North America

Living the American dream! Behind the scenes with travel videographers

A travel videographer. Could this be THE dream job?! Taking on unknown adventures, traversing destinations and witnessing new ways of life with the ultimate challenge of capturing a place’s beauty through the lens. We caught up with Thibaud Lomenech, Lars Timmermann and Abigail Green, three independent videographers, to talk about their experience working with STA Travel and Visit The USA. The videographers got sent on three separate adventures to explore different regions of the State: Abigail to Texas, Thibaud to New York State and Lars to the Pacific Northwest. Check out their top tips and highlights below:
So let’s get the technical questions over and done with…

What equipment do you use to shoot your films?

Lars: I always choose my equipment to suit the project. For this film, it had to be easy to set up and light to carry as we were always on the go (Sony A7sii). However, my favourite cameras are made by ARRI.

Abigail: For this project and often in my profession I chose to use RED Raven cameras. It’s great for lightweight travel, handheld shooting and getting a nice RAW image with the RED look.

Do you prefer the actual filming or looking back and editing? Why?

Thibauld: It’s hard to say as both experiences are pretty different in terms of process and sensations. But if we HAD to decide, we would say filming is the best part. Everything’s still possible and everything is live, there’s a real sense of adrenaline in wanting to shoot the right angle at the right time.

L: I prefer filming because you constantly have to come up with solutions on the spot. It’s all about speed and being able to make well-informed and practical decisions quickly. That being said, I’m always amazed at what editors do with my footage in the editing room!

A: One of the most important parts of filmmaking is to understand every part of the process. It’s a lot of fun to be out there filming real people in real situations. But you can also learn a lot when you come back to the editing station and watch the footage without flashing lights, noise, dust and interruptions. Analyzing your own footage teaches you a lot for your next project. So both have their own charm.

If you had to choose one of your favorite pieces of work what would it be and why?

L: Probably my most recent work for AUDI China. It took a lot of effort and brainpower from all departments. 99{67e156e4ee2ef9246962f65a4f1efdaee88fb3c7951f538c2a80b1896ec79ca1} of what you see was shot on camera. The sets were all physically built and the film was shot by combining different techniques such as stop-motion animation, puppetry, remote-controlled cars and a special motion control camera system. Fun but very challenging.

Now on to the Travel aspect of filmmaking and how it inspires creativity…

What is it about travel that inspires your work?

T: What inspires me in every country or region I discover is that you rarely find the same thing twice. Whether it’s the light, the sky, the people, every place has its own visual identity. This is what I love about travel, the challenge of transcribing the atmosphere of the places I encounter through imagery.

L: Hearing new stories and meeting interesting people. The experiences I have travelling always end up in my work later somehow.

A: The changing environments, breathing in other countries air and talking to locals to help understand their way of life is very inspiring for me when creating films. Sometimes, it can be as simple as a visual response or being introduced to a new normal. As part of a relatively international filmmaking duo – I am a big believer in just packing a bag and turning up to a new destination and seeing where that takes me creatively.

What was your favourite location on the trip and why?

T: Ah that’s a tough one! But probably Lake Champlain. Even though we weren’t quite able to recreate the moment in the video, sailing across this huge peaceful lake lit up with the amazing natural light was magical. Our Guide helped make the experience truly unique by telling us about the history of the region and showing us all the hidden spots. Thanks Ben!

L: Visiting San Juan Island for sure! The island was beautiful and arriving there by seaplane in the morning was a once in a lifetime experience.

A: We travelled to so many locations it would be impossible to pinpoint just one. Two total opposite destinations we visited however would be: The Mayan ranch, Banderas and Austin. At the ranch we were surrounded by nature (zero internet too) and lived it up like cowboys with horse riding, line dancing, haybale riding and cowboy breakfasts. As for Austin, it’s a place I’ve wanted to visit for ages and the live music, ‘I love you so much’ wall, delicious food and friendly locals lived up to expectations. I’d love to go back again soon!

Did anything surprise you about the area of the US you explored and why?

T: What surprised us about the New York State is that it is so much more than just New York City! Don’t get me wrong, the city is truly mesmerizing. But I didn’t expect the diversity of landscapes, the generosity of the local people and all the activities we were able to do. From the City to Niagara Falls, Albany, Utica, Alexandra Bay, Thousands Islands and the Hudson River… All together, it was an astonishing journey across such a beautiful, welcoming state.

L: I was surprised at how versatile the Pacific North West was. The scenery was constantly changing as we drove along and it also felt incredibly undiscovered. I rarely encountered any tourists which made the experience feel more personal and authentic. I definitely felt like a true adventurer at times!

A: We were constantly pleasantly surprised by how friendly everyone was. We met and spoke with so many different people; from cowboys or cowgirls, to travelling Floridian retirees, to gospel choir singers, to an amazing re-enactment group. Everyone was so excited that we were travelling around the state of Texas and wanted to tell us their story. The first thing we did when we got home was become a walking advertisement for Texas as a vacation destination. We had no idea that there is a vast amount of diversity within the state. One day we were staying on a Mayan ranch, riding horses to a cowboy breakfast accompanied by a guitar player in the forest, and the very next we would be sipping the best wine in a fancy vineyard just an hour down the road. Drive another two hours and you’re in the incredible city of Austin – which is always alive, always open, and always as friendly as can be in the most Texan way possible.

Now you’ve gone behind the scenes, it’s time to see the final cut! Head to our USA Travel guide for the videographers magic and more travel inspiration.