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Making a Music-based Travelogue

Even in the silent era, music played a crucial role in the audience’s enjoyment of a movie. Organists and even full orchestras played music that reinforced the visual experience. The following interview reinforces this concept as Philippine filmmaker Maria Celene Tablante talks about making her music-based travelogue “Enchanted Summer.” Her video is one of the entries in this magazine’s Memorable Places contest.

MMM: When you appear in a shot, who was shooting the video?
MARIA: The video is a kind of self, with a first person POV, so most of the shots where I appear, I was holding the camera.
MMM:  Can you say something about shooting underwater? 
MARIA: With a GoPro, shooting underwater is everything. It is easy and so much fun. With the camera there weren’t any problems with this one, but as of being able to smile for the camera underwater, that would depend on how much of a water person the one making the video is. I was born to be in the waters, so I had fun shooting underwater.
MMM:In addition to the GoPro, did you use any gear? 
MARIA: There was one frame in the video where we were feeding the fish and both of us were seen and the video was stable. We used a clip-on mount for that. The rest of the videos taken, a GoPro camera mount extension arm/ tripod was used.
MMM: What editing software did you use? 
MARIA: I used Pinnacle 18 for editing this video. It’s a good one to start with especially for those who are just learning how to edit videos. It’s easy to use and pretty much has all the basics one needs in editing a travel footage.
MMM: Do you have any advice for novices who are just learning how to edit their travel footage?
MARIA: In editing travel videos, you need to have A LOT of video clips from the trip. It’s such a headache when you get home and you start editing and halfway through you need this particular shot but you realize you don’t have enough shots. Just make sure to still have fun on your travels and not focus on just shooting videos!
MMM:  Would you us something about choosing the music? 
MARIA: We typically already have a music in mind before we even fly to our destination. Or sometimes during our travels, we suddenly find this particular song to be like the theme song of our trip, then we use it for the travel movie. We make sure that the music corresponds to the trip. We had one Christmas video where we used “Foo Fighters’s Learn to Fly” because of the lyrics “make my way back home and learn to fly.” During that time I was still working overseas and my fiance and I were going to meet in Malaysia for a short vacation after quite a long time of being apart. There were airport scenes and aircraft taking off, clips like that and the song was just perfect. It’s not just the video clips that matter, but also the music to give the video its life. And for travel videos, I suggest always use an upbeat music (unless it’s a romantic, wedding-kind of video, then feel free to use sweet love songs).
MMM: Did you cut the visuals to go with the music or did you add the music after the visuals were all in place?
MARIA:  For us, music always comes first. Then we add the visuals and cut them in accordance to the music’s tempo. It’s also nice to be creative with cropping the clips to go along with the music. Like when the music has a one-two-three count before the climax, you can add drama and effect to the clip by making it in slow motion or however you would like to do it.
MMM: How did you get the still images near the end of the movie? 
MARIA: Those were JPEG files. In Pinnacle 18 (as for any other editing software), you can drag videos, music and photos to the timeline. The still images were supposed to summarize the whole trip to the Enchanted River. The whole movie doesn’t have to have all-video clips. It could have photos as well, depending on how you want them to work for you. Just be creative.
MMM: Could you give your overall opinions about using GoPro to document trips and other occasions? 
MARIA: We like using GoPro for documenting trips because it is small, handy, and waterproof. An action cam would always be better than a smartphone or a DSLR for trips where you are required to be on-the-go at all times because it’s made for action. Plus, if you don’t want the fish eye effect, the GoPro Studio application for computers has an option for removing that effect. Although smartphones would be OK  for land travels, an action cam works on land and at sea. For our Christmas video we used a Nikon DSLR for the video clips. Although the quality was great during travels where we kept walking and moving, it was just too heavy and bulky. That’s why we got a GoPro.
MMM: Do you have any big tips for novices who are just starting out making videos?
MARIA: Be creative and patient. Having a good result takes time. You may have seen other videos where the transition is so professional and the effects are that of a Hollywood movie, but that’s their style. Don’t feel down about not being able to produce one like those movies. Create your own style and embrace it, and you’ll surely make something great out of it. Remember that music is the heart and soul of the movie—the video clips are the movie’s personality. So choose one that would make your movie come to life. Can you imagine a horror scene in a movie where the music is for Christmas? How would that make you feel? The same thing goes for making these kinds of videos. Especially for travel videos like the one I posted, we wanted it to be like a music video. What others do is that they add dialog and that’s cool too. It’s up to you how you want to do it. Before making the video, think of what you want to create out of it, of what style you want for it. And don’t shy away from advice of other video editors especially here in mobilemoviemaking.com. They have answers for your questions in making videos and could be of great help.
MMM: How can people follow your work?
MARIA: Our facebook page is facebook.com/rmphotographyph and our blog site is rmphotographyph.wixsite.com/rmph. We hope that our experiences will help others learn different styles and concepts for making their videos.
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