YouTube Success: Creating Exciting Travel Videos | Kristen & Nadine | Skillshare

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YouTube Success: Creating Exciting Travel Videos

teacher avatar Kristen & Nadine, YouTubers | Videographers

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

14 Lessons (1h 22m)
    • 1. Introduction: Creating Successful Travel Videos

    • 2. Filmaking & Storytelling

    • 3. Couch Session: Filmmaking & Storytelling

    • 4. Intro To Your Camera

    • 5. Cinematography Basics

    • 6. Stabilization

    • 7. On Location Transitions

    • 8. Using Objects for Transitions

    • 9. Timelapse & Hyperlapse

    • 10. Shooting in 4K

    • 11. Filming in LOG

    • 12. Weather & Safety while Filming

    • 13. Filming Action & Adventure

    • 14. Filming Events, Festivals, Shows, Nightclubs & Parties

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About This Class

Turn your dreams of YouTube stardom into a reality!

Learn from travel video experts Kristen Sarah & Nadine Sykora, who turned their love of exploring into a YouTube channel with nearly 1 million subscribers. This course will teach you how to creating exciting travel videos that will win on YouTube!

When it comes to creating travel videos, Kristen and Nadine have been doing it for over a decade and in 100+ countries. Along the way, they discovered how to create content that truly connects with people and create a loyal following and community. In this course, you’ll explore both the technical and creative side of film making that will help bring your stories to life.

In this course, we cover:

  • Filmmaking & storytelling and what makes a GOOD video
  • Types of Shots
  • Cinematography basics
  • Stabilization & transitions
  • Hyperlapses & timelapses
  • Shooting in 4k & LOG
  • Dealing with photo/video release forms, permits and permissions
  • Weather, safety and protection of you and your gear while traveling.
  • Filming Action and Adventure sequences.¬†
  • Filming events, festivals, shows, nightclubs & parties


The lessons in this class are designed to apply to all content creators, although we focus on travel video since that is our specialty. This is part 1 of a 5 part travel content creation series.

