Tegalalang Rice Terrace Video

A few weeks ago, Shelby and I went to explore the Tegalalang rice terraces outside of Ubud. Easily one of the most iconic spots in the area, the picturesque terraces and morning light made for some of the most unique landscapes either one of us had ever seen. Despite going on a Sunday, the fields were relatively empty and at times it felt like we had the place to ourselves. With the camera and the drone already fired up to take a few photos, I decided it would be the perfect spot to try my hand at a quick, experiential travel video instead of the typical recap format I used for our Peru video.

After posting the video on Instagram, I received a few questions about how I shot and edited it. While I did my best to answer them all in the comments and direct messages, I’ll use this post as an opportunity to answer some of the more frequent questions with a little more depth.

What Did You Shoot With?

As always, I used my standard setup of a Sony a6300 on the ground with a DJI Mavic Pro in the air. While I usually work with one of two lenses for the a6300, I challenged myself to only use my 35mm f1.8 lens. Sticking to this lens made for some tight shots, especially since the a6300 is a crop sensor, but that was perfect since I wanted to achieve a more intimate feeling with this video.

Now that you know the equipment I used, let’s look at the settings they were on. For my camera, I primarily stuck with 1080p instead of the 4K it’s capable of. Although this may seem counterintuitive, doing this allowed me to get a much higher frame rate (60 fps and/or 120 fps) which makes the smooth slow motion possible. This also comes in handy when I don’t want to use a stationary tripod since I don’t have a stabilizer. Since the drone has a built in gimbal and I can fly it however fast or slow I want the shot to feel, I stuck with 4K to get the maximum quality out of the shots. This is also nice because it allowed me to zoom in to effectively crop out a house or reframe the video without compromising the video quality.

How Did You Avoid Other Tourists In Your Shots?

This really comes down to 2 things: timing and setup. For starters, we got to the rice terraces around 7 am. This was honestly a little later than I wanted to arrive since the sun rises a little before 6 am, but it was still early enough that it wasn’t very crowded despite being there on the weekend. Especially since this is a popular tourist destination, going this early is crucial if you want the best chance at getting uninterrupted shots. Arguably more important, going early also ensures that you’ll get to work with soft morning light instead dealing with the harsh lighting that makes it harder to properly exposure your shots.

But even if you arrive early to shoot, you still may encounter other eager photographers, videographers and tourists that could “ruin” your shots. That’s where my setup sealed the deal. Framing the scene ahead of time and even doing a few rough run throughs means that you’ll get the shot you need, even when you only have a few seconds to get it right. And those tight shots from my 35mm lens I talked about earlier sealed the deal when it came to avoiding having other people in the background.

So there’s a brief rundown on how I made this video. If you have any more questions about it, feel free to message me directly on Instagram or leave a comment below!


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