A Videographer’s Holiday in Sri Lanka

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A Videographer’s Holiday in Sri Lanka

This guest blog was written by videographer Philipp Kommenda. Philipp recently traveled to Sri Lanka where he was able to capture some of the sites and culture.

In July 2015, my family and I spent 18 days traveling through Sri Lanka. It was truly astounding. Never ever have I met people this kind and caring, nor have I seen a country this rich in natural and cultural beauty. In my film “The Holy Land” I did my best to capture as much of it as I could.

Living in Austria, in the middle of Europe, cultural diversity is not exactly far away. It’s actually right on the doorstep. So why sit in a plane for 15 hours instead of 2 ½ and travel to a country as far away as Sri Lanka for holiday? Because it’s different. Different in every aspect.

Travelling with gear is always a bit of a hassle, but leaving something at home that you’d regret later is worse. My cabin baggage always ends up being too much for the limitations, but being nice and friendly goes a long way, and I’ve not had any troubles with carrying two full-size backpacks so far. I just don’t feel comfortable with checking either my camera or my drone. On the other hand, staying cool, while explaining to Turkish airport security what the hell I want with a drone in my carry on, is not exactly the most comfortable I’ve been, so that’s that.

When we finally arrived at the airport in Colombo, the single best travel guide was already awaiting us for pickup – a funny, friendly guy who was ready for showing us his country. He introduced the driver to us, and so we had our team set for the following week. After they dropped us off at our hotel for the night, we were on our own in the evening, so we decided to take a stroll on the beach. That’s where we had the first close encounter with the people of Sri Lanka. Ever Sunday they gather on the beach and simply enjoy life. The kids fly DIY kites and play with each other, while the adults have picnics all over the place. Serendipitously, a family’s soccer ball was blown – carried away by the strong wind – and landed right in front of our feet. Next thing we knew, we were playing with them, having fun while the sun was slowly setting. That evening, we met about 50 locals who were just happy to get to know us. Only having been in the country for 3 hours, we already knew it was going to be an amazing experience all the way through. And that was without seeing anything besides the airport, the hotel, and the 200 meters of beach.

Shooting there was simply a pleasure. The people were always welcoming us with shining smiles, and everywhere we went was beautiful. Because Sri Lanka is one of the lesser developed countries, the folks were fascinated by our shiny cameras – and of course by my drone. Wherever I unpacked the little quadcopter, they were astounded and wanted to catch a little on-screen time.

The whole week of touring through the country was a great experience with lots of temples, national parks, great food, and there was never a boring second. I had my camera with me pretty much all the time during the week, so I ended up with a LOT of footage with a few casual drone flights in between. After that, we proceeded to a small town on the east coast for a little over a week of beach, sun, and watersports. The people we met there weren’t any different in their kindness. I didn’t spend too much time behind the camera in that hotel, so from there I mainly had underwater and aerial footage.

Editing pretty much started on the plane home where I put together a little trailer. Back home, the tedious search after a suitable song started, but after quite some time sifting through Musicbed, I stumbled across “The Spectacular Quiet” by Lights and Motion, which was a perfect fit for what I was planning. After my preselection of the footage, I easily would have had enough material for a feature film, but compressing it in just under 4 minutes forced me to pay really close attention to perfection. What I really love about shooting while travelling is that the minute you return home the beautiful memories slowly start to fade, and while editing I have them available at the click of a button.

It was such an astonishing experience that I still struggle to find words for describing it. I can only recommend everyone visit this amazing island and meet these awesome folks.

Click below to connect with Philipp Kommenda:

Vimeo: vimeo.com/pippokommenda

Email: p.kommenda@me.com

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  • Natasha von Geldern

    Wow what an amazing video, I love it! I am heading to Sri Lanka in December with my family so can’t wait to follow in your footseps

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