Cycling West Africa, a video from Liberia to Nigeria

These are my least least prolific countries in terms of footage, so that makes six countries in 10 minutes. Most of my videos of West Africa actually come from Sierra Leone and Liberia, since it was a real adventure to cross these two.

This West Africa 2 video features the Bomi blue lake in Liberia (that may not exist anymore in the future if it is flushed down for mining), the crab too cool to eat spaghetti with his claws, lots of cocoa from Ivory Coast, the Notre-Dame de la Paix basilica in Yamoussoukro, a voodoo ceremony in Abomey, and “Chop my Money”, the ubiquitous song I heard too many times in every West African country.

On a side note, many things have changed over the past two years, including the Vimeo, the video-hosting platform. Pressured by the record labels, they have this summer, installed the magic filter that flags copyrighted soundtracks, just like Youtube, and deletes the video. I tried to appeal with fair use, but it didn’t work. Youtube used to do that, but now plays smarter: videos with copyrighted soundtracks still play in most countries, and it display ads to promote the artist. It’s a win-win. It’s even better now that users can know in advance what the constraints from using copyrighted soundtracks will be.

It seems that Youbube videos with copyrighted audio play everywhere in the world but in one country: Germany. So, for the sake of the viewers in Germany, I transformed the audio from the Fresh Prince to bypass the filter on Vimeo. Actually, it’s not Fela Kuti, P-Square or the Chemical Brothers who prevent my video to be hosted on Vimeo, it’s only Will Smith. I followed the results of some audio editing tests, but even changing the pitch and speed by 7%, and introducing cuts, Fresh Prince still gets detected. These filters are too good, and considering it takes me roughly an hour to encode a video and another hour or two to upload it, it’s too time consuming to find a workaround. Therefore, I leave Vimeo for the less slick platform, famous for its comments. You can still watch my videos in HD 720p (although it won’t look good: Youtube’s HD 720p videos are re-encoded at a bitrate of 2.5 Mbps, against 4 Mbps for the same at Vimeo). If you’re in Germany, I’m afraid you’d have to find a proxy.

Places traveled:
Liberia (Sawilor, Robertsport, Tubmanburg, Bomi blue lake, Monrovia, Harbel, Salala, Firestone rubber plantation, Gbarnga, Sanniquellie) – Côte d’Ivoire (Danané, Man, Vavoua, Bouaflé, Yamoussoukro, Dimbokro, Daoukro, Agnibilekrou) – Ghana (Dormaa, Kumasi, Obuasi, Accra, Akosombo, Amedzofe) – Togo (Kpalimé, Amlamé, Nangbeto, Tohun) – Benin (Abomey, Sekou, Cotonou, Porto-Novo, Ikpinle) – Nigeria (Illara, Abeokuta, Ibadan, Oshogbo, Owo, Auchi, Idah, Nsukka, Abakaliki, Ugep, Calabar).