Photographer and filmmaker Pete McBride has documented remote expeditions all over the world. In his latest journey, McBride, along with writer Kevin Fedarko, set out to traverse the entire 750-mile entire length of the Grand Canyon on foot. They chronicled the full experience in the pages of National Geographic and now it's an Emmy-nominated documentary “Into The Canyon.” The documentary showcases not only their endurance, but also brings attention to the threats facing the landscape and how to protect it. It's also remarkable when you see how a grand adventure was created with such a minimal cast, crew and gear. Two guys, one camera, a lens or two and an unyielding desire to see it through. We connected with the Sony Artisan of Imagery to learn more.
Photographer and filmmaker Pete McBride details his experience crossing the entire Grand Canyon in the documentary, “Into The Canyon.”
When you speak with McBride, his energy, passion and his wit come through. “The film is about adventure. It’s about our public lands and our sacred spaces. It’s also about this amazing band of Navajo women who put forth a Herculean effort to protect the confluence inside the Grand Canyon. It’s really a story of friendship, too, which gives the film some levity and humanity. It’s not just us trying to conquer nature, but us being humbled by it and being able to make fun of ourselves so people can really connect to it.”
The film views like a large production despite the modest budget raised for its post-production and release. All in all, it was actually created without a ton of money because so much of the actual filming was done by McBride and a bare minimum of gear. “I think a cool thing about this film and what I find amazing," he describes, "is that it was done with very little. I had the Sony α7R II and the 16-35mm f/2.8 GM lens. I had a pretty cheap microphone because it was getting jammed in and out of a backpack. There was no production crew – it was me, myself and I.”
The post-production process for the documentary took a little more than a year in total to complete. “We weren’t intentionally planning to create a feature film when we set out to do this,” explains McBride. “We knew we would probably make a short film or some shorter pieces, which we did for PBS right after the project, but I hadn’t really thought about what we could create with those shorts combined with the diary stuff that we made. It was some time later when we suddenly realized that what we had was really great.”
“It was a lot of work. I don’t think people realize how much work goes into these. I had an amazing team. I recruited a lot of great friends to help me complete it, and everyone was super supportive. It’s a giant puzzle piece to fit together, but the camaraderie and teamwork was very uplifting. If you surround yourself with bright and intelligent people, it’s pretty easy to look good.”
Into The Grand Canyon is up for a 2020 Emmy Award. You can find the film on Disney+ under the title, "Into The Grand Canyon." Watch the 2020 Emmy Awards on September 20th on ABC