Leaving London exhausted, we flew directly to Rome and fourteen more days of no rain!
But we were in incredible Rome - the eternal city.
We quickly discovered that Rome is a very difficult city for a videographer. Crowds and other problems make videography a challenge. Eventually we realized that getting to a poplular tourist site around 7 AM each morning was the best way to work. We were able to shoot virtual walks along the famous Via Veneto, made famous by "La Dolce Vita," another walk through the Campo de Fiori, and still another through the beautiful Pincio Gardens of Rome.
Taking a bus to the outskirts of the city one day, we shot a virtual walk on the ancient Via Appia - which was a delight because it looks exactly like you would expect it to look. Here's a picture of Kathi resting on the Appian Way.
Returning home after 4 weeks of filming, we received a call from a film editor friend in L.A. He was editing a movie and needed some night scenes of Rome. Would we sell some of our night footage to his production company?
We realized that we had over 80 hours of video which could be sold to production houses as "stock footage." Today, we have sold our European stock footage
to a number of tv networks in the US and around the world and our Treadmill Virtual Walk DVDs
have been sold to 49 states and 5 foreign countries.
September 11, 2001, affected us deeply on many levels. We temporarily suspended international travel - our steadicam equipment, batteries, and other tv equipment were just too unusual for the heightened security which was in place. In addition, we always traveled with our tv equipment in our carry on bags - we couldn't afford for the equipment to be damaged or to be lost. So for a few years, our focus was on other aspects of television production. I was asked to film the "Behind the Scenes" and cast interviews featurettes for two motion pictures shot in our state along with other tv projects.
In October of 2003, Kathi and I returned to the United Kingdom to film more virtual walks and more stock footage. This time we filmed virtual walks in the English Countryside: a walk from Eynsford to the village of Shoreham, following the Darent River in Kent. We also filmed a circular walk from the village of Otford through some beautiful scenery and back to our starting point. Along the way, we met some lovely people and had a nice chat. We traveled to Dover and to Brighton to film stock footage and also to Salisbury to film a virtual walk in the area around the Cathedral. In Salisbury we had the opportunity to see one of the surviving copies of the Magna Carta. We also went to Canterbury Cathedral and attended "Evensong."
Finally, in August of 2004, Kathi and I finally found time to edit our first virtual walk, "A Morning in Venice," and get it on the market. We were amazed at the positive reaction it received. Customers said: "Why hasn't someone thought of this before?" and "It's just like being there!" and "I want more." We were very gratified with the reaction to our initial concept formed back in the summer of 2000. We quickly followed with virtual walks in the English Countryside, Rome, along the Appian Way, London Waterways, and Burano. Since then, we've received hundreds of emails from our Treadmill Virtual Walk customers telling us how much they enjoy exercising on their treadmills and exercise bikes with our Virtual Walk DVDs.
In June of 2005, we returned from three weeks filming, this time in High Definition ( 1080i ) and widescreen, more Treadmill Virtual Walks along the beautiful Amalfi Coast, on the isle of Capri, in the ancient city of Pompeii, and in the medieval town of Viterbo, north of Rome. We are currently in the process of editing those walks and they will be available in the coming months.
Presently, Kathi and I are in the planning stages for our future shooting trips. This year we will make trips to Hawaii, the Cotswolds, and Paris to shoot both virtual walks and stock footage. Then in 2007, we are planning a trip to northern Italy to film virtual walks in Tuscany, Siena, and Florence.
There is a surprising amount of work involved in filming these Virtual Walks in Europe, from dealing with heavy equipment to walking miles to some out-of-the-way location just to begin filming. But our customers love them and constantly ask for more - so that makes it all worthwhile.