“Hang on tight”, he said, “she’ll stand first on her front legs, then the back legs.” That was about the extent on my camel riding training in Dubai, UAE. How I got to this adventure in video production is another story, one that started a couple years ago in Vancouver.
The project begins
In late 2013, based on a word of mouth recommendation, we met Kevin. Kevin came to us as an out-of-the-box thinker who had recently launched his first of a series of innovation-inducing workshops for his globally-local employer . The first of which was held here in Vancouver. Kevin wanted to be able to document and share this inaugural event through video. But the last thing he wanted was another boring talking-head video, the type you’ve seen a thousand times, the type that clearly defines the dreaded phrase ‘corporate video’. Kevin was looking for excitement and action… even though the majority of the ‘action’ took place in board rooms and offices.
For the better part of three days using the creative tricks and tools of our trade, we covered the entire workshop with a production crew of three – shooting, interviewing and showcasing the location, participants, and brilliant ideas that came out of this unique workshop. We kept the cameras moving, compressed time, and found unique perspectives. We discovered passion in the attendees who really believed in their projects and amazement from the VIP judges who were really, quite blown away by the level of innovation and the speed and efficiency in which it was developed. The workshop was a huge success!
The video was assembled shortly after complete with custom animations and graphics, exciting music, as well as beauty shots that we collected around Vancouver that set the stage for the worldly audience. Suddenly there was a buzz in the organization about this new travelling workshop.
The travelling videographer
Building on the success in Vancouver we were invited to hit the road with the workshop team. Here’s the catch, when you travel, you don’t have the luxury (and budget) of bringing the whole studio with you. It’s essential to pack light and crank up the efficiency without sacrificing quality. Our video production crew of three was compressed to just one. One director; camera op; audio op; lighting; interviewer; wrangler; mobile editor; music editor – one jack-of-all-trades videographer. Stefan, Fiona and I worked together ahead of the first trip to map out what it would take to pull it all together and achieve the same results – if not better than what we accomplished in Vancouver.
Despite flying solo in a faraway land it worked beautifully and our process keeps getting better. Tightly slotted between shooting on-location at the workshop and editing late into the night in a hotel room, we find/make time to explore and capture the beauty and culture of our foreign surroundings. This adds a lot of appeal for the international audience and always helps define the mood for each video (even if that means I gotta ride that camel). On every trip, we continue to add tricks to our trade. We pre-build graphics and music and have streamlined the shoot and edit process to the point where we are now delivering on-the-spot event highlights that play on the final day of each event as the workshops wrap up. It’s a bit of a video production marathon but it’s so worth it!
Now, we have successfully shot, sealed and delivered videos at workshops in Poland, Malaysia, India, China, Brazil, and yes, Dubai, UAE. Most recently in 2016, Stefan returned to India, this time to the beautiful city of Pune.
Fun on the road
When I was in Malaysia, we took a day trip to the Batu caves north of Kuala Lumpur. I’ll never forget the many friendly monkeys and one fairly devilish one in particular… Kevin bought a bag of bananas and was trying to feed them to the smaller monkeys. I had a good laugh though when – as Kevin was trying to give one of the bananas to a shy monkey, I spotted the devilish one, snatch the full bag and run away. Kevin spun on his heels and ran after the little thief. He never stood a chance of catching him.
And in Dubai, the camel ride in the desert was an experience of a lifetime – but so was indoor snow skiing. Only in Dubai!
Here, there, or around the world I love telling these stories.