Like a modern-day pipe dream, traveling the world is something we all aspire to achieve but just can’t seem to find the time for. Instead, we opt for the next best thing: watching travel shows to live vicariously through the production team!
But in essence, that’s what travel shows are meant to do - create an immersive experience for viewers on destinations and cultures that are relatively unknown. Photo Number 6, a new travel series that will air on Channel 10 in Australia in April, aims to do precisely that. Traveling from the bustling markets of Marrakesh to the spellbinding waterfalls of Iceland, the crew explored countries all over the world, filming unique experiences that highlight the local people and cultures of these mysterious places.
Check out the Photo Number 6 trailer here:
The idea for the series is: host Alan Fletcher is a photographer on a quest each day to capture good photos. At the end of each episode, he reviews 5 of the best photos he takes, and chooses 1 to become photo #6. That photo will represent everything he’s experienced about the destination’s culture, people, geography, food etc.
Anthony Littlechild, founder of Creative Head Productions, was DP and camera ops on the road with the production team. He was brought on by Mezzanine Films to handle the filming.
“The name of the TV show is inspired by the ambiguity of your photo collection when you travel for holiday,” explains Anthony. “Everybody loves taking a ton of photos on vacation, but in the end only some of them actually catch your eye. Photo Number 6 represents those unknown and forgotten places.”
When it comes to creating a travel show, visuals need to be as compelling as dialogue. It’s a sightseeing journey viewers take along with the entire production team through the countries they’re visiting. The challenge though is finding a way to film high-quality video while doing essentially a 6-month run-and-gun shoot across the world, capturing every moment whether scripted or candid.
“Things happen very quickly on travel shows, and once they happen, you only get one shot. There aren’t any retakes when curious animals in Africa walk up to you. You just have to be prepared for anything at any moment,” says Anthony.
Capturing the World
Anthony’s team needed a monitor that was sturdy, quick to set up, and mostly importantly wireless. Going from Iceland’s harsh snowstorm environments to the sand dunes of Namibia, laying out wires were 100% out of the question. Shooting blindly also risks getting the wrong framing in. So for quick and reliable monitoring, they brought on a Teradek Bolt 300.
Using an A/B camera setup, the team shot every planned scene from 2 angles. A Cam used an ARRI Amira with the Canon Cine 17-120mm T2.9, while B Cam used the Ursa Pro 4.6K with RED Pro Zoom 18-50mm lenses.
Mounted to A Cam was the Bolt 300 transmitter, which sent an instant wireless feed to the crew’s SmallHD AC7 Director’s monitor. The monitor had handles installed on the sides and a Bolt 300 receiver mounted to the back, creating a compact, lightweight handheld monitor for viewing the shot in fast-paced environments.
- ARRI Amira
- Canon Cine 17-120mm T2.9
- Teradek Bolt 300
- SmallHD AC7
The Director, Stig Wemyss, wanted to film not just the planned moments, but the unplanned ones as well. Trapped on a mountain during a snowstorm in Iceland, Director Wemyss decided to film the unexpected weather situation as the team climbed into an ancient glacier for cover. As the crew filmed, Wemyss was able to monitor the live shot from his SmallHD AC7 monitor, helping to make sure everything was caught perfectly.
For a TV crew which traveled to 11 different countries, having a wireless monitor helped Anthony and Wemyss stay on the same page at every moment.
“No matter where we were filming, the Director could see exactly what I was seeing on my camera,” said Anthony. “Because we only get one chance at many things, knowing that our Director was able to see the feed gave us the confidence that we were getting the right shots. It makes for a much better finished product than blind shooting. We couldn’t have done this without the Teradek.”
Photo Number 6 will be released in April 1 on Channel 10 in Australia. Check out their website and stay up to date for future release dates worldwide.