INTERVIEW ADVENTURE SPECIAL
they can be safe on these adventures. It’s not about being a great mountaineer or athlete. It’s about being competent and not putting yourself or the people you’re filming at risk. My big push during the workshops is to get the participants to recognise the story aspect. I can pick up a camera but I am always more interested in the human part. I don’t care if you shoot the film on a phone, or have to animate parts of it because you don’t have any footage. I would rather have it be all about what happens emotionally. Keith is better at the technical side. Def: How much can you plan a story before undertaking these adventure films? It’s such a haphazard, perilous world… MB: I think it’s a mistake to go into an expedition with the story planned out. That’s the way you do it in a narrative film or fiction film, but when you’re telling a story about an actual expedition, it’s important not to pre-storyboard it to the point where you’ve lost the ability to be surprised. That’s one of the beauties of it as a storyteller and filmmaker – those surprises are so meaningful and they BRING DECENT WIRELESS MICROPHONES. THE FILM DOESN’T EXIST unless you get the sound ”
ANOTHER DAY IN THE OFFICE Partridge abseiling down the kilometre-high Angel Falls in Venezuela filming for BBC’s Steve Backshall’s Extreme Mountain Challenge mini-series
Def: What other advice would you both give to an aspiring adventure filmmaker? MB: I think a film has three components and they’re equally important. For me, that recipe is two parts sound and one part picture. Image is only a third of the story, while the audio components are music and the natural sound of the story. That places huge emphasis on music, but I’ve learned what a good composer can do for a film and it’s stunning what the difference can be. And then, of course, natural sound is so important. KP: Commitment. You have to be willing to go not just the extra mile but the extra 100 miles, because working in these environments means your journey has an uncertain outcome. You are not in control, whether you think you are or not, otherwise it wouldn’t be a true adventure. You have to be committed to that mindset, otherwise you’ll never make it.
add so much texture to the overall story. Once things get tough and people are scared, and are doing something that’s beyond what they thought they could do, magic really happens. Def: What are some go-to bits of film kit you’d want on any expedition? Keith Partridge: This may sound weird coming from a cinematographer, but decent wireless microphones. The film doesn’t exist unless you get the sound. I like up-close, in-your-face filmmaking, so the audience is there on the rock face. I want to experience whatever emotion it is at that moment in time, and to convey that, you’ve got to have the sound. Also, I love a camera that’s compact, robust, ergonomic and dialled to offer you the best picture quality at that time within a package that is actually fit for purpose. The last thing is duct tape! We’ve even fixed airplanes with it after a crash.
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