Dave and Deb were two the first people that I connected with in the traveling blogging world and on twitter. We had an immediate connection as of course we all love to travel but we also worked doing freelance jobs in the Film and TV industry. The couple has now put those careers on hold while they travel the world focusing on their wicked travel site www.ThePlanetD.com.
I had the pleasure of finally meeting the two of them last summer at TBEX in New York and they were even nicer in real life than they are online. If you haven’y heard of them yet, then you must be living under a rock. I hope you enjoy this great interview with Dave and Deb of The Planet D.
You Should Watch: Reaching Everest Base Camp
1. Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your website and what got you both motivated to start traveling? How did you get the travel bug?
We used to work in the Film Business in Canada. Hollywood films chose to come north over the warmer months. Winters were normally slow when it came to work so we always took off somewhere to escape the cold in Toronto. It became our thing. Where were Dave and Deb going to go next? We would come home each Spring, and go back to work while planning our trip for the following winter.
Our motto is “Anyone Can Do it!”
Traveling slow and spending weeks at a time each country, we have managed to immerse ourselves into the culture and adventures of 45 nations. From trekking to Mount Everest Base Camp in Nepal, Practicing Yoga in India, Studying Muay Thai in Thailand and joining the Adams Peak Pilgrimage in Sri Lanka we don’t just hop into a country to gain a stamp on our passport, we get to know a place and it’s people and our site allows us to share all of this and more with the world.
2. I know that before you started traveling full time you both worked in the film and TV industry (like me), is that how adding video to your travels naturally came about? Or were there other reasons as to why you decided to add video to your site?
We originally started posting videos before we started our travel blog. We put up our videos on YouTube long before we had a travel blog and used to make 22-minute episodes of our travels for family and friends. Our original idea was to have a travel show on TV, and we used to only take photos and make videos. The blog came much later.
3. Aside from yourself, do you have any favorite people that make travel videos? Anyone that has inspired you or whom you just enjoy good content from?
4. What has been your favorite travel video that you have made to date?
I think our highlights of Peru was a fun video. We had a great time in that country and I think that video captures the feeling we had there. We like the music too.
Dave was a Rigging Gaffer for Feature Films. A Gaffer is the head of the lighting department. A Rigging Gaffer works along side the Gaffer and is the head of the rigging lighting crew. Meaning he sets up all the lighting on the film set before the crew arrives. He hangs the grid of lights or pre lights the blue screen. All the overhead lights are put up by the rigging gaffer’s crew. He distributes all the power and cables and has the set ready to go when the shooting crew arrives. It is a lot of planning and reading blue prints and then figuring out how to run the power and where to put everything.
The make-up artist is pretty straightforward – During the last 5 years of my career I worked at YTV as their resident Make-Up Artist. I would make the hosts and guest look pretty. I would also do some basic and fun special effects. Being children’s television it was a lot of fun to be creative and silly with make-up.
6. Aside from being technicians in the industry did you have any previous filmmaking experience?
We had worked in the film business since 1994, and before that we didn’t have any previous experience. We have always been creative though. Deb went to school for theater and was a professional singer while Dave was an avid drummer that played in a Rock Band.
Editors Note: The two of you impress me even more each day! A professional singer and the drummer in a Rock Band!? Crazy!
7. What were the biggest films or shows that you worked on and/or are the ones that you are most proud of?
Dave has worked on huge Hollywood movies like X-Men, The Hulk with Edward Norton and Chicago, but what he is most proud of is his work on Silent Hill. It was a small budget of 40 million dollars, but the producers wanted to film it like it was a 100 million dollar blockbuster. As the Rigging Gaffer you are balancing budgets while creating the directors vision. To be able to get the job done on a small budget while pleasing Line Producers, Production Designers and the Director of Photography takes a lot of skill.
Deb was happiest at YTV. She spent 5 years working with a tight knit cast and crew and went to work every day feeling like they were family. The work was always fun and creative.
8. Do you have any tips for other people who want to start making travel videos?
Don’t go crazy panning. Instead hold long steady shots and cut them together to show vast landscapes. Give yourself something to cut to. You may not have an entire story in your head, but give yourself a way to cut out of a segment to make a transition to another thought.
9. What equipment do you use? Camera? Editing program? Type of computer?
Cannon 5D Mark II and Lumix GH1. We use mostly iMovie 06 on the road, it is easy and has more editing capabilities than the newer iMovies. We do have FinalCutPro and plan on editing all our videos from this past set of travels (6 months worth) on it this summer when we are home. We have given up keeping up with video editing while traveling at the moment.
10. Vimeo or Youtube?
Youtube. We used Vimeo for a little bit, but went back to Youtube. We feel that we can reach a larger audience on youtube.
11. How do you go about promoting your videos? Suggestions for other people to promote theirs?
We used to work very hard at promoting our videos and received a lot of views because of it. Lately we focus more of our energy into promoting ThePlanetD as a whole rather than our videos by themselves. But in the past we have found that promoting our videos on youtube is just like everywhere else in the social media world. If you are an active contributor, and comment on other people’s videos regularly, you will get more views. If you create a social circle like you do on Twitter and Facebook, people will start to visit your videos regularly. We used to go to other people’s videos and comment and “like” them and subscribe to their videos and in return they did the same for us. Youtube is like any social media platform, the more you give, the more you get.
12. How long do you suggest a video should be 2min? 10min? A good length to keep people watching but not bore them?
I don’t think it matters on length. If you can grab people right off the bat, they will keep watching. I won’t skip over a video just because it is 10 minutes long, but if I start watching a 10-minute long video and it doesn’t interest me in the beginning, I will turn it off. But if it is engaging and fun, I will keep on watching no matter what the length.
13. How much advanced planning do you put into your videos?
We will film an intro and extro of everything and we film some random shots of us laughing or yelling or just doing something goofy like pointing at the scenery etc. We think about establishing shots and give ourselves some shots to be able to cut to. We don’t use a script but we know the points that we want to hit on.
14. Do you often just shoot everywhere you go with or with out ideas in mind and view the footage later to find out if you have a story to tell or do you always have specific plans and ideas in mind?
We don’t have a story in mind everywhere we go, but we do make sure to introduce where we are and have a closing comment or segment. We will make sure to shoot establishing shots and different views of our location so that we do have a large amount of footage to cut to.
We have made it a priority in our blog to shoot more informative videos.
I know you are extremely busy and always on the move so appreciate you taking the time to answer my questions! Hopefully the three of us will be working on a project together very soon! :)