General Advice for Preparation
this lesson is all about preparation, and it is not something to be underestimated. And that's really what it means at the end of the day. Teoh, prepare for your trip. Um, I'm a big advocate of pre planning. Um, all the assignments have been on almost 12 years now. I've been doing the assignment routine and working on films and photo essays and stories and large multiyear projects. And I constantly go back through this process of preparing whether I'm coming back from the field or going out to the field. One project I've been working on for 20 months, literally, and I've had two trips to the same location. It's a long, long way. Okay, Sexually one of most remote islands in the world. And you have to have, ah, process that has to be processed. Oh, everything is just like my gear when it's in a in the bag. I've got a spot for everything. So if some spot is empty, I'm not like, oh, well, let me figure out what it is. Everything has its home. Every step is important to my process. So I wan...
t to talk to you about what my processes. There's some general advice, and I think the 1st 1 is very, very important. And that's safety first. It sounds obvious, but it's really not for a lot of people. I think that they take unnecessary risks. I've seen people, photo shop images. I was looking last night online and some stuff on social media, and I saw the photo shop something that looked riel but was really unsafe. It could inspire other people, would be unsafe. I think there's an etiquette thing. There's a system to that. But safety first, you know, our expeditions and some of them are truly expeditions, you know, we're to the these islands and places I went Teoh, we have to make sure that we have steps on everything. If we're diving in the water, are the tanks Good? If we're gonna be out all day, do we have enough water? If the golf cart that they gave us to get to the other end of wherever we are breaks down, how are we getting back? What do we dio? Um radios, batteries, All those things you have to think about those You have to have steps. The reason I have steps on why preparations such an important part of the process is because routine is creates perfection in my mind. Um, you know, the more often you do it, you're less likely to forget it. If you do it in a specific order, you're less likely to forget it. And so, for me, preparation eyes a very critical step in safety, being first and above all, the most important. You know, I was very fortunate that I got to be one of the first people to go to Cuba. Ah, and to ah, film, commercial film. Ah, a few years ago, it was on sharks for shark week, and, you know, that was a really great project for me. But, you know, we're in jumping in the water with sharks. You think safety is an issue 100% right? But when you're in a national park or else it's no less different, Um, you know, you gotta worry about people. You gotta worry about your gear leaving it behind. Um, you know, leaving it in your car. You're doing motion. That's something I'm gonna talk about is a big problem. Is do you really wanna have all this extra stuff you're not gonna carry it everywhere you go. So that means you might be leaving thousands of dollars worth of gear behind you. Um, you know, what's the process? Toe? Having so routine will create perfection, and I think that it's a critical critical part of the process. So safety first, though, um, creating a checklist is really key. I think, you know, making sure that all of the small little elements are included. And in the introduction to storytelling, talked about like that one little boat that could have ended the entire motion portion of the shoot or certainly grossly limited it Not being able to actually pan it, that's a very real thing. I mean, how many people have gotten out of the field and for gotten something that you needed right? Like yeah, exactly. Everyone, not everyone recent him a lot. People raise their hands and you know you want to avoid that because it impacts all of the other things that you spent time and money planning for and putting together. Um, you know, you let's say if it's a trip of a lifetime thing about what you've put and cost into that, so have a checklist. Have a process have a routine go through. A checklist is part of that routine. All of your gear should be listed out. You want to know what you have? You know, each time I go into the field, I add to that list. When I when I come back, I go out and I say, Oh, God. Okay. I needed this thing. Or you know what? I really only have one. If I lost this, this could be a problem. And I update that list. That should be something that you constantly revising. Each time you go out, each time you add something in revise it, um, you know, add to it and build upon it. Our checklists have been our multiple pages there long charts. I'll show you example of them in a bit, but basically, you know, they're just these long things nowadays. When when you talk about insurance and stuff like that, you've got your serial numbers on their cost of