My brother and I were quietly working at our computers when he abruptly told me we received an email from ATOMOS, a company whose product we use in our video production. ATOMOS were contacting us regarding a Muay Thai video we released some months prior.
They were requesting permission to use some of the footage in that video to promote their new field recorder they were releasing at NAB in Las Vegas.
NAB is the National Association of Broadcasters convention; the voice of the nation’s radio and television broadcasters. It’s like the Oscars for new gear, tech for film and Tv Broadcasters, it’s Mecca for camera nerds, hobbyists and professionals the two of us fall under the last three categories.
Seeing this email request from a company that is highly regarded by many as a top competitor in the external field recording market really boosted our self-esteem. They informed us that they were interested in using our footage to play in a looped video alongside other film-makers alike to promote the launching of their newest model – this was an opportunity we did not refuse.
We wanted to test out and get our feet wet in the world of vlogging. One would think vlogging to be easy … but in reality it’s a daunting, time-consuming venture.
We got to thinking this would be something to see in person. So we started planning a road trip to Vegas to see our footage playing at NAB on the ATOMOS show floor. We thought this would be cool, a high-point in our young career. We also decided to throw in few quick stops sort of slightly out of the way (wink, wink). We wanted to make the most of this trip and what better way than to veer completely off course and visit several historical places along the way on our bucket list.
The Video that got the attention of Atomos and was featured in the May 2014 issue of Digital Video Magazine.
The initial plan was to drive from Vancouver, BC to Las Vegas, Nevada which isn’t a problem. A fairly easy drive but there was a particular place we wanted to see. Unfortunately this destination wasn’t on the way and is only open for 2 days of the year, the place; the Trinity Test Site in Alamogordo, New Mexico. Yeah, a little off the beaten path from Vegas… but we said to ourselves “we can do it.”
Hold on though, we have another problem. The Trinity Test Site was only open to the public Saturday, April 5th and the NAB Show started on April 7th running until the 11th of April. Undeterred we believed this was enough time to pull this road-trip off to see Trinity and other places in between.
After much contemplating we took a look at what else New Mexico had to offer. We decided… well why not do a little Google search on “Places to see in New Mexico.” This basically set everything in motion that was going to make this trip worth it, there was no turning back now.
How we forgot that our favorite show “Breaking Bad” was filmed in NM is beyond us? But Google in all its glory returned in its search results a list of a list of Breaking Bad locations to visit the Atomic Museum and that pretty little patch of powder known as the White Sands National Monument
. When I had shown my brother these locations his eyes lit up and I could see the gears turning in his head full of ideas and contemplation.
That’s when he took a moment to himself and came up with the idea to document it. Record our road trip from Vancouver to NM to Las Vegas and capture our footage playing at The NAB Show. It sounded like the modern day adventure of “Stand By Me” meets “The Hangover” without the search for a dead body or having to attend a wedding.
Looking back, we can say this was our jump into the vlogging sphere, this is how ‘THE RAW Files’ came to be.
Here is a map for the location of the Trinity Test Site on the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico.
THE GAME PLAN…
We have big goals for 2016. We’re going to be making two big moves in respect to our DOUBLE VISION Photography business and with The RAW Files series. This trip was going to be an important part of the process in order to evaluate what we can apply to the future of our new strategy and the direction that we want take.
The game plan for this trip was to drive from Vancouver, British Columbia to Albuquerque, New Mexico. Along the way we would document the trip recording the journey and our experiences. The concept is nothing new… but the characters and content are.
Today with the omnipresent argument about taking your business online, it’s the new/must have for the evolution of most businesses, it is quite well… unarguably true. It’s also a big risk if not done with the right intention or message. For us it’s about building a sustainable creative business platform through social media that allows our audience to see and experience our journey.
Society’s appetite for content is ravenous it’s everywhere. We are living in an all consuming digital content absorbing, visual buffet. Phones, tablets, laptops, desktops, electronic billboards, Google Glass the Oculus Rift there are just too many to name. Sharing is caring and that’s what people are doing with these devices.
Brands want their voices heard and seen. Putting your business / image out there online is now a necessity. Potential clients and audiences want to know who you are before they even meet you. It’s almost as if a client who can’t return any search results online of you or your business you could be considered shaddy. Building a relationship is about trust if they can’t find or research information about who you are, they’re not going to feel comfortable to deal with you, nor will they be willing to hand over their trust or money. That old saying, “Get with the times” is outdated… today it’s “Get online.”
Having said that smart Brands and Vloggers realize they should never underestimate or undermine their audiences. If you’re online and use ulterior motives or sneaky scams your followers will out you. Be honest and open, followers/subscribers know creatives need to generate revenue through clicks and sharing. If they feel you’re being disingenuous you will lose and be labeled by your con.
