Wow!!! What a lot of really thoughtful and helpful comments. I am really touched that so many of you took the time to write them.
There was no way that I could decide on only three winners for the bags of coffee.
Below are excerpts from the comments of the 14 (!) “winners” along with my responses and questions. My assistant Judith will be contacting you all to get your physical addresses.
Before I respond to your comments, I should give you some context that I should have thought to mention in the first post.
I decided from the beginning that the Video could be no more then three minutes. I meant this literally. Toward the end of the editing when we had a 3 minute two second version, we cut two seconds. This means that if we add anything or extend a transition something has to come out.
Many of you suggested that I devote more time to some aspects of the Tortuga Lodge experience. If you did not also suggest what should come out.
The video was put together from footage and photos that we had on hand from various sources. Nothing was shot specifically for this video. Some time between mid June and mid July, we’ll go to the lodge get more shots, taking into account your suggestions. Once we have the shots we will do the next version. We will not make any changes before then, because it is a lot more efficient use of time to do all the changes at once. That means we have plenty of time for another round of feedback for which I will be delighted to send out more bags of coffee for the ones that I find most helpful. Please keep the feed back coming.
Comment by Kristen MacQueen on 2011/04/21 at 2:47pm
Michael, I love the nature/river images. You might consider adding a little more on the actual lodge (which I myself am curious about). Text-wise, here would be my suggestions (edits are in the text below):
Tortuguero National Park (maybe put this at the top instead of at the screen, see below for add’l suggestions on this theme)
The Essence of Tortuguero is Rivers
Rivers are Tortuguero’s Roads
Rivers are Tortuguero’s Soul
The Tropical Rainforest
Sun, Warmth & Humidity…
Combine to create the greatest biodiversity on the planet
Tortugera Lodge (move to the top of the screen as well, to provide separation for what I perceive to be the “sections” of the video)
Designed to Reflect its Surroundings
Touches of Luxury
But Not Decadence
Tortugera Village (move to top of the screen as well) Place of the Turtle (I’m not sure if I like “Place” but couldn’t think of anything else to replace…)
Accessible only by boat and light aircraft
Green Turtle Festival November, 2011 (move to top of the screen)
Where the Floats REALLY Float
Where Life Begins
And Children Learn
The Words Adventure ((move to top of the screen, also think maybe this needs more explanation or a different term for the average audience – I’m your fan so I know all about it, but not everyone does)
Children Gain Knowledge
The Essence of Tortuguero is Rivers To Know Tortuguero… Commune with the Rivers
You can save the coffee, the edit suggestions are free! We are still working on the chocolate & coffee you kind folks left behind in Cuba!
Kristen, Thank you. This is incredibly helpful. I’ll take you up on not sending the coffee, but you and Abel still owe Yolanda and me a visit.
Comment by Rod Yengich on 2011/04/21 at 2:59pm
Unfortunately, the video does not attract me in any way to the Tortuga Lodge. There is practically no information on the lodge. There is nothing in the video that makes me beleive I will have any fun or adventure at the lodge. The music is lovely, but boring and uninspiring. Teaching children English is very noble, but not an activity that most travelers would spend thousands of dollars to participate in. So why so much time in the video? We travel for fun and adventure. Things that can be had in Tortuguero. A lazy float in a boatload of people all hoping to get a picture of something is quite unatractive. When I have traveled to Costa Rica in the past I have seen jaguires, mountain lions, wild peccaries, red eyed tree frogs and tons of macaws. Turtles, crocodiles, bull sharks, poisonous snakes, and more wildlife than I can remember. Your video shows none of this. We love to hike and explore! Is this at all possible from the Tortuga Lodge? Perhaps some photos or video of people actually doing something fun or exciting would be more appropriate. Or perhaps this video only targets retired people who don’t get around much. Yawn… I guess I’ll go watch some paint dry now.
Rod, somehow I get the impression that Tortuguero is not for you. I really appreciate you frankness. It is very helpful.. You don’t sound like you need the caffeine but I’m happy to send you the coffee.
Comment by Shannon Borrego on 2011/04/22 at 7:05am
How interesting to see the variety of opinions on the video. I agree with much of what Kristen says about the wording. The sentence about decadence is too abrupt and negative. I think you should either make Kristen’s change of “But not decadent”, or make a positive statement, such as “Unpretentious comforts”. The Words Adventure portion should be refined and shortened a little bit. How about:
Children Learn Guests connect . . . Through words And play
“Place of the turtle” could be changed to “Home of the turtle” without compromising the meaning of Tortuguero. I definitely agree that the Jamaican-sounding music is out of place. How about South American flute music for that part of the video?
