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Canon Explorer Ulla Lohmann is taking her EOS 5D Mark III DSLR around the world with BMW Motorrad to follow in the tyre tracks of five riders, each of whom has won a place on the ultimate adventure with the R 1200 GS motorcycle. Ulla is shooting all five riding adventures – which take place across five continents – and will be blogging on CPN along with Basti Hofmann and filmmaker Romain de l’Ecotais about the experience of men, machines and megapixels.


Romain de l’Ecotais films more road movies with EOS 5D Mark III

March 2013

Canon Explorer Ulla Lohmann along with her husband Basti Hofmann and filmmaker Romain de l’Ecotais are working with BMW Motorrad on a series of five worldwide motorcycling adventures designed to highlight its R 1200 GS dual sport bike. In the fourth in a series of blogs, Romain talks about filming in the USA with the Canon EOS 5D Mark III…

It’s a good job cameras don’t get jetlag. Over the last four months my body has endured seven different time zones, has travelled over 20,000 miles and has been subjected to over 100 hours in long haul aircraft – with no upgrades…

© Ulla Lohmann/BMW Motorrad

Winner of the the USA tour, Stephane Gautronneau from France, rides on into the sunset in Arizona, USA. Taken on a Canon EOS 5D Mark III with an EF24-70mm f/2.8L II USM lens at 70mm; the exposure was 1/200sec at f/5, ISO 800.

It’s always nice to come home, and for me that means spending some time with my young son before jetting off on another adventure. After four fantastic trips with BMW Motorrad I needed the rest, let me tell you! But rest is in short supply as there is always something to do – and for me, other than assembling pieces of Lego, that meant editing videos for BMW Motorrad. On the trip I cut daily movies of just a few minutes to send to the agency straight away but I also have to produce longer ones too, for dealer sales teams and BMW's internal PR purposes.

I’ve been using the EOS 5D Mark III almost all the time since I first picked it up before New Zealand. For Laos I used the 7D and the difference between the two cameras is incredible. For a start, the [EOS] 5D Mark III sensor is amazing and allows me to shoot at very low light levels without needing to use lights. I’ve shot at just 6 lux before now (equivalent of six candles), with the camera choosing the fastest possible ISO automatically for filming – ISO 12500. Ulla has the advantage though with stills, and can shoot in almost total darkness at much higher ISO if she wants to with that amazing sensor.

If I could shoot all the time with the 5D Mark III I would, but I still use the 7D for moving action shots when strapped onto the side of the motorbike. I can’t afford to risk damaging my precious 5D Mark III! The 7D still does a great job, though, and at the end of each day I take the memory cards and import them to my portable hard drives where they are kept safe. Any filmmaker will tell you that, in this digital age, keeping backups is so important. Especially in my case when I am constantly travelling and many miles from anywhere!

© Romain de l’Ecotais/BMW Motorrad

Please click the image above to watch a behind the scenes film of Canon Explorer Ulla Lohmann on location with BMW Motorrad

For the USA we had a crazy schedule, but thankfully we are now a great, tight, team and have become really good friends. And on this trip we had another photographer with us – the winner! Stephane Gautronneau is also from France, like me, so we hit it off straight away and I was delighted when he brought with him an old 4x5in view camera to take landscapes with. Watching him load sheet film in a changing bag made me realise how far we had come in technology!

Ulla and I planned our shooting schedule together, which was really useful. She is like my second pair of eyes and always spots good scenes. We know exactly how each other shoots and what the other is looking for; Ulla will always find a good spot. We have a very similar shooting style, which is really cool.

© Romain de l’Ecotais/ BMW Motorrad

Please click the image above to watch Romain de l’Ecotais’ film of the BMW Motorrad One World Tour in the USA.

We would start each day at 7am and I would never finish before midnight. I work on adrenalin most of the time – you just have to keep going. When we are in the middle of the action you don’t think about being tired, but it hits you when you have finished!

There is always one last job to do before I present the final movies to the client, and that’s to add the soundtrack. We work with Stéphan Discour, the music editor at T3, who is a genius. I listen to music all the time when I am filming – it is my other passion – and I will often have a song in my head or a piece of soundtrack that I think is really cool and so I tell Stéphan and he composes a piece of music which has all the flavour of what I like and yet is totally unique to BMW and the movie I shoot. The soundtrack is so important as a filmmaker and is often forgotten about, but I am lucky working with the T3 agency because they have thought of everything and understand the need for quality sound as well as stills and movies.

And so now I am getting ready for the fifth and final trip, which takes place over Europe and finishes at the BMW Motorrad headquarters in Munich, Germany. For sure there will be a good party! And at least the champagne will hide the tears of joy, delight and sadness as we reach the end of what has been an absolutely amazing adventure. Deep breath... À bientôt!

Romain de l’Ecotais’ kitbag for USA


EF24-105mm f/4L IS USM
EF28-300mm f/3.5-5.6L IS USM
EF50mm f/1.4 USM

Rode Videomic Pro microphone
Zoom H4N digital recorder
Sennheiser wireless system
Sennheiser HD headphones
2x windsocks for microphones

Z finder
2x belt lens cases
MacBook Pro laptop
iPhone (used as a monitor for the GoPro using WiFi)
Manfrotto tripod with fluid head
Manfrotto monopod with ball & socket head
Manfrotto magic arm with clamps
Cobracrane backpacker (portable crane)
LCD monitor
Steadicam Merlin camera stabilizer

Biography: Basti Hofmann

Basti Hofmann

Ulla Lohmann’s husband Basti Hofmann is shooting behind-the-scenes stills and video with a Canon EOS 7D and will be proving back up support for Ulla as well as a strong pair of arms! Responsible for logistics, he is part of a team of backroom ‘heroes’ who make these trips happen with minimal technical problems.

Biography: Roman de l’Ecotais

Roman de l’Ecotais

Romain de l'Ecotais is an independent filmmaker specialising in corporate and film documentaries. He has created films in a wide variety of situations, from the hot kitchens of Michelin-starred chef Thierry Marx to Senegalese wrestlers in Africa. He is shooting the videos for the BMW Motorrad trips with a Canon EOS 5D Mark III and will be blogging about his experiences on making movies in extreme conditions.

Biography: Ulla Lohmann

Ulla Lohmann

Ulla Lohmann is a German photojournalist and documentary filmmaker with a BSc degree in Natural Resource Management. She works freelance for clients including BMW, National Geographic, GEO, Stern View, the BBC, The New York Times and many others. She specialises in documenting the changing world of indigenous tribes and in photographing erupting volcanoes, and some of her photo stories have been exhibited at the Visa pour l’Image international festival of photojournalism.