Video: Driving 4600 Miles in 2.2 Minutes

By: leelefever on January 5, 2007 - 4:55pm

This video is a bit of an experiment. Shortly after beginning the US road trip, I got the idea to do it and starting trying to capture the trip from a single perspective. You'll just have to watch it to see what I mean.

 I absolutely fell in love with creating videos during our trip and I'm amazed by what is possible. I couldn't get over how easy it was to edit the videos (using software that came with my computer) and share them on our web site.  After a day on the road I could have a 3 minute video edited and posted within a couple of hours. This just wasn't possible for the average person a couple of years ago.

If you're considering a trip like ours, consider using video as a way to capture the experience and put it on the web. Not only will it be fun, but your friends and family will feel even more connected to you and your experience. Like my brother said "it's so great to be able to hear your voice." 

Favorite Original TwinF Videos

By: leelefever on January 4, 2007 - 2:48pm

About halfway through the trip, we bought a video camera and started creating short videos to capture a different view of our experiences.  Making the videos consumed me soon after.  I fell in love.  These are some of our favorites (the links go to corresponding pages on this site). All videos can be viewed here.


The Trans-Siberian Railway was an experience we'll never forget.  This video was from an afternoon of heavy vodka consumption with Russian locals and travelers that ended in yours truly losing a few hours. I think it captures the experience:

The Vodka Train (02:30) 


Before we got the real video camera, we shot some video with my point and shoot Optio WP, which is waterproof.  When Typhoon Prapiroon hit Macau off the coast of China, we went out into it with the waterproof camera:

Typhoon Prapiroon (02:42)


Somewhere along the way I was inspired to eat strange things on camera - I call it the Jackass Effect. This one is shot from Beijing, China. We hear about this video a lot from friends and family:

Scorpions for Dinner (02:47)

You might also like the video from Hong Kong where I almost barf eating a Century Egg (fermented egg).


I tried to get a little stylistic in the industrial city of Ekaterineburg, Russia, which seems like a classic post-Soviet city in recovery.  I really sensed a feeling of coldness and dispair while we were there.  It's not that bad, but I tried to capture what I that feeling the best I could. The music is "The Cold Part" by Modest Mouse.

Leaving Siberia (02:30)


The highest rated video on You Tube was also shot in Russian Siberia at Lake Baikal, which is the oldest and deepest lake in the world.  I think part of the appeal is related to the video being educational. The music is  "You Can Have It All" by Yo La Tengo.

Incredible Lake Baikal (02:52)


From an emotional perspective, the video we shot of surprising my parent's on their 50th anniversary is the best.  I can't watch it without getting a little misty-eyed. 

Coming to America for the BIG Surprise (03:28) 


This video was a surprise. I had no idea Sachi was shooting it, but it is so funny now to see. Watch how my feet react to the pain of a tattoo:

Tattoo Foot Dance (00:09) 


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Contemporary Art and My Problem with "Supposed-To"

By: leelefever on January 2, 2007 - 3:40pm

 I wrote this just before coming home and it's hard for me to post it because I don't want to sound completely ignorant of art. I think my feelings are related to a distaste for the art critic establishment (or what I know of it).  

I suppose you’ll say I’m shallow, or cynical or lack sophistication, but I am not moved by the majority of contemporary art I’ve seen lately – particularly multimedia art.  Yesterday we went to MACBA (Barcelona’s contemporary art museum) and I left exasperated and with a crinkled brow after seeing slideshows, films, photos and sculptures that, aside from the meaning assigned to it, seemed to mean or symbolize very little for me.  I think I’m growing tired of feeling like I’m supposed to feel, see or “get” something that I simply don’t.

Over the past year, we’ve both tried to take a de-mystified look at the world we’ve seen and I think it has extended to art in some cases.  This means looking at something in terms of what we really see or feel and not what we’re supposed to see or feel. In MACBA, it frustrated me to read the cards by an art expert or the artist that decodes the artist for the layman. An actual example:

Though his oeuvre is difficult to classify in one specific tendency, it possesses a significant conceptual component that expresses displacement and lack of communication and thus a negation of the very existence of contemporary society.

Oh, I get it now. He is negating the existence of contemporary society.

For multimedia art, I don’t want to have to be told that there is a statement about the world hidden in the slides of suburban Reykjavik.  To me, it looks like a slideshow of houses in Iceland. That is, of course, until I’m again enlightened via a laminated card about the piece. 

Aside from the artist’s peers, art critics and the artists own statements, I wonder how meaning or statements would be derived?  How closely would the artist’s vision of the piece translate to those of us that operate outside the art world?  And, if meaning is only derived from those privileged few, does it matter that I don’t get it?   Is it even supposed to have meaning for me? 

Here’s an example.  This is a 22 second video from a Tokyo subway station.  Is it art?  Does it affect you?  What does the experience of this piece make you feel about the world?

Now, consider the exact same video.  Only this time, consider this statement:

The artist is clearly making a statement about the closed and oppressed nature of Japanese society. The commuters are being closed off from the rest of the world - even as they are squeezed from every side to fit in behind society’s closing doors.  It makes painfully clear the nature of the Japanese experience.

OK, maybe you see it a little differently now, maybe not. You know what though?  This is what I was thinking when I shot this video – er, this was my vision for this piece:

I wonder if this is rude to video these people? Man, that train is crowded.  I’ve really got to hold this camera still.  Oh look, she’s wearing mask - that will be interesting.  They are so quiet.  It is ever going to leave?  I’m getting hungry.

