Before I even set foot on Kilimanjaro, I knew I wanted to document my experience on video. The challenge would make for some great videos and I wanted to give those who were thinking about doing this same climb some visuals and insights on what to expect.
Since we had to hike with our daypacks for around 4-6 hrs a day, it meant I had to really scale back on my usual equipment. I armed myself with my Canon DSLR, a GoPro, and my iPhone to capture the footage, a mini shot-gun mic to record my audio, and a monopod to help steady the shots.
As if climbing Kilimanjaro alone wasn’t hard enough, filming on the mountain brought on a whole other set of challenges.
Firstly, I had to really strategize how much footage I could capture everyday. There’s no electricity on the mountain so I had to bring 8-day’s worth of battery power to last the entire climb. I had 4 DSLR batteries and 5 GoPro batteries. Luckily, 2 of my teammates brought solar powered charging units. But I could only use them to charge my GoPro batteries and my iPhone. This meant limiting how much time I could use my DSLR (both for photography and talking to camera). 1 DSLR battery had to last me 2 days. Talk about a tough gig for someone who’s used to filming the crap out of a destination.
The second biggest challenge was ensuring the batteries remained charged throughout the night. With freezing temperatures creeping once the sun went down, it meant I had to keep all my unused batteries on me during those cold times. I’d cuddle them while sleeping at night and tuck them into inner coat pockets during the day.
Thirdly, and the most difficult aspect, was the physical challenge of filming while hiking. Trying to focus on climbing, breathing, consuming enough water, and capturing interesting footage while maintaining a steady shot (that’s in focus!) became exhausting by day 2. Our group kept a pretty quick pace, which didn’t leave much room to stop and spend time capturing beauty shots or even set up shots. I had to be very regimented about actually resting during our breaks on the trail or else I couldn’t keep up with the group. Even arriving into camp meant quickly getting my things organized in my tent so I could film other aspects of our time on Kilimanjaro.
By Day 3, I figured out a pretty good strategy between my DSLR, GoPro and iPhone and thankfully managed to make my batteries last until we reached the exit gate!
So back to the above video! Nobody loves a great montage video more than I do and so I wanted to kick off my Kilimanjaro video series with just that. Above is an overview of the entire journey to the summit. I think you can agree that it was pretty epic.
I want to send a special shout out to Chris Forde! World Vision Canada is putting together a documentary film about our entire experience in Tanzania and Chris was the man behind the lens. Not only was it amazing to talk shop and support each other while filming on the mountain but he’s also shared some of his footage included in the video above. I should also add that Chris was THE man on the mountain. I know how difficult and challenging it was to take on Kilimanjaro while filming and Chris was running circles around me!
There’s still time to donate to our climb with World Vision Canada. Simply text ‘CLIMB’ to 45678 and you’ll instantly donate $5. Every little bit helps!
Make sure to tune in again next Wednesday at 7pm EST to catch Episode 1 of an 8-part Kilimanjaro video series. New videos will be released every Wednesday for the next 8 weeks!
What did you think of the montage video? Leave your comments below!