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The World Through The Lens of Laila

“It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to.”

– Bilbo Baggins, The Lord of the Rings.

Those words — written by the great J.R.R. Tolkien — ring true for anyone who's ever experienced the call of adventure. No one knows this more than Laila Gutknecht, whose passion for video and photography is matched only by her wanderlust.

Laila is a visual content creator living in Zurich, Switzerland with her boyfriend and two cats Gisbert and Mimi. She has a passion for travel and content creation and currently works for a social media company, where she produces small video content and is also involved in animation. Here's her story.

“Making movies is part of my life since I was a little girl. I loved experimenting with the analog video camera of my stepfather and we began to produce films during our holidays very early on.”

“When I finished school I did internships in a production company and at a television station where I learned filming and cutting from the scratch. Later on I started studying film studies at Zurich University, where I could deepen my love for not only making but watching, talking, and writing about movies. At the same time I started to work as a freelancer videographer. I did everything from weddings to conferences, birthday gifts, parties, interviews and fashion shows.”

We asked Laila what fuels her motivation in the voyage into the world of video and content creation.

“My passion is making movies about my journeys. I love to travel — it's an important part of my life. When I traveled to Paris with my best friend, the camera was a tool to document our journey. It was our constant companion, a mirror, a diary and almost like another person to us. More than 10 years later, I still do that with passion.

“Through the process of creating video, I can relive the journey and create a memory that lasts. Choosing how I create the video is part of how I remember the travel. When I look through my camera, it's like I see everything more focused. It's like I'm able to see more magic in everything.”

We love this idea. This is something a lot of us relate to. When we are engaged in the process of creation, we're focused not just on the images in front of the camera, but also thinking ahead to how the story comes together. It keeps us very grounded in the moment and aware of all the fine details happening in every second.

This translates into the work Laila does for the social media company where she now pursues her craft.

“At the moment I do a lot of small video content for social media channels for different smaller and bigger brands. A lot of animation content as well. What I love about my work is the complexity. I love the feeling of being in the flow with editing, being 100% focused, forgetting to eat and sleep and finally the feeling when it's all done and you're in love with what you did. Amazing.”

It sounds like sunshine and roses, but is everything just a dream behind the scenes? We asked Laila to tell us about the realities of life as a content creator.

“Sometimes it's very challenging to have enough time for everything. After an 8-hour-day of working in the agency, it can be hard to stay and work those extra hours on private projects. I often work on weekends or evenings to get all my stuff done. When I'm travelling I often shoot at night and I don't bring my most expensive camera. Neat Video often helps me to save night footage. My trip to Istanbul with my grandma meant a lot to me. This city is so vibrant especially at night. I took some really nice night shoots of fishermen on the bridge. Thanks to Neat Video those shots look very decent, although they were shot with a middle class camera and lenses.”

The story might just be beginning, and like many content creators she's not exactly sure where the journey will take her, but she's positive about the future and keeps things in perspective.

“I always dreamed of making documentary films. At the moment I don't know how to make this come true, but maybe one day I will. I sometimes get frustrated and discouraged by the thought, that there are so many people doing this whole video thing better or more professional than me. But then I try to remember that it's not a competition. I try to be inspired and learn from others, rather than being intimidated.”

Wanderlust is a beautiful thing. It can take you places you never dreamed, to capture magic that you've never seen. So, if the thought takes you, perhaps you should follow in Laila's footsteps. And if you happen to spot a girl with a camera at her side, stop and say hello. It could be her, you never know.

Laila has just came back home from her last adventures trips and here the stories she wants to tell the world about Peru ...

and Colombia...