My point is to illustrate how a lot of the contemporary art we’ve seen makes me feel by assigning extraordinary meaning to a video that was never intended to have deep meaning in the first place – it is just a video of people on the subway – right?

Perhaps I lack depth, intellect or an eye for art, but some of it just doesn’t move me and I’m not going to pretend that it does just because its how I’m suppose to feel. The art establish may agree that a piece is a statement about transcendence of gender roles in urban civilizations, but to me, it’s still just pictures of old people in a park. And I am OK with that.

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Video: Coming to America for the BIG Surprise

By: leelefever on November 28, 2006 - 8:19am

Man oh man, did the 50th wedding anniversary surprise work perfectly. After planning on it for over a year with my brothers(even before we left) it was so wonderful to see my parents' reaction - particularly my Mom's.

As I described before, we told my parents that we would be abroad until Christmas and would miss their anniversary party. In order to understand how big of a surprise it was when we were revealed, you just have to watch the video. I can't watch it without getting a little misty.

Video: Barcelona's Bizarre Human Statues

By: leelefever on November 18, 2006 - 3:40pm

You've likely seen the people who paint themselves silver and pose on a box to earn spare change.  The folks in Barcelona takes this whole idea to whole new level.  The creative, the absurd, the animated, the banal, it's all there and it's all just so weird.


Correction:  In the video, I mention an article by a UK paper called the Guardian.  I meant to refer to this article in the Independent - not the Guardian. 

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How We Do It Video: Blogging As We Travel

By: leelefever on November 17, 2006 - 2:40am

We've been asked many times about our process and technology for keeping this site updated regularly.  So, we decided to shoot a short video showing all the tools we use (hardware and software) and our process.  We're not sayng it's the best way - it's just how we do it.

In the video we mention a number of resources. Our camera is the Pentax Optio WP.  Our computer is the Sony VGN-T350.  This site runs on the Drupal platform, which is hosted and supported by Bryght.  Our graphic design was done by Rain City Studios. We share our photos using Flickr.  Oh, and the post we created on the video is here.

 This post doesn't account for the mobile blogging, where we use the Palm Treo 650 to send a picture and story to this site via Flickr.  Oh, and our video camera is the Sony DCR-PC 1000.

Video: Rome by Motorcycle with Robin

By: leelefever on November 3, 2006 - 1:59am

Rome was a highlight of the whole trip, not because of the ancient sights or the delicious food, but because of the people – specifically Robin Good and his brother Giovanni, who knows a *lot* about the city. As promised, they scooped us with their motorbikes and showed us their Rome – the Rome that doesn’t appear in many guidebooks. I had one of the best sandwiches in my life at a place that Robin has visited since he was a kid. Warm focaccia bread came from heavan I swear.

I wish we could see every city from the back of a motorcycle driven by a local. The video hopefully captures a little of the feeling. I love my conversation with Giovanni about Ducati Motorcycles. It's de MOST!

Music: Devotchka: Charlotte Mittnacht

Travel Strife: One Day Between Oslo and Copenhagen

By: leelefever on October 19, 2006 - 7:07am

We learned a valuable lesson on the day we shot this video. Europe is not Asia and apparently whole cities can sell out of hotel rooms - especially on football match days.


Also, in the video I mention the "stupid" check in procedures of Norwegian Airlines. This is what I mean...

All international travelers are lined up in front of 7 check-in counters.  As flights get close to leaving, the attendants yell out "Anyone going to Berlin!  berlin anyone??" When they do, anarchy nearly breaks out as all the people going to Berlin are allowed to the front, replacing people in line. This was repeated 3 times as our departure time got closer and closer. The system punished people who arrived early (us) and rewarded the late ones. We were so frustrated. I don't know why they don't segregate the travelers by flight.  Ugh.


Video: The Lofotens - Norway's Northern Fjordlands

By: leelefever on October 5, 2006 - 6:30am

It's funny how things tend to work out. Sometimes a tiny bit of information can turn into something wonderful. Without this helpful post, it's likely that we would have made other plans and not gone north at all. As it turned out, our decision to keep moving northward turned into a highlight of the whole trip. Thank you Internet!

Our overland trip across Scandinavia...

This video is from two days of exploring the Lofoten Islands via car. Despite being a couple of hundred miles into the Arctic Circle, it is quite mild thanks to the gulf stream current. A stunningly beautiful place our jaws are still on the floor. Pictures and more info coming soon...

Trans-Siberian Railway - Leaving Siberia

By: leelefever on September 26, 2006 - 12:40pm

From the moment we arrived in Yekaterinburg, Russia, I had the song "The Cold Part" by Modest Mouse playing in my head, which is a dark and desolate song that sings "so long to this cold, cold part of the world". I don't think the city is as cold and dark as I chose to display in the video, but I do think the video fits with the soundtrack that was playing in my head at the time.

The scenes at the end are from our homestay in Yaketerinburg. We stayed with a local named Eleana for two nights in former Communist housing blocks. She was nice, but was caring for a friend who was sick at the time and we have both become ill after staying with her. The housing was warm on the inside, scary on the outside.

Yakaterinburg is famous for the deaths of the last czarist family in Russia, the Romanovs, who were killed in a cellar in the city by the Communist Revolutionaries as a symbol of the end of their imperial rule. A sad and controversial story.

Yekaterineburg is at the imaginary border between Asia (and Siberia) and Europe, so the song even fit as we left...

so long to this cold, cold part of the world

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