Good evening/morning folks
I trust you had a mightily fine weekend.
In place of the weekly Lima round-up, here is some BIG news!
After 4 years in the making, I proudly present “MONGOLIANDO.COM – TOP TIPS THE MOVIE”
This wouldn’t have happened without the help of our good friend, Matthew P.
I am forever grateful amigo.
(Without sounding like an Oscar speech) I would also like to thank all our generous sponsors:
Alpkit.com, Rock+Run, Ring Automotive, Station Road Garage, Cotswold Outdoor, Wayfayrer Foods, Mountaineering Designs, Future Innovations, Wilco Motorsave, Lifeventure and anybody who kept the wheels rolling eastwards.
I would also like to say баярлалаа to the following people:
Sarah T at Martin House Children’s Hospice, Alastair Lee at Posing Productions, all the team at THE ADVENTURISTS, everyone who did the 2012 rally, all who followed us, supported us and most of all, Lina, who put up with my obsession (which is still an obsession now!)
Without further ado, here is:
MONGOL RALLY FILM WORLD PREMIERE – MONGOLIANDO.COM “TOP TIPS THE MOVIE”…
After finishing the 2012 Mongol Rally, life was never quite the same again. I found myself daydreaming (more than usual), of monster potholes in Kazakhstan, rutted trails in Mongolia and dangerously cheap beer in a party at a Czech castle.
Long, long before then, almost 2 years previously in fact, I had been cooking up an idea about a road-trip video. Now I have been snapping photos since I got my first Halina 110 camera for my 9th birthday. Pocket money was spent at Boots Chemists in Kendal, getting photos developed of people with their heads chopped off (dodgy camerawork, not taking photos of horror movies).
My Uncle Fred (rest his soul) was the first person I knew to have a video camera, a HUGE camera that took a full size VHS cassette and was bigger than a TV camera. (He was also the first person I knew to get a VHS Recorder too, he liked his gadgets).
When I worked at First Direct there was an annual sale of recovered (stolen) goods. Not knock-off, but items recovered from use of fraudulent credit cards. I put in a bid for a video camera and won. It changed my life! Recording moving images is a different story altogether.
However, I was pretty useless at it and despite lots of practice and enthusiasm, I was still useless. I contacted and became friends with an amazing gentleman by the name of Al Lee (Posing Productions), who has made countless super high quality films, each time raising the bar of what is possible. He gave me some good advice.
“Don’t concentrate only on the good bits, film the bad bits.
When somebody is being sick, film it. When somebody is about to punch you, pass the camera to somebody else to film it, if you get bitten by a dog, film it…”
He also said a very true fact, that I would grow to know:
“Often the film gets in the way of the adventure, which gets in the way of the film which gets in the way of the adventure!”
Basically this means that it is very, very hard to be spontaneous. The two things (adventure and filming) are not good bedfellows and are not conducive towards each other. Sometimes you have to film things more than once, and it can risk looking “staged”. Plus, you have to get the camera out when you are knackered and film when you’re really not in the mood (whilst lost. sick or otherwise distracted).
Gearwise the world has moved on since Uncle Fred’s monster VCR beast.
Go-Pro changed everything! Suddenly anybody could film and make an amazingly high quality film and share it in numerous ways. Other brands followed suit and of course mobile phone cameras became such good quality that they became a gamechanger too.
For our trip, after much saving and deliberation, we settled on the following:
- Nikon D3100 DSLR (blew my bonus on a digital SLR, it has never been the same again. Damn you sands of the Gobi Desert!)
- Kodak Playsport video camera (brilliant and cheap piece of kit, almost bombproof).
- Go Pro Hero II (Great kit, crap batter life). I remember a conversation with a GP salesman at a ShAFF (Sheffield Adventure Film Festival) event. Possibly the most laidback man I have ever met, as basically his product just flew out of the door itself, he didn’t need to sell it!
He said “It is only limited by your imagination” (in other words, where you put/mount it).
The Go Pro Wi-Fi remote just came out before the rally, but they were rarer than hen’s teeth and not to be found anywhere. I tracked one down to a surf shop in Devon (who had bought a job lot), but never read the instructions until the day we left and in a tizz/panic/tantrum moment, it was left behind!
Now, we made one monumental mistake, which would bite my backside bigtime.
The Silver Streak (our incredible 998cc Micra, the star of the show) was packed to the rafters.
Thanks to RING AUTOMOTIVE we had umpteen charging options, but I felt that a laptop would get lost/broken and was simply excessive. Schoolboy error. It meant we didn’t check footage en-route :-/
I was working on the assumption that if we shot enough (i.e. loads and loads of) footage, by the law of averages we could stitch enough together.
However, without playing back footage we didn’t know if what we were filming was any good.
We filmed a daily update on the Kodak, but didn’t realise that wind sound (open window) made this practically unusable. This was a blow!
It was also mega-shaky and generally unwatchable, another blow.
Go-Pro cameras are indestructible and the mounts are solid as. However, you don’t know if the battery has run out if it is attached to the front of your bonnet! Plus, hours and hours of road are just not interesting to other people!
The Nikon started playing up in Kazakhstan, despite our best efforts to shelter it from the desert, a sandstorm one night caught us by surprise and it protested from there on.
That’s all my excuses done!
So, we got home with 5000 photos and 4wks of film. Ploughing through this does three things:
1- Make you wish you were back there.
2-Drive you nuts!
3- Make you wish you were back there!
That is when our Rally guardian, saviour and a man who I am forever indebted to, Matthew P stepped in.
Matthew had done the rally in 2009 and I had approached him for advice after watching one of his sterling videos. He offered to edit our film for us, I snapped his hand off. (As this is an area that I know less than zero about).
With the patience of a saint, he skillfully knitted and weaved it all together.
I had big ideas about adding other bits to it, but as time passed it never happened and after watching it with a big smile and showing it to a few close friends, it languished on a hard drive for several years, UNTIL NOW!
So, sit back, grab a brew and watch the 14 minute and 44 seconds showcase that is:
MONGOLIANDO.COM – TOP TIPS – THE MOVIE!
If this leaves you with a taste for more bite-sized chunks, you could check out our TOP TIPS series too. Life saving/life-changing/procrastination material!
Have an awesome week.
Hasta la proxima amigos
Johnny, Lina & Valentina x
(The Nipper was as excited as I was about the film!)