Then, quite by accident, I stumbled onto a company called Vita Digital Productions online. These people have a wonderful product for the bored treadmilling likes of me--virtual jog/bike ride videos. You see, Vita Digital Productions is run by a retired videographer and his wife. They do a lot of traveling, and they go on walks/bike rides in beautiful locations around the world, filming from the point of view of the walker/rider. These videos are meant to be watched while on a treadmill, stationary bike, or elliptical trainer, so you can go on a "virtual jog" in these beautiful places.
Here's some sample footage from their bike ride around Loch Etive in Scotland:
And here's a walk on the Isle of Capri:
It recently occurred to me that I love these videos for the same reason I love a good setting in a book: it sucks me in and makes me feel like I'm there. I can hear the birdsong in the trees, see the sunlight glint off the water. I can hear the hustle and bustle of the crowds, see the people rushing past, hear the dogs barking in the distance. From time to time, I notice little details that really give me a sense of place, like the beautiful wrought-iron gate gracing the front of an Italian villa, but, of course, it's the large details that really grab hold of me, like the sweeping cliffside ocean view. I'm not stationary but moving through the scene, seeing it through the eyes of someone who is actually there.
As writers, what we do is pretty comparable to making a virtual jog video. Ok, I know that sounds strange, but think about it: we're taking readers on a virtual journey, too. So remember, no white walls--make the scenery worth it :)
photo credit: kaneda99 via photopin cc