MAREK DONNIER | PAUL LEVRIER | JAN-MATTIEU DONNIER
The three were brought together on a previous Destination Asia product when Jan-Mattieu’s company, Global Vision, was contracted to photograph a series of 360 degree virtual tours of venues for Destination Asia’s Events web site. Talk soon expanded to ideas for video production as we had long considered producing our own tourism promotion material, however, we didn’t want a typical production. It had to be cutting edge, it had to be now, but above all, it had to be culturally and visually rich and impactful.
Jan floated the idea of a smaller drone that their company had recently brought in from Switzerland. We ran a few test flights and we immediately conceived the concept of an aerial recorded video of the prime cultural sites of Vietnam and Cambodia. We went to immediate work on the script, the ideas and the time frame of the project and created a budget that would ensure it was completed without cutting corners.
Timing was important for the footage to be recorded when the selected destinations were at their most evocative, so we created a schedule around the weather which, for the most part, can be closely predicted during the cool, hot and wet seasons of this part of Asia. First stop was Angkor in January. The height of the cool season when the air was fresh but also the height of the tourist season, presenting challenges and limitations of where we could film and when.
From the outset we didn’t want to simply launch a drone and film the destinations from the air. It had to have more than that, if that wasn’t enough. So we created scenes and cultural elements that provided a human aspect to the footage we were recording. In Cambodia we had monks, elephants, dancers, martial art fighters all adding to these wonderful scenes. In Vietnam we have farmers, market sellers, school girls, models, mandarins, performances and processions all helping to inject a rich element of culture into the images we are trying to portray.
We hope, at the end of the project and the final DVD and book completion, we will have an insight into Vietnam and Cambodia that will make its inhabitants proud and will entice visitors to come and see for themselves the sheer cultural beauty and diverse landscape of these enigmatic destinations in Asia.