Frequently Asked Questions
How is Documentary Trips different from other filmmaking workshops?
There are very few destination video workshops like ours on offer. Most workshops on the market are affiliated with universities, colleges or film schools, requiring commitments of 1-4 years. Our workshops generally run for 5-10 days and cost much less than the other options. We're like the original travelling film school, but instead of buildings and books, we have the planet and some awesome cameras!
What is included in the workshop price?
The workshop fee includes all instruction, accommodations, meals (usually all inclusive, depending on the trip), local fees (such as taxis, entry to National Parks, etc.), as well as access to cameras, sound and post-production equipment. Transfers to and from the airport and day trips when filming in groups are normally included in the cost as well. Independent work may involve added travel costs depending on the needs of your particular project.
What type of camera & equipment do I need?
Much has changed in terms of camera technology in recent years, ever since films like Slumdog Millionaire and shows like House pioneered the use of DSLRs. Nowadays, cameras such as the Sony A7, Panasonic GH, or the Canon 5D lines are regularly used in documentaries, and even on Hollywood sets, alongside cameras that are vastly more expensive. After all, if Soderbergh can shoot a film on an iPhone, then so can we.
How much filmmaking skill is required to join a workshop?
Do the workshop attendees work in groups, or can we work individually?
Your participation in seminars and group work is always optional. Most of our workshops offer the opportunity to actually film your own mini-documentary. As with professional crews, this usually involves teamwork, so most people will choose to join a group with fellow participants- just like how the pros do it. Plus, memories are better when shared!
What is the age limit?
As a rule of thumb, the minimum age is typically 18 years old. Although, we will consider participants as young as 16 years old with written parental permission on an individual basis. There is no upper limit!
How many people take part in each workshop?
Our workshops typically consist of 5-10 participants and 3-4 instructors from our international team, including local experts (unless otherwise stated).
What are the accommodations like?
As documentary filmmakers, our routes are determined by the field opportunities and the story, not by the nature of the hotels. Usually accommodations are in the 3.5 - 4 star range at hotels, lodges or villas. There may be some exceptions depending on the particular needs of the trip, such as trips to remote locations where hotels don’t exist, or trips to higher-end locales (like Bali). Accomodations details will be specified in each trip itinerary.
Is local travel included?
Generally, yes. Most workshops offer group transfers between the airport and hotel. Also included is local transport for field excursions and group filming (generally 3 round-trip transfers per each 5-day workshop). If your project needs go beyond this, there may be added costs, but that’s entirely at your discretion.
What is the cancellation/ refund policy?
If we can find a replacement for your spot at full cost (and at no extra cost to us), we can provide a 100% refund. If we cannot find a replacement, you will lose your deposit, or potentially the full cost of the trip if within 30 days of departure.
Do I need to get immunizations before I travel?
We strongly recommend speaking with a travel doctor prior to departure. Specific health and travel information will be provided for each workshop.
Do we have down-time to relax and explore on our own?
Independent exploration is encouraged, and may even be a part of “finding your story.” There will be ample opportunity to relax and hit the pool, beach or town if that’s what you prefer to do. All workshop components, from the morning to evening programs, are entirely optional. You may choose to attend only those that apply to you, and skip the group work or field components entirely. Or you may prefer to attend every session that’s offered and stay up late editing your documentary with our help. Your schedule is entirely in your hands.
I’m an experienced photographer looking for an advanced course to get me into videography. Is there a workshop catered to me?
The answer is that virtually all of our workshops are perfectly suited to you! In fact many of our instructors began their careers much in the same boat, with a background in stills. You may find that your group consists of many people in the same situation. Or you may find that you have an advantage compared to other participants, in which case you may prefer to skip certain seminars and instead spend your time in a one-on-one with a director, or familiarizing yourself with our video and audio gear with a camera operator. In other words, we’ve got you covered.
I’m a senior citizen / person with limited mobility and have always wanted to do my own documentary project. Should I be worried about my limited mobility and/or energy?
Not at all! If you don’t feel up to a jungle adventure or a sunrise hike, we can coordinate a day trip that will suit your mobility and level of energy. Your workshop schedule can be entirely customized to your comfort level.
I would like to buy a camera in preparation for this workshop. Do you have any recommendations?
Purchasing a camera for this workshop is not necessary, but if you want to start making your own videos, it is, of course, ideal to have your own camera. Shooting in the field is fraught with uncertainty and there is always some risk. The best advice we can offer when buying a camera for documentary work, is buy the best camera that you can afford to lose. Whether that’s a Panasonic GH5, a Canon C200, or a RED camera. Feel free to contact us with questions or if you want more specific advice on equipment!
What is the difference between a Trip and a Workshop?
We have something for everyone!
Why are some trips more expensive than others?
Good question! You may notice that we offer a variety of experiences. Our regular adventure trips (like wildlife and scuba diving trips) tend to be more affordable and are open to all. These are led by 1-2 guides, and although you will have ample opportunity to learn from your hosts, the setting is a relaxed one.