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Why Do Most Travel Bloggers Suck At Video? And How To Fake A Good Travel Video

OK – so I’m being fighting the video monster for the last few days – with some success – and quite a steep learning curve – but at least now I can create videos! 

And I don’t even own a video camera. 

Nor am I pretty on video! 

If I can do it, anyone can. 

It goes like this. I’ve been studying the travel niche. And frankly, there is some very, very good content out there, frightening good writers with awesome stories to tell, seem to abound. But the video side of things – hmmm – a bit average to be honest. 

Now call me a chancer, but I see an opportunity. Lets face it, who doesn’t like watching travel videos? Isn’t there a whole Travel Channel on US cable TV? Don’t I watch trash like Vacation, Vacation, Vacation and Travel Gettaway – just because I want to see pretty beaches, tasty looking food, and, rarely, an idea about a new travel destination.  Its Travel Porn basically – and travel addicts want to dream.  

There is definitely an audience for travel videos. 

So why do travel bloggers, in gross generalisation, suck at video? 

Several reasons. Real video – the stuff you see on TV takes not just talent, it takes gear.  It takes more than one person. Yes you can get a thingy to attach to your camera so you can shoot picture of yourself – how silly would that look? On a beach in Thailand? Or a street in Europe. Tripods are a bulky to carry. Oh and then there’s the problem with sound. Most cameras seem to pick up sound even if you are just breathing. Great in one niche I can think off, but heavy breathing travel vids – hmmm not so much.  So you need a separate mike as well. Its starting to get heavy, and complicated. 

On the other hand pointing a 1/2 decent camera and taking a photo is something many of us can do. 

I’d already found a solution for the talking heads/screen shot video (screencast-o-matic.com: free up to 15minutes or $15/year) 

Now I mus admit sometimes I just get confused (is that because I’m old? … don’t answer that). I noticed people talking about product videos using something called animoto.com – and I assumed that it was the funny talking cartoon thingy – wasn’t sure why that would work – but I wasn’t doing product videos anyways). Then I thought I’d just click on this animoto thing – and I was like WOW. Oh and the funny talking cartoons – they are here.

That was so easy to do – even I could do it! And the whole sound thing was got around by using music – included in the software – COOL 

But then I had a problem – I got a copyright notice from Youtube and the video started displaying Adsense – weird, and annoying. It got be looking. And I found some other issues with animoto – and some alternatives 

Animoto.com

What’s Good: 

  • lots of nice background themes available 
  • the easiest to use. 

What’s Not Good: 

  • can’t overlay text 
  • can’t control duration of slides 
  • not many themes – may get repetative 
  • can’t do voice overs 
  • can’t do HD without paying extra – or paying for the expensive $250/yr option
  • you have to use a credit card rather than paypal 
  • I had some issues with the software hanging on me – but it may have been using the Facebook login was the problem. 
Pricing: 
  • free for up to 30sec videos 
  • $5/month ($30/year) 
  • $39 month ($249) year for white label 

Photodex.com aka ProShowWeb 

What’s Nice: 

  • there is a desktop version as well as the online version – this was initially attractive as I was having problems online with animoto – but that version included no free licensed music 
  • nice range of themes and great collection of transitions
  • creates DVD quality downloads (this wasn’t important to me) 
  • add your own watermark (white label version only). 
What’s Not To Like 
  • can’t control slide timing except at an overall level 
  • no text to voice or simple voice overs
  • no easy maps
  • quite slow to render the video – no “quick preview” option
  • some transitions and effects require extra payment
Pricing 
  • Free – restricted to less than 15 photos, watermarked 
  • $30/year for up to 500 photos (12 minutes)
  • $150/year whitelabel 

stupeflix.com

What’s Nice: 

  • can add voice overs – does text to speech YES 
  • can add Google maps – really easy to do 
  • can add text as an overlay 
  • can change duration for everything including text slides – so I can focus on the call to action at the end of the video for long enough for someone to write the website’s name down 
  • does HD for $8/month 
  • I found this the easiest editor to get to work consistently of the three 
  • has a quick preview which means you can see what you have before you do a proper render

What’s Not: 

  • still have an issue with copyright with some of  the music with Youtube showing iTunes – but at least the Adsense ads seem to have gone. 
  • most expensive of the options 
Pricing: 
  • Free very limited, from $5 month, $8/month HD ($49/year)
  • $299/year white label 
  • $499 reseller 

Really I like the Google maps and text to speech with Stupeflix – but I may go to ProshowWeb for the much cheaper whitelabel options. 

11 replies on “Why Do Most Travel Bloggers Suck At Video? And How To Fake A Good Travel Video”

I agree – video can be a very powerful tool in most niches! Especially when your competitors aren’t using it well. If you are on a Mac iMovie is definitely a great option – pretty powerful and easy to learn! I use a combination of iMovie and FinalCut Express for my videos.

Thomas

I’ve heard good things about iMovie – but its not free if you have to buy a Mac to use it LOL! I’m using Windows Movie Maker which is good too for the price – free. I’ve heard good things about FinalCut. Actually my next post on videos will be about this type of video software

Hello; we are both followers of Farnoosh and prolithic living, so i thought I’d stop in and check out your most recent post. You have a naturally funny style of writing. You also did a very good job of breaking down the technical information. I am a visually impaired person using a mac and i really wish i had someone who could help me get a regular video show going online. Or at the very least create blog posts with multiple video links in them. thanks and take care, max

Hmm .. I’ve just upgraded to FF 13 and when I click on the play button on the second video, that section of the screen goes blank – no video 🙁 And it seems I can’t get to YouTube to play it there, either.

Definitely not my voice! Yes I like the voiceover too – you can’t say too many words it sounds very much like a computer – for brief stuff its fine

I have taken an attempt at video, albeit one that has resulted in no actual video content making it to my blog.

When I was in Auckland last year I bought a Sony Bloggie, has been good to capture some video, but my first attempt to post to youtube failed. When at Danube Tower in Vienna I sat in the rotating restaurant for 35 minutes while it did a full rotation. Then sped up the video so it was about 3-4 minutes long put on a royalty free piece of Mozart, only to have something about copyright music get slapped on the video. So have to try again, but the music thing is hard to deal with because i cannot remember where the original music came from, to prove it is not copyright.

Joel

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