Beauty of Fiji Can Make You Cry

Bula! Welcome to this overview of the Naqaqa Estate (pronounced Nanganga) and Naqaqa Giving Foundation, founded by Gavin de Becker on the island of Vanua Levu, Fiji. Watch all the way through to the end coda and you’ll be amply rewarded with an emotional experience of the place and the people.

Filmmaker and storyteller extraordinaire, Gary Yost, has created an emotional and moving piece about the Naqaqa Giving Foundation in Fiji. He shared with us some of the inside story about the process of filming this piece:

Yost says, “I fell deeply in love with the people there and feel that comes through the footage.  Plus I got to make good use of the flying camera, even though winds were rarely less than 25mph and frequently over 35 (flying was occasionally terrifying!) — it was their winter and they had WEATHER but I didn’t bring all that gear just to keep it in its case.  Of course my trademark timelapse techniques were put to good use, in quite a cosmic way. (To see that and to get the full emotional impact of the piece you have to watch all the way through to the end coda.  Don’t skip!  🙂

The Inspire was a champ, albeit with me being both pilot and camera operator, and being such a total noob to AC in general, I was fairly conservative with the unit and used it mainly for big expository shots. Doing close work in 25-35mph wind around all those trees was a bit nerve-wracking so those kinds of crane/job shots are limited. But in general, that baby performed wonderfully. Had absolutely no problems and was very happy to be working in a country that didn’t have a 400’ AGL ceiling. I was very careful about situational awareness but did take it up to 1500’ a few times. It was pretty exciting, gotta tell ya!

The point is, without these aerial shots, this piece would have less than half the impact that it does. When telling a story about a beautiful place, there’s nothing like really seeing the place from the perspective of a bird. And of course the corollary is true… without an actual story, the images of the place have very little meaning.  Perhaps this film will inspire people in the drone community to use their powerful instrument as a storytelling tool… something that is about more than just what the landscape looks like.

BTW, this film was shot with 5 cameras… iPhone, Sony RX100, Panny GH4, Sony A7s/Shogun, and DJI X3. Anticipating the X5R for sure… I’m pretty much done with the X3 and am looking forward to image quality that doesn’t make me shudder. (That’ll make an incredible difference in the quality of the aerials.)  Surprisingly it all graded quite well together in Resolve, which as always is the key to making any show look its best.

Over the next year I’ll be producing and releasing an additional 10 shorts (most in the 5-min range) about the Fijian people and cultural activities (mostly how music is interwoven into their lives).   The objective is to sell the full package to Fiji TV (and possibly new Zealand and Australia TV) and go back there to show and talk about the films.  We’ll bring a projector and set it up in the villages (there’s no high-speed internet there) and show the people things that many of them have never seen… it will be exciting!


So if you’re up for seeing how the Inspire footage can be integrated into a bigger story, sit back with a cup of joe and enjoy.  


Vinaka Vakalevu!  


Beauty of Fiji Can Make You Cry from Gary Yost on Vimeo.