While in Miami on official TGS business, I joined my friend Nick on a road trip to visit his grandmother in Boca Raton. We felt like doing something adventurous on our weekend off, and when a spontaneous trip to Cuba didn’t pan out (due to their visa restrictions, not ours), I decided to tag along for his mini-family reunion. The point of the trip wasn’t to craft a story or film anything; we were there to visit a lovely woman and enjoy some peace and quiet pre-Costa Rica. However, when we embarked on an exploration of the neighborhood in a retro golf cart, the inspiration flowed.Read More
I took a vacation for myself, and it was evidence enough that the casual weekend away should be more of a priority. It was close by, surprisingly economical, and equivalent to a routine enema - a metaphorical flushing of habitual activity, not your bi-weekly bowl of Colon Blow. Here's a vignette of my weekend with friends in Boston, Massachusetts.
I'm overly focused on the long-term trip, when really there are far more people (especially in America) poised and prepared to go somewhere for a couple days than there are people raring for an RTW. Are there any weekend trips you've always wanted to take but haven't yet? Tell me about it, and then go book your Megabus ticket.
Video Editing Note: In this vignette, I wanted to play with the idea of aged, albeit timeless, summer footage, which matched perfectly with this Peanuts-reminiscent soundtrack by Jeris. Of course, I had to include the beautiful capacity of the DSLR video during most of the video clips. I also did a lot of research on how to create the 35mm slide projector look. If you're pining for the HD version, head to Vimeo. Any tips or feedback?
Do you know where we were a year ago today?
This is a game my family plays. Actually, this is just a common sentence equation my parents throw around, about which my brother and I like to joke. Whether we recall where we were last month or dream of our future location a week away, the Clarks can often be found discussing their coordinates except where they are in the present.
Today, I'm sporting my genes and recalling my exact location at the 2010 New Year: on the Pacific Harbour beach in Fiji, taking a break from an exhausting project. Don't worry; I have a purpose for this nostalgia.Read More
Q&A is a series on Nomadderwhere that uses questions posed by readers and commentators to address topics of travel, alternative lifestyle design, blogging, and other interests. You can expect to see this series one or two Saturdays a month right here on Nomadderwhere.com. To send in your questions, contact me! [The following dialogue occurred on Youtube under my one year compilation video.]
jkeagle: What's the music you use in this video?
Linzer32: @jkeagle That would be a little Hood Internet and Milkman. Those are two mash-up artists. I liked their energy and figured samplers wouldn't be so stingy on copyright laws, which I'm getting much more aware of and sensitive to these days. Trying to find stock that matches the power of copyrighted good stuff.
jkeagle: @Linzer32 Good call! If you happen to have a compiled list of "best songs" or "best practices" for travel video soundtracks, I think that would be a GREAT resource to add to your site! I know I would be interested!
A very good idea, Janelle. Thank you for prompting the following post!
I make travel videos because I want others to experience what I see and feel. I started by making slideshows (with copyrighted audio) - the modern day equivalent of projecting scratchy slides on the family room wall, the clicking of the carousel and its buzzing fan the only sounds in the room, other than the snores of family members. Even when my use of dynamic video footage increased, my abilities still relied heavily on cool audio tracks. I would pair my humdrum visuals with the awesome music I listened to on that trip. Keane in Vietnam. Zeppelin in Africa. The use of powerful, recognizable music also seemed to elicit a fitting energy that matched my actual experience. Listen to what I listened to. See what I saw. And thus, the transfer of experience is complete! Right?
No. Wow, I was misled.
Here are a couple reasons why you shouldn't make travel videos like so.
#1: It Looks like Camera (and Brain) Vomit
The idea of transferring an experience to others is the basic principal of travel documentation, in my eyes. Travel is so moving, we want our people to know just how moving it is. Here's where most people fall short of truly being accurate and compelling vehicles of travel inspiration: your images rarely speak for themselves, especially in video form. Pictures say thousands of words, more or less, but not without craft and presentation. To simply make a slideshow or a chronological chain of your camera's regurgitations is not enough to transfer the experience, and attaching your favorite song to that chain is no promise of a cohesive video or a real story.
