Amberly and Florent are content creators based in Sydney, Australia. Last year, they had the opportunity to travel to Greenland and created this stunning, slow-moving video of the landscapes they explored. Via their film, Amberly and Florent transport us to a place of tranquil beauty, and share unique angles of a country drastically transforming due climate change.
Tell us about your trip to Greenland. What inspired you to travel there and how did you spend your time?
We had four days in Greenland, having first traveled to Iceland. We flew from Reykjavik above a magnificent ice sheet and landed in Ilulissat, a city on the west coast about 200 miles north of the Arctic Circle. We spent most of our time there and on a boat trip to Qasigiannguit, a beautiful fishing village three hours south.
Crossing the Arctic Circle was a childhood dream of ours. We were particularly excited to see some of the biggest icebergs in the world and to experience the midnight sun. We also considered the fact that global warming is a real threat to this part of the world, and we wanted to visit Greenland before it is impacted even more than it has been already. We love beautiful, unique landscapes, and were really just excited to see something new, different and fairly untouched.
To your knowledge, how has Greenland been affected by global warming?
We know that the Arctic is endangered by global warming and as Greenland is such a vast part of it, it is heavily affected. The glaciers are melting faster than ever. People are finding it more and more difficult to hunt because the thinning ice is dangerous to traverse. Larger animals, including the polar bear, are also seeing their food sources limited because of access and mobility. The changing climate is ultimately forcing lifestyles and livelihoods to transform.
In addition to witnessing these adverse effects of climate change, what challenges did you face while traveling or filming in Greenland?
Our first challenge was transportation – there are practically no roads in between cities. That was part of the reason we chose to base ourselves in Ilulissat; there are lots of things to do there on foot or by boat and it was much easier to not have a car.
Our second challenge was the weather – we really underestimated the sun. Experiencing daylight for 24 straight hours was very strange and it was hard to manage with the light constantly reflecting off the white ice. The temperature was also tricky as it reached nearly 30 on land but barely 0 on the water.
And thirdly, we were challenged by the mosquitos – millions of them everywhere! We didn’t anticipate the effect that this would have on the filming and photographic aspects of our trip, but they made it almost impossible to stand still at some stages, and very difficult to record audio. Since Greenland is so quiet, the buzzing of those little bugs became our main soundtrack!
Most of the videos that you shoot, including this one, feature beautiful landscapes. What type of gear do you use to shoot, and how do you keep people’s pulses racing with videos that don’t necessarily have a story to follow?
To capture this particular video, we used a Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera which has become our main video tool for the past few years. The audio was captured with a Rode Videomic Pro and some was added in post as well. For stills we use a Canon 5D Mark III and a Canon 6D with a range of Canon glass.
To us, a good travel video is one that takes you to a place. It should be a means to escape for a few minutes, to become immersed in an environment that you have never been to, or to rediscover a place that you have visited before. For us, that happens when a video moves at a slower speed. We don’t enjoy fast-paced films because we’re acutely aware that we’re watching something, not participating in or engaging with it. We also appreciate when shots are filmed at different times with different light. It helps to convey a diversity of moods and emotions. We try to incorporate those elements into our videos and hope that they capture, and inspire, and provoke feelings in the viewers.
After coming back from a trip, what is your process for piecing footage together?
Going through our footage is probably the most difficult part. It is important that we select pieces that fit the overall vision and not necessarily shots that just look good on their own.
We start by watching everything we’ve filmed and selecting the good and useable. We pick a starting point or an opening shot that will lead to another sequence and so on. We tend to go through three or four edits before we are really pleased with the product, using Final Cut Pro X on a Mac along with FilmConvert for colour grading. We often try to combine footage that we love visually with footage that carries meaning or shows an interesting feature of the place.
With the final cut of this video, what were you hoping to capture and share?
We want people to know that although Greenland is a remote location, with a little bit of planning it is absolutely a worthwhile place to visit. It’s not only icebergs and water. The culture, the landscapes — everything about this place is just stunning and it needs to be preserved.
What moment of your trip will be forever preserved in your mind?
The moment that resurfaces often is the one captured in the opening shot of the video. I, Florent was coming back from Qasigiannguit and was alone outside due to the extremely low temperature. Being on a small boat amongst those gigantic icebergs at the edge of our world made me feel like I was very lucky to be on this earth and see such beauty. There were no sounds other than the pieces of ice breaking under the boat. The sun was barely setting in the horizon. It was the kind of moment that sends chills up your spine.