Parm and I recently returned from a trip to Portugal. We were there on a mixture of fun and work. We shot footage in amazing places. Quinta da Regaleira, Sintra and Obidos stand out.
(Side note: GO! Buy a ticket right now. You will have an incredible, magical, adventure. You have my word!)
Anyway, what follows is a handful of lessons I learned while on this sojourn, some film related, some not.
- Portugal is amazing.
Well, duh. But seriously, I cannot recommend visiting it highly enough. The people are warm and super friendly, the beaches are wide, gorgeous and inviting. They are set against awesome cliffs and rock formations in the water.
Lisbon is almost entirely unmarred by ugly skyscrapers. It is a highly photogenic and filmable place. I fell in love with the small surf town we called home. I’m from a small town. I HATE small towns. But Ericeira converted me. [insert cheesy emoticon with hearts for eyes]
- Seafood does not have to taste the way a fish tank smells.
My eyes have been opened.
- When you’re shooting while hiking, bring the appropriate bags/securing straps for your gear.
Fortunately, no expensive cameras were harmed during our shoot, however, I absolutely destroyed my iPhone screen on an awesome rock scramble. It was a bit too much climbing for me to feel good about bringing the DSLR, so I’d resorted to my iPhone 7 Plus, which doesn’t do such a bad job. I had stowed my phone to climb, but when I got to a good breaking point, I forgot I’d stowed it in my back pocket. Screen facing outward. I sat on a particularly sharp rock and actually heard the moment of impact. You know that sound that light bulbs make when they go out in horror movies? I’ve never actually heard a light bulb make that sound, but my phone sure did. In retrospect, I’m not sure how I could possibly have thought stowing my phone screen facing outward was a good idea, but here we are.
The point is, I could definitely have avoided this mishap if I’d brought a small backpack or even (God help me) a fanny pack. Anything. So if you’re going to shoot while hiking, make sure you can secure all of your gear safely. This way you won’t lose out on glorious footage from the top because your cracked iPhone won’t turn back on.
- Don’t forget your mic windshield. But if you do, you can slide by McGyvering. But don’t forget it.
One day, Parm and I went down to a particularly lovely beach that we intended to film. This beach was by a beautiful small village that looked straight out of a fairytale. The operative descriptor here became “small” when we realized we’d left the windshield for our shotgun mic and were nowhere near a camera store or anywhere we could get a replacement. Determined to shoot anyway, we searched the town’s small Dollar General-type store for anything we could use. Parm came up with a rainbow-colored feather duster. We figured the acrylic strands would roughly produce the desired effect, so we bought three, and I gaff taped them around our shotgun mic. It worked decently enough, however, I’m not sure I’ve ever been stared at so avidly in my life as I was that day. We were too embarrassed to take a picture of our makeshift rig, though I now really wish I’d swallowed my pride and let Parm snap one. It truly looked ridiculous.
From that day forward, we checked and re-checked that we had the darn windshield almost before we even packed the camera. I don’t think I’ll ever forget it again. Don’t you forget yours!
- Does there have to be a five? Who made up that rule? It’s a rather silly one.
We’re back Stateside and missing Portugal, so it’s a good thing we have too much footage to sort through to jump on a plane straight back. We’re excited to hit the editing suite, so stay tuned for the finished cut!