For videographers, Mexico City is a vast panorama ranging from the clamor of dense city life to the quiet of small villages and canyon lands west of the urban core. Similar to New York City’s boroughs, Mexico City is comprised of 16 districts or delegaciones. Altogether, they form the Federal District or Distrito Federal (DF).
The DF covers 573 square miles — nearly twice NYC’s area — and, with 21 million residents, has more than twice New York’s population. Depending on which part of the DF you visit, you may see avenues of 19th century mansions and skyscrapers or shantytowns and open-air shops. Here are five suggestions for destinations to film.
Modeled on the Champs Élysées of Paris, the Reforma is what you might call the DF's ""Main Street."" It's closed to vehicles, but that doesn't mean it's doesn't roll. This is a great place for Mexican video production on the move, because the bicyclists, roller bladers and runners whiz past.
Mexico City is home to the National Autonomous University of Mexico (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, UNAM). The university's Institute of Biology includes the second oldest botanical garden in the nation. Visitors can film 1,600 species of desert, forest and jungle plants. At one time, botanical explorers from other nations freely collected Mexican fauna, but that isn't true anymore. Nevertheless, video filmed in Mexico can help you explore the nation's tremendous plant diversity.
About three miles west of the Zocalo, the city's main square, nightlife pulses until the wee hours in the La Condesa area, including strolls through the park. La Condesa attracts an artsy, intellectual crowd. During the day, it's fun to tour the areas Art Deco architecture and observe its many dog "whisperers" who train whole schools of dogs on the street.
Confession: We don't know whether you have to jump through hoops to film the DF's masked luchadores wrestlers in the Mexico Arena on Friday nights. But it's worth a try to capture this cultural phenomenon dating back to 1863 in one of your Mexico videos. Luchadores who lose matches literally lose face by having to remove their masks.
In Mexico, "dynamo" refers to a power plant. El Parque Nacional de los Dinamos is less than an hour west of the DF's downtown area. The park is in the Magdalena Contreras district, which is named for the Magdalena River flowing from the city into this canyon land of waterfalls and the remains of four old power plants. It's a daytrip haven for climbers, hikers, bicyclists and anyone -- including a videographer -- who wants to get away from the city's bustle and noise.
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