You smelt things. Your heart fluttered. The din and clamor was unbearable and perfect. Your mind took various elements from your entire experience, highlighting some mundane or monumental moments and brushing aside some arbitrary or strong-scented others, to craft the lasting effect. Thanks to a little sifting and processing, you departed from that place with a definite opinion and feeling (which subsequently fluctuates forever with time).
Our minds edit. Our minds process. Therefore, in making accurate documentation of our experiences, we must do the same, and a huge part of that is the audio pairing. We cannot streamline the timeless practice of storytelling by laying it all out there willy nilly, nor can we cut corners by laying on soundtracks like "Life is a Highway."
#2: The Music is the Attention Flypaper
I love when casting directors assemble no-name actors and actresses to help their movie themes resonate further - no George Clooneys to suck the attention away from the good stuff.
While in Cambodia, admiring the Angkor temples in Siem Reap, I sat on a rock overlooking the complex and blared Jimi Hendrix in my ears. The stunning craftsmanship all around made me think of virtuosos, and I wanted all my senses to be amidst such dexterity and divine inspiration. When I made my video displaying these photos from Angkor, I figured pairing the visuals with Neil Young would be smart (albeit very student artwork of me).
Of course, the audio was stripped not long after posting, and my video lost any element of interest, for myself included. But even if Young's Ohio continued to give my pictures a pulse, the entire video would be less about the moving virtuosity of the temple architecture and history and more about my use and interpretation of Young's music. Everyone has their own affiliations with popular songs, bad memories and good, and there's an incredibly slim chance anyone gets your intentional pairing.
In actuality, what's truly the point of letting other people know I listened to Classic Rock while surrounded by ancient rocks? In most cases, it's better to leave the Clooneys out of the equation, and tell the story more effectively via other means.
#3: It's Breaking Basic Copyright Laws
Do whatever you want in your own private sphere (I know I have), but if you plan on publishing your videos online with copyrighted content (on YouTube, perhaps), your video page will look something like this:
The majority of my videos from Semester at Sea onto The Big Journey are stripped of audio or blocked completely, due to copyright infringement. Alas, the hooks I created to make my slideshows even remotely tolerable - with a sweet song to listen to - are gone. Unless someone really enjoys a boring, silent succession of mediocre photos, these puppies are getting dusty on the Youtube virtual shelves. All that work down the cyber drain.
I'd be a hypocrite in the creative industry if I felt copyrights meant nothing. I'm a creator of intangible goods as well, and I know how testy I get when due credit isn't attributed. I'm still unsure about the idea of using licensed music with a credit; it's certainly the better of the two practices. The music we allow to pulse through our ears on location (or at home) is usually a catalyst or inspiration for what we create, so it seems the best work would come from pairing your visuals with a song you already love. However, it's better to cover all your bases from the get-go, and make the habit one you can be proud of as you climb the ladder of the film industry.
The Right Music Matters
My use of copyrighted music was like attaching training wheels to beginner attempts at travel videos - attempts to transfer energy and salvage bad recipes. Though I still think it'd be sweet if I magically had all the rights in the world to publish anything I cared to, I can easily adapt to a new, and more sustainable, model of video editing that will be better for building a portfolio of work and credibility.
I'm still trying to swing both my legs onto the band wagon of stock music, being only a recent convert myself, but there really are a lot of options to choose from on the internet.
In case you're unaware, stock music (or production, royalty-free, and pre-licensed music) is available for use for anything: TV commercials, travel videos, movies, etc. Music libraries commission these works and own the rights, making it much more affordable for good music to legally pair with someone's work.
If you have a Mac, Apple supplies the creative editing software with stock audio effects and jingles. Upgrading to more extensive programs like Final Cut Pro will again supply you with great audio to work into your videos. Of course, if you don't want to use the same music as everyone else with iMovie, there are more options. Searching any of the following phrases will point you in the right direction: stock music, production music, royalty-free music, free stock music, creative-commons music, etc. Here are some resources I've found useful thus far.
