For those aspiring to travel the world, perhaps the next best thing is watching a well-produced travel show with an engaging host. Produced and hosted by Darley Newman, Travels with Darley is a PBS and Amazon Prime travel television series that showcases Newman’s experiences traveling the world and interacting with interesting locals. Now in its eighth season, Newman and her longtime DP, Greg Barna, capture exotic locations and experiences with the AU-EVA1 cinema camera.
Ever since high school, Newman told her friends she wanted to host a travel show to see more of the world. She grew up in South Carolina where she had a passion for riding horses, as well as creating horror films with her friends using early camcorders. After high school in Virginia, Newman went on to study radio and TV at George Washington University in Washington, D.C. “At the time, my goal was to be in front of the camera, but I ended up learning how to shoot and edit,” says Newman.
Newman worked in Washington, DC and New York City on high profile docu-series such as CBS TV’s 48 Hours and PBS’ Frontline, but she also worked on independent productions to learn all aspects of production. With that valuable experience under her belt, she ventured off to start her own show, Equitrekking, a travel show exploring the world on horseback. Newman and Barna received several Daytime Emmy Awards for both Single Camera Photography and Outstanding Special Class Series. Equitrekking was shot with the Panasonic HVX200 and 4K seasons of Travels of Darley were shot with the AG-DVX200 camcorder.
A Global Production
For Travels with Darley, she and Barna have captured beautiful landscapes from the deserts of Dubai to islands in the Caribbean to the mountains of Wales. In each episode, instead of conducting a sit-down interview, Newman will go on an adventure such as free diving with a community of women on Jeju Island in South Korea or skiing with Olympic skier Jonny Moseley in Lake Tahoe. In selecting the EVA1, Barna was interested in using a small and lightweight camera with interchangeable lenses and a larger sensor than the DVX200. “Some cameras shoot images that can be a little too crisp,” explains Barna, “I’ve always been a fan of Panasonic cameras, which deliver a softer and more cinematic image.”
“I've always been interested in the look and feel of our series and wanting the visuals to be as captivating as they can because we film some of the most beautiful settings in the world,” explains Newman. “And I think it's important to capture that in the best way that we can. We've always wanted our shows to have an amazing look to them and to look very professional even though we've done them on low budgets.”
Travels with Darley consists of half hour episodes but Newman and Barna create shorter form content – distributed through Verizon Digital and other international websites – to be viewed on mobile devices. Heading her own production company, Newman has to know about all aspects of both production and post. “There's four of us in total and we all wear many hats,” says Newman. “At this point, we’re kind of like a family, because we've traveled together for so long. I can tell you what Greg will order for lunch, or even order for him. It’s that kind of vibe with our crew.
Since the series is shot all over the world, one of Newman’s biggest challenges is scheduling. They will typically shoot a half hour episode in four days, plus the short content clips. Although Newman grew up watching old school travel shows like Lonely Planet, as well as Anthony Bourdain’s travel series, the look of Travels with Darley is more inspired by the environment. “We really want the setting to look true to life so people can visualize being there themselves,” says Newman.
Along with shooting great interview experiences, one of Barna’s main goals is to capture great B-roll. “Greg is so great at arriving somewhere and seeing something that no one else sees,” reveals Newman. “We are shooting single camera so he really thinks about capturing versatile B-roll. I’ll be interviewing someone and we're walking somewhere, and we'll do the same path over again. Greg will shoot B-roll that can be transitioned in. For example, in the shot, we might be out of focus in the background so we can use the shot to parse into the story as if we’re shooting multi-camera even though we’re shooting single camera. Those are just a few things that we've learned in the many years we’ve been working together.”
Shooting With The EVA1
Travels with Darley is captured in 4K (4096 x 2160) with the LongGOP 150 codec at 29.97-fps. Barna typically captures at 800 Native ISO but will capture at 2500 for lowlight sequences. He and Newman recently shot a night sequence at a castle, as well as a vinegar tasting inside a cave lit by candlelight. Barna shot at 2500 Base dialed up to 4000.
Barna shoots the majority of the show with two lenses – a Canon CN-E 18-80mm T4.4 COMPACT-SERVO zoom lens and a Sigma 18-35mm 1.8 DC HSM. He likes using the 18-80mm due to the flexibility and consistency for zooms. For lowlight scenes, he switches to the 18-35mm for the speed since it’s an f/1.8.
Although they shoot a lot in available light, the production carries a small LED lighting kit since they’re traveling internationally. “That's another great thing about the EVA1 – it's very light and portable so it's not cumbersome to travel with,” says Newman. “Whether we are flying somewhere or hopping on a van to get around, we need everything to be light and travel well. We’ll be at a food market and it's really crowded but because of the camera’s size, we don’t stand out in a crowd. For a documentary series, that’s really helpful. It really helps us get these great stories that are organic and come from people's hearts. Even though it’s very unassuming, the EVA1 is a powerful tool.”
Trailer for Season 8 of Travels with Darley
New episodes of Travels with Darley are currently airing on PBS. For more information on the show, visit www.darleycnewman.com.
For more information on the EVA1, click through here.