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I’ve been travelling full time since October 2017, and I’ve been making travel videos ever since.
Give or take a couple of busy and sickness-ridden weeks, I’ve been uploading two new travel videos every single week. That’s over 130 travel videos and counting, and I’ve picked up a few travel video tips along the way.
It’s those video making tips I’m sharing with you today. Whether you want to capture your own travels, start a travel YouTube channel or even earn money with video, I hope you find them helpful.
1 – Get to know your gear
Nothing will improve your travel film making like getting to know your gear. And I don’t mean knowing how to switch it on and off – I mean really getting to know it.
Every camera is different and, like any product, each has its own pros and cons. Knowing what your camera is good at – and what it isn’t so great at! – will make a HUGE difference to your travel videos.
And let me just say this now: it does not matter which camera you use! It could be one of the popular vlogging cameras, it could be a GoPro or it could even be your phone. Doesn’t matter. What matters is that you know how to play to its strengths. To do that, I’d recommend checking out some YouTube videos on the best video settings like the one I made on my Canon M50.
2 – Create a story
Making a travel video isn’t just about filming what you see and do, and then throwing it all together! Well… it kind of is. But there’s a little more to it than that.
The best travel videos don’t just show a destination, they tell a story. That story can be as broad (a whole week in Namibia, for example) or as narrow (e.g. trying Greek food at a restaurant in Santorini) as you like. What matters is that your viewers feel like they’re on that journey with you.
THE GEAR I USE:
Want to see my full vlogging set-up and the gear I use to make travel videos? I listed all my gear over on one handy page – click here to check it out!
3 – Don’t hold back
It’s easy to leave the camera off when you’re not sure what to shoot, but I’d advise filming everything just in case.
Ideally, you’d already know what kind of video you want to make before you arrive at your destination. I’m not saying you have to have it scripted word-by-word – in fact, I think that’s a pretty bad idea – but a rough idea will help. Whether that’s true or not, it’s always better to shoot too much than not enough.
And if you’re unsure what the end product will look like, this is even more true! Dive in, shoot everything and see what grabs your attention. You can always delete the extraneous clips but you can’t go back and film more.
4 – Stay inspired
Just because you’re now a video creator, don’t forget to also be consumer.
Watching other videos will keep your inspiration flowing and help to constantly have fresh ideas. I’m not saying you should flat-out copy anyone, but you never know when something might spark your next great idea!
If you’re making travel videos, you’re probably already a fan of watching them. That’s great! But I tend to find watching videos outside of my own niche (travel) can inspire me even more.
5 – Find your thing
Every successful vlogger has something that makes them ‘them’. Whether it’s the music style, quirky transitions of even a catchphrase they always say. I guess you could say that mine is that I always include cute dogs in my videos…
I did that unintentionally (hey, I just love dogs!) but if you can find something to make ‘your thing’, it’ll help you build a better brand. Even if you’re not planning to share your videos on YouTube, having a signature style can make you stand out in a crowded travel video market.
Uploading videos means you need good WiFi – and finding it can be surprisingly hard! Using a portable WiFi device will save your hours spent searching for good WiFi and expensive phone bills when you have to tether your phone. SkyRoam pocket WiFi gives you unlimited data around the world, so you can upload from anywhere.
6 – Work with the music
I can’t stress enough how important the music is!
For lots of creators, the music is an afterthought. And I don’t blame them – when you have angles, transitions, colour grading and a billion other things to think about, it’s easy to quickly throw a song in and be done with it.
But don’t do that.
Music has the power to completely change a travel video. The tempo, style and general vibe of the music will shape the viewer’s experience and, chosen carefully, will captivate your audience to keep watching. And that’s what we want, right?
Don’t underestimate the power of cutting your clips to the music, either. It takes a little more work, sure, but it’ll add a professional finish to your video.
I use Musicbed for nearly all my music because they have a great selection of songs and support real artists. If you want to try some new music, click here to get a 30-day trial completely free of charge.
7 – Play with speeds
A lot of travel videos go pretty heavy on the slow-mo, my own included.
Slowing down your footage can give it a more cinematic feel, an effect which is really popular in travel right now. It’s smooth, it’s immersive and it adds a whole lot of drama. If you want to slow down footage, you’ll need to shoot at a higher frame rate than you edit. That means, if you edit at 30fps, you’ll want to shoot at 60fps (or above, if your camera is capable of it).
It’s not all slow motion, though. Time-lapse, sped up footage and speed ramping (when you make a clip gradually speed up or down) can all help tell your story. It will all depend on the story you want to tell, but don’t forget to keep speed in mind when filming.
8 – Add a little movement
This was something I learned in on my trip to Japan, when Brendan and I had a videographer with us. Adding just a touch of movement to every shot will completely transform your footage and make it feel a whole more professional.
The trick to making this work is to not overdo, move fairly slowly and mix up the kind of movement you use.
9 – Give yourself options
The thing about making travel videos is that you usually can’t go back and re-film a shot if something goes wrong. We’ve all had mic failures, lost footage and other misadventures when filming, and there’s nothing more frustrating than finding your crucial shot is unusable.
I’m not saying you should film the same shot over and over until your battery dies. (I know people who do this and, trust me, it’s not fun to be around.) But there’s absolutely nothing wrong with trying a shot in a couple of different ways – you never know which one you’ll prefer until you see it on the screen.
Want to know my exact process for making a travel video? I made a video on that:
10 – Go for it
Making travel videos can be scary! Even if you don’t speak to the camera, you’re nearly always filming in a public place – that’s just the nature of travel film making. Cameras, gimbals and mics can all draw unwanted attention and make you feel self-conscious, but don’t let it hold you back.
When I’m feeling shy or self-conscious, I like to pretend I feel the opposite. If you look like you’re supposed to be there and know exactly what you’re doing, people won’t even question it. And remember – the people around you are much more likely to feel uncomfortable if they think you’re uncomfortable! Put on a professional face and own it.
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