December was quite an odd month for me. It was the last month that I would be working, before heading off on my major travel adventure. It was also of course Christmas and New Year. But mainly it was the month that I got placed on an exciting sponsored road trip adventure across Florida, in a convertible Ford Mustang!
That’s right — with literally only a couple of days to spare I might add — I was confirmed as YouTuber on a press trip to Florida; courtesy of VISIT FLORIDA and Hertz UK. I should probably point out that this was the first time I’ve ever worked with a brand on any of my published content, so I was incredibly excited and overwhelmed with the growth I’d made.
The magic thing about how the trip came about, is that I can literally trace back how I met all the connections that made it happen. Way back in the Summer, I got invited to a Manfrotto Bloggers Event. At that event, I met a guy called Macca who is part of a travel YouTube channel and blog A Brit and a Broad. We got talking and really got along! He was a wealth of information regarding travel advice and has turned out to be a great connection for getting involved with travel based bloggers’ events. Thanks for everything, Macca!
From our shared interest in making YouTube films, I got introduced to some people who run events for travel bloggers, who were looking for more video people. Having gone to a couple of events at the end of November, I was approached to go on this trip to Florida in the middle of December. Before I knew it, I was on the plane with all my camera gear in tow!
The trip was arranged as a blogger/vlogger press tour. The travel blogger I went with was VickyFlipFlop; who I’d previously met for only about 15 minutes at a bloggers event a couple of weeks earlier. Luckily, we got along really well on the road trip and have become great friends since!
For my part of the trip, I was brought along as a YouTuber and was required to make videos of each of the destinations on the road trip (Tampa, Sarasota, Daytona, Cape Canaveral and Fort Lauderdale) as well as a video dedicated to the driving aspect of the trip and an overall highlights reel for the whole trip. A total of 7 videos. That’s an awful lot!
As I was brought into the trip at the last minute, I was unfortunately not really involved with much of the planning for the video requirements. I personally felt that 7 videos was a steep requirement, but took the plunge as an opportunity I couldn’t resist for the experience and growth it could bring to my YouTube channel.
For my own personal gains, I was also taking tonnes of photos for my portfolio, Instagram and this blog. A few weeks before the trip, my Canon 70D died. It went through repair processes and the general response back was “We’ve got no idea what has happened with this. There are so many things broken…” Somehow I’d managed to utterly kill it. My replacement camera, the Canon 7D Mark II had arrived the week before I went to Florida — before I even knew anything about the trip.
For the videos, I intended to make them in the style of my regular vlogs, but with additional high-quality sequences thrown in the middle. For these high-quality sections I used my Sony A7R II and shot them entirely in S-Log 2. Most of clips were shot in 1080p50 and occasionally I filmed some in 4K25. The trip was a great experience for me to get better connected to my Sony and to develop a great workflow for making videos and taking photos at the same time with my new equipment.
The workflow I’ve now come to be most comfortable with, is taking photos with my Canon and using the Sony almost solely for video. In situations where I’d like to travel extremely lightweight, I would use just the Sony. The main reason for still wanting a Canon DLSR after “switching to Sony”, is quite simply that I am still much faster at taking photos with a Canon. The optical viewfinder, controls and menu settings mean that I don’t miss any opportunities. As much as I love the Sony and the photos it produces; for photography, I still struggle with the electronic viewfinder (especially in very bright conditions) and the process of switching picture profiles and other settings when changing from video to photo. It’s just much easier to have two separate cameras for each purpose.
The Florida Videos
Each of the videos in the Florida series were filmed as “daily vlogs” in the essence of them being filmed on a single day. However, they were released much later throughout January on dates relevant to the campaign. Personally, I would have preferred releasing them on weekend days as that’s when I publish most of my other videos and also when the majority of my subscribers are most active; but unfortunately that was beyond my control.
So without further ado, here are the finished videos from my amazing time in Florida (in chronological order)!
Of course, be sure to subscribe to my channel to get updates on when I release new videos!
Ford Mustang Drivelapse
Throughout the whole trip, I had my GoPro running in timelapse mode for each of the driving sections. I then made this video to act as a sort of promo for the whole series. It was an absolute blast to make!
Our first stop of the whole trip was Tampa (even though this video was released second to last). We explored the city on bikes and got to know the Mustang we’d be driving for the remainder of the week.
This was my favourite video to make of the whole series and we definitely had a lot of fun in the relaxing county of Sarasota. It also became very apparent how difficult it would be to vlog each destination as separate days/videos, even though we arrived at each stop halfway through the day.
In Daytona we visited the International Speedway and also had other destinations for our itinerary. Unfortunately, the weather turned nasty and we failed to receive our press passes for particular spots in the city. Nonetheless, visiting the speedway was amazing and I got some great shots of the track and stadium as well as the archives centre!
Kennedy Space Center
Visiting Kennedy Space Center was a huge highlight for me on this trip. I’d been excited all week about going as I remember going there for the first time when I was about 8 years old and loved it!
Before coming to Fort Lauderdale, I knew nothing about Fort Lauderdale. Having finished the road trip, I can firmly say that this was easily my favourite stop! We did so many activities and the city is just so awesome. Check out our adventures segwaying, go-karting, air-boating, shopping, drive-in cinema-ing and much more!
Florida Road Trip: The Supercut
The final video in the series was the overall highlights reel from the whole road trip. I wanted to make something similar to my Paris and Tokyo videos, but of a much higher quality. I also wanted to put a huge effort into grading each of the shots and I’m really pleased with how it’s turned out!
I hope you enjoyed watching my videos and learning about my first experience with a paid promotion as a YouTuber. It was definitely an incredible and sometimes challenging experience for myself as well. There were a large amount of lessons learnt in the way that I film my vlogs as well as the way in which I represent myself as a content creator/brand. So I am incredibly grateful for everyone involved in making it happen!
I feel the content I produced was very successful and represented my trip authentically. I’m always very conscious and sensitive of how I choose to represent myself and want to maintain an essence of high-quality throughout all of my content.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on the trip as a whole in the comments below, so please let me know how you think it went!
If you enjoyed these videos and photos, you should check out my new side project Jelly Journeys which I am running with my girlfriend, Elly. It’s a travel blog and Instagram which will house posts from each of the destinations we’ll be visiting! I’d love it if you checked it out and followed our journeys!
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Make sure to stay up to date with my future content from the intense amount of travelling that I am doing throughout 2016; it’s gonna be an exciting year ahead!
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