Published on August 23, 2017 | by Cristian


7 Tips For Shooting Awesome Travel Videos

If you are planning your next vacation and you want to make sure you will capture the highlights of your trip in a nice video, you are at the right address. With today’s gadgets being so affordable nowadays, you see so many people recording videos of their trips. Yet, most of these videos will end up collecting dust on a hard drive, and you hardly ever get the time sort them out. Well, that is about to change. In this post we are going to provide you with actionable tips which you can implement right away and simply transform the way your travel videos will look. You might be using just a smartphone, maybe a GoPro, a DSLR camera or even a drone. It doesn’t really matter, the principles are pretty much the same and any device will work. So let’s get to it.

#1 Pick a theme

This is something that you want to think about before you actually start shooting. Take some time and think a bit about how you would want the final video reel of your trip to feel like. You may want it to be funny, or maybe more emotional and cinematic or maybe you want an upbeat, high-paced video. Or maybe something in between. That’s up to you. It is a good idea is to pick the theme or the style of the video based on the destination you are visiting, or maybe on you own personality. So, for example if you are visiting a city like Amsterdam and you enjoy the night life, you may want your trip video to be high paced and capture all energy of the city, of the pubs and clubs. A good way of doing this is by having a GoPro, which is really small, attached to something (it can be clipped to something to your jacket for example) which makes it look like a “point of view” type of video. Or maybe you are after a more slow-paced, emotional and cinematic video. In this case most of the shoots should be outdoors, of landscapes or buildings. You might want to use slow motion a lot to give the videos a more cinematic look. Shooting with a drone (if you have one) is also great to tell a story of the places you visit. Another example is the ‘vlog’ type of video, where you just walk around and have your iPhone or GoPro on a selfie stick and you film yourself in different places, with different backgrounds, around different people and so on and so forth. These are just a few examples, your video can have any style you want it to have. The main takeaway point here is to be consistent with it. Once you pick a style, film all the videos so that they match that style. This will create continuity later on when you get all the footage edited into your final travel video.

#2 Film at the right time of the day

This small tip will improve the quality of your videos tremendously. Most of the cameras that we carry around have small little image sensors which do not perform that good when we shoot in very bright locations. The colors and brightness of the footage will be all over the place. The best times to film or take pictures outdoors is when the sun is down the sky towards the horizon line. So if you are a morning person like me, go out and shoot your videos early on. If you like to oversleep you can film amazing shoots in the dusk when the sun is setting down.
The light and the shadows will make the scene look so much better than it would during the day. If you are traveling in a place with nice landscapes and have a drone, you can shoot some pretty amazing footage. Everything looks just epic at dusk and dawn.

#3 Keep it steady

Shaky footage will kill any video. It just puts the viewer off. Unfortunately, most of the times you will be shooting videos while hand holding your camera, so there is going to be some shakiness in there, but there are a couple of things you can do to get rid of that. First and foremost keep the camera with both hands and keep your hands close to your body when filming. This will improve the quality of the video a lot. Alternatively, if you find yourself filming scenes where you don’t need any camera movement at all, use either a tripod or an object to put your camera on. Even though most cameras come with built-in stabilization features, those will not do a very good job when there’s a lot of hand movement. Of course, if you are shooting with a GoPro or you want to get that vlog type of look to your video when you film yourself walking around, some shakiness is inevitable and it actually contributes to the feel/style of the video.

#4 Shoot less

I know you probably want to capture everything when you are traveling and visiting new and exciting places, but often less is more. Here’s what I mean by that. By filming everything you will end up with hours of footage which you will be unlikely to want to go through and select the best bits and pieces. You simply will not have the time to do so. What you want to do instead is to take your time, observe the things around you, the places and people around you, and actually plan what you want to be in your final travel video. This goes hand to hand with the first tip – the style of your video. Will a particular scene or place fit the theme or style you picked for your video? If the answer is yes, then you want to shoot it. If not, maybe it’s best to leave it out.

Let me give you an example. Let’s say you want your travel video to be made out of selfie shoots of yourself sticking your tongue out with all the important touristic attractions in the background. That would make a great, funny and legit travel video. Then let’s say you walk on the beach and you see this cute little puppy playing on the beach while sun sets down. This scene look absolutely lovely. But it will definitely not fit the theme of your travel video, so you might as well enjoy the view and leave the camera in your bag.

#5 Film horizontally

This will probably sound like an obvious thing to do from some of you, but the truth is that so many people film vertically (in portrait mode). As a video editor, almost all the footage I get from clients that use smartphones is shoot vertically which is such a pain to edit. It simply doesn’t look good. When you film vertically, your video might look good on your phone, but here’s how it will look when you export it.

There is no fix to than in post-production. That’s just the way we are used to hold the phone, but next time you want to shoot something with it, remember to flip it around. This will give you that nice and wide, full screen image which looks so much better that the portrait shoots.

#6 Film from a lower angle

Another quick thing you can implement right away and make your video stand out from the crowd is to film from a lower angle. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but whenever you are filming something you are tempted to keep the camera at around your eye level. Instead of doing that lower your camera a little bit and start shooting from your waist level or so. This will make the things around you too look much bigger, more impressive and everything will look more interesting that before. I like to look at it as seeing the world from a child’s point of view. You know how everything around you felt much bigger and you were so much more excited about the world when you were a kid? Well, this is kind of what happens when you film your travel video from a lower angle as well.

#7 Get it all edited

Lastly but not least, once you have back from your vacation make time to unload your footage from your camera and compile it in that awesome travel video reel you always wanted. You can either do it yourself if you feel like experimenting a little bit or you can hire a video editor to handle everything for you in a professional manner. Either way you will end up with a nice video you can watch together with your family or friends and enjoy for the rest of your life. So, yeah, I would say it is definitely worth the effort. How about you?

Over to you  So there you guys have it, 7 actionable tips you can implement right away to significantly improve your travel videos and enjoy your vacations over and over just by hitting play. I challenge you to start applying as many as these tips as you can during your next vacation and share your results with us.

About the Author

Cristian is a freelance videographer and video editor, found of Veedyou Media. When he is not busy in post-production he enjoys shooting Drone and GoPro videos while backpacking through the Carpathians. If you would like to get in touch you can get a hang of him over at contact [at] veedyou [dot] com.

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