Self Shot Travel Filming Manifesto
This is a manifesto for how to shoot a movie, inspired by my own experiences filming whilst travelling, advice from String Films and a project I did whilst studying design at Goldsmiths.
- Formulate complete sentences when speaking into the camera.
- Keep the audience in mind with what you say to the camera.
- The camera is not a confidant. Use your diary for that.
- If you are going to do a travelling shot, spend the time and make it worthwhile.
- Don’t shoot unless you are interested in what you are shooting.
- Don’t try and be a presenter.
- Don’t try to shoot National Geographic documentaries.
- Don’t say a place is “beautiful”, “amazing”, “I am in awe of it”. Don’t describe. Observe and shoot (unless it’s a video diary) e.g. show don’t tell.
- If you are shooting your own face, make sure your face is in the shot.
- Keep soundbites down to under 10 seconds.
- Keep dialogue down to 10 shots of 10 seconds per piece.
- Keep complicated reflections for the written journal.
- Look into the camera when you are talking into it.
- Learn from your mistakes.
- Get close to the action.
- Use a tripod and ‘lock off shots’ when possible.
- Let people speak if they want.
- Whatever is the central subject matter get plenty of good shots of it.
- Quality not quantity.
- If you are shooting something with a name for research, get the name written down.
- Get permission from subjects where necessary.
- Safety first. If you feel in danger put your camera away. It is best to stay safe and keep your equipment and footage than lose it.
- Keep your batteries charged.
- Keep your footage appropriately backed up especially if you are using a digital camera.
- Keep the lens clean and free of dirt.
- Don’t interrupt the person who you are filming and try to avoid speaking whilst behind the camera.
Post first written in 2011. Updated 2022.