In the summer of 2016 I took my first ever solo trip to France and Belgium. Before I went, I planned a vlog series to document my trip. I also made a video explaining what it was I was going to do.
In the above video, I explained what I was about to embark on. I used an overhead shooting approach while making this video, using a rig that I designed on my own with a step ladder, golf club and dandiya sticks that I found at home. I used a Joby GorillaPod to attach the camera to the ladder, and a small table to serve as a wooden surface and voila – the overhead shooting rig was ready.
The overhead shooting approach was something that always interested me. I made props using cardboard, coloured paper, whitener and markers. The light was initially too harsh so I used some butter-paper hung on clothes hangers to diffuse it. I used maps and some souvenirs that I had collected on previous trips to help with the story as well. After scripting the entire thing, I shot it in one take, and edited it for time in the post-processing stage. As you can see, it was a very DIY project.
Once I was at HEC, on the second day of classes we were to go to Paris and visit a Dior store to study their retail practices. My group and I decided to visit the flagship store on Avenue Montaigne. I vlogged that day as well. Though it wasn’t part of the main The Solo Europe Trip series, I made a video about that day.
After the trip was over and I was back home in Bangalore, I decided to start editing the final vlog series.
The Vlog Series
Episode 1 describes my first 2 days in Paris, before I started classes at HEC. I used time-lapses and motion to express how hectic and fast moving those two days were.
Episode 2 describes my HEC Paris Summer School experience. I tried going date-wise since there was just so much footage, but not an equal amount every day.
Episode 3 describes my travel to and experience in the small French coastal town of Étretat in Normandy. The song used here is called ‘Seaside’ by Haux, and I believe it captures the feelings I was experiencing during my two days’ stay there.
Here, I tried putting myself in the frame à la Casey Neistat style. I realised it was quite simple using the GorillaPod. The GorillaPod was super useful throughout the trip, since it could basically serve as a tripod wherever I wanted it to, without having to lug around a full-size tripod. I highly recommend it for travelling.
Episode 4 describes my experience in Brussels, Bruges and the Rock Werchter music festival in Belgium. I made this video in the form of a list, so as to provide a structure for the content, which otherwise would have been a little scattered, since I wasn’t shooting every single thing I was doing.
Episode 5 describes my last three days in the city of Paris. I used a traditional ‘talk-to-the-camera’ vlog style in this video, hence its longer length.
This time, I felt a lot more confident about travel-vlogging alone and talking to the camera in public. So I decided to do a traditional talk-to-the-camera vlog, just to switch things up a little. I set up my GorillaPod as a selfie stick (much to the amusement of my walking tour guide in Bruges) and used my camera faced towards me to talk to it. Other times, I held my point and shoot in my hand and faced it towards me.
I used Adobe Premiere Pro (part of the Adobe Creative Cloud) running on a MacBook Pro to make all the edits in this vlog series. The videos were shot on a Nikon D5200 camera, as well as a Sony HX9V point and shoot camera. Some clips were also shot on an iPhone 5C.