Interview with Fellow Travel Video Blogger Brock Groombridge of

This weeks interview of a fellow Travel Video Blogger is with Brock of . I recently met Brock for the first time while in New York attending the first ever Nomading Film Festival where both of us along with Mike from KickTheGrind.TV represented Canada by having our travel videos featured in the top 11 films out of 100 at the festival. I’ve never not seen this guy without a smile on his face which is partly probably because of his amazing year of traveling the world which you can read all about and watch over 200+ videos from on his site. Having just celebrated his 6month anniversary of being home from his trip I think his feet are getting itchy and he celebrated with a new design of his site. So check it out and enjoy his interview!

Who: Brock Groombridge of Backpack With Brock Twitter@BackpackerBrock Youtube: TimeToBrock Vimeo: BWB

StumbleUpon: BackpackerBrock

You should watch: Patara Elephant Farm video

1. Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your website and what got you motivated to start traveling? How did you get the travel bug?

For starters, my name is Brock, I’m from Toronto, Canada and I am the owner of Backpack with Brock, a travel blog and travel consulting service for backpackers and independent travelers. I just returned from a one year backpacking adventure around the world that took me to 36 countries on 6 continents, video blogging the entire way in HD video.

Oddly enough I got the travel bug from the global recession. I finished my university degree in spring 2009 and because of the economy, jobs were few and far between. I had the choice of working a job I didn’t enjoy, or to backpack around the world. It was an easy choice.

2. Why did you decide to incorporate video into your website and blog?

When I was planning for my around-the-world trip, I found myself frustrated that everything was in either a text or photo format. I didn’t want to read about how to book a hostel or talk to locals – I wanted to see someone show me. I studied radio and television broadcasting in university so I figured I’d take it upon myself to make the videos I couldn’t find. And just like that, Backpack with Brock was created. It also provided a fantastic opportunity to not only push my boundaries and try something new while helping me to continue developing my craft and return home with an incredible edition to my resume.

3. Aside from yourself, do you have any favourite people that make travel videos? Anyone that has inspired you or whom you just enjoy good content from?

I’m pretty hooked on the videos from Nathan and Sofia at They both have great on camera presence and package it all together really well. I also enjoy Ryan from I appreciate how he often takes a different spin with his videos. While each of my videos is focused on my complete visit to a city or village, Ryan throws in quick snippets like traffic at a busy intersection or a short bike ride to give you a brief taste of where he is.

4. What has been your favorite travel video that you have made to date? (please provide a link)

While I don’t have just one ‘favorite’ video, I do have a ‘best of’ list that comes to mind. One video that makes the cut would be ‘An Indian Short: Getting a Haircut’. It combines the chaos of India and the hilarity a language barrier can cause. Watching it, I feel like I am back in that barber shop, melting in the sweltering heat of southern India right before a monsoon. Good times.

5. Did you have any previous filmmaking experience?

I have a bachelors degree in television but my focus was on-air presentation. Thankfully we also learnt writing, editing, marketing and filming and although I’m not a pro in these aspects, I understand enough that I can create my videos entirely on my own.

6. Do you have any tips for other people who are wanting to start making travel videos?

For someone just getting started, there are a few simple tips and tricks that will help make your videos rock. I love lists (I have a segment called ‘The Friday Five’) so here are 5 tips:

1. Get in front of the camera. Let your viewers see you eating the traditional food or interacting with locals and while you are there, talk to us and tell us what you feel & smell & hear. Make us feel like we’re right there with you.

2. Hold the camera shot in one place. You don’t always have to pan left and right or zoom in. A solid, still shot can be quite mesmerizing.

3. Be yourself and have energy. This will engage your audience and suck them in. You don’t have to worry about saying the perfect sentence or not being ‘good enough.’ It’s a video about travel, there are no rules.

4. When editing, include some music, text, and voice overs if you have an editing program that allows you to. It doesn’t have to be fancy, but it will take the video up a notch.

5. Back up your content. A video bloggers worst nightmare is to lose their footage. Copy it onto a USB key, laptop or external hard drive. If you don’t you’ll eventually wish you did.

7. What equipment do you use? Camera? Editing program? Type of computer?

On my trip around the world I was armed with a Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS3 and 13″ Macbook Pro. The Lumix shot excellent HD video with stereo sound while taking fantastic photos. To edit I used iMovie on my Macbook Pro because of it’s simplicity and quick editing ability. Now that I am back, I’m transitioning back to FinalCut which I learnt in university to take my videos to the next level. I also carried a very durable hard drive and a gorilla tripod.

