Fresh off an epic six-day road trip through California redwoods, Nevada deserts, and Utah canyons, Luke Neumann heads to Hawaii on assignment for VideoBlocks.
Luke and his wife, Marika, packed differently for Hawaii than for their road trip through Fern Canyon and Avenue of the Giants, and not just because they downsized from a rented RV to an overhead luggage compartment.
“We didn’t bring the crane because I knew there are very few places where it could be utilized,” explains Luke, referring to the one he got a little too wet on his last trip, prompting a cross-state trek for batteries. “It’s a dry island, and while they have a lot of trees and vegetation on the Hilo side, it’s not a very vertical location. The majority of the island is lava rock, or rolling plains, none of which require a crane.”
He knows this, of course, because this isn’t the first time he’s shot stock video of Hawaii. And his previous treks, he says, gave him a lot of insight on terrain, location scouting, and local promotions.
Off the Beaten Path: Finding Hawaii’s Best Angles (and Deals)
Having filmed in Hawaii before, Luke flew in aware that while it’s commonly called The Big Island, it’s really not all that big—at least, not when you’re accustomed to shooting California, Utah, and Nevada all inside of a week.
“We made an effort to go to new places this time,” he explains. “So while we did hit up some old spots that we knew would be dynamic, we also spent time just seeing if we could find anything new and off the beaten path.”
Part of this strategy involved patience, Luke says—particularly when shooting stock footage of Hawaii’s native wildlife (which includes some very slow-moving sea turtles):
“Getting good footage of animals in nature really just requires patience and exploration. If you spend enough time out there you will come across something amazing sooner or later!”
Other events—such as his Hawaiian estate shots, jungle-and-beach safari footage, and over-the-shoulder hiking clips—required some planned deals and cameos ahead of time:
“My wife is the ‘actress’ in a lot of the shots. As far as the locations go, we cut a deal with a property there for free lodging in exchange for a promo video for their home. The estate was amazing; it was on seven acres of manicured jungle, and it served as the backdrop for some great stock footage!”
Still, even the best-laid plans are trumped by unpredictable weather.
“The one thing we missed,” regrets Luke, “was epic lava shots. That is always a crapshoot on the Big Island. You never know what the visibility will be and it’s fairly unpredictable. The whole time we were there, visibility was low and even when you paid for guided hikes you couldn’t get very close. We considered hiring a helicopter, but unless you can take the doors off, it’s tough to get anything useful through the windows due to reflections.”
Luckily, the visibility didn’t prevent him from capturing epic, royalty-free footage of Hawaii’s other attractions (e.g., scenic roads, dunes, volcanoes, resorts, and sunsets).
What’s Next: Stateside Sci-Fi, Europe, and Asia
Now that he’s back in Oregon, Luke is taking some time to work on his indie sci-fi web series “The Beacon.”
“We are just about ready to start production on the second episode,” he says. “That’s consuming most of my thoughts these days, and I have never loved pre-production so I’m stoked to finally start filming.”
He’s also been busy hosting a short film competition called “Summer In.” Now coming out of its second year, the annual competition awards prizes for nature videos filmed during summer vacations—and proudly lists VideoBlocks among its sponsors!
Have suggestions as to where we should send Neumann Films next? Leave your requests in the comments!
Luke Neumann travels the world capturing exclusive stock footage for VideoBlocks.