Meet Your Teacher

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Kristen & Nadine

YouTubers | Videographers


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1. Introduction: Creating Successful Travel Videos: Hi. I'm Nadine Sykora and I'm Kristen Sarah. We both in full-time content creators for nearly a decade and we're here to share our insider tips and tricks with you. So you too can earn a living traveling the world and creating content that inspires. In this class, we are going to show you how to use filmmaking and storytelling to create exciting trial videos. We'll go through cinematography basics, including types of shots, stabilization and transitions, as well as cover items such as photo and video release forms, permits, permissions, and filming events. This class is perfect for travelers looking to learn how to document their ventures and share it online. And we'll cover a variety of situations you will run into while you're filming on the road. This is also part one of a five-part series of classes we have on travel blogging, which you can do individually or you can complete as a whole. The information is course can also be applied to other genres as well. But since we're both in travel, that'll be our focus. So let's get started. 4. Intro To Your Camera: If you're new to operating your camera and you've never ventured outside of the auto mode, it can be a bit overwhelming. There are a lot of different buttons and features that your camera can do that can really up your filmmaking game. So each camera body is different, but there are some features on the cameras that don't change pretty much no matter what you use. So we're gonna go through some of those features to help get you out of auto and into manual when he was starting out, it is totally okay though, to keep your camera on auto. I filmed many years of travel videos all in auto without touching any of these other dials. Because adding the footage hours, capturing the image that was number one, I was being able to create the story and all of these modes and different dials can be a bit over whelming a lot to think of when you were just running, gunning, trying to get that. So I recommend just perfecting your video making skills first. And then we can move more into the manual skills, which is what we're going to get into all the different modes and the buttons at which really help you transition from auto to manual. Most digital cameras will have a dial on top, which is meant for selecting different modes, will only cover four of the main modes here as there aren't other modes that might change from camera to camera. So the three main modes we're going to cover, our program mode, aperture priority and shutter priority. All of these modes are essentially a form of auto, where one of the settings is in manual. In program mode, it allows you to set the ISO and then the camera will handle the rest in aperture priority. You have control over the aperture will then the camera handles the ISO and the shutter speed. So controlling the aperture will control your depth of field. So if you want to take landscape photos, you might want to set your camera to F 16 to get a really deep depth of field. Or if you're taking a portrait and F1 0.8 will give you a really nice blur to the background behind your subject. Shutter priority will give you control over this shutter speed. Iso and aperture are set by the camera. Setting. A high shutter speed will allow you to shoot fast-moving subjects like a race car and getting sharp images without motion blur. And then of course there's manual mode and this gives you full control over the ISO aperture and the shutter speed. This is for the more advanced users who want full control over every aspect of the image. Right now I'm an automotive and as you can see, there's a light coming from the window and I am perfectly lit, but if I was to rotate as I would while vlogging, now the camera starts focusing on the background because that's what it thinks I want to focus on and my face Well, yeah, I can't see my face anymore. Now I'm in manual mode as you can see him properly exposed and focus. And if I rotate towards the window, I'm still properly exposed because the camera isn't trying to automatically adjust to my background. And I can adjust the settings even more if I want to be a little bit brighter. So I can just rotate my dial either down or I can rotate it up to adjust as I go. That is the benefit of filming and manual. A nice little hack for you to practice going from auto to manual is to take a photo with your camera in auto and then look at the settings that the camera is automatically adjusting to with your aperture, your eyes and your shutter speed. Then go into the manual mode and adjust those settings manually. And just do little tweaks here and there to see how they affect your image holding your camera. You want to know how to hold your camera properly to avoid shakiness, you get that nice still image. So here's how you do that without using a tripod. Let's start with the bigger cameras. So if you have a bigger camera like this and as heavier lens, you're going want to use two hands, one to hold the body, one to hold the lens. And the closer you have the camera to your chest, the more steady your shot is going to be. You're holding your camera out like this. After while your arms start to get fatigued and they start moving the camera, you're gonna get that shaky image which you don't want. If you are vlogging, you can hold, again the camera body like underneath and the lens as well, underneath. And there you go. You can extend your arms. It does get a little bit tiring that way, but if you have it too close and you're just gonna get a shot of like up your nose and you don't want that. If you're using a point and shoot camera, it's going to be a lot lighter, lot smaller, lot easier to hold. You just need the one hand. This one here has a flip screen, which is great. So if you're vlogging, you can actually see the shot. And you're just like cupping, cupping the camera in your hand like this. And what I like to do, especially