replacement. You know, you might have How many of them do you have? I mean, there's a lot of different ways to do it, but I strongly recommend it. It's gonna make your life a lot easier. Um, And if you forget something or you need to do something, you're only gonna get better each time. And that's what this whole course about anyway, Right? Getting better each time, George batteries seems obvious. Make sure you charge your batteries. I forgot to do it in the beginning of my north gas cage trip, so I had, thankfully extra batteries that were charged. But I got out that unlike, huh? Okay. Getting a blinking light. That's not good. But charge your batteries, Um, have a process for that as well. Rotated processes, processes or everything. That's my preparation is so important. Clean your equipment, you know, keep it clean. You know, that's one of the biggest pet peeves for photographers. You know, when I bring people out into the field, um, you know, I have other. Since I've worked with other cinematographers, you know, our current team is top notch. You know, everybody's like, meticulous and you'll see, like when we're out, like playing for an underwater shoot. Like the guy James I mentioned. James Scott doesn't underwater cinematography. He won't even let anybody be in the same room. He'll find, like, someplace go squirrel away in the corner. with all this stuff and he lays it all out on the table and he just sits in there and he cleans every square inch because one piece of sand on a sensor for motion is not like one piece of dust for a still camera. You know, you can remove it quickly and photoshopped in motion. You've gotta painted out. You've got to track it potentially. You might not be able to gets expensive. You don't have the same benefits. So cleanliness and preparing for the field and at the end of every day in the field is paramount. So you don't want dust on the lens. You don't have to deal with it. You don't want to fix it in post. Editors hate that. No fixing it in post to keep your equipment clean. Have a process for that as well. Have a process. I'm gonna show you my gear bag in the gear section of this class and I bring paintbrush. Everyone always makes fun of me. When I bring my paintbrush outfits like Paintbrush. It's actually now becoming kind of superstitious thing a little bit. It's been everywhere. I bought it like a long time ago It's like this big, and I use it to clean my camera at the end of every day when I opened your look at your lens. So take a look at your lens on the camera body. Look at what's around it. Nasty gets dirty, is like it just because it's like one of those areas that's things get caught in. Keep it clean because when you change lenses, that stuff falls in and I say Get dust on your sensor and that's how shots get ruined. So I bring a paintbrush and I bring an heir thing. I've got a whole bunch of stuff, so we'll talk about that in my gear. But keep your equipment clean. It's very important to have that, um, and for motion, it can really end a really and a shoot for sure. Um, you know, I've had cameras fall into the sand, and it's but stop slow the process down. Clean it times. I'll clean it halfway through the day, halfway through. Shoot. If you've got some downtime because it's it's that important, it will ruin. It can ruin your shots, and especially when we're talking about motion, it's probably more important than ever before for motion, so keep it clean. Um, one thing to also like your IPhone. People forget like you take pictures and this is it Looks little misty. Whatever. Like you're holding that thing with your fingers. Like clean the lens, clean the lens a little bit, right. Make your pictures a little bit more, Chris, if you don't realize it. But those thumbprints on the front of that tiny little Latin's are are going to ruin it. So don't do that. This is a big one. Update your APS if you are working in a remote location or in a place where you're flying your drone and covers in the drum class as well. But you want to make sure your APs and all the things that you use that are tied your equipment more than ever before your equipment is tied to phone APs or IPad, app or whatever. So, like in the drone, for instance, um, you know, I actually, you actually control and fly and watch what's going on and set your all your settings using an app. Often times there there operate the company. Whatever company, Whatever join you have, I've had it where I get out to the field and they're like, cannot fly. Need to update Do it when you have a WiFi connection, you know, you last going to do is be someplace What happened to me. I was an American, some ah ah a couple months ago on this expedition. And, um, I got to the hotel and there's not a lot of good Internet in American Samoa, and I realized I hadn't updated my app. So everything I'm telling you here, by the way, is because I did it wrong. It's on because I do it right, because somewhere along the line I'm like, this is gonna be my routine. This is gonna be my exercise. Um, I couldn't fly my drone until I had it