8. Vimeo or Youtube?

I’m on team Vimeo for sure. All of my videos are uploaded there then embedded onto my site because I like the clean, trendy look of their player. That said, I see the advantage of YouTube and TripFilms offers when it comes to traffic and am in the process of re-uploading my content to these sites.

9. How do you go about promoting your videos? Do you have any suggestions for other people to promote theirs?

All of my videos get put onto my blog and then I promote them through Twitter, Facebook and Stumble Upon. It can be hit and miss whether people will watch them but sometimes a video you thought no one would watch really takes off. In addition to connecting with other travel bloggers who can share your videos, placing a share button right above your post can make a huge difference. Make it easy for your users to help share your content, and they will.

10. How long do you suggest a video should be 2min? 10min? A good length to keep people watching but not bore them?

I still have not found the right answer to this question, but then again, maybe there isn’t one. When I make a short video, someone will say they want them to be longer. When I make a long video, someone says they want them shorter. Everyone has different tastes and attention spans. While a shorter video does allow less room for people to get bored, sometimes you have to make it longer to do it justice. Like my Kenyan Safari video. Something I always try to remind myself is to make each video the way ‘I’ want it to be because in 40 years it might just be me watching it – and I want to love it.

11. How much advanced planning do you put into your videos?

Generally I don’t plan to much in advance, aside from ensuring I have charged batteries and a memory card. That said, I have a basic list of shots in my mind that I always try to get. A getting there shot, some wide shots, close ups, people if there are any. Missing one of the ‘key’ shots can make editing stressful and time consuming. Also, if I am checking out something historic or with a story, I do a bit of research so I know the facts and can share them on camera, accurately.

12. I notice that you currently have 208 video uploads on Vimeo where do you find the time to make all of them?

It baffles me that I have made as many videos as I have. Each one takes about 3 – 5 hours assuming everything goes well. I’d say I easily put in about 1000 hours over the course of one year and somehow explored 36 countries at the same time. It was a struggle to balance enjoying my trip and making videos so I had to schedule my editing time. I did a lot while in transit, on trains, buses and planes. While fellow travelers were sleeping I’d stay up all night working on videos then go sightseeing all day. The toughest though was the voice overs. I needed silence so I’d sit under a blanket in hostel bathrooms or get a private room every now and then.

13. Music is often a difficult thing to find for videos, do you have any sites that you recommend for people to get free music from?

I am fortunate that my Macbook Pro has an audio library I can source music from. I also try to record live music being played on the street and give the artist some change.

14. Do you find it easy to edit on the road?

Editing on the road is an art in itself. Finding electrical outlets, silence for voice overs, internet connections and of course time to do it all. I knew I was taking on a beast but I had no idea how challenging it would be. My goal was to blog my entire trip only in video because I could not find anyone who had successfully done so previous to me. I now have learned why. I distinctly remember trying to edit in India. There was so much noise outside all day that I would have to wake up at 3 am every night and edit outside because the fan in my room was too loud and it was too hot to turn it off. It was days like those I wished I had a written blog.

15. What’s next for you? Do you have any new projects in the works?

Yes, there are quite a few new things on their way. For starters, I’ve done an overhaul of my website to make it look more snazzy. I’ve started doing presentations in schools and for organizations, speaking about my trip, character building and making your travel dreams a reality. My biggest new project however is my travel planning business. I recall when planning my trip how overwhelming it was and that there wasn’t anyone out there who will sit down and help you iron out all the details, with your best interests in mind of course. So when someone wants to go backpacking or on an extended trip, I go through everything with them. They still plan their own adventure, but I guide them along. Going on a trip? See how I can help! Oh, and there might be a book on its way…

16. Do you think you will continue to make videos once you stop traveling? Will you ever stop traveling?

With a year of backing, 36 countries and 200+ videos under my belt I got burnt out to say the least. For a while I was telling myself that I would wrap up my video blog once I finished profiling my ‘big trip.’ Since arriving home however, I’ve had time to re-energize, step back and see all the marvellous things these videos have brought me. Unique experiences, viewers and messages from all over the world and the most incredible scrapbook of my trip I could ask for. I’ve become apart of a fantastic community of fellow travellers and bloggers alike. My videos and blog have also begun to support me financially and promote my newest ventures. So will I stop traveling or making videos? Not if I can help it. I saw a lot in my year around the world and took a ton of people with me through my videos but gee, I haven’t even begun to scratch the surface. Backpack with Brock is just getting started.

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