“The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun.” Chris McCandless has become an inspiration for many, and this quote perfectly reflects why we feel so drawn to challenges. Whether you are preparing your summer trip, looking to expand the horizons of your photography website, or both, you can probably relate to McCandless’ statement.
On that note, videos allow you to capture these encounters and share them with people so that they can experience the same joy. As much as we love photography, there are some moments that require a fuller sensory experience. And because of our attraction to discovering new horizons, most of them take place as we wander into unknown locations. If you’re looking to capture and share these experiences in a whole new way, this is all you need to know about how to make a travel video.
01. Do your research
As fun as being spontaneous is, doing some research early on will pay off in the long run. This applies not only to your travel video but also to the trip itself. Start by checking weather reports and reading about other people’s experiences. Find out what the must-see locations are and when the best season to enjoy them is.
At this point, you’ll be able to create a general schedule for your trip to make sure you don’t miss anything. Doing this will save you a lot of time during the trip, as well as help you with the planning of your video. However, make sure you leave room for last-minute decisions and allow yourself to change the schedule and adapt it to the day-by-day reality of the journey.
02. Get inspired
The best place to gather inspiration from is your own professional photographer website. What are you most passionate about? Maybe it’s street scenes, food, or perhaps landscapes. Following this same theme on your travel video will allow you to feel more comfortable with both the creative process and the final result. You’ll benefit from your existing expertise while challenging yourself to see such a familiar subject from a new perspective.
The next step is browsing other people’s travel videos. Spend some time watching the work of videographers you admire, as well as others you hadn’t heard of until this point. Look at videos taken at your destination, but also some taken in completely different locations. Identify the techniques and styles you love, and see if you can incorporate them into your work.
03. Find your story
The most important element in any video is the story it tells. Without a good narrative, viewers are likely to get bored and move on to the next video. It doesn’t matter how amazing your footage is and how well it works with the music you added, your audience just won’t be able to connect with it.
Setting a focus for your video, as mentioned in the previous step, will make it easier to figure out what you want to say. The story of your video will affect everything from gear to post-production. In order to avoid a lot of headaches, make sure you take the time to pick a narrative you’re absolutely convinced of before you move forward.
04. Set a plan
Once you have decided on the story you want to tell, it’s time to decide how you want to tell it. This is where all the initial research comes back into the picture. Which of the styles you loved fits the concept better? What is the best pace to tell the story? Which techniques can bring the style and pace together? Knowing this beforehand will allow you to plan some of the footage and keep you from mindlessly recording clips you don’t need.
During your planning, you will also need to decide whether you want to incorporate natural sounds into the video or use only music. While many videographers prefer to choose their video soundtrack during their planning, it is not a must.
05. Pack your gear
You might be tempted to fall into the trap of one of the most well-known photography myths during this new adventure, so let’s make it clear: you do not need expensive gear to create great content. Of course a $5K setup will offer higher results than your smartphones, but only if you actually know how to use it. Many people spend money on amazing gear but never bother to learn how to make the most of everything it offers.
You should start with the equipment you have and only think about acquiring new things after it starts limiting your work. When it comes to camera accessories, all you’ll need is a good microphone, and that’s only if you’re planning to include natural sounds in your travel video. Carrying too much gear before you reach the creative level when you’ll actually need it will just make filming harder and more tiring.
06. Look for a sponsor
If you already reach out to brands as a photographer, it might be a great idea to do so as a videographer as well. One of the most common partnerships between brands and video creators is including their products in the video in exchange for gear or travel expenses. If you still don’t have any videos in your portfolio, you can always get a photography collaboration based on your travel schedule.
07. Start filming
No matter how carefully planned your trip, many things will probably change the moment you get to your destination. And while you should definitely keep an open mind when it comes to following an organized schedule, there is a reason why research and planning are such a critical part of learning how to make a travel video.
There are three main things to remember when you finally start shooting:
Film only relevant content. Having too much footage will only make the creative process harder.
Get a nice variety of clips. Even if you have a clear subject set, shooting only landscapes, food, or people, will result in a really boring video.
Capture moments. Focusing on recording short moments will keep you away from mindlessly pointing your camera towards ten different directions within five seconds.
