Interview With Brendan Moran of "The Traveling Morans"

Photo + Video + Film
by Ian MacKenzie Nov 24, 2006
What do you get when two former televisions hosts marry and hit the road for a year-long honeymoon? A pretty hilarious and well-crafted vodcast.

Sarah Lane and Brendan Moran married less than a year after their first date. But instead of investing in sensible things like real estate and mutual funds, Sarah and Brendan picked up a pair of plane tickets and set off for adventure.

I stumbled across their vodcast while browsing the iTunes directory and have enjoyed keeping up with their episodes through Greece, Turkey, Russia, China, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Indonesis, and beyond.

Naturally, being interested in the mechanics of vodcasting on the road, I interviewed Brendan via email, about their equipment, their experiences, and just how much effort it takes to produce a quality travel show on the road.

BNT: What type of equipment do you use to edit and produce your vodcasts?

Brendan: For video, we use a Sony HDR HC1. It’s very simple and the pictures are great. It’s also small enough so I don’t mind carrying it around everywhere. Still photos, we use a Canon Rebel XT. I edit everything on a Macbook Pro with iLife.

BNT: Why did you settle on the equipment you did?

I wanted an HD camera for the trip, which is why I went with the Sony. It’s not technically HD quality, but it’s better than most out there. I figured I would be watching these videos 20 years from now and I want them to look good. We picked up the mac about two weeks before we left on the trip.

I had never owned one before, nor had Sarah. We got it because we heard it was easy to edit with iLife, since neither of us had really done any editing either. The whole idea to vlog was a late decision in our travel planning, so we kind of got lucky with what we bought. Although the mac battery did crap out somewhere in Vietnam.

BNT: About how much time do you spend on each vodcast, editing, scoring, exporting and uploading?

We spend about maybe 10-15 hours making one five minute episode. I usually have all the bits figured out in advance, and I shoot sparingly, so once I’m done, I just load about 30 minutes of tape and start cutting away.

Uploading usually takes about an hour or so. It depends on how fast a connection we can find. Sometimes in southeast Asia, there just isn’t a connection fast enough, so we have to wait until we go somewhere else to upload it.

BNT: Have you found it a challenge to keep up with producing these shorts?

It’s a challenge sometimes, yes. We took a year off from work and even though I like shooting these videos, sometimes I just don’t want to lift a finger. Plus, we’re doing it for free, so sometimes it’s like a job where they don’t pay you. Still, I’m glad we’re doing them.

BNT: Has the act of filming enriched or taken away from your trip?

It’s funny, because Sarah and I sometimes have this “on-air” personality which against our better efforts makes it into the videos. What you see in the podcasts are really what we’re like, but we’re also playing to the camera a bit in an attempt to be funny. Lots of times, I like to go someplace without the camera, and if I see something worth taping, I’ll come back and shoot it. That way, I’m not seeing the world through an LCD screen.

BNT: Are there some places you’ve consciously decided not to film?

I remember not shooting the Killing Fields in Cambodia. I only took a few pictures because I felt weird about it. Especially since the podcast is supposed to be funny, we don’t want to be more insensitive than we already are. We’ve seen lots of poverty and sad things, and if the podcast was about our “true” experiences, I would shoot it, but the videos are supposed to be more jokey.

BNT: What was your approximate audience size when you started your trip? About how many has it grown to now?

It’s tough to get accurate numbers for an audience. I think we we’re more popular last summer when iTunes put us on their front page. Since then, we’ve been off iTunes because of some legal problems, but we’re hopeful we can get back on soon. I would say we have a few thousand people who watch the podcasts regularly.

BNT: Any general tips for other people looking to do similar editing and producing on the road?

As for tips, I would say just try and keep things simple. I always try not to overshoot, because the more I shoot, the more time I have to spend in my hotel room looking at tape.

I would also say to try and find a new angle to travel reporting / vlogging. Everyone has seen the history lesson type of travel show before. Try and come up with a new take on where you are. I like to say that the podcasts we do are more about Sarah and I interacting than the actual places we’re visiting.

Visit The Traveling Morans to watch their previous and upcoming podcasts.

Do you have any tips for vodcasting on the road? Please share them in the comments!

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