We usually think of a travel documentary as a film that features a distant foreign place. We often forget that that the places that may be common and too familiar to us may be places of interest for other people. When we film places we know, we come out more authoritative because we actually know what we are talking about.
So let’s forget about going abroad for a while and focus on what is readily accessible and obviously travel-worthy sites near us. Some people have the good fortune of living within the vicinity of a tourist attraction. For them, the question as to what location to feature in the film is easily answered.
The main advantage of featuring a place that is near is the accessibility to required information, relative ease of obtaining footage, and more realistic opportunities to check and double-check with reliable reference materials and resource persons. It is almost impossible to make a perfect documentary in one sitting where the need to go back to the place will not be needed. Documentaries are expected to be faithful to the facts and allowing a film to be shown with unverified information will put the entire film’s credibility to question. The filmmaker might as well categorize his work as fiction.
Filming near home is not an excuse to offer an inferior product. Although the level of experience do limit to a certain degree the quality of the film, viewers are generally not harsh with novice work that have obviously been given careful thought, time, and attention. There is a need to have access to the basic technical equipment such as cameras, flood lights, audio recording systems, and editing systems to come with a fairly presentable film.
Budding travel documentary makers should find a place that is not only interesting to show but also worthy to talk about. Documentaries necessarily require the history, relevant personalities or events, and its present offering to a curious traveler. A travel documentary needs to be visually exciting while having an interesting and unique story to tell. Nobody can tell a story better that a native of a place.