ABOUT MY VIDEOS
I shot videos for MIR using my personal Sony camcorder, and used non-linear movie software to story-board, create, and edit them. Some videos incorporated photos from MIR’s vast collection, while others were entirely smartphone videos shot “on the fly” by local and international staff in their travels. Everything was shot in one take, as it happened – no “do-overs.” Natural sound invoking a “you are there” feel was the goal – showcasing the authenticity and spontaneity of a MIR destination or MIR experience. In my career, I’ve always worked with professionals who shot and edited my TV news/video stories. I’d never edited for anyone but myself until I came to MIR; creating travel videos for the company – without a professional team – gave me even greater appreciation for these in-demand skills. I also realized that for all the special effects and dazzling music we could have used, going with raw, simply-shot video with natural sound perfectly conveyed to clients the magic of traveling with MIR.
I expanded MIR’s YouTube channel from its initial four videos and 2,000 views to more than 70 videos and 200,000 views in less than two years. MIR’s YouTube channel was not specifically promoted in marketing; instead it was a landing place for the videos, which were then incorporated into blog posts, email newsletters, and campaigns. With each video, I created handcrafted closed captioning, story transcripts, and links to related MIR blog posts and tours. Please note that because of the COVID pandemic and travel restrictions, entire categories of videos were removed from public view and changed to private mode – Iran, for example.
Portfolio videos include: three on Russia/Siberia and Russian Far East; two longer videos for tours in Central Asia and South Caucasus; and two interview-based videos with MIR’s president for a marketing campaign I created called “MIR’s 30 Years.”
The first two videos are among two dozen YouTube and internal videos I shot and created while traveling for MIR on the Trans-Siberian Golden Eagle Luxury Train through Siberia and Russia. The third video – the helicopter ride to the hidden and once-forbidden volcanic site in the Russian Far East – is an example of using a colleague’s smartphone video and creating a natural-sound story. It’s one of my favorites.
Siberia’s Old Believers, Singing
Riding the Rails at Siberia’s Lake Baikal
Siberia’s Wild Kamchatka Peninsula: Volcanoes, Geysers & Cauldrons
PORTFOLIO: CENTRAL ASIA & SOUTH CAUCASUS
These longer videos highlight MIR’s most popular tours, “Journey Through Central Asia: The Five ‘Stans” and “Treasures of the South Caucasus.” (Please use closed-captioning to view videos; it’s easier to read any unfamiliar foreign words.)
MIR’s Silk Road Tour: Journey Through Central Asia
South Caucasus UNESCO Treasures
PORTFOLIO: “MIR’S 30 YEARS” MARKETING CAMPAIGN
I created these videos based on interviews with MIR’s co-founder and president; each video was embedded into blog posts and other marketing collateral. My challenge: convince MIR’s president to go on camera and discuss his company’s remarkable beginnings and history; he’s rather modest and didn’t seem to think there was anything unusual. Yet, to me, his stories were stunning: the president’s childhood dream to work with Soviets; MIR’s serendipitous creation; and the company’s nimbleness to overcome challenges in its 30+ years against a dizzying backdrop of history – from the fall of the Soviet Union and Putin’s invasion of Crimea to travel bans and COVID-19. MIR’s president shared incredible lessons in adapting, surviving, and creating their niche travel market – and I created 13 stories and 13 videos to illustrate this. (Please use closed-captioning to view videos; it’s easier to read any unfamiliar foreign words.)
MIR’s 30 Years: Back in the U.S.S.R.
MIR’s 30 Years: Beyond the Stars – Inside the Russian Space Program