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Thread: Shooting a Road-Trip, how should it be done?

  1. #1
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    Lightbulb Shooting a Road-Trip, how should it be done?

    Hi all, I'm just looking for some opinions from you guys, professional or not.

    A charity and I are currently in the planning stages of a sponsored walk from England to Egypt, travelling across Europe and the middle east. The aim being to raise money for water projects in Egypt.
    My job will be documenting the entire trip from start to finish.

    I'm not really looking for technical advice as of now, but I'd like to hear what you think the best format for the end result should be?
    It's important that there is a real sense of a long journey and a end goal, and it will be broken up by staged interviews as well as the documentation.

    Should I perhaps plan to edit to show a lot of detail, and spread it out over a few 'webisodes'? Think of 'Long Way Down' as an example. I could really show the life of a traveller, and have a richer narrative given the longer screen-time.

    Or should I perhaps just capture the essence of the journey and compile the trip into more of a mini-feature documentary (about an hour perhaps). The journey in 1 watch is more likely to be watched by more people, and watching it start to finish in one go often leaves a more evocative feeling than breaking it up.


    It's a tricky decision, I generally prefer to immerse myself in something start to finish, it has a much stronger effect in my opinion... but maybe its too ambitious? It's going to be a lot of material.

    I think it's important I know what the end product will be before I'm out there, so I'm interested in your thoughts.
    Thanks, Ben
    Last edited by benesotor; 06-01-2011 at 10:33 PM.


  2. #2

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    Depends what the client wants. Do they want an epic feature, or something that they can just show and say "hey, we did this!"?

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    Quote Originally Posted by BigMac View Post
    Depends what the client wants.
    I think since he's planning too - the OP is the client as much as the charity.

    Personally I'd break it up into 'webisodes' as you say. The trick will be engaging the viewer enough to tease them into watching the next one. But I'm sure a trip like that'll have enough mini dramas occuring to make that easy enough.

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by Andy Lockwood View Post
    I think since he's planning too - the OP is the client as much as the charity.

    Personally I'd break it up into 'webisodes' as you say. The trick will be engaging the viewer enough to tease them into watching the next one. But I'm sure a trip like that'll have enough mini dramas occuring to make that easy enough.
    True. Probably, as a charity, they aren't going to want a 90 minute doc. At the most a 60 minute. It depends on the media interest in it as well. If the media are going to be looking in, then a 5min webisode every week would look a little below par.

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    The guys have already hinted at but avoided the main question: Who is your audience and what do you hope to achieve with it?
    Obviously there's the quick fix promotion side - a 30 seconds to one minute film (or possibly series of films) for the web - acting as a trailer to draw people in.
    Then maybe a link to a 15 minute web documentary of the whole thing.
    Andy's idea of a series of webisodes may work, but I think only if you are publishing it as you go along - a vlog really.

    Aside from those involved and their friends and families, who is going to watch more than that? Where are you going to get to screen it?

    Of course there's nothing wrong with making a lengthy film or series of films for participants, friends and family, but unless you've got a clear idea of where a wider audience is coming from don't expect it to have one - no matter how good the film is.

    Okay - there are always festivals, of course, which are a great way to reach more people and to get good criticism. If you want to go down this route, check the maximum running times a selection allow and cut your cloth accordingly.
    Tim

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    Thanks for your ideas!
    I'll clear things up a little. The film itself will in essence act as documentation of the trip, and spread awareness of the works of the charity .
    As the trip is being sponsored by donations, the charity would like a record of it so that people who donated can see the work that went into it, and hopefully inspire more people to donate once they see the work the charity do in Egypt.

    It's more of an entertainment documentary that has publicity context, because obviously a 60 minute film asking for donations wouldn't be very efficient.

    The way I see it is to make a 30-60second trailer so people know that it's more than just a normal 'where your money goes' film... as this is primarily a road-trip documentary.

    I think the only way doing the webisodes would work is by editing the film as I go along.. which I think will be quite difficult. I try to watch webisodes but as soon as they fall out of schedule I lose interest, I just don't think I could keep making quality production in the field to a fixed schedule. (as well as technical issues)

    Do you guy's think you'd watch an extended online film? I often watch feature length doc's on my PC but I don't know about other people. A good trailer is vital of course... but I'm leaning towards creating a feature-doc.
    Last edited by benesotor; 06-02-2011 at 10:56 PM.


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    Quote Originally Posted by benesotor View Post
    Do you guy's think you'd watch an extended online film? I often watch feature length doc's on my PC but I don't know about other people.
    It may be an age thing. I simply don't consider sitting down in front of my PC a comfortable way to watch a feature length film.
    However, I have 19 & 17 year old stepchildren who constantly watch full length films on a laptop and a netbook.

    Maybe part of it is my PC is at a desk whereas they lounge around on sofas, beds etc.

    And of course with the converging technologies there's little difference - I'll happily watch feature length stuff on my TV that's from iPlayer or 4OD. So I suppose if I had my PC in the lounge (and wouldn't my wife just love that) I'd probably watch longer format YouTube & Video posts as well.

    It's really a psychological thing. Although I spend much more time at my PC than anywhere else, as far as non-interactive entertainment goes, I just want a quick fix. On the other hand I'll spend hours on interactive entertainment - even if thats' just forums such as this.
    Tim

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    I'd do webisodes. 15 or 20 min long.
    I'd love to do a road trip and seen a few cycle trips around iceland mainly on youtube and they seem to follow the format of "cycle along the road/track" then stop for some topical piece of land / thing / building. Then some more cycling and maybe at the end of the day and the people taking part are just about to go to bed get them to tell the camera about the day and if they have any blisters etc.

    I'd have a short trailer 40 seconds at most and a longer trailer, maybe 3 mins.

    Webisodes will get people coming back to the website / channel if they're released every week.

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