What Goes into Making a Travel Show

Just as soon as the diagnosis for your symptomatic wanderlust comes in and you’ve had confirmation that you have indeed been bitten by the travel bug, your entire world suddenly revolves around travelling. If you’re not travelling or planning your next trip at any a specific time, you’re either dreaming of a faraway place you’d so love to visit, you’re talking to someone about some of the experiences you’ve had on your previous travels, you’re flicking through your travel and adventure album, or you’re just breaking down how much closer each bit of work you’ve managed to complete takes you to your next getaway. The next best thing is watching travel shows to quench your travel thirst, even some of those which aren’t all that well produced.

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Great travel shows usually just paint a realistic picture of the featured destination or activity, but there’s a whole lot which goes into producing a quality travel show. People really think it’s as easy as having a cameraman and perhaps a sound guy just tailing the presenter as they complete each scene in one take. It’s really not that easy and presenters will often tell you a story of how the production elements of the show tend to take a considerable amount of fun out of what is otherwise a lot of fun seeing the world and exploring various activities on offer.

Lots of Pre-Preparation

Although the best travel shows make the final, edited scenes look like they were spontaneous, a lot of pre-preparation goes into firstly organising interactions with hotel staff, front-desk personnel, tour-operators, tour-guides, etc., and secondly, setting up the recording equipment. Featured tour-guides and other hosts of that sort often need to be powdered-up a bit so that the camera settings ensure they’re visible on screen, while camera placement and sound-synching can be a real nightmare since many other travellers and locals are naturally just going about their daily business. You’ll be surprised at the lengths to which the film crews will go just to get what often turns out to be a perfect shot, but a perfect shot which only lasts a couple of seconds in the final cut. Filming some of the activities forming part of a mountain biking trail for instance, isn’t just a matter of mounting a GoPro camera on any mountain bike. In order to get smoother footage which makes for less of an editing nightmare, directors spend hours picking out props such as specialized mountain bikes in the case of getting some good mountain biking footage.

To expand on our mountain biking example, since there’d naturally be a lot of takes, lots of other considerations which have to be catered to come into play, such as the fact that some special cycle clothing would be required if the presenter is to look like she’s engaging in the activity naturally, but is in reality only barely just holding it together under some clothes which were wetted by a muddy water puddle or are getting rather sweaty and smelly.

So the next time you feel like the reality of your travels to a specific destination you may have seen featured on a travel show isn’t quite living up to what you saw on the show, remember that you’re very likely still having ten times as much fun as the presenter featured on the show.

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