What are travel videos today?
For filmmaker David Conover, founder of Compass Light Productions, this seemingly simple question opens up a world of possibility. Just think of how much has changed over the past couple of decades. “When filmmakers used to travel from the U.S. to remote parts of the world, it was almost like going to the moon,” says David. “The films were heavily narrated, without much use of interviews, local narration, or music.”
But today? “There’s so much cool, well-produced video out there,” David says. And he should know: His own films have aired on PBS, the Discovery Channel, and National Geographic Explorer—just to name a few. He’s been putting his expertise to work for Grand Circle and OAT as the curator of a new collection of independent, locally produced short films—several of which we’ve shared with Inside Scoop readers in our What We’re Watching section.
If you’ve watched these videos, you’ve probably noticed that their subjects are quite varied—which is exactly what David appreciates about the collection. “Now, there are so many local filmmakers—with their own equipment—right in our destinations,” says David. “They’re able to bring us focused topics of interest from a local’s perspective, and not just general overviews. And authentic details like local sounds and music make their work come alive.”
David’s work with our video collection is just one aspect of a longstanding partnership between himself and Alan and Harriet Lewis. The three met in 1989 and quickly realized that they share many of the same values: a sense of community, a passion for storytelling, an adventurous spirit, and a desire to make a difference in the world.
David founded the non-profit Conservation Media Group (CMG) in 2014 with the goal of using filmmaking to raise awareness about the fragility of our planet. As he has recently been exploring with Alan and Harriet, the concept dovetails beautifully with the idea of travel—especially in an age where we’re becoming keenly aware of the importance of preserving our planet for future generations … and the challenges we face in the process.
In future editions of The Inside Scoop, we look forward to sharing videos produced by CMG that relate to Grand Circle and OAT destinations. In the meantime, we hope you enjoy the videos featured in What We’re Watching. We’re fortunate to have David’s expert perspective as we seek to bring you unique and authentic glimpses of local culture.