Blog: A Guide To Filming In The Wilderness – The Introduction

PREFACE

I’ve always enjoyed camping. Growing up, every summer my family would spend exploring Saskatchewan from the dead south of Grasslands National Park to the far north at my uncle’s fly-in fishing resort. It would be safe to say that I have seen virtually all of Saskatchewan’s Provincial and Regional Parks. On weekends outside of our family camping adventures, my family and I would head out to our friend Aaron’s cabin at Wakaw.

Fast forward to 2001. My parents decided to purchase a cabin at Wakaw Lake, SK. We had been on the lookout for a place for over ten years but nothing was ever quite what we were looking for. I clearly remember the discussion my parents had over the cabin. Although it wasn’t perfect and required some work, they came to the consensus that if we were ever going to own a cabin, this was the time. The stipulation my parents made was that we had to be willing work to fix it up.

After having purchased the cabin, we stopped our yearly camping trips and instead spent every weekend and holiday working to improve the place. My dad’s mantra was that if my brother and I wanted to do something, whether it be camping or owning a cabin, that we would have to do the work. Although it was a lot of fun at the time, looking back, there is no way we would have tackled all the work we did! Ten years later and most of the heavy lifting work-wise is complete and it is now a place (the only place) where I feel completely relaxed.

I have grown an appreciation for the outdoors because of how my parents raised me. Having the cabin truly allows me to experience the outdoors much more than anyone I know. Whether it be snowmobiling, quading, or fishing, we are always outside when at the cabin.

I technically finished my film a day project back in January but have continued to post videos at a rate of about five films a week. After spending a year trying to find my niche, I think I found it! Without question, the 3 minute short film project helped me find my passion, which is filming in the wilderness.

THE INTRODUCTION

Now to the nuts and bolts!

Over the next two weeks, I will be writing my entire guide to filming in the outdoors, which will include both video and posts. I am by no means an expert but simply want to help others avoid some of the mistakes I have made and believe me, I have made them! Stories to come in future posts!

I know a I am not the only young filmmaker that also has a passion for the outdoors and for those of you that are passionate about both, this series is for you!

Below is a brief look at some of the topics I will be exploring more in-depth as the project goes on. By no means is it a complete list and it will change and adapt to the experiences I come across on my two week roadtrip through British Columbia. In the end, I hope to have something to offer that may help in your journey!

What’s To Come:

– Back-country filming
– Day trips
– How to pack
– How to set up a tent
– The complete and not so complete camping lists
– How to set up camp
– Mobile editing station

Because of the sporadic cell phone coverage in BC, I will not be posting everyday but will try to post whenever I have an active connection.

Belle Plaine: CD Release Party

I have known Belle Plaine (Melanie Hankewich) for about three years and have filmed her off and on since her decision to make music full time. Her sound is unlike anything I have ever heard. I was lucky enough to hear what she has coming down the pipe with her next album (not this one) and I personally believe it is some of the best stuff coming out of Saskatchewan, if not Canada!

For this project, I wanted to do a little film for the CD Release Party. Initially, I was thinking about doing a montage video from the CD Release Party but after viewing the footage, decided to contact Mel and get her to do a quick sit-down interview talking about the album.

I wanted to take a different approach to this video and limit it to the two events (Live Performance & Interview). I thought about overlaying BROLL over the interview but liked the vibe of it without so left it without the BROLL.

I shot the live performance with another 5D shooter, Alex Stevens. We shot with two 5D’s and one 7D. For the interview, I shot it with a 5D and a 7D. The sound for the interview is pretty noisy and I have finally decided to invest in a nice shotgun microphone so I can avoid the ambient noise you get for Lav’s.

WHAT I LEARNED

The shooting of both the Interview and Performance was pretty straight forward. In order to match the 7D to the 5D’s, I turned the sharpness up a two notches higher than the 5D’s but shot neutral profile settings.

In post-production however, I struggled with the colour correction of this piece. For some reason, (assuming it was my choice to shoot Adobe RGB) the image’s colour changed drastically when uploaded to vimeo. Everything looked over saturated and very red. I ended up re-doing the colour, compensating for the change that was occurring during upload. It was a game of trial and error which was so frustrated. I will be investigating why this was happening (as I am sure there is a simple explanation). What troubles me however, is that out of over 400 uploads, I have never had this issue!

ABOUT BELLE PLAINE

Born and raised on a farm near the village of Fosston, Saskatchewan, Belle Plaine, aka Melanie Hankewich, is a true prairie girl. A performer by the age of five, she was the ringer for every local musical event. Classical voice lessons began at age six and continued through high school. At 18, she knew what she wanted: to write songs, perform and have a home recording studio.

But when she moved to Edmonton to study jazz at Grant MacEwan College, her focus shifted toward a more technical aspect of music: sound recording. After graduation, she worked in a recording studio in Calgary – close to the action, but not in the game. She occasionally sang jingles for commercial radio, but the work felt meaningless.

“I gave up on music in Calgary. I’d lost touch with my own voice. I had years of education, but artistically I felt drained.” Hankewich recalls.

After two years at the studio Hankewich realized she was better off waiting tables. Eager for change, she enrolled at the University of Victoria as an environmental science major. Science was not the right choice, but she had found the right city.
Having fallen in love with Victoria’s vibrant arts community she dropped out of school. She also began to sing again.

Two co-workers heard her voice at the Cook Street Village coffee shop where they all worked. Soon after they informed her that they were starting a band and she was in it.

A handful of performances at open mic nights followed. Hankewich began to write. An itch to travel carried her to Sydney, Australia. She waitressed at a dodgy restaurant, lived in a house with 10 boozy Australians and played gigs with a pack of mongrel musicians. There were pub shows, garage demos and back-up vocals. During her year abroad, she discovered she wanted to be a singer. Again.

In 2006, Hankewich returned to her home province of Saskatchewan. She had not planned to live in Regina, but quickly found a home in the city’s arts community. The scene was small and welcoming. She decided to stay.

By this time, Hankewich’s notebooks were filled with words and melodies. Having quietly decided to pursue music, she was now searching for the perfect moniker. While contemplating this very question on a long drive, she passed by the village of Belle Plaine. The name stuck.

Hankewich left her job to perform full-time as Belle Plaine in early 2010. Appearances that summer included the Cathedral Village Arts Festival, Gateway Folk Festival and the Regina Folk Festival. After hearing her sing, Grant Lawrence of CBC Radio 3 included her in his Summer of 2010 Musical Discoveries podcast.