Recently the advances in technology have lead to more and more people filming their adventures and there are now hosts of adventures for people to watch, but making your film stand out is getting more difficult. So here are some things that may help your film stand out.
1. Commit yourself to making a film.
This might sound strange but if you are going to make a film of your adventure, commit to that, make a conscious decision to film. Making a film of any adventure is hard work, you will get up early to make sure you are packed before the others so you can film then, you will go to bed after everyone else so you can backup and save all your footage, you will be standing 6ft back watching people though a small screen while everyone else meets the locals and when things go wrong, you won’t be helping, you will be filming.
Many people give up half way because it to much work, and even more only film when they feel they have the time, and truth be told, the reason you have the time is normally because nothing interesting is actually happening.
2.Tell a story.
If you really want to engage your audience you need to tell as story, in the same way a book has a start, middle and end. There are so many films out there now with stunning visuals and a ‘thumpin’ music track, but audiences will get tired of this very quickly as there is no story.
The key is to try and entice your audience into wanting to see more. There are many ways to do this and often its not till most of the adventure is completed that you might know what the story is, but as it progresses think first about your characters, they could be your traveling companions, people you meet, it could even be your motorcycle. Then consider what each of the characters has experienced during the trip. For example Mr A may have been very excited for the adventure, but started to find it harder then expected, considered giving up but others push him to continue and he finish, exhausted but elated.There is a story, a human interest story, combine this with other peoples stories or with a temperamental bike or a country that changes as you ride thought and you have a story.
3. Learn the rule of Thirds.
There are many different rule to follow when filming and if you really know what you are doing you can even brake these rules with stunning effects, but learning the simple rule of thirds will make the visual element of you film look its very best.
Simply put, the rule of thirds is when you imagine two lines vertically and two lines horizontally making three columns, three rows, and nine sections in a grid over your screen (many cameras have this as a function so you might not have to imagine). Important compositional elements and leading lines are placed on or near the imaginary lines and where the lines intersect, it also is a great guide for symmetric shot. This is a very simple explanation but here are some examples from my work to give you an example.
4. Don’t forget about sound. I can’t stress this enough, a film with bad sound, no matter how amazing the footage, will become unwatchable, however an average looking film with good sound is still very watchable. It’s not easy, especially on the road, but there are a host of tips and tricks you can use.
Firstly don’t use a cameras internal microphone, they are never great, even a cheapish external microphone will get you much better sound. It is also worth taking a extension wire so you can get your mic closer to the action. Think about adding a narration to the film, this will give you clear audio and help to tell your story. If narration doesn’t appeal then try to record regular video diaries in a quiet spot, when you come to the edit, these can be used over footage as narration.
Another great tip for good sound on a wide shot is to record on your phone, make sure you clap at the start, this makes it easier to synchronise the sound with the video.
5. Look at your film as an outsider would. When you get to editing your film, you must consider your audience and how they experience your film. This can be one of the hardest bits about making a film. Its important that when you watch the film you will be reminded of your feelings at the time, if you were cold an miserable you will remember how tough it was at that time, but your audience won’t know that unless you can show them, if you can’t, leave it out. Pick story lines and stick with them, don’t add footage that doesn’t add to the story, it may feel brutal, but it needs to be done, or your audience will simply switch off.
What next? Once you have made your film what can you do with it? The options are numerous and includes anything from just showing to family and friends, to getting it on TV. These days putting it online is the easiest way for people to see your work, but remember the internet is full of people who enjoy making others feel bad, so if someone criticises your work, try your best to take goof feedback on board and ignore hateful comments. If you want more people to see your film there are ways to promote it, Adventure Bike TV has a segment on the website where people can send in there own videos, called ‘Travel Journal’ where anyones work can be shown.
The important thing is to have a go and make something you are proud of and can enjoy.