updated. I took six hours to download the update, and I had to leave for a flight to next place the next day, or is a boat rather. But so I had to make sure I got it done. Had update both the bird as I call my drone, as well as the controller on the on the, uh, on the app itself. So you want to make sure you do that because it will ground you if you're flying. You might be using other APS for whether all those kinds of things update him downloading a lot time. I'll screenshot things if I feel like I'm not gonna have a WiFi signal if you're relying on technology in the field, You asked me about how to prepare when you go Teoh the him Elias Mountains up. Are you going in India side or where you going? Have beautiful. Um, you know, you want to prepare. I've been up in their lower areas, like Risha cash in the north and then up to like, the source of the Ganji is up in that area, and, you know, it's an incredible area, but there's nothing you know you can't use no WiFi, really. You know, there's no real resource is for those kinds of things. So having a checklist and having this preparation process is gonna be really important. But certainly make sure if you were relying on technology, update them, charge them, download them screenshot thumb, print them out. That's the other thing for really going out in the nature like print it out like I carry this thing around with me everywhere it's got all my notes. All the things I need to know that I don't rely on just my laptop doesn't open today. I have this in my backup plan. So have a backup plan, which is actually the next line. Bring paper releases. Um, that's another app, of course, is if you're getting model releases and property releases. Ah, lot of people are relying on their phones for that kind of stuff. You know? Have you updated that as well as another one I owe usually bring paper. I found that you know that the Absa great, they're good solutions. But she's comfortable. Have time, you know, people, whatever above, over what I found in a lot of real world situations. Having the paper version and not relying on the digital technology has been really helpful because it's a lot easier to hand three of them to somebody and pass your phone around to three different people, and minutes later, you're shaking your head like you know exactly what they're finally done. You want to get it done quick. You don't want it to be a drawn out process. You want people to sign the release and you wanna be able to move on? Um, same thing with property. So paper releases are key. If you want to use technology, take a picture of the release at the end and save it. Also strongly recommend that because I have also lost paper releases before. Um, and again, I'm telling you everything cause I've done it all wrong. So I'm teaching you what I've encountered in these extreme situations. So paper releases are very helpful. A stronger recommended. This is my general advice on preparation. Um, I do want to give a little etiquette, uh, talk here on respecting wildlife and nature. I can't say how many times you see people getting closer and closer with their camera somewhere with a, you know, a bison or something like that. This is my respect. Wildlife and nature. Talk. It's important is part of preparation because you have to know what you're gonna bring with you. And you should be planning to be far away unless you're working with biologists or some sort of specialists. Get you up closer and you have permission. And it's safe. Um, you know, that is the way to do it. I'm not gonna go through each step. But, you know, I just want to put the caveat out there. Respect wildlife when I'm outdoors, you know, I let them come to me. That's the right way to do it a lot of time. These animals, they're conserving their energy. You don't want to chase them. You want to run after them. Um, you know the young ones, especially over vulnerable. Come one thing I like to do. If you're planning to do wildlife, have infrared use a camera trap. Even those could be invasive if you're not doing it right. But you want to set them in a way that they're wide, they're far away. They're less invasive than you chasing something down. You don't have to go and sit all day either. You know, infrared trap is essentially, you know, two points. Almost something like this animal walks through an invisible beam takes their picture very popular with National Geographic photographers. Wildly photographers In general, there's more wonderful technology for capturing wildlife in a non invasive way than ever before. The other great way to do wildlife preparation when you're figuring out what gear you want to bring, of course, is like remote triggers things like that. Things that allow you to stay far away Like what I do with the island. Fox, you know, they always run down that same path, have been running down that same path 12 years. I know. I can set up a camera right there in the grass and sit. Have a cup of coffee in the morning, be 500 feet away. I watch them run down as they run down, fire bunch of frames and then pick one.