More alive than photos, more storytelling than an image, and more spontaneous than a travelogue, a travel video allows you to “feel” a destination and convey the atmosphere of your trip. Here are 10 tips to make the perfect travel video.
1. Get Inspired by the Videos You Love
We are not talking about “copying” but rather being inspired eh! But on closer inspection, the prettiest travel videos all look alike and the more you watch, the more it will inspire you for your travel plans! Between the rays of suns filtered between two buildings, traveling while filming the foliages in a rushing motion or walking with your feet deep in the beach sand by the bank of the ocean! Note down the shots that you like and remember to film them once there!
2. Pitch Your Video Idea
And also, after having found a little inspiration, pitch your idea before forgetting it. Well yes, when you go on a trip for more than a month at the end of the world, the little ideas you had in Paris are very much down deep in your brain and may not be easily recalled.
So write everything down on a piece of paper and stick it on your camera! Your video idea has to answer the 5W and H questions which include:
- What happened?
- Who was involved?
- Where did it happen?
- Why did it happen?
- When did it happen?
- How did it happen?
3. Choose the Right Technical Equipment
Some will tell you that a GoPro or an iPhone is enough to make a vacation video. The 7 Plus and upward maybe, but forget your smartphone for a moment. Even if this object remains the most practical, to make your travel video, you need a real camera. The action cams are not only dedicated to extreme sports. Indeed, they can also be your best asset during a big trip.
Take a video of a sunset with your iPhone then with a Canon EOS. You will immediately understand what we mean. Admittedly, they don’t go with the same budget, but a hybrid, a compact professional, or an amateur reflex is a minimum for making a professional looking travel video.
For dynamic and unusual aerial shots, choose the drone. Often, you mistakenly think that it is not easy to carry such equipment in your suitcases. Especially when you cross an ocean (be sure to study international regulations and rules) and two continents! You will never be disappointed because the drone is a great technical tool. It has revolutionized the world of cinema and will change and simplify the way you make your travel video.
When you’re going with cameras, don’t forget to add the accessories: microphone (nothing worse than bad sound), a tripod (to make nice still shots), and spare SD cards.
One more thing! Imagine that not long after you start shooting a beautiful sequence, then you start running out of battery and all you have to do is cry on your hands. Avoid this by remembering to bring several batteries and autonomous recharging devices like a solar generator. And finally, if you have the budget, invest in a drone.
4. Stabilize and Lengthen Your Video
Patience is the master of successful plans. It took a long time to understand it and we still can’t put it into practice but it is better to have a long shot than a short shot with stuff. Because with a long shot, you can have fun increasing the speed (and seeing the sky moving), focusing on editing, or playing with light. However, we recommend that you always shoot in landscape format for a better overall picture. And that is also more harmonious during the video arrangement!
Stability is also essential because even if you can refine the video during editing, the image always remains a little jerky. For this, you need to use a Steadicam or manual stabilizer. They are light and easily transportable accessories. Therefore, you can adapt it to all your devices from smartphones to Go-Pro and standard cameras! Find a cool stabilizer, put down your camera, press play and let it run for at least one minute. You can also make use of a video stabilization software during post-production.
5. Humanize Your Experiences as Much as Possible
It is often easier to shoot landscapes, animals, or wide shots of the street than to take a close-up of a stranger’s face. And yet, humans add the little touch of life that will change everything in your video.
Whether it’s you from afar walking the top of a hill or zooming in on the wrinkles of an old Pacific Islander, your viewers will need to be able to identify with your video and reimagine your trip, your encounters, and your feelings. So yes, it’s always crazy to ask someone if you can film them but you will be so happy afterwards!
6. Gather and Classify Everything
You’ve filmed everything you wanted, now it’s time to categorize everything, just before going up. The trip may no longer be fresh in your head, some pretty plans may have escaped you in so short a time. You are obliged to unravel everything. It’s not easy but must be done! Take a small notebook where you will write down:
- The name of the video
- The concept of the video (sunset/street/ food/nature etc)
- The color cast
- The beginning seconds of the parts of the video that interest you most
7. Download and Add Background Music
You can have the most beautiful shots in the world, if you put music by Florence Foster Jenkins (we love you, Florence) as your background music, it will break the atmosphere of the trip. Music is ESSENTIAL in a travel video, especially if you are not voicing it. Wake Me Up by Avicii and Welcome Home by Radical Face are some of the best background music for travel videos. But be careful, a copyright issue will take your video down in no time.
If you are aiming for a cordial agreement with Facebook, Youtube, or Vimeo, you will have to be content with royalty-free music. Funk and hip-hop work very well for city-trip videos, while tropical house or electro will get you high for “nature” videos! Finally, Audacity is a software that can help you out with background music.
8. Tell a Story During Editing
You’ve sorted it all out. You remember your ideas, you’ve sorted your shooting by color, places, or objects/subjects and you’ve found your background music. Mazel tov! All you have to do is tell a story with all this content. Putting beautiful shots end to end is very nice, but we have to feel what you want to express.
You can opt for a “day” version (you wake up, take the train, walk, eat, walk again, and then the sunset, evening, and cut. With a road-trip version, your viewers will follow your adventure on the road, interspersed with crazy landscapes on the rhythm of a city (transport, parks, the street, rooftops, etc).
Don’t forget to bring along some extra travel kits with you such as a MacBook and its accessories if you want to compile, edit, and publish videos during your holidays.
9. Save All, Re-save, and Backup
Can you imagine a situation where you put in all the hard work and investment, then after the end of the trip or holiday, you realize everything has been erased OR your computer has crashed?
To perish this harrowing thought, double backup all of your content: one backup on your computer, another on your external hard drive. Not enough space on the computer? Buying from the Cloud may be a good option for adventurers: no need to carry an external hard drive and (almost) no risk of it crashing. Long live the global internet!
10. Share Your Video to the World
Travel videos keep getting shared on social media! You can choose to publish it on your Facebook profile (you can even do it privately to share it only with your travel buddies) or on your travel blog or Youtube, where you can share your trip with as many people as possible.