Titan Through The Lens: Budapest
See the heart of Europe through the eyes of a film-maker
In our four-part series, Titan Through The Lens, we ask film-maker, Mark Hughes to tell us what it was really like to film in some of the most arresting places in the world. Mark and his team from Spellbound Pictures have made Titan films in locations all over the world. Along with his experiences, he’ll be passing on his knowledge to give novices and avid photographers alike some advice on taking better pictures. For this post, we’re talking about the ‘Pearl of the Danube’, beautiful Budapest.
Hi Mark, how have you found filming with Titan? Has it differed much to projects you’ve worked on in the past?
Well this is my first experience of working with a travel brand, as such; but I’ve worked for the BBC and Sky, mostly filming sporting events. I was in Japan for the [football] World Cup in 2002 and was lucky enough to make a travel series for ITV in Beijing and New York.
When we started this project with Titan, we didn’t know what to expect, but it soon became clear that the customers are the stars of the show. The stories that they’ve told us have blown us away. They’re all so passionate about travel and have embraced the film-making side of things as well. Everyone we’ve filmed were really happy to get on board and it really comes across on camera. For us, that’s fantastic.
The Enchanting Danube river cruise sails all the way from Budapest to Munich. What made Budapest the highlight for you?
When we arrived in Budapest, it was during the day and I was immediately struck by the architecture. It was stunning, just coming down the river and filming these buildings - it looked amazing and was so magical just to cruise along the river; it was like a fairy-tale.
But when the night came, it was just… wow. Suddenly, the architecture was illuminated by these lights. It’s amazing how a place can transform from day to night in such an enchanting way.
What was the atmosphere like on board?
The cruise was total luxury. From that point of view, it might be my favourite tour. Going down the Danube in a 5-star river boat with unlimited food and drink - it was hard to be professional and not just eat everything, but we had to be!
It really was a fun seven days. Every night, people were dancing. The travellers on board came from all over the world, it wasn’t just English people. In fact, it was predominantly Americans and Canadians. That was a lovely, very international, mix of people. There was so much to do as well. I think there was about three or four different options of things to do each day.
What was the difference in filming on a boat compared to say, an escorted tour on land?
The beauty of filming on a river cruise is you really get access to the best views and the best vantage points. You don’t have to worry about driving through the hustle and bustle of the city; you get to go right into the heart of it.
How did you plan your shots?
To be honest, we don’t really have that time to do that, so we experience it at the same time as the customers. What we do try to do is to take a step back and think, ‘what’s the story of the experience right here, right now?’ and try to get the shot that tells that story. Ultimately, it is all about storytelling and making sure we’re getting that narrative of a particular place or an activity across.
How did you get those amazing views from above?
There is an optional helicopter excursion as part of the Danube cruise, so we got some absolutely amazing shots of Budapest from that height.
What is the difference between how you guys experience the tour compared to the Titan customers?
The main difference is we can’t relax and enjoy the place in quite as direct a way as the guys on tour. We’re constantly thinking about how the lens is going to see it.
What would be your number one recommendation to someone going on the Enchanting Danube cruise?
I would seriously recommend to stay in Budapest overnight and really make the most of the scenery by taking plenty of pictures.
On behalf of Spellbound Pictures, we would like to extend our thanks to not only Titan, but also to Titan customers, for really embracing what we do and for being so charming and helpful.
Find out more about Uniworld's 'Enchanting Danube' river cruise.
Article published on: 21st July, 2016