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Film Making Reflections

by Azlan

I had always been fascinated with photography from a very early age. I remembered myself carrying the family camera during trips and taking lots of pictures, tho most were pretty random. Heading into secondary school, I continued this interest and it led me to my first digital camera, the Fujifilm FinePix A101; a 1.3mp point and shoot camera. Back then, I learned photography by way of reading books from the library and though the camera was pretty decent then, I appreciated the basic camera operation and how photography sorta worked.

After starting school at Singapore Polytechnic, I pursued photography further by purchasing a new camera, the Pansonic Lumix FZ5 (and later upgraded to the Nikon D70). I came home late on most days, heading out to places like Botanic Gardens and the Esplanade after school to shoot photographs. It was during this time that I met a person named Matthias Chng. He became a great friend, mentor and was in the early days of becoming a great wedding photographer himself. I shadowed him for most of the time, learning to appreciate his viewpoints on photography and his creative eye.

However, film making was never something I thought I would be interested in doing. I did buy a Nikon D90 for my birthday in 2008, which was also the first DSLR with HD Video. But I dabbled with that ever so slightly by making a video montage of my National Service Days.

The arrival of the GoPro was a turning point for me, as I was already a runner looking for ways to record my running journey. Back then, trail running videos were still produced by media production teams with large budgets and crew. The purchase of the GoPro Hero 3 in 2012 for my first ultra in 2013 further sparked my interest to start creating trail running clips. It helped that other runners like Ethan Newberry (The Ginger Runner)Billy Yang, Sébastien Montaz as well as other runners with YouTube channels like AstrodeckStudio were also making great trail running content.

Its 2016 now. I’ve created about 17 trail running related clips, with 15 of them created with a GoPro. While I do appreciate the point of view, ease of use and portability of the camera, I felt that I could do more than just stitching together a couple of GoPro clips into a single film. Not that there’s anything wrong with it film.

As of now, I’m happy to announce that I’ve concluded over 2 days worth of shooting with a bunch of friends who sacrificed their weekend to help me with my first trail-running short film. I will easily say that while 2 of these clips will be for the Runivore Dream Race competition, the ‘theatrical’ long cut version will be something for me and everyone to enjoy. I’m by no means trained formally as a film maker/photographer nor do I aspire to be a great one, but the trail running community has created so much inspiring stories and contents, that I’m compelled to push myself out of my comfort zone to try to create something different.

I’ll leave this post with a great video from a well known photographer that I was inspired by early on, Chase Jarvis.


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