I’m in Amsterdam, have been for the past week or so. Never been here before, and having a blast.
Ever since I picked up the Canon 7d, I’ve been an amateur videographer. It’s a symptom, or a byproduct, of owning such a phenomenal camera.
When I first got it, I was shooting as much footage as I possibly could. You can check out some of the posted stuff here.
Got to the airport, and started recording. On the plane, shot some stuff. Got to Amsterdam and I felt… intimidated, I guess you could say. New city, getting used to the time difference, trams, trains, bikes zooming like bats out of hell. Not to mention, we had a bit of a problem with our apartment that was cleared up, but sitting in the Schiphol airport, waiting to hear back from the owner of the apartment… that was a bit nerve wracking, and the last thing you think about when that’s happening is recording what’s around you.
Which is a problem in a videographer. But I’ll get to that.
So, in the new place, hanging out, getting dinner, not recording, and trying to stay awake so we can get a good nights sleep and start on time in the morning.
That second day we went to Kickstarter. That’s what we called it. In fact, it’s called Keukenhof, and it’s a massive affair here in The Netherlands. That first day, we walked around for 5 hours looking at flowers, I shot 128 videos. nothing more than a minute, mind you, but that’s how attached I was to the camera.
From there, if we left the apartment, I brought the camera.
I didn’t have any real plan except to shoot as much footage as I could. Seems to be the motto of videography: Shoot everything; Better to have the footage and not need it, than need the footage and not have it.
Third day: 47 videos
Fourth day: 132 videos
Fifth day: 121 videos
Sixth day: 108 videos
Seventh day: 103 videos
For a grand total of 639 video clips. Roughly 80gb of footage. Some of it’s great, some of it’s not bad, some of it’s just plain b-roll or useless, which is going to happen.
I shot every single cup of coffee I drank, except one. I got an Irish Coffee from Daalder Cafe that was simply enormous, in three perfect layers of coffee, foam, and whipped cream. It was gorgeous, and my stomach got the better of me, and I started stirring before I even thought to take video of it. My bad. We went to Daalder twice, and it was, by far, the best food we had in Amsterdam.
I shot 80% of our meals. The first two, I simply wasn’t thinking. Hell, I even shot the empty plates at the end of the meals.
I shot trams, trains, bikers, cards, people, buildings, flowers, parks, more bikers, roads, streets, alleys, I shot as much of the red light district as I could without getting in trouble. Had I had a gopro, I would have shot more… except for the faces of prostitutes. It was told to me by our guide that it’s just something you do not do. It’s a rule I had no trouble following.
I did get yelled at by some Italian tourists who were in a shot I was shooting down the thinnest alley in Amsterdam, if not all of Europe. In the end, I deleted the footage. It was seconds worth, but I figured that that kind of privacy was deserved.
Taking out a Canon 7d, with a lens, the strap, having your camera bag on you… it not only becomes evident you have a CAMERA, but that you’re using it. It is not for conspicuous shooting.
If you want to be a travel videographer, keep in mind that there is NOTHING insignificant that you will shoot. Nothing. Everything you shoot is going to help propel your story. From waking up in the morning, to going to the bathroom, to walking down a flight of stairs. Depending on the story you want to tell, it’s all going to help you in the end.
Here’s a photo I took (also took video) because I wanted to share it.
You never know what you’re going to find. Funny, poignant, sad… keep your camera ready.
You’d be surprised how much of the daily life found in your footage will be relatable by your viewing audience. Not to mention, there is something so connectively human about the smallest of things that you may find unworthy of recording. Trust me, get it all down.
Bring two, three flash cards with you and just shoot your heart out.
I’m quite happy with the shots I got. I think I’ll have a good 5 minute video at the end of all of this. Karen said “Five minutes? You shot so much!” Well, no one’s going to watch more than 5 minutes of footage, even if it’s put to good music, or is VERY compelling.
Invest in a gopro. It’s so compact, so rugged… it’ll be the next purchase I make, when I have the money. I would have rented a bike here had I had a gopro. The bikers here are insane, and they stop for no one. That would have been awesome footage to get, but there was no way I’d have been able to do that with the Canon. At least, not on the fly. With some preparation, I could have taped it down or something. There’s always a way.
We’ll see how it looks when I put it together. We took a trip on the canals today, and that footage alone was gorgeous.
Thanks for reading.