08. Make it engaging
The key to a successful travel video is engaging your audience. A great way to do so is by filming a variety of clips. Capturing a subject through different frames and movements allows for more diverse options in the final creation. This means you’ll probably want to refrain from using a tripod for the majority of your shots. To get a good pace, try to make your clips short and sweet. Try to see the action surrounding you in clips of three to five seconds.
09. Mind the light
Understanding lighting plays a major role in learning how to make a travel video. As a photographer, this step should be fairly easy for you. Since you’ll probably be shooting most of your footage outdoors, picking the right time of day will be crucial. Unless you are using professional equipment, you’ll probably have to face some barriers. Cameras with small sensors tend to overexpose images, which can result in ruined shots when you’re shooting bright scenes. You’ll also want to avoid dark situations, as using higher ISOs will affect image quality.
To avoid both of these situations, the best option is to shoot during the golden hour. At this time, the sun is really close to the horizon, offering just the right amount of light. Unfortunately, this perfect shooting moment only lasts 30 to 60 minutes. This is why knowing which footage you want to capture beforehand is key to getting good results.
10. Work on the road
Ideally, you should start the video editing process during your trip. On top of easing your workload once you get back home, it can also help improve the quality of the project. Don’t worry, we’re not suggesting you spend half of your travel days in front of a computer. Simply spend a few minutes going over the footage you shot that day and select the clips that are likely to be included in the video. This will allow you to have a general idea of how the final result will look and see if there’s anything missing. While doing so, keep in mind the bigger picture. Think of each clip as a puzzle piece and see how the different parts can be put together to match your story.
11. Find the right soundtrack
The last step before you sit down to face the processing stage is choosing the perfect music for the video. The audio will be a determining factor on the quality and success of your video, so don’t take it lightly. The earlier you pick a soundtrack, the better you’ll be able to connect it with the footage. This is why you should keep it in mind during the whole creative process.
When it comes to choosing your music, you need to be aware of the legal limitations beforehand. Don’t spend the whole trip shooting footage to your favorite show’s opening song in mind, because chances are you won’t be allowed to use it. Copyrights will be your worst enemy, but also your best friend. They will push you to find soundtracks that really connect with your content, rather than a catchy tune that got stuck in your head.
12. Take time to edit
Once you’re back home and have done all your laundry, it’s time to get down to business. Not to defeat the Huns, but rather to start the final process of your travel video creation. While it might seem intimidating at first, it will be a lot of fun once you get the hang of it. If you didn’t have the chance to get some work done during the trip, start by going over all the raw footage and choosing the clips you want to use.
Essentially, video editing consists of cutting out the footage you don’t want to use and stitching the chosen clips together. In general, travel videos are divided into two main sections:
Introduction: The first seconds of the video need to capture the viewer’s attention and serve as a presentation of your story.
Body: The storyline of your video, comprising most of your content.
Some videographers may choose to add their brand between the introduction and body, as well as credits, or a call to action after the body. Overall, the general recommendation is that a travel video should last between three to ten minutes.
13. Aim for perfection
But don’t let it control you. As a media creator, you probably know exactly what we’re referring to. You should never rush the process and put an unfinished creation out into the world. That much is quite obvious, right? However, it is quite common to focus so much on getting the best results that the project never seems quite finished. There is a moment in which you’ll need to tell yourself that the video is good enough and doesn’t require more editing time.
14. Share the final result
Congratulations on your travel video! The final step is sharing your creation with the world. If this is the first time you’ve made a video, you might be wondering where and how you should share it. The first place is, of course, your online portfolio. With Wix Video, you’ll be able to showcase, promote, and sell your videos from within your existing videographer portfolio.
As for social media channels, Facebook and YouTube seem to be the preferred options by videographers at the moment. You might also want to take advantage of the popularity spike of the newest kid in town: Instagram TV. To bypass format limitations, you can simply create a short vertical preview of your travel video and use this platform as a tool to drive visitors to your site.
15. Learn from it
What did this experience teach you? Identify the hurdles you faced during the project and how you overcame them. Think about what you would have done differently knowing what you know now. Listen to feedback and consider how it can help you improve. Most importantly: keep researching, getting inspired, and practicing. Every moment you spend working on your video takes you one step closer to creating outstanding content.
Ready to create an amazing travel video? Make sure to share it on your photography website!