On Making Travel Videos – My 2¢

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On Making Travel Videos – My 2¢.

There are many long and short blog posts on making Travel Videos.  It seems everyone has some advice. One can get a pretty good picture of what to do and not to do after reading five or six of those posts.

Here is my 2¢. I will base it on our latest month-long trip trough Italy.  You can find some of the clips from the Italian trip film in this blog.

The Story.

Think about the story you are telling, the theme of your trip. Think of it as a part of your video biography.  Ours was “Ancient Rome Without a Sea of Tourists.”  When editing, remove everything, which does not fit into the story.  You may even want to create an outline of the story before the trip.

Environment and B-rolls.

Shoot a lot of footage of the environment; from a bus, train or car if possible.  Always take pictures of to/fro routes.  The same goes for the ambient audio.  Some of this material will help you construct a total picture of the trip and fill those “empty” spots in your film.  In those spots you may want to talk about the environment/history/other using a voice over.

Local “Experts.”

Try to meet locals and ask them questions on camera.  Never mind the language, if you have to, you can subtitle it later.  Talk to people who work at the site (not the guides).  They may tell you some great stuff for your story.

No “Extra” Talk.

While you shoot, make sure your talkative partner(s) do no talk, unless explicitly decided – it creates a lot of problems in editing.

Time of Day.

If possible, always shoot early in the morning or late in the afternoon with the sun behind you. No Duh.  This will also reduce the crowds you will have to deal with as you shoot.

Panning.

Pan your camera slowly.  You can always speed it up in editing.  Try to pan in the same direction, starting from a still and ending with a still.  Better if the shot starts or ends on a particular subject of interest.

Organizing Footage.

Every evening, transfer your daily footage (dailies) into an organized computer folder structure (YY/MM/DD Subject).  Place a small note describing events of the day in the same folder as the footage for this day.  It is a very good idea to back this folder into a cloud-based storage at the same time.

Equipment.

  • iPhone 6 and 6 plus (especially good is 6s or 6s plus).
  • Any good small Camcorder, DSLR or Mirrorless with 1080P/30fps video (or better).
  • Light weight tripod/monopod.  I like Dolica’s TX570B150DS.
  • Shotgun (directional) microphone (mic) with an adapter to attach your mic to the camera.
  • Portable computer.

Equipment Use.

iPhone – on a clear sunny day.  It will help you with instant swing to action.  Be aware – audio is of poor quality.
Camcorder, DSLR or Mirrorless – for long (zoom), wide, low light, night and interview (audio) shots.
Monopod or any long stick – for long panning.  If need be, anchor your shooting elbow on your torso instead.
Tripod – to include yourself into a shoot (you may be a good-looking person).  Also for long/zoom or lengthy environment shots.
Shotgun mic – for interview-type shoots or when something important is being said far away from the camera.

Follow your day’s plan and your story theme as close as possible.  Laugh at your mistakes and correct them the next day.  A well-made travel video will let you relive the wonders of the trip, and share the incredible sights with your friends and family.

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