If you're not too sure about stock music, I'm assuming it's because you think it sounds like bad video game tunes or something a hermit-nerd with a keyboard created in his basement over the course of seven minutes. Some of the internet's selection does in fact sound like that. If you've tapped the following resources and still cannot find the right audio for you (and your serious about this game), you should upgrade.
I used Jingle Punks for World Traveler Internship, Nakavika Project, and ProjectExplorer.org videos thus far (see here), and though I used this service for free, I think it offered some easily found, thematic music for many different videos and feels.
Music is integral. Use it properly and wisely. Let the music be a driving factor in the production of your travel videos. And if you're hoping those videos will go viral or propel you into the right industry, you had better make sure your efforts are covered by the law.
If you're looking for more great video-making resources, read Joshua Johnson's 5 Reasons Your Travel Video Sucks. It's more helpful than it sounds.
It's safe to say I'm really pleased with myself and the completion of my first cut segment for ProjectExplorer. Sure, I've been editing quick trips and question videos, writing blog posts, and researching the Mexico series. And since last summer, I've been exclusively using iMovie09, churning out some self-proclaimed impressive content. However, last night I cranked out a piece that will go down in history as my first official contribution to the meat and potatoes of this organization.
I love how the concept of this video became a reality. How does one capture a hugely famous, incredibly influential Latin American artist whose style created a new language in visual art? How do I find the proper way in which to dynamically convey the passion of Frida? Here's one of the three segments we decided to create on the special lady, narrated by and featuring Vijaya Selvaraju.
With hair by Nichole Dossous and make-up by Jazmine Da Costa, our Team Mexico whipped together an impressive segment. What do you think of our storytelling technique in this one?
This week's video post is dedicated to the betterment of the self-taught skills. 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 an exercise that will only improve our skills in videography, your's 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.
Along with the next video of the week, I'll be displaying some work I created almost a year ago exactly, while taking a trip to Iowa with friends. How do think I could have captured this moment better? Any techniques I could have used? Photo motion? Visual effects? Let's stretch our minds and see how many ways this experience could have been documented, using reasonably accessible gear like point-and-shoot cameras and Windows Movie Maker (what I used for this video).
Leave your suggestion or technique in the comments below, and let me know what you think of this exercise!
I'm very happy to report Nomadderwhere has come a long way since this time last year, when I moved from a simple blogspot to a bonafide domain of my own. Since that time I've changed my writing style and topics, grown a readership of surprisingly many (thanks to you), won the most amazing internship known to man, and turned this online outlet for my travel thoughts and work into something that may one day sustain me. For those of you just stopping by for the first time, this is probably the best post at which to start. According to my stats and Google analytics, these are the top posts for Nomadderwhere.
...I didn’t study telecommunications or video art in college, nor did I have a good operating system while making my application video last year. If you’re new at this, like I was, don’t worry because if you have a computer, some travel footage and a passion to produce, you can make some mean videos...Bottom line is to be aware of the story you are crafting and make sure it gives people a reason to watch beyond 10 seconds and a reason to stick around until the end. The music helps me monumentally with this step of the process.
...I received word from two different people that Cafe Ba-Ba-Reebas! in Lincoln Park had the greatest and most authentic tapas in the city. Since my cousin is a budding foodie and my other friend lived in Spain and learned to cook there, I took their advice as fast as I took down my sangria. Rioja short ribs with manchego mashed potatoes, house meat plate with serrano, salchichon, chorizo, chicken & artichoke paella, crispy spicy potatoes with sun-dried tomato alioli, and warm potato & onion omelette - everything tasted so flavorful, even my friends who had been here before were amazed and raving. The thrill of good food doesn’t get old...
