Vicarious Voyage Via Video

Pretty much any expat I hear from is equipped with a camera that also records video. But most of them don’t really know what to do with the video they record. They feel overwhelmed or simply just not trained at all in how to make a video for uploading online and sharing with friends and donors.

I know a really fun British couple living in the eastern Sahara who have risen above the confusion and done a brilliant job of sharing their lives, the good and the bad, in a series of simple videos they share via a Youtube channel playlist called “Life in Africa”. I was hooked from the very first episode and pretty much watched them all back to back, binge style.

Jack and Claire give the rest of us hope, I think.

It’s proof that regular folk without video training can do a great job of sharing their life and work with people back “home”, wherever that may be.

I asked Jack a few questions to learn more about the process:

What does your Youtube channel feature?

It is mainly homemade videos from our life in Africa meant to convey something of what our life is like to friends and family back in the UK.

Whose idea was it to post these videos?

I first made a video in 2010 when I was living in Sudan in order to comfort and clarify things for friends worried about my safety. It was so well received that we decided to do more too.

What kind of feedback have you gotten?

Lots! Both from friends appreciating understanding our lives in Africa, and from others who stumbled my channel and enjoyed watching.

Who watches your videos?

Friends, family and anybody else who’s interested.

Who does the editing?

I do.

Do you have any background in video production?

None at all.

What kind of camera are you using?

Mainly a Sony 10 megapixel camera, though a mixture of other devices also to suit the moment.

What software do you use for these videos?

Windows Live Movie Maker mainly, although I have tried a whole load of other (free) software too; we use FormatFactory and Audacity for changing file types/sizes.

How long, on average, would you say it takes to make a video?

It totally depends, but perhaps 1-2 hours for a 4-5 minute video.

Are these videos a complete set or do you plan to continue to make more?

We would love to make more but not for a few months – we’re taking some time off!

When choosing your music, how do you get around being able to use pop songs without Youtube banning it?

Honestly, I never thought about it (which perhaps is an oversight); I have seen that generally Youtube will pick up on the sound tracks being used and will log this alongside my video.