if I'm doing like adventurous activities, is have the strap on the strap around my wrist just in case you do drop the camera. Another thing I like to do with the point and shoot cameras is use either a gorilla pod or you can get a grip like this. This one's from Sony and it has a record mode at the front as well as a picture modes. You can actually record video, take photos without having to look at the back of your camera. So when you're holding it out, you have like a nice firm grip. It also can add an extension when you're using the gorilla pod so you don't have to extend your arm is far, you can keep it a little closer, gives you your gives you more support and you can actually hold the camera up a lot longer without getting tired. When it comes to the position of your camera, you do not want it too high because then your audience is looking down at you. You don't want it too low because then they can see you have your nose and that's flattering. And you wanted at a level that's like the perfect place to be because you're at eye level with your audience. People that are watching you behind the camera. Unless you are going for like some sort of look that requires you to go up and down. Just keep it at eye level. Walking with your camera. You're gonna wanna keep your camera closer to your body to give you more support so you can hold the camera longer. If your hands are in your arms or out too long, you're going to get fatigued really quickly. Also allows you to keep the camera steady or because it's like following along with your body. Think of it is if you had a cup of water and it's like filled to the brim. And you're trying to like walk across the room to hand it to somebody. You don't want to be like walking around like this. You don't want to be holding it out like this. You want to keep it close to your body and like kind of glide. Same thing as with your camera. To get that like very smooth gliding motion. Think of it as carrying that very full glass of water. These days, a lot of these cameras have really good stabilization, so it's going to help you as well get that really smooth shot. I'm gonna wanna do what's called the ninja walk. So you're going to get those squats in your screen. You're squatting down a little bit, bending your knees and just gliding across the room slowly and steady, Keeping the camera at the same level. Versus just walking normal. You're getting that shaky shot which you don't want. Also, if you're getting a pan this way, you just squat down and keep the camera at the same level. But using your legs is really going to help you. You'll feel that burn definitely. But it's gonna give you that really nice shot, nice steady shot. You can also get like that. Push in luck without actually gliding forward. You could just bend your knees, keeping the cameras close to your body to start as possible. And just pushing forward with your body and then eventually your arms. So you get to the point where they're almost straight but not quite because as soon as you get straight, arms, starting to shake a little bit, so just keep your elbows bent a little bit. And I'll give you a nice pull or push in. Luck. 6. Stabilization: So one of the biggest things that we noticed from the videos on the Facebook group is that there is a lot of amazing locations to film in, but a lot of shaky footage. There is a lack of stabilization. And I know for when I first started out, my footage was very, very shaky. And this is true with a lot of beginner filmmakers. A lot of beginner travel bloggers is, there's a lot of shaky footage when you first start out. And so to be able to transition and fix that and make it more buttery smooth, we need stabilization. So there are a couple ways that we can do this and we're gonna talk about it today out here on the woods where there is a lovely, uneven, unstable path. Now there's two different ways that you could do this. First, there is in bodies, camera stabilization, which is civilization in the camera body itself where the sensor is. So this camera here has built in stabilization in it. No matter what lens I put on the camera body, it is going to be stabilized. The footage will be stabilized, whereas this cameras body does not have built-in stabilization means that it's heavily dependent on if the lens itself will have stabilization or not include on it. Because some lenses do and someone's IS don't have stabilization. Having both forms of stabilization is the best, but at least make sure if you're shopping for camera gear that either your body or your lens is stabilized, and that will make sure that you have at least some civilization on your camera. Another very popular way to stabilize your footage to the next level is using an external stabilizing tool such as A3 axis gimbal, which is what I have now, I personally love the footage quality from A3 axis gimbal that really allows us to get buttery smooth. Follow me shot's really dynamic, fun footage. And it just makes the sterilization so beautiful. But there's several different three-axis Gimbels out in the market. This one is the Xi'an crane, that's the one I use. And there is also the DJI Ronin, which is another really good gimbal, but there's various ones, there's big ones, they're small ones. And all of them have their different pros and cons. And a lot of it has to do with either the weight, the size, and the setup. They haven't bit of a learning curve to them. You have to learn how to balance them, you have to learn how to set them up and each time you're pretty much rebalancing it to get it in that perfect equilibrium. The beauty of the three axis gimbal is it just keeps your camera in the position that you want it to. One little tip that I have for you guys is to get a quick release plate and mounted onto that gimbal. That way you can just click your camera on and off really easily. And you only really have to balance it once. A lot better for like traveling. Gimbels really are a beautiful way to add amazing dynamic shots into your footage to get those really cool pans and tilts and all kinds of crazy cool shots. But they're a big learning curve. They take a lot of practice that take time to set up. So it's definitely something to venture into what you're feeling a little bit more comfortable with your filmmaking skills. So when it comes to stabilization, it really takes time and it takes practice. And most importantly, it takes mindfulness, being mindful of the camera and how you are holding it, trying to avoid shakiness at all costs and just constantly thinking of how you are stabilizing each and every shot. The more you practice that the moral become second nature and then you won't have to think about it as much. And by doing that, you'll be able to take your video footage to the next level. 