Want to make better travel videos? Who doesn’t? After all, this kind of situation happens far too often:
You’re at your bucket list destination. The sun is just rising over the horizon. You have your trusty GoPro in hand. What do you do? Turn it on and point it at the sun? Hold it at arms length and try to get the shakiest shot possible? Realize the camera is dead because you never charged the batteries?
No way-You’re a pro. You’re going to capture the moment perfectly- your feelings, the sounds, all the details. Just in case though, here’s a few little things to keep in mind that will make a HUGE difference in taking your videos to the next level.
Make Better Travel Videos Tip 1: Talk to Yourself
Never work with animals or children. Unless you have a chance to work with monkeys. Always work with monkeys.
The most difficult thing when we started shooting videos was to sit down and talk to the camera. The best way to get over that initial awkwardness is to have someone asking you questions about what you’re doing today, how you felt about the experience, etc. Make sure that when you answer those questions (even if you’re prompting yourself) that you answer in complete sentences. Then you can simply cut the audio of the question being posed. Sounds quite simple but a quick “talk in” to what the video or subject of the video is about is a great way to hook your audience.
Make Better Travel Videos Tip 2: Capture B Roll
B-Roll. Also known as Insta-gold.
Mark it down- 2017 is the year that the classic version of vlogging starts to die its already overdue death. Yapping heads droning on and on about what they did or what they want to do, or worse: what they’re about to do during their trip is played out. To create a truly dynamic video, focus on trying to capture all that great background footage of your trip-sunsets on the beach, snorkeling reefs, footage of sled dogs, close ups of flowers blowing in the wind, etc…..all this footage can go over verbal talk ins, personal reflections, or a rocking soundtrack.
Go out there and get some awesome B Roll footage.
Make Better Travel Videos Tip 3: Don’t Be So Serious
Unless you’re Richard Attenborough, you should really limit the amount of facts that you’re throwing at the camera. The most cringe worthy and unfortunately boring travel videos usually are the ones were some teenager yaps on endlessly about the details of some complex subject they have zero grasp of, like theology in Indonesia.
A few fun facts can be, well, fun, but overall, the Youtube audience is watching travel vlogs to have a good time. If you want to throw in a little learning, think hydrogen peroxide volcano, not organic chemistry textbook. Stick with what you know and take the viewer along on the fun part of the trip. Leave the educational stuff to the pros at BBC.
Make Better Travel Videos Tip 4: For damn sake, hold the camera steady
A gimbal! (or the exact moment when I gave up on Allison ever holding the camera steady by herself)
Just hold the camera steady. If you can’t hold the camera steady, set it on a table. Or a chair. Or press it against the wall, or buy a gimbal.
Shooting with a GoPro and have nothing to set the camera on? Hold it against your chin or forehead. Yes-seriously. Turns out the human body is a great steadicam. Or buy a gimbal.
Make Better Travel Videos Tip 5: Use More Interesting Camera Angles
If you’re lazy and shoot everything eye height the audience is going to get bored quick. Lay down and shoot up so that everything has a taller, more epic appearance. Shoot scenes with items really close in the foreground to give the scene depth. Get creative with where you place the camera and what the focus is. Alternate establishing shots with close ups in your final edit for visual variety.
Make Better Travel Videos Tip 6: Cut out the everything not necessary, and then cut even more
The worst sin of creating video is to be boring. It’s really easy to get attached to footage you may have shot but attention spans are at an all time low. Chop your footage, chop out even more, and then have a friend give feedback on where they feel your video drags and where it rocks. Learning to be brutal with what you don’t show is one of the hardest skills to learn.
Make Better Travel Videos Tip 7: Stop NARRATING and do
“Look, I’m getting on a plane!”
“Today we’ll be doing this”. “We’re about to get on the plane”. “We’re at the bus stop”. Yes. We’re watching VIDEO. That is our visual aid and using context clues we have figured out you are at the airport. Now, film your conversation with someone, talk about how you’re feeling or better yet, get out and start doing something (in your video) and cut out the majority of that “dead” time.
If nothing else, throw money at the problem
Finally, like all things in life, there is no problem that money can’t solve.
- Does the audio you capture suck? Buy an external Mic
- Is your footage still shaky? Buy a gimbal to smooth things out. Check out our review the gimbal here.
- Don’t know the nuts and bolts of actually editing a video? Let us walk you through it
- Need a royalty free soundtrack to use? This is the music service you wish you’d known about years ago.
So those are true beginner tips for how to improve your travel footage starting right now. What are your best tips for travel videos? Drop something in the comments! We’ll use the best tips in an upcoming video.