A Freehand Film Which Pays Homage To Lifes Most Precious Moments

When Ben Walton took two months off in the summer to spend time with his friends exploring British Columbia in Canada, he managed to create more than just memories. His short film, Exploring British Columbia, documents not only the varied, and stunning, scenery of the province but also the personal journey of a group of young adults.

From heart-warming scenes of friends around campfires and climbing, as a team, toward mountain summits to birds-eye shots of snow-covered valleys, Ben’s film is an insight into life as well as landscape. It was his love of mountain biking and snowboarding, which lead Ben to this mecca for adrenaline, and being a filmmaker he, naturally, wanted to document the experience.

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The whole film was shot freehand, using only a neck strap and a small gorilla tripod for the time-lapse shots. The trip had no real plan to it and thus neither did the shots yet the film seems to fit together seamlessly: yes, it is a series of individual scenes, but there are strong themes running through the entire sequence tying each to the next. These strands are namely adventure and beauty but perhaps the one which makes the film so endearing is its human element: the emotive music playing as we watch the friends bond in the middle of the wilderness, that familiar feeling we have all felt where we know we are doing something spectacular; something we will remember forever.

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Ben is the friend we all wish we had with us, camera in hand, while conquering fears, realising dreams and just living in the moment. We spoke to him to find out about the dream, the difficulties and the delivery of this piece of filmmaking mastery.


The Plus: What inspired you to create this short film?
Ben Walton:
Inspiration for the film mainly came from my love to explore new places and aim to create some beautiful visuals of them. This is my third big trip in the last two years and I love documenting what I see along the way. I’ve been wanting to explore BC for some time, ever since I was first introduced to mountain biking/snowboarding; as it’s pretty much the mecca for both of those sports, and anything adrenaline fuelled really. The BC landscapes are also pretty inspiring in themselves – it’s hard to put the camera away, when around every bend there’s something more epic than the last.

TP: You did all the shots freehand – what was the most challenging aspect of filming?
BW:
Getting a steady shot wasn’t always easy – whether it was standing shots tracking a skiier, or in a car, trying to get a smooth shot of an epic landscape – it takes practice, and a steady hand. I usually hold my breath, which I, and others find quite funny but it helps I swear!

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TP: What is it that you most love about British Columbia?
BW:
British Columbia has to be one of the most diverse places I’ve been to date. It really does have everything! Ie. I can be in Vancouver, in the middle of the hustle and bustle one minute – the next, on a mountain looking down over it, riding a bike or carving some fresh lines on a board. Love that about it – Not something that you seen in many other places in the world. Also – the people, and I know its often a phrase used a lot when you visit other countries.. “ahh the people are so nice” – but Canadians are genuinely awesome and so chilled. I may be biased as I was with an awesome group of 30+ students in Whistler and Kelowna for a while, but they were always down for doing something cool, going on an adventure, making fires, shooting guns, giving you a bed for the night (or two weeks) and generally being great hosts.
In short – I could move there tomorrow.

TP: What was the creative process for the film?
BW:
With regards to the creative process, it was kind of similar to the way I planned the trip – Completely random. I had no set intentions for what sort of content I aimed to include, locations, or feel. I knew I wanted to have some snowboarding in there, but that was all i had in mind. I literally made it up as I went along (the trip and the film). All I had organised was a flight in and out, two months apart. The rest fell into place better than I could ever have imagined, and then so did the film. I didn’t have any narrative planned, more so a montage or the trip in an almost chronological order, showing off BC and the people I was with, the best I could.
Editing platform I use is Adobe Premiere Pro CC; I’ve been using it since I was about 15 I think. So almost 6 years on it. All the colour grading, audio tweaking is done internally of Premiere Pro. The recent updates have made is super versatile with tonnes more features, so you don’t have to use additional software for other aspects of the edit.

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TP: Where in the world would you most like to shoot?
BW:
Good question. At the moment I’ve shot in the majority of the places which were on the top of my list (South East Asia, New Zealand, Sri Lanka, Canada) – I would really love to go and explore India and South America soon. So much culture, colour and vibrancy going on throughout both of them. Hopefully make it to one sooner rather than later, with my camera.

TP: What’s next for you?
BW:
I only really returned to the UK to “work” (film) which I’ve got a lot of booked in for the next 6 months or so. I work for myself shooting a pretty wide variety of projects in the UK, Europe and further. Quite a lot of weddings, which are starting to spread further than the UK now and some celebrity bookings which is always nice, as well as extreme sports, music and commercial. We’ve got a big project in the pipeline for June with Sri Lankan airlines and a mountain bike event “Rumble in the Jungle” which we’ll be heading out to SL for a couple of weeks for, can’t wait to be out there again. So, a pretty packed Summer and beyond of filming all over is what’s next :)

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