12. Weather & Safety while Filming: On-location adds several extra situations into the mix of general filmmaking. Filming outdoors inevitably leads itself to dealing with the weather. You can't change it. So here's how you deal with it. Rain, water, and moisture. Unless you have a very expensive lens or camera body, chances are, it is not whether sealed, meaning that the buttons, sliders, and grips all had been sealed to keep out the rain droplets. Chances are you won't have this at, even if you do, your gear can still get wet and ruined. So here's how to prepare for a rainy situation. Bring an umbrella. It should be part of your gear bag. Have spare plastic bags. You can use these to wrap your camera up and protected from the rain. Carry a lens cleaner as water droplets may fall into the lens and that leads to ruined or less than perfect footage. Get creative. Yes, rain will make it difficult and sometimes even impossible to film. But you can still capture the moment. And if you are creative and careful, you can end up getting some really beautiful footage. Reflections on the training I was carrying problem was, again, you're committed to that. Wind. Wind is a sound problem. As soon as it gets a little bit windy, your internal recording, like on any camera you have, will become useless and all sound recording will have a hiss or be distorted, use either. And that's why it's important to carry an external microphone with a wind sock. This helps reduce or cut the hissing or distortion. If you don't have a wind sock and you still need to record audio, you can try and find a corner or go behind something that's blocking the wind, an extra tip. You can also use a finger up a glove as a wind sock. It's inexpensive and effective. The cold. In cold weather around 0 degrees Celsius or lower, you can run into issues with your battery. Basically, cold weather will drain your battery and an alarming speed and it can reduce the amount of recording time. Significantly, carrying a spear or two is important when filming and cool weather conditions. Also, rotating batteries in and out of a warm pocket will help prolong their charge. Heats and son, cameras are full of electronics and when it gets hot outside, those electronics can overheat. This will cause your camera to turn off and you will have to wait until it cools off before you can start filming again. So if you know you'll be filming in hot conditions, carry an umbrella and try to shield your gear from the sun. Film is shorter births and chances are if you're hot, so is your gear. Humidity. Humidity is moisture in the air that can get trapped in your camera parts. In the lens, between the lens and the body, and between the lens and the filter. When it gets trapped in between the lens and the filter, you can simply white boy, the moisture with a cloth. So carry o'clock with you. If you are filming and humid conditions, try and avoid switching filters and lenses, which will invite moisture to get in condensation whenever you change from cold to hot, really quickly, condensation between the lens can occur. Unfortunately, once it happens, it is very difficult to get rid of quickly and you might have to just wait it out, usually five to 20 minutes before you can film and use your camera again. However, it is easily preventable and the dusk ways are to just avoid spikes and temperature, like turning off your air conditioning an hour before leaving the room with your equipment or giving your gear extra time to acclimatize to the weather by putting outside earlier than you plan on filming. Also, if you are inside for a brief period of time, keep your gear covered and in bags to try and minimize the temperature spikes. As a travel blogger with a minimal gear, you most likely won't run into any issues when it comes to getting permission to film on location. However, you may face a situation when you'll need to either get verbal permission or a written permission to film. Usually, permits are issued by the government governing body or property allowing you, the filmmaker, to film in a certain location. Here are some tips for dealing with specific situations and locations we've dealt with. If you are going to be filming an event, make sure you call the location manager or people in charge of the event to ask if it's okay to film. Some tourist attractions charge a small fee to bring camera gear. This is usually paid in advance at the entrance before you enter. The majority of the time, a DSLR camera without a shotgun mic will not be an issue. As soon as you add a shotgun mic and tripod into the mix, you may be questioned. It's best to research filming policies before you go to best prepare yourself to avoid being turned away. Which would really SEC. Some places such as museums. You just can't film. Don't guerrilla shoot this footage, thinking you are being sneaky. If they asked you to not film, Be respectful and don't film. The last thing you want is to upload something that you shouldn't have and then have to take it down because you didn't have permission to use it. Once you can going at video making, your gear is going to get a little expensive. Obviously protecting from that gear and preventing damage, theft and loss is so important. Researching the appropriate equipment insurance may be something that you'll want to consider. There are several insurance providers that can cover a variety of situations and types of gear. Purchasing