I love the nature footage; nature is the reason to travel there. If you want to appeal to families more, and you shorten the Words Adventure portion, you could insert another scene of children doing things–fishing with a guide? swimming in the pool? (but quietly, you don’t want to give the impression that children are disturbing other guests). The peaceful water scenes in the opening scenes are perfect; that truly expresses the beauty and essence of the area.
Love “Home of the Turtle.”
Comment by Alison Olivieri on 2011/04/22 at 8:20am
The music in the first part doesn’t ‘fit’ with Tortuguero and it is too loud. Shots in the introduction, especially in the group in the boat, are glare-ridden, bouncing off of their hats. Text should either be all initial caps or consistently upper and lower case. Tortuguero is spell-binding; this video needs a little ‘magic’.
Typically helpful and to the point, Alison. Since you live in Costa Rica, you and Michael will have to come by and get you coffee.
Comment by Karan Hanna on 2011/04/22 at 8:43am
This is a great start! First, I would have some upbeat Costa Rican music in the background – you want to get your audience excited about the amazing life found in the Tortuguero area. You want to draw people here, and I would make the restaurant scenes more lively – have the chef or some of the staff interacting with the visitors who are having a glass of wine (or something). You need to really drive home the message that turtle conservation is critical in this area, and how Costa Rican expeditions is facilitating the efforts to ensure turtle populations return year after year. Volunteer efforts could show people helping with building construction or giving out school supplies. Kids playing in the pool would be good (if you want to attract families).
Our visit to Tortuga lodge, and the evening candlelit BBQ and trip to see the nesting turtles was the highlight of all of our international travels during the past five years. This is truly a special place, and the video doesn’t capture the magic of the place, nor the warmth of the staff at the lodge. Lots of potential here – run with it! More vibrancy and enthusiasm is needed!
What scares me a little bit is the fine line between, “vibrancy and enthusiasm,” and hype. We’ll keep working on it until we get it right. I love the challenge. Thanks
Comment by Emily Le Moing on 2011/04/22 at 9:34am
I loved the river and wildlife images at the beginning of the video but, like others, I was distracted by the music, which didn’t fit Tortuguero for me (I’ve stayed at your lodge); I would go with local music (and use it more softly) if you feel you have to have music but I preferred the parts of the video in which you used natural sounds of birds, the river, wind in the rain forest, rain… such sounds help the video get across what makes Tortuguero unique and magical in a way that music can’t. …Maybe you could ask people who have traveled to Tortuguero and your lodge what they remember most about their trip. These would be the sorts of things the video should focus on.
I am intrigued by the idea of asking guests to tell about their most vivid memories of the Lodge, Perhaps I could use that for the narration of the Moneverde Lodge Videp. I’d love to have some volunteers. Please let me know if you’d be willing.
Comment by Jim Poplack on 2011/04/22 at 7:08pm
It was the next section – on Tortugero – that seemed strangest, though, especially the 1-2 second blurb on the turtle festival. Ending (both of the festival and the music) seemed very abrupt and out of character with the previous portion of the video.
Final thought: consider adding a comment at the very end about the teaching – to set Tortuga Lodge apart: “To know Tortugero you have to commune with the rivers. At Tortuga Lodge, you can also share with the local children.”
Great food for thought. Thanks.
Comment by Barbara Klein on 2011/04/22 at 9:10pm
My husband and I have been to Tortuguero 4 times since 1995 and stayed at Tortuga Lodge 3 times, so we feel as if we know the area and your lodge quite well, so much of the video felt very familiar. However, if we were viewing this video for the first time, with no prior visits to Tortuguero, we don’t think we would really understand just how rich and diverse a destination it can be. ..
It’s unclear if you intend to limit the video to just 3 minutes; however, if so, maybe you are trying to cover too much.
I really appreciate you looking at the video from the point of view of someone who is considering visiting Tortuga Lodge. We are know asking people who are considering visiting the lodge for critiques.
Comment by Jennifer Fletcher on 2011/04/22 at 10:00pm
I also agree there should be much less of the school experience – I myself would like to see just some close-ups of the children’s faces,smiling.
Some up to the minute young & vibrant Costa Rican modern music would be great & create a great ambience. Have you looked at Roberto Miranda’s award-winning video on Costa Rica? I think it’s spoiled all others for me ! Is there any way you could use some of his shots?
Jennifer, I really love the shot of the women yelling out, “Loud!” So many of the guests are so timid with the kids. They’re resilient. They won’t beak.
