We caught up with videographer and owner of Wanderlust Action Films, Ellie Gosling, to find out more about her work and why the Olympus system is her tool of choice.
What sparked your interest in video and creating your own content?
Ten years ago when I graduated university, I went down the route of broadcast television. I learnt to shoot on broadcast cameras and worked on a range of factual and entertainment programmes. But the major change for me came when I got my own stills and video camera. I began to film every trip, outing and holiday and also taught myself how to edit. That process taught me a lot, as it allowed me to be truly creative and, through trial and error, learn what does and doesn’t work. I now run my own company, and the best jobs for me are those in which I get to shoot and create something that inspires the viewer to get outside and go on an adventure.
Why did you decide to focus on sport, action and adventure shooting in particular?
I have always had a burning desire to travel and, for as long as I can remember, I wanted a job that allowed me to do that. I am so fortunate I finally can say my job allows me to travel the world. I moved into action sports after living in Australia – I used to go down to the beach and film friends surfing and create short films for them. When I returned to the UK, I knew I had to somehow continue with that lifestyle in some way, so I began working for a sports TV production company. I worked mainly producing and directing sailing content, which allowed me to travel to some incredible places. But it wasn’t giving me the creativity I desired, so I went freelance and picked up my own camera again and began to shoot and direct for big brands and sports events. Five years on and I’m now running my own company called Wanderlust Action Films. The title says it all really! We film anything that involves travel, action and adventure!
Can you describe what a typical day as a filmmaker is like?
A typical day in the life of a filmmaker depends a bit on what you’re shooting. The best days are filming travel and adventure content, because you get to experience all the fun yourself and create ways to capture those beautiful moments for other people to appreciate. When you’re filming sports events the days are intense, usually you are under pressure to film something awesome in a very short time frame. But, sometimes in the pressurised moments, that’s when you do your best work! In any event, your teammates are the ones who make a typical day an awesome one, no matter what you’re doing.
You recently filmed the #OlympusXplorers British Bucket List video for Olympus. When it comes to shooting videos like this, what sort of planning and preparation is involved?
A concept like the British Bucket List takes a fair bit of planning, some good old Google research and – my favourite – Instagram hashtag hunting! First, you need to find those beauty spots that really are the ‘must-see’ places, but also try and find something unique. Then you need to figure out your shoot schedule, so you know you’re going to be at the right place at the right time – if that spot is famous for its sunset, you don’t want to be rocking up at lunchtime! Then, once you have your route plan, sit back and let the road take you where you’re meant to go. Sometimes, the best moments take you by surprise and end up being the unforgettable moments of the trip. On our recent #OlympusXplorers Scotland shoot, we found a waterfall we didn’t know existed and chanced upon the most incredible sunset over a loch. Neither were on the agenda, but the sunset especially was by far the best shot of the shoot.
How did you find working with the OM-D E-M1 Mark II? Which features were of particular benefit to you?
The best thing about the OM-D E-M1 Mark II, or my ’Oly’ as I like to call it, is by far the stabilisation. From a filmmaking perspective, it means you don’t have to worry about lugging a tripod around with you and the hassle of setting it up when you want to get a wide shot panning across a beautiful valley. Just hold the camera and let it be the tripod! It really is a game changer – no camera I’ve used even comes close. It’s also super helpful when I’m shooting on the go. Recently, I filmed dune bashing in the desert and our team had to film while driving a quad bike, the Oly was quite literally like it was on a gimbal. Then I would say the 4K time-lapse is also one of my favourite features. I don’t tend to export videos in 4K, so when you create a HD film, you have more room to play with and adjust your image framing.
Which lenses did you work with and how did you find them?
I work with the M.ZUIKO 12-40mm f/2.8 PRO as my main lens. For video documentary-style content on the go this is the most versatile, as it allows you the width needed to capture wide-angle shots and the ability to zoom to adjust your framing. For proper long lens content, I use the M.ZUIKO 40- 150mm f/2.8 PRO, which is a fabulous zoom lens – we used this a lot in Scotland to film the wild deer and animals we came across. Finally, I love the M.ZUIKO 45mm f/1.8 portrait lens, which is just beautiful for getting some lovely shallow depth-of-field shots.
Have you managed to get your hands on the OM-D E-M1X yet?
I have had a short play with the E-M1X when we were filming wildlife photographer and Olympus Ambassador Tesni Ward on her first shoot with it, just prior to its release. It is a fantastic camera and one that for definite would see me being able to use the Olympus on a lot more shoots. I am most excited about its high frame-rate capabilities, as I prefer to film in HD and so having the ability to shoot slow-motion content (especially when you love filming anything on water) is a game changer. That, plus all the features that the E-M1 Mark II has, will see me picking up the Olympus for a wider range of work. I can’t wait to properly get my hands on it!
Can you tell us about any other projects you’ve worked on, and what type of work is your favourite?
My favourite work is anything that allows me to see a new part of the world and capture it for other people to enjoy, and hopefully inspire them to visit. I spent a lot of time in Oman this spring, affectionately called ‘the jewel of the Middle East’ and I can safely say – it is. We filmed sports action highlights for endurance cycling and ultramarathon running. Then followed it up with tourism-focused content. We swam in wadis (which we would call an oasis), went camping and dune bashing in the desert, and hiked up mountains. It really is an epic location for a road trip.
Have you got any other exciting projects coming up?
This summer I am filming a lot of sailing, both high-speed catamarans and some super yachts. The OM-D E-M1 Mark II will come in super handy when filming on the water thanks to its steady shot capabilities!
What advice would you give to aspiring videographers?
Just get creating. You’ll look back in a few years and probably cringe at your exposure or framing, but you learn best from trial and error. Also, don’t be afraid to ask for help and advice. I didn’t understand when I first started out what the best shutter speed for video was and didn’t feel confident in understanding what my aperture should be depending on what I was filming. I would just fiddle around with the buttons until I made it look right. I think I was embarrassed to ask for fear of looking stupid. Then, one day I asked an experienced operator to give me a proper low-down: everything slotted into place and my shooting transformed. Finally, enjoy it and relax. Sometimes you capture something and the image isn’t perfect, but the energy of the moment is perfectly captured. Just fix it in the edit, right?!
Behind the scenes images by @chrispowellofficial
Article featured in Olympus Magazine Issue 64 – to see the latest copy of this free digital magazine click here.