equipment, insurance to protect your investment is worth it even if it's solely to have peace of mind. Safety is all about not making yourself a target. Most apps are actually crimes of opportunity. Given the opportunity, if a stranger sees an unsupervised camera, there is a high possibility that they might take it. They might not have set out to steal a camera that day, but they saw the opportunity and they took it. You want to try and minimize these opportunities with these suggestions. If you wear a shoulder bag, it should be crossed strapped around your body in the bag should be placed more towards the front. Backpacks that carry gear should always have locks on the zippers. You do not have eyes in the back your head? I'd hope. So. How can you see if someone's opening your bag? You can't. Another option is to where your backpack for Edwards cameras are targets for these. So keep your gear in conspicuous by using different camera straps, taping up logos, and putting gear away when not in use. If you're not using your gear, keep it in your bag or tucked away out of sight. Locks, cables, lockers. These are all your friends. Be very careful who you trust with your filming gear, and always make sure your belongings are locked up and strapped to a secure object when left unattended. Gear insurance for that extra bit of comfort and safety. As for when things go wrong, you will be covered, which is a big relief. 13. Filming Action & Adventure: Action adventure filming has exploded in the last few years as a very viable fun and create a way to showcase travels. Mainly thanks to the ease of equipment such as the GoPro, which has revolutionized immediate so much easier to film crazy sports and activities. Now, there are a few things you need to consider when filming action and adventure. Your equipment has a high possibility of getting damaged, broken, or lost, except this, it is a risk we all take when filming adventures. If you are very protective of your gear, this type of voting may not be for you. Well, you can't predict the outcome of the adventures. You can plan out the camera angles you want captured in the camera equipment required to achieve it. This means you'll have to think a head at before filming in terms of types of equipment and shots. It might involve extra hills decline or missing out on particular sections of the full experience because you want to get that wide angle or a POV. You might even have to do the activity twice to get all the angles and shots you need. Not such a bad thing really. With adventure filming, it's best to try and create dynamic camera angles. Shooting everything on a GoPro or from 1 of view is only great for so long. Your goal is to always have your audience engaged for the entire video. Shooting with a second camera and lens that isn't a fisheye adds variety and style. Sometimes you'll need to hang back or Go ahead of a group activity to get a more dynamic idea of the whole experience gets started the activity shots and get end of the activity shots. Sometimes you might even have to miss out on an activity If that's what needs to be done in order to get the right shot. Also, many times an action scenarios. You'll want to have two cameras filming at the same time. So don't be afraid to ask someone to hold the camera for you. You, you also don't need to have two people in order to film with two cameras. At the same time. You can mount a GoPro on your helmet for a POV. Well, holding a second camera. Stabilization is key. The first couple of times you start filming adventure, you'll quickly come to realize that most of the things you are doing involves movement, which leads to a shaky footage, which equals unusable footage. Try and find ways to keep your cameras steady as best as possible. Try and plan shots that allow for stabilizing. If you are wearing a camera, always be thinking about what that camera's filming and what it seeing. It might involve keeping your head still are arms at weird angles. Also, modern video editing software like Adobe Premier and Final Cut Pro have some options for stabilization after the fact, but they aren't perfect. So don't get too comfortable relying on it. Sound is always an issue. Let me introduce you until when your worst nightmare go prose when in their protective casing give you muffled audio at best. Now if you're just making a music video, that's fine. As you'll overlay music on top and it won't be an issue. However, if you wish to hear things, bring a good microphone and even better yet, Bring it wouldn't sock or a dead cat as it's called. They look all areas, but they get rid of that. She wins and be prepared for anything. Action filming takes a lot of practice of being in the moment because things are gonna happen quick and they're going to happen fast. Be quick. And for action filmmaking, specifically, record everything and worry about the edit later. Bring a camera cleaning kit, your gear will get dirty, both your lens and the body. Make sure you carry a cleaning gets and give your camera gear a wipe down after every day of filming. Bigger is not always better people. When you film for adventure, you have to be very selective of the gear you bring. Every bigger piece of gear comes with sacrifice of time and maneuverability, meaning you've gotta put all the pieces together. And the heavier the harder is to move around. Smaller cameras are easier and quicker to whip out and film spontaneous moments that can happen spur of the moment when you're filming action or adventure. Also, most of the time you'll be carrying all of your gear in some way or another. The more every time you are stopping dipolar camera gear all the time when doing highly physical activities or activities that heavily rely on the use of your hands will start to get very, very annoying after a while. So think about what you'll be filming, what the conditions are going to be like. And if you'll have assistance and carrying your gear, then choose selectively. 