A movement to showcase the human side of the world's top travel destinations is turning to Pittsburgh for developers.
Humanity.TV, an interactive Web series that gives travelers a glimpse of destinations through the lens of a native, is seeking experienced Web developers and filmmakers to take the platform to the next level. Currently a website, Humanity.TV's creators say they want to build a tablet magazine with an interactive interface that lets users browse related text and audio along with the videos.
"We want to build great video content that gives users an authentic connection to the place they want to visit," said co-founder Kerrin Sheldon.
Mr. Sheldon, who completed a master's degree in professional writing at Carnegie Mellon University in 2010, said Pittsburgh will be one of the first places his team turns once they raise the funds needed to hire the developers and filmmakers they need to carve out their vision. They plan to hire at least two more full-time videographers in the near future.
Mr. Sheldon said the idea for the website came last year when he and co-founder Gaston Blanchet met while interning at New York-based travel site Wanderfly. He said they noticed that travel sites and magazines were great at providing information about trip planning, lodging and entertainment for most destinations, but few explored the lands or showed images beyond well-known resort areas.
They also found that the human elements of places such as Bangkok, Thailand, and Osaka, Japan, in travel promotions were oftentimes either glossed over, ignored completely or discussed only by an outsider.
In an effort to close the information gap, the duo recorded more than 30 videos over seven months to launch Humanity.TV in June.
While most videos feature short interviews with residents, such as "The Cambodian Cycling Champion," or "Gaurav's Mumbai," others take users on expeditions to Mount Everest or on other adventurous journeys.
The self-funded project, which used proceeds from the team's promotional video company Xeno Productions, cost $12,000. Mr. Sheldon said the company hopes to find an existing travel brand to become a permanent sponsor for the magazine, but is open to selling magazine subscriptions or advertising space to make Humanity.TV profitable.
With much more work to do toward their ultimate goal, Mr. Sheldon and Mr. Blanchet launched a campaign on crowd sourcing fundraising site Kickstarter in November. With four days left, the team has raised $15,932 of its $25,000 goal, but that benchmark is only one of several they hope to reach before the project is complete. The first $25,000 will fund two teams as they record 50 videos and also will help Humanity.TV purchase cameras to lend to locals to record their own videos.
The next goal of $40,000 will help to produce more documentaries and will fund bringing the documentaries to tablet devices. The third $60,000 goal will help the team produce up to 150 videos and hire filmmakers from around the world to take part in the project.
For more information, visit Humanity.TV.
Deborah M. Todd: firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-1652.