the footage in to their respective subjects by sequence. I would then cut down the sequence of footage and craft the story quickly visually, and when it was in a good place, we would write a script. We would record the script in a homemade sound booth (i.e. couch pillow fort) on a Zoom recorder. A little color correct and stabilization of a few shots and we would output, and start planning our next city.
Step Five: Posting.
For WOW they had us run the Travelguide website which meant posting the films to YouTube, add images to Instagram, and then combine both on the website with a brief description of each video. Now that WOW is no longer unfortunately, the site no longer exists, but we are able to release the videos here on this new channel which we are excited about. I would say the way you post your videos are just, if not more important, then the content itself. This step is so involved it requires it’s own explanation, which we’ll put up on our blog http://www.cineclast.com