14. Filming Events, Festivals, Shows, Nightclubs & Parties: For all the videos under this section, keep this starting tip in mind. Planning ahead is the most important thing you can do. Most events that are even a little bit organized. We'll have some set of rules regarding cameras and filming gear. Public or free events are usually okay since they aren't going to have someone enforcing camera rules on the general public. Because literally everyone has a camera phone nowadays. Although you might get asked a few questions if you have larger cameras, private events are a hit or miss. It all depends if the events purpose or if the event itself can be publicly disclosed. Usually when it's a PR event, they are more lenient and welcome filming since they're there to promote something, be it a brand product, destination, location, restaurant, et cetera. So they will welcome the free press. However, never assume. Here are some questions to ask before heading off to film any event, festival, show, nightclub, or party. Our cameras allowed. Is video recording allowed? Do you need to get a media or press pass to record? Do you know the right person to contact to find out this information? How much equipment can you bring? Will you have lots of space to film? Or it will you be in a huge crowd where you should try and keep your gear to a minimum. If you are planning to film at a festival, you must get a press or media path, not only for permission to record the festival, that pass will also let you know what you can legally record and display. A very important thing if there's any musician, band, singer, or show involved, since not every musician allows use of their song or footage while others well, getting a press pass involves pre-assigning image release forms and gives you the necessary legal documents required to use whatever footage you film for your videos. A press or media pass will also prevent you from getting hassled by security guards. And trust me, they will have security guards. And best of all, you'll get access to designate it VIP press spots, which are usually strategically placed for the best viewing. So if you are thinking of also bringing in a DSLR or larger, you really lost get a pass. Seriously. Don't risk it because they will search your bags and you can be turned away. Not to mention your video can be taken down for copyright claims if you don't get the necessary permissions. Geared to bring external microphones that can record 20 decimals or lower. This basically helps prevent yourself from Peking, which allow volume and speakers can cause a zoom lens and all Festival cases you'll be dealing with people. And since you cannot guarantee a close, clear location to film, paper paired with a zoom lens or a camera that can zoom in. Gear to leave tripods. These are almost never going to be allowed even with oppressed path. Not to mention you're not going to want to carry one around with you while at a festival. You can always guerrilla style film these events with a point-and-shoot or a camera phone quality will still be quite decent, as it is very, very rare. They would take away your phone or even a small camera. However, you might run into legal troubles if you plan on uploading it to YouTube. Aka, they can claim your video and make you take it down. But of course, that'll be the choice that you make. Getting permission to film theater shows or any type of live performance which isn't free and open to the public will be very difficult task. Unfortunately, most of the time, no matter who you try and convince, they simply will not allow video recording. This is not the case of numbers per se, but instead, because they don't want to spoil parts of their performance and they can't guarantee what you'll film and what you'll showcase. Plus they don't know the end product or the quality of the film you'll be creating, which makes them skeptical of allowing you to film. I know it'll be heartbreaking, choppy able to capture this amazing show you're watching on your travels. But trust me, your audience will understand there are creative ways to share the experience. You can always share your thoughts before and after the show. If something is specifically singled out as a party, you can almost certainly bet that there will be liquor involved. If you were filming content for anyone other than yourself, be sure you have discussed beforehand the depiction of alcohol in your video. If it is any type of branded or sponsored video thing, might be a bit weary of showing any alcohol consumption or beverage bottles. Be cautious and courteous in regards to yourself and your fellow attendees. If you are filming anyone other than yourself and make sure they are aware of where this video is being displayed. As an ax, a bit more unfiltered when they are intoxicated and displaying messy drunk people on video doesn't make for good content regardless. This is not saying that you shouldn't fill. Just be respectful that other people are just there to have a good time. And it's best not to force a camera on them when they are partying. You know, they just might not appreciate it in the morning. Light is a huge issue since most parties in nightclubs or rather dark. So think about what lenses you should bring when it comes to camera settings. Having a lens with a lower F-stop and setting your camera to have an open aperture will allow for more light to come into the lens, thus making a darker room see more bright on camera. Also, if you really must, there are plenty of small, cheap external LED lights that you can attach onto your DSLR or even mirrorless cameras that will provide a camera flashlight. Just don't get one that's like two huge or else you'll stick out like a thumb and blind people. Noise and music. If you've been to a nightclub, you know, it's really loud. If you must have audible audio from people talking, consider a lavalier mic, or again, a directional external microphone or recorder with an option for a negative decibel recording range. It's best to record audio between negative six decibels to negative 12 decibels. The safe zone reason is as it's easier to increase the volume in post-production, but impossible to fix distortion, which is what happens when it peaks at positive decibels.