I learned about Jason and Aracely just a few weeks ago and was immediately impressed with their website and travel videos. I was then more than surprised to find that they are in the middle of a website redesign for only who knows why because I think it’s pretty sweet just as it is, but I guess we will see soon and I can’t wait! 🙂

Every Travel Video Blogger interview that I do I ask similar questions, just to see how everyone creates their videos differently and the same. The plan at the end of them is to compile a list (or Robert Reid esque graph) and Jason and Aracely have given some great answers to the questions below. If you have any other questions that you would like asked just let me know! 🙂 Enjoy.

Who: Jason & Aracely What: Two Backpackers

Twitter: @TwoBackpackers Facebook: Facebook.com/TwoBackpackers

Youtube: Two Backpackers Vimeo: Two Backpackers

Stumble Upon: TwoBackpackers

You should watch: Active Volcano Pacaya You should read: The Impact of Travel and Blogging

1.        Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your website and what got you motivated to start traveling? How did you two meet?

Aracely and I met when a mutual friend/colleague had a birthday party in which we were both invited.  We spent almost every weekend together that summer of 2006, along with a great group of new friends trying every adventurous thing we have never done; skydiving, bungee jumping, hand gliding and our favorite, backpacking the Grand Canyon.

We had both established successful business careers working for multinational companies out of NYC, but the idea of a career break easyily persuaded us.  Aracely has always traveled to different countries on her vacations, but I had mostly avoided traveling, since it seemed uncomfortable to me.  After casually talking about friends of a friend who were backpacking in Nepal for a few months, the idea instantly hit us.  Why aren’t we doing something like that?  After figuring out the financial side of long term travel, we began to host yard sales and utilize eBay.  Within 6 months we departed for Central America.

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

The idea of video came to us in the form of another blog we found while searching for information on traveling around the world.  TwoGuysAroundTheWorld.com inspired us with their awesome travel videos.  It was rare to find highly edited, well thought out travel videos.  I eventually told Aracely, “We have to do this!”  Even though their website is now archived, since their traveling finished, I still feel as though they were the best.

3.      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?

See answer above.

4.      What has been your favorite travel video that you have made to date?

Our favorite videos have yet to come, but I will choose one that is already out there.  It’s our overnight hike on Volcano Pacaya near Antigua, Guatemala.  Capturing the eerie black volcano and the glowing lava was best suited for video.

5.      Did you have any previous filmmaking experience?

No, neither of us had experience with filmmaking before.  This was our first HD camera we had ever purchased.  And this same camera has been resurrected once in Lima, Peru, but I believe it’s dying again.

6. You have a lot of music in your videos. Do you have any recommendations or favorite websites where people can get creavtive commons music for their videos?

Music has been one of our tougher obstacles to deal with.  Some of our early videos have unauthorized popular music on them.  This was done before we had any sense that our blog would grow to a business.  Now, we search hard for cinematic type music.  We would prefer to use popular music, but it’s impossible to do so and maintain a legal video.  Unless you make it big time, no one will probably ever know, but it’s something I still try to avoid.  We originally used BeatPick, when the prices were reasonable, now we use Stock20.  Just because a song has a Creative Commons license doesn’t mean its free.  This is a big misconception that is heartbreaking for those that don’t have the income to support such purchases.  On BeatPick for instance, it will cost you $300USD to license a song for your Internet video legally.  That’s not possible for most of us.  So, yes, its a challenge we continue to struggle with.

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

The reason many blogs still aren’t doing video is because it remains time consuming.  When traveling, you must think about storage devices, protection of equipment, carrying a laptop and uploading bandwidth.  The significance of these factors can be reduced by the type of device you are creating videos with.  If you are using a point-and-shoot camera for your video, you eliminate much of the complexity.  My advice is to consider what quality of video you want to produce.  The higher the quality, the more difficult it becomes for the factors I mention above.

8. Did you find it hard to edit video while on the road? Do you feel your videos were worth all the work that it takes to make them?

I find it incredibly hard to edit on the road.  Our videos are highly edited and filmed in full 1920 HD, which means it requires expensive software and an expensive laptop to work with.  After the first 6 months we stopped publishing videos.  Uploading 2G video episodes on the road in South America became impossible in hostels.

The big question… is the time worth it.  I would suggest “Not yet”.  Our photos and articles do incredibly better than any video I have ever produced.  Videos are challenging in regards to SEO and there are rarely any clickthroughs from YouTube or Vimeo.  It’s very frustrating.  If you like the videos personally, then go for it, but as of today, it’s hard to benefit from them in regards to website traffic.

9. What was your biggest lesson learned from filming while traveling? ie Did your skills improve?

I learned to always have your camera with you, ready to record.  So many times we left the camera back in the room and missed a great opportunity.  Sometimes you just want to go out with no camera or video camera and enjoy without thinking about the blog.  Today, it would be different.  I will look at traveling as my job, and it requires me to film in order to make a living.

9.       What equipment did you use? Camera? Editing program? Type of computer?

Last year when we were on our first year long adventure, we used a Canon Vixia HFS100 camcorder, an old MacBook Pro from 2006 and Final Cut Express.  After returning home, we upgraded to the new MacBook Pro and swapped the drive for 7200rpm, which is necessary for full HD footage.  We also invested in Final Cut Studio and an external 2TB iomega station.  At this point, we are fully invested in continuing to produce excellent videos from our Central and South America.  We are currently remastering all of our old video episodes and getting ready to launch new ones.

10.       Vimeo or Youtube? other?

Originally, both.  Now, we are going to compress and host videos on our own.  We were disappointed in the quality loss when allowing YouTube or Vimeo to compress our videos.  YouTube gives you the benefit of uploading 2G videos.  Vimeo charges you for videos that large.  YouTube is #1 in regards to SEO, especially considering Google owns them.  If you are using Google to search, YouTube videos appear first.  Vimeo is typically associated to higher quality films or film makers.  YouTube is for anyone.  Neither, however, produce quality clickthroughs.  We will still publish videos to both Vimeo and YouTube for brand proliferation, but on our site, they will be self hosted in higher quality.

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

I know the study shows that a video should be no longer than 1:30, or something close to that.  It makes sense. If I look at the time people watch my videos, they average around 2 minutes.  I produce longer videos, between 5 and 7 minutes.  If it takes me that long to tell the story, so be it.  Remember, my videos don’t gain me traffic, so I primarily do them because I love it.  If it was for traffic purposes only, then the experts are right, never longer than 2 minutes.

Cailin, thanks for the opportunity!  I think it’s great to get these questions asked and shared with everyone.  There are just so many unknowns with video blogging.

Thanks Jason and Aracely! I really appreciate your response and it’s interesting to hear that you are going to start self-hosting your videos and your thoughts on if video is worth the time. I as well make them because I just love doing it! I’ve been saying this for a few months now that I think blogs are huge right now, but video is the next big thing! (fingers crossed 😉 )

Stay tuned for more Fellow Travel Video Blogger interviews coming soon!