The New York Times Travel Show 2012: DIY Video Revolution or Guerilla Video by Robert Reid

DIY Video Revolution or Guerilla Video

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Yesterday, we learned some great Content is Key tips by Yahoo! Travel Editor’s Deborah Hopewell. Today, we’ll learn some great stuff about working with video. This New York Times Travel Show conference session by Robert Reid of Lonely Planet, was one of my favorite, because he focused on a tool that I have been struggling with, but plan to introduce to my blogging in the near future, Video!

Robert offered some really interesting slides, loaded with information and tips about video blogging, below are some of my notes, feel free to use and share with others:

Inspiring stuff about video:

  • by 2015 90% will be video
  • video ads jumped by 39% ($3 billion)

What IS travel video?

  • is it eating bugs and bungee jumps?!
  • Travel video has to have a point.
  • It has to have one true sentence.

“You want to do video, you can do video, you should start now!”

1) Do you need a fake mustache?

  • Rolling Stones – Tattoo You
  • Start Me Up video 1981

TV (old) vs DIY (new)

  • Old – film producer, executive producer, camera guy, etc… ($10K video)
  • New – a guy and a camera, maybe 2 cameras

Don’t let budget be the obstacle.

2) When Robert was young, he was told to “Go do something viral, son”

  • So he started the “76 second travel show
  • These videos were short, personalized.
  • Sometimes he would have question of the week.
  • He would use hand-drawn items to emphasize travel tools.
  • As well as themes to take travel out of travel.
    (zero budget or guidance, limited distribution, want: clicks, some SEO, etc…)

3) How to make a travel video?

Here are some of “76” (Robert Reid’s Travel show)’s errors and how to fix them:

  • 1/4 of viewers were on mobile device – therefore make sure to get CLOSE-UP shots
  • Retention rate was about 30-35%. Drops more during final credits – Make sure to include the logo up front
  • Audio > Video – Use external mics, wireless mics, (audio is more important than video). People can tolerate as long as they can hear.
  • Steady shots. Be careful with cutting head off head –> Use a tripod, Xshot (Don’t move the camera, photographically for at least 8 seconds*)
  • Full use of distribution.
  • Evergreen > news. i.e.: Iron Maiden, Billy Joel, Monopoly, not the Royal Wedding.
  • evergreen stays longer.

Other video tips:

  • passion & personality > thread count
  • keep focus on trend/scene not POI (let the convo be the place)
  • quotes are key. Shoot endless or 1:1?
  • Get comfy on camera; experimental takes, improv class.
  • 2 min = 1000 words, like an article.
  • Story? Go micro: skyscraper from sidewalk.
  • Consider THING over STORY – Think about things, but think small.
  • Develop series, personality – know what doesn’t fit
  • If you call it a “show,” people will think it is.
  • *8 seconds shots – hold it steady

Equipment Robert Reid uses:

  • Sanyo Xacti – $300 with external mics
  • Flipvideo – ($89)
  • Sony UWPV wireless mic ($750)
  • Rode directional mic ($150)
  • Xshot 2.0 rod ($25)
  • Tripod ($75)
  • Mini Tripod ($10)
  • Light ($20)
  • iMovie to edit
  • Crayons ($4)

4) What you should do today?

  • Go to B&H and look at $100 to $1000 video camera
  • Start with 30-sec things
  • Video workshops with


What is a good movie video editing program for a novice?
iMovie is recommended.

What is THINGS?
THINGS can be described as quick stories on a neighborhood, streets, people. Easy thing to produce with 4 edits, maybe 40 seconds.

Where do you suggest to post videos?
YouTube. His videos are distributed via press release through Twitter and Facebook.

What’s a good microphone for the iPhone?
Bluetooth Wireless mics at the AppleStore (great mics)

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