Now, let’s get back to the trip. Why did we choose ABQ? A little backstory; my brother and I grew up in an era that was somewhat reminiscent of the “Duck and Cover” years over the fear of Atomic Warfare. This era was… the 80’s. The Day After, Threads, Testament, When the Wind Blows, Countdown to Looking Glass, Miracle Mile, Special Bulletin, By Dawn’s Early Light and the best one of them all WarGames. It seemed like the 80’s were overdosing on terrible B-Movies force-feeding the people with God awful made for Tv movies about an imminent Nuclear War. To be honest the morbid curiosity behind the consequences of an all out Nuclear War scared the living shit out of us. Being 10 and 14 year olds at the time – the only positive out of all this was having more story-lines when we played GIJOE.
As time went on during the 80’s and being subjected to mankind’s most horrific weapon of mass destruction our fear was now turning into fascination. We researched old grainy black and white silent film documentaries on Hiroshima and Nagasaki its effects etched into our minds, overtime we said to ourselves that one day it we will have to see these places in person.
Back in 2008 my brother and I made a trip to Japan. We thought we would never-ever in our lives get to see Hiroshima. Hiroshima, is a place… a much different place after the atomic disaster where the radioactive effects took over 200,000 + innocent lives… a much different place, different emotions that weigh heavy on the heart and mind.
The route we drove from Vancouver to ABQ, NM to Las Vegas and Back.
We made it a top priority to see Hiroshima. It has to be one of the most historical places in human history to visit and pay respect to. An indescribable experience full of emotion a tragic memory of mankind’s past. I don’t think we will ever forget that morning in 2008 when we were riding the trolley and out the window we could see the Atomic Dome as we were pulling up to it for the first time. I will revisit Hiroshima in a future post but for now this was the backstory of why we chose New Mexico as our destination.
The reason we went NM first is because The Trinity Test site was only open to the general public on two days of the year. April 5th and October 1st from 8 a.m. – 2 p.m, surprisingly it’s free to enter. Time was limited and April 2nd was just over a week away, we only had 3 days to drive the rest of 2,400+km.
TIME TO TRIP-OUT
It came down to a last minute decision either cancel the road trip or find another way. It felt as if Canada wasn’t cooperating with us. All we wanted to do was to to drive from Vancouver, BC to White Sands Missile Range located in Alamogordo, New Mexico, USA. You think it would be easy… but think again. This is Canada; Land of regulations and protocol. Canada doesn’t like to make anything easy or should I say efficient, it shows and it’s known.
There were so many nitpicky issues we had to deal with when attempting to rent a car in Canada. One such issue holding us back; not one single car rental agency in Vancouver would allow us to take the car over the border or there just happened to be a clause in the contract denying entry to at least one of the States on the way there or on the way back back home. It had seemed like a riddle dealing with rental agencies here in Vancouver. There was always something to sour the deal – especially the prices: off the charts insanity! We would have been better off buying the car instead. After taking 2 – 3 days to figure out – how to get to NM by car we decided that it just wasn’t possible. It seemed as though we weren’t going to be able to make the trip.
It finally dawned on us our only option remaining to begin our journey was to leave Canada in order for it to actually start. We made several calls to car rental agencies over the border in Seattle, Washington to inquire about the details of where we wanted to go. Dealing with the American side of car rental companies seemed far less stressful than we had thought. With Canadian companies we had to be very explicit in explaining the details and then double explaining the details over-and-over asking this and that crossing every ‘t’ and dotting every ‘i’ – confirming everything so we would be able to sleep at night knowing that there were no problems or issues that could put a damper on things.
One thing we learned about renting a car in Canada is it actually made the whole process very scary and stressful. Whereas when we made the inquiries over the border like, ‘if we rent a car from you can we drive it from Bellingham, Washington to ABQ, New Mexico?’ Hearing a monotoned – ‘Yes’ – response was very strange. We asked several times coming in at a different angles thinking that we could trip them up in saying, ‘we were not allowed to drive it to NM’ or ‘not allowed to cross over to particular state-line’ but the American’s seemed to be more than helpful and confidently reassuring us many times that we could drive it all over America and through Canada and back again without any hassles (Speechless).
Holding a camera up to your face is very easy as long as it’s not pointed at you. Anyone can do it… but try to accomplish that first step to vlogging and see if you have the courage or confidence to turn that lens around and aim it at you and put yourself out there.
We boarded a Via Rail train to Bellingham and from there we took a taxi to the Bellingham International Airport where we picked up our rental car. Basically from here is where we begin our trip through the heart of ‘Merica’.
The two and a half day drive from Seattle to New Mexico was an amazing experience; We never knew America had so much charm and scenic beauty. Seeing it in movies and reading about it in magazines and online is one thing… actually being there in the moment is how it should be experienced to be appreciated. It was so much more of a more meaningful experience by driving. The American’s that we encountered were all great people. Road trips like this create a stronger appreciation that we have America as our neighbor and I’m sure vice versa should they travel our country.
So this how The RAW FILES came together, we wanted to test out and get our feet wet in the world of vlogging. One would think vlogging to be easy … but in reality it’s a daunting and very time consuming venture. It may seem easy at first glance watching people share their ‘vloggs’ on YouTube but from where we’re from most people go as far as calling it foolish and something that’s made fun of. Passing judgement is practically second nature by most people these days but it takes a certain amount of bravery and balls to consistently put out a vlog.