10 Helpful Tips for Travel & Adventure Filmmakers

Adventure Filmmaking Sebastian Solberg
One of the best parts of being a filmmaker is having the ability to capture people, places, and ideas that might otherwise go unseen, and then sharing them with the world.

More often than not, this manifests itself in the form of travel and adventure filmmaking, which is the subject of a new video from our friend Sebastian Solberg. In it, he gives us his best tips for making great films when you're far from home. Check it out:

And here's a quick BTS video from Sebastian's trip to Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, where he was shooting a feature documentary about eagle hunters:

And here are Sebastian's tips in written form:

  1. Keep your camera kit to a minimum. Unless you have a helicopter, filming in extreme locations often means trekking to remote and hard to get places. The less kit you have, the more nimble you can be and the more time you can spend getting creative shots to help tell your story (rather than spending all that time lugging gear around).
  2. Bring and wear the appropriate clothing. Make sure you do the research and talk to people or read blogs about people who’ve been to these locations and see what kind of clothing you need. The you can focus on making the film rather than trying to keep warm or cool.
    Adventure Filmmaking Sebastian Solberg
  3. Prepare for every possible scenario and always have multiple back up plans — if there’s one guarantee, it’s that things will never go according to plan. So prepare for every outcome.
  4. Get shots that nobody else is willing to get. You’ve come all this way and you’re filming in locations that very few people have had the opportunity to visit, let alone film in. Go that extra mile, climb up the mountain, get up for sunrise, do whatever it takes to get those shots most people wouldn’t be willing to get. It will make your work stand out!
  5. Always bring camera cleaning kit and give your camera gear a once over after everyday of filming. Make sure you do this otherwise your kit might malfunction and cause you a lot of unnecessary stress when filming. It’s not worth it!
  6. Bring snacks and drinks. Food is essential to keep going and to stay positive but sometimes you won’t have time for breakfast, lunch or dinner so having snacks will be a life saver on those long days where there’s no time to eat.
  7. You’ll be pushed to your limit and there will be times when you want to give up. But all you have to remember is that pain is temporary and film is forever, so don’t give up! It’ll all be worth it in the end!
  8. Filming can be very hectic and there can be very little time to enjoy these amazing places. But no matter how busy you are remember to put your camera down from time to time, even if it’s just for a few minutes, and live in the moment away from the lens!
  9. Character and story should always come first. It can be easy to get carried away by all the beautiful locations and forget about the story. An epic location can grab the audiences attention but to keep them, you need a great story and compelling characters!
  10. Work with positive, hardworking people who make you laugh. Filming can be stressful, and sparks can fly especially when you’re filming in extreme conditions and you’re all sleep deprived. Working alongside someone who puts a smile on your face and you can have a good laugh with when you’re freezing cold and exhausted is the best remedy to keeping your moral up. It will allow you to keep charging forwards with the project and make the experience a lot more fun!

What are your best practices and tips for travel filmmaking? Share them with us down in the comments!     

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11 Comments

great tips, overly positive guy

August 12, 2015 at 6:52AM

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Vladimir Miketa
Cinematographer & Editor
352

WOW, this is so great and couldn't come at a better time. I've recently been wandering around on the MANY trails here in Oregon. Trying to build a base before heading out on my first backpacking trip. I've only been taking photos so far, but definitely had planned on bringing some real gear to shoot and share my experiences.

August 12, 2015 at 7:01AM

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Bryan Tosh
Director of Photography
598

Thats mad I did pretty much the exact same thing...https://vimeo.com/107725679

August 12, 2015 at 9:57AM

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Johnny
Director
100

Sebastian's got a great eye but running around without shoes? Positivity does not prevent Tetanus. And the shorts... A thick pair of jeans can protect from most hazards and make you feel a bit more confident to kneel on the ground for a shot.

August 12, 2015 at 10:24AM

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Josh Paul
Most often DP, Direct or Gaff
1168

Both of those things boil down to risk vs reward for me. And generally when I'm out in the sticks i am much more comfortable wearing shorts. But that's just me.

August 12, 2015 at 8:49PM

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Tim Schwagel
Film Student
223

A-B-C Anything But Cotton

August 13, 2015 at 9:28AM

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good stuff!

August 12, 2015 at 1:24PM

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Kyle Lamar
Director Producer DP
1175

You could apply all of those tips directly to shooting a wedding.

August 13, 2015 at 4:35AM

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David O'Shea
Photographer
109

For really extreme travel into countries, definitely get a Fixer. Someone local and works really cheap to help translate and get deals for your basically.

August 13, 2015 at 8:55AM

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Tony
404

11. Sunscreen

August 14, 2015 at 2:01PM

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Point 9 should be the first and most stressed point: story and character.

In 2015 my wife and I spent our honeymoon trekking through Madagascar. We returned with thousands of photos and over 20 hours of footage. I decided to craft a documentary of the transformative experience I had found it to be. It was a lot of effort, and despite the old camera (i.e. poor quality by today's standards) hopefully the story makes up for it:

https://vimeo.com/190535337

November 12, 2016 at 10:42AM

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