Lost N Free: Neftali

Neftali is a Cinematographer from Costa Rica who embarked on a journey around the world, creating incredible videos.

I started about 6 months ago a project of traveling solo without an agenda, in other words:

You Choose – I Go.

At least that was the concept. How did it work? I would ask my FB friends where I should go next. With no plan or tickets ahead – just I go wherever they told me to go. The most votes/comments would determine my next destination.

How did I manage to cover this idea (economically)? 

I work as a designer full time. I work from Monday-Friday, but remotely, so it allows me to work wherever I want as long as I have a good WiFi connection. So I said “WHY NOT?” Gotta travel right?

My first destination was Italy. I spent two weeks sailing across Amalfi Coast, Pompei and Sorrento. I made a couple films, and people (friends mostly) started to react positively, so I got motivated on this whole idea of travel + video + anywhere. I decided to stick to it and continued doing this for:

Barcelona, Egypt, Turkey & India.

I started realising my friends were my biggest motivation, but I needed to push this a bit further and get people outside to watch too, including analytics on who is watching my stuff.

So I decided to start a mini-series in India called “inda por media calle” – it translates in English “India in the middle of the streets.”

It’s a Costa Rican slang term we use for people that for some crazy reason decide to walk in the middle of the road instead of the sidewalk. So since my biggest audience was Costa Rican, they identified with and loved the concept.

Basically, I have never really given importance to Facebook Pages before, so I decided to start one for my travel videos – I called it “Lost N Free.”

It rapidly took off. Friends started sharing it, and in the first five days I was up 2000 followers. I was impressed and shocked how well these mini-vids were enticing people to follow and watch more.

Once India was completed, I took a short break at my brother’s house in London to begin editing the film “Land of Kings,” which took me about three weeks to prepare and launch.

Just before launching I was already asking friends where I should travel next:

Iceland or South Africa!  

Majority went with ICELAND this time. I was super thrilled to go there too.

So I packed up, launched the India video on Vimeo, and within the first week, “Land of Kings” got Vimeo’s Staff Pick. It was huge for me!

From there things started to pickup extremely fast – thousands of plays and exposure for what I thought was just my personal and humble video of India.

The thing is Iceland is quiet, desolate, and the landscape dominates the essence of Iceland – not the people – so I knew it couldn’t be a film as dynamic and energetic as India..

I knew couldn’t do a mini-series either because I had no more energy, and work was starting to take a beating on me (health wise). In India I got extremely sick and lost about eight kilograms trying to juggle video filming + traveling + working graveyard hours – I was exhausted (India drained me).

Given I had no idea what I wanted to do, I took things slowly, giving it thought.

Until it hit me, this film is going to SUCK horribly, if I don’t have aerial footage or amazing gear to capture the landscapes! I think many filmmakers hit this wall many times – they get turned down by the lack of equipment.

It did for me. I was very down for several days, and on top of that my only long lens got soaked, so pretty much ruined.

I was left with one single 20mm lens, a GoPro Hero4, and a small Gorillapod to capture something.

I almost gave up (especially after seeing the incredible films already of Iceland).

So one day, I setup my Panasonic Gh4 on the floor with my Gorillapod, framed it against a nice empty field with beautiful mountain backdrops, and said hell I am going to try something just for fun – maybe some weird dance moves in slow motion to send over to to my friends.

On my way back to my Airbnb flat, I watched the footage of myself dancing, and I surprisingly liked it. Especially how it made me pop in the foreground. Almost immediately it clicked! I had an idea.

I needed to make a combination of dance movements in different landscapes. I was extremely excited about the idea, so I rented a car, and over a period of four to five days I traveled across the whole south and east coast in search for amazing backdrops.

(By the way – I used to dance hip hop when I was 17 years old, so I tried to bring in some of those memories here, not sure I was good though).

What I wasn’t expecting was the harsh cold weather conditions! Windy, rainy at 4C – it felt like -10C though. I had to use the same outfit in all scenes, so it was extremely challenging, just a TEE in such harsh conditions, if you notice closely though, in some shots I am wearing a second T-shirt inside.


I had started a playlist for all the locations/countries I visit prior to arriving via Spotify .

For Iceland, I had a good idea for the feeling + style of music, but the Track Solo Dancing by Indianawas chosen right on the last day on my way back home. It was like those glorious moments where it was extremely rainy and hard to drive, and then suddenly the track starts to play and I saw a huge ray of sunlight shine through the whole sky, and that moment sparks.

My whole body went numb when it all clicked together. It was so cool. I had goosebumps running down my spine and chicken-skin all over.

The editing process started in my head almost after hearing the song, repeating it 100 times on my way home. I had the whole video in my head, seriously – everything I had captured was already put together in my head, and I was so excited. I needed to get home and start the edit as fast as possible.

I am glad I did. It took me about three days in total to get all footage indexed, filtered, rough cut, preparing the sound to make it shorter, color grading it, and adjusting everything to match the flow nicely. I was finally happy with it, and decided to give it an early launch.

Unfortunately it didn’t make it into the “Vimeo Staff Pick,” but they certainly loved it so much they put my video in top Travel & Performance films category!

I am extremely satisfied with how it ended up, short film with a bit of a my own flavour of Iceland – a very personal experience alone in heaven.

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camcorder, selective focus on screen, wedding dance photo made by me (Newscom TagID: ipurestockxtwo692097.jpg) [Photo via Newscom]