Who’s Roberto Miranda? What Video?
Comment by Cheryl Snider on 2011/04/25 at 5:46pm
I’ve been to Tortuguero and Tortuga Lodge twice now and I don’t think this video does justice to either one,
Being greeted at the dock with cold drinks was such a friendly gesture….it set the mood for the experience of staying at Tortuga. I would think that you want to convey the atmosphere of friendly hospitality.
I considered shots of the greeting and happy people at the pool, but was worried about the shots seeming staged. We will try to get them when we go to get the shots of the nesting turtles and then decide if we should put them in.
Comment by Bob and Melanie Royer on 2011/04/26 at 10:38am B
Re the ESL (English as a Second Language) lessons, we think it should be clarified that participation in the program is a voluntary opportunity to mix with the culture. As a teacher, I understand the reasoning for the “hokie pokie” shots…this is a typical and nonthreatening way to reinforce language learning…everyone can l do it!
Good point about the Words Adventure. Clearly we are going to have to a better job of explaining it. The trick is going to be to either explain it better in the same amount of time or decide what to take out to give it more time.
Comment by Nancy Lee & John O’Connor on 2011/04/26 at 8:30pm
Beautiful video overall. Wish we were there!
Here are some specific comments:
- The font is too harsh. We suggest a softer font like Helvetica or a serif font like good ole Times New Roman, which makes reading easier…
The transitions of the text is a little abrupt. A more gradual fading in and out would be more soothing and in keeping with the scenery and music.
- Similarly, the transitions between the scenes are a little abrupt too. More gradual transitions would better convey the unfolding and discovery that happens and the tranquility on the rivers.
…the video should work on all devices. -.
- Is the date of the Turtle Festival correct? It says November 2011, but there are scenes from a past festival. Was the festival in 2010 and the next one (2nd annual?) in 2011?
Great help Nancy and John. Heart felt thanks.
A few specific responses:
- I am confused about the font. It seems to me that the deciding factor is ease of reading. I was under the impression that research had shown that Arial was the easiest font to read, but I could well have gotten it wrong. I’d appreciated any information anyone has on this.
- Good reminder about the video working on all devices. So much to do.
- Good reminder about the video working on all devices. So much to do.
- What would you take out to make room for the things you are suggesting?
- Finally regarding the date of the Turtle Festival, it is part of market test we are doing on Time Travel. If we see that there is interest, we will start offering trips into the future. Personally I want to go to 2046. I have a feeling it is going to be a good year.
Comment Cheryl Schiarizzi on 2011/04/27 at 6:19pm
…this video needs to focus more on the pura vida, the natural habitat/botany/animals of the rainforest and the sights we saw. Also, more on the lodge itself and the land there. How about showing the guests arrive off the plane onto the boat and cross the river onto the landing? I got the best sleep of my life there while it was raining. Can you show more peaceful scenes with great linens and the sound of the rain – can that be captured more? Also, I was very disappointed to see that the guests were mostly white and older. How about families? Children? More diversity in terms of ethnicity and age? Michael: I’m going to send you pix of my son in Tortugero at 8 years old to your email. Also, what about the Conservation practices used at the lodge.
These are all worthwhile things to include, Cheryl. What would you take out to make room for the things you are suggesting?
Who is this man and what are his photos doing in my post?
Photos Patty Chang Anker
I’m sorry I could not resist a smartass response when Jennifer Fletcher suggested that I use some of the shots from Roberto Miranda’s award winning video. My good friends Roberto and his brother Alberto provided invaluable help and advice in editing the video. Some of the shots in it are Roberto’s. The reason we cannot use the shots from Opera Natura is that they are not in high definition and would clash with the rest of the video. Roberto will be doing the shooting of the new shots that we will be including in the next version.
Comment by Chris Parrot on 2011/04/28 at 2:30am
Video – very calming and serene; makes you want to be there. Constructive criticism: you don’t need words on the screen to explain what the pictures already illustrate (A touch of luxury). But I think I’d like to see the creatures (eg) identified (words on screen?)- I can see it’s a monkey, a bird, a lizard – but I’d like to know more detail.
I appreciate of course that this might detract from the overall “serenity” image you’re successfully conveying
A typically thought provoking comment. If Chris were eligible, I’d have to send a bag of coffee all the way to Ealing in the UK. Of course, were Chris to show up in Costa Rica and plead his case personally (especially while cycling) a bag of coffee might just be arranged,
Again for any of you who have managed to keep reading for this long. This has all been incredibly helpful. Heartfelt thanks.