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10 simple rules to film your next adventure like a pro

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10 simple rules to film your next adventure like a pro

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I’ve just finished working on the adventure documentary ‘The Crossing’. It's about an expedition I did in the arctic a few years ago with Chris Bray.

Without giving too much away, we tried to walk a thousand kilometres across Victoria Island when we were just 21 years old.


After a couple of months we only made it a third of the way across before running low on food and the onset of winter. We returned three years later and finished the job.

Making the film has been a steep learning curve, and I’m incredibly proud of the end result (you can watch a sneak peek of it here). Because I work in the film industry, and I also go on the occasional adventure, I get asked for filming tips quite a lot.

To save you the pain of learning on the job, here are ten handy rules I use to film any adventure like a boss.

I’ve just finished working on the adventure documentary ‘The Crossing’. It's about an expedition I did in the arctic a few years ago with Chris Bray.

Without giving too much away, we tried to walk a thousand kilometres across Victoria Island when we were just 21 years old.


After a couple of months we only made it a third of the way across before running low on food and the onset of winter. We returned three years later and finished the job.

Making the film has been a steep learning curve, and I’m incredibly proud of the end result (you can watch a sneak peek of it here). Because I work in the film industry, and I also go on the occasional adventure, I get asked for filming tips quite a lot.

To save you the pain of learning on the job, here are ten handy rules I use to film any adventure like a boss.

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10 simple rules to film your next adventure like a pro

  1. 10 SIMPLE RULES TO FILM YOUR NEXT ADVENTURE LIKE A PRO
  2. 1. CHARACTERS ARE KING
  3. It doesn’t matter what the film’s about, it has to have interesting characters that the audience can care about.
  4. 2. FILM LIKE NO-ONE WILL EVER WATCH IT
  5. You can always choose what goes in or gets left out of your film, but you can never use it if you didn’t film it.
  6. 3. DON’T SELF CENSOR
  7. The audience aren’t stupid. They know if you’re not being genuine. Just… be… yourself. I can’t stress this enough.
  8. 4. DON’T CREATE DRAMA THAT ISN’T THERE
  9. Drama is a great tool to create a story arc in your film. Just don’t try to film drama that simply doesn’t exist. Honesty is key.
  10. 5. GO THE EXTRA MILE
  11. A little bit of effort every so often will make a huge impact on your film. One example of this could be adding a couple of hours to your day to walk to the top of a nearby hill and film a super wide shot of your team in the middle of a vast wilderness panorama.
  12. 6. SHOOT ON THE RIGHT GEAR (not necessarily the BEST gear)
  13. Sometimes the most appropriate equipment is not always the top of the line camera. Think about how you’ll be using it, what you’ll be filming, under what conditions, what constraints and choose accordingly.
  14. 7. SHOOT OFTEN
  15. Film consistently and in small bites. Lots of little shots each day add up to a lot of footage at the end of your trip. I try to average 15-20 minutes of footage a day (usually filming a few minutes at a time).
  16. 8. SHOOT THE BAD STUFF
  17. The worst times for you are the best times to film. Stop being a wuss and prolong the pain for an extra couple of minutes to get those shots you’ll be glad to have later.
  18. 9. SHOOT SEQUENCES
  19. Films are made up of sequences, not single shots. There’s no point filming something awesome if it’s not useable in the wider context of a film. Get wide, medium and close up shots from various angles, intros, outro’s and anything else to give your shots some context.
  20. 10. BE SYSTEMATIC
  21. Plan ahead and make a check list of shots you know you’ll need to get. This could be travelling shots, wildlife, daily chores and video diaries. After that it’s a simple matter of ticking off the list and then filming anything extra that happens along the way.
  22. READ MORE AT www.AdventurePlaybook.com

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