In today’s episode of Backpacker Radio presented by The Trek, we are joined by Andy Laub. Andy is a thru-hiker, documentarian, cinematographer, director, editor, visual effects artist…basically all things under the sun dealing with making videos. His work has been featured on the Discovery Channel, National Geographic, BBC World, Amazon Prime, Hulu & PBS World Channel. His first trail documentary, As It Happens, has more than a million views on YouTube. We chat all about his backpacking career, what goes into a professional video production, juggling his adventures while being a parent of two youngsters, and we go deep on his latest project, THRU, a six-part series featuring his 2018 thru-hike of the Pacific Northwest Trail. Whether you nerd out on video stuff or not, I guarantee you’ll enjoy this chat. It’s a fun one.
We wrap the show with a more formal announcement of the winner of the Backpacker Radio Sponsorship, we get a fan submission patent-pending about drinking sunscreen, and do a triple crown of thru-hiking phrases, clichés, and acronyms.
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Interview with Andy Laub
Time stamps & Questions
00:06:22 – QOTD: Do you Wordle?
00:10:12 – BPR Announcements: Trail Days Road Trip & Meetup Location
00:14:56 – Introducing Andy Laub
00:15:20 – Where’d you get into backpacking?
00:17:42 – What was your AT start date?
00:18:35 – Did you start at the stars?
00:19:41 – When you’re stuck, do you think like a film narrator?
00:20:01 – Were you in front of or behind the camera?
00:20:56 – Discussion of on-camera hand gestures and film angles
00:22:14 – Is there a bubble in February on the AT?
00:23:05 – What research did you do pre-trail?
00:24:30 – Tell us about meeting your first trail friend.
00:25:33 – Tell us about The Dusty Camel.
00:27:02 – Tell us about your time at the Discovery Channel.
00:28:45 – What’s Ian’s background at this point?
00:29:14 – Was the idea for the PCT film first or the idea to hike?
00:29:25 – Tell us about the PCT in 2011.
00:32:10 – What was your film equipment and how heavy was it?
00:32:35 – How do you decide who films what?
00:34:06 – Is it tough to capture both the highs and the lows?
00:36:53 – Is it harder for you to be in front of or behind the camera?
00:38:19 – What doors did As It Happens open for you?
00:39:16 – How did the National Geographic Society project come about?
00:41:05 – How did you go from As It Happens to the production value of THRU?
00:43:22 – What other equipment do you have on trail?
00:44:39 – Discussion about the cinematography and camera gear of THRU.
00:47:48 – What was the secret videography weapon Chaunce brought on the AT?
00:48:28 – What’s the process of making a documentary?
00:51:22 – Are you recording your flashbacks while hiking?
00:52:18 – Are you directing all of the footage on trail?
00:53:40 – Do you decide what you want the scenes to look like while hiking?
00:57:09 – How do you keep everyone on the same page?
01:00:16 – Do you need to have a lot of patience or social awareness?
01:03:07 – How did you put the group together?
01:04:44 – What packs did you use?
01:07:47 – Discussion about the group dynamic.
01:09:40 – Discussion about square tarps and gear weight.
01:10:03 – Is there a way to lighten heavy camera equipment?
01:11:27 – What are your three top tips to take something amateur and make it look high class?
01:14:34 – If you could go back and critique As It Happens, what feedback would you give?
01:16:16 – Are there ever moments you wish you could have captured on camera?
01:19:25 – What is THRU?
01:22:46 – Did you have any crazy grizzly encounters or oh shit moments?
01:27:25 – Do death-defying moments hit differently now that you have kids?
01:31:37 – Who does the graphics in THRU?
01:33:20 – What’s the dumbest thing you did on the hike?
01:34:12 – Discussion about the PNT’s trail types, usage, and season/weather window.
01:37:11 – Did you miss any miles?
01:37:56 – What’s your full trail resume?
01:38:25 – What are some of the films you made between trails?
01:41:56 – How do you maintain your positivity in the face of climate change?
01:43:34 – Discussion about climate change.
01:48:22 – What’s your dream project?
01:51:30 – Were you on the fence about bringing a drone?
01:53:45 – Discussion about the future of the PNT and value of the National Scenic Trails.
01:56:54 – How can people watch THRU?
01:58:43 – Will there be a season 2?
02:01:25 – Lobster facts!
02:04:17 – Discussion about trees.
02:06:00 – Thank you!
Triple Crown of hiking catchphrases/lingo
5 Star Review
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