...But he found more appeal in living with 100+ kids in a country he had no ties to. He wanted to move people and make physical and emotional necessities available to anyone. With that desire and an experience such as the one he had at Palm Tree, his life work was destined to be hugely impacting and awe-inspiring, and I'm so sorry we don't get to witness his next steps.But he passed with people who loved him and he loved in return, in his sleep on the beach in Cambodia...
...The Greek and Italian languages are nothing alike There’s no avoiding cigarette smoke in Greece…It’s everywhere In Greece, the party starts well after midnight and can continue into brunch time The water really is that blue...
...For some reason unknown to me and my surrounding web, I've decided it's okay to miss the things that matter most in order to blaze literal and personal trails towards anything from failure to success. This travel path can sound illogical and like a waste, but when I realize the passions I've acquired and the maturity I've obtained, I fear where I would be without all those 50+ flights to global destinations and potential moments of learning...
...Nomadderwhere is a philosophy: it doesn't matter where you are, it matters that you're always learning and flexing with your surroundings, whether you're traveling or stationary. To capture this idea is to capture the art of travel, to know the importance of movement and to become self-aware...because you are the only constant in your world...
...“So I know we agreed on 40 rupees to the Siliguri bus station, but I know you’re going to forget this deal, even though I wrote the fare down on my hand. I’m really hoping you’re an honest and swell guy who claims he has change when he really does.” With this sort of dialogue, it’s all about tone and appearance. Speak kindly and smile the entire time. It doesn’t work any other way. And a word from experience: the more you make them laugh, the better the fare becomes...
...Since I returned from a round-the-world trip on August 17th, I’ve done very little besides sit in front of screens – computer, TV, what-have-you. I seldom leave home or drive my car unless it’s purely necessary. Rarely do I step outside if not to summon my cat in at twilight, and the most exercise I get comes from group fitness classes at the gym down the street. I spent one weekend in northern Indiana with my best friends eating guacamole and floating on one long raft around Lake Tippicanoe, but that certainly can’t be all the excitement I can handle over a two month period. Why do I not carpe the diem when I’m not traveling?...
...What was certainly magnified by Krakauer's text was the reality that we humans harbor primordial desires, and it's on a sliding scale how much we allow these feelings to be heard and acted upon. It is my belief that travelers, adventurers, nomads and those hopeful to detach from the man-made structure of modern civilization are more responsive to those "calls of the wild." Unconventional living forces a constant reevaluation of one's life [and one's mortality], and when we are closer in mindset to our own expiration, it seems we connect closer to the motivations of our primitive ancestors...
...Within the open ocean is a sea of 60-40 couples, incredibly perky cougars on the prowl, families with seven year-old twins and recent divorcees taking back their lives, not to mention a slew of Rascals scooting about. Of course, every cruise liner caters to a different demographic, which accounts for the vast differences among the commercial cruising fleets, but what they all share is the sense of ease that, in the mind of a “bare-bones” traveler, strips the so-called adventure down to physical displacement and cognitive retirement, which is in many cases the whole point...
...I work in an environment where people are stuck in one mindset. The monotony of everyday life can suck you in and but also give you the comfort of stability. I want to stimulate my mind and mix things up. My entire senior year of college I saved for my trip to Europe, and everyday I think back to the crazy things I did and the knowledge that I gathered and feel proud. Being young and having a flexible (and seasonal) job is a plus. So spending my money on travel is why it’s there...
...L: “I found an amazing flight deal I want to look further into. If the price is right, would you consider dropping the road trip idea and heading to Fiji to live in a village? We could do our own thing there, use our skills to start some effort from scratch, and I know we’re already invited and welcome to be there. I talked to them a week ago.” G: “Wow, Linz, you’re turnin’ the tables on me! This could be such a huge opportunity. Let me think it over…(30 minutes later)...I am completely, 100% behind this idea...
...We landed perfectly, a few steps to a complete standing stop, and I yelled my amazement to all the men at the bottom who hear these exclamations every day. And that was it. I jumped out of a plane. Nuts. Simply nuts...