The 7th in the series of interviews with Fellow Travel Video bloggers features Bob, Jade and Rob from Vagabond3. I met this gang through #TNI on twitter one day and have been intrigued by their videos ever since. One of the most outstanding things about them is that a good chunk of their videos are actually made solely on Bob’s iPhone!?!? I don’t know if I have the time or patience for editing on such a small little tool, but I give them lots of kudos for doing it that way. However the iPhone can give you some great quality and I actually filmed some of my video in Fiji on mine (but then uploaded to my computer to edit ). I must learn from them! Check out their great interview below with answers from Jade and Bob.
You should watch: Sunsets around Australia
1. Can you tell us a bit about yourselves and your website and what got you motivated to start traveling? How did you get the travel bug?
Jade: I feel like I came out of the womb with the travel bug! Several months after I was born, my parents took me to Barbados and I was offically bitten. (Luckily it wasn’t some infectous island bug, but the travel bug!) A few months after we won the 4320SYD experience, we started thinking about our upcoming RTW trip and how we wanted to share it with friends and family. We all had seperate private blogs and making one space to share the trip just seemed to make the most sense. Vagabond3.com was born!
Bob: We each have a very different view of the world, and (kind of like Captain Planet) when our powers combined we thought we’d be able to share a well rounded view of each destination.
When it came to the world trip, we actually discussed retooling the site and decided to focus it on creating a community. Our thought was, “The world is huge and we need help”. In our ‘Don’t Panic Guides’ and ‘activity suggestions’ you can see what types of help we were looking for. The difficult part was actually getting the travel community to respond at first. There are thousands of travel blogs, so we had to try really hard to make space for ourselves. And, as it turns out, we liked working hard and we loved how the site came together. Also, since we had such a difficult time figuring out how to do some parts of our trip, we now love to be able to help others out.
2. Is it true that Rob won a contest where he had to tweet 4,320 times!? tell us more about that.
Jade: Rob wrote a tweet that put him and two friends into the running for the 4320SYD contest. After the three of us charmed our way into their hearts, they picked us to complete the mission! It was absolutely thrilling!
Bob: We totally had to tweet 4,320 times, that’s once a minute for every minute we were there. Really though, while it was exhausting, it was awesome. The trip was done as part of a Virgin Australia promotion, so the people we met in Oz really wanted to show us the best time ever. There was something planned just about every minute of the day, except for a few hours at night when we asked to have some quiet time (this led to a nearly 100 tweet review of the Blue Hotel’s bath products.) Sometimes it was easy, like when we were flying in a plane around the coast, and sometimes it was hard, like when we were tweeting and herding sheep. All the tweets are still online at 4320syd.com.
(Editors Note: THIS HAS BE ONE OF THE COOLEST THINGS TO WIN EVER!!!)
3. Why did you decide to incorporate video into your website and blog?
Bob: When we were planning the layout of our blog, it clearly had to be about travel, but we also wanted to incorporate the other interests in our lives (so the video got added in the same way that Jade’s fashion section came to be).
Video has always been my passion. I love shooting, acting, and editing. So, there was no way I was going to travel around the world without getting it all on film. But more than that, going back to the original blog, video was a way for Jade and I to show our families what each of these places is like. I’m still working on how best to do this, but, with each video I cut together, I think, ‘after watching this, will my Grandmother know what it’s like to be there?” I recall specific details that I found interesting (like the black dirt on Mt. Fuji) and try to present those types of details to round out the experience.
4. Aside from yourselves, do you have any favourite people that make travel videos? Anyone that has inspired you or whom you just enjoy good content from?
Jade: Our favorite travel videos were found while researching the places on our RTW itinerary. Being able to watch other people experience holding a koala or climbing the Great Wall of China helped shaped our bucket list and what activities we didn’t want to miss out on!
5. What has been your favourite travel video that you have made to date?
I just spent about two hours re-watching all the videos and they are all really fun because they bring back so many great memories! Here’s two- one that we took early in our RTW trip and one a few weeks later, climbing MT. Fuji!
Bob: I have another blog, OversaturatedInc.com that covers my non-travel related videos, mostly spec music videos and commercials. Jade and I both went to school for acting, so we have shot a number of short films and are about to launch a webseries “Your Worst Enemies are Dead Sexy Vampires”.
7. Do you have any tips for other people who are wanting to start making travel videos?
Bob: I live most of my life on the principle, ‘just start doing it, and it will work out’. So, if you want to make travel videos, just start making them. Think of a video as a dozen tiny pieces, as a independent travel videographer you have to put all twelve of them together…awesome!
-I would highly suggest shooting as much as you can and editing as much as you can before you take on something like a RTW (I wish I had had more time before our trip). You have to learn your own camera, your editing program, your editing style. It doesn’t take too long before you start to be able to put videos together in your head so you know what to shoot on the fly, but it does take time.
-Don’t be afraid of a tripod or monopod, and always count on handheld video to be a little wobbly (yes there are programs to fix the wobble, but you also loose parts of the shoot).
-Sound is SUPER important, grab a mic a Radio Shack for $16 and never regret it.
