New York based film maker Andrew D Watson made this atmospheric video last winter. Called The Low Season, Andrew stopped off en route home after a shoot and set off into the Ladakh region of India on an old air cooled motorcycle. We caught up with him for a chat about film making, riding motorcycles and how he make The Low Season.
When and how did you get into film making?
I actually got into filmmaking and photography as a teenager. I started filming my friends and I skateboarding and riding BMX. I’m now a working professional in NYC, BUT still filming my friends and I riding bikes… but now with motors.
Filming a road trip story like this one, all by yourself with just a Canon 5D must have been hard. How did you manage to work like that?
I wasn’t planning to make a short film but the region of Ladakh was just so beautiful I couldn’t stop filming. In order to not stop every 5 miles, I tried to pick a few different roadside locations to leave the camera. The view just kept getting better and better, so the biggest challenge was trying to decided where to turn off. In general, there are actually only a few riding shots in the piece. Its a lot of landscapes, which were easy to film, since it was so beautiful!
Are you a keen driver?
Keen driver? I’m more of a motorcyclist. I grew up riding minibikes and dirt bikes. Then, I had a bit of break from motorbikes and got really into BMX bikes, but then returned to motorbikes after finishing university. I do most of my daily commuting in NYC by bicycle, and when not on my bicycle I’m on my 1973 Honda CB500 Four, which I do all the work on. I love riding and find I’m happiest when on two wheels.
What subjects do you love filming the most?
On the directing side I really enjoy working on anything the involves wheels, craftsman, tools, travel and the outdoors! As a cinematographer I get to work on a ton of projects and they really range in topic. On the cinematography front I really enjoy working on any project that is informative. I recently shot a project on coffee in Costa Rica and learned about the entire process, which was really cool to see. Then last month I was working on a broadcast doc about the new Panama Canal lock system, and now can describe every detail of how it works.
Favourite film maker / photographer?
Errol Morris, for balancing commercial work with ground breaking documentary projects.
How do you work?
I usually work with a pretty decent sized crew, which is why the Low Season project was a fun departure from the luxuries I have gotten use to. On the doc side its usually a 5 or 6 person crew. On larger studio gigs it can be upwards of 20+ not counting client and agency folks. I actually really enjoy the change in crew size, each project demands a different type and size of crew.
What kind of equipment / software to you use?
I personally own a Canon C300 package with a full set of Canon L series glass. But as a cinematographer I use whatever is needed for the job. Sometimes its a RED Epic with Ultra primes, sometimes its a GoPro.