Feature Stories

Culture Diversity – An adventure in Thailand

This year’s Grand Prize winner of CyberLink’s 2016 I Love Travel video contest is Syaher Ballesteros, with his interesting, insightful and Thailand-based video Culture Diversity!

Going back as early as high school, Syaher already had a great interest in filmmaking and photography. What began as a hobby, however, eventually evolved into pursuing a career as a filmmaker. His first entry into the I Love Travel video contest was in 2012 and he has since shown great progress as a filmmaker. Syaher himself cited the competitive environment of this and other video contests as inspiration for setting personal challenges, and now that the judging is over, it is clear that his dedication and hard work has paid off.

Growth as a filmmaker

Over the past six years, Syaher has developed his filmmaking knowledge and skills through his work at an advertising company, and also through courses and seminars. Syaher particularly emphasized his participation in other video competitions as a great way to gain both experience and confidence. After participating in the 2012 I Love Travel video contest, Syaher was determined to create an even better entry in the future and challenged himself to take a unique approach: “I told myself that I will be back again to win the grand prize and I also wanted to challenge myself to create a film that would stand out from other participants”.

The origin of Culture Diversity

Upon deciding to join the 2016 competition, Syaher initially had difficulties choosing a topic for his video. After some thought, however, Syaher came to the conclusion that drawing inspiration from a location itself would be the best solution. Thailand became the location and focus of his eventual contest-winning project. .

When asked why he singled out Thailand, Syaher told us: “I have been to Thailand before several times and this amazing country has never failed to leave an impression. I love Thailand’s culture and in particular its people are very welcoming and friendly.” Syaher then continued with insights into the people that appear in the video itself: “The characters in my video are in fact friends that I had made in Thailand. They had shown some interest in the creation of this film, and with my decision to enter into the 2016 I Love Travel video contest; it seemed like the perfect opportunity for both these reasons.”

As filming commenced it appears that ideas naturally came to Syaher: “The project began to take form and the structure came quite naturally. I initially had only determined the locations to film, but in collaborating with my friends, I was able to freely conceptualize how the video should flow.” Syaher went on to tell us how he came up with the name: “I named it Culture Diversity because I really wanted to show viewers how culturally diverse and unique Thailand and the world for the matter, can be.”

The making of Culture Diversity

When it came to technology used in creating and editing this award-wining video, Syaher confidently told us this was the easiest part of the whole process: “As for cameras, I primarily used a Canon 60D DSLR with some additional use of a GoPro Hero 3. As for other equipment I used a gimbal and for capturing time-lapses I used an intervalometer with the Canon.”

The best companion for video editing

Syaher then continued by giving some editing tips: “And most importantly, I used PowerDirector to edit my project. I have been using PowerDirector for almost 6 years now and as you need a great camera for filming, you also need state-of-the-art video editing software. For me, PowerDirector is great because it is easy-to-use but also jam-packed with great features.” Syaher also compared his preferences with some of his friends and fellow filmmakers: “They often use the most complex editing software they can find and are, ultimately, unable to edit effectively.”

We then followed up and asked him which specific features of PowerDirector are his favorites: “Well I really do love the ability to copy and paste key-frames, video editing becomes fast and easy with this great feature. PowerDirector’s PiP Designer and Transition Effects are also great to use. I also really like how fast you can render a video with TrueVelocity.” Syaher mentioned at several other points during the interview that after the arduous task of filming, being able to edit quickly and easily, with all the features he would need is what really sets PowerDirector apart. In listening to his stories, he has also edited several other award-winning videos with PowerDirector, in fact this wasn’t even his first Thailand based award-wining video edited with PowerDirector.  

Now the Grand Prize winner of the 2016 I Love Travel video contest, Syaher looks forward to competing again and developing new and interesting projects..”

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