8. Do you actually make some of your videos using your iphone 4 and thats it? Editing and all done in the phone? How long does that take?
Bob: Well, we started shooting on our iPhone 3Gs before the iPhone 4 came out. So we still shoot on our 3GS’, and yes it is all done in the phone (all of our daily RTW videos were done on my phone). I use a combination of Nexvio apps (not sponsored) including Reel Director and SloMo. At first it didn’t take long because I accepted the limitations, but not long afterwards I started pushing the limits of the phone and the app so now it takes about an hour for a two minute video. It’s kinda awesome though because we can shoot and cut and post between activities. I’m looking at getting an iPhone 5, and I’m excited to try iMovie, but right now I’m super happy with the Nexvio products.
9. Aside from the iphone4 what equipment do you use? Camera? Editing program? Type of computer?
Currently we shoot with a Cannon Vixia HFS 100, we choose this as our video camera because it was easy to hide in a coat pocket and even though it’s HD, it doesn’t look like we need a permit to shoot with it! We’re about to move to a Cannon 6D (yay!!).
All our underwater footage was shot with a Kodak Playsport, which has flooded three times now…ugh. I keep reading great reviews, but I don’t know…Kodak has fixed it twice and now they finally replaced it. It might be fine if you want to use it in your home country, but, if you’re traveling, I’d be wary to count on it. However, the playsport has the same guts as the Kodak Zi8 which I would pick over a Flip because it has (some) image stabilization – not much, but just a bit.
We have a cannon point-and-shoot, that’s on it’s last leg, but in daylight still give great pics.
(Editors Note: I have two kodak playsports, I’ve gone Tidal Bore Rafting with it, I’ve stuck it in a glass of beer and drank from it, I’ve poured beer all over it at a party and more and I’ve yet to have a leak! Now you have me all worried haha)
EDITING Video and Audio:
For a long time I used iMovie. It’s a great program, and can be finessed into doing a ton of stuff. So many people blow past iMovie to move up and get ‘editing clout’ but I always suggest people use iMovie for as long as they can so they know what they need when they move into the next level (cause most people don’t need FCP).
That said, I use Final Cut Pro (never used avid). Sometimes for titles I’ll use AfterEffects. Also, we create our own music for the majority of our videos, so for sound mixing I use a cross of Cubase and Garageband.
If you can’t tell, I’m a mac guy. We have a powerbook and a iMac, we also have a ton of external harddrives.
(Editors Note: I can also tell you are an actor/movie person by using the abbreviation OS for off screen haha)
ODDS AND ENDS:
Monopod, and tripod (cheap because they work fine)
Lapel Mics from Radio Shack ($16 each) (1/8″ inch)
XLR mic’s and adaptors for any boom work or handhelp interview
WorkLights and CFL’s for interviews
Miles of cable and all the necessary adaptors
EXTRA BATTERIES FOR EVERYTHING AND ADAPTORS
MORE SDHC CARDS THAN I THINK NECESSARY
10. Vimeo or Youtube?
Bob: I like youtube. Cool networking potential. Vimeo sometimes has better quality, but really, these are just the biggest names. You have to look into specialty pages like tripfilms.com and Blip.TV for distribution.
11. How do you go about promoting your videos? Suggestions for other people to promote theirs?
Bob: I just post my videos everywhere. Even LonelyPlant has a web channel. I mentioned earlier that it’s been hard to get the traditional travel blogger to watch a full video (1-5mins), so I just put them everywhere I can. However, I’m making them to share the trip, so I always send links to my family.
12. How long do you suggest a video should be 2min? 10min? A good length to keep people watching but not bore them?
Bob: For web content I’d suggest 1-5 mins. However, people who make TONS of videos (like 1 or 2 a day) can get away with 10-15 mins of video. Also, if your video is amazing…like just totally awesome…people will sit through the whole thing no matter how long (just know that it is a small subset of people who will do that so you hit count might be lower).
13. How much advanced planning do you put into your videos?
Bob: As much as I can. However, with travel videos I’m usually just thrown into a situation and have to figure it out from there. That’s why I say anyone wanting to do this should do a lot of shooting and editing beforehand. That way, your mind is already trained to piece together the images around you into some sort of story. I also say, shoot a lot. I love editing, that’s where I can always put a bunch of time into my videos. Seriously, fall in love with your editing gear!
14. Since there are three of you in the group have you all been assigned specific roles when it comes to photographing, filmmaking and just traveling together in general? Like navigating or hostel booking?
Bob: Mainly I’m in charge of the video, we share the photography, and Jade is an amazing travel researcher (honestly she planned nearly all of our RTW). That said, Jade has filmed alot too. When we first started out, I wanted to have complete control over the video, but really I was only afraid. I had limited training in the field so I wanted to make sure whatever story I had put together in my head would be captured, but I’ve gotten looser with it since I’ve gotten better in editing. Whenever I arrive on a scene, I create the story in my head, but even the best stories in my head can change dramatically in editing, so now I’m much more relaxed. Also, I fully believe that having more than one eye is a good thing. As I stated originally, we are very different. So having a unique angle or object caught that I didn’t expect can add gravity in the final cut that I alone would have missed.