Partying

Video(s) of the Week: Self-Teaching New Skills

I'll admit this off the bat: this week's video post is all over the place. Yes, it's dedicated to the betterment of the self-taught skills, just like last week's. Yes, it covers material from last year, this year, and calls for agency in yourselves! And yes, there are three videos this week. Just roll with it.

My Thought Process

Editing a video

Recently, I answered a question on how to best groom yourself for the World Traveler Internship, and since a huge part of the job is video editing, I thought it wise to encourage some exercises that will only improve our skills in videography,  yours and mine. Unless you take formal classes or have a mentor, you have to push your own development in order to make travel videos people want to watch.

Last week's video showed a lengthy experience squeezed into something compact with a bit of flare, and I called for suggestions on how I could have made the piece more dynamic with different techniques or styles all possible with a simple point-and-shoot and Windows Movie Maker. Many people don't create travel videos because they don't have the top gear, like HD camcorders and Final Cut Pro, but that shouldn't stop anyone from having an expressive final piece that stretches the abilities of that gear.

Video #1: Self-Teaching the Analysis of Theme

I created the following a year ago, while taking a trip to Iowa with friends. I wanted to show unexceptional and mildly inappropriate subject matter submerged into an unlikely theme, to hopefully enhance whatever charm can be extracted from a party bus situation.

Please don't judge.

Did this technique of pairing old and new, classy and not classy, work in your opinion? How would you have captured the same subject matter with a different angle, using the same tools of a point-and-shoot and a simple editing program? Comment below, and let's move on.

Video #2: Self-Teaching New Accessible Techniques

I am a MatadorTV intern (did you know?), and this week, I've been on the lookout for interesting videos under the theme of photography or photo-centric. This brought my attention to a technique called photomotion, which I love. I decided to give it a go this week, with the help of a Matador tutorial.

Give it a try yourself. If you have a DSLR, keep your finger on the shutter button for some rapid succession shots of something that moves. Also check the continuous shooting options on your camera and see if you can't make it do the work itself, possibly resulting in 9 frames per second if you're lucky.

If you have a point-and-shoot, I think the fastest you'll be able to capture is a photo a second, and it may help to turn the photo review off. You may not be able to capture enough frames to make it seamlessly animated, but it's a great technique to try out!

Bottomline: Don't not create because you don't like your subject matter or don't have the perfect gear. No doubt my subject matter would be cute no madder how I captured her. Great topic to start with.

Video #3: Self-Teaching How to Hunt Inspiration

And finally, today's last video is about finding new inspiration. Did you already know about photomotion? How can you learn other techniques without waiting for someone else to tell you about them? I found an easy way for anyone to come up with new methods.

I have twelve days until I take off for NYC and Mexico on my first business trip as producer and editor for Project Explorer. With this fourth series coming up, we want to get really creative with our filming techniques, in order to make learning all the more entertaining for students. Also, some archaeological/historical/cultural sites don't allow filming, so how are we to deal with these barriers?

By getting creative.

If you're finding it difficult to diversify your storytelling abilities, not sure how to capture certain subject matter in a new and compelling way, or just want to try something new, check out Vimeos channels!

Did any of this widespread content help you in conceptualizing better travel videos? Any other ideas to share? New techniques to try out? Fill me in, because I get further direction knowing what you, the reader, thinks!

The Reason for Red Bull: Day 59

A whole lotta hedonism going on here

The word "Mykonos" causes some people to involuntarily pump their fist and bite their lip with anticipation, knee jerk reactions to the thoughts of staying up until brunch time having cocktails while dancing on flashing platforms in your weekend best. My grandma body sighed at the sound of "Mykonos" knowing fully well it could not handle the pressure to party all night long...but it has to because that's the job. Go, grandma, go! Pump those fists!Our hotel sat about thirty seconds by foot from a curving beach covered in buff bodies. Face to face with the island's ways, it was quite obvious what a person does around here: wakes up for a late lunch, lounges by the beach or pool to perfect that bronze god/goddess sheen, and prepares for a full night amidst overpriced drinks and jazzed up bodies. I decided to give this lifestyle a chance and took my spot in the sun, occasionally taking a dip in the ocean and opening my eyes to watch several young Italian men rub oil on their friends.

Night fell. I emptied my camera bag and refilled it with water bottles and two Red Bulls. I threw a new dress over my head, blew my hair dry, and gave my mirror image a thumbs-up. Let's do this, grandma! Note to all: camera bags insulate nicely, so energy drinks stay nice and cool. Following some dude on stilts through downtown Mykonos Town, we eventually found our way to a big, ol', throbbing club that offered us VIP passes to avoid a hefty cover charge.

It took two hours, but the party started. Bodies filed in and ordered Red Bull and vodkas like fresh robots off the assembly line. Girls with feathers strapped to their glutes swung on poles and fanned themselves to the pulse of the techno. I couldn't help but bring that hand up in a fist and thrust it into the open, flashing air. The music carried me across expanses of time, even though my Red Bulls ran dry and sandals dug into my feet. And at every climax of the beats, the bartenders stood on top of us all and threw handfuls of napkins into beams of light. They scattered on sweaty crowds and mopped up every spilled drink on the ground.

My care pack served me well, and I lasted amongst the most dedicated night-dwellers until 5:30am, when I walked outside to a sunrise...and very afflicted eardrums. Getting back to the hotel at 7am, I passed a runner in my outfit from the night before. Couldn't help but giggle and started jogging myself. I wouldn't do it again for ages, but I truly enjoyed bouncing to ridiculous beats and the repeated scream of "My-Ko-Nos" for that one night only. Grandma pulled it together. And so can you.

Chicken and Clams, Partying Khmer Style: Day 191

Palm Tree Hoodlums

Palm Tree Hoodlums

After seeing a film about orphans in northern Uganda, my parents felt moved to donate funds for the kids at Palm Tree. For about two weeks, I asked the administrators, teachers, and Evan what was lacking there or what needed additional funding to occur on the ground level. As the days passed, my interest in their nutrition fed a desire to hook them up with a big ol' feast of protein. I had one of the older kids translate my intentions to the head cook, a sweet lady who seems to do little else but clean dishes and boil more rice. She looked at me with the softest face and hugged me, nearly made me cry.

We soon hopped into a rickshaw with three or four older kids in tow and headed to the local version of a super Kroger. Open air, piles of food lining every walking path and lane, not one foreigner in sight.

The older kids held my hand or hooked elbows, making it a bit difficult to navigate over the trash rivers and around coasting motorbikes. I wasn't sure what compelled them to stay so close, whether a cultural habit, sign of appreciation or friendship, or fear of getting run over. Whatever the reasoning was, I was slowly feeling my American citizenship seep from every sweating and content pore.

Every wet step concerned me with thoughts of the substances now on my feet. Innards hung from the umbrellas in the open market, and I had to watch my head for fear of slapping it into a cow face. The cook decided upon a vendor and began weighing out chickens with their bare hands.

I couldn't bare to watch the food handling methods: grab the yellow skins to be weighed, drop it in a sack, wipe the brow, handle some money, shake hands, grab another chicken and whack its wings off with an effortless cleave. I handed the money to one of the kids and stepped back to avoid the flying bits. I guess I have my limits. What a nancy of a carnivore, I am.

We picked up some oil, seasoning and veggies and found our rickshaw waiting for us on the madhouse of a street. I reminded the cook on our drive back that I wanted all the food to go to the kids and none to reach the volunteer pagoda. This wasn't a meal for us. This obviously hit silent refusal as she was already conjuring an elaborate image in her head of our meal for later. I assume she thought it insulting to not make us food in appreciation, and she surely wanted to express her cooking abilities now that she had something more exciting to work with.

The meal was delicious, and the kids thanked me again with incredible formality. And the we threw that formality out the window.

The administrators pulled out and stacked speakers that reached heights above my head, and the kids began dancing on tables to versions of "Beautiful Girls" dubbed in Khmer. Their moves were awesome: sometimes organic, always repetitive, and often a duplication of a previous volunteer's dance routine.

I, for some reason, didn't feel like dancing much, which was probably because all eyes were on me, ready to mirror my image. I busted a few moves, a quick robot and wave sequence, which stunned some and caused them to practice for the remainder of the evening.

Soon into the event, Evan pulled me aside and brought me to the area of the compound where some teachers and admins live. One of the resident ladies had a baby that week and was now having a welcome home party with family and much of the Palm Tree staff. Tables were littered with beer cans and all the clams one could hope for.

I forget if I spoke much or even what was said around the table. I graciously accepted a little boxed wine from Evan and tried to psych myself out enough to try a marinated clam in front of me. The surrounding men were popping them like Orville Redenbacher.

The Grown-Up Party

And with each cheers, everyone was required to chug whatever drink sat in front of them. Cambodians sure love to drink; unfortunately, not many can hold their alcohol well. This resulted in some hilarious and awkward encounters with men who stared and smiled in my direction for lengths too long to be casual.

I couldn't handle the late hours the kids were willing and ready to reach with their dance party antics. The volume the speakers hit made it very evident there was no neighborly rule or law stating loud noises and music weren't tolerated. The windows and doors in my room reverberated with every bump of the base.

I retired early to finish reading my Shantaram novel and prepare myself for the everyday early wake-up. Within minutes of a full blown dance party, speakers shut off and returned to their storage areas while women and children hung their mosquito nets and fell into deep sleeps on